Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Three blending modes you must know

From: Photoshop Blend Mode Magic

Video: Three blending modes you must know

If you are only going to watch one video in this course, this is the video. There are three blend modes that you must absolutely memorize inside Photoshop. Of all the blend modes that there are, this is a big long list here, there's only three that you really need to memorize. If you memorize these three you will be well on your way to understanding the rest of them. Let's begin with the first one you got to know and that's Screen. The Screen blend mode is a great blend mode. It ignores Black. Any black or dark pixel just gets ignored. It tends to make things lighter. So light pixels get lighter, dark pixels are ignored. It's like aiming two slide projectors under the same screen. Dark pixels just cancels themselves out; the bright pixels get brighter.

Three blending modes you must know

If you are only going to watch one video in this course, this is the video. There are three blend modes that you must absolutely memorize inside Photoshop. Of all the blend modes that there are, this is a big long list here, there's only three that you really need to memorize. If you memorize these three you will be well on your way to understanding the rest of them. Let's begin with the first one you got to know and that's Screen. The Screen blend mode is a great blend mode. It ignores Black. Any black or dark pixel just gets ignored. It tends to make things lighter. So light pixels get lighter, dark pixels are ignored. It's like aiming two slide projectors under the same screen. Dark pixels just cancels themselves out; the bright pixels get brighter.

Multiply is the opposite of Screen. It's the next blend mode you need to know. It ignores white instead of ignoring black. It makes things darker. If you have any bright pixels Multiply blend mode just ignores them. It's like sandwiching two 35 mm slides together, if you guys are familiar with slides. The last blend mode, the third one, you must learn is Overlay and this is a combination of Screen and Multiply. So it ignores gray, 50% gray to be precise, and it makes things lighter or darker thus increasing contrast. Some people call it the Contrast blend mode. It's like painting with light and gives you, in some cases, better dodging and burning.

So let's kind of play with these for a second just to kind of get our minds wrapped around these. You'll see I have a layer here in my Layers panel called squares. I'll just turn that on and off so you can see that is a separate layer. It's a 100% black square, a 50% gray square and a 100% white square. Let's change the blend mode of the squares layer to Screen. Before I let go, I want you to try to visualize what's going to happen to those squares. Can you think about it? Okay,so what's going to happen is the black square is going to disappear, because Screen ignores Black. The white square, nothing happens because the way blend mode work, it takes the top pixel, compares it with the pixels underneath it and then does the blend.

In this case, the white pixel, which is on the very top here, it's as bright as it can be, so there's no change. You'll see the 50% gray pixels made everything underneath it lighter, just like we said Screen would do. Let's change the blend mode one more time to Multiply. And again before I let go, try to visualize what's going to happen. What do you think is going to happen to that black square? What's going to happen to that white square? Well let's check it out. Let's choose Multiply now and just like I said opposite of Screen, Multiply ignores white, all the white pixels go away.

The black square, nothing happens to it because it's already as dark as it can be. It's at the top. Nothing below it can be darker. And then that gray square in the middle made everything underneath it darker. Last blend mode to take a look at, the Overlay blend mode. Remember we said it's a combination of both Screen and Multiply. So what do you think is going to happen here? Let's take a look. The gray square is what disappears. Overlay ignores gray and it makes things lighter or darker, increasing contrast. So that dark square made everything underneath it darker, the white square nothing could get brighter than white, so there's no change there.

So those are the three blend modes that you have to memorize, Screen, Multiply and Overlay. I kind of use a little pneumonic device to help me remember that. I think I SMO (Screen, Multiply and Overlay). Why did I want you to learn these three? Here's why. If you take a look at the Blend Mode list in the Layers panel here, you'll see that these blend modes are actually not random. They are not organized randomly. They are actually grouped logically. And if you take a look at this first group here underneath the Normal group, I call this the Darken group. Why? Because it begins with Darken. What does this blend mode group do? Well it makes stuff darker. It ignores white and makes stuff darker. We know that because that's the name of the group. We learned one blend mode in that group, Multiply.

