A blending mode compares the content of two layers and enacts changes based on the content of both. You can choose from 14 different blending modes using the pop-up menu at the top of the Layers controls. Understanding blending modes requires a bit of science.
To start let’s establish three key terms.
- Base color. The original color in the image.
- Blend color. The color being applied by the top layer or Adjustment layer.
- Result color. The color resulting from the blend.
Adjusting a layer’s Blending Mode is easy.
- Open a photo within Luminar.
- In the Layers controls click the + button and choose the Add New Image Layer option.
- For the top layer, click the Blend pop-up menu in the Layers control area.
- Choose from one of the 14 available blending modes.
- Normal. The default mode performs no additional change to how layer contents interact.
- Darken. Pixels lighter than blend are replaced; darker ones are not.
- Multiply. This mode is similar to drawing strokes on the image with markers. The colors of the top layer are blended with the image.
- Color Burn. Evaluates each channel; darkens base by increasing contrast.
- Lighten. Evaluates each channel; it then uses base or blend color (whichever is lighter).
- Screen. Uses a lighter color. It is useful for “knocking” black out of a layer.
- Overlay. Overlays existing pixels while preserving highlights and shadows of base.
- Soft Light. The effect is similar to shining a diffused spotlight on the image.
- Hard Light. Effect is similar to shining a harsh spotlight on the image.
- Difference. Evaluates each channel and subtracts or inverts depending on brightness.
- Subtract. Looks at the color in each channel and subtracts the blend from the base.
- Hue. Uses luminance and saturation of the base and the hue of the blend.
- Color. Preserves gray levels. It’s very useful for coloring and tinting.
- Luminosity. Is the inverse effect from the Color mode.
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