One of the hardest things for me when attempting to modify textures to use in the sims game was knowing how to make photoshop deliver what I wanted. The list below is a handy reference for working with layers in Photoshop and then blending those layers to create new variations on your textures.
How the Multiply blending mode works
The official definition from Adobe for the Multiply mode is “multiplies the colour values in the layer and divides the result by the maximum pixel value of either 8 bit or 16 bit pixels. The resulting image is never brighter than the original.” Simply put: All white pixels in the blended layer disappear.
Effects of the Screen blending mode
The official definition of the Screen blending mode is, “multiplies the inverse brightness values of the colours in all layers.” Simply put: All the black pixels in the blended layer disappear.
Effects of the Overlay blending mode
The official definition of Overlay is “mixes colours between layers, preserving the highlights and shadows to reflect the light and dark areas of the layer colours.” Simply put: Blended layer adds intensity to the layer underneath.
The Dodge blending mode
Here’s Adobe’s official explanation of what the Dodge blending mode does: “Brightens the resulting colour based in the original colour. The lighter the original colour, the brighter the resulting colour. Pure black in original layer does not change the underlying layer. Pure white in original usually changes the underlying colour to white.” Simply put: Lightens overall, while top layer colours bottom layer.
The Burn blending mode
The official definition of the Burn blending mode is: “Darkens the resulting colour based on the original layer colour. The darker the original layer, the darker the resulting colour. Pure white in the original layer does not change the underlying colour. Pure black in the original layer usually changes the underlying colour to black.” Simply put: Darkens overall, while top layer colours bottom layer.
The Hard Light blending mode
Here’s the official definition of the Hard Light blending mode: “Multiplies or screens the resulting colour depending on the original colour. If underlying colour is less than 50% gray, the layer lightens it as if it were screened. If underlying colour is greater than 50% gray, the layer darkens it it as if it were multiplied.” Simply put: Reduces contrast, adds colour.
The Soft Light Blending Mode
The official definition for the Soft Light blending mode is: ”Darkens or lightens resulting colours, depending on the layer colour. If underlying colour is lighter than 50% gray, the layer lightens. If underlying colour is darker than 50% gray, the layer darkens.’ Simply put: Vintage with colour!
Difference blending mode
The Difference mode is a fairly complex blending mode. Adobe’s official definition is that it “subtracts the channel values of the layer and underlying colours and displays the absolute value of the result.” Simply put: In either layer, black has no effect and white inverts the other layer’s colour.
Addition blending mode
Adobe defines the Addition blending mode as a way of “combining the colour values of the [blended] layer and underlying colours. The resulting colour is lighter than original. Pure black does not change underlying colour. White in base layer is never changed.” Simply put: “lightens the base image, ignores black, and keeps the top layer’s colour.”
Darken Only blending mode
The Darken Only mode is defined like this: “Compares the channel values of the underlying and layer colour and displays the darker of the two. Can cause colour shifts.” Simply put: shows pixels from the blended layer unless the pixels underneath are darker.
Lighten Only blending mode
The Lighten Only blending mode is very similar to darken only, but with one obvious difference. Adobe’s definition is that Lighten Only “compares the channel values of the underlying and layer colours and displays the lighter of the two. Can also cause a colour shift.” Simply put: shows pixels from the blended layer unless the pixels underneath are lighter.
Adobe defines the Hue blending mode like this: “Creates resulting colours with the luminance and saturation of the underlying colours and the hue of the layer colours.” Simply put: colours on top replace colours below.
The Saturation blending mode is defined as “creating resulting colour with the luminance and hue of the underlying colours and the saturation of the layer colours.“ Simply put: Top colour determines saturation level for the layer below.
The colour blending mode is said to “create resulting colours with the luminance of the underlying colours and the hue & saturation of the layer colours. This preserves the gray levels of the image.” Simply put: colours on top replace everything but pure black below.