Layer Modes

Jaysen Batchelor
A free video tutorial from Jaysen Batchelor
Illustrator & Designer
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Lecture description

In this lecture students will learn about all of the photoshop layer modes and what you might use them for. We'll use a control image to compare how different layer modes affect an image with various colors and values.

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English [Auto] So in this lecture we are going to dive deep into layer blend modes layered blend modes are one of the most powerful tools in Photoshop or any digital painting software and they allow you to do all sorts of really cool amazing things that you would never be able to do with traditional media like paper and pencil or oil paint acrylics things like that. So what we're gonna do is run it go through every single layer mode and talk about what it does when you might use it or if at all and how it would affect an image. So we have this base image here and what we're going to do for each layer moderate to look at it with this overlay. Here we have a super saturated color will we have a darker and more decelerate color and then a lighter D saturated color will. And then we have a hue slider here and then just some base CNY K colors and our G.B. colors. Okay. And we will turn this mode to different layer modes and you can see how it affects that image underneath. And then we're gonna do the same thing with this value scale we have value scale here a smooth gradient value and then just black midtown and white so that you can see how it affects each one. So without further ado let's just jump in. So the first and main layer mode is called normal and normal layer mode does exactly what it says it doesn't change anything all of the pixels are opaque. OK. The next one underneath that one is dissolve. You'll probably never ever use dissolve because it's a horribly useless layer mode. What it does is as you lower the opacity on the layer it's just going to randomly select pixels within the image to remove to reveal the layer underneath that 100 percent every pixel is there. As you start to lower the opacity you can see it so to remove pixels and that sort of layered grainy effect does the same thing for the values. It's hideous and ugly and I don't know why anyone would ever use it but it's there. So those are two normal settings GoPro never use dissolve. You'll use normal all the time. The next category these ones are called Dargon. So the first one we'll go with is dark in itself. What darken does is it picks between the two layers the base layer and the new layer and it looks at whichever value is darker. So if the base layer image has a darker value it will show that one. And if the top layer has a darker value it will replace it with whichever is on the new layer. So you can see here in the colors how it's affecting it on this light circle over here. The main image is darker than the the layer on top. And so mostly the lower image is showing through you can see it's really clearly when we come up here to our new layer if we change just want to darken as well you can see that white for example because the base image is darker than white. Every every pixel in that base image is darker than white. It's going to remain almost completely unaffected but as we get over here into the darker section we go all the way. Black black is darker than everything in the image. So that's what's going to show up. And then when we come into the mid tone it's basically to almost even everything out because if there's anything that's lighter than the midtown the midterms are going to show up instead. And if there's anything darker than the Midtown that will show up instead the same thing here you can see in the white section and the bottom right unaffected Midtown it's sort of medium affected and then the black it just goes all the way black. So that's dark in. The only time I would really use this is if I need to just darken the whole section like the whole image is a little bit too light and I want to bring it all down a notch. I rarely if ever use this but it's an option. So let's move on to the next one the next one is multiply which is actually one I use all the time. Well multiply does is it takes the top layer and multiplies it by the bottom layer. So it will almost always darken everything but if you get into the White range of things it's going to have no effect because there's nothing to multiply it with. So like you could say up here where it's really light it barely has an effect but when we go dark it really makes things dark. We can look up here as well for this layer you can see it just darkens everything. The reason I like this layer so much and what I mostly use it for is that the darkened layer allows you to create shadows while still preserving your value relationships and whatever colors are underneath so you could see where you turn this one on if you wanted to make shadows on the mountains or whatever it was like you could see the sky here even though it darkens the sky it still keeps the relationship between the blue and and white of the clouds there's still a difference there. It just makes the whole thing a little darker which means if you have a painting that you've already done some you know maybe you have a creature that has a bunch of cool stripes on it and now you wanna do shadows instead of using a normal layer and having to go and paint all the shadows and paint around the stripes and then paint a different color for the stripes of those get darker and all the things you can just take a multiply layer paint in the shadows and it will apply equally to both of those