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Introducing the magic of blend modes

From: Photoshop CS6 for Photographers

Video: Introducing the magic of blend modes

In order to deep in and further our knowledge of how we can create compelling photographs in Photoshop, here we're going to explore the amazing world of Blending modes. Blending modes allow us to combine things together, so that when we combine them they somehow blend. It allows us to create something different. It's almost like we have two layers, and then when we blend them, the final result, well it's something that we couldn't have achieved without a blending mode. So here what I want to do is talk about the Blending modes dialog.

Introducing the magic of blend modes

In order to deep in and further our knowledge of how we can create compelling photographs in Photoshop, here we're going to explore the amazing world of Blending modes. Blending modes allow us to combine things together, so that when we combine them they somehow blend. It allows us to create something different. It's almost like we have two layers, and then when we blend them, the final result, well it's something that we couldn't have achieved without a blending mode. So here what I want to do is talk about the Blending modes dialog.

I also want to walk through a number of different examples of using Blending modes, working with images and sample files, and slides, so that you can have a really good working understanding of these modes, because these are powerful. They are powerful for making corrections and also for coming up with creative ways to modify your photographs. All right! Well here we have the Blending modes dialog. Now at first glance when we see this, either in the Layers panel or in some other areas as well, which I'll talk about in a few moments, it's kind of hard to look at.

There are all of these little words. What does all of this mean? Well the first key is you'll notice the Blending modes are grouped. If we can understand these groups, well this can be the key which will really help us unlock how Blending modes work. So let's take a look at these different groups. We can think of this first group as Blending modes which allow us to darken. The next group, these are Blending modes which allow us to brighten or lighten. Then we have that third group. This is really about contrast.

Next we have a group which allows us to create comparison and also creative effects. And then finally we have a group which allows us to blend or modify the way colors are combined, and this isn't over simplification. Yet, by thinking about these groups in this way can really help us understand, how we can start to tap into this strength of Blending modes. All right! Well let's take a look at how we can work with them. I'll go ahead and open up this as our guide over here and then what I want to do is march through a number of different slides, and my hope is that these slides will help us understand these modes.

Here I've the first slide, it's a grayscale, it's sitting on top of this image. I'll open up my Layers panel and I want to modify this grayscale right here. You can see it in my Layers panel. To do this, I'll go to my pulldown menu, and here I'll choose Darken. In this case, it's only affecting the darker pixels. It isn't doing anything to those brighter tones. Well what about if we take this to Lighten. Well you can guess what's going to happen here, right, it's exactly the opposite.

Okay well what then about say Overlay or Soft Light? Well what these do is they increase the whites and also the blacks. They deepen the blacks, but nothing happens to the midtones. Now if you can understand these three things, well this can really help you start to work with these modes. Let's take a look at this with another sample file here, in another slide. Here I've another grayscale. The three most common Blending modes that photographers use are Multiply, Screen, and Soft Light.

Let's try those out. Multiply, as we know, darken things. We can see it's creating this darkening effect. The next one is Screen. When we choose Screen, well it's going to brighten this side. Then we're going to go down and choose Soft Light. We already know what Soft Light does, right, the whites become wider, the blacks become deeper and darker. All right! Well that's kind of interesting but what about with a photograph? Let's take a look at how we can blend this into the background image. Let's use some of these similar Blending modes, say like Darken.

We'll compare that to Lighten, and then maybe even Soft Light. And by going through those Blending modes, you're starting to see that these kind of changed the way these two images interact or the way these images are blended together. Okay, well that's kind of interesting, but we still need to dig deeper. What about Color? We'll go ahead and target this layer, just a layer with the red rectangle. If we go to our Blending modes, we know that we can choose the different modes like Darken or Lighten.

You can see how it's changing the color and the underlying effect, and how it's modifying what's underneath it based on its color and also its tone, and then finally down at the bottom, the two perhaps most important for this, are Hue and Color. When we choose Hue, it's just affecting the background and not the gray at all because there isn't much color here. When we choose a Blending modes, say like Color, it's almost like we have a transparent sheet of color on top of our image. We can see through it to the texture and tone.

