Posts tagged "Blend Modes"

April 15, 2014

Adding Adjustment Layers in Photoshop

Clicking on the adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layer’s panel quickly adds an adjustment layer while bypassing the New Adjustment Layer dialog box.  However, when adding Gradient and Solid Color Fill layers, I often want the option to change the blend mode of the layer (before choosing the colors). Fortunately, Option + (Mac) | Alt  + (Win) clicking the icon will display the Adjustment Layer’s dialog box where I can quickly make the changes I need.

5:17 AM Permalink
February 18, 2014

“The Art of Photoshop Compositing” Now Live on!

I’m really excited to announce that my new class: The Art of Photoshop Compositing is now live  on! 


“Join Julieanne Kost as she walks you through her creative thought process and explains how she transforms concepts and raw images into entirely new works of art using Adobe Photoshop. Discover how to select the images you need to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Master the tools used in compositing, including adjustment layers, masking, blending, and Smart Objects, so that the technology doesn’t get in the way of expressing your creative vision. Learn how to adjust scale and perspective and manipulate texture and focus to help viewers temporarily suspend their disbelief long enough to enter your world.”

Topics include:

  • What makes a good composite?
  • Refining your story
  • Composing using the basic principles of design
  • Customizing your Photoshop workspace
  • Preparing elements from your source images
  • Adjusting color, tone, balance, and perspective
  • Mastering the Pen tool
  • Unifying with texture, focus, leading lines, and structure

I look forward to hearing your feedback!

5:00 AM Permalink
May 4, 2012

Working with Layers in Photoshop CS6

There are several new features in Photoshop CS6 that make working with layers more efficient.

• In previous versions of Photoshop, we could select the Move tool (or the Marquee, Lasso, Quick Select etc. – basically any tool that didn’t have an Opacity setting), and use the numeric keys on the keyboard to change the opacity of a layer. Tapping one number assigns the percentage of the tapped number (1 = 10%, 2= 20% etc. and 0 = 100%). Tapping two numbers quickly will give you that exact amount (5 + 4 = 54%). In Photoshop CS6, tapping 0 + 0 quickly will set the Layer’s opacity to 0 (zero). This works with either a single layer or multiple layers selected.

• With multiple layers selected, you can now change the Blend Mode for all selected layers.

• If a layer is targeted (selected) in the Layers panel, but hidden (the eye is toggled off) the Opacity and Blend Mode are now visible.

• With multiple layers selected, you can now lock all selected layers by tapping the lock icon.

• With multiple layers selected, Command + J (Mac) | Control + J (Win) will duplicate the selected layers. This shortcut works for Layer Groups as well.

• With Multiple layers selected, Control -click (Mac) / Right Mouse -click (Win) on the eye icon in the Layers panel to change the color label of all selected layers at once.

5:40 AM Permalink
June 15, 2011

Video Tutorial – Creating Transparent Logos for Watermarks and Overlays in Photoshop

In this Episode of The Complete Picture (Creating Transparent Logos for Watermarks and Overlays in Photoshop) I will demonstrate how to create a single vector logo out of multiple type and shape layers, specify a consistent size, apply a style and save the entire creation as a Tool Preset! In addition, I will show you how to add a scan of your signature to any photograph with a simple change of a layer blend mode.




4:26 AM Permalink
May 27, 2011

Avoiding Color Shifts While Using Curves and Levels in Photoshop

Changing the blend mode of a Curves (or Levels) adjustment layer on the Layers panel from Normal to Luminosity will restrict the adjustment to only change the luminosity (grayscale) value of the image, thereby eliminating an color shift that might otherwise take place.


4:50 AM Permalink
February 3, 2011

Video Tutorial – Using Color to Add Emotional Impact to a Photograph

In this Episode of the Complete Picture  (Using Color to Add Emotional Impact to a Photograph) Julieanne discusses how the addition of color as well as  supporting imagery can  help reinforce the mood and message of a composite image that a single photograph may fail to do on it’s own. Discover how to composite images through the use of masking, blend modes, smart objects, gradients and edge effects.

