Blending Modes

You can easily control the way layers blend together by changing the "blending" mode in the layers palette. The default mode is called "normal" and generally allows layers to blend as if each layer contained an opaque image. This normal blending is really not blending at all, since the top layer completely obscures the bottom layer--like layers of construction paper (opaque).

The other blending modes allow you have the layers blend like two transparencies (multiply), two projections (screen), and many other ways. It is important to remember that the "value" of the degree of lightness or darkness of a layer will greatly affect the way it will blend with another layer. If the layer is a light color, the Multiply mode may make it dissapear, and if it is a dark color, the Lighten mode may make it dissapear.

Here are few examples with the same green word blended different ways:

Normal Mode

Multiply Mode

Color Burn Mode

Screen Mode

Overlay Mode


These are just a few of the possible blending modes that are available, but these are the ones I use the most. Blending modes can help you create an image that has a multi-layered appearance. Also, the Multiply blending mode is especially useful in creating shadows and lighting effects.