That's a really helpful Blending mode when it comes to blending color into our photographs. Let's look at one more slide which will help us understand color as well. In this layer, rather than going through all the Blending modes which we've already seen, what I want to do here is highlight one final Blending mode and that is Luminosity. Luminosity actually removes the color. It just shows us the luminance value of these different color areas, and it removes or reduces a lot of the color there.

So why is this a good blending mode? Well it's a great blending mode for layers that you've sharpened. You can sharpen those layers, and in doing that, sometimes you can bring out noise or problems. By changing the Blending mode to Luminosity, well this can help out a lot, and as you can start to imagine these different Blending modes have different uses for when working with photographs. All right! Well let's take a look at now where we can find these Blending modes. Well here you can see we have this dialog, we've talked about that. We'll find this dialog in our Layers panel.

We'll also find it in the Options bar for a number of different tools. Here are a few just to highlight. In other words, we can change the way a layer blends. We can also change the way our brush stroke or cloning or healing or other tools blend in to what we're created. All right! Well to recap, Blending modes, they allow us to combine two things together, so that we can come up with a unique result. They allow us to blend in a way that helps us to create something that we couldn't have created without using Blending modes.

And now that we know a little bit about how these Blending modes work, let's put what we've learned to practice and let's do that in the rest of this chapter.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 for Photographers
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers

