Photoshop Blend Modes – Quick and Dirty Explanation

in Photoshop, Training

I am sure there are more comprehensive guide to Photoshop blend modes out there.

However, below are the most common ones and a quick and dirty explanation on the practical (rather than technical) usage of each types.



  • Blend the top layer with bottom layer


  • Replace ┬ácertain percentage of pixels with the top layer


  • Choose the darker pixel between the two layers


  • Darken layer. saturation maintained

Color Burn

  • Darken layer, saturation increased

Linear Burn

  • Darken layer, saturation lowered


  • Choose lighter pixel between two layers


  • Lighten, saturation maintained

Color Dodge

  • Lighten, saturation increased

Linear Dodge

  • Lighten, saturation lowered


  • Increase contrast, saturation maintained

Soft Light

  • Gentle contrast, saturation maintained

Hard Light

  • Strong contrast, saturation increased

Vivid Light

  • Extreme contrast, saturation increased

Linear Light

  • Strong contrast, saturation maintained



Previous post:

Next post: