Want to get a good grasp of Photoshop’s Blend modes? Here’s an 8-minute crash course on the subject by the Photoshop Training Channel. They may be one of the least understood features, but blending modes can be extremely useful when creating composites and retouching.
So what do blending modes actually do? They take pixels from a single layer and blend them with pixels from another layer, and subsequently create a “completely new effect.”
Without blending modes, the only practical way to blend two layers is by adjusting the Opacity or Fill of the layers in question. Luckily for us, there are 27 blending modes you can utilize to tell Photoshop to perform a blend operation against each individual pixel, and that opens up a world of possibilities. Each of the blend modes is sorted into one of 6 different categories:
It’s important to visualize blending modes and how they work properly, however. The layer you apply a blend mode to is itself being applied to the base layer. The result is a mix of the base and the blend layers.
Check out the full video above to get a great overview of what blending modes can do for your post production work. And if that video whets your appetite, Photoshop Training Channel also has a much longer 41-minute video which explains each of the individual modes in depth: