How to Use Blending Mode Using Layers in Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 – Part 5

Hello again and welcome back to our course
on PSE 15. In this section we’re going to look at another
very important topic and I’m going to relate this directly to the use of layers, although
it actually occurs in a number of different situations in PSE, not just in working with
layers. And what we’re going to look at is blending
or the use of blending modes. I’ve created here what was initially a completely
empty document, white background etcetera, and I’ve pasted onto it a layer with the
flowers and a little bit of green from an iris. And a very important aspect of the use of
PSE, particularly in terms of achieving effects is how an object such as this iris flower
blends with the background, which might well be for example layers beneath the iris flower
in this case. Let’s take a look at Blending Modes. Now one very important point to make here
is that blending mode is not to be confused with opacity. If I adjust the opacity of the iris layer
here you certainly can start to see through the iris but what’s behind it doesn’t
really have an effect on the iris itself. It only starts to become visible. When we’re dealing with blending mode we’re
talking about how the color of the iris and the color of what’s behind it interact with
each other. So far when we’ve been using layers we’ve
had this setting here set to normal. And this is the setting that we use to specify
blending mode. Let’s try an alternative. And the first one I’m going to try is darken. You may be a little bit surprised to find
that darken had no effect whatsoever and you’ll understand why in just a moment. Let’s try a different one. This time I’m going to try color burn. Now this one has quite a dramatic effect in
that you can’t see the iris at all. Again you’ll understand why in a moment. Let’s talk now about some terminology. When we’re blending we’re dealing with
two colors. We’re dealing with the base color or in
this case the base layer and we’re dealing with the blend color or the blend layer. In our particular situation here the base
layer is the background copy layer which is white and the blend layer contains the iris
which is far from white. And when we’re talking about blending modes
we’re talking about the way that the blend layer here and the base layer here interact
with each other. One of the reasons that the two effects that
you saw just now were so extreme, i.e., one of them had no effect whatsoever and the other
one caused the iris to disappear is because our base layer here is white. What I’m going to do is to select that base
layer and change its color. So let me choose the foreground color for
this layer. It’s currently black. Let’s go for something. That should do the job. And now what I’m going to use is the paint
bucket tool to fill the whole of the background copy layer. What you can see here is the image as it appears
looking down from the top. So although I’ve got the background copy
layer selected I’m still looking down through the iris layer. The background copy layer its blend mode is
normal but the iris layer its blend mode is color burn. So what you can see is effectively the interaction
between the blend layer, that’s the original iris, and the background copy layer which
is our base layer which has had its color changed. So what you’re looking at here is the effect
of color burn. Do you remember the one that had no effect
before? That was the darken blend mode. Let’s try that again now. And now you can see it has a very, very noticeable
effect. It’s quite a nice effect actually. And although as I pointed out earlier it’s
important not to confuse opacity with blend mode the effect of blend mode can be significantly
affected by opacity. So if for instance with the iris layer still
selected I adjust the opacity look at what happens to that. The iris is becoming less opaque and again
the effect is changing. So although these are two different aspects
of images you can use them together to achieve pretty much an infinite range of possible
effects. Now if I click on that dropdown list of blend
modes there are many of them. And if you take into account not only the
many blend modes but the many settings for opacity then as I’m sure you can imagine
you can get some pretty varied effects using blending modes. And it would take me a very long time to go
through all of these effects and demonstrate them with all the available settings for opacity,
etcetera. However, the Photoshop Elements PDF comes
to the rescue here. There’s a section called Opacity and Blending
Modes. That largely explains what I’ve been explaining
here but in a different way. And there’s another section about Blending
Modes which goes through that long, long list of blending modes and describes what each
of them is and does. So really your source for information about
those blending modes is the PDF. But I do suggest you try and find some time
to experiment with the options that are available. And as if that wasn’t enough for you to
do I did mention that we’re not just talking about blend modes between layers. And many of the tools that we use in PSE have
their own blend settings. One of the ones that you’ll probably use
quite a bit is the paintbrush. So I’ve just got a regular paintbrush here. I have made the iris layer invisible. I’ve got the background copy layer selected
in this image. And what I’m going to do is to just brush
onto that background copy layer using the current foreground color. So no surprises there. But I have a blend mode for the brush. So for instance I could choose color burn
as the blend mode for the brush. Watch what happens now when I paint on. I get that color burn effect. Try another one. What about vivid light? And if you want to try those different bend
modes you might try using them with a brush. It’s a good way of seeing the effect of
each of them. Although of course the effect is a combination
of both the blend color and the base color. So there’s quite a bit of experimentation
needed to get a good feel for them. That’s it for this section. I’ll see you in
the next one.

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