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Three blending modes you must know

From: Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

Video: Three blending modes you must know

The quickest way to understand Blending modes in Photoshop is to actually learn three specific blend modes, like on the Three You Must Know, and the little acronym I use is SMO: Screen, Multiply, and Overlay. So, if we take a look at the Layers panel, again, we see the word Normal. That's the default Blending mode for any particular layer. If you look at the pop-up list, you'll see there is a bunch of different Blend modes here, a pretty long list. I'm going to encourage you. This whole video is about learning what Screen is, what Overlay is, and what Multiply is, so Screen, Multiply, and Overlay, SMO.

Three blending modes you must know

The quickest way to understand Blending modes in Photoshop is to actually learn three specific blend modes, like on the Three You Must Know, and the little acronym I use is SMO: Screen, Multiply, and Overlay. So, if we take a look at the Layers panel, again, we see the word Normal. That's the default Blending mode for any particular layer. If you look at the pop-up list, you'll see there is a bunch of different Blend modes here, a pretty long list. I'm going to encourage you. This whole video is about learning what Screen is, what Overlay is, and what Multiply is, so Screen, Multiply, and Overlay, SMO.

Let's quickly run through these three particular Blend modes, and then towards the end you will see why knowing these three really helps you understand the majority of the rest of the Blend modes. Now very quickly, I might mention to you that if you want to learn about every single Blend mode, the Photoshop Essential Training, of course, that you're watching now only is going to give you kind of a broad overview of what Blending modes are and some different things you can experiment, and use Blending modes for. If you want to learn about a lot more of these Blending modes and actually see specific video tips on each of these particular Blend modes, I encourage you to watch the Photoshop CS4 Blend mode Magic course available now on Online Training Library.

Even though the name of the course has Photoshop CS4 in the title, nothing about Blend modes has really changed in CS5. So, that material will still apply to you if you're using Photoshop CS5. Okay, back to the three that you must know. So, let's turn on the description for screen. I'll turn on the visibility of that layer. Screen Blend mode ignores black pixels, or dark pixels, and makes things lighter. It's like aiming two slide projectors onto the same screen. So, where there is brightness, it will make brightness lighter, and where there is black, it just stays black.

So, it ignores the black pixels. Multiply is the opposite of Screen. So, instead of ignoring black, it ignores white, and that make things darker. If you're familiar with darkroom or photography, back in the old days of using film, it's like sandwiching two 35 mm slides together. It just makes things darker. The Overlay Blend mode is a combination of Screen and Multiply. So, instead of ignoring black or white, it ignores gray, the 50% gray, and it tends to make things lighter or darker, which is also the definition of increasing contrast.

It's like painting with light. It gives you also an effective way to do Dodging and Burning, and we'll talk about that a little bit. So, now that we kind of have overview, or a broad definition of what these things actually do, let's see them in action a little bit. So, I have got the Squares layer. We'll turn that on and off just to kind of see that they are isolated on their own layer, a box square, a middle gray square, and a white square on this blue background here, the background being a separate layer. So, what I am going to do is I'm going to change the Blend mode of the Squares layer to Screen.

So, let's choose that first. There is Screen. Now before I choose Screen and actually commit to that, I want you to try to imagine what's going to happen to these squares. Look at the definition of Screen. It says it ignores black, make things lighter. So, if we choose the Screen Blend mode, what do you think is going to happen? Let's go ahead and do it. So, there you have it. By ignoring black, it means it's as if those black pixels don't even exist. They become transparent. They just cancelled each other out. Now, the way Blending modes work is it works from the top down. So, it looks at the top pixels of the particular layer you're on and compares it with the pixels underneath it, and if the pixel underneath meets the condition of the Blend mode, then something will happen.

So, because the black pixels were on the top layer, and they're already darker than everything underneath it, the black pixels got ignored. Now if you look at the white pixels, the white square, nothing happened there either because the white pixel was already as bright as it could be. It was at the top, so nothing could be brighter than it. So, there was no change underneath the white square. But that little gray square, it made everything underneath it lighter, because there was nothing underneath it that was already as light as it. So, that's how Blending modes work. They do a comparison of the layer you're on with the pixels underneath and cause a difference in Blend, depending on the Blend mode you choose. Okay.

Let's change the Blend mode one more time. Let's change it to Multiply and again, try to guess what's going to happen. If Multiply is the opposite of Screen, what's going to happen to these squares. If we take a look, this time the white square is ignored. Multiply ignores white, and it makes things darker. Now the black square doesn't look any different because, again, it's as black as it could be. It's at the top layer, and that middle gray square made the underlying pixels darker. One more time let's change the Blend mode to Overlay and again try to anticipate what's going to happen.

