Playing with blend modes

Hi there people!! Ona here again with another tutorial using gorgeous Captivated Visions stuff! I hope that you have been enjoying the tutorials so far, please let me know if there is something more specific you would like to learn about and I will do my best to write something up!

This week we are going to be playing with one of my most favourite techniques ever..... BLENDING! This is such an amazing and versatile technique and whilst I have written about it before, there is still so much to explain and experiment with!

Quite simply, layer blend modes allow us to blend two or more layers together which can result in some very striking and creative possibilities. The layer to which you apply a blend mode will interact with the layer below it, so you need at least two layers to start with. But virtually anything on the layer can be blended with the layer beneath it so it can be used to edit, retouch or restore photos or in digital scrapbooking it can add some pretty dramatic effects to a layout by blending multiple papers or elements together.

In this tutorial I just want to cover what each type of blend mode actually does so that you can pretty well know which blend mode will give you the effect you are after.

Remember that I use Photoshop Elements which means that I will only be discussing the blending modes available in that program. Photoshop has a couple more modes I think.

Blending Mode Groups

Basically the modes are divided into groups; those that result in a darker blend, those that lighten, those that effect the hue or saturation of a colour and those that add contrast.

For the examples below I have used a Poppy Stamp from Rachel's Believe In Beautiful kit.

The blend modes that darken are grouped under the Normal and Dissolve modes. These blend modes accentuate the dark shades while diminishing and/or hiding the lighter shades.

Using Blend Modes

1. Normal

    (Disolve - not included in this example as it is not a very versatile mode)

2. Multiply

3. Colour Burn 

4. Linear Burn

   (I have left out the Darker and Darken Colours as they are similar to the rest of the others in this grouping.)

Tip for use: Use on layers that have a lot of white that you don't want appearing in your layout, can also be used to darken a photo.

The next grouping are those blend modes that lighten.

Using Blend Modes

5. Screen

6. Colour Dodge

7. Linear Dodge (Add)

8. Lighter Colour

Tip for use: Use to lighten a dark photo or dark layout.

In the next group we have the Contrast type blend modes - these offer a combination of dark and light blend modes.

Using Blend Modes

Using Blend Modes

9. Overlay

10 Soft Light

11. Hard Light

12. Vivid Light

13. Linear Light

14. Pin Light

15. Linear Burn

Tip for use: These modes give some very soft and/or dramatic results, not only on photos but also on papers and elements in a layout.

The next two modes, called Comparative Modes, are not used all that much but they can give some surprisingly creative results.

Using Blend Modes

16. Difference

17. Exclusion

Tip for use: Experiment with these to see what effects you end up with.

Lastly we have the Composite blend modes that work with the colour and tonal values.

Using Blend Modes

18. Hue

19. Colour

20. Saturation

21. Luminosity

Tip for use: Use these blend modes when working with colour in mind - add a new layer above a black and white photo and change it to the Colour blend mode, then use your brush with a selection of colour to 'paint' over and photo.

Working with Blend Modes

When it comes to actually working with the blend modes, just remember that their basic principles will never change, ie. the darken modes will always darken. the lighten modes will always lighten etc. the results will largely depend on what tonal values are present in the layer beneath it.

For my page below this is what my layers look like, starting at the BOTTOM layer and working your way up - for those layers that I applied a Blend Mode I have marked them:

blending modes

This is my page:

Ona's page

Credits: Believe in Beautiful | Artistry 01: Signature CollectionCollect Moments kit

For more examples of blending modes, look at these awesome pages from the Captivating Sistas.

Dalis: Background papers where blended: 1st with Pin Light, 2nd with Multiply;  Stamps blended with Color Burn; Wood element blended with Color Burn.

Dalis page

Credits: Wiser Not OlderCaptivating 2012 [Acrylic Washes Brushes] 

Ellen: Used Create Captivate and Inspire Paper #5 for background as normal then added Bubble Gum Pop Paper #5 with overlay. The sketch has a darken blend.

Ellen page

Credits: Bubblegum Pop kit | Create, Captivate & INSPIRE

Hekas: I used three background papers.  The bottom is normal, the centre is hard light and the top is darken. My photo has a darken layer style. Butterfly - multiplay. Overlay - overlay layer style. 

Brigi page

CreditsArtistry 01: Signature Collection | Make the Days Count | You Are Worth It | I Became Somebody Else

In future tutorials I will concentrate more on specific Blend Modes and explore them more in-depth. The possibilities are simply endless!!

till next time,

Ona xxx