Photoshop Basics Tech

Photoshop Layer Blend Modes Essential Keyboard Shortcuts

Photoshop Layer Blend Modes Essential Keyboard Shortcuts
Written by Steve Patterson.

On this tutorial, you will study time-saving ideas and tips for working with layer mix modes in Photoshop! I am going to present you methods to simply scroll by means of the mix modes to see how every one impacts your picture, how you can immediately leap to the precise mix mode you want, and even learn how to modify the depth of a mix mode, all instantly out of your keyboard! We’ll cowl each mix mode shortcut you should know to hurry up your workflow, and I am going to even embrace a tip to make memorizing these shortcuts an entire lot simpler. I will be utilizing Photoshop CC however any current model will work. Let’s get began!

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What we’ll be studying

To assist us study the information and tips, I am going to use Photoshop to mix a texture with a picture. This is the picture I will be utilizing. I downloaded this one from Adobe Inventory:

The first of two images that will be blended together using Photoshop layer blend modes

The primary picture. Photograph credit score: Adobe Inventory.

And if we glance in my Layers panel, we see that I even have a texture on a layer above it. I cowl methods to transfer pictures into the identical doc in a separate tutorial, so I am going to flip the highest layer on by clicking its visibility icon:

Making the top image visible in the Photoshop Layers panel

Turning on the highest layer.

And this is my texture, additionally from Adobe Inventory:

A texture from Adobe Stock that will be blended into the image.

The second picture. Photograph credit score: Adobe Inventory.

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The place to seek out the layer mix modes

Photoshop’s mix modes are all discovered within the higher left of the Layers panel, and the default mix mode is Regular:

Photoshop Blend Modes option in the Layers panel

The Blend Mode choice, set to Regular by default.

In case you click on on the Blend Mode choice, you will discover a lot of different mix modes to select from. As of Photoshop CC, there’s 27 mix modes in complete:

All 27 Photoshop layer blend modes

Photoshop’s 27 layer mix modes.

Layer mix modes vs software mix modes in Photoshop

Earlier than we go any additional, it is necessary to know the distinction between a layer mix mode and a software mix mode, and I am going to inform you why in a second. Layer mix modes are all discovered within the Layers panel, they usually management how a layer blends with the layers under it. However a few of Photoshop’s instruments additionally embrace their very own mix modes. A lot of the brush instruments and the portray instruments have their very own separate mix modes that have an effect on the device itself and are utterly separate from the layer mix modes within the Layers panel.

If I select the Brush Software from the Toolbar:

Selecting the Photoshop Brush Tool in the Toolbar

Choosing the Brush Device.

We see within the Choices Bar that it has its personal Blend Mode choice with its personal modes to select from. They could look the identical because the mix modes within the Layers panel, however they are not. These mix modes have an effect on the looks of your brush strokes. They haven’t any impact on any layers:

The Blend Mode option for the Photoshop Brush Tool

The Brush Device mix modes have an effect on the Brush Device, not your picture.

And it isn’t simply the Brush Device that has its personal mix modes. Different brush-related instruments, just like the Spot Therapeutic Brush, the Clone Stamp Device, and the Eraser Software, all have their very own mix modes. And so does the Gradient Software and even the Paint Bucket Software. The truth is, a lot of the brush and portray instruments have them:

Photoshop's brush tools and painting tools in the Toolbar

The comb and portray instruments are grouped collectively within the Toolbar.

The rationale you have to know that is that when you have considered one of these instruments chosen, you could by accident choose the software’s mix mode once you actually meant to pick a layer mix mode. So to make use of the shortcuts we’re about to study to modify between layer mix modes, first be sure to have a device chosen that does not have its personal mix modes. The Transfer Device works nice, and so do any of Photoshop’s choice instruments. I am going to seize the Transfer Software from the Toolbar, which it’s also possible to choose by urgent the letter V:

Photoshop's Move Tool does not include its own blend modes

The Transfer Device is likely one of the instruments with out its personal mix modes.

Learn how to scroll by means of layer mix modes

Let us take a look at the best way to shortly scroll via the layer mix modes to see the impact that every one has on our picture.

To standard (sluggish) solution to attempt mix modes in Photoshop

The best way most individuals check out mix modes is that they click on on the Blend Mode choice within the Layers panel:

Clicking the Blend Mode option in the Photoshop Layers panel

Opening the Blend Mode menu.