So, Overlay is a combination of Screen and Multiply. It ignores Gray and makes things lighter or darker, increasing contrast. So, let's go ahead and choose Overlay, and as you hopefully guessed, that middle gray square is the one that disappears. Nothing happens to the white square because it's already as white as it can be since it's at the top, but it makes the underlying area of that black square darker. You're thinking to yourself, "Great. I can change squares. That's relevant and useful in real-world." Well, I am just doing this to teach you the basics. Let's take a look at the list of Blend modes here in the pop-up menu, and you'll see that they're actually not randomly listed.

They are actually organized into groups, and the reason why I wanted you to learn one of each of these three: Screen, Multiply, and Overlay, is that they are representative of three of the main groupings that you see here. You can see, there's the Darken group. There's the Lighten group, and then there's the Contrast group. Now why do I call it the Darken group? Because it starts with the word darken. That's the Darken Blend mode. The Lighten group obviously starts with the word Lighten and then the Contrast, well, it's just what we call it. It doesn't say contrast here. You just have to know that that's what these Blend modes do.

They increase contrast. So, by knowing one Blend mode from each of these groups, you pretty much have a good understanding of what the entire group does. So, in the Darken group, what do these do? They make things darker, and they ignore white. In the Lighten group, they make things lighter, and they ignore black, and then in the Contrast group, they increase contrast and ignore 50% gray. So, by learning Screen, Multiply, and Overlay, you would now actually have a high-level understanding of the majority of the Blend modes available to you in the list, and there are some special ones here at the bottom: Difference, Occlusion, Subtract, Divide and so forth.

But these are the Blend modes that you'll use the most, the Darkening ones, the Lightening ones and the Contrast ones. There you have it. There is your quick introduction to Screen, Multiply, and Overlay, why it pays to actually memorize what these three do. It gives you a high-level understanding of the majority of the other Blend modes available to you. In the subsequent videos in this course, in this particular chapter about Blending modes, you'll see some real- world examples of why you might actually use these particular Blending modes to accomplish specific tasks.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

