How to use blending modes with Photoshop brushes tutorial, combine strokes using difference etc > Photoshop brushes and combining using blending modes in CC CS6 CS5 CS4 CS3 etc tutorial

Photoshop Blending modes and brushes

You can apply the Photoshop brushes without ever touching blending modes, just apply them in standard normal blending mode. You can, if you wish, use the brushes with different blending modes in Adobe ® Photoshop ®. They can be applied using difference / multiply / overlay / lighten etc blending modes (though these depend on the current image mode and channels) to achieve different brush strokes; you can also set the opacity say to 10% or 20% to create subtle additions of brush stroke.


1) To set the blending mode for the brush, select a brush and then go to the top bar of Photoshop and select the mode dropdown.


2) Set to 'Darken' 'Difference' 'Lighten' (the blending modes vary from version to version of Photoshop or PS Elements).


3) Apply Photoshop brushes to the document as normal.


The actual result will depend on the blending mode, the current color of the brush as well as the background color of the document.


photoshop brushes blending modes

A variety of blending modes have been used in this design with the same Photoshop brush


Photoshop brushes and blending modes via fade command

Another alternative way of applying the brush using blending modes is via the edit menu and fade command which can fade the brush and change the mode.


photoshop brushes blending mode fade

The Photoshop brushes is applied as normal mode but the edit menu fade is used to set the blending mode of the fade to lighten blending mode


Blending modes via layers

Another alternative approach to applying the brush strokes with different blending modes would be to apply the strokes to a layer and then use the blending modes of the individual layers via the Photoshop layers panel.


photoshop brushes blending modes layer

The above uses multiple layers with Photoshop brushes and blending mode is to darken for the top layer


You can combine multiple Photoshop brushes using blending modes set via the top bar in the application. The above uses darken


You can use combine multiple Photoshop brushes using the blending mode 'difference'


You can combine them using blending modes such as difference to create truly unusual contour designs simply by adding the stroke again and again using the same blending mode


Using the difference blending mode with the Photoshop brushes and selecting the shift key as you add the strokes, you can create a weird contoured pulsed line in seconds even using a basic dab. If you use a different and more extreme stroke then even odder designs can be generated.


You can use blending modes with the Photoshop brushes and use them on a layer. The layer then can be duplicated and combined into a smart object and effects added such as twirls and oil paint filters etc


You can use multiple blending modes such as overlay and lighten etc to create all kinds of color effects (the above Photoshop brush being the most basic circular default stroke)


Re-applied brush strokes using different blending modes


Using the multiply blending mode


Or the lighten mode


Multiple Photoshop brush dabs added using the difference blending mode


A star Photoshop brush turned into an abstract painting using the combination of multiple blending modes 'difference' and the oil paint filter