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Photoshop CS5's blend modes

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Photoshop CS5's blend modes

All right, as I'm sure you're well aware by now, inside the Layers panel you have an Opacity value. That Opacity value allows you to mix the active layer with the layers below by making the active layer translucent. So if you set the Opacity value to 30 %, for example, then you're going to see 30% of the active layer mixed with the remaining 70%, that is 30 plus 70, equals a 100, the remaining 70% of all the layers below. That is one way of blending layers inside of Photoshop. The other way is to apply a Blend mode.

Photoshop CS5's blend modes

All right, as I'm sure you're well aware by now, inside the Layers panel you have an Opacity value. That Opacity value allows you to mix the active layer with the layers below by making the active layer translucent. So if you set the Opacity value to 30 %, for example, then you're going to see 30% of the active layer mixed with the remaining 70%, that is 30 plus 70, equals a 100, the remaining 70% of all the layers below. That is one way of blending layers inside of Photoshop. The other way is to apply a Blend mode.

So right next door to the Opacity value, you'll see the word Normal, in the upper-left corner of the Layers panel. If you click on Normal, then you will reveal a list of 27 Blend modes here inside Photoshop CS5. So it's a huge list. Now, every single one of these Blend modes applies a separate mathematical operation, but rather than showing you what that operation is, because that would be fairly overwhelming I would think, and it wouldn't make all that much sense to most people, instead Adobe is trying to make the medicine go down a little more easily by assigning names to everyone of the Blend modes.

Only problem is those names don't really make any sense on their own, and of course there're 27 of them. Well, what we need to do, especially when not all Blend modes are treated equally; some are very, very useful, others not so much, well, we're going to run through every single one of them, so you'll have a sense of how they work. I'll spend extra time on the really great ones, but in the meantime, I'm going to introduce you to them. They are grouped more or less logically. I would have said very logically up until CS5. CS5 added a couple of new modes and just flumped them in here with difference in exclusion, which isn't really where they belong, but here is how they work.

Things start off in this black list. Notice that I've gone ahead and color- coded the various groups of Blend modes. In real life they don't appear in color, but they do appear in these groups. So we start things off with the Normal mode, which doesn't apply any special math. So you're just blending the layers subject to the Opacity level. If the Opacity value is set to 100%, then the layer is opaque, or as opaque as it gets, subject to the transparency of the individual pixels. Next comes the Dissolve mode. All Dissolve does is it treats transparency as a pixel pattern, so you get a dither pattern instead of straight on translucency.

I'll show you what I mean by that in a future exercise. In the next group, we have the Darken modes, which are sometimes called the Shadow modes. In the case of the Darkening modes, the active layer casts a shadow on the layers below. So we start things off with Darken. Then we move on to the better mode for most purposes, Multiply. Actually, Multiply is one of those great modes, one of the great Blend modes inside of Photoshop. Then we've got Color Burn, which ups the Saturation, also gives you more intense effect. Linear Burn, a little more intense still, but less over-the-top Saturation.

And Darker Color, which I have to say is generally worthless, but I'll show you how that works later. But for now, just bear in mind that Multiply is your really great Darkening mode, second to best is Linear Burn, and then the others you won't use that often. All right, next are the Lightening modes. We start things off with Lighten. Lighten is to the Lightening modes what Darken is to the Darkening modes. I'll show you what that means later, but for now, I just want you to know that every one of the Darkening modes, such as Multiply, has a buddy in the Lightning modes, and they're in the exact same place.

So in other words, Multiply is your best Darkening mode. Your best Lightening mode is Screen. Then we drop down to Color Dodge, which gives you a more intense effect, with higher Saturation values once again. Then if you want to tone those Saturation values down and get a still more intense effect, you drop down here to Linear Dodge (Add). Then finally we have Lighter Color, which is not particularly useful. So Screen is your number one mode of the Lightening modes, and then your number two is Linear Dodge. You won't use the others that often. All right, dropping down, once again we've got the Contrast modes.

The Contrast modes burn in the Shadows and lift the Highlights, which heightens the contrast of the image. So you're basically applying a combination of Multiply and Screen together in order to create a heightened Contrast effect. So your number one mode, the best of the bunch here is Overlay. Then if Overlay is coming on too strong, you can either reduce its Opacity value, but if you want to soften the effect, then you drop down here to Soft Light. If you want to enhance the effect, then you step it up to Hard Light, that is from Overlay to Hard Light.

