Blending Modes in Photoshop

A Guide to Blending Mode in Photoshop

In this Photoshop tutorial, I will explain to you in detail about Blending Modes in Photoshop. This tutorial will explain to you how each Blend Mode works in Photoshop. Each Blending Mode in Photoshop changes the way a layer looks after blending with the layer underneath it.

Categories of Blending Modes of Photoshop

You can find Blending Modes in the Layers Panel. The Blending Modes of Photoshop are categorized into 6 groups: Normal, Darken, Lighten, Contrast, Comparative, and Color.

Blending Modes in Photoshop

Normal: In this category, the images remain original. Only the opacity of the layers changes the end result of the images.

Darken: This group of blending modes turns the result color of the blend darker. The white color in the layer will become invisible and colors darker than white will have a darker blend effect.

Lighten: This group of blending modes is opposite of the Darken group of blending mode. The black color in the layer become invisible.

Contrast: This group of blending modes is a mixture of Lighten and Darken Blending Modes. They create contrast results by both darkening and lightening the result color.

Comparative: This group of blending modes look for variation between the layers to create the blend.

Color: This group of blending mode works on color quality. It uses combination of different primary colors to create the blend.

Explanation of Each Blending Mode in Photoshop

Before understanding each blend mode in detail, you must be aware of the terms used with the blending effects. The color of the lower layer is called the base color. The blend color is the color of the top layer on which the blend effect is applied. The color resulting from the blend is called the resulting color.

1. Normal

Normal is the default blending mode in Photoshop. There is no blending effect in this blend mode. By reducing the opacity of the top layer, the pixels of the bottom layer can be seen.

Normal Blending Mode in Photoshop
Normal Blending Mode with reduced Opacity

In the above image, you can see the pixels of the lower layer by reducing the opacity of the upper layer in the Layers Panel.

2. Dissolve

This blend mode is similar to the Normal blend mode. But, the only difference is that when the Opacity of the top layer is reduced then the pixels appear in a dither pattern.

After reducing the opacity, the pixels of the lower layer appears like a snow on the picture.

3. Darken

Darken blend mode does not blend the pixels. But, it compares the blend color and the base color and reveals the darker colors. The lighter color is replaced by the darker one, and the result is a darker image.

Darken Blending Mode in Photoshop
4. Multiply

Multiply Blend Mode is the commonly used blend mode in Photoshop. As it multiplies the base color and the blend color, so the resulting color is darker. Any color multiplied with white leaves the color unchanged and any color multiplied with black produce black.

Multiply Blending Mode
5. Color Burn

The result of this blend mode is much darker than the result produced by the Multiply Blend Mode. Moreover, It gives a very saturated image result by increasing the contrast between the base color and the blend color. When blended with white color, the resulting color has no change.

Color Burn Blend Mode
6. Linear Burn

This blend mode is similar to the Color Burn blend mode. But, the result color is not extremely saturated because it decreases the brightness of the base color.

Linear Burn Blend Mode
7. Darker Color

The Darker Color Blending Mode works similar to the Darken Blending Mode. It compares the base color and the blend color. The color which is darkest of the two is the resulting color.

Darker Color Blend Mode
8. Lighten

The Lighten Blending Mode is the opposite of the Darken Blending Mode. It compares the base color and the blend color, and the color which is lightest among the two is the resulting color. If the base and blend colors are the same then no change is reflected.

Lighten Blend Mode
9. Screen

This blending mode is the opposite of the Multiply Blending Mode. The result color is brighter. If blended with black color there is no change in the color. But, blending with white color turns the image white.

Screen Blend Mode
10. Color Dodge

The Color Dodge Blending Mode is the opposite of the Color Burn. It gives a brighter effect than Screen Blending Mode by decreasing the contrast between the base color and the blend color. It do not produces any blend effect when blended with black color.

Color Dodge Screen Mode
11. Linear Dodge (Add)

The Linear Dodge (Add) is the opposite of the Linear Burn. It produces strong and less saturated results than the Screen or Color Dodge Blending Mode. It brightens the base color in Photoshop to reflect the blend color by increasing the brightness.

Linear Dodge Blend Mode
12. Lighter Color

The Lighter Color Mode is similar to The Lighten Blend Mode. Instead of blending the pixels, it compares the base and blend colors and reveals the brightest of the two.

Lighter Color Blend Mode
13. Overlay

This blending mode of Photoshop is a moderate combination of the Screen and Multiply Blending Modes. Depending upon the base color, it applies the Screen blend mode to the lighter colors and the Multiply blend mode to the darker ones.

Overlay Blending Mode
14. Soft Light

This blend mode is similar to the Overlay blend mode. But, the resulting colors are softer and less contrasting. It lightens or darkens the color depending upon the blend color. If the blend color is lighter than 50% gray, the resulting color is lightened. Otherwise, the resulting color is darkened.

Soft Light Blending Mode
15. Hard Light

This blend mode combines the Screen and Multiply Blending Mode depending upon the blend color. It creates an effect similar to shining a harsh spotlight on the image. This blend mode is useful for adding shadows to an image.

Hard Light Blending Mode
16. Vivid Light

Depending upon the blend color, the Vivid Light burns or dodges the colors by increasing or decreasing the contrast. The resulting effect of this blend mode is very intense. It produces a higher contrast image than Hard Light blending mode.

Vivid Light Blending Mode
17. Linear Light

The Linear Light Blending Mode works similar to the Vivid Light Blending Mode. But, it affects the brightness instead of the contrast. It uses a combination of Linear Dodge Blending Mode on lighter pixels and Linear Burn Blending Mode on darker pixels.

Linear Light Blending Mode
18. Pin Light

The effect of the Pin Light Blend Mode depends on the blend colors. If the pixels on the top layer are lighter than the layer underneath, then the Pin Light Blend Mode will replace them. On the other hand, if the pixels of the top layer is darker than the layer underneath, then they will remain unchanged.

Pin Light Blend mode
19. Hard Mix

With the Hard Mix Blend Mode, the resulting image loses a lot of details and the colors can only be black, white, or the primary colors (red, blue, green, cyan, magenta, or yellow). This blend mode produces a posterized effect and no gradient is displayed on the image.

Hard Mix Blend Mode
20. Difference

Depending upon the greater brightness value, this blending mode subtracts either the blend color from the base color or the base color from the blend color. Blending with white inverts the base color values while blending with black produces no change.

Difference Blending Mode
21. Exclusion

This blend mode is similar to Difference Blending Mode. But, the saturation is less as compared to the saturation of the Difference Blending Mode in Photoshop.

Exclusion Blending Mode
22. Subtract

This blending mode subtracts the blend color from the base color. It darkens the pixels by subtracting the brightness.

Subtract Blending Mode
23. Divide

The blending process is similar to the Subtract Blending Mode. But, instead of subtracting the colors it divides the blend color from the base color.

Divide Blending Mode
24. Hue

This blending mode creates a resulting color using the hue of the blend color and the luminance and saturation of the base color.

Hue Blending Mode
25. Saturation

The Saturation Blending Mode adopts the saturation from the blend color and the hue and luminous from the base color.

Saturation Blending Mode
26. Color

This blending mode preserves the luminous from the base color and the hue and saturation from the blend color. It is useful for coloring monochrome images and tinting color images.

Color Blending Mode
27. Luminosity

This blending mode in Photoshop is opposite of the Color Blending Mode. It preserves the hue and saturation from the base color and the luminous from the blend color.

Luminosity Blending Mode

They might seem to be complicated but, when you will use these Blending Modes in Photoshop, it will become easier for you to understand the effects.

In the next Photoshop Tutorial, you will learn different ways to Blend Images in Photoshop. You can subscribe to the website to receive the latest Photoshop tutorials through email.

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