Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Screen and the lighten modes


Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Screen and the lighten modes

In this movie, I'll demonstrate the third group of blend modes. These are the lighten modes, shown in red inside this slide, and every one of them uses the active layer to brighten the contents of the layers below, which is why these are also known as the glow modes. Every single color on the active layer, even very dark colors, ends up darkening the colors in the background, with the exception of one color: black. If the active layer contains black pixels, those pixels become transparent. Also worth noting is that there is a symmetry associated with the lighten modes, vis-à-vis the darken modes.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 30m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 19s
    2. Loading the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 5s
    3. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 4s
    4. Adjusting a few general preferences
      4m 3s
    5. Using the visual HUD color picker
      2m 2s
    6. The interface and performance settings
      5m 31s
    7. Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
      7m 0s
  2. 47m 0s
    1. Smart Objects
      1m 36s
    2. Three ways to place a Smart Object
      3m 6s
    3. Copying and pasting from Adobe Illustrator
      4m 11s
    4. Transforming and warping a vector object
      4m 48s
    5. Blending a Smart Object into a photograph
      3m 10s
    6. Blurring with a nested Smart Filter
      4m 57s
    7. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      3m 20s
    8. Creating "true clones"
      3m 50s
    9. Duplicating a group of clones
      2m 53s
    10. Breaking the Smart Object link
      2m 53s
    11. Styling and blending Smart Objects
      2m 44s
    12. Editing originals; updating clones
      3m 41s
    13. Removing people from a scene with Median
      5m 51s
  3. 29m 59s
    1. Luminance meets sharpening
      1m 2s
    2. Correcting for lens distortion
      4m 39s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 54s
    4. Mitigating halos with Radius values
      4m 19s
    5. Enhancing the effects of Midtone Contrast
      3m 18s
    6. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      3m 29s
    7. Sharpening on top of blur
      2m 47s
    8. Masking a group of Smart Filters
      2m 53s
    9. Reducing the density of a layer mask
      3m 38s
  4. 49m 10s
    1. Using Curves
      2m 40s
    2. Introducing the Curves adjustment
      7m 36s
    3. Adding and editing points on a curve
      6m 27s
    4. Winning Curves tips and tricks
      8m 12s
    5. Correcting a challenging image
      6m 33s
    6. Selecting and darkening highlights
      4m 39s
    7. Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions
      6m 6s
    8. The new automatic Curves function
      6m 57s
  5. 1h 31m
    1. Camera Raw
      2m 11s
    2. Opening and editing multiple images
      8m 1s
    3. Correcting white balance
      4m 8s
    4. The revamped Exposure controls
      8m 8s
    5. Working with archival images
      7m 54s
    6. The Spot Removal and Graduated Filter tools
      6m 4s
    7. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 23s
    8. Tone Curves (and why you don't need them)
      5m 57s
    9. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      5m 17s
    10. Applying manual lens corrections
      5m 14s
    11. Vignette, chromatic aberration, and fringe
      6m 49s
    12. Selective hue, saturation, and luminance
      6m 36s
    13. Working with JPEG and TIFF images
      6m 36s
    14. Camera Raw Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    15. Editing Camera Raw images from Bridge
      4m 24s
  6. 32m 30s
    1. Duotones
      1m 23s
    2. Creating a professional-quality sepia tone
      4m 18s
    3. Introducing the Gradient Map adjustment
      5m 42s