Then if you want a more intense effect that also has heightened Saturation values, then you go with Vivid Light, which is essentially a combination of Color Burn and Color Dodge working together. Then if you want to take the Saturation down just a little bit, heighten the effect still further, then you go to Linear Light, which is essentially a combination of Linear Burn and Linear Dodge working together. Then you go to Pin Light, which is a numbskull mode, but I'll show you how that one works. And then Hard Mix, which basically boils your image down into eight colors.

So it gives you a highly posterized effect, but there is a way of tampering it using the Fill Opacity value. And Fill Opacity, the Fill value in the Layers panel, has a special effect, that is, it works differently than the straight on Opacity for a handful of the Blend modes, and I'll show you exactly what those are in future exercises. Next, we drop down to this sort of grab bag of modes right there, that used to be the Inversion modes, back when it was just Difference and Exclusion, because they're related to each other, but then in CS5, Adobe threw in Subtract and Divide, and they don't really belong here, but you might think of them as being Cancellation modes.

So the first two Blend modes use the active layer to invert those below. Similar colors become black in the case of Difference or gray in the case of Exclusion. The next two Subtract or Divide the active layer from the background. So when you're Subtracting, that is the math that happens. You're just Subtracting the active layer once again, so the Luminance of the active layer from the Luminance of the layers in the back of it. And when you're Dividing, you're Dividing the combination of Luminance levels of those layers in back of the active layer by the Luminance of the active layer.

That may not make all that much sense when I'm just sort of rattling it off to you, but I will show you examples of how these work. Ultimately, however, I will tell you, the Subtract mode is another Darkening mode. It's really the opposite of this guy right there, Linear Dodge (Add). It applies a very, very dark effect in most cases. Divide often ends up making your entire image look white, but there are uses for it if applied properly. Next, we have the Component modes. A pixel contains HSL, that is Hue, Saturation, Luminosity information, and Color, because there is that other mode right there.

In addition to Hue, Saturation, and Luminosity, we have Color. Color is a combination of Hue and Saturation working together. These modes mix the ingredients independently. So they're great for mixing full color images with each other. I will show you copious examples of every single one of these 27 Blend modes, and I will point you toward the ones that are really, really useful, as well as those that aren't that useful in the following exercises.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

