Blending modes don't have to be like a trip to see Dr. Christian Zell, the dentist played by Sir Laurence Olivier in The Marathon Man.
Most articles about blending modes have brief descriptions of each blending mode.
That's not enough.
You'll understand blending modes after reading this article and doing one of the tutorials.
And, blending modes are worth the effort.
The blending mode menu is at the top of the Layers panel.
When you select a layer (highlighted), the blending mode menu is for that layer.
In the Layers panel below, a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer is active (highlighted).
The layer's blending mode, Normal, is at the top of the Layers panel.
When you create a layer, the layer's blending mode defaults to Normal.
Open a photograph, and click the blending mode menu box.
You can scroll through the blending modes with your mouse wheel or the arrow keys on your keyboard.
You have two layers.
The blending mode of the top layer is Normal.
The top layer is a clown.
The bottom layer is a restaurant.
As mentioned, the blending mode of the clown layer is Normal.
Don't interact with the layer below.
Let's say you change the blending mode for the top layer from Normal to Color.
The two layers interact.
That's the key concept:
When you change the blending mode of the top layer, the two layers interact.
Again, let's say you change the blending mode of the Clown layer from Normal to Color.
The two layers interact.
The clown layer contributes its color.
The YUMMY layer contributes its luminosity (black-and-white).
The color you see is from the clown layer.
The restaurant you see is the luminosity from the YUMMY layer.
|Color Only||Luminosity Only||New Photograph|
Here's another way to look at what happens.
The blending mode of the Clown layer is Normal.
The two layers don't interact.
Below, the blending mode of the Clown layer was changed to Color.
The two layers interact—blend.
The Color blending mode uses a simple rule.
Color from the blending (top) layer.
Luminosity from the base (bottom) layer.
Some of the other blending modes have more complicated rules.
In subsequent sections:
• The top layer is called the blending layer.
• The bottom layer is called the base layer.
The Lighten and Darken blending modes are often used with the Healing Brush tool and the Clone Stamp tool.
You may want to use those blending modes with the Clone Stamp tool before reading further.
There are two categories of blending modes.