Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
As we've seen in some of the previous videos, the use of blend modes can be really powerful. They can be an excellent way to get one layer to blend with another layer underneath it. So let's take a look for a moment at the two layers in the document. Here we have the watch layer that is photographed on a white background. And then I've just created this thick black stripe and this thick white stripe around it. So none of that is transparent. It's actually all either black, white, or different shades of gray. And then of course, the watch. Now if I toggle the visibility of that layer by clicking on the Eye icon, we can see that underneath it.
I have a little layer of just a photograph of the beach. So just want to make sure that we see that there's obviously two layers here. The first way you might think about blending layers together is simply by changing the opacity. And we can certainly do that I change the opacity of the layer, I can start to see through the watch layer to the beach layer below. But we can also use all of these different blend modes. And Photoshop has over 25 blend modes, or different ways, different mathematical algorithms that you can blend the layer that you have selected with the layer below it or with all of the layers below it.
They're broken into categories and we're just going to select maybe three or four to take a look at. I want to make sure that we look at the Multiply, the Screen and Overlay and Soft Light blend modes, because I think those are the ones that you'll probably use most often. But, I will tell you why they're categorized the way they are. This first group right here are always going to take the darker values from the images being blended together. So if I select Multiply, we will see that I retain a lot of the dark information. So I'll retain this black edge and I'll retain the darker areas in the watch. So we'll select that.
And sure enough we retain that information but we don't retain the light. It's almost like putting one negative on top of another and then projecting them. So we're going to get a darker image. In addition, each blend mode actually has a neutral color or a color that disappears, and when you use the multiply blend mode or any of the blend modes in that group. White is going to disappear. Let's move down to the next group. But, before we do, we'll set this back to normal.
Just because I want to show you when we select screen, we're going to be retaining the lighter values here. It's really like projecting two images on a screen so the images will get lighter. And there's also a neutral color here, and that color is black. So any of these Blend modes here, if you select them, black will just be removed from the image. So sure enough, we're missing that black stripe right here. And we can see through to the layer underneath.
And then, we're seeing blending within those darker values of the watch, where it's actually taking on the lighter value from the layer underneath it. We'll set this back to Normal again, just so we can see what it would look like. And then I'm going to switch down to this blend mode grouping right here. Now what happens with all of these is that Photoshop splits the dynamic range of the image in half. And on the darker side, it's going to take the darker colors, and on the lighter side it's going to take the lighter colors. So you'll always notice that you're adding contrast when you select any of these blend modes in this group.
The least amount of contrast that you can achieve is with this soft light option. And then you can see as I change to Overlay, there's more contrast. And as we go down through the list, like hard light, we see more and more contrast in all of these other options. And there is a neutral value here, as well, and that is middle gray. So, 50% gray, just disappears when you select one of those blend modes in the third group.
There are some additional blend modes down at the bottom that we've actually taken a look at in some of the other videos. The color blend mode just gives a color overlay. It's really great if you're trying to hand color something. Or luminosity will only give us the grayscale values of the layer on top that we are blending, but you can see through and you're actually getting a bit of color from the layer or layers below. Now instead of selecting each one from the list and toggling through it, we can use a keyboard shortcut.
Before I use the keyboard shortcut, I need to make sure I have one of these top tools selected. I need any tool that does not have a blend mode for the tool. So I can't select the paint tool because we have a blend mode for the Paint tool. So I'll just tap the V key, that gives me the Move tool, and then I'll use the keyboard shortcut Shift+Plus to go down through the blend modes. Or I can use the keyboard shortcut Shift+Minus to go back up through the different blend modes.
And if you try that shortcut and you're not getting what you expected, you probably do have a tool selected that has a blend mode option. So there we go, a quick overview of the power of blend modes in Photoshop.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
164 Video lessons · 45205 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 83044 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 53255 Viewers
148 Video lessons · 90245 Viewers