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Meet the blend modes

From: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Meet the blend modes

In this exercise I'm going to take you on a whirl wind tour of the blend modes that are available to you here inside the Layers palette. Now I'm not going to promise that by the end of this exercise you are going to have a complete understanding of how each and every blend mode works. In fact, you most definitely won't, but you will have a sense for the way that the blend modes are grouped, and then we'll visit the specific blend modes in future exercises. All right, I'm working inside this image called With outer glow.psd, found inside the 17_blend_ modes folder, and I'm going to go ahead and reduce the Fill Opacity of my statue to 75%, by pressing Shift+75, like so, and that goes ahead and reduces the opacity of the statue without affecting the outer glow. And you can see the Fill Opacity value right there.

Meet the blend modes

In this exercise I'm going to take you on a whirl wind tour of the blend modes that are available to you here inside the Layers palette. Now I'm not going to promise that by the end of this exercise you are going to have a complete understanding of how each and every blend mode works. In fact, you most definitely won't, but you will have a sense for the way that the blend modes are grouped, and then we'll visit the specific blend modes in future exercises. All right, I'm working inside this image called With outer glow.psd, found inside the 17_blend_ modes folder, and I'm going to go ahead and reduce the Fill Opacity of my statue to 75%, by pressing Shift+75, like so, and that goes ahead and reduces the opacity of the statue without affecting the outer glow. And you can see the Fill Opacity value right there.

All right, now let's check out the blend modes. Now, the whole idea of the blend modes is that they specialized mathematical equations, not terribly complicated ones. They are actually fairly simple arithmetic formulas, but they use these equations in order to calculate how the active layer blends with the layers below it. Now, even though the math is not all that complicated, if Photoshop was to just spew the mathematical formulas at you, it wouldn't do most people very much good, and in fact, even if you are comfortable with math, I'm not sure it would help you anticipate what's going to happen necessarily.

So instead they have gone ahead, and given each blend mode a name that is supposed to sort of help you out, but in truth, it's very difficult to get a sense for what the blend modes are going to do based on the name. For example, what in the world does hard light do? What does linear light do? What does linear light even mean? What's a Pin Light? And so on, and so what you tend to do if you are feeling adventurous is you try out a blend mode, and you go, Gosh, that's pin light. What do you know, don't want that effect? Let's try. Gosh, maybe vivid light is going to do me better, and then you look at it, and go, oh you know, that's not what I'm looking for either, and then pretty soon you hang it up and you say, yeah, normal is good enough, that will work.

So that's what I want to make sure doesn't happen to you. I don't want you to just feel frustrated by the whole affair and just give up on it, because these guys can be very, very useful. Now, what's more telling the names of the specific modes at this point is how they are grouped, because they are grouped logically. You see these horizontal lines that are dividing up the groups of blend modes, and what we are going to do inside this exercise is visit each of the groups. All right, so starting with normal, we know normal. Normal is going to mix the image according to the opacity and fill opacity values and nothing else.

Dissolve is a little different. Now, I'll go ahead and choose Dissolve and then we'll zoom in on the statue's head here. Actually let's take it to 200%, and you can see that rather than seeing translucent pixels, the way we did with normal, instead we are seeing either opaque pixels or transparent pixels. So with the Fill Opacity value set to 75%, and this would be the same if the opacity value were set to 75%. We are seeing 75% of the pixels and the other 25% of the pixels are turning transparent on a random basis here, according to a diffusion dither pattern, just so as you know what this thing is called.

Anyway, what it ends up looking like is a kind of rash at this point, sort of a pixel-based rash. So I wouldn't recommend this effect applied to a layer like this one here. Let's go ahead and scroll the face over a little bit, where you might find it useful. I'm going to go ahead and change the mode back to normal, and I'm going to double-click on the outer glow because all of these blend modes are also applicable to your layer effects. So instead of having the blend modes set to screen, let's try setting it to Dissolve, and you will now see this sort of scattered pattern going on right here. Thanks to the Dissolve mode, combined of course with the signs value, and the blur, and everything else that is going on. This is will be my only discussion of the Dissolve effect inside of this series. So I'm going to go ahead and zoom back out, so that we can see more of the statue at a time.

