The most essential feature in Photoshop is the ability to work with layers. Mastering the blending modes is key for every designer/graphic artist. There are quite a few articles on the web explaining how the different blending modes work. That is all very nice and interesting, however they always only show one example. From experience I know that the blending modes depend very much on the images you use. Hence I decided to showcase the different blending modes in action using 3 different images as overlay. You’ll notice the differences.
The first series shows the effect of the blending modes when you use it on the same image as the background. All you have to do is duplicate the background layer and change the modes of the top layer image. Here’s the results. You can click on the images to view them in original size.
Solid Color Blending:
These effects are achieved when stacking a solid color layer on top of a background image and changing the blending modes. In this case the difference are quite sublte for most modes from the same “family”.
Gradient Clouds Blending:
For this last example I used a colorful clouds image to blend. The different colors and brightness/darkness variations allow us to see what the different blending modes are really about.
Use this article as reference or sort of like a Photoshop Cheat Sheet. I encourage you to discover the power of blending modes by yourself. Take two images and blend them together. Vary the layer opacities and try different blending modes on top of each other. The possibilities are endless.