192 video lessons · 43829 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 45s
    1. Welcome
      2m 45s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 5s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Your creative range continues to expand
      1m 46s
    2. The Avatar project so far
      2m 38s
    3. Painting on a photograph
      7m 50s
    4. Adding texture and depth
      6m 14s
    5. Simulating chalky white paint
      7m 23s
    6. Masking and placing an image
      7m 20s
    7. Upsampling and Lens Blur
      5m 9s
    8. Blending blurry elements
      3m 48s
    9. Making a Smart Object
      6m 46s
    10. Placing an image as a Smart Object
      3m 22s
    11. Blending away a background
      5m 56s
    12. Applying Smart Filters
      4m 34s
    13. Creating a glow with Lens Flare
      3m 45s
    14. Blending and masking a glow
      5m 3s
  3. 1h 26m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 53s
    2. Introducing masking
      6m 32s
    3. Making an alpha channel
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Calculations command
      6m 48s
    5. Add, Subtract, Offset, and Scale
      5m 54s
    6. Prepping an image with the Dodge tool
      6m 55s
    7. Fixing mistakes before they get too big
      6m 32s
    8. Painting in the Overlay mode
      5m 51s
    9. Exaggerating and selecting flesh tones
      7m 39s
    10. Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool
      6m 59s
    11. Masking low-contrast details
      6m 7s
    12. Creating a flesh-and-clothing mask
      5m 45s
    13. Masking and compositing the foreground
      5m 27s
    14. Finessing the final composition
      7m 39s
  4. 2h 24m
    1. Connecting the dots
      1m 40s
    2. The Pen tool and the Paths panel
      6m 32s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided outline
      6m 25s
    4. Editing a path outline
      6m 36s
    5. Adding and editing smooth points
      5m 35s
    6. Creating vector masks with the shape tools
      4m 59s
    7. Building a complex outline from shapes
      4m 26s
    8. Subtracting and transforming shapes
      6m 45s
    9. Cloning, flipping, and combining shapes
      8m 58s
    10. Roughing in non-symmetrical paths
      7m 41s
    11. Finessing a complex outline
      9m 15s
    12. Masking a layer effect
      8m 26s
    13. Isolating an image element
      6m 8s
    14. Smooth points and control handles
      9m 3s
    15. Stretching curved segments
      7m 49s
    16. Using the Rubber Band option
      9m 33s
    17. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      6m 59s
    18. Shading an isolated object
      3m 45s
    19. Drawing cusp points
      7m 14s
    20. Setting points in the pasteboard
      9m 57s
    21. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 42s
  5. 2h 57m
    1. Everything you need to know about blending
      1m 45s
    2. Photoshop CS5's blend modes
      7m 21s
    3. Cycling between blend modes
      6m 15s
    4. Darken and Lighten and their derivatives
      6m 3s
    5. The blend mode shortcuts
      8m 6s
    6. The Multiply and Burn modes
      4m 28s
    7. The Screen and Dodge modes
      6m 0s
    8. How opposite blend modes work
      8m 24s
    9. Why Multiply darkens and Divide lightens
      5m 23s
    10. Cleaning up a client's bad art
      5m 3s
    11. Dropping out a white background
      5m 56s
    12. Blending inside blend modes
      8m 3s
    13. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      6m 26s
    14. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light (and Hard Mix)
      6m 35s
    15. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 34s
    16. Great uses for the Difference mode
      6m 18s
    17. Promising uses for the Divide mode
      9m 6s
    18. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      7m 0s
    19. Blending an inverted layer
      3m 32s
    20. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      7m 25s
    21. Making bad blend modes good
      5m 16s
    22. Making a knockout layer
      6m 53s
    23. Blending in the CMYK mode
      8m 3s
    24. Overprinting black text
      8m 29s
    25. Using the Luminance slider
      5m 24s
    26. Parametric luminance masking
      6m 21s
    27. Adjusting the behavior of luminance effects
      10m 8s
  6. 2h 2m
    1. Smart Objects = protective containers
      1m 35s
    2. Placing an Illustrator graphic
      6m 30s
    3. Vector copy and paste options
      6m 56s
    4. Applying Puppet Warp to vectors
      8m 9s
    5. "Gluing" vector art for Puppet Warp
      5m 50s
    6. Warping art onto the surface of an image
      8m 7s
    7. Blending a Smart Object
      4m 30s
    8. Blurring and blending a Smart Object
      6m 8s
    9. Making changes in Illustrator
      5m 57s
    10. Creating "true clones"
      7m 18s
    11. Double-flipping text
      4m 44s
    12. Applying effects to multiple layers
      3m 24s
    13. Updating true clones in one operation
      7m 36s
    14. Editing JPEGs as Camera Raw objects
      5m 49s
    15. Creating a double-exposure effect
