How to achieve a clean and fast edit in Photoshop using blending modes
Photoshop blending modes can be confusing if you don't know what they do or even where to find them.
Photoshop is a massive program. When you first download and open the program it can be overwhelming; not knowing where to start, or what anything does can be discouraging.
So today, we are going to talk about Blending modes. More specifically, we are going to talk about the 3 blending modes that we use the most. The blending modes are broken up into groups: Normal, Darken, Lighten, and Contrast. There are other blending modes and groups, but for this post, we are going to only be talking about a few of these.
Soft Light -This mode darkens or lightens the the photo depending on the colors in the photos. If the color in a photo is lighter than 50% grey, it will lighten the area (kind of like dodging the area). If the color is darker than 50% grey it will make that color darker (kind of like burning that area). This blending mode can produce a nice contrast pop to your image. Just be aware that it can be overpowering at 100% often. So make sure you have duplicated your layer (command/ctrl+J) and decrease the opacity to taste.
Multiply - This mode will darken your overall image. When you duplicate your layer (so you have a duplicate of your image), this mode will look at those colors and multiply the base image (your original image) by your blend image (the duplicate layer). If you chose a solid color instead of a duplicate of your image, it would do the same. This is great to tone down your image if it is too bright in certain spots or overall. It is also great to use on the background of the image to add some pop. If you are a more advanced user, you can use a mask and just use Multiply on areas where you want a lot of deep, rich color.
Screen - This will lighten your overall image. This is great for adding some light and brightness to parts of your image or the entire image.
To access your blending modes you need a new layer. This can be done in different ways, duplicating your background, using an adjustment layer, a solid color layer, etc. Today we are going to be just duplicating your image layer.
To do that open your image and hold down Command + J to duplicate your layer. Then choose the blending mode you want. Play around with the different blending modes to see what each of them do.
You will also want to add a mask to this layer, so you can brush off the effect where you do not want it. Sometimes blending modes can mess up skin tone or be too dark or too bright, and you want to get rid of it in just one area. A white mask is great for this. To brush off the effect, you will want to choose a brush the opposite color of the mask. If the mask is white (showing everything you have done) you will need a black brush to conceal the areas of the image you don't want showing. If the mask is black (hiding what you did) and you need to brush on the effect, you will need a white brush. Make sure the lower the hardness of the brush to 0%.
You can then duplicate your layers more then once to achieve the look you are going for. You can see where I brushed on and off the different layers to get my final edit. (I changed the name of my layers to show you what blending modes I chose for those particular layers.) By default they will say something along the lines of background copy)
Now that you know a little bit about Blending Modes, where to find them, and how to use them, you can easily start to apply this lesson to more situations. Changing the blending mode on different layers or groups of our actions can affect the whole look of the action and give you a more customized look. Try it next time you're looking to switch things up a little! We offer tons of fast editing solutions in our STORE.