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Add Flair with Photoshop CS5 Blending Modes

You can use blending modes in Adobe Photoshop Creative Suites 5 to add flair to the traditional opaque paint. Use blending modes to paint highlights or shadows that allow details to show through from the underlying image or to colorize a desaturated image. You access the blending modes for paint tools from the Options bar.

This list describes the available blending modes:

  • Normal: Paints normally, with no interaction with underlying colors.

  • Dissolve: Gives a random replacement of the pixels, depending on the opacity at any pixel location.

  • Behind: Edits or paints only on the transparent part of a layer.

  • Darken: Replaces only the areas that are lighter than the blend color. Areas darker than the blend color don’t change.

  • Multiply: Creates an effect similar to drawing on the page with magic markers. Also looks like colored film that you see on theater lights.

  • Color Burn: Darkens the base color to reflect the blend color. If you’re using white, no change occurs.

  • Linear Burn: Looks at the color information in each channel and darkens the base color to reflect the blending color by decreasing the brightness.

  • Darker Color: Compares the total of all channel values for the blend and base color and displays the lower value color.

  • Lighten: Replaces only the areas darker than the blend color. Areas lighter than the blend color don’t change.

  • Screen: Multiplies the inverse of the underlying colors. The resulting color is always a lighter color.

  • Color Dodge: Brightens the underlying color to reflect the blend color. If you’re using black, there’s no change.

  • Linear Dodge: Looks at the color information in each channel and brightens the base color to reflect the blending color by increasing the brightness.

  • Lighter Color: Compares the total of all channel values for the blend and base color and displays the higher-value color.

  • Overlay: Multiplies or screens the colors, depending on the base color.

  • Soft Light: Darkens or lightens colors, depending on the blend color. The effect is similar to shining a diffused spotlight on the artwork.

  • Hard Light: Multiplies or screens colors, depending on the blend color. The effect is similar to shining a harsh spotlight on the artwork.

  • Vivid Light: Burns or dodges colors by increasing or decreasing the contrast.

  • Linear Light: Burns or dodges colors by decreasing or increasing the brightness.

  • Pin Light: Replaces colors, depending on the blend color.

  • Hard Mix: Paints strokes that have no effect with other Hard Mix paint strokes. Use this mode when you want no interaction between the colors.

  • Difference: Subtracts either the blend color from the base color or the base color from the blend color, depending on which one has the greater brightness value. The effect is similar to a color negative.

  • Exclusion: Creates an effect similar to, but with less contrast than, Difference mode.

  • Hue: Applies the hue (color) of the blend object to underlying objects but keeps the underlying shading or luminosity intact.

  • Saturation: Applies the saturation of the blend color but uses the luminance and hue of the base color.

  • Color: Applies the blend object’s color to underlying objects but preserves the gray levels in the artwork. This mode is helpful for tinting objects or changing their colors.

  • Luminosity: Creates a resulting color with the hue and saturation of the base color and the luminance of the blend color. This mode is the opposite of Color mode.

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