Relight any photo with the Hard Mix Blend Mode in Photoshop!

The Hard Mix blend mode has very quickly become my favorite blend mode to experiment with.   Every time I use it in a  unique way it seems to pull through with flying colors.  It is a remarkable blend mode.

You may be scratching your head at that if you have ever used it before.  By default, the Hard Mix is junk, absolute trash.  When you first select it, you will see a whole bunch of pixelated colors that are hideous and almost offensive.

That is because Hard Mix is controlled by Fill,  not Opacity!  The lightbulb should be going off now 🙂   One thing to note about the Hard Mix blend mode is that many programs in the photography market include it, but they fail to include a fill slider to control it.  The Fill slider acts as a calculation control where opacity works as an intensity control.

01 Before Fill Hard Mix Blend Mode 02 After Fill Hard Mix Blend Mode

The mechanics behind the Hard Mix Blend Mode never cease to amaze me.  As you can see it makes it very easy and fun to experiment with.

In today’s tutorial, I am going to show you how I use the Hard Mix Blend Mode to relight photos.  This is especially useful for images with a less than appealing Alpen glow look that you want to amplify.

A couple of things to experiment with:

1.  The Hard Mix Blend Mode rests critically on your Fill setting… keep it between 10-20% for a natural appearance.

2.  Use Blend If to block the Brightest and darkest points in your photo.  HArd Mix does some funky stuff to them.

3.  Experiment with Brushed Colors, Color Fills, and Gradients.  They will all respond differently to the Hard Mix Blend Mode.

Enjoy today’s tutorial, and please feel free to download my actions, experiment with them and make your own if you are so inclined!

Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it is less about the art and more about the process. He dives deep into difficult topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside the box thinking.
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