    4. Loading a library of custom gradients
      3m 48s
    5. Creating a custom quadtone
      5m 48s
    6. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      4m 6s
    7. Creating a faux-color, high-key effect
      7m 25s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Noise vs. Details
      1m 28s
    2. Introducing the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 29s
    3. Correcting a noisy photo
      5m 33s
    4. Smoothing over high-contrast noise
      5m 50s
    5. Protecting details with an edge mask
      4m 52s
    6. Adjusting overly saturated shadows
      3m 35s
    7. Correcting with High Pass and Lens Blur
      3m 45s
    8. Brushing away blur and sharpening
      6m 42s
    9. Creating texture by adding noise
      5m 28s
    10. The Camera Raw Detail panel
      7m 8s
    11. Correcting noise and detail in Camera Raw
      8m 10s
    12. Adding noise grain and vignetting effects
      6m 47s
  8. 44m 30s
    1. Blur Gallery
      1m 36s
    2. Creating depth-of-field effects in post
      5m 29s
    3. Modifying your Field Blur settings
      4m 57s
    4. Editing and exporting a Field Blur mask
      6m 15s
    5. Adding a synthetic light bokeh
      3m 52s
    6. Using the Selection Bleed option
      7m 29s
    7. Creating a radial blur with Iris Blur
      6m 59s
    8. Creating "fake miniatures" with Tilt-Shift
      4m 35s
    9. Combining multiple Blur Gallery effects
      3m 18s
  9. 1h 34m
    1. Blend Modes
      1m 16s
    2. Using the Dissolve mode
      9m 47s
    3. Multiply and the darken modes
      8m 30s
    4. Screen and the lighten modes
      8m 10s
    5. Cleaning up and integrating a bad photo
      6m 38s
    6. Blending inside blend modes
      6m 55s
    7. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 53s
    8. A few great uses for the contrast modes
      9m 7s
    9. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      5m 5s
    10. Capturing the differences between images
      4m 18s
    11. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      4m 45s
    12. Blend mode shortcuts
      6m 21s
    13. The Fill Opacity Eight
      8m 57s
    14. Using the luminance-exclusion slider bars
      8m 8s
  10. 44m 20s
    1. Color Range
      1m 14s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      7m 24s
    3. Selecting a complex image with Color Range
      5m 49s
    4. Refining a selection in the Quick Mask mode
      7m 4s
    5. Viewing a mask with or without its image
      4m 24s
    6. Painting directly inside an alpha channel
      5m 39s
    7. Correcting fringes around a masked layer
      8m 5s
    8. Turning a layer into a knockout
      4m 41s
  11. 59m 43s
    1. Refine Edges
      1m 28s
    2. Laying down a base layer mask
      6m 49s
    3. Introducing the Refine Edge/Mask command
      7m 57s
    4. Edge detection and Smart Radius
      4m 42s
    5. Using the Refine Radius tool
      7m 31s
    6. The transformative power of Refine Edge
      3m 37s
    7. Perfecting a mask with overlay painting
      10m 58s
    8. Combining Quick Selection with Refine Mask
      10m 37s
    9. Bolstering and integrating hair
      6m 4s
  12. 1h 18m
    1. The Pen tool
      1m 50s
    2. Pixel-based masking versus the Pen tool
      6m 45s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path outline
      6m 59s
    4. Moving, deleting, and adding anchor points
      6m 10s
    5. Dragging control handles to modify curves
      5m 27s
    6. Converting a path outline to a vector mask
      5m 36s
    7. Customizing a geometric shape
      5m 53s
    8. How to position points and control handles
      7m 7s
    9. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      8m 7s
    10. Duplicating and scaling a vector mask
      5m 21s
    11. Cusp points and the Rubber Band option
      6m 51s
    12. Setting anchor points in the pasteboard
      6m 8s
    13. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 43s