Now then let's try out the other modes. Not all of them, just the groupings at this point, and we'll come back to the specific modes inside of the groups in future exercises. This next group right here, darken through darker color, they are all going to darken the image. So your four most darkening function I'll tell you right now is multiply, and it will give you this effect here of darkening the statue into the sky below it. So you are always going to get a darker effect. If you want a lighter effect instead, then you would go to the next group. All of these modes lightened through lighter color go ahead and lighten the image, and your first and foremost and best mode is screen, in which case you'll get this brightening effect right there. If you want a combination of both, both brightening and darkening, then you would switch to these modes right there. These are your contrast modes overlay through hard mix, and your best mode of the bunch here is overlay, and it's going to produce a heightened contrast effect, sort of as if you were tattooing one image on to another, and we'll learn more about those later.

These next guys right here, Difference and Exclusion, are kind of oddball modes. What they do is they use one image to invert another image. So if I apply Difference, we are going to get the psychedelic effect, where the statue is concerned, and then finally, we have hue through luminosity which express the image using a completely different color model that's known as the Hue/Saturation Luminosity color model, the HSL model, and color for what its worth is the combination of hue and saturation working together.

So for example, if I chose the color mode right here, I would keep the colors that are associated with the statue and blend them in with the luminance level, so brightness values that are associated with the sky below. If I wanted the opposite effect, because after all, that looks terrible, if I wanted to keep the colors of the sky and mix in the brightness values of the statue, I would choose luminosity instead. So that's your World Wind Tour my friends. In the next exercise I'm going to show you a few blend mode shortcuts. Stay tuned.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

