Tutorial #4: Layer Blending Modes Explained - Ford Focus Forum, Ford Focus ST Forum, Ford Focus RS Forum
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:59 PM   #1
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Tutorial #4: Layer Blending Modes Explained

If you've ever looked at the layers palette (Window > Layers), surely you've seen the various drop-down menus and opacity boxes. Perhaps most confusing to users are the Layer Blending Modes, the top-left drop-down menu in this palette. These "blending modes" are useful in that they can achieve effects other most methods cannot. This tutorial focuses on these blending modes, describing what they do, and what you can do with them.

NORMAL: Basically self-explanatory. What this does is that there are no visible changes to the layer it is applied to. Only the Opacity is changed, and that is controlled using the drop-down slider to the right of the Blending Mode drop-down. Useful when creating just about anything, from changes in car color to multi-layered text.

DISSOLVE: A neat blending mode. What dissolve does is gives the layer a "noisy" look. At 100% opacity,there won't seem to be much change. But drop the opacity some, and you'll begin to notice the random pixels dissapearing, to create something similar to a granite effect. Especially useful for creating these granite effects.

DARKEN: A different kind of blending mode, Darken replicates the layer below, and changes the brightness, so the layer it is applied to looks darker.

MULTIPLY: Basically, a darker version of Darken.

COLOR BURN: An alternative to Darken, this mode changes the contrast, as opposed to the brightness.

LINEAR BURN: Again, a darker version of Color Burn.

LIGHTEN: The opposite of the Darken mode, this mode is somewhere between the layer below and the layer it is applied to. Almost like a Darken with the brightness upped considerably.

SCREEN: A lighter version of Lighten.

COLOR DODGE: A version of Lighten with just the Contrast upped somewhat.

LINEAR DODGE: An even lighter version of Color Dodge.

OVERLAY: Basically, a mode that replicates the layer below, and gives it just a small amount of brightness.

SOFT LIGHT: This mode also replicates the layer below, but gives it an even smaller amount of brightness than Overlay.

HARD LIGHT: This mode gives the replicated layer a little bit more brightness than Overlay.

VIVID LIGHT: This mode givesthe replicated layer a small amount of contrast.

LINEAR LIGHT: This mode replicates the layer below and gives it very small amounts of brightness and contrast.

PIN LIGHT: This mode replicates the layer below, and gives it tiny amounts of brightness with small amounts of contrast.

DIFFERENCE: This is where the modes get exciting. One of my favorite blending modes, this will cause the layer to have a subtracted color effect. Each time you do it successively, the results will never be the same. Very useful for creating psychedelic backgrounds for custom desktop wallpapers.

EXCLUSION: A lighter version of the Difference mode.

HUE: The layer will appear darker than with Normal.

SATURATION: No visible changes from Hue mode.

COLOR: Again, no visible changes from either Hue mode or Saturation mode.

LUMINOSITY: Changes the luminosity of the layer. The Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity blending modes are the least used blending modes in Photoshop.

Now that you know about the blending modes, try them out and post some of your stuff!

Here's an image I created for this tutorial. The left side shows the first application of a Rainbow gradient (Gradient tool). The right side shows the result of two more "coats" of Rainbow gradient, showing the DIFFERENCE MODE. Each time, it subtracts the overlying color from the underlying color, and the resulting color is shown. I'm really not sure how to describe this, you have to see it for yourself.


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Old 06-25-2004, 11:46 PM   #2
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Here is another image I created for this tutorial.

The top row shows the gradients I used to demonstrate the effects of DIFFERENCE MODE on in different situations. The first is a standard Rainbow Gradient. The second is a Yellow, Violet, Orange, Blue (YVOB) Gradient. The third is a Chrome Gradient. And the fourth is a Copper Gradient.

The second rows shows the results of applying a Difference Mode gradient. The first is a Rainbow Gradient, covered with a YVOB Gradient. The second is a YVOB Gradient, covered with a Chrome Gradient. The third shows a Chrome Gradient covered by a Copper Gradient. The last one is a combination of a COpper Gradient with a Rainbow Gradient overlay.

The last row shows the final two results of Difference Mode Gradient tests. The first is a combination Rainbow/Chrome Gradient, and the second is a YVOB/Copper Gradient combination.

Blending Modes used for Gradients are applied using the Gradient's Options toolbar (Window > Options). The modes are listed in a drop-down menu near the middle (on a 1024x768 screen).

So, as you can see, no matter what you do, DIFFERENCE MODE can very exciting to use, as evidenced in the mutlitude of colors and shades. Experiment with Photoshop's Blending Modes, and post your best creations!
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