Laurie McCanna's Photoshop Tip # 5
Using Layers in Photoshop - Experimenting with Blending Modes and Layers
The following Photoshop Tip will help you to understand layers and blending modes (hopefully!) a little better. Also, learn how to fill an area in Photoshop a gradient.
Create a new file, 200 pixels wide by 100 pixels high, in RGB mode. Select a light blue for the foreground color, (I used #cff8fc) and a darker blue for the
background color (I used #010d62). Of course, you can select any colors that you prefer, but for best results select two colors that have a high constrast. Select Filters > Render > Clouds.
This will fill the background with a cloud effect.
Add a new layer to the file by clicking the Create New Layer
icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette. If the Layers Palette isn't visible, select Windows > Layers
. This will create a new layer in your file that is titled Layer 1.
Set the foreground color to a pale green (I used #defdee), and the background color to a dark green (I used #2b8c01). Click on the gradient tool. The default gradient is a linear gradient using foreground and background color, so you don't need to change any settings. Simply hold the shift key
and drag the
Gradient Tool from the top to the bottom of the image. The shift key constrains the gradient tool to a straight line.
Set the foreground color to white by clicking on the default swatches of black and white, or by typing the letter G
, which resets the colors to the default. Then type the letter X
to switch the foreground and background colors. Next, select the
Type Tool and type "LAYERS" using a bold, heavy font. I used a font named Cuba. You should have 3 layers visible.
Now, for the fun stuff! We are going to play around with the way the gradient interacts with the clouds layer beneath it. Select the layer titled Layer 1 in the Layers Palette. You'll see that the blending mode is set to Normal. The Blending Mode box not titled but it's there at the top left of the Layers Palette.
As you'll notice in the examples below, Blending Modes change the way a layer interacts with the layer below it. You'll see changes in the lightness, darkness, and colors as the Blending Mode is changed. Blending Modes are helpful when you're adding different images into a single image, as in a photo collage. Playing around with the Opacity slider along with Blending Modes can create some very sophisticated, subtle effects.
Photoshop offers a daunting list of different blending modes, but we'll examine just a few.
If you change the setting from Normal
You can begin to see the power of working with Layers and Blending Modes in Photoshop.
If you're having difficulty creating the 3 layer sample to complete this tutorial, you can download the example file, an 80k PSD file in ZIP format, here