Learn Blending Modes In under 25 Minutes! | Lindsay Marsh | Skillshare

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Learn Blending Modes In under 25 Minutes!

teacher avatar Lindsay Marsh, Over 500,000 Design Students & Counting!

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Class Preview


    • 2.

      What are blending modes?


    • 3.

      Creating a dynamic image using blending modes


    • 4.

      Creating photo filter effects using your blending options


    • 5.

      Using Blending modes on typography


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About This Class

Learn the power of blending modes in under 25 minutes! Ever wonder how photographers and designers overlay cityscapes over type? Or how photographers create those amazing photo filters effects? This class will review the power of blending mode options in both illustrator and photoshop. We will create the following graphics below together in this class.

Beginner photoshop experience is a plus, but since blending modes are so easy, anyone can learn!

Meet Your Teacher

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Lindsay Marsh

Over 500,000 Design Students & Counting!


I have had many self-made titles over the years: Brand Manager, Digital Architect, Interactive Designer, Graphic Designer, Web Developer and Social Media Expert, to name a few. My name is Lindsay Marsh and I have been creating brand experiences for my clients for over 12 years. I have worked on a wide variety of projects both digital and print. During those 12 years, I have been a full-time freelancer who made many mistakes along the way, but also realized that there is nothing in the world like being your own boss.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to be able to take classes at some of the top design schools in the world, Parsons at The New School, The Pratt Institute and NYU. I am currently transitioning to coaching and teaching.

