This is an excerpt from Nicole’s eBook and tutorial, The Art of the Blend.

[vimeo 130390686 w=600 h=338]
Watch this tutorial using the video above, or read the written instructions below.

One of my favorite methods to manipulate texture blends with my images is to use the Blend If setting, which is located inside of the Layer Styles window.

Lets walk through the steps to apply this to your images:

  1. Start with an image and texture in the Layers panel, with the texture layer active and highlighted.
  2. The next step is to access the Layers Style window. There are a few ways to do this. First, you can use the menu and choose LAYER > LAYER STYLES > BLENDING OPTIONS. I prefer to use a faster method, which is to double-click the layer to which I want to apply the layer style (make sure that you click in the blank space to the right of the thumbnail).
  3. Now, inside of the Layer Style window, move your attention towards the Blend If section at the bottom. There are two sliders in this section: one for the layer you have selected and one for the underlying layer. The way it works, is as you move these sliders around, Photoshop will blend the layer if it is black, white, or a shade of gray, depending on which direction you move the sliders.
  4. Lets put this to the test. First, hold the OPT key (PC: ALT), and move the This Layer white slider to the left until it is set to 160 (image A). This hides the white and light gray portions of the texture image. Then, hold the OPT key (PC: ALT), and move the Underlying Layer black slider to the right (set to 215), which forces the black and dark shades of gray from the photo below to punch through the texture image (image B). The biggest thing to remember in order to get a smooth blend is to hold the OPT key (PC: ALT key) when sliding to split the slider. There is really no right or wrong way to use this slider. Watch the preview and move the sliders around until you get it to where you like it.
  5. When you are finished with the Layer Style window, click OK. An icon will appear to the right of the texture layer, indicating that it has a layer style applied to it.