Photoshop Blend Modes

Groups of blend modes:

  • Normal:
    • Normal
    • Dissolve: treats transparency as a pixel pattern and applies a diffusion dither pattern
  • Darken:
    • Darken: If the pixels of the selected layer are darker than the ones on the layers below, they are kept in the image.
    • Multiply (commonly used): Works by multiplying the luminance levels of the current layer’s pixels with the pixels in the layers below.
    • Color Burn: Darker than Multiply, with more highly saturated mid-tones and reduced highlights.
    • Linear Burn: Darker than Multiply, but less saturated than Color Burn.
    • Darker Color: Darkens on the composite channel, instead of separate RGB color channels.
  • Lighten:
    • Lighten: If the pixels of the selected layer are lighter than the ones on the layers below, they are kept in the image
    • Screen (commonly used): Brighter than “lighten” and removes more of the dark pixels, and results in smoother transitions.
    • Color Dodge: Results in intense high-contrast colors.
    • Linear Dodge (Add): Brighter than the Color Dodge blend mode, but less saturated and intense.
    • Lighter Color: Similar to the Lighten blend mode, but lightens on the composite channel, instead of separate color channels.
  • Contrast:
    • Overlay (commonly used): Uses a combination of the Screen blend mode on the lighter pixels, and the Multiply blend mode on the darker pixels.
    • Soft Light (commonly used): Uses a combination of half-strength application of Screen blend mode on the lighter pixels, and a half-strength application Multiply blend mode on the darker pixels
    • Hard Light: Uses a combination of the Linear Dodge blend mode on the lighter pixels, and the Linear Burn blend mode on the darker pixels.
    • Vivid Light: Uses a combination of the Color Dodge Mode on the lighter pixels, and the Color Burn blend mode on the darker pixels.
    • Linear Light: Uses a combination of the Linear Dodge blend mode on the lighter pixels, and the Linear Burn blend mode on the darker pixels
    • Pin Light: Uses a combination of the Lighten blend mode on the lighter pixels, and the Darken blend mode on the darker pixels
    • Hard Mix: Uses the Linear Light blend mode set to a threshold, so for each RGB color channel, pixels in each channel are converted to either all black or all white.
  • Inversion:
    • Difference: With this blend mode, similar colors cancel each other, and the resulting color is black.
    • Exclusion: Similar colors cancel each other, the resulting color is gray instead of black.
  • Cancellation:
    • Substract: Similar colors cancel each other, and the resulting color is black
    • Divide: Similar colors turn white, with the exception of blacks.
  • Component
    • Hue: You get the hue of the top level layer.
    • Saturation: Keeps the saturation of the top level layer.
    • Color: Same as hue but with the luminance of the lower layers.
    • Luminosity: Keeps the luminance of the active layer, and blends it with hue and saturation (the color) of the composite view of the layers below.

In Bold: modes that look different if fill or opacity is selected (other modes will look the same for e.g. opacity=50% or fill=50%)

Portrait-blendLR