How to Use Lighting Blend Modes in Photoshop CS6

In Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6, this group of blend modes plays with the lighting in your layers. Some of these blend modes, such as Pin Light, are reserved for the occasional wacky special effect. The following list and images explain and show each mode:

  • Overlay: Multiplies the dark pixels in the top layer and screens the light pixels in the underlying layers. Enhances the contrast and saturation of colors.

    [Credit: © iStockphoto/Liliaboas, Image #2819705 and kertlis, Image #6565377]
    Credit: © iStockphoto/Liliaboas, Image #2819705 and kertlis, Image #6565377
  • Soft Light: Darkens the dark pixels and lightens the light pixels. If the pixels on the top layer are lighter than 50% gray, the lighter pixels are lightened further. If the pixels on the top layer are darker than 50% gray, the mode darkens pixels. Blending with black or white results in darker or lighter pixels. It's like shining a soft spotlight on the image.

    [Credit: © iStockphoto/Liliboas Image #2819705 and kertlis, Image #6565377]
    Credit: © iStockphoto/Liliboas Image #2819705 and kertlis, Image #6565377
  • Hard Light: Multiplies the dark pixels and screens the light pixels. It's like shining a bright, hard spotlight on the image. If the pixels on the top layer are lighter than 50% gray, they’re screened. If the pixels on the top layer are darker than 50% gray, the mode multiplies the pixels. You can use this mode to add highlights and shadows to an image.

    [Credit: © iStockphoto/Liliboas Image #2819705 and kertlis, Image #6565377]
    Credit: © iStockphoto/Liliboas Image #2819705 and kertlis, Image #6565377
  • Vivid Light: If the pixels on the top layer are darker than 50% gray, this mode burns (or darkens) the colors by increasing the contrast. If the pixels on the top layer are lighter than 50% gray, the mode dodges (or lightens) the colors by decreasing the contrast. Vivid Light is a combination of Color Burn and Color Dodge.

    [Credit: © iStockphoto/Liliboas Image #2819705 and kertlis, Image #6565377]
    Credit: © iStockphoto/Liliboas Image #2819705 and kertlis, Image #6565377
  • Linear Light: If the pixels on the top layer are darker than 50% gray, the mode burns (or darkens) the colors by decreasing the brightness. If the pixels on the top layer are lighter than 50% gray, the mode dodges (or lightens) the colors by increasing the brightness. It's a combination of Linear Burn and Linear Dodge.

    [Credit: © iStockphoto/ Liliboas Image #2819705 and Kertlis, Image #6565377]
    Credit: © iStockphoto/ Liliboas Image #2819705 and Kertlis, Image #6565377
  • Pin Light: Replaces the colors of pixels, depending on the colors in the top layer. If the pixels on the top layer are darker than 50% gray, the mode replaces pixels darker than those on the top layer and doesn’t change lighter pixels.

    If the pixels on the top layer are lighter than 50% gray, the mode replaces the pixels that are lighter than those pixels on the top layer and doesn’t change pixels that are darker. Pin Light is a combination of Darken and Lighten and it's useful for special effects.

    [Credit: © iStockphoto/ Liliboas, Image #2819705 and kertlis, Image #6565377]
    Credit: © iStockphoto/ Liliboas, Image #2819705 and kertlis, Image #6565377
  • Hard Mix: Similar to Vivid Light, but it reduces the colors to a total of eight — cyan, magenta, yellow, black, red, green, blue, and white. Although the results depend on the mix of existing colors on the top and bottom layers, this mode usually creates a highly posterized effect.

    [Credit: © iStockphoto/ Liliboas, Image #2819705 and kertlis, Image #6565377]
    Credit: © iStockphoto/ Liliboas, Image #2819705 and kertlis, Image #6565377
  • Add a Comment
  • Print
  • Share
blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement

Inside Dummies.com

Dummies.com Sweepstakes

Win $500. Easy.