173 video lessons · 27356 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 1m 43s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      45s
  2. 11m 49s
    1. Ideas for how to learn Photoshop more effectively
      4m 25s
    2. Isolating what you've learned and taking quality notes
      3m 53s
    3. Getting creative and being ready to be surprised
      3m 31s
  3. 38m 57s
    1. Customizing the Bridge workspace
      4m 46s
    2. Reviewing and evaluating your photos
      4m 22s
    3. Rating, ranking, and filtering photographs
      5m 42s
    4. Organizing photos with stacks
      3m 55s
    5. Grouping pictures together with collections
      3m 56s
    6. Adding metadata and keywords
      4m 47s
    7. Renaming images
      1m 45s
    8. Accessing the Photoshop tools from within Bridge
      2m 28s
    9. Working with Bridge and Photoshop
      2m 40s
    10. Working with Mini Bridge
      4m 36s
  4. 45m 29s
    1. Setting up your color settings
      3m 31s
    2. Choosing preferences for the HUD color picker
      3m 50s
    3. Setting image interpolation preferences
      3m 3s
    4. Modifying zoom preferences
      4m 20s
    5. Changing HUD brush options
      3m 41s
    6. Customizing interface preferences
      3m 30s
    7. Opening up documents in tabs
      4m 11s
    8. Reviewing file-handling preferences
      5m 4s
    9. Setting performance preferences
      4m 23s
    10. Choosing cursor preferences
      5m 14s
    11. Reviewing guides and type preview preferences
      4m 42s
  5. 21m 4s
    1. Exploring two simple steps for more accurate color
      2m 57s
    2. Introducing color profiles
      5m 17s
    3. Opening and saving files with embedded profiles
      7m 33s
    4. Setting up your studio
      1m 59s
    5. A demonstration of monitor calibration
      1m 46s
    6. Finding color management resources
      1m 32s
  6. 28m 34s
    1. Introducing the Tools panel
      4m 53s
    2. Changing the view mode and working with panels
      5m 33s
    3. Opening and arranging multiple documents
      6m 31s
    4. Combining, saving, and closing multiple documents
      5m 17s
    5. Creating custom keyboard shortcuts
      5m 11s
    6. Working with a Wacom tablet
      1m 9s
  7. 18m 24s
    1. The foundation of digital imaging: pixels and bit depth
      6m 12s
    2. Introducing image resizing
      3m 42s
    3. Resizing images effectively
      3m 48s
    4. Resizing and straightening with the Crop tool
      2m 28s
    5. Creative tip: sizing images correctly
      2m 14s
  8. 41m 56s
    1. What is Camera Raw?
      2m 47s
    2. Accessing the Camera Raw preferences
      3m 16s
    3. Improving your images with the basic controls
      7m 0s
    4. Correcting color and white balance
      4m 44s
    5. Processing multiple images at once
      5m 56s
    6. Utilizing the Crop tool to recompose your pictures
      5m 28s
    7. Creating dramatic black-and-white conversions
      5m 34s
    8. Reducing noise and making tack-sharp photos
      7m 11s
  9. 32m 55s
    1. Introducing layers
      2m 22s
    2. Understanding layers and layer transparency
      1m 29s
    3. Working with layer opacity
      3m 29s
    4. Aligning layers
      1m 32s
    5. Creating new layers
      4m 53s
    6. Organizing layers
      2m 31s
    7. Filtering and finding layers
      2m 8s
    8. Adding layer style effects
      5m 28s
    9. Creating a clipping mask
      6m 50s
    10. Targeting and moving layers
      2m 13s
  10. 33m 22s
    1. Making selections with the marquee tools
      4m 50s
    2. Using the three lasso tools
      4m 56s
    3. Selecting with the Magic Wand tool
      5m 43s
    4. Working with the Quick Select tool
      7m 21s
    5. Selecting based on color with the Color Range controls
      7m 13s
    6. Correcting skin tones with Color Range
      3m 19s
  11. 23m 2s
    1. Introducing masking
      1m 14s
    2. Painting away the contents of a layer with a mask
      3m 59s
    3. Using a selection to build a mask
      3m 3s
    4. Removing a subject from the background with a mask
      6m 37s
    5. Using a mask to selectively sharpen an image
      3m 58s
    6. Making selections with Quick Mask
      4m 11s
  12. 13m 42s
    1. Creating a custom border using selections and masks
      5m 4s
    2. Painting custom border effects
      3m 34s
    3. Using prebuilt borders
      4m 13s
    4. Exploring the PhotoFrame plug-in
      51s
  13. 11m 49s
    1. Adding brightness and contrast
      3m 3s
    2. Using hue and saturation and the Target Adjustment tool
      5m 34s
    3. Working with vibrancy and saturation
      3m 12s
  14. 14m 36s
    1. Working with auto levels
      3m 36s
    2. Enhancing color and tone with levels
      4m 12s
    3. Painting in adjustments with levels and masking
      4m 10s
    4. Creative tip: checking in
      2m 38s
  15. 29m 50s
    1. Introducing the Curves dialog box
      3m 12s
    2. Using auto curves and adjustments to enhance an image
      4m 17s
    3. Changing brightness with curves and masks
      3m 59s
    4. Using curves and masks to improve tone and color
      4m 56s
    5. Making advanced selections and masks
      3m 53s
