Learn how to use layer blend modes to combine images.

What you'll need

Download a sample file to practice with. This sample file includes Adobe Stock assets you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase a license on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.

What you learned: Combine images with blend modes

Preview and apply blend modes

Layer blend modes affect the way the colors and tones on one layer interact with those on the layer below. You can create an interesting composite by using blend modes to blend layered images together.

  1. In the Layers panel, select a layer that contains a photo.
  2. Open the blend mode menu at the top of the Layers panel.
  3. Hover over various blend modes in the menu to preview how each affects the composite image.
  4. Click a blend mode to apply it to the selected layer, causing that layer to blend with the layer below.
  5. Try dragging the Opacity slider at the top of the Layers panel to vary the effect.

Blend modes are arranged in groups

In the blend mode menu, the blend modes are arranged into groups based on how they affect the image. This tutorial focuses on the blend modes in the darken and lighten groups. Knowing how these blend modes work will help you use them in your own blended composites.

The darken blend modes emphasize dark areas and do not show white

Blend modes in the darken group produce a result that is darker than either the active or the underlying layer. The darken blend modes are very useful when you have dark subject matter on a light background that you want to blend into an underlying image. An important aspect of the darken blend modes is that white on the active layer will not be visible.

The lighten blend modes emphasize light areas and do not show black

Blend modes in the lighten group produce a result that is lighter than either the active or the underlying layer. The lighten blend modes are very useful when you have light subject matter on a dark background that you want to blend into the underlying image. An important aspect of the lighten blend modes is that black on the active layer will not be visible.

10/31/2018

Adobe Stock contributors:  soft_light, graphics.vp

Presenter: Seán Duggan  

Was this page helpful?