things and still have it look like stripes. You can also do this in black and white or color. I think multiply is awesome. So let's move on to the next one the next one is color burn. This is essentially the burn tool but on an entire layer so color burn it to be a little bit more specific what it's going to do is increase the contrast between the base value and the new value from the new layer. So if you have for example this one right here you could see the contrast between the cloud and the sky gets way more intense and then it's also going to ramp up the saturation using whatever color you have on your new layer that's on top that is set to color burn. When we do black and white you'll see that it doesn't have much of an effect because there's not a whole lot of color. It just increases the contrast and in some areas it's just going to send a black I don't really find a use for this one. I mean you could use it selectively where you're like brushing on certain areas with the brush right itself but you probably won't run into need to use this one very much. All right linear burn linear burn decreases the brightness of the base color based on the value of the blend color. So the result is darker than multiply but less saturated than color burn linear burn also produces the most contrast and darker colors than any of the other blending modes in the darker group linear burn blends differently when Philip passes is just compared to win or pass is adjusted. So this one here the Phil right here it's going to have a different effect and when you use the just the opacity slider once again it's not one that you probably use a lot. It's not a common one but sometimes if you experiment you can find interesting unique uses for it but so far the main ones are going to be using a normal multiply and dark indicators lame and then darker color is pretty much exactly like darken it's up for it only picks the color not the value so it's going to focus on the hue. So you can see. Let's look for example here the blue here the blue color is a darker value than all of the shingles on the roof. So it's going to replace it with the blue hue but it's not actually changing the value. But I mean it is changing the value but it's it's not like Dargon where it kind of preserves the relationships. It's just going to take anything that is lighter than this blue and filled in with that blue whatever is on that layer. So same up here. This whole section of the color wheel is all darker than whatever would normally be in the sky and so we can replace that with this layer. Same thing with this one has a very similar effect to darken because there's no color on these black and white gray scale. So that's everything in our darkened section. Let's move on to light in the light layers are all pretty much the exact mirror opposite of the dark and they're so light and for example it's like dark in except for it takes the lighter of the two values. So it is going to compare anywhere there's something lighter than the layer beneath it's going to replace it with whatever's on the top layer and same vice versa. We can go ahead and come up here and look at this one as well. Do light and so on this one black is basically going to have no effect because everything is lighter than black and white is going to have a full effect because everything's darker than white screen is basically just like multiply but the opposite it's going to divide your value. So dark black is going to have no effect while White will have an opaque effect. And this is really great for doing highlights sometimes it can have a little bit of a washed out effect. And so you probably want to use normal a lot of times as well in effort with this but it can go a good ways in getting you partway there using a screen layer to sort of lighten up areas you can look at the color version of this and you can see it's just basically lightening everything it's dividing it by the lighter value and lightening everything up. And the darker it gets the less effect it has and the lighter it gets the more effective is going to have. So that screen another one that's pretty useful you can use lighting and screen color dodge. So let's go to color dodge here. Color dodge blends definitely when the film is adjusted compared the opacity so that's another one where when you use this it's going to change how it affects it's going to change the intensity of it and the blending mode gives you a brighter effect them screen by decreasing the contrast between the color base and the blend colors. So the other one increases the contrast. This is going to decrease it by bringing up your values. So the darker areas are going to get brought up to match closer because you can see here it's a lot darker and that's going to lighten everything up. Same with this layer. If we bring that one up to color dodge it's just going to decrease the contrast by brightening everything up and bringing to a close the level. Another one that you probably won't use a ton but something I do like to use it for actually is creating light Bloom effects. So if you use a soft airbrush. Use a nice reddish orange color and brushes in over the top of a highlight and sort of make the light look blown out and we can actually sort of see an example of this right here on these clouds for example we turn this off the cloud just looks like regular light. But when this is on top of it it kind of blows out the highlight and makes it look really hot like the sun is really beating down on it and you can do this to have some really cool effects and a painting as well. I mean it's kind of over the top it with the with the colors here it's hard to see an example