How to Use Two of Photoshop's Weirdest Blending Modes

Despite the veritable multitude of options offered by the program, most photographers can get through their entire careers only using six or so of Photoshop's blending modes. Nonetheless, there's a lot of hidden power in the lesser used modes, and this great video shows you how to take advantage of two of the quirkiest of all: color dodge and color burn.

Coming to you from Blake Rudis of f64 Academy, this great video examines how to use the color dodge and color burn blending modes in Photoshop. Both modes use some slightly more nuanced math than many of the other blending modes to accomplish their purposes, typically resulting in saturated midtones and a bump in contrast. They're part of a select group of eight blending modes in which fill and opacity adjustments generally work independently of one another. So, what's the point? They allow to quickly color grade and in tandem with Blend-if, to easily feather the look. Because you're using a Solid Color fill layer, you can easily adjust the grade at any time you please. An additional tip: add a layer mask and brush the effect in if you want to gain even more control over the blending of the grade. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

Log in or register to post comments


Blakes teaching is fantastic.

Cool. Still, I am still waiting for someone to demonstrate cool uses for dissolve, pin light. hard mix, exclusion and divide blend modes 3:)

Terrific instructor/instruction! Thanks I still go thru lining up (top-bottom) R G B next to C M Y K to compose with.

i've been experimenting with these ps macros (actions, sorry, my bad, haha), but this dude clearly is pushing the tempo on them. good stuff. good share, as well, thx.