Blend Modes: the 10 best blends for photographers (and how to use them)

    | Photoshop Tutorials | Tutorials | 11/10/2012 02:00am

    The best blends for photographers: 6-10



    The 10 Best Blend Modes for Photographers: Overlay - contrast

    6 Overlay: contrast
    Overlay mode screens the highlights and multiplies the shadows in an image. It’s similar to Soft Light, but has a much stronger effect. Basically, it increases contrast by darkening the shadows and lightening the highlights.

    The 10 Best Blend Modes for Photographers: Overlay - contrast

    This is an ideal mode for dealing with a low-contrast, flat images. Like all of the Blend Modes, you can use this over an entire image or else restrict its effect with a Layer Mask.

    • Good for increasing contrast.
    • Handy for making tonal and colour adjustments.
    • Can be used for creating glow.


    The 10 Best Blend Modes for Photographers: Colour

    7 Colour: adding a hint of it
    Here we’re using a Solid Colour Layer, filled with a deep sepia colour. Although this is, strictly speaking, an Adjustment or Fill Layer, we can still apply a Blend Mode to it.

    By applying the Colour Blend Mode the layer will simply tint the underlying black-and-white background layer without creating too much of a dramatic change. Colour mode does this by calculating the difference between colours.

    You can control the depth and intensity of the tint and prevent it from becoming too overwhelming by adjusting the Opacity of the Blend layer. This mode can delicately enhance colours that you particularly want to draw attention to.

    • Used to tint images.
    • Can be used to apply targeted hand colouring, with the effect being restricted with Layer Masks.
    • Other colours can be applied via multiple Solid Colour layers with a Layer Mask for each.


    The 10 Best Blend Modes for Photographers: Multiply

    8 Multiply
    The Multiply mode does just what its name suggests: it takes the Base and Blend colours and multiplies them. The Multiply mode always darkens images, and is great for darkening colours that are too light, such as the sky in this shot. It’s best when used with a Layer Mask, so you can restrict the areas that are affected.

    • Multiply mode is good for darkening areas that are too light.
    • Use it to increase both detail and colours in the light areas.



    The 10 Best Blend Modes for Photographers: Soft Light

    9 Soft light: adding texture
    By using a Pattern Layer in conjunction with Soft Light mode, you can easily add subtle textures to an image. A Pattern Layer is similar to a Solid Fill and an Adjustment Layer.

    The amount of texture that shows through can be adjusted using the Opacity slider. The Soft Light mode is part of  the Contrast group of Blending Modes. 
It will dodge the highlights and burn the shadows in an image.

    • Perfect for adding subtle textures to images.
    • Can add a subtle enhancement of contrast in an image.



    The 10 Best Blend Modes for Photographers: Hue

    10 Hue
    The Hue Blend Mode is similar to the Saturation mode because it uses the luminance and saturation of the Base but adds in the hue of the Blend layer. This technique can add a tint to the image in the areas of the shot where the saturation is highest.

    The 10 Best Blend Modes for Photographers: Hue

    A particularly useful way to use this mode is for changing the colour of an object in an image. By using the Hue mode with a layer that’s been filled with solid colour, you can restrict a colour change to a specific area by adding a Layer Mask.

    In areas where the Blend colour is a shade of grey – a percentage of saturation – the image will be desaturated. Where the Base is totally grey, the Hue blending mode will have no effect at all.

    • Used mainly for changing colours.
    • Useful for hand-tinting black and white images.

    PAGE 1: What is a Blend Mode?
    PAGE 2: Start using your Blend Modes
    PAGE 3: Get to know the Blend Mode menu
    PAGE 4: The 10 best blends for photographers 1-5
    PAGE 5: The 10 best blends for photographers 6-10


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    Posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2012 at 2:00 am under Photoshop Tutorials, Tutorials.

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