This video explains all 27 Photoshop blending modes

Apr 10, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

This video explains all 27 Photoshop blending modes

Apr 10, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Most of us use different Photoshop blending modes to achieve different effects. Many tutorials suggest which more to use to achieve a certain look, but you have to admit – they rarely state what exactly the blend mode does to the layers. This comprehensive and thorough video from Photoshop Training Channel explains them all! It explores each of the 27 Photoshop blending modes. It tells you exactly how they work, but also offers some useful tricks and shortcuts you can use.

YouTube video

This video is a part of the course named Mastering Color in Photoshop. Frankly, this is the first video I’ve seen that goes into such depth with blending modes, and although it’s lengthy, I really love it. I still remember my initial excitement when I first discovered blending modes. Now I know what look each of them gives in some situations, but I have to admit I still have no idea how exactly they work.

Basically, blending mode takes pixels from the blend layer and blends them with the corresponding pixels of the base layer to create a new effect. You can apply it to any item in the layers panel, including text layers, adjustment layers and groups. You can use the blending modes to create new looks of the image, and always return to adjust fill, opacity, or switch to a different blending mode.

It’s important to remember some terms in order to better understand the theory:

  • Base is the original color of the layer; the layer found directly below the Blend layer;
  • Blend: the colors applied to the base colors. This is the layer with a blend mode applied to it
  • Result: the resulting color after mixing the base and the blend colors

In other words, Base + Blend = Result, and the result depends on the algorithm or blending mode you select. There are 27 of them and they are divided into 6 categories: Normal, Darken, Lighten, Contrast, Inversion, and Component:

It’s good to note that brush tool also has blending modes, and it even has two of them that are not included in the Layers panel. However, the video focuses on the blending modes for layers, and they work in a similar fashion with other tools. They are also explained near the end of the video, under “Behind” and “Clear.”

In the video, you will see the base layer of an image of Venice, and different adjustment layers applied to it, along with different blending modes. There’s a useful tip for switching through the blending modes – press V to select the Move Tool, and then press “Shift +” or “Shift –” to go up and down through blending modes. I won’t go in-depth on each of the blending modes, as you have it all well explained in the video. I suggest you watch it, and if you’re particularly interested in specific blending modes, here is the content of the video:

  • Normal Blending Mode Category
  • Normal (9:18)
  • Dissolve (9:57)
  • Lighten Blending Mode Category
  • Lighten (16:28)
  • Screen (17:05)
  • Color Dodge (18:10)
  • Linear Dodge (Add) (18:38)
  • Lighter Color (19:06)
  • Inversion Blending Mode Category
  • Difference (27:06)
  • Exclusion (28:22)
  • Subtract (28:41)
  • Divide (29:14)
  • “Transparency Shapes Layer” (37:21)
  • Blending Mode Keyboard Shortcuts (39:29)

This is a great in-depth look into the blending modes. Even if you don’t memorize it all, you can always use this article and this video as a reference. It will help you get precisely the look you’re looking to achieve, and I believe it will expand your knowledge immensely.

[Blending Modes Explained – Complete Guide to Photoshop Blend Modes via SLR Lounge]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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One response to “This video explains all 27 Photoshop blending modes”

  1. Mark de Cruz Avatar
    Mark de Cruz

    Finally