218 video lessons · 24028 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 22m 32s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Advanced
      1m 43s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 17s
    3. Resetting the function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      6m 4s
  2. 2h 43m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
      49s
    2. Low contrast, bad meter
      5m 57s
    3. Auto tone, contrast, and color
      8m 1s
    4. Cache levels and the Histogram palette
      7m 16s
    5. How the auto commands work
      10m 15s
    6. A first look at Levels
      6m 11s
    7. Target colors and clipping
      9m 6s
    8. Modifying input levels
      9m 44s
    9. Adjusting the gamma value
      7m 34s
    10. Previewing clipping
      7m 17s
    11. The futility of output levels
      4m 56s
    12. Channel-by-channel edits
      11m 54s
    13. When levels fail
      4m 34s
    14. A first look at Curves
      8m 46s
    15. Static Curves layer tricks
      7m 45s
    16. Dynamic Curves layer tricks
      7m 25s
    17. Correcting the composite image
      8m 30s
    18. Neutralizing a color cast
      6m 52s
    19. The Target Adjustment tool in Curves
      8m 29s
    20. Correcting an image in Lab
      10m 7s
    21. The Shadows/Highlights filter
      4m 18s
    22. Radius and tonal width
      8m 11s
  3. 1h 48m
    1. Edge-enhancement tricks
      1m 13s
    2. How sharpening works
      3m 48s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      4m 29s
    4. The Unsharp Mask filter
      7m 57s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      6m 25s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 47s
    7. Previewing how sharpening will print
      3m 37s
    8. Measuring and setting screen resolution
      6m 56s
    9. Tweaking the screen resolution
      4m 28s
    10. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 23s
    11. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      4m 23s
    12. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      5m 50s
    13. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 16s
    14. When to leave More Accurate off
      3m 48s
    15. When to turn More Accurate on
      4m 23s
    16. The advanced options
      7m 57s
    17. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 23s
    18. Accounting for camera shake
      7m 7s
    19. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      9m 8s
  4. 2h 16m
    1. Why would you blur?
      1m 8s
    2. Fading after an undo
      3m 27s
    3. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      5m 43s
    4. The linear Box Blur
      3m 6s
    5. Add Noise vs. Median
      4m 50s
    6. Despeckle vs. Dust & Scratches
      6m 31s
    7. Smart Blur vs. Surface Blur
      8m 13s
    8. The Motion Blur filter
      4m 33s
    9. Radial Blur's Spin and Zoom variations
      5m 48s
    10. Mixing filtered effects
      3m 56s
    11. The "Captain Kirk in Love" effect
      5m 4s
    12. Diffusing focus with Blur and Overlay
      8m 50s
    13. Simulating Vaseline and film grain
      8m 2s
    14. Filling a layer with a neutral color
      2m 55s
    15. Old-school contrast reduction
      3m 39s
    16. Three steps to diffused focus
      7m 36s
    17. Averaging skin tones
      9m 45s
    18. Addressing the stubborn patches
      5m 26s
    19. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      6m 1s
    20. Blurring surface details
      3m 2s
    21. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      8m 6s
    22. Reducing digital noise
      8m 47s
    23. Striking a smooth/sharpen compromise
      4m 36s
    24. Smoothing over JPEG artifacts
      7m 38s
  5. 2h 31m
    1. Independent layers of color adjustment
      1m 7s
    2. Undersea color channels
      4m 2s
    3. Inventing a Red channel with Lab
      8m 20s
    4. Mixing color channels
      6m 55s
    5. Making shadows with Levels
      7m 5s
    6. Applying small color adjustments
      6m 0s
    7. Further modifying Levels in Lab
      8m 50s
    8. Creating a dynamic fill layer
      4m 38s
    9. Brushing and blending color
      4m 42s
    10. Working with "found masks"
      7m 31s
    11. Saturation, sharpen, and crop
      8m 9s
    12. Mixing a monochromatic image
      7m 2s
    13. Masking an adjustment layer
      4m 45s
    14. Working with Opacity and blend modes
      3m 39s
    15. Adding a black-and-white adjustment
      5m 53s
    16. The Target Adjustment tool in black and white
      6m 12s
    17. Tinting a monochrome photo
      3m 19s
    18. Introducing Gradient Map
      4m 17s
    19. Adjusting both color and luminance
      5m 44s
    20. Infusing elements with different colors
      6m 22s
    21. Adjustment layers as creative tools
      4m 33s
    22. Inverting and brightening the background
      5m 14s
    23. Blurring live, editable type
      5m 43s
    24. Hue, saturation, and darkness
      6m 51s
    25. Filling type with a color adjustment
      3m 24s
    26. Using one adjustment to modify another
      3m 21s
    27. Breathing color into the title
      3m 38s
    28. The Hue/Saturation humanoid
      3m 44s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 23s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 16s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 46s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      6m 4s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      7m 8s
    7. Darken, Multiply, and the Burn modes
      6m 33s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with Fill
      4m 43s
    9. Saving a blended state
      4m 18s
    10. Lighten, Screen, and the Dodge modes
      8m 22s