154 video lessons · 95519 viewers

Michael Ninness
Author

 
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  1. 6m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. What is Photoshop?
      2m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
  2. 28m 29s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      1m 54s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      3m 39s
    3. A tour of the different workspaces in Adobe Bridge
      4m 58s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 35s
    5. Changing obscure camera file names with the Batch Rename command
      2m 36s
    6. Adding basic metadata to every image with metadata templates
      3m 36s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 6s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      4m 5s
  3. 23m 4s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejects
      5m 27s
    2. Protecting the keepers by saving them in collections
      3m 18s
    3. Rating images
      3m 15s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 43s
    5. Viewing final choices in a slideshow
      2m 12s
    6. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      4m 9s
  4. 30m 50s
    1. Raw vs. JPEG files
      5m 13s
    2. Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      5m 9s
    3. A tour of the Camera Raw user interface
      6m 44s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      4m 2s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      2m 37s
    6. Choosing output settings
      2m 45s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      4m 20s
  5. 41m 34s
    1. Eliminating red-eye with the Red Eye Removal tool
      1m 13s
    2. Improving composition with the non-destructive Crop tool
      3m 33s
    3. Correcting a rotated horizon line with the Straighten tool
      3m 5s
    4. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      2m 13s
    5. Fixing blown-out highlights with Recovery
      2m 36s
    6. Revealing hidden shadow detail with Fill Light
      1m 47s
    7. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 37s
    8. Removing color fringes with Chromatic Aberration
      2m 36s
    9. Sharpening the details
      8m 59s
    10. End to end: Taking a so-so photo and making it great
      9m 55s
  6. 39m 5s
    1. Fixing blown-out skies with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 34s
    2. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 41s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      4m 28s
    4. Quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 33s
    5. Converting to black and white
      3m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustments tool
      4m 18s
    7. Easy sepia and split tone effects
      2m 35s
    8. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 46s
    9. Adding vignettes and border effects
      2m 13s
    10. Saving variations within a single file with Snapshots
      4m 21s
  7. 15m 48s
    1. Copying settings from one file and pasting across another in Adobe Bridge
      3m 7s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      2m 28s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 33s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      4m 40s
  8. 30m 39s
    1. Opening files from Adobe Bridge
      3m 1s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      3m 28s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      2m 57s
    4. Changing Mini Bridge so it auto-collapses
      1m 20s
    5. The Application frame
      2m 16s
    6. The Application bar
      1m 16s
    7. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 23s
    8. Panel management
      5m 31s
    9. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 18s
    10. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      3m 9s
  9. 16m 12s
    1. Tabbed documents
      2m 1s
    2. The Arrange Documents widget
      1m 38s
    3. How to stop Photoshop from tabbing documents
      3m 34s
    4. Pan and zoom
      5m 21s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 38s
  10. 36m 59s
    1. File formats
      13m 6s
    2. What resolution does your image need to be?
      10m 15s
    3. Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      3m 58s
  11. 42m 17s
    1. Crop options
      4m 12s
    2. Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 30s
    3. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      1m 34s
    4. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      6m 1s
    5. Making the canvas bigger by a specific amount with Relative Canvas Size
      1m 39s
    6. Correcting perspective with the Crop tool
      3m 5s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
      50s
    8. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      4m 12s
    9. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      4m 2s
    10. Warping images
      3m 40s
    11. Preserving the important elements with Content-Aware Scaling
      9m 32s
  12. 54m 42s
    1. The Background layer
      5m 14s
    2. Using a layer mask instead of deleting pixels
      4m 12s
    3. Loading multiple images into a single Photoshop document as layers
      1m 30s
    4. Naming, hiding, creating, and deleting layers
      4m 18s
    5. Changing the stacking order of layers
      2m 51s
    6. Selecting layers without using the Layers panel
      6m 28s
    7. Transforming layers
      7m 16s
    8. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 51s
    9. Changing the opacity of layers
      2m 57s
    10. Organizing layers into groups
      2m 55s
    11. Saving variations with layer comps
      5m 3s
    12. When to merge and rasterize layers
      5m 0s
    13. Flatten vs. Save As (a Copy)
      3m 7s
  13. 1h 4m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      7m 23s
    2. Transform selections
      2m 40s
    3. Quick Mask is your friend
      4m 31s
    4. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      6m 33s
    5. Using the Quick Selection tool
      3m 1s
    6. Re-selecting a previous selection
      1m 35s
    7. Improving a selection with Refine Edge
      4m 21s
    8. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      12m 7s
    9. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      2m 59s
    10. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 53s
    11. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      3m 53s
    12. Combining multiple exposures with the Blend If sliders
      6m 26s
    13. Replacing the sky in an image
      4m 19s
  14. 1h 1m
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      7m 57s
    2. Starting with a preset
      4m 25s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      10m 28s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 4s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      5m 56s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 55s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      9m 0s
    8. Making washed out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 46s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      5m 49s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an Adjustment Layer
      7m 28s
  15. 11m 32s
    1. Shadow/Highlight
      9m 3s
    2. Matching color across multiple images
      2m 29s
  16. 34m 12s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush
      6m 21s
    2. Quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      8m 23s
    3. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 47s
    4. Making teeth bright and white
      1m 43s
    5. De-emphasizing wrinkles
      4m 41s
    6. Removing unwanted details with Content Aware Fill
      4m 26s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify
      3m 51s
  17. 21m 6s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      7m 20s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      8m 30s
    3. Combining group shots with Auto-Align
      5m 16s
  18. 25m 36s
    1. Overview of filters
      4m 6s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters
      4m 45s
    3. Giving an image a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 41s
    4. Adding noise to an image with the Add Noise filter
      3m 34s
    5. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      4m 12s
    6. Giving an image more texture with the Texturizer
      1m 17s
    7. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 1s
  19. 30m 44s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      4m 43s
    2. Three blending modes you must know
      6m 41s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      3m 33s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      4m 33s
    5. Creating a diffused contrast glow effect with Overlay
      6m 2s
    6. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      5m 12s
  20. 21m 39s
    1. Character (point) type
      8m 19s
    2. Paragraph (area) type
      4m 42s
    3. Type on a path
      2m 54s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      2m 24s
    5. Warping type
      3m 20s
  21. 20m 35s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      4m 43s
    2. Adding an outer glow effect
      3m 13s
    3. Adding a border around an image
      2m 53s
    4. Copying layer effects and applying them to other layers
      2m 3s
    5. Saving layer styles and applying them in other documents
      2m 42s
    6. How (and when) to scale layer effects
      5m 1s
  22. 16m 6s
    1. Creating PDF contact sheets
      6m 41s
    2. Exporting web photo galleries
      6m 8s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 17s
  23. 1m 19s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 19s

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