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Chapter 13. Enhancement > Contrast Blending Modes

Contrast Blending Modes

The majority of blending modes available on the next section of the menu combine the ideas we've used in the Darken and Lighten blending modes. In all of these modes, 50% gray simply disappears, and anything darker than 50% has the potential of darkening the underlying image, while areas brighter than 50% have the potential to brighten the underlying image. In essence, these modes increase the contrast of the underlying image by brightening one area while darkening another.

Overlay Mode

In Overlay mode, the information on the underlying image is used to brighten or darken the active layer. Any areas darker than 50% gray will act like ink (or Multiply mode), while any areas brighter than 50% gray will act like light (or Screen mode). Overlay mode is useful when you want to add color to the underlying image while maintaining its highlights and shadows (Figures 13.68 and 13.69). I also use this mode a lot when I'm working with Layer Styles. If I use both a pattern fill and a color overlay, then the color overlay always completely covers up the pattern that is underneath it. But if I apply the color using the Overlay blending mode (in the Layer Style dialog box), it allows the highlights and shadows from the texture to brighten and darken the color that I'm applying (Figures 13.70 and 13.71). This allows me to create many grayscale patterns and then colorize them with the Color Overlay layer style.


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