Quick

You can easily adjust the stacking order of layers simply by dragging and dropping them within the Layers palette. In addition, you can press CTRL-] (CMD-] on the Mac) to bring a layer forward (or higher) in the stacking order, or CTRL-[ (CMD-[ on the Mac) to send it backward. Add the SHIFT key to those combinations to send the layer to the very top or bottom of the stacking order.

There are six groups of different blending modes, as shown in the following illustration, and in the Blending Modes section of the color insert. Table 6-2 gives a brief description of each blending mode.

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1 * Normal r\

Opacity: |lOOK M

Dissolve ^

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Darken Multiply Color Burn Linear Burn

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Lighten Screen Color Dodge Linear Dodge

Overlay Soft Light Hard Light Vivid Light Linear Light Pin Light

Difference Exclusion

Luminosity

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Blending Mode

Characteristics

Normal

Considered the same as "no blending mode" (default mode)

Dissolve

Scatters color throughout pixels Results appear "dithered" or "spotty"

Darken

Selects the darker color to display Replaces lighter pixels with darker ones Has no effect on darker pixels

Multiply

Multiplies base color with blend color Results always appear darker

Color Burn

Darkens base color to reflect blend color by increasing contrast Has no effect on white pixels

Linear Burn

Darkens base color to reflect blend color by decreasing brightness Has no effect on white pixels

Lighten

Selects the lighter color to display Replaces darker pixels with lighter ones Has no effect on lighter pixels

Screen

Multiplies the inverse of the blend and base colors Results always appear lighter

Color Dodge

Brightens base color to reflect blend color by decreasing contrast Has no effect on black pixels

Linear Dodge

Brightens base color to reflect blend color by increasing brightness Has no effect on black pixels

Overlay

Multiples or screens colors Effect depends on base color Preserves highlights and shadows Mostly affects midtones

Soft Light

Darkens or lightens colors Effect depends on blend color Similar to using a diffused spotlight

Hard Light

Multiplies or screens colors Effect depends on blend color Similar to using a harsh spotlight

Vivid Light

Burns or dodges colors by increasing or decreasing contrast Effect depends on blend color

Linear Light

Burns or dodges colors by decreasing or increasing brightness Effect depends on blend color

Table 6-2 Brief Description of Layer Blending Modes

Blending Mode

Characteristics

Pin Light

Darkens or lightens pixels

Effect depends on blend color, which is considered the light source

Difference

Subtracts color with greatest brightness value Has no effect if blend color is black

Exclusion

Similar to Difference mode, but lower in contrast Has no effect if blend color is black

Hue

Uses luminance and saturation of base color and hue of blend color

Saturation

Uses luminance and hue of base color with saturation of blend color

Color

Uses luminance of base color with hue and saturation of blend color Preserves grays

Luminosity

Uses hue and saturation of base color with luminance of blend color Creates opposite effect of Color mode

Table 6-2 Brief Description of Layer Blending Modes (continued)

Table 6-2 Brief Description of Layer Blending Modes (continued)

In addition to the blending modes listed in Table 6-2, two additional modes exist, but are only available when Lock Transparency is selected for a particular layer:

• Behind Enables you to edit or paint only transparent parts of the layer

• Clear Makes each edited pixel transparent on the layer

For a visual representation of each blending mode, see the "Layer Blending Modes" section of the color insert.

Managing Layers

Because you can have so many layers in a layered Photoshop document, it's important to properly manage those layers. If left unmanaged, the Layers palette can quickly become an overwhelming mess. For example, suppose you created a file with many layers, none of which had custom names, such as the one shown in Figure 6-2. While the thumbnail images on each layer can provide a bit of help, it's difficult to determine exactly what's on most layers. And what if you close the file and then need to edit it two weeks later? You'd need to click through each of the layers just to remind yourself of their contents.

To avoid situations like this, it's best to properly manage layers by doing the following:

• Give them descriptive names

• Group them into layer sets, wherever possible

• Link them to force movements and transformations to be applied uniformly

• Lock them to prevent unwanted changes

Figure 6-2 Files with unnamed layers, such as this one, are difficult to manage.

Tips in the following section explain how to perform each of these tasks, as well as other ways to use layers in Photoshop.

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