Trending December 2023 # The 55+ Best Photoshop Brushes (Free & Paid) # Suggested January 2024 # Top 12 Popular

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There are an infinite number of ways you can use the best brushes for Photoshop. Brushes can give you total creative freedom and let you create any type of digital artwork you’d like. The default brushes in the program are an excellent start, but you may be longing for something different. Let’s look at some great free and paid brushes available to download and use with Photoshop’s Brush Tool.

Once you have downloaded a brush pack you like, you can easily install and use Photoshop brushes on your designs using this guide here.

The Best Free Photoshop Brushes

This free brush set of realistic clouds is excellent for photographers who often add or edit the skies in their images. The sky can make or break your photo, so it’s always good to have a set of cloud brushes in case you need to spruce up an image.

For any graphic designer, this free brush set with grunge textures like scratches and dust marks and border brushes will be a great addition to your projects. The textures are subtle enough that you can play with them and adjust them to your needs, and you can use the border brushes to make creative grunge-inspired borders or lines.

A brush set with stars and light flares is always a useful addition to your brushes, whether you’re a photographer adding stars to a night sky or a graphic designer adding them to your projects. This free set contains high-quality stars and light flares that will apply seamlessly to your work.

The rain effect seems simple, but it can be tough to master. Luckily, with these free brushes, you can just “paint” the rain onto your image. There are four different brushes, each with a different style of rain. Once you’ve added the brushes to Photoshop, you can even customize the direction of the rain falls and add motion blur to emphasize movement. 

This is a collection of one artist’s favorite brushes that they’ve made. This set has over 50 brushes of all different styles so you can try out anything from different paintbrush strokes to a stipple brush effect.

This popular brush set was created by a speed painter who often creates gothic paintings in Photoshop. These brushes, then, are perfect for painting dramatic, spooky scenes. The set is well-rounded, with some softer brushes and some bolder ones.

This unique brush set contains 10 different burn marks, like the one above. Each one contains fine details that add to the realism of the effect, and some even have burn “holes” that you can layer images or graphics underneath. 

This free set of thin, pointed brushes is perfect for adding grass (or even hair or fur) to your image or artwork. The brushes vary in thickness and consistency: some brushes are smooth, while others are more textured, like a line from a pencil. This gives you tons of control over how your grass turns out.

This free set contains 12 brushes with a dry brush stroke appearance. In other words, the “paint” looks like it has been applied to a dry canvas with varying levels of thickness. The texture in each stroke is so naturalistic you can see the effect of the excess paint.

This is a massive set of brushes with a ton of variety – incredibly, it’s offered for free! These brushes are perfect for drawing and working with landscapes and environments. There are all sorts of different textures, widths, and levels of hardness in this brush set. You’re sure to find something useful.

The Best Photoshop Brushes For Drawing & Sketching

This paid set contains 15 pencil-style brushes, including both hard and soft lead styles, and even brushes perfect for sketching or stippling. Some are smooth, while some have a more inconsistent texture, like a pencil with an uneven lead tip. The variety in this pack is perfect for artists just starting their sketching journey, as it has a bit of everything you’d need.

This free brush set contains brush strokes that appear to be made on different canvases. Each stroke has a different style – some are thick and vivid, like the line from a marker, while some are softer and less consistent. These brushes will give you the effect of working on a textured canvas.

While Photoshop already comes with a few brushes that can simulate a pencil effect, this free set of pencil brushes gives you even more options. The set comes with six high-resolution pencil brushes, each an authentic representation of a different style and texture of pencil.

Another free set of unique brushes, these colored pencil brushes create high-quality strokes with the same consistency you’d see in a real colored pencil.

This paid brush set, created by a character designer for Disney, contains excellent-quality brushes that recreate different types of ink pens. There are different consistencies, from grainy to smooth, that any graphic designer can certainly find use in.

The same creator of the pencil brushes listed earlier also created this useful free brush pack that contains an assortment of ink pen and marker styles. There are different strengths here, so you can either build up a stroke with a light brush or go straight in with one of the bold, harder brushes.

Another excellent set of brushes that look like markers, these inexpensive paid brushes by Food-For-Crows create textured marker strokes in different strengths and consistencies. These are the perfect brushes to use if you’re trying to emulate the look of a marker on paper.

This is another set of high-quality pen brushes, specifically in the ballpoint pen style. An inexpensive pack from the same creators as the Marker brushes above, the pack contains several brushes representing different widths and ink consistencies. The brushes create a hyper-realistic look that replicates ink on paper and allows for any kind of sketching.

The Best Photoshop Brushes For Manga

This is a great starter set of brushes perfect for drawing in the Manga style. The set contains a comprehensive selection of brush styles commonly used in Manga, all of which are high-quality and easy to use. The set is very cheap, at just $3!

This is a set of one digital artist’s favorite brushes he’s created and customized. There is an array of styles, from brushes fit for sketching to smooth brush strokes to strokes with more texture. There are even a few experimental brushes you can play around with. The set is paid but inexpensive and well worth it for the variety you get!

When drawing Manga, you may want to add a few effects to the face and eyes to highlight different emotions. This paid but inexpensive set has several different styles of eye highlights, and you can easily stamp them on the eyes in your project to apply.

These paid brushes are perfect for shading and coloring in Manga and comics. There are 100 brushes in different shades and textures, allowing you to find the exact one you need for your project.

The Best Photoshop Brushes For Textures

This free pack is full of brushes that look like fabric. As you can see in the image above, each brush looks like a different style of fabric, with a different pattern and grain. There are fabrics that appear more rough and scratchy and ones that appear softer and smoother. It’ll be fun to try out the different fabric textures in this pack.

This is a gorgeous collection of grunge-inspired textures and texture brushes. Professionals design the high-quality set, and while it used to be a paid set, you can now download it for free! In the pack, you’ll get eight different brushes with various gritty, textured appearances to help you add a grunge look to your work.

These brushes may not be the cheapest on this list, but you get 90 different textured brushes, which are undoubtedly some of the best quality. The fine details in each brush add the perfect texture, and you can paint over areas repeatedly to build up the effect.

This paid kit is full of vintage and aged textures to give your project the perfect retro look. There are brushes with noise, grit textures, and even folded paper textures like in the above image. The brushes are excellent quality and well worth the price.

From leaf textures to tree bark and wooden rings, this paid brush set contains tons of different textures taken straight from nature – literally! The creators of this brush set pulled the textures from natural objects they found outside, so the effect is as lifelike as it gets.

Another great set of vintage-looking textures, these paid Vintage Atomic brushes give a gritty, raw feel to any project. There are many options to choose from, each with a different level of roughness, so you’re sure to find the perfect brush in this set to create a worn, grunge style.

Another unique texture you can use in your work is the marble texture. The marble effect is a beautiful and fun style to play with, and this set containing 20 handmade brushes is free to download and use.

For anyone looking for