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1. Class Preview: learning and mastering a blending mode is so important for a designer, we're going to do exactly that in this class. We're going to go over blending modes in both photo shop and illustrator. Blending mode is what helps create this amazing filters you see online and you see on Instagram I'm going to review the basics of how blending modes work. This class is less than 25 minutes, so by the time we're done with lunch, you'll have mastered a new tool. Let's learn together. 2. What are blending modes?: Welcome to the blending class. Today we're going to discover all about the blending options panel in both illustrator and Photoshopped. So right now I am in Illustrator. Um, it's easier to show you kind of what? Blending modes Dio do an illustrator, But she can also we're gonna be in photo shop for the rest of the class Eso right now, Uh, if I if you're an illustrator and you want to be able to change the blending mode, you're gonna get your transparency window out by going to window and clicking on transparency. I'm starting to kind of show you a little bit about what these are. So I'm gonna go ahead. I have three solid color shapes that I created using the shapes tool. And I'm gonna go and take this green shape and bring it over on top of this blue shape and you'll see when you drag it on top. It does exactly what you think it would do. It covers up that layer. You can't see anything underneath it. Um I could take this blue layer and bring it on top, and you can't see anything underneath it. The great thing about blending modes is, it changes that and you're able to see ah, little bit through the layers. So I'm gonna go ahead and select these layers and I'm gonna change this these air, all my different lending options And I use some of these more than others. And I always like to select him all an experiment to see what looks good. There's no right or wrong selection. Some do different things. I probably use three or four these regularly, and the rest I just can't find a reason to use them. So what's great about this? It seems like an overwhelming list, but it's up being just a few that you end up using. So I'm gonna click on over leg to kind of show you so you can see how when I did overlay, Um, that little space in between is now a different color, and it blends the two together. You can create kind of a neat, desired effect. I'm actually gonna bring in my red, and I'm gonna set this as the top player just gonna bring it to the front. You could see how reds there's nothing going through the read option now cause it's set on normal. Let's go ahead and set it on overlay. Same kind of see, I have all these layers said on overlay. So whenever they overlap each other, not only do they blend ah within one or two, but all three of them when the Intersect they can blend and create quite an array of colors . So this is kind of how it works with just solid colors. Blending modes really come in handy with photography will be working with photography and blending modes for the rest of the class. Ah, let me kind of go over a few other options here. Ah, soft light. See, It's gonna have a little bit softer light that that comes through these different elements . Hard light is going to be the opposite, and you can kind of see just a little bit coming through. And this is where you experiment kind of select different ones to see what what works for you. But like I said, before there, screen's gonna be much brighter between the levels with screen. Um, I just experiment with a few of these multiplies. Gonna really make it darker through those levels. And let's just do one more is darkened multiplies another great one that I used with photography. And you can really see that in the next couple classes. So this is this kind of your basic overview of blending modes real quick. I'm gonna show you in photo shop. This is what we're gonna be doing in the next class. Um, toe access. The same thing I was working with the blending mode, the Transparency Box and illustrator and Photo shop. It's great because you just select a layer and you can select that same option menu right here in your layer panel. Just make sure you have your layer panel out and your hovered over a layer and usually says normal. Whoever says normal. That's your blending mode, uh, options. So it's right there in your layer panel and will be accessing that in the next class. 3. Creating a dynamic image using blending modes: All right, welcome back. So now that we have a basic understanding of the blending tool and kind of what it can accomplish, let's start creating some things. So I'm here in photo shop. You could do the same thing. An illustrator. Ah, the great thing about photo shop. It's really geared toward working with these blending modes with photography. So let's go ahead and get started. This is kind of something we're gonna create in the next 10 minutes together, and I'll show you how to do it. So let's go ahead. And I'm just gonna delete what I have here, and we'll start over. So I went had downloaded a photo of this woman on a white background, which is nice, cause the backgrounds not gonna interfere with anything today. Um, I'm gonna go ahead and make sure I cut out any kind of white background that's behind her and remove it, and I'm just gonna very crudely and quickly cut that out with my magic selection tool. Okay, so now all we have is this layer with the woman s. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna kind of create a funky shape behind her. I'm gonna kind of do that diagonal shape that you saw in the sample before. I'm just gonna go ahead and drawl that and I'm gonna fill that in. I'm gonna create a new layer, take my paint bucket tool and fill it in with kind of a crazy, bright, vivid color. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna make sure the woman is on top. Since this kind of very sick it's kind of see, I crudely cut that out. But with blending modes, blending modes are very forgiving. So we could just worry about those details a little bit later. Um, So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna select her and member, one of the two. One of my two favorite blending option modes are is overlay and also one cold luminosity and notice how I'm accessing this and photo shop. It's actually right here in your layers panel. You'll see normal. This is where you can access all your blending modes right here and an illustrator your to access your blending modes in your transparency menu so you can kind of see I can access them in different programs but a photo shop. It's right here built right into the layers panel. When you see normal, that's what you're talking about. So we're gonna I'm highlighting the girl on the very top layer, and I'm going to select all the way down at the bottom luminosity. And you can kind of see how she's being faded back and the background. This little background pink is showing through. It's almost like a transparency. Transparency is really what a blending motives. Ah, system, fancy way of doing it. So I'm just gonna do a couple others like Color Dodge to kind of show you what different ones do. And there's really no wrong