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
11h 8m Advanced Sep 12, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.

Topics include:
  • Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
  • Placing and blending Smart Objects in a scene
  • Transforming and warping vector objects
  • Correcting for lens distortion
  • Mitigating halos and enhancing contrast with Shadows/Highlights
  • Adding and editing points on a curve
  • Editing multiple images in Camera Raw
  • Creating a pro-quality sepia tone or quadtone
  • Colorizing with blend modes and opacity
  • Reducing and smoothing over noise
  • Creating depth-of-field effects with blur
  • Selecting with Color Range and Quick Mask
  • Perfecting a mask with Refine Edge
  • Drawing paths with the Pen tool
  • Converting path outlines to vector masks
Photoshop Camera Raw
Deke McClelland

Screen and the lighten modes

In this movie, I'll demonstrate the third group of blend modes. These are the lighten modes, shown in red inside this slide, and every one of them uses the active layer to brighten the contents of the layers below, which is why these are also known as the glow modes. Every single color on the active layer, even very dark colors, ends up darkening the colors in the background, with the exception of one color: black. If the active layer contains black pixels, those pixels become transparent. Also worth noting is that there is a symmetry associated with the lighten modes, vis-à-vis the darken modes.

So in other words, every single one of the lighten modes is an opposite of the darken mode, and in the same order. So Lighten is the opposite of Darken, Screen is the wonderful opposite of Multiply, Color Dodge and Linear Dodge are the opposites of Color Burn and Linear Burn, and Lighter Color is just as worthless as Darker Color. So I'm going to switch to my composition in progress here, and I'm going to turn off the wrestlers layer, scroll down to the bottom, and turn on this invert adjustment layer, which turns our bright parchment dark, and also inverts the color scheme from a palette of oranges to one of blues.

Now I'll click on the gradient layer, and turn it on as well. So again, we have a radial gradient; white in the center, black on the outside. If I switch the blend mode for this layer to Lighten, then I will keep just the brightest pixels on a channel by channel basis. So if we switch over to the Channels panel, you'll see that the inverted parchment is very dark in that Red channel, and as a result, the gradient pixels tend to win. If we switch to the Green channel, we see the parchment brightening up, and as a result, we're getting more pixels from the parchment encroaching on the gradient.

Then finally, the inverted parchment is brightest in the Blue channel, and as a result, we're seeing a lot of pixels from the parchment layer, along with fewer pixels in the gradient layer. I'll go ahead and switch back to RGB, and return to the Layers panel. That's all fine, but once again, we end up with some pretty choppy transitions. If I want smoother transitions, I can press Shift+Plus in order to advance to the Screen mode, and that takes our white to black gradient, and turns it into a radial glow, with no remnants of darkening whatsoever.

Absolutely smooth, beautiful effect! Now, if that's too timid for you, you can press Shift+Plus to advance to Color Dodge, but as you can see, you're going to get some hyper-saturated colors, some very radical luminance transitions, and you're going to get a lot of noise as well, which is why the better way to brighten is to switch to the next mode: Linear Dodge (Add). And it's so called, by the way, we're seeing Add in parentheses, because the mode really does add the luminance levels of the active layer to those of the composite version of the image below, which is why we end up blowing a lot of highlights in this case.

And I should mention, Linear Burn does the same thing, only opposite, so you could potentially end up with a lot of clipped shadows. And just to give you a sense of the difference between Screen and Linear Dodge, I'll go ahead and press the Escape key, so the blend mode pop-up menu here on the PC is no longer active, and I'll press the keyboard shortcut for the Screen mode, which is Shift+Alt+S, or Shift+Option+S on the Mac. So here's Screen; very smooth effect. It doesn't enhance the saturation levels at all, strictly affects the luminance levels, and if I press Control+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, here, by contrast, is Linear Dodge, which produces a higher contrast effect that potentially ends up clipping highlights.

Once again, something that the Screen mode cannot do; Screen never clips highlights, and Multiply never clips shadows. Then finally, if I press Shift+Plus to advance to the Lighter Color mode, we'll see that we're either keeping pixels from the active layer, or from the composite layers in the background on a pixel by pixel basis, and as a result, we unfailingly get jagged transitions. All right, I'm going to go ahead and turn that gradient layer off. Now let's see how these modes affect a brushstroke. I'll go ahead and click in the brushstroke layer, turn it on as well.

The brushstroke is set to Linear Burn. Let's go ahead and press Shift+Alt+N, or Shift+ Option+N on the Mac, to reset it to the Normal mode. I also want to invert it, so I'll just press Control+I, or Command+I on the Mac, and that turns that formerly bright blue brushstroke to a darker orange. Now, because really no sense in checking out Lighten, or Lighter Color, I'll press Shift+Alt+S, or Shift+Option+S on the Mac, to switch to the Screen mode, and you can see that we get this kind of impossible highlighter effect, which is very cool. Then I'll press Shift+Plus to advance to Color Dodge.

