By Harry Guinness

kat image

How to Use Blend If

The Blend If sliders are one of Adobe Photoshop’s most powerful layer blending options. They give you an incredibly nuanced control over how information from two separate layers is combined based on their luminosity values.

In the screencast above, I show the Blend If sliders in action. I want to give this photo a Hollywood style teal-orange tone. I use two solid colour layers set to the colour blend mode—one called shadows which is teal and the other called highlights which is orange—to tone the image.

The image before colour toning. Model: Kat Clinch.

For this, we want the teal to only affect the dark areas of the image. To do that, double click on the layer to get the layer options panel.The important slider here is Underlying Layer. Drag the white triangles to the left and you will see that the teal starts to only affect the shadows. Option clicking on the triangles splits them so you can feather the blending effect. 

Do the same for the highlights. This time, however, we want to preserve the shadows so drag the black triangles to the right. Once again, split them to feather the blend.

kat clinch tonedThe colour toned image. Note the teal colour in the shadows and the orange tone of Kat’s skin.

The only thing left to do is tweak the overall layer opacities and you’re done. 

More Detail

  • Split Toning
    Split Toning Colour Pictures in Photoshop: Theory and Practice
    Marie Gardiner
  • Digital Painting
    Quick Tip: the Magic of Photoshop’s Blend If
    Monika Zagrobelna
  • Colour Balance
    Create a Rich Purple and Gold Look in Adobe Photoshop
    Marie Gardiner

60 Seconds!?

This is part of a new series of quick video tutorials on Tuts+. We’re aiming to introduce a range of subjects, all in 60 seconds—just enough to whet your appetite. Let us know in the comments what you thought of this video and what else you’d like to see explained in 60 seconds!

Read more here:: How to Use Blend If in Adobe Photoshop in 60 Seconds