Then they select a random mix mode from the listing:

Choosing a random blend mode from the Photoshop Layers panel

Selecting a random mix mode.

After which see what they get:

The blending images result using a random layer blend mode in Photoshop

The primary mix mode outcome.

In the event that they prefer it, nice. If not, they click on on the Blend Mode choice once more and select a unique mix mode:

Choosing a second blend mode from the Photoshop Layers panel

Selecting a second mix mode.

And see in the event that they like this outcome higher:

The second blending images result using a different layer blend mode in Photoshop

The second mix mode outcome.

Then they do the identical factor once more, selecting one other random mix mode from the listing:

Choosing a third blend mode from the Photoshop Layers panel

Selecting a 3rd mix mode.

And evaluating the outcomes:

The third blending images result using a different layer blend mode in Photoshop

The third mix mode outcome.

Methods to scroll by way of layer mix modes out of your keyboard

Whereas that is one method to work, there is a quicker means, and that is by scrolling by way of the mix modes out of your keyboard. I am going to set my mix mode again to Regular:

Setting the blend mode back to Normal in Photoshop

Setting the mix mode again to Regular.

Then, to scroll ahead via the mix modes, press and maintain the Shift key in your keyboard and faucet the plus signal (+) repeatedly. As soon as you’ve got moved via all 27 mix modes, you will return to the Regular mix mode. To scroll backwards via the listing, hold your Shift key held down and faucet the minus key (-) as an alternative.

The right way to choose mix modes out of your keyboard

Scrolling by means of the mix modes is nice once you’re unsure which mix mode you want and simply need to experiment. However in the event you do know which one you want, you possibly can bounce straight to it out of your keyboard. Photoshop consists of keyboard shortcuts for almost all of its mix modes.

To pick a mix mode out of your keyboard, press and maintain your Shift key, alongside together with your Alt (Win) / Choice (Mac) key, after which press the letter that is related to the mix mode.

For instance, the primary mix mode I selected earlier was Multiply. To pick the Multiply mix mode out of your keyboard, maintain Shift+Alt (Win) / Shift+Choice (Mac) and press the letter M. The second I selected was Display, which you’ll be able to bounce to by holding Shift+Alt (Win) / Shift+Choice (Mac) and urgent S. To leap to the Overlay mix mode, maintain Shift+Alt (Win) / Shift+Choice (Mac) and faucet O.

Photoshop’s layer mix mode shortcuts – Full listing

This is the entire listing of keyboard shortcuts for Photoshop’s layer mix modes. All of them share the identical two keys at the start, both Shift+Alt on a Home windows PC or Shift+Choice on a Mac. The one distinction between them is the precise letter on the finish. Some letters are apparent, like “N” for Regular, “M” for Multiply, and “S” for Display, whereas others, like “G” for Lighten or “J” for Linear Mild, you will simply keep in mind over time:

Blend Mode Keyboard Shortcut (Alt = Win, Choice = Mac) Regular Shift + Alt / Choice + N Dissolve Shift + Alt / Choice + I Darken Shift + Alt / Choice + Okay Multiply Shift + Alt / Choice + M Colour Burn Shift + Alt / Choice + B Linear Burn Shift + Alt / Choice + A Lighten Shift + Alt / Choice + G Display Shift + Alt / Choice + S Shade Dodge Shift + Alt / Choice + D Linear Dodge Shift + Alt / Choice + W Overlay Shift + Alt / Choice + O Mushy Mild Shift + Alt / Choice + F Exhausting Mild Shift + Alt / Choice + H Vivid Mild Shift + Alt / Choice + V Linear Mild Shift + Alt / Choice + J Pin Mild Shift + Alt / Choice + Z Exhausting Combine Shift + Alt / Choice + L Distinction Shift + Alt / Choice + E Exclusion Shift + Alt / Choice + X Hue Shift + Alt / Choice + U Saturation Shift + Alt / Choice + T Shade Shift + Alt / Choice + C Luminosity Shift + Alt / Choice + Y

The mix modes which might be lacking shortcuts

Out of Photoshop’s 27 mix modes, solely four of them are lacking shortcuts, and people are Darker Colour, Lighter Shade, Subtract, and Divide. You will not often, if ever, use these ones, however in case you do want them, you will have to pick them from the Layers panel:

Photoshop's four layer blend modes without keyboard shortcuts

The 4 mix modes with out keyboard shortcuts.

