Photoshop Basics – Luminosity Blending Mode

by Vargis.Khan

In this tutorial, we will understand the Luminosity Blending Mode which is the last blending mode in the composite category as well as the entire list of Photoshop’s blend modes as of CS6.

Like its predecessors in the composite category, even luminosity blend mode is fairly easy to understand. As per the Photoshop’s help site,

“Luminosity blending mode creates a result color with the hue and saturation of the base color and the luminance of the blend color. This mode creates the inverse effect of Color mode.”

To understand this better, let us first know what some of the terms in the above used statement mean.

Literal meaning of the word “Hue” is a color or shade or the attribute of a color by virtue of which it is discernible as red, green, etc., and which is dependent on its dominant wavelength and independent of intensity or lightness.

Luminance literally means the intensity of light emitted from a surface per unit area in a given direction or in simple words, the brightness levels of an image.

Finally, Saturation means how deep, dark or intense the colors in an image are.

Luminosity is often considered as the opposite of color blending mode. When you use this mode, you are telling Photoshop to apply the luminosity (brightness) of the blend colors to the base image while retaining the hue and saturation of the base image.

The Luminosity blending mode has often been used to remove undesirable color halos that could result from sharpening. It is often used as a final step in Photo editing. For example, if you wanted to improve the contrast or sharpness in an image, there will also be an effect on the colors of the image. By increasing contrast, you will also increase color saturation and it can sometimes even result in a shift in colors. By changing the blend mode of your contrast layer, we can easily avoid this problem by telling Photoshop to ignore the color information completely.

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