Most of the effect drops away. We get some pretty ratty transitions. And then I'll press Shift+Plus again to advance to Linear Dodge, which provides us with a higher impact effect. All right, I'm going to turn off brushstroke, and I'm going to scroll down to the stars layer, and turn it on. And you can see that this layer is already a Smart Object. I want to show you that same Gaussian Blur trick that I showed you in a previous movie, except this time combined with Lighten. So because Gaussian Blur was the last filter I applied, it appears at the top of the Filter menu. If I choose the command, because I'm working on a Smart Object, that brings up the Gaussian Blur dialog box. A Radius of 4 is just fine. Click OK in order to apply the filter, and then double-click on the slider triangle to the right of the words Gaussian Blur, and I'm going to change the mode this time to a brightening mode.

I could start with Screen, because it is your when in doubt mode, but that's going to give us a very hot effect, because we're taking the entirety of the blurred image, and screening it on top of the original. However, if we choose Lighten instead, we're going to keep just these little glows; notice that. I'll go ahead and zoom in here inside of the dialog box. We have these glows around the outside of our synthetic stars, which I think is quite a nice effect actually. So I'll click OK in order to accept that modification, and now I want to blend the stars into the background dark blue parchment.

So I'll start by pressing Shift+Alt+S, or Shift+ Option+S on the Mac, to assign the Screen mode to the stars layer. And that's the way you work, by the way, with lighten modes; you always start with Screen, see how it works out, and then my advice is, if Screen doesn't deliver a sufficiently high impact effect, go ahead and switch to Linear Dodge (Add). What that's done in the case of this image is create this kind of hole in the center of the paper that's so bright, the star is so very bright, that it's difficult to even look at, which is exactly the effect I want.

Now I'm going to turn the wrestlers layer back on, and click on that layer as well. You can see that, because they're set to Linear Burn, they now appear too dark. So I'm going to press the Escape key. Do you see what I'm talking about? There is a little blue highlight around the blend mode pop-up menu that prevents basically all of your keyboard shortcuts from working, because Windows is focused on the pop-up menu. And if this ever happens to you -- you try out a keyboard shortcut, and nothing happens -- just try tapping on the Escape key. Even on the Mac this kind of stuff can happen, and tapping the Escape key is oftentimes the solution.

Then I'll switch to the Multiply mode by pressing Shift+Alt+M or Shift+Option+M on the Mac. And I want to mention one more thing. I'm going to turn that wrestlers layer off for a moment, switch back to stars, and press Shift+Alt+S, or Shift+Option+S on the Mac. The reason the Multiply mode is called Multiply is because it actually multiplies the luminance levels of pixels. The reason Screen is called Screen is because of the analogy for how it works. It's just like taking the stars, for example, and the dark blue parchment, putting them on, say, 35mm slides, putting those slides in separate projectors, and shining them both at the same screen.

And that's why you end up getting this brightening effect. Anyway, I'll go ahead and turn the wrestlers layer back on. And I actually think I like this combination of Screen and Multiply better here. A great thing about blend modes, of course, is that they're entirely nondestructive, and you can change your mind anytime you like. That's how you work with the lighten modes. Remember to start with Screen, and if that doesn't give you the effect you're looking for, try out Linear Dodge here inside Photoshop.

There are currently no FAQs about Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced.

Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


Upgrade to View Courses Offline


With our new Desktop App, Annual Premium Members can download courses for Internet-free viewing.

Upgrade Now

After upgrading, download Desktop App Here.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Start your FREE 10-day trial

Begin learning software, business, and creative skills—anytime,
anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts. provides
Unlimited access to over 4,000 courses—more than 100,000 video tutorials
Expert-led instruction
On-the-go learning. Watch from your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Switch back and forth as you choose.
Start Your FREE Trial Now

A trusted source for knowledge.


We provide training to more than 4 million people, and our members tell us that helps them stay ahead of software updates, pick up brand-new skills, switch careers, land promotions, and explore new hobbies. What can we help you do?

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.