Photoshop technique: Blend If
Another powerful tool worth mastering
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.