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Blend Modes GIMP

 

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Understand GIMP’s Blend Modes
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This GIMP (GNU) tutorial demonstrates Layer Blending Modes and explains how Blend Modes operate. GIMP has 21 Layer Blend Modes.

Understanding GIMP’s Layers

Notes
You can quickly Undo a step at any time by pressing Ctrl then Z. Alternatively, click a previous Undo History snapshot - Windows then Dockable Dialogues then click Undo History. In addition, to Zoom in (or Zoom out) of your image; from the top menu, choose View then select a Zoom Tool from the subsequent drop-down list.

Launch GIMP & Organise Its Workspace & Palettes

Note
Ensure the Layers and the Undo History Palettes are visible, and then drag them into position over your workspace - (Windows then Dockable Dialogues - then click Layers and Undo History).

Blending Modes, How They Function Here.

Note
To be able to utilise Blending Modes, you need at least two Layers open in the Layers palette. Blending Modes work by altering an image’s pixels depending on the Blending Mode and the image beneath it.

1/ Blending Mode Exercise
To work along, you are welcome to download the Start Image I am working with
Here.  Unzip the file and open the Start Image onto GIMP’s workspace Ctrl then O.



2/
Now, Duplicate the Background Layer by left-clicking and holding: then dragging the Background Layer over the Create a duplicate of the layer.... icon, found at the foot of the Layers Palette - as illustrated below. (Alternatively, simply clicking the Create a duplicate of the layer.... tab will Duplicate an active Layer).

                

3/
Still working on the Background Copy Layer. From the top menu, choose Filters then choose Blur then choose Gaussian Blur. From the subsequent Gaussian Blur dialogue box, enter a Blur Radius of around 23, and then click OK.





4/
Still working on the Background Copy Layer. Change its Blending Mode from Normal to Overlay.

                 

Note
For personal results, experiment with different Blend Modes and Layer Opacities.



Note
Changing the Blending Mode to Grain Merge produces the following vivid colour result.

               

Divide Blending Mode Example

                    

Darken Only Blending Mode Example

                      

Quickly Scroll Through And Change The
Blending Modes
To scroll through, and quickly change the Blending Modes: first left-click to highlight any Blending Mode - as illustrated below.



Then, whilst the Blending Mode remains highlighted, scroll through the Blending Mode choices by tapping either the Top or Bottom Keyboard Arrow - as illustrated below.



5/
To finish, from the top menu, choose Image and then choose Flatten Image.



6/
Congratulations, your work is complete,
and it’s ready to optimise and save.

The Following List Explains Each Blending Mode’s Function.
Normal
Edits or paints each pixel to make it the final colour. This is the default mode. (Normal mode is called Threshold when you’re working with a bit mapped or indexed-colour
image).

Dissolve
Edits or paints each pixel to make it the final colour. However, the final colour is a random replacement of the pixels with the base colour or the blend colour, depending on the opacity at any pixel location.

Multiply
Looks at the colour information in each channel and multiplies the base colour by the blend colour. The final colour is always a darker colour. Multiplying any colour with black produces black. Multiplying any colour with white leaves the colour unchanged. When you’re painting with a colour other than black or white, successive strokes with a painting tool produce progressively darker colours. The effect is similar to drawing on the image with multiple marking pens.

Divide
Divide mode multiplies each pixel value in the lower layer by 256 and then divides that by the corresponding pixel value of the upper layer plus one. (Adding one to the denominator avoids dividing by zero.) The resulting image is often lighter, and sometimes looks burned out.

Screen
Looks at each channel’s colour information and multiplies the inverse of the blend and base colours. The result colour is always a lighter colour. Screening with black leaves the colour unchanged. Screening with white produces white. The effect is similar to projecting multiple photographic slides on top of each other.

Overlay
Multiplies or screens the colours, depending on the base colour. Patterns or colours overlay the existing pixels while preserving the highlights and shadows of the base colour. The base colour is not replaced, but mixed with the blend colour to reflect the lightness or darkness of the original colour.

Dodge
Looks at the colour information in each channel and brightens the base colour to reflect the blend colour by decreasing the contrast. Blending with black produces no change.

Burn
Looks at the colour information in each channel and brightens the base colour to reflect the blend colour by increasing the brightness. Blending with black produces no change.

Hard Light
Hard light mode is rather complicated because the equation consists of two parts, one for darker colours and one for brighter colours. If the pixel colour of the upper layer is greater than 128, the layers are combined according to the first formula shown below. Otherwise, the pixel values of the upper and lower layers are multiplied together and multiplied by two, then divided by 256. You might use this mode to combine two photographs and obtain bright colours and sharp edges.

Soft Light
Darkens or lightens the colours, depending on the blend colour. The effect is similar to shining a diffused spotlight on the image. If the blend colour (light source) is lighter than
50% grey, the image is lightened as if it were dodged. If the blend colour is darker than
50% grey, the image is darkened as if it were burned in. Painting with pure black or white produces a distinctly darker or lighter area, but does not result in pure black or white.

Grain Extract
Multiplies or screens the colours, depending on the blend colour. The effect is similar to shining a harsh spotlight on the image. If the blend colour (light source) is lighter than
50% grey, the image is lightened, as if it were screened. This is useful for adding highlights to an image. If the blend colour is darker than 50% grey, the image is darkened, as if it were multiplied. This is useful for adding shadows to an image. Painting with pure black or white results in pure black or white.

Grain Merge
Burns or dodges the colours by increasing or decreasing the contrast, depending on the blend colour. If the blend colour (light source) is lighter than 50% grey, the image is lightened by decreasing the contrast. If the blend colour is darker than 50% grey, the image is darkened by increasing the contrast.

Difference
Looks at the colour information in each channel and subtracts either the blend colour from the base colour or the base colour from the blend colour, depending on which has the greater brightness value. Blending with white inverts the base colour values; blending with black produces no change.

Addition
Addition mode is very simple. The pixel values of the upper and lower layers are added to each other. The resulting image is usually lighter. The equation can result in colour values greater than 255, so some of the light colours may be set to the maximum value of 255.

Subtract
Blending with white inverts the base colour values. Blending with black produces no
change.

Darker Only
Compares the total of all channel values for the blend and base colour and displays the lower value colour. Darker Colour does not produce a third colour, which can result from the Darken blend, because it chooses the lowest channel values from both the base and the blend colour to create the result colour.

Lighter Only
Compares the total of all channel values for the blend and base colour and displays the higher value colour. Lighter Colour does not produce a third colour, which can result from the Lighten blend, because it chooses the highest channel values from both the base and blend colour to create the final colour.

Hue
Creates a final colour with the luminance and saturation of the base colour and the hue of the blend colour.

Saturation
Creates a result colour with the luminance and hue of the base colour and the saturation of the blend colour. Painting with this mode in an area with no (0) saturation (grey) causes no change.

Colour
Creates a final colour with the luminance of the base colour and the hue and saturation of the blend colour. This preserves the grey levels in the image and is useful for colouring monochrome images and for tinting colour images.

Value
Value mode uses the value of the upper layer and the saturation and hue of the lower layer to form the resulting image. You can use this mode to reveal details in dark and light areas of an image without changing the saturation.


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