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Lessons:17Length:1.3 hours
Blendingmodes 1
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3.1 Darken and Multiply

The Multiply set focuses on ways to blend pixels to make the resulting image darker. In this lesson we look at the similarities and differences between the Darken and Multiply blending modes.

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3.1 Darken and Multiply

Hello everybody. Welcome back to mastering blending modes in Adobe Photoshop. This is lesson 3.1, where we take a look at the multiply and darken blending modes. To best illustrate how the darken and multiply blending modes work, I'm going to use these three gray boxes. These are at various shades of gray, which is also various tones of brightness. To understand what I mean by that, let's use our Color Picker, and pick this middle one here. If we look at the settings, the hue and saturation are both at zero, and the brightness is at 50%. So that means this is at exactly 50% gray. The one over here is at 40% brightness. So that's not necessarily accurate to say that's at 40% gray, it's at 40% brightness level, which is simply a darker gray. And likewise down here, 60% brightness is a little bit brighter, so it's a lighter gray than the 50%. All of these are set to normal blending mode and as expected, they are layered appropriately. The 40% is above the 50%, which is above the 60%. So, the first blending mode we wanna look at is the darken blending mode. Now, the way darken works, it evaluates which is darker, the base color or the blend color, and uses whichever one of those two are darker. So there's not really any blending with the darken blending mode. It actually just uses whichever color is darker. To illustrate, let's put all three of these on the darken blending mode. And we don't see any change because they are stacked up in that order. The 40% is above the 50%, which is above the 60%. The 40% is naturally a darker color than the 50%. But look what happens if we move this 60% brightness up above the other two. Now, even though this is on the top level, it looks like it's behind that. Let's it change back to normal so you can see what I mean. This is that 60% brightness sitting over the 50% and the 40%. At normal, we're seeing that 60% brightness gray. But if we change this now to darken, what Photoshop is doing is detecting that there are darker colors lying underneath the pixels in this layer, and is displaying those darker pixels instead of the ones that are on this layer. So, even though it's at the top of the stack, it looks like it's behind those other two. Likewise with the 50%. It's set to darken. And it's logically behind the 40%. But if we move it up to the top, it still looks like it's behind that 40%. Because the 40% is a darker gray, and the blending mode is causing that to be displayed. Now let's take a look at what happens when we take all of these layers and change the blending mode to multiply. We start to see some overlap here. Multiply takes the color information for the base color, that's whichever color is underneath the layer that it's set at, and multiplies it with the blend color, which is the color of that actual layer. Now that sounds like it might be a little bit confusing, so let's take a look at what's going on. The 50% brightness right here is set to multiply, and sitting over the 60% and the 40%. We get a blending of the overlapping layers here. And that blending is always going to be darker because the color information is being multiplied to create a darker value. Mostly what you need to know is that the darker the colors are, the darker the multiplied result is going to be. Before moving on, I wanna to talk briefly about how these blending modes work on the brush level. I've got my brush tool selected. And I'll start with the gray that's at 40% brightness, which is darker than this 50% box. Now this 50% brightness box is the one that's currently selected. I'm gonna set that blending mode for that layer back to normal. In my brush mode, I'm gonna set this on darken. So currently my paint color is darker than the pixels that are in this layer. So it will cover over it. If I make the paint color lighter, it has no effect on the pixels that are already there. Also, if I change this to multiply, each new brush stroke will now multiply with the pixels that are already on the layer. It's not multiplying with the pixels that are on different layers, only on the layer that I'm currently painting on. So you can begin building up the color by multiplying each paint stroke with the pixels that are already there. Now let's take a look at what these blending modes do with something a little bit more interesting than some simple gray boxes. I've got this very colorful background in here, and a couple instances of my color bars graphics. Now these are both set to normal right now. So let's grab one of these, the first one, which is this one on the right hand side, and set this to darken. Now clearly the black pixels are gonna be darker than any of the pixels that are in the image. And it's always gonna show as black. The white is hardly gonna show up at all because there's no white values in that background image. If we look closely at what it's doing to the gray tones, it is swapping out the lighter pixels with this mid-toned gray. Any pixels that are darker than 50% gray are being swapped with the 50% gray. And then on the black to white gradient, you see it evolving in that process. Now the color becomes a little bit more interesting, because it has to do with the luminous values of the color information of these pixels. And so essentially, it's just darkening them with this color tone that's within the gradient. Let's take a look at what the multiply mode does. Something rather similar. But still got some distinctive differences. First of all, one of the biggest advantages to multiplying is that any white pixels within that layer completely and entirely disappear. It's like multiplying by the number one. It doesn't do anything to the pixels that are behind it. On the other side of it, multiplying by black always creates black. It's sort of like multiplying by zero. No matter what information is behind that, it's always going to be zero, or black. Now, there's a distinctive difference between what's happening with the mid-tone grays on the multiply mode, versus the darken mode. Let's move those two together, just to have a better look at what's going on with them. Notice in the darken mode we get a swap out of either the background pixel or the mid-tone gray. But in the multiply mode, it's just darkening, very subtly, those background pixels. It's adding a mid-tone gray value to those background pixels, making it darker. And looking at the rainbow gradient, with the colors along there, there doesn't really appear to be very much of a visual difference between the multiply mode and the darken mode. Generally, you'll end up using multiply because it is much more useful, especially with these mid-tone grays. Now that we've seen what the multiply and the darken modes do, next lesson, lesson 3.2, we'll move on to the other blending modes within this set. That's the color burn, linear burn, and darker color blending modes.

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