Multiply

The Multiply blend mode is another of the Darken group of blending modes. Like Darken, the Multiply blend mode also compares the base and blend layer's pixels channel by channel, but rather than selecting the darker of the two, Multiply creates a darker image by multiplying the base color by the blend color. Multiplying with black will always result in black, while multiplying with white has no effect. It doesn't matter if the blend is darker or lighter than the base color—the result is always to darken the underlying image.

While you can easily imagine mixing blue and red paints, the concept of "multiplying" colors may seem strange at first. Try making a simple two-layer image. Fill both layers with the same midrange color—a light gray is best. Now switch the top layer's blending mode to Multiply, and you'll notice that the blend color is a much darker gray.

KEYBOARD SHORTCUT

Windows: Alt+Shift+M Mac: Option+Shift+M

Self-blends and changing opacity if you blend an image with a copy of itself, and make the top layer's blending mode Multiply, the resulting image becomes darker Shadows, midtones, and highlights are not affected equally It's more like a Curves adjustment where shadows are made darker and highlights show little change This is because in a Multiply self-blend, Photoshop multiplies (in this case, squares) the base and blend color values As with all blend modes, the effect varies in proportion to the opacity percentage However, there seems little point using Multiply for a simple self-blend You could achieve the same end result with a Curves adjustment layer, and the resulting file size would be much smaller

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KEYBOARD SHORTCUT

Windows: Alt+Shift+M Mac: Option+Shift+M

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Using Curves in this instance will produce a smaller file size.

Adding Gaussian blur to the blend layer produces an effective soft-focus effect Because Multiply works more strongly in the shadows and midtones, the outcome is more moody, with darker tones bleeding into the highlight areas Unlike simply blurring an image layer, you can adjust, fine-tune, and reverse the results long after you save and close the file

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Notice straightaway how a Multiply self-blend darkens the image, especially the shadows.

Blur a Multiply blend layer and shadows bleed into the highlights.

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With the same amount of blur, the original is barely recognizable.

An excellent use for Multiply is to add color to line drawings It really doesn't matter if, like me, you can't draw—just take a photograph and make a self-blend Turn the lower layer into a line drawing by selecting Filter > Stylize > Find Edges Next, blur the top layer and set its blending mode to Multiply Finally, reduce the top layer's opacity until you're happy with the results

You can also try optional steps, such as desaturating the line drawing, strengthening it using Curves, or dragging it on top of the Multiply layer

Other blending modes can produce similar effects, but I prefer Multiply because large areas of the line drawing are white and have no effect on the result So, using the Multiply blending mode produces an image that most closely matches the original image's tonality

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Fine-tune the image by blurring the Multiply layer and varying its opacity.

Fine-tune the image by blurring the Multiply layer and varying its opacity.

A great use for Multiply is to add color to a line drawing.

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