A Color Grading Companion – The Vivid Light Blend Mode

There are 27 blend modes in Adobe Photoshop and if you are anything like the “me before I learned them all“, you are only using three, maybe four to their maximum potential.  One of those you may be missing out on is the Vivid Light Blend Mode.  It is a powerhouse for color grading, but on the surface, it looks far from it!

Eight Blend Modes don’t function like the rest of their friends in the bunch.

Vivid Light Blend Mode one f the 8 Fill Blend Modes

These eight Blend Modes rely heavily on the Fill slider.  Each blend mode is a sort of calculation happening in the background after you select it.  While they all have different calculations, they are essentially pre-programmed to turn pixels on and off, add, subtract, multiply or divide pixels, or told to call upon other blend modes.  The Vivid Light Blend mode is a mixture of Color Burn and Color Dodge and interacts with your image differently based on the selected layer.

Because Vivid Light uses Color Burn and Color Dodge as its base, it makes for some beautiful color graded images.


Vivid Light Blend Mode Before Fill Vivid Light Blend Mode After Fill

Here are some quick tips for using the Vivid Light Blend Mode:

  1.  Always use it with Fill.  Opacity won’t do much unless it is used in conjunction with Fill.
  2. Start with Fill to get the look you want and use Opacity to control the intensity
  3. Because Vivid Light relies heavily on the selected layer, be sure to experiment with different hues of the color you are applying, they will make different effects that either lean more toward the color dodge or the color burn.
  4. If your image already has a lot of deep contrast in it, I would forgo the Vivid Light Blend mode and experiment with another because it will make it very contrasty.
  5. Don’t forget to use Masks and Blend If to gain even more control over the effect.

Want to learn about all the blend modes in Photoshop?

Head on over to f.64 Elite to take a look at my brand new full-featured course on blend modes.

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's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
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