Where is the blending mode in Photoshop

The luminosity blending mode in Photoshop

On the previous page, we looked at Photoshop color blending mode, which blends the color information (hue and saturation) of one layer with the layers below while ignoring the lightness values. So, as we've seen, the color mode is ideal for coloring black and white photos and for more common tasks like changing the color of eyes or hair. The color blending mode allows you to add or change colors in an image without affecting the brightness values.

Our fifth and final essential blending mode for photo editing in Photoshop is Luminosity. Like Color Mode, Luminosity is in the composite group of Blending Modes alongside Hue and Saturation and is the exact opposite of Color Mode. While the color mode mixes the colors of a layer and ignores the brightness values, the brightness mode mixes the brightness values ​​and ignores the color information!

When editing a photo, changing the blend mode of a layer in brightness is often a final step. For example, a very common photo editing technique is using a layer or curve adjustment layer to improve the overall contrast in an image. In many cases this works fine. The problem you can run into is that layers and curves affect not only the brightness values ​​in an image, but also the color. By increasing the contrast of the image, you will also increase the saturation of colors, especially with reds and blues, and sometimes you will even notice a shift in colors. Too much color saturation in a photo can blur important details in the image. By changing the Layers or Curves layer to Lightness Blending Mode, we can easily work around the problem by telling Photoshop to completely ignore the color information.

Real example of Luminosity Blend mode

Here we have a photo of a lovely holiday table full of reds, oranges, and yellows:

A holiday table setting.

I'm going to increase the contrast in this image using a "Curves" adjustment layer and a traditional "S" curve. I'll click the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and choose Curves from the list of Adjustment Layers that appears:

Selection of a plane for curve fitting.

In the Curves dialog box, there is a large 4x4 grid with a diagonal line running from bottom left to top right. To change the shape of the diagonal line to a traditional "S" curve, I click the line near the top right corner to add a point, and then press the up arrow key to nudge the point a little on my keyboard a few Times. I will then click on the line near the lower left corner to add another point and then move the point down a little by pressing the down arrow key on my keyboard several times. This shapes the line into something that resembles a letter S (kind of), which is why it's known as an "S" curve:

Increase the contrast in the image by reshaping the diagonal line to an "S" curve in the Curves dialog box.

I'll click OK to close the dialog box. The "S" curve brightens the highlights in an image and darkens the shadows, thereby increasing contrast. As we can see in my picture now, the contrast has been increased. Note, however, that the colors are now also displayed more saturated, as the "Curves" adjustment layer affects not only the shadows and highlights, but also the color saturation:

Both the contrast and the color saturation were increased after applying the "Curves" adjustment layer.

So that the "Curves" setting level only influences the contrast and ignores the color information, you only need to change the mixing mode of the setting level from "Normal" to "Brightness":

Change the blending mode of the "Curves" adjustment layer to "Brightness".

Now that the blending mode is set to "Brightness", the "Curves" level is no longer concerned with the color information in the image. The contrast is still increased, but the color saturation has normalized:

The color saturation is now normal again after the blending mode of the "Curves" level was changed to "Brightness".

It might be a little difficult to tell the difference in the screenshots. But try it yourself and switch between the "Normal" and "Brightness" blending modes. This will make the difference easier to tell, especially if your photo has lots of reds and blues in it.

Another common use for Luminosity Blending Mode is to sharpen images. Most people use Photoshop's classic unsharp mask filter to sharpen their photos. The only problem is that the unsharp mask filter sharpens both the brightness values ​​and the color information. This can lead to a noticeable "halo" effect on people and objects in the picture. You can use the Lightness Blend mode and Fade command in Photoshop to limit the effects of the Unsharp Mask filter to the lightness values ​​while ignoring the color.

Immediately after applying the Unsharp Mask filter, go to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and choose Unsharp Mask:

Go to Edit> Show Unsharp Mask.

When the Fade Out dialog box appears, change the Mode option below (which stands for Blend Mode) to Brightness:

In the Blend dialog box, change the blend mode to Brightness.

This will change the blend mode of the Unsharp Mask filter just applied to Luminosity. This means that the filter now ignores the color information in the image and only sharpens the brightness values. Add this extra step when applying the unsharp mask filter for better sharpening results!

And there we have it! Although Photoshop includes up to 25 different layer blend modes depending on the version of Photoshop you're using, we've narrowed the choices down to just five blend modes that you absolutely need to know about. The "Multiply" blend mode darkens images, the "Screen" blend mode brightens images, and the "Overlay" blend mode darkens and brightens them to improve contrast. The "Color" blend mode allows you to add or change colors in an image without affecting the brightness values, and finally, the brightness. The blend mode allows you to change the brightness values ​​of an image without affecting the color. Learning these five basic blend modes will save you a lot of time and make editing, retouching, and restoring photos a lot easier in Photoshop.