    11. Linear Burn = Add minus white
      5m 31s
    12. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 52s
    13. Fill Opacity takes priority
      6m 19s
    14. Difference and exclusion
      5m 21s
    15. Using difference for golden highlights
      4m 2s
    16. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 8s
    17. The brush-only modes: Behind and Clear
      10m 31s
    18. Layer groups and the Pass Through mode
      8m 54s
  7. 1h 53m
    1. It's all about the presentation
      58s
    2. Moving a layer a specific number of pixels
      6m 59s
    3. Adding a pixel mask to a layer
      5m 48s
    4. Editing a layer mask
      7m 19s
    5. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      6m 19s
    6. Introducing the Advanced Blending options
      4m 45s
    7. Using the luminance blending sliders
      7m 26s
    8. Forcing through underlying luminance
      4m 32s
    9. Masking with a path outline
      5m 45s
    10. Refining a mask from the Masks palette
      7m 18s
    11. Creating and modifying a layer group
      3m 29s
    12. Establishing a knockout group
      5m 29s
    13. Fixing last-minute problems
      6m 23s
    14. Introducing layer comps
      6m 40s
    15. Exploring layered states
      6m 43s
    16. Deleting layers and updating comps
      6m 18s
    17. Saving a basic composition
      6m 21s
    18. Assigning and saving appearance attributes
      7m 15s
    19. Layer comps dos and don'ts
      7m 27s
  8. 1h 56m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
      56s
    2. Establishing default formatting attributes
      4m 5s
    3. Saving formatting attributes as a preset
      8m 5s
    4. Making a point text layer
      6m 18s
    5. Editing size and leading
      6m 44s
    6. Working with vector-based text
      6m 12s
    7. Formatting area text
      4m 16s
    8. Creating a layer of area text
      3m 20s
    9. Resizing the text frame
      4m 34s
    10. Changing the anti-aliasing setting
      3m 58s
    11. Obscure but important formatting options
      6m 31s
    12. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      8m 44s
    13. Creating a cast shadow
      6m 1s
    14. Blurred shadows and beveled text
      7m 16s
    15. Drawing a path outline
      4m 51s
    16. Creating type on a path
      6m 39s
    17. Flipping text across a circle
      3m 18s
    18. Vertical alignment with baseline shift
      4m 16s
    19. Warping text
      4m 57s
    20. Scaling your text to taste
      3m 33s
    21. Applying a custom warp
      6m 24s
    22. Creating an engraved text effect
      5m 11s
  9. 2h 17m
    1. Bending an image to fit your needs
      53s
    2. Creating a canvas texture
      6m 48s
    3. Masking objects against a white background
      5m 42s
    4. Scaling an image to fit a composition
      8m 9s
    5. Aligning one layer to fit another
      3m 51s
    6. Changing the Image Interpolation
      8m 10s
    7. Merging faces
      5m 32s
    8. Rotating the first clock hand
      7m 17s
    9. Adding hands and pasting styles
      6m 40s
    10. Series duplication in Photoshop
      4m 35s
    11. Masking objects against a black background
      6m 34s
    12. Skews and perspective distortions
      7m 57s
    13. Envelope-style warps
      9m 2s
    14. Old-school distortion filters
      8m 50s
    15. Introducing the Liquify filter
      4m 9s
    16. Reconstructing an image
      6m 55s
    17. Using the Warp tool
      5m 16s
    18. The Pucker and Bloat tools
      5m 53s
    19. Push, Turbulence, and Twirl
      6m 41s
    20. The Freeze and Thaw mask tools
      5m 45s
    21. Saving and loading a mesh file
      3m 59s
    22. Creating and applying a texture layer
      8m 30s
  10. 1h 28m
    1. Effects vs. styles
      1m 11s
    2. Of layer styles and masks
      4m 37s
    3. Everything about drop shadow
      8m 2s
    4. Adding a directional glow
      4m 39s
    5. Colorizing with Color Overlay
      5m 18s
    6. Stroke and fill opacity
      5m 48s
    7. Creating a multicolor Outer Glow
      9m 22s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 48s
    9. Contour and Texture
      4m 35s
    10. Simulating liquid reflections
      6m 28s
    11. Saving layer styles
      6m 18s
    12. Applying and appending styles
      4m 36s
    13. Saving and swapping style presets
      3m 16s
    14. The five effect helpers
      3m 47s
    15. Blending the effect before the layer
      5m 1s
    16. Colorizing a signature
      3m 30s
    17. Clipping an effect with a mask
      4m 5s
  11. 1h 50m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw in the Bridge
      5m 44s
    3. The Camera Raw 5 interface
      4m 39s
    4. Adjusting the white balance
      5m 0s
    5. Finessing and saving changes
      7m 55s
    6. Using the White Balance tool
      2m 43s
    7. Working with the Exposure controls
      7m 34s
    8. Straightening and cropping a raw image
      5m 53s
    9. Applying automatic exposure adjustments
      6m 6s
    10. Exposure warnings
      5m 44s
    11. Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation
      4m 47s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 33s
    13. Dodging with the Adjustment brush
      9m 24s
    14. Tone Curve adjustments
      6m 54s
    15. Using the Spot Removal tool
      2m 48s
    16. Removing noise and sharpening detail
      4m 5s
    17. Adjusting HSL values
      4m 18s
    18. Adjusting luminance, color by color
      4m 14s
    19. Black and white and split toning
      5m 16s
    20. Camera Raw tips and tricks
      7m 32s
    21. Correcting JPEG and TIFF images
      4m 42s
  12. 57s
    1. Until next time
      57s

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