Q&A: Blending modes
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.