Blending Modes Cheat Sheet

by Kim Jackson

 

The Blending Modes in Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 can help you create custom special effects for your digital scrapbook pages and photos. These modes define how the images and elements on a single Photoshop Layer will interact with those on the Layer below it. This is the perfect tool for blending images with patterns and textures and creating custom digital paper patterns. Here, we'll show you how each Blending Mode will effect a single photo (base image) when combined with a photographed texture (blend image).

Skateboard image by Deena Wuest

Before Blending Modes are applied. Photo by Deena Wuest.

Bark Texture

Bark texture photograph for blending.

How Blending Modes Work

Open both of your photo and texture image in Photoshop Elements 8, then, using the Hand tool, drag the texture image onto the photo.With the texture image in the Layer above the Layer containing the photo, select the Layer containing the texture image. You can then use the Layers Palette fly-up menu to select your Blending Modes and watch them go to work!

Blending Mode Menu Location

Here's how each of the Blending Modes affected our photo:

Blending Mode Effect Altered Image
Dissolve Randomly blends the pixels of your two images, either your base image or your blend image.  Blending Mode: Dissolve
Darken Selects the darker pixels from each image and replaces lighter colored pixels with the darker of the two. This can sometimes result in a new color being created in your blended image.  Blending Mode: Darken
Darker Color Selects the lower color channel values (e.g., RGB values) from both the base and the blend image, and displays those low values. While the results are similar to the Darken mode, this mode will never create a new color.
 Blending Mode: Darker Color
Multiply Looks at the color channel information for each image and multiplies the values to create higher values and, therefore, darker colors.  Blending Mode: Multiply
Color Burn Darkens the color of the base image to reflect the colors in the blend image.  Blending Mode: Color Burn
Linear Burn Decreases the brightness in order to reflect the blend image's colors in the base image  Blending Mode: Linear Burn
Lighten Selects the lighter pixels from each image and replaces darker colored pixels with the lighter of the two. This can sometimes result in a new color being created in your blended image.  Blending Mode: Lighten
Lighter Color Selects the higher color channel values from both the base and blend image, and displays those high values. While the results are similar to Lighten, this mode will never create a new color.
 Blending Mode: Lighter Color
Screen Looks at the color channel information for each image and multiplies the inverse of the values to create lower values and, therefore, lighter colors.  Blending Mode: Screen
Color Dodge Brightens the color of the base image to reflect the colors in the blend image.  Blending Mode: Color Dodge
Linear Dodge Increases the brightness in order to reflect the blend image's colors in the base image.  Blending Mode: Linear Dodge
Overlay Overlays the pixels of the blend image (patterns and colors), while keeping the highlights and shadows of the base image intact. Screens or multiplies the colors depending on the base layer.  Blending Mode: Overlay
Soft Light Darkens or lightens the image's colors with a diffused light.  Blending Mode: Soft Light
Hard Light Darkens or lightens the image's colors with a harsh light.  Blending Mode: Hard Light
Vivid Light Increases or decreases the image's contrast, depending on the colors found in the blend image, to create a burn or dodge effect.  Blending Mode: Vivid Light
Linear Light Increases or decreases the image's brightness, depending on the colors found in the blend image, to create a burn or dodge effect.  Blending Mode: Linear Light
Pin Light Replaces the image's colors, depending on the colors of the blended image.  Blending Mode: Pin Light
Hard Mix Changes colors to basic colors (white, black, red, green, blue, yellow, cyan, and magenta), depending on the colors found in the blended images.  Blending Mode: Hard Mix
Difference Selects the color from the base image and the blend image, and subtracts one color from the other, depending on which has the greater brightness value.  Blending Mode: Difference
Exclusion Creates a lower contrast version of Difference  Blending Mode: Exclusion
Hue Creates new colors using the brightness and saturation of the base image and the hue of the blend image.  Blending Mode: Hue
Saturation Creates new colors using the brightness and hue of the base image and the saturation of the blend image.  Blending Mode: Saturation
Luminosity Creates new colors using the hue and saturation of the base image and the brightness of the blend image.  Blending Mode: Luminosity
Color Creates new colors using the brightness of the base image and the hue saturation of the blend image.  Blending Mode: Color

For more information on overlaying textures onto photos and to see a few instances of the Overlay mode in action, visit the Tips & Tricks blog on Club Creating Keepsakes.

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