6:25 PM Permalink
January 19, 2011

Adding a Color Wash to Multiple Layers Using a Layer Style

To add a color wash to multiple layers, create a new layer and fill it with any color (we will hide the color in a minute but you need the layer to be filled with something in order for this to work). Click the “Add a Layer Style” icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose “Blending Options” from the list. In the Layer Style dialog, in the Advanced Blending area  set the Fill opacity slider to 0 (zero).  Click Gradient Overlay to display it’s options, Set the Blend Mode to Color and choose a gradient preset (by clicking on the small downward facing triangle to the right of the gradient) or create your own (by clicking in the gradient area and using the Gradient Editor). Of course you can always experiment with other blend modes such as Soft Light, Hue and Multiply, Color is simply a starting point.

5:11 AM Permalink
January 18, 2011

Adding a Color Wash to a Single Layer Using a Layer Style

To add a color wash (or color overlay) to a layer using a Gradient Layer Style, simply select the layer and click the “Add a Layer Style” icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and select Gradient Overlay from the list. (Note: the Layer Style must be applied to a layer, not the Background, to turn the background into a layer, double click the word Background.) In the Layer Style dialog, in the Gradient Overlay area, set the Blend Mode to Color and choose a gradient preset by clicking on the small downward facing triangle to the right of the gradient or create your own (by clicking in the gradient area and using the Gradient Editor). The advantage of using a gradient Layer Style over a Gradient Layer, is that this “effect” can be saved as a style (by clicking the New Style button in the Layer Style dialog) and then applied to any other image with a single click (using the Styles panel).

5:10 AM Permalink
December 14, 2010

Adding Traditional Darkroom Edge Effects

When burning down edges in a traditional darkroom, the corners were often affected more than the sides (due to overlap). To achieve this effect in Photoshop, create a  new layer and set it’s blend mode to Multiply on the Layers panel. Then, select the Gradient tool and select the “foreground to transparent” gradient from the gradient picker (in the Options bar). Select a light to medium gray as your foreground color (or select black and lower the opacity of the Gradient tool) and set the blend mode for the Gradient tool to Multiply. Position the gradient tool at the outside edge of the image and click-drag the gradient into the image as far as the burned edge is desired. Repeat for each edge.


The first illustration is of the original image. The second and third illustrations both show the darkening (burning) of the edges (both use a separate layer with their blend mode set to Multiply in the Layers panel and 50% gray as the foreground color). However, in the center illustration the blend mode for the Gradient tool is also set to Multiply - notice how the corners are darker than the sides. In the third illustration the blend mode of the Gradient tool was set to Normal - as a result, the corners and sides are all the same value. Obviously the edges are exaggerated here for demonstration purposes - to reduce the effect, you would simply decrease the opacity of the layer on the Layers palette.

5:39 AM Permalink
November 19, 2010

Blending Multiple Layers as One

If you have multiple layers in a Layer Group, instead of setting each layer’s blend mode individually, try setting the blend mode for the Layer Group. This will treat all of the layers in the Group as if they were “merged” together, then blend them as one.


In the first example each individual layer has it’s blend mode is set to Multiply. In the second example, each individual layer has it’s blend mode is set to Normal, but the Layer Group is set to Multiply - as you can see the results are very different.

5:10 AM Permalink
November 18, 2010

Restricting the Effects of Adjustment Layers

A great way to ensure that a change you make to an image is only affecting the tonal (not color) values is to set the blend mode to Luminosity. For example, if you have an area in an image that is too dark and you want to lighten it without changing the colors, add a Curves Adjustment Layer and set the blend mode to Luminosity. Then raise or lower the curve as necessary – without affecting the color values. This can be especially helpful when dodging or burning skin-tones. If you want to affect the colors and not the tonal values, simply change the blend mode to color.

4:37 AM Permalink
November 17, 2010

Additional Uses for the Multiply Blend Mode

The Multiply blend mode is a good technique to combine line art with textured, alternate background. For example, if  you have an original pen and ink drawing, you can scan it in, place the layer on top of a new background or on top of different colors and then set it’s blend mode (on the layers palette) to Multiply to combine the images. I’ve even seen people apply “temporary” tattoos on photographs using this technique.