but that's a good use for color dodge. I use that frequently linear Dodge. Once again the pretty much the opposite of linear burn. Same with lighter colors pretty much the opposite of a darker color. It's just going to find the lighter values and replace it instead of the darker values. Same with this. Once again not one that I'm going to really use ever honestly. But it's there is an option all right. Next overlay overlay is another layer that I find really useful overlay is basically a mix between multiply and screen. So we'll overlay is going to do with screen. It's going to take it's going to divide all the lighter values and make them lighter and multiply is going to divide all the value or multiply all the values and make them darker. We'll overlay what it's going to do is anything higher than 50 percent on the value scale anything lighter than 50 percent is going to be treated as a screen layer. Anything darker than 50 percent is going to be treated as a multiplier layer. So you can see the midtown right here has no effect. Midterm grade does nothing to the image. And then as we move darker it's going to be treated as a multiply. And as we move lighter it's going to be treated as a screen. However it does not have as intensive effect because if we're doing multiply all the way black would just be completely black and white would be completely white. So it's kind of knocked down about 50 percent. But just know that 50 percent Gray will have no effect. Anything above 50 percent will be treated like a screen. Anything below will be treated as multiply. You can see the same thing with the color that 50 percent gray right there in the middle. You can see that it basically just shows up. No oh actually sorry that's not even the right models. What's going on there you go. Everything about 50 percent Gray has no effect it's just the base image. And then once again all the stuff that's darker like this circle is being treated like a multiplier. This circle is being treated like a screen layer and this circle in the middle is kind of a mix of both because some of the values get darker and some of the values get lighter and it just affects that core what's the word accordingly. So next after overlay We have soft light soft light is a lot like overlay implies either a darkening or lightening effect depending on the luminous values. So think of darken and light in it's the same thing is that with overlay in regards to screen and multiply only in steps of dark and lighting layers. So basically anywhere that there is a lighter value or replace it anywhere there's a darker value replace it once are either above or below Midtown camp. So basically identical discrete or basically identical to overlay just with the darken and light in layer abilities instead of the multiplying screen layers. Another one I mean you'll use it about as often as you would use darken and light in not one I use very often but it is an option Hard Light combines the multiplying screen blending modes using the brightness size of the blend layers to make its calculations so it's going to have a much more intense effect it's gonna go all the way. So if we change this one back you'll see this is not just based off of that you know overlay is not as intense because it kind of stops at 50 percent either side. This is gonna go all the way. So almost identical to overlay just with way more intensity. So anything that's why it's gonna go all the way to why anything that's black is going to go all the way to black anything that's neutral ground the middle is going to have no effect on it. But basically the same as overlay just much more intense. Next one is David light so David Light is like an extreme layer this extreme version of overlay and soft light. So anything darker than 50 percent grains darken and anything light and 50 percent greater is light and it's one of those ones where you're gonna want to use the capacity to bring it down but it just gives you way more intense control so that you can sort of blend with it and work or that how you want linear light. That's like the same thing but for color dodge and sorry linear Dodge and linear burn basically the same thing. Anything above 50 is going to be linear dodging anything below 50 is going to be linear burn not something you use so that's I mean it's pretty much I didn't know about it pin light. It's like dark and light and blending mode simultaneously and it basically gets rid of all mid tones. Another one that you're probably not going to use hard mix is one that applies the blend by adding the value of each red green blue channel into the blood layer to the to the corresponding red green blue channel and the base layer. So you use a lot of you'll lose a lot of detail the colors can only be black white or any of the six primary colors. So like these colors down here are the only ones that are gonna be affected by it. Anything that's sort of in-between is not really gonna make a difference and you can see. Same with black and white. We come hear here to pin like and then oh sorry I was going to mix up. That's hard. Makes that hard makes it does it. Another one. I mean those ones we don't really need to go over a pin like hard makes linear light. Probably never use those difference difference is going to subtract the values from each other. It's kind of weird to think of it as a subtraction when you're using colors but if you think over the terms the software each color has a number. And what it's doing is taking the subtraction of the color code of whatever is on top and subtracting the one from the one below it to get up with a new value it's really technical and not super great for digital