Blending Layers_

You can affect the appearance of your image by changing the opacity of the layers or by blending one or more layers. By default, layers have the Normal blend mode assigned to them, whereas groups have Pass Through. These modes tell the layers not to affect the layers below. In contrast, the other layer blending modes alter the pixel values of the underlying layers according to predefined algorithms. In total, not counting Normal and Pass Through, there are 22 blend modes, each capable of creating a different affect when applied.

You can blend layer content in one of several ways:

■ In the Layers palette, choose a mode from the Blend Mode pop-up menu.

■ Choose the same modes from the General Blending section of the Layer ^ Layer Style ^ Blending Options dialog box.

■ Use the Blend If commands from the Layer ^ Layer Style ^ Blending Options dialog box.

■ Use the Image ^ Apply Image command.

Although the layer Blend Mode and the General Blend options in the Layer Style dialog box do the same job, the Blend If sliders and the Apply Image command do not (see the upcoming sections "Using Apply Image Command" and "Using Blend If").

The layer Blend Mode pop-up is probably the most accessible and most often used, possibly because of its prominence and ease of use. However, it's worth exploring the other options available to you for their power, if not ease of use.

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