Sunday, November 22, 2015

Blending modes in Photoshop

Today I'm going to talk about blending. Blending modes in Photoshop. When you're working with layers, you often need to change your blending mode to get the effect you're after. 

But let's start at the beginning. What is a blending mode? 
Layer blend modes offer different ways for a layer to interact/blend with the layer below it. Blending layers give you a lot of creative possibilities, especially when combined with layer masks.

Here's an example: 
I took a picture where I want to sharpen it with a high pass filter. First step is to open the picture and to duplicate the background. After adding the filter, this is what you'll get: 

Now this is not the effect I was after. And you know why? Because the blending mode is 'normal'. By changing this to Overlay I get the effect I was after. In this case a sharper image.  

Because I'm working on a separate layer, I can decrease the effect by reducing the Opacity of the layer. If I don't want the effect everywhere, it's easiest to use a mask to hide some part of it.

But how do you know what blending mode to use? Excellent question, because there's just sooo much to choose from in Photoshop: 

As you can see, the blending modes are all grouped. Each group has its own function. 

So that actually makes life a lot easier. Let me show you with an image I'd like to darken: 

Step 1: Duplicate the background 
Step 2: Switch the blending mode to a blending mode that darkens your image. In this case I went with Multiply.

You can see this gives a much darker image. As said you can reduce the opacity to reduce the effect or/and use a mask to select a specific area of the photo where you want the effect.  

So how does it work if you want to lighten part of your image: 

Step 1: Copy the background layer and put it on top of the layers.
Step 2: Change the blending mode to soft light. By adding mask and reducing the opacity I created another effect. 

The best way to learn your blending modes is to just practise over and over again.  If you want to know all the details of each blending mode just click here

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook or 500px

And have you already discovered our brand new Facebook page Humans of the Nordic Region?

Photo is from

No comments:

Post a Comment