If you know Multiply, you know what the other blend modes in this group do at a high level. Yes, there are some little variants between each blend mode within the group, but by and large every blend mode in this group ignores white and makes stuff darker. The second blend mode group, the Lighten blend mode group, what do you think that does? It makes stuff lighter. How do we know that? Because it begins with the word Lighten. The Lighten blend modes ignore black; they make things lighter. Again we have learned one within the group, Screen. If we know Screen, we know pretty much what all of the blend modes in this group do. Everything in this group tends to make things lighter and they look more black to some degree.

That last group begins with Overlay. We call it the Contrast group. How do we know? Because I just told you. It's not as self evident as the other two we have just talked about. But everything in this blend mode group ignores 50% gray and it increases contrast. It also increases saturation if you are working with colors as well. But by and large it's known as the Contrast group. It ignores 50% gray and makes things lighter or darker. So there you have it. You have learned one from each group, which means you know about 80% of your blend modes now. You don't have to actually memorize right now every single difference between these. Just stay at the high level and if you know one from each group, you will be well on your way to understanding the majority of your blend modes.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Blend Mode Magic
Photoshop Blend Mode Magic

46 video lessons · 25567 viewers

Michael Ninness
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. Using the exercise files
      52s
  2. 13m 9s
    1. The three kinds of blending in Photoshop
      1m 49s
    2. Blend modes, blend modes, everywhere!
      1m 38s
    3. Cycling through the blending modes
      2m 1s
    4. Three blending modes you must know
      5m 8s
    5. Blending mode keyboard shortcuts
      2m 33s
  3. 3m 13s
    1. Roughening or pointilizing edges with Dissolve
      3m 13s
  4. 34m 40s
    1. Removing halos with Darken
      2m 26s
    2. Bringing down hot highlights with Multiply
      3m 50s
    3. Tonal correction with Screen and Multiply
      3m 35s
    4. Combining adjustment layers with blending modes
      3m 58s
    5. Creating a composite from a single Camera Raw file
      5m 56s
    6. Creating a cast shadow with Multiply
      4m 50s
    7. Creating artistic edges with Multiply and Screen
      3m 39s
    8. From iPhone to Photoshop: Colorizing line art with Multiply
      6m 26s
  5. 14m 47s
    1. Removing dust spots with Lighten
      1m 36s
    2. Adding lightning to a sky with Screen
      3m 20s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      2m 27s
    4. Reducing halos when sharpening with Lighten
      3m 55s
    5. Creating a faint soft-edged line drawing with Linear Dodge
      3m 29s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Using Dodge and Burn with Overlay
      4m 34s
    2. Reducing wrinkles with Overlay
      6m 37s
    3. Using graduated neutral density filters with Overlay
      5m 32s
    4. Custom vignettes with Overlay
      3m 30s
    5. High-Pass sharpening with Overlay
      4m 16s
    6. Smoothing skin with High-Pass sharpening and Overlay
      5m 29s
    7. Textured patterns with Overlay
      6m 21s
    8. Textured type with Overlay
      2m 55s
    9. Creating a dramatic diffused glow with Overlay
      2m 49s
    10. Creating a subtle glow with Soft Light
      2m 57s
    11. Creating a medium glow with Soft Light
      4m 25s
    12. Simulating film grain with Add Noise and Soft Light
      3m 54s
    13. Recovering detail in over-saturated areas with Pin Light
      8m 30s
    14. Creating 80's pop art with Hard Mix and Multiply
      3m 15s
  7. 5m 7s
    1. Aligning layers with Difference
      5m 7s
  8. 12m 51s
    1. Reducing color noise with Color
      2m 13s
    2. Avoiding false saturation with Luminosity
      5m 33s
    3. Recovering detail in blown-out highlights with Luminosity
      5m 5s
  9. 26m 27s
    1. Getting better sepia tones
      5m 15s
    2. Using antique color effects
      5m 5s
    3. Combining multiple exposures
      4m 34s
    4. Replacing the sky in an image
      3m 44s
    5. Splitting edges when sharpening
      3m 15s
    6. Displacing type around contours
      4m 34s
  10. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
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.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

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

Congratulations

You have completed Photoshop Blend Mode Magic.

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


OK
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?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

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:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
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.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com 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 lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com 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.