Last week ScrappyMama asked a good question.  Just what ARE blending modes and how do you use them?

I’ve sure you’ve probably all seen the Blending Mode Option at the top of your Layers Palette.  Perhaps you haven’t touched it because you didn’t know what would happen? Or played with it a little and didn’t quite see it’s value?

Both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements offer Blending Modes to assist you with your creativity!

Blending Modes change the way that layers interact with each other.  Today I will be using a paper in my example, but Blending Modes can also be used very effectively with photographs. We’ll talk about that next week!

When you click on the down-pointing-arrow on the Blending Mode Option, a Drop-Down Box will become visible.  These are all of the Blending Modes that are available for your use.

By definition, Blending Modes are used to change the appearance of how one layer interacts with another; therefore, you must have 2 layers open and available for your use. In the example below, I am using a floral paper in greyscale, and I have a layer filled with gold right above it.  (Right now the layer of gold is invisible.  You will know this because you can’t see it, but also because there is not an “eye” icon next to the layer, like there is on the SD_FloralOverlay layer.)

I wanted a paper with a slightly gold-ish tone, so I added a blank layer above the Floral Overlay and flood-filled it with a warm gold color. Making sure that my color layer was selected, I next clicked on the down-pointing arrow in the Blending Options Box and just clicked on each option available until I found the blending option that I liked.  In this example, although there were several blending options I did like,  I liked the Overlay Option the best. You can see, in the screen shot below, how the gold color interacted with the greyscale paper to create a lovely gold paper.

This is just a very brief overview of how to use Blending Modes.  It is a very powerful tool, and a lot of fun to experiment with!  Try different colors and different blending modes and see which one you like best.

Before you do this, however, take just a minute to review last weeks tutorial on how to change blending modes quickly! It will make your experimentation go so much faster!

Next week I will give you a quick tip on how to use blending modes effectively on your photographs.  See you then!