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

Understanding blend modes

From: Compositing with Premiere Pro CS5.5

Video: Understanding blend modes

Blend modes were a feature of Adobe Photoshop for ages before they came to Premiere Pro. And you'll find now that quite a lot of third party applications have support for the concept of Blend modes as well. The way that it's implemented in Premiere Pro is very, very simple. For example, I've got a sequence here where in the background, I've got some of this baseball footage and in the foreground, I've got this incredible lightning bolt array going on. If I want to combine these with Effects, I could, for example, go over to my Effects panel, bring up a Luma Key throw that on to the top layer here, and I'll have a combined composition based on the luminance values of this lightning bolt foreground.

Understanding blend modes

Blend modes were a feature of Adobe Photoshop for ages before they came to Premiere Pro. And you'll find now that quite a lot of third party applications have support for the concept of Blend modes as well. The way that it's implemented in Premiere Pro is very, very simple. For example, I've got a sequence here where in the background, I've got some of this baseball footage and in the foreground, I've got this incredible lightning bolt array going on. If I want to combine these with Effects, I could, for example, go over to my Effects panel, bring up a Luma Key throw that on to the top layer here, and I'll have a combined composition based on the luminance values of this lightning bolt foreground.

And that's fine although it just means I'm making a selection on the basis of the luminance and there may be other ways that I'd like to combine these layers. So, if I take that Luma key off for a moment and expand down my Opacity controls as well as the regular Opacity that I can drop and blend the two layers together, I also have this Blend mode option. Now, Blend modes are what Adobe would classify as a fixed effect. So, here I've got my motion, opacity, and time remapping.

These apply to every single visual clip that you have on your Timeline. So, the Blend mode is always going to be there. You don't have to add it from the Effects list. If I want to choose a different Blend mode, then I just pick an item from the menu. Say, for example, I choose Multiply or Lighten might make better sense. What each of these blend modes does is rather complex and it can be quite hard to remember what each individual kind of blend mode does.

If I describe, for example, the Lighten Effect from the Adobe Help website, it says that each result color channel value is the higher or lighter of the source color channel value and the corresponding underlying color channel value. Essentially, what this is saying is that Premiere Pro is going to compare each pixel of the foreground with each pixel of the background and whichever is brighter, that's the pixel you're going to see.

Effectively, this is giving me something kind of like a Luma key. Each of these different Blend modes are very suddenly divided into categories. You'll see at the top, I've got Normal and Dissolve and then we got darkening effects and lightening effects, and various different kinds of combining effects including ones that we'll do things like combine the hue values. Essentially, what's happening here is that Premiere Pro is looking at the values assigned to each pixel and doing some maths with it.

So, for example, if I take the Hue option, this is going to give me the luminance and the amounts of color saturation of my background but, it's going to take the precise hue, the color from the foreground. So, if I choose this option, you can see it's pretty subtle. But perhaps if I make this full screen, I'm getting the colors from the foreground, but no color in the background, well, I am getting color in the background but it's being replaced by the color in the foreground.

And of course, the foreground is black where these areas are black and white, I'm getting the amount of saturation, I'm getting the brightness from the background, I'm just changing the hue in a pattern. Now, I think you would agree that that looks pretty awful, but if you combine this Hue option, for example, with something like a graphic or an animation, you can get some really spectacular results. The key to using the Blend modes, I guess, there's two keys really. The first key is to go to the Adobe.com website and look at the list which describes every single Blend mode available.

And just be aware that what's happening here is, like so many effects in Premiere Pro pixel by pixel. Simple math is being done to combine each of the pixels in your image based on the numbers assigned to the two layers of video that you're working with. This screen mode, for example, multiplies the channel values, that means that when ever you see or hear the word channel, we're talking here about the red channel, the green channel, and the blue channel information.

It combines the two together and the result is a brightening effect which is a, a nice blend of the different luminous levels. Well, all the RGB levels for the pixels in the foreground and the background is described on the Adobe website as being very similar to projecting multiple photographic slide simultaneously on to the same screen. So, it's like combining images from two video projectors. So, the first key is to take some time look over the Adobe website and find out the descriptions. And the second key, as with so many effects, is to put stuff on your Timeline, combine them with blend modes, try them out, and get a sense of the ones that you like the most.

And it's a very, very, versatile effect, but to really unlock the power of it, you need to be planning ahead and shooting for it. You need to be thinking about your lighting, thinking about how you're going to combine your post production workflows with your production workflows.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Compositing with Premiere Pro CS5.5
Compositing with Premiere Pro CS5.5

23 video lessons · 1157 viewers

Maxim Jago
Author

 

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 Compositing with Premiere Pro CS5.5.

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.