      7m 15s
    16. Masking and shading transitions
      7m 47s
    17. Applying and repeating Camera Raw edits
      6m 9s
    18. Copying vs. cloning a Smart Object
      5m 18s
    19. Flipping a Smart Object and its mask
      3m 42s
    20. Adjusting multiple Camera Raw clones
      3m 53s
    21. Text that inverts everything behind it
      5m 34s
  7. 1h 59m
    1. This time, "smart" means dynamic
      1m 37s
    2. Introducing Smart Filters
      6m 28s
    3. Traditional High Pass sharpening
      5m 17s
    4. Smart High Pass in the Lab mode
      7m 57s
    5. Sharpening a high-frequency image
      7m 46s
    6. Retroactively reducing noise
      7m 31s
    7. Which filters are Smart Filters?
      6m 20s
    8. Shadows/Highlights as a Smart Filter
      4m 37s
    9. Nesting one Smart Object inside another
      7m 11s
    10. Drawing a mask from a nested Smart Object
      8m 7s
    11. Better Shadows/Highlights inside Lab
      9m 16s
    12. Tempering saturation values in Lab
      7m 0s
    13. Filtering live, editable text
      9m 2s
    14. Enhancing filters with layer effects
      4m 33s
    15. Applying a filter multiple times
      5m 0s
    16. Creating a synthetic star field
      7m 7s
    17. Making a stucco or drywall pattern
      6m 28s
    18. Land, sea, and clouds
      8m 30s
  8. 2h 50m
    1. Photoshop's advanced painting tools
      2m 3s
    2. Canvas texture and brush libraries
      6m 40s
    3. Painting with a predefined custom brush
      9m 21s
    4. Dissecting a custom brush
      11m 9s
    5. Designing and using a custom brush
      4m 54s
    6. Saving and loading brush presets
      5m 27s
    7. The ten styles of bristle brushes
      9m 47s
    8. Size, Spacing, and Angle
      7m 2s
    9. Using the Bristle Brush preview
      7m 53s
    10. Bristles, Length, Thickness, and Stiffness
      6m 53s
    11. Stylus tilt and mouse behavior
      5m 25s
    12. Stroking a path outline with a brush
      4m 0s
    13. Troubleshooting a stylus
      5m 49s
    14. Introducing the Mixer Brush
      7m 22s
    15. The Load, Mix, and Wet values
      5m 1s
    16. Cleaning and loading a brush
      6m 26s
    17. Shading a piece of graphic art
      6m 34s
    18. Shading with color
      7m 53s
    19. Mixing a photographic portrait
      6m 11s
    20. Tracing the fine details in an image
      5m 52s
    21. Crosshatching and brush size
      5m 53s
    22. Covering up and augmenting details
      7m 36s
    23. Painting in hair and fabric
      5m 54s
    24. Painting and scaling very fine hairs
      8m 7s
    25. Adding texture with the Emboss filter
      8m 31s
    26. Exploiting a "happy accident"
      2m 46s
  9. 1h 40m
    1. Artificial intelligence that works
      1m 22s
    2. The Auto-Align Layers command
      7m 25s
    3. The Auto-Blend Layers command
      3m 54s
    4. Masking auto-aligned layers
      4m 50s
    5. The Geometric Distortion setting
      6m 44s
    6. The Seamless Tones and Colors checkbox
      4m 8s
    7. Creating the best possible layer mask
      9m 18s
    8. Auto-blending depths of field
      5m 54s
    9. Finessing masks, accepting imperfections
      6m 29s
    10. Shooting and downsampling panorama images
      5m 54s
    11. Introducing the Photomerge command
      6m 40s
    12. Evaluating the Layout settings
      6m 47s
    13. Loading, aligning, and blending with Photomerge
      5m 36s
    14. Tracing and extracting seams
      7m 18s
    15. Adding a masked element into a panorama
      5m 55s
    16. Simplifying and correcting a panorama
      5m 58s
    17. Smart Filters and nondestructive cropping
      6m 43s
  10. 1h 18m
    1. The most mysterious of mysterious topics
      2m 29s
    2. Introducing HDR Toning
      6m 43s
    3. Reigning in clipped highlights
      5m 54s
    4. The Local Adaptation options
      9m 5s
    5. Nondestructive editing with HDR Toning
      8m 22s
    6. Using the HDR Toning Curve
      7m 2s
    7. HDR Toning vs. Shadows/Highlights
      6m 0s
    8. Merging multiple exposures
      7m 14s
    9. A first look at HDR Pro
      6m 24s
    10. Removing ghosts, correcting backlighting
      7m 11s
    11. Generating and editing an HDR comp
      7m 0s
    12. HDR rendered to completion
      5m 19s
  11. 1h 27m
    1. Processing hundreds of files in no time
      1m 43s
    2. Creating an action set
      6m 37s
    3. Making an action
      7m 7s
    4. Stop, Delete, and Record
      7m 12s
    5. Add, Undo, and Rerecord
      6m 40s
    6. Playing and testing an action
      6m 31s
    7. Playing and editing a specific operation
      6m 39s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      4m 58s
    9. Explaining an action with a custom stop
      5m 0s
    10. Batch-processing multiple images
      7m 22s
    11. Adding a Save As operation
      6m 34s
    12. Creating an action to save web graphics
      7m 59s
    13. Batching two actions into one
      7m 15s
    14. Saving and loading actions
      5m 30s
  12. 1m 19s
    1. See ya
      1m 19s

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