This is a basic file with a text layer over a base texture layer. Both layers are at 100% opacity.
Using the Blend If controls, the text now looks weathered over the concrete, and some of the concrete is showing through at 100% opacity.
MillValleyTextOverTexture60PercentOpacity For this example, I simply dropped the opacity of the text layer to 60%. It is not overly convincing.
The Blend If Layer Style has a variety of sliders near the bottom. The sliders can be “split” by holding down the Alt(Win) or Option(Mac), which allows you to create a transition for the effect.
The Blend If tools are very flexible. Photographers often use them to float in clouds in a cloudless sky.
The lower sliders protect the dark posts and white snow, while the upper sliders allow the white clouds to show through over the original sky.
Similar to the Mill Valley example, adjusting the various sliders allow portions of the top layer to appear weathered, while the bottom set of sliders helps reveal underlying texture elements at full strength.
Occasionally, dragging the various sliders and opacity values can result in surprising results that might take hours to produce with traditional layering techniques.
Experiment and get creative! This process will be dependent on the actual images. Not all results can be predicted—but that might be exactly the point!

Photoshop technique: Blend If

By Mike Jackson

Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2017

I’ve read comments suggesting the “Blend If” tool in Photoshop is one of the Top Ten techniques all designers should master. You might expect the programmers at Adobe to move it to a more prominent spot in the program, but instead it is almost hidden within the “fx” icon at the lower left corner of the Layers panel. It has been a part of Photoshop for almost ever, so it should be available in any version you have installed on your computer.

If nothing else, the tool/technique is fun! With that said, it is also extremely powerful and flexible. With one layer placed over another layer, it is possible to simply change the opacity of the top layer to let more of the background to show through. Additionally, you can change the “Mode” of the top layer to popular choices like Multiply, Screen, Overlay and so forth. The Blend If tool adds a whole new set of options for how the two layers interact with each other.

The Blend If tool is not quite as “linear” as some tools or effects. In other words, some tools might be thought of as A+B=C and produce relatively predictable results. With the various sliders, Blend If might be more like A+B=EFGH. This will make more sense after viewing these examples and by playing with the tool on your own computer.


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Mike Jackson

Mike and Darla Jackson operate Golden Era Studios in Jackson, Wyoming, and do a variety of sign-related projects. Mike’s website is www.goldenstudios.com. His email address is golden@goldenstudios.com. You can see more of Mike’s photos at www.tetonimages.com and www.goldenstudios.com.