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How to Blend Modes in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator provides artists with a lot of great tools that are designed to provide you with full control over your project. One of the popular tools that you need to master to create profound background and foreground effects is the ability to blend modes using transparencies. This allows for more complex project designs and more professional end results.
When you talk about blending modes, it’s important to understand that the blend mode is the style of blending that is used when the transparency interacts with the rest of your project. As such, you have quite a few options, and you might need to make a couple of attempts to find the perfect mode blend for an individual project.
Blending Modes
The act of blending the transparency is not difficult. All you need to do is select Blend Modes from the drop-down menu in the Transparency panel and then select the mode type. That’s not all there is to learning how to blend modes in Illustrator, though. You also need to know what each mode type means and how to adjust them to get the effects that you want from the image.
  1. Normal mode doesn’t create interaction, it just lets you adjust transparency
  2. Darken only replaces areas that are lighter with the blend color
  3. Multiply gives an effect like magic markers or theatre gels
  4. Color burn darkens the base color to reflect the blend color, with no change to white
  5. Lighten does literally the opposite of darken, replacing darker colors with the blend color
  6. Screen multiplies the inverse of the colors
  7. Color dodging lightens the color according to the blend color
  8. Overlay multiplies or screens the colors
  9. Soft light and hard light let you soften and harden shadows and contrast
  10. Difference subtracts either the blend color from the base or vice versa
  11. Exclusion is similar to difference mode but with some adjustments
  12. Hue changes the color but keeps the underlying shading and luminosity
  13. Saturation changes that aspect while preserving hue and luminosity
  14. Color applies the color change but keeps gray levels
  15. Luminosity behaves in a similar way to the last three, changing only the luminosity and not the color, saturation, etc.
Applying Blended Modes to Transparencies
Depending on how you use transparencies, blending modes can create a variety of effects. Not only does it let you combine two images, it also lets you use single-color gels in a variety of ways to create exciting changes to just part of another graphic. Experiment with the results to learn how to blend modes in Illustrator instinctively.
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