Blend mode “Screen”

In the process of studying the blending modes for retouching, processing and restoring photos in Photoshop, we learned that all blending modes, with the exception of the Normal and Fading modes, belong to one of the five main groups (a group of blackout, lightening, contrast , comparison and component modes). In these five groups, you can select five blending modes that you need to know to work in Photoshop.

In the last lesson, we looked at the first of the five main modes – the Multiply mode (Multiply). This mode darkens the image, and it is useful to use it to sharpen faded photos and restore details in overexposed photos. In this lesson we will get acquainted with the second necessary overlay mode – the “Screen” mode (Screen).

If you go back to the first lesson, remember that the “Screen” blend mode belongs to the group of bleaching modes, along with the “Lighten”, “Color Dodge” and “Linear Brightener” modes. . This means that it somehow brightens the image. In fact, the “Screen” mode is the direct opposite of the “Multiplication” mode.

While the “Multiplication” mode is named for the mathematical operation that actually occurs in the program when this mode is selected, the “Display” mode is named like this by the present screen. Imagine again that you have slides with photos. If you took two slides and placed them in different slide projectors, and then displayed the images on the same screen, the resulting image would be brighter than two images on different screens.

Let’s take a look at how the Screen mode works. I will begin again with a simple two-layer pattern that we used in the last lesson when studying the “Multiplication” overlay mode. We have a whole background layer filled with blue, and on the upper layer there is a horizontal black and white gradient fill and three squares – black, white and gray (50% gray):

Once again our document with a simple pattern consisting of two layers

And again, if we look at the layers panel, we will see two layers separately – the Background layer, filled with blue color, and the upper layer with gradient fill and squares. At the top layer called “Gradient and Squares” (“Gradient and Squares”) the blend mode “Normal” is currently selected. This means that we see everything in its original state without any changes. Gradient fill and squares completely cover the blue background of the back layer:

Both layers are reflected on the layers panel, the “Normal” blending mode is selected at the top one.

I propose to recall the lesson on the overlay mode “Multiplication”. What happened when we changed the blend mode “Gradient & Squares” to “Multiplication”? The white square and the white part of the gradient fill are no longer visible, the black square and the black part of the gradient fill have not changed, and the gray square, like the rest of the gradient, mixed with the blue color under them and became darker. Applying the blending mode “Screen”, we get the opposite result. All black areas on the layer will disappear, all white areas will remain unchanged, and all shades of gray will become lighter.

So, what happens when I change the blend mode of the “Gradient and Squares” layer to “Screen”? Based on my assumptions, the black square on the left and the black part of the gradient fill should completely disappear. The white square on the right and the white part of the gradient fill should not change, and the gray square, like the rest of the gradient, should blend with the blue color underneath and become lighter. Let’s see what we get. First, I will change the blending mode of the “Gradient and Squares” layer from “Normal” (Normal) to “Screen” (Screen):

Change the blending mode of the “Gradient and Squares” layer to “Screen”

And now, if we look at our drawing, we will be able to make sure that everything has changed as we expected. The result was exactly the opposite compared to the use of the “Multiplication” mode. The black square and the black part of the gradient fill are no longer visible, the white square and the white part of the gradient fill have not changed, and the gray square, like the rest of the gradient, mixed with the blue color under them and became lighter:

The document after changing the blend mode of the “Gradient and Squares” layer to “Screen”

The use of screen blending mode in real life

Since the blend mode “Screen” brightens images without affecting the darkest areas (areas of black or close in shade to black), one of the most frequent applications of this mode for restoring and retouching photos is to brighten dark images and underexposed images and make them bright. Let’s take another look at an old photo we worked with in the last lesson. If you remember, we used the “Multiply” blend mode to enhance the shadows and make the picture more contrast, but the image was no longer expressive in terms of light:

The image looks too dark

On the layers panel you can clearly see what we have already done with our image. The original, faded image is located on the background layer. Above this layer, we added a correction layer and changed its blending mode to “Multiplication”, which led to the enhancement of shadows. To make the shadows even more contrast, we created a copy of the “Levels” adjustment layer with the “Multiply” blend mode and then reduced the opacity of the copy of the adjustment layer to 50% to achieve the required degree of darkening:

On the layers panel, our work is to enhance the shadows in the image.

To restore the bright spots in the image, without working with shadows, we can use the “Screen” blend mode, which is applicable to one more “Levels” adjustment layer. To create a copy of the Levels 1 copy adjustment layer (Levels 1 copy), I will select this layer and press the key combination Ctrl + J / Command + J. This action will result in another copy of the Levels adjustment layer, which I will call Levels 1 copy 2 (Levels 1 copy 2). Of course, layer names such as “Layer 1 Copy 2” can only confuse us, so I’m going to rename the new layer and name it Screen. I will also change the name of the original adjustment layer to “Multiply” (Multiply), and the overlying layer to “Multiply 50%” (Multiply 50%), since I reduced the opacity of this layer to 50%. New names will help us to orient in the order of our work and not to forget what we have done:

Create again a copy of the “Levels” adjustment layer and call it “Screen”. We also rename the two previous adjustment layers.

Whenever we duplicate a layer, its settings and blending mode are also automatically duplicated and distributed to the created copy. If we look at the layers panel, we see that, despite the fact that I called the new layer “Screen”, its blending mode remains “Multiplication”, and the opacity is reduced to 50%. This was due to the fact that such settings were at the source layer, which was duplicated. I’m going to increase the layer opacity to 100%, and since we want to use this layer to brighten our image and add bright spots, I will also change the blending mode to “Screen”:

Change the blend mode of the upper adjustment layer to “Screen” and increase the opacity level to 100%

Now let’s see what happened with the snapshot. Just by adding another adjustment layer and changing its blending mode to “Screen”, we were able to enhance the glare in the image without affecting the shadows, and add a contrast image to it:

After changing the blend mode of the adjustment layer to “Screen”, the image became brighter and more expressive.

If I want to further brighten the image, I can easily duplicate the adjustment layer again, making sure the copy has the “Screen” blending mode, and then reduce the layer opacity to achieve the desired brightness, as we did when working with the “ Multiplication”. In this case, it seems to me that the image is already too bright. Some of the details in the picture have ceased to be visible, especially with regard to the upper right corner of the image and the face of the woman, so I will reduce the opacity of the “Screen” layer to 70%:

Reduce the opacity of the “Screen” layer to achieve the desired brightness.

With this action, we returned to the snapshot details that were not visible due to excessive brightness of the image. Below is the final result after reducing the opacity of the “Screen” layer. Thanks to the application of the “Screen” blending mode, the image has become brighter and more saturated:

Image after reducing excessive brightness by lowering the opacity of the “Screen” layer

As I mentioned earlier, the “Screen” blend mode is good for brightening underexposed photos using the same sequence of actions as we saw above. Just add a “Levels” adjustment layer and change its blending mode to “Screen”. To make the picture even brighter, duplicate the adjustment layer. To achieve the desired brightness, you should reduce the opacity of the adjustment layer.

So, we have reviewed two of the five blend modes that you need to know when processing photos. We studied how the Multiplication mode makes images darker, and the Screen mode lighter. Next we will focus on the third important blend mode, which both darkens and brightens the image – the “Overlap” blend mode!

Like this post? Please share to your friends: