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A few days ago I was playing with some light effects in Photoshop, and I was messing around with the blending modes. Here is a little explanation of each mode, as of Creative Suite 4.

1. Multiply: Looks at the color information in each channel and multiplies the base color by the blend color. The result color is always a darker color. Multiplying any color with black produces black. Multiplying any color with white leaves the color unchanged. When you’re painting with a color other than black or white, successive strokes with a painting tool produce progressively darker colors. The effect is similar to drawing on the image with multiple marking pens.

2. Color Burn: Looks at the color information in each channel and darkens the base color to reflect the blend color by increasing the contrast. Blending with white produces no change.

3. Linear Burn: Looks at the color information in each channel and darkens the base color to reflect the blend color by decreasing the brightness. Blending with white produces no change.

4. Lighten: Looks at the color information in each channel and selects the base or blend color—whichever is lighter—as the result color. Pixels darker than the blend color are replaced, and pixels lighter than the blend color do not change.

5. Screen: Looks at each channel’s color information and multiplies the inverse of the blend and base colors. The result color is always a lighter color. Screening with black leaves the color unchanged. Screening with white produces white. The effect is similar to projecting multiple photographic slides on top of each other.

6. Color Dodge: Looks at the color information in each channel and brightens the base color to reflect the blend color by decreasing the contrast. Blending with black produces no change.

7. Linear Dodge: Looks at the color information in each channel and brightens the base color to reflect the blend color by increasing the brightness. Blending with black produces no change.

8. Overlay: Multiplies or screens the colors, depending on the base color. Patterns or colors overlay the existing pixels while preserving the highlights and shadows of the base color. The base color is not replaced but is mixed with the blend color to reflect the lightness or darkness of the original color.

9. Soft Light: Darkens or lightens the colors, depending on the blend color. The effect is similar to shining a diffused spotlight on the image. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened as if it were dodged. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened as if it were burned in. Painting with pure black or white produces a distinctly darker or lighter area but does not result in pure black or white.

10. Hard Light: Multiplies or screens the colors, depending on the blend color. The effect is similar to shining a harsh spotlight on the image.

If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened, as if it were screened. This is useful for adding highlights to an image. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened, as if it were multiplied. This is useful for adding shadows to an image. Painting with pure black or white results in pure black or white.

11. Vivid Light: Burns or dodges the colors by increasing or decreasing the contrast, depending on the blend color. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened by decreasing the contrast. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened by increasing the contrast.

12. Linear Light: Burns or dodges the colors by decreasing or increasing the brightness, depending on the blend color. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened by increasing the brightness. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened by decreasing the brightness.

13. Pin Light: Replaces the colors, depending on the blend color. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, pixels darker than the blend color are replaced, and pixels lighter than the blend color do not change. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, pixels lighter than the blend color are replaced, and pixels darker than the blend color do not change. This is useful for adding special effects to an image.

14. Difference: Looks at the color information in each channel and subtracts either the blend color from the base color or the base color from the blend color, depending on which has the greater brightness value. Blending with white inverts the base color values; blending with black produces no change.

15. Exclusion: Creates an effect similar to but lower in contrast than the Difference mode. Blending with white inverts the base color values. Blending with black produces no change.

16. Hue: Creates a result color with the luminance and saturation of the base color and the hue of the blend color.

17. Saturation Creates a result color with the luminance and hue of the base color and the saturation of the blend color. Painting with this mode in an area with no (0) saturation (gray) causes no change.

18. Color: Creates a result color with the luminance of the base color and the hue and saturation of the blend color. This preserves the gray levels in the image and is useful for coloring monochrome images and for tinting color images.

19. Luminosity: Creates a result color with the hue and saturation of the base color and the luminance of the blend color. This mode creates an inverse effect from that of the Color mode.


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7 thoughts on “Photoshop Blending Modes

  1. Thanks for this cool manual. I would suggest you to post images along the texts which will make more interest for the reader and user.

    Btw, As a intermediate designer , i use blending more with hue options.

    Well, i have to learn more :)

  2. You’re right. Images would make this article more interesting. I will, however, come back to it with some updated info.

  3. Images always plays an important role to convey a message and also helps to make little attractive and people love to read rather than plain text.

  4. Hello ! :)
    My name is Piter Kokoniz. oOnly want to tell, that I like your blog very much!
    And want to ask you: will you continue to post in this blog in future?
    Sorry for my bad english:)
    Thank you!
    Piter.

  5. good share, but it’s no images :(
    Anyways thanks, I’ll try it.
    .-= riez’s last blog ..Stock Trading =-.

  6. Yeah, could have used some pictures, but I’ve had this tutorial for a while on my notebook, and decided to add it just like this. No time for images.

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