Shortcuts - Layer Blending Modes

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JenWhiteTOTW_shadowAre you a blender?

You know, one of those people who love to play with the blending modes in the Layers panel.

I am. I'm constantly cycling through them to see what interesting effect I can achieve. In the end, though, I usually wind up using the same three or four modes.

In this tip, I'll share three ways to put a giddy-up in your blender so you can get blending faster!

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Method 1: The Double Click (Windows only)

  • Double click on the current Blending Mode in the Layers panel.
  • Use your keyboard up/down arrows to move to the previous or next mode.

Pro: You can use this method to change the blending mode of a layer with whatever tool is currently active.

Con: Modes do not continuously cycle through. When you get to the end, you have to use the arrow keys to laboriously go backwards through all the layers styles that you just tried.

Method 2: The Shift and Go (Mac & Windows)

  • Hold down the Shift key while pressing the plus key or minus key.

Pro: Modes continuously cycle through.

Con: If you use a tool with blending modes, such as the Brush tool, this method will change the blending mode of the brush, not the layer.

Method 3: Mode a-la-Cart (Mac & Windows)

  • Press, for example, Alt Shift S (Mac: Opt Shift S) and you'll instantly activate the Screen blending mode for a layer.
  • Each blending mode corresponds to a different letter. Some make sense, others do not.

Pro: Memorizing the shortcut combinations of blending modes will quicken your steps.

Con: If you are currently using a tool with the shortcut for blending modes or ranges (the Brush tool, for example), this method will change the blending mode of the brush, not the layer.

Here is a complete list of Layer blending mode shortcuts:

Note: The three methods named in this tutorial are not official names, I just made them up! 🙂

Credits:
Tip of the Week: Shortcuts - Blending Modes, by Jen White
Software: Adobe Photoshop Elements 9.0

Download a PDF version of this "Shortcuts - Layer Blending Modes
"
tutorial.

Windows: Right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or a similar command.
Mac: Click on the link to download the file.

Method 1: The Double Click (Windows only)

  • Double click on the current Blending Mode in the Layers panel.
  • Use your keyboard up/down arrows to move to the previous or next mode.

Pro: You can use this method to change the blending mode of a layer with whatever tool is currently active.

Con: Modes do not continuously cycle through. When you get to the end, you have to use the arrow keys to laboriously go backwards through all the layers styles that you just tried.

Method 2: The Shift and Go (Mac & Windows)

  • Hold down the Shift key while pressing the plus key or minus key.

Pro: Modes continuously cycle through.

Con: If you use a tool with blending modes, such as the Brush tool, this method will change the blending mode of the brush, not the layer.

Method 3: Mode a-la-Cart (Mac & Windows)

  • Press, for example, Alt Shift S (Mac: Opt Shift S) and you'll instantly activate the Screen blending mode for a layer.
  • Each blending mode corresponds to a different letter. Some make sense, other do not.

Pro: Memorizing the shortcut combinations of blending modes will quicken your steps.

Con: If you are currently using a tool with the shortcut for blending modes or ranges (the Brush tool, for example), this method will change the blending mode of the brush, not the layer.

Here is a complete list of Layer blending mode shortcuts:

Note: The methods named in this tutorial are not official names, I just made them up! 🙂

Credits:
Tip of the Week: Shortcuts - Blending Modes, by Jen White
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS5

Download a PDF version of this "Shortcuts - Layer Blending Modes
"
tutorial.

Windows: Right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or a similar command.
Mac: Click on the link to download the file.