Q&A: Blend­ing modes

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents - Terri Cal­loway, Canada

An­swer

Alix replies

Next to the Undo but­ton and lay­ers, Blend­ing modes are one of the most pow­er­ful tools in the dig­i­tal tool­box. In most cases, you’ll prob­a­bly just find your­self flip­ping through them un­til you find the ef­fect you want, ex­per­i­ment­ing with the un­ex­pected. How­ever, in some cases it’s good to know ex­actly what some of the more com­monly used modes do and learn when to use them, to help you make cre­at­ing a dig­i­tal piece a lit­tle bit eas­ier. And that’s ex­actly what I’m go­ing to do in this short ar­ti­cle.

The blend­ing modes in Pho­to­shop op­er­ate by in­ter­act­ing with the pix­els that are placed be­neath them and are split up into a few dif­fer­ent groups, de­pend­ing on their ef­fect. The main three groups of Blend­ing modes that you will likely work with are the Darken, Con­trast and Lighten groups.

Of these, the main Blend­ing modes that I used for my ex­am­ple cre­ated in Pho­to­shop are Mul­ti­ply, Over­lay, and Screen, re­spec­tively. Once you get a feel for how these blend­ing modes in­ter­act with your piece you can find any num­ber of uses to make your process eas­ier.

Adding a sub­tle Mul­ti­ply layer made with a low Opac­ity Soft brush at the end can be a great way to push your shad­ows and forms.

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