Blend mode “chromaticity”

In previous lessons on the study of important blend modes that you need to know to process photos, we met with blend modes, each of which either made the image darker, or made it brighter, or darkened and brightened the image at the same time. So, the Multiply blend mode did not take into account the white areas and made the image darker. Blend mode “Screen” (Screen) did not take into account black areas and made the image lighter, while the blend mode “Overlay” ignored areas of gray and made dark areas even darker, and light areas – even brighter, thereby increasing the contrast.

Our fourth important blend mode does not work with shadows, or with highlights, or with the contrast of the image, but is responsible for color, so it is not surprising that this mode is called “Color”. If you return to the first lesson, remember that the blend mode “Color” is included in the group of component modes, along with the “Hue”, “Saturation” and “Luminosity” modes.

In fact, the blend mode “Color” is a combination of the first two component modes “Color tone” and “Saturation”. When you change the blending mode of a layer to “Chroma”, with the layer or layers below the original layer, only the color (i.e., color tone and saturation) of the overlying layer is mixed. The degree of brightness of the layer is not taken into account. The blend mode “Color” is especially indispensable when you want to add or change colors in an image without changing the degree of brightness. As you can study further, the “Color” blend mode is the direct opposite of the fifth important “Brightness” blend mode, which does not take into account the colors on the layer, but mixes only the brightness values.

Using the “Color” blend mode in real life

Often the blending mode “Color” is used for coloring black and white images. The use of this mode allows us to add color to the image without changing the degree of brightness. All that is required is to add a new blank layer above the layer with the image and change the blending mode of this layer to “Color”. Then select the Brush Tool on the toolbar, set the desired color and start painting the layer to add color. Below is an old wedding shot:

Vintage black and white photo of a wedding couple

Let’s imagine that we need to leave the entire picture in black and white, but for more expressiveness, the roses in the bridal bouquet are colored red. Using the “Color” blend mode is very easy to do. First, we need to add a new empty layer above the layer with our image, which I will do by clicking on the “New Layer” icon at the bottom of the layers panel:

Push on badge “Create new layer

This action will create a new empty layer above the background layer. By default, Photoshop will name the new layer “Layer 1” (Layer 1), but since we will use this layer to color the roses, I double-click on the layer name in the layers panel and rename it to “Roses” :

On the layers panel you can see a new empty layer “Roses” located above the background layer.

If we were to start painting the new layer with the Brush tool, we would affect the underlying layer, because the Normal layer is selected for the new layer. Since we need to add color to the image without affecting the overall color picture, we have to change the blending mode of the layer to “Color”:

Change the blending mode of the “Roses” layer to “Color”

Now I will choose the Brush tool.(Brush Tool) on the toolbar and, setting the color red as the foreground color, zoom in on the image of the roses and start painting them red. Please note that due to the ability of the “Chroma” blend mode to mix the new color with the underlying image, we can still see the light and dark areas on the roses under the red color with which we paint the flowers:

We paint over roses in red color

I will continue to paint the roses. And here is what the image looks like after I painted all the roses red:

Roses are red

The color seems too bright, so I will reduce the opacity of the “Roses” layer to 60%:

Reduce the opacity of the “Roses” layer

Now the color looks more subdued, and it should be noted that red roses combine well with the black and white tone of the photo:

Image after reducing the opacity of the “Rose” layer

If you wish, you can continue painting the photo, but I wanted to select only roses. Of course, this is just one example of how the “Color” blend mode can be useful, and, of course, its use is not limited to the restoration of old images. Blend mode “Color” is convenient to use to replace colors in modern photographs. For example, to change the color of the eyes, you just need to select the person’s eyes, add the Hue / Saturation adjustment layer, move the Hue slider left or right to select the desired color and then change the blend mode of the “Hue / Saturation” layer to “Chroma”.

To date, we have studied four of the five important blending modes for processing photos in Photoshop. In the next lesson we will look at the fifth and last important blend mode “Luminosity” (Luminosity), which is the opposite of the blend mode “Color”!

Author: Steve Patterson

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