painting means mostly for photography. So it's another one that you're not going to probably run into very often. But you can download this file and you'll have the base layer and then these two you know the values go on the color and you can mess around with all these and see for yourself but it's just subtracting the values from each other. Exclusion is instead of just subtracting. It's basically removing the value. So it's kind of like difference but blending with white inverts the base color values while blending with black produces no change. So if you blended 50 percent it's going to make Gray. If you go to white it's gonna make it lighter and if you do black it's going to make no difference that's exclusionary. They're and then you can see appear same thing. Then subtract is just going to remove that value from the layer beneath so for example with white it's going to take all the white anything anything lighter. Right. Sorry anything darker than white is gonna get removed. Anything darker than black will get removed. So if you paint black on this layer nothing will happen if you paint why it's going to take all of that away from the layer beneath. And anything in between will respond accordingly. Same with this one. Once again not one you'll probably use too often if ever divide similar concept. It's just going to divide those values out. Same with this one might be a little bit confusing you need to remember that you're thinking of these the program and thinking of these colors in terms of numbers. And so that's how they're coming up at least from those calculations. You just need to understand the end effect. And so most of those you probably won't end up using but yeah. Difference exclusion. Subtract divide. I never use any of those but these last ones I do. So here here's a cool one. All it does is whatever layer is on top. It's going to affect the layer beneath. By changing the hue of it. That's it. So it's not going to adjust the value of anything. It's not going to adjust the saturation of anything. All it's going to do is replace the hue of whatever underneath it with a hue of whatever is on top. So for example the hue of the grey is completely neutral there is no hue and so no hue is going to show up. But in those areas where you have the pink or the green or blue it's going to take the hue beneath it and change it to the new hue. It's like this area over here. All the values are preserved right. You have all your darks are the exact same value are there all your lights of the same value. The only thing that's changed is the hue. Which means that on our black and white. It's not really gonna do anything you're just gonna make everything black and white because there's no hue and a black and white layer. Next one saturation. The exact same thing as you but instead of changing the hue it's only focusing on the saturation. So for example this beginning or this end circle in the beginning circle it didn't have a very high saturation and so what it's just gonna do is take the base layer and pump the saturation of that base layer to match whatever layer is on top. But this one the middle had a really high saturation. So everything in this layer it's saturation is going to get pumped up. It's not changing the hue at all. It's not changing the value it's only affecting the saturation which is why whereas Midtown grey there's just gray because there's zero saturation there. But this middle circle really high saturation is a gradient here lots of high saturation. And in these bottom ones all these colors are really highly saturated so everything got pumped up. If we go to the black and white Larry you'll see that the saturation layer doesn't do anything well. I mean in terms of black and white but that's because there is no saturation there. Next one is color. Another one that I like using color basically just takes whatever color is on top and adds it to the image. And this is going to include saturation and you just not value. So value won't change but your saturation and your hue will change. You can see here it's affecting both of those same on this side so it's just basically sort of combining hue and saturation together and one layer. So when we go to the black and white it's going to have no effect as well and then the last one here luminosity it's only going to affect the value basically another one that you'll probably never use. Oh sorry I had that later on you go another one you probably never use. It's just going to change the lightness while still preserving the hue and saturation and you can see on this one as well. So there you go. Those are all the layer mode. Just to recap the ones you probably can use the most normal you'll use just for normal painting darken is good for darkening things up multiply is great for shadows lighting is great for lining things up screen is good for highlights color dodge I like to use for light Bloom's overlay is good for color grading a whole entire image down or up softly in hard light you can use for highlights sometimes hue all these ones we pretty much never use and color is really good for coloring a black and white image so that's it for this lecture I know it's a lot to take in the real truth is that the more you paint and the more you experiment with these layers you'll get a way better grass I'm just listening to me explain them to you try experimenting try using different layers see how they affect your image that's going to give you a way better grasp than just listening to lecture on it but now you know the sort of the basics the fundamentals of how layers work and what they do. That is it for this lecture I will see you guys in the next 1 awesome.