or right thing that we're just playing around and experimenting with what different ones do I really like? Multiply their? It looks nice. I can see how I can do some things overlay. I use a lot. Um, but I really want the girl show through the white spots as well. So I'm gonna use luminosity off this particular case. Okay, Um, so I am going to pull in some other photos to put on the left and right. Let's pull in the city photo. It's gonna drag it in, making a little smaller. You can really see the city, and I'm going selecting my shape, my funky shape that I created. I'm doing the magic selection tool and I'm selecting this and I'm gonna make this little transparent so you can see what I'm doing. All I'm doing is I'm selecting the white areas, going back to my city layer and a leading them. So now the city is only gonna show up in this shape, and I'm gonna slide this right underneath the girls or girls back on top. And I'm just gonna take the eraser tool. I just wanted to show up in this top left corner. I'm gonna put something else in my bottom. Right. So I'm just kind of deleting a little bit over her. There we go. So now I just have my city image right there. Um and so to kind of make this look like it's really blending into this color, I'm gonna use the blending mode, So I'm gonna go down and click on overlay course you can play around and see what other options do I really like? Hard light? That might look cool. It's a little more harsh, but that could be the effect that you want to go for? You know what is luminosity do with this one? Like luminosity. And that could just bring back the opacity a little bit on that one. Let's just stick with overlay this for right now. Okay, so there we go. Ah, so let me go ahead and bring in our other image. I'm gonna have a contrast of a nice tropical seen city with kind of the outdoors. Kind of Ah, juxtaposition, if you will. 10. Bring this in. Do the same thing. I want to bring this down below the girl and I want to take my shape. I'm just gonna be cutting this part out that I don't want to show up. Okay, so I'm also going to delete. See how it's kind of blending through a little bit on her. I do not want that song. Good A go like that. Delete that part. So now we just have this little bit showing through if you can see Oh, so I'm gonna go and put this on the same blending mode overlay. I kind of see how it overlays all on top. I'm so that's a lot of pink. I love to do kind of a Grady instead. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go ahead and select, um, select the inverse, basically, just selecting the shape path. You could do it manually or can do it like I just did it in select and select the inverse. So I'm going to get my Grady int tool. I already have a Grady int picked out I like, which is kind of ah, pink to blue. And I'm just gonna do my Grady int tool and kind of experiment here, find out what looks good. Yeah. So you do a short line, you're gonna get a much bigger transition of your radiant, or if you do a longer line, it's gonna blend in a little better. Almost create like a purple between the two. I think that looks pretty good. You can kind of see it coming together. And let's go back to her. I'm gonna play around with some blending modes here. I really like that. I like how everything's contained there. Um, and it's just playing around here. Color burn. That's a little harsh. Linear burn overlay. I really like that. And a lot of times when I want if it's already on this layer is already 100% opacity. You can decrease this to make it kind of blend in more, or if I really wanted to even come out mawr. But it's already a 100%. Sometimes I'll just duplicate the layer right here, layer duplicate layer I know kind of bring it out a little bit more. Or sometimes, if that's too harsh, all that second layer be 50%. And so there we go. We're able to kind of blend. Use the blending tools to kind of create the neat effect here, where they feel like they're all blended together and kind of one nice photo. 4. Creating photo filter effects using your blending options: So now that we're getting a little more comfortable with blending modes, I'm gonna show you a little bit more in this class. So right now I'm in Photoshopped. I just opened up a ah photo I found online. And let's go ahead and get started. All those fancy filters you see on instagram order iPhone. All of those filters that create different effects are created by mixing different blending modes together. So really, you're learning how to create this filters. Ah, by learning, blending modes. Ah, so I just have your standard photo. I'm gonna create a new layer, and all I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna fill it with the color. So all it is is just a layer on top, and I'm actually gonna move that layer to the bottom. Uh, let me go ahead back to normal. So both of these air set on normal blending mode. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna experiment a little bit. So I have this top photo selected. I'm gonna select a blending mode so that bottom blue layers gonna shine through Ah, in certain ways, depending on what blending. But I die. Click. Let's go. Our tried and true overlay and see what that looks like. So that being really good when you want to create a background photo, you don't want it to be too sharp. You can always do in overlay, um, soft light, Same thing. Hard lights gonna come in a little bit more harsh. So that's not going to really work with what we're doing. And I'm just showing you these to kind of show you Ah, what different ones do. And a lot of these air not working. But that's why some my favorite one is luminosity when it comes to photography. When I do luminosity, it's only gonna show that blew through. And it's gonna ignore all the colors in the photos. So it's gonna ignore all these greens and, um, keep all the contents of the photo. But it's gonna show three blue. And what's great about this If I wanted to, um, adjust this color a little bit, I can actually I'm just doing a cover overlay on this layer. We could select different colors and give her an entirely different color, or look, depending on what you're going for. Um, so purple might be cool, you know, a Grady. It might be cool. We could try that. So is look how quick we were able to create that photo. Um, so just make sure the photos on top and set on luminosity to kind of get this effect. I will say I want to do a grainy it. Now, let's create a new layer, and I'm gonna create a simple radiant We double click on this. Let's have it fade from like, a blue to a green that would look really pretty. And I'm just creating a Grady int layer. So look at that. So you kind of see it fading from blue to green, then kind of having a nice, desired effect. So I don't even need this bottom layer anymore. Um and so we also can add texture. Um, as well, This is just working with coloring. Um, but I have this beautiful water color. Texture is kind of small in the low resolution side, but we're gonna go to use it anyway. You're gonna go and drag the sin. This is just a layer on top course. I always like to have high, higher resolution images, but it's just what I found for right now. And so what