    6. Enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks
      5m 53s
    7. Using, modifying, and saving curves presets
      3m 40s
  16. 20m 12s
    1. Introducing the magic of blend modes
      6m 33s
    2. Blending multiple images together
      3m 50s
    3. Using blending modes to remove white or black
      2m 8s
    4. Improving exposure, contrast, and color with blending
      5m 37s
    5. Using blending shortcuts
      2m 4s
  17. 10m 26s
    1. Working with color correction in Camera Raw
      1m 21s
    2. Correcting color with the eyedroppers
      3m 11s
    3. Correcting color and tone with the eyedroppers
      5m 54s
  18. 36m 1s
    1. Using a Replace Color adjustment
      4m 14s
    2. Using Replace Color, Hue/Saturation, and masks
      5m 32s
    3. Replacing color with advanced masking
      7m 14s
    4. Selecting and modifying color with the Hue/Saturation eyedroppers
      2m 30s
    5. Using Color Balance to create vivid color
      4m 3s
    6. Modifying color with Selective Color
      5m 3s
    7. Changing color with Photo Filter
      4m 4s
    8. Making creative color changes with Color Lookup
      1m 44s
    9. Creative tip: shoot more
      1m 37s
  19. 35m 13s
    1. The modern equivalent of a traditional technique
      1m 40s
    2. Introducing two burn and dodge techniques
      7m 22s
    3. Burning and dodging with the Brush and Gradient tools
      4m 18s
    4. Dodging and reducing shadows in a portrait
      6m 0s
    5. Using selections, masks, and curves to change tonality
      7m 21s
    6. Improving a black-and-white landscape
      8m 32s
  20. 16m 9s
    1. The power of black and white
      4m 14s
    2. Converting a portrait to black and white
      4m 6s
    3. Converting a landscape to black and white
      4m 23s
    4. Adding grain and tone to a black-and-white image
      3m 26s
  21. 31m 57s
    1. Introducing Smart Filters
      3m 36s
    2. Applying Smart Filters
      6m 20s
    3. Creating a soft contrast effect
      6m 38s
    4. Changing focus with the Blur Gallery
      3m 40s
    5. Working with Tilt-Shift Blur
      3m 52s
    6. Creating a realistic lens flare
      2m 45s
    7. Adding light with the Lighting Effects filter
      5m 6s
  22. 12m 33s
    1. Using the Noise Reduction filter
      3m 46s
    2. Exploring advanced noise reduction using channels
      2m 49s
    3. Masking in noise reduction to a specific area
      2m 1s
    4. Reducing noise with Surface Blur
      3m 57s
  23. 48m 30s
    1. Cleaning before you enhance
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the healing and cloning tools
      7m 22s
    3. Cleaning up the background of an image
      6m 21s
    4. Basic portrait retouching
      3m 15s
    5. Brightening shadows under the eyes
      4m 53s
    6. Brightening the eyes
      2m 30s
    7. Retouching selected areas
      5m 27s
    8. Using Content-Aware Fill to remove distractions
      5m 34s
    9. Moving a subject with the Content-Aware Move tool
      7m 54s
    10. Changing shape and dimension with Liquify
      4m 12s
  24. 24m 2s
    1. Using the Lens Correction filter
      6m 52s
    2. Reducing exaggerated distortion
      5m 16s
    3. Applying Free Transform to correct perspective
      3m 49s
    4. Correcting distortion with the Perspective Crop tool
      3m 45s
    5. Using Puppet Warp to correct perspective
      4m 20s
  25. 26m 48s
    1. Combining two photos with movement
      4m 12s
    2. Using two frames for a group photo
      4m 57s
    3. Creating a panoramic photo from multiple frames
      3m 37s
    4. Correcting distortion with the Adaptive Wide Angle correction
      7m 34s
    5. Cropping, filling in the gaps, and making final panographic adjustments
      6m 28s
  26. 27m 24s
    1. Working with Smart Sharpen
      6m 17s
    2. Using Unsharpen Mask
      4m 49s
    3. High Pass sharpening an image
      4m 47s
    4. Selectively sharpening the in-focus areas of an image
      3m 35s
    5. Selective sharpening with hand-drawn masks
      7m 56s
  27. 22m 44s
    1. Preparing images for the web and email
      4m 38s
    2. Sharpening for the web
      3m 5s
    3. Using Save for Web to create an optimized JPEG
      4m 26s
    4. Exporting images to Facebook or Flickr
      4m 46s
    5. Creating a web gallery
      5m 49s
  28. 26m 6s
    1. Desktop printing recommendations
      2m 46s
    2. Creating a PDF layout and contact sheets
      5m 56s
    3. Using a soft proof to visualize the print
      8m 0s
    4. Adjusting printer settings
      3m 43s
    5. Customizing the Print dialog box options
      5m 41s
  29. 32m 4s
    1. Opening up a video file in Photoshop
      7m 7s
    2. Editing a video clip and adding text
      5m 15s
    3. Using adjustment layers and adding an audio track
      4m 47s
    4. Creating a project with multiple clips
      4m 55s
    5. Adding a cross-dissolve fade and creating custom shortcuts
      4m 43s
    6. Customizing the workspace to review your project
      3m 2s
    7. Exporting a project
      2m 15s
  30. 3m 4s
    1. Exploring additional resources and ways to keep in touch
      2m 29s
    2. Goodbye
      35s

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