Here are a few examples of when I have found the Multiply Blend mode useful in my own work. Although none of the blended layers are "line art", they are all high contrast photographs with white backgrounds (or almost white) which blend easily. The first is a photograph taken in the Forbidden City in Beijing China composited with a motion blur image of the ocean, the second were bats flying in Austin, Texas right before sundown (composited over a second photo of the overpass), the third, a photograph of a target at a shooting range, multiplied with a paper texture with the Chicago skyline painted below, and the fourth a silhouette of trees in the fog in central California multiplied against a prison wall in New Mexico being lit by window light.

4:57 AM Permalink
November 16, 2010

The Pass Through Blend Mode

Layer Groups have a unique blend mode called Pass Through which is only visible when a Layer Group is targeted in the Layers panel.   It allows any adjustment layers, blend modes, advanced blending options, opacity and fill values applied to layers within a Group, to affect layers below the Group in the layers panel.  To restrict the blending of layers to only happen within a Group, change the Layer Group’s blend mode to Normal.


In this example, I added a Black and White Adjustment Layer to make the two layers - the hat and coat and tie, in the Layer Group to display a black and white. However, because the Layer Group’s blend mode was set to it’s default “Pass Through” blend mode, the Black and White Adjustment layer passed through the bottom of the Layer Group and affected the Background layer as well. Changing the Layer Group’s blend mode to “Normal” restricted the Black and White Adjustment Layer to only affect those layers within the Layer Group - allowing the Background layer to appear in color.

5:51 AM Permalink
November 15, 2010

The Sixth Group of Blend Modes

The sixth group of Blend modes have no neutral colors. They work in a hue, saturation, luminance space that is similar to but different from both HSB and HSL. In particular, while hue is the same in all three spaces, all of the spaces define saturation and brightness/lightness/luminance somewhat differently. All of the combinations described below are subject to clipping to keep the values in the valid RGB range.

• Hue – Creates a result color with the luminance and saturation of the base color and the hue of the blend color.

• 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 that has no (0) saturation (gray) causes no change.

• 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. Color yields a result with the same hue and saturation as the upper color and the luminance of the lower color.

• Luminosity – Creates a result color with the hue and saturation of the base color and the luminance of the blend color. This mode is the inverse of Color mode.

One of the common uses of the Color blend mode is for selective coloring effects using the painting tools, gradient fill layers and layer effects. For example, you can select the paint brush, set its blend mode to color and paint directly on an image (but this isn’t very flexible if you make a mistake). For more flexibility, you can choose to create a new layer and set it’s blend mode to Color and set the paint brush’s blend mode to Normal to paint any part of an image.


With the Color blend mode I find that I’m often having to guess how the color will appear (on top of the original image). Sometimes the resulting color is much lighter or darken than you may expect based on the content of the layers underneath. So, I find the following method a bit more predictable: Start by converting the image to B/W, then select the area that you want to add color to and then choose Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. In the New Layer dialog box, set the Mode to Color and click OK. Then, you can interactively select the right color in the Color Picker - taking the guesswork out of the process. I also find that the Hue blend modes works better at times so be sure to give that a try.

4:46 AM Permalink
November 12, 2010

The Fifth Group of Blend Modes

Difference, Exclusion and Subtract have a neutral color of black. This means that black as a blend color will have no effect on the result color. The Divide blend mode has a Neutral color of white.

• 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.

• 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.  The effect is a bit like using one image to solarize the other.

• Divide and Subtract – Both are intended for us with calibrated imaging however interesting creative effects are also possible. For astronomy and microscopy:  you want to subtract background values (dark frames, factoring out hot pixels, etc.), and divide by a flat field image (removing vignetting and other lens defects, bringing insensitive pixels back up to normal range, etc.). You can remove lens falloff even if you have something that Lens Correction can’t handle (like mirror lenses, dust on the lens, etc.). Of course you can also use them for HDR toning tricks (or experimentation). Martin Evening has posted an excellent tutorial on these two new blend modes. Click here to read more…

The first

The first image illustrates the leaf layer with it's blend mode set to Difference. The second illustration shows the result of Exclusion, then Subtract and Divide.

5:31 AM Permalink