Blending Modes

Each Result is Different

Blending Modes are divided into sections, each section has a purpose. The Blending Mode reacts to the images colour and contracts for Bending, therefore each images that uses Blending Modes is different result. Each Blending Mode is completely controllable.

We all know the basics Soft Light, Overlay and Multiply as we use them for different effects already.

Many people never use any others. The best way to see results of each one, is to play. Try them out, see what happens if... make your own record. learning Blending Mode is a key to digital Creativity, it's a skill that needs to be on hand when you're working. Simply scrolling down the modes until you like something isn't enough.

Blending Mode Sections

Each has its own use

Every Mix of images will create a different image.

Normal - Original Image

Darken - Removes Light

Lighten - Adds Light

Contrast - Hides 50% Grey

Difference - Inverts/Subtracts

Colour - Affects colours LAB

Blending Modes in Action

Blending Modes can be used in a variety of ways.  I’m just going to show you how one image  is changed by adding a blending mode to a texture. 

You really do have to play and learn what each section and individual Blending mode does, it makes it easier in the end. 


Blending Mode Section – Darken

Action – Luminosity

Opacity – 100%

Multiply is a standard


 This Blending Mode multiplies the luminosity of the base colour by the blend colour. The resulting colour is always a darker colour. White produces no change, while the black pixels remain.


Blending Mode Section – Darken

Action – Removes Brightness

Opacity – 100%

Liner Burn

Linear Burn decreases the brightness of the base colour dependant of the blend colour. The result is darker than Multiply. Linear Burn also produces the most contrast in darker colours than any of the other Blending Modes in the Darker group.


Blending Mode Section – Lighten

Action – Keeps light tones only

Opacity – 100%


The Lighten Blending Mode uses at the base colour and blend colour, and it keeps lightest parts of both. If the blend colours and the base colours are the same, then no change is applied. As with the Darken Blending Mode, Lighten looks at the three RGB channels separately when blending the pixels.


Blending Mode Section – Contrast

Action – Uses 50% Grey

Opacity – 100%

One of the most used Blending Modes


Overlay is a combination of Multiply and Screen with the base layer always shining through. Overlay uses the Screen at half strength on colours lighter than 50% grey and Multiply  at half strength on colours darker than 50% grey. 50% grey itself becomes transparent.



Blending Mode Section – Contrast

Action – Uses 50% Grey

Opacity – 100%

One of the most used Blending Modes.

Soft Light

Soft Light is very much like Overlay but much more subtle. It applies either a darkening or lightening effect depending on the luminance. You can think of Soft Light as a softer version of Overlay without the harsh contrast.A favourite of many photographers.

There’s no shortcuts, just play and see what happens. 

Have fun and make your own images different. 

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Image Story
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