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This chapter is about Blend modes and Photoshop's other advanced Blending options. Like the Opacity value, a Blend mode makes the active layer translucent, so you can see through it, to the layers below. The difference is that each and every Blend mode produces a unique translucency effect. Many of the effects have real-world analogies. Others are altogether otherworldly, which makes them as a bunch incredibly useful. Plus, they're easy to apply. They work almost instantaneously, and they're parametric.
Meaning, they're temporary. You can switch them out any time you like. But Blend modes are hardly intuitive. There are a staggering number of them, 27 in the Layers panel alone. They have obscure names that give you no idea what they do. If you try applying them sequentially, they produce a bewildering array of effects, none of which appear to be remotely what you're looking for. In other words, it's almost impossible to improvise your way through them, which is obviously why I'm here. In the following exercises, I tour you through each and every Blend mode, tell you which ones are essential and which ones aren't, and offer a few killer applications for the best of the bunch.
I'll even show you how to use Blend modes to bypass the need for masking. But the real purpose of this chapter is to make Blend modes make sense. By the time you're done, I want you to be able to look at that long, long list, from Normal to Luminosity, and have a clear sense for what each one does. That way, the next time you want to mix two layers to produce a specific interaction, you'll have the confidence to apply the exact Blend mode you need.
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