Photoshop CS3 Tutorial: Using Layer Blend Modes.

Layer Blending modes are amazing, creating an infinite variety of effects between layers that cannot be achieved with opacity alone.

In this tutorial we will look at the Screen Blend Mode. We will use a textured background and another photograph to create an interesting effect.


1I have chosen this rusty textured background as my base layer.

2Open another image, one with large areas of a light colour will work well for this effect. Copy this image (best if they are roughly the same size)

3Paste the image above the textured base layer

4From the layer blend mode menu, choose “Screen”

5Your image will magically lighten. Screen is the direct opposite of multiply (have a look at my other tutorials) It takes both the blend colour and the base colour, inverts their values, then multiplies them to always create a lighter colour.
For the best explanation ever about Blend Modes, go to Ron Bigelow’s blend mode articles. he explains it all from a photography angle, pretty comprehensive with good examples.

What’s going on?

6The Screen blend mode has taken the pixels from both layers and compared them: it then inverted their values, and multiplied them, creating lighter colours for the result. Some areas (the “rusty” parts of the base layer) resulted in darker tones, so part of the base layer shows through, whilst lifgter parts are “screened” white – the result of two light colours being multiplied.
We will now remove some of these darker areas by selecting the Base layer as shown, and the eraser tool form the toolbox.

7Use the { and } keys to increase and decrease the size of the brush.

8From the control palette, choose a soft, semi-opaque eraser brush as shown:

9With the eraser tool, keep going along the edge of the image. Use shift to keep a straight line.

8The finished image.

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