I want to do isn't just Instead of just having this clean kind of texture, I want to add a water color texture on top. All this and I could do that using blending moods. So right now I have. This is the very top layer, and I'm gonna go and select overlay and kind of always start with overlay and see what happens. Okay, so that's that's not working. That's okay. Let's experiment with some different ones. Maybe soft light. It can kind of see, as I toggle this off and on, you can see it added a little bit like a watercolor texture. I'm a sharp in this, a little bit sequence, and maybe it'll the water color texture will show through a little better. They could do this with a wide variety of textures. So so far I think soft light might be the winner. But let's experiment who? Some of these there's there, some that I never use or they never work out, so you can kind of see how it's It's coming through and you're still able to see everything underneath. But it's showing just enough texture. That ad that nice effect you can always do this, and you can always, ah, decrease the opacity it could. Still seeing that watercolor kind of look. You can also make a add parchment paper on top and make it look like an old grainy photos will and said it is doing watercolor. So multiply. Let's increase that, see what happens. You know, that may not give the desired effect that you want. Oh, me de saturate my layer here I'm de saturating. I de saturated this water color texture to see if that helps bring anything out overlay. That's not really giving me the desired effect, but you kind of get an idea. Ah, of kind of how you can add textures over over over them. So let's, ah, bring in something else. Let's bring in this this pretty texture. See what we could do with that? This laying it on top. I wouldn't have deleted our water color texture since that wasn't working. Let's try overlay, uh, vivid light about luminosity, and it gets complicated because now we have two different blending modes on. We have our girl that has luminosity, and then now we have ah layer on top of that that also has a blending mood. So when you're mixing two blending modes, you can get some really strange effects, and it starts to get a little complicated. So you got to be careful a lot of times when that happens. Um, like, notice if I'll do overlay just you ceased to see the gold to the green. It's not working love times, Aiken de saturate a texture and it kind of takes away that strange color combination. So there's overlay hard light, linear burn, and I'm really just experiment. I try a mall just to kind of see what effect I want screen, and then let me just reduce the opacity a little bit. So, you know, we could do that with adding textures. I really like it. Kind of like this. Um, let me try dry this craziest kind of show you. I'm just back at this this solid, this Grady int that we did. I'm just adding another Grady int can kind of see I can do some neat filters with this doing colors. It's got a really need effect is playing around with radiance, and I have. This is luminosity. The girl there, and I could play around with his bottom layer and create all sorts of different filters and effects 5. Using Blending modes on typography : Now that we've seen the power of blending modes with photography, let's try to see what we can do with typography. So I'm here in photo shop. You could do the same thing and illustrator with that blending layers panel. Um, I'm right here in a photo shop. I went ahead just for the sake of time, typed out four separate letter layers, Um, and just spelt the word type. So I have my four different layers, each with a different letter in each layer. Um, so let's go ahead and start with T. What I want to do is create an overlapping effect. So a little bit of the T bleeds into the y and so on down the line. So I'm gonna create Let's go ahead and do some different colors here. Let's do really vibrant colors just so you can see the effect. Ah, actually, would be, uh, make sure. Okay, that is that color. When did we want to make the P? Let's make that orange and make e green Make that green. Okay, so I'm gonna go ahead and put this tea so it overlaps the why, and I'm actually gonna put a blending mode I'm gonna buy gonna put it to overlay and see what that does. Okay, that's not working. So let's continue to find one that let's let's try vivid light. Oh, color, burn, multiply. There we go. That's the ticket I wanted. Ah ah, A little bit to show up over the white eso multiply is the one we want to use. Ah, so it's dragger p over and let's but this oneness multiply. The top one was what I'm messing with. Where there's multiply right there. You can see a little bit of the why bleeding in. Let's do this as well. Let's make the e multiply. And so that's why experimenting with different layer options or different blending options is good is not, Ah, one that that has worked with photography might not work with the type, so it looks like this multiply has a relieving effects. They can kind of create some neat things. This is great when you don't have a lot of room for type and you can actually use this to, uh, you know, very little horizontal space. You're able to read that because a lot of these letters can blend with each other. Ah, lot of neat contemporary logos are designed this way with using, um, blending tools. So it's just kind of your quick little lesson with using topography I want to do. Ah, one more thing. I want to go ahead and bring in this watercolor texture we worked with before to show you how I can overlay a little bit of texture on some of these letters. So this is real rough, but let me go ahead and bring in this textures not as high resolution as I'd like. So I have this over all of those letters s. So let's go ahead and see what overlay does. And you could see how all of a sudden this type it's just being flat now has a little bit of a water color texture. This isn't the highest resolution texture I could find, so it'll look a lot better if you find something a little better. So I'm just playing around with some different options, and you can use different textures. Toe overlay looks like overlay was probably the winner there. Yep, let's make that texture smaller. See a little more detail. So I just kind of quickly showing you how you can kind of let me do one more and set a watercolor. Let me actually add a little cityscape. Let's have a picture of New York City right here. Let's bring in New York City and overlay that and to our typography here, we just kind of that's a line that I kind of like it, uh, how we had it before. Let's do that. Let's have our picture of New York City. Ah, let's do overlay and see. You can kind of see the background of New York City now through our type. So see how we were able to create this dynamic typography by using blending modes very quickly and just for the heck of it, we're just gonna see which one who vivid light looks great. And let me just decrease the opacity a little bit. Sharpen it and there we go. So I hope you enjoy this class. I wanted it to be kind of a quick little class. I'll come out with more if you have any ideas. Just ah, mentioned in the discussions. Taft, Thank you so much.