How to use blending modes with Photoshop shapes tutorial

How to use custom shapes with the Photoshop blending modes such as darken, difference, lighten etc in CC 2018 2017 2015 2014 CS6 CS5 etc

Blending modes and Photoshop custom shapes

how to use blending modes with Photoshop custom shapes
  1. Select the custom shapes tool from the Photoshop toolbar

  2. Select shape layer option

  3. Select a shape from the presets picker

  4. Apply shape

  5. Apply shape

  6. Set color via the top bar fill

  7. Go to the layers panel

  8. Set the Photoshop blending mode to darken


videoVideo tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


Basics : basicSelect the CSH tool and set the option to 'layer' and then add the layer with the current design (or select another). You can then go to the layer panel and select darken / difference / lighten etc as well as the opacity - set them to your required setting. The change reflects how to the layer interacts with underlying layers.


You can modify this at any point as well as change the color and the stroke of the vector. You can repeat this with new vectors to create all kinds of images.


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Using with layers : layerSome modes work better than others and work well with some colors.


Using some modes you will see zero change as the current color of one layer is already greater or less than the underlying color and there that will be seen and not the underlying or a mix of the two.


The good thing about using layers is that the darken etc can be changed to difference in seconds via the layers panel


Pixel option : pixelsSet the mode as well as the opacity for the artwork before you apply it. Once you have applied it, you cannot change the result other than undoing the application of the design or using the fade command


For example, select CSH tool from the toolbar and then select a preset from presets dropdown / picker. Set color via foreground color. Set the mode found along the top bar to darken.




Fade : fadeYou can also use the artworks with the edit menu and fade command. Apply the artwork as a pixel design and then go to the edit menu and fade command. You can set the applied shape to merge with the artwork in difference or darken or lighten etc via the dropdown in the fade panel. You can also set the opacity for the merge such as 50%.



Dropdown list : squaresThere are many different available for the vector designs. Each have their uses. Opposite you can see the result of a single color vector rectangle added on top of a two color artwork.


Two colors then becomes four colors in the design.






Color burn

Linear burn

Darker color



Color dodge

Linear dodge (add)

Lighter color


Soft light

Hard light

Vivid light

Linear light

Pin light

Hard mix










Clear and behind : behindSlightly different as they only appear when you use the pixel option and only when you apply it on a layer.


Add something on the layer and then set to behind and then apply again and the artwork will only be added to the 'empty' areas on the layer (it is as if you had added that to the layer first and is 'behind' the current pixels - the original will be untouched.


Set to clear and it is like an erase and clears the pixels (and leaves the empty area untouched)


Layer style panel : styleYou can also alter the BM via the layer style panel if you are using the artworks as layers. You can also set the opacity.


Goto the layer styles command and then go to the


You can also use the options tab at the top of the dialog.


You can also change the BM to work in red and green and blue channels via the same panel - if you decide to only use the red channel then de-select the green and blue.


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