The right way to keep away from memorizing each mix mode shortcut

This is a tip to make memorizing the shortcuts simpler. Although there’s 23 shortcuts in complete, you actually solely have to memorize a number of of them; one from every of the mix mode teams.

The Darken mix modes

For instance, as an instance you need to use one among Photoshop’s darkening mix modes, which embrace Darken, Multiply, Colour Burn, Linear Burn, and Darker Shade. To keep away from memorizing the shortcut for every one, simply memorize the primary one, which is Shift+Alt+M (Win) / Shift+Choice+M (Mac) for Multiply. Then, use the opposite shortcut we discovered earlier, which is to carry Shift and faucet the plus or minus key, to maneuver up or down by way of the others within the group:

Photoshop's five darkening layer blend modes (Darken, Multiply, Color Burn, Linear Burn, and Darker Color)

Multiply is the primary darkening mix mode.

The Lighten mix modes

The identical is true for the opposite teams as properly. To check out the totally different lighten modes (Lighten, Display, Shade Dodge, Linear Dodge (Add), and Lighter Shade), simply press Shift+Alt+S (Win) / Shift+Choice+S (Mac) to leap to the Display mix mode. Then maintain Shift and use the plus or minus key to scroll via the others:

Photoshop's five lightening layer blend modes (Lighten, Screen, Color Dodge, Linear Dodge (Add), and Lighter Color)

Display is the primary lightening mix mode.

The Distinction mix modes

For the distinction group (Overlay, Delicate Mild, Arduous Mild, Vivid Mild, Linear Mild, Pin Mild, and Exhausting Combine), press Shift+Alt+O (Win) / Shift+Choice+O (Mac) to leap to Overlay, after which scroll by way of the record:

Photoshop's seven contrast layer blend modes (Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Vivid Light, Linear Light, Pin Light, and Hard Mix)

Overlay is the primary mix mode for enhancing distinction.

The Colour mix modes

And for the colour mix modes (Hue, Saturation, Shade, and Luminosity), press Shift+Alt+C (Win) / Shift+Choice+C (Mac) to leap to the primary one, Shade, after which scroll to the one you want:

Photoshop's four color layer blend modes (Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity)

Shade is the primary mix mode for colorizing photographs.

To study extra about Photoshop’s 5 foremost mix modes (Multiply, Display, Overlay, Shade, and Luminosity), see my Prime 5 Blend Modes You Want To Know tutorial.

Find out how to regulate the depth of a mix mode

Lastly, for those who like the general look of a mix mode however the impact is just too robust, you’ll be able to regulate the depth immediately out of your keyboard. For instance, I am going to leap to the Linear Mild mix mode by urgent Shift+Alt+J (Win) / Shift+Choice+J (Mac):

Selecting the Linear Light blend mode using the keyboard shortcut in Photoshop

Press Shift + Alt / Choice + J to leap to Linear Mild.

I like the colours, however the general impact is a bit an excessive amount of:

The Linear Light blend mode effect in Photoshop

The Linear Mild mix mode impact at full power.

Decreasing the layer opacity out of your keyboard

To scale back the depth of a mix mode, all we have to do is decrease the opacity of the layer itself. You are able to do that from the Opacity choice within the Layers panel, however you can even regulate it immediately out of your keyboard.

Simply press a quantity from 1 to 9 to leap the opacity worth between 10% and 90%. For instance, I can decrease the opacity to 50% by urgent 5 on my keyboard. Or, for a extra particular worth, like 55%, press the 2 numbers shortly:

Lowering the layer opacity from the keyboard in Photoshop

Adjusting the layer opacity from the keyboard.

And this is the outcome with the opacity lowered:

The Linear Light blend mode effect with a lower opacity in Photoshop

The identical Linear Mild mix mode however with a decrease opacity.

I am going to change to a unique mix mode, like Display, by urgent Shift+Alt+S (Win) / Shift+Choice+S (Mac). After which, to revive the opacity again to 100%, press zero in your keyboard:

Restoring the opacity of the layer blend mode effect back to 100% in Photoshop

Press zero to reset the power of the mixing impact again to 100%.

And there we’ve it! That is some time-saving ideas you need to use with layer mix modes in Photoshop! For extra about mix modes, discover ways to mix photographs like a film poster, find out how to mix textual content into backgrounds, and even tips on how to merge mix modes in Photoshop! Or go to our Photoshop Fundamentals part for extra tutorials!