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Introduction to Blending Modes

Introduction to Blending Modes

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Published by: 'mCharity Tonii on Jan 15, 2012
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09/03/2014

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Introduction to Blending Modes
Photoshop Elements Blending modes
What Are Layer Blend Modes?
Layer blend modes provide us with different ways for a layer to interact with, or "blend" with, the layeror layers below it. Without layer blend modes, the only real way we have of blending layers together isby reducing the opacity (or fill) of a layer, which usually doesn't give us very interesting results. But withblend modes, not only do they unlock a world of creative possibilities, especially when we combinethem with layer masks, they can also be extremely helpful when it comes to editing, retouching andrestoring photos, and they can save us a whole lot of time.You don't need to know everything there is to know about layer blend modes in order to use and benefitfrom them in your daily work. As of Photoshop Elements 6 there are 24 blend modes in total (includingthe default "Normal" mode). With names like 'Dissolve", "Color Dodge", "Linear Burn", "Difference", and"Exclusion", it's a bit overwhelmingHere's a little secret. You don't need to know everything there is to know about all the different blendmodes. In fact, when it comes to day-to-day photo editing work, there's really only five (well maybe 6)blend modes you need to know. That's right, not 24, just 5!.What are they? Multiply, Screen, Overlay, Color, and Luminosity. Understand how and when to usethese five blend modes and your life of photo editing with Photoshop Elements becomes a whole loteasier.
Elements Editing Mode
To use Element's blending modes you need to be using Element's
Edit
panel
Introduction to Blending Modes - 1
 
Where to Access the Blending Modes
On the bottom right of the Element's window, you should find the
Layers
palette. By default, theblending mode is set to
Normal
.
Note: You can only use the blending modes if you have more than one layer in your image.If you are in Edit mode and cannot see the 
Layers 
Palette, go to the menu 
Window 
Layers 
and make sure the 
Layers 
option is checked.
Introduction to Blending Modes - 2 
 
What are the blend modes
When you click on the small, down-pointing arrow beside the word
Normal
and the drop-down menuappears, showing you a list of all the blend modes, it may seem at first like there's no rhyme or reasonto it, especially when you're not sure how each of them works.If you'll notice in the color coded diagram, you'll see that the blend modes are actually divided up intodifferent groups. The top two -
Normal
and
Dissolve
, make up the first group. Below them,
Darken
,
Multiply
,
Color Burn
, and
Linear Burn
make up the second group, and so on. There's six groups intotal. The image above shows you how the blending modes are grouped by function.This mostly works. However, the
Normal
and
Dissolve
blend modes have absolutely nothing to do witheach other. Not to worry. You could easily go your whole life never using the Dissolve mode, since it'spretty much useless, especially when it comes to photo editing, whereas
Normal
is the default blendmode that all layers are automatically set to.
Introduction to Blending Modes - 3 

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