Choosing a blending mode in Photoshop is frankly one of the coolest effects that I've seen in a long time. And frankly with every iteration of Photoshop, Adobe raises the bar again and again with what you can do with blending modes. Blending modes allows you to mix pixel colors in different interesting ways. And I want to show you how blending modes work. And in order to show that to you, I'm going to use layers. You can see here on my layers' palette that I have my apple floating on transparency on one layer over the background image which is my dandelion. Notice when I have this particular layer selected, one of my options is this pull down menu with many different options for different blending modes. Adobe would have us think about blending modes in this way, and it does make a good deal of sense. There is a base color and this is the original color of the image. In this case, the original color is my red apple with my yellow dandelion in the background The blend color in this case is going to be the red apple, and the result color. The result color will be whatever happens to the apple reacting with the background color pixels when I choose a different blending mode. So there are several different blending modes to choose from, and essentially what you need to know is that they are a complex mathematical calculation based on the pixel's brightness value and color information, interacting with other pixels. So in the case of layers, this particular layer will be interacting in a different way with colored pixels underneath it. Before I demonstrate this, I do want to point out that these blending modes are available in many other tools. So the normal blending mode is the default-blending mode, and it looks just like it sounds. It creates a normal type of an effect. We also have dissolve blending mode, and notice when I choose that, it creates a pixilated kind of edge effect. The darkened blending mode will let whichever pixels between my two layers, in this case whichever pixels are darker will be the ones that show up. So you can see that right here with my bright highlight of the apple, is becoming transparent showing through to the background image. And one reason why I'm showing this to you in layers, is that I can move my apple layer around and you can see the different effects that take place when I'm choosing this particular blending mode. Multiply will always create a darker effect - basically it will multiply the brightness values of your source color and the blend color. We also have some different burn type of options, and many of these options really don't have a clear explanation. They are a complex mathematical types of calculations being done on these pixels. So I think the most obvious way to demonstrate this is to simply try it out and see the types of effects that you get. If you want a very intense scientific explanation of how these work, I suggest that you look at the Adobe Photoshop help. Screen is the opposite of multiply, and it will divide the brightness values of your source color and the base color - generally creating a brighter type of effect. Sometimes I use overlay - it can create a nice semi-transparent effect, while maintaining some of the color information. Difference and exclusion can create some very interesting color effects as well. And at the very bottom of this list of different blending modes we have some blending modes, which seem to make sense particularly if we have our color palette up. For instance if I choose the hue blending mode, I understand that what it's doing is it's using the hue information in my apple only. So, notice it's maintaining the brightness value and the saturation information, but using the hue of my apple layer. Saturation will use the saturation component of the pixels in my apple layer, and you can see how that looks - particularly if I drag it over to an area that's not very saturated in the background image. Color will use the hue and saturation component of the apple layer. And finally luminosity will use the brightness values of my apple information. And, so notice when I drag it over to an area that has a different color, the hue information from my background layer is coming through but the brightness values of the apple is being maintained. I'll go back and choose normal. And I want to point out, as I mentioned earlier, that if I choose another tool such as my paintbrush tool here, (and I'm just going to go ahead and turn off my apple layer and target the background layer), one of my options with using the paintbrush tool is I can choose immediately a different blending mode. Frankly, if I am going to choose an effect like this, I'm almost always going to put it on its own empty layer. Just create an empty layer here, make the tools blending mode normal. And then from my layers' palette, choose the blending mode that I want. And this way I can maintain all my information in different layers. So if I don't like this effect at all, I can simply hide the eyeball or delete the layer. And of course we are going to be talking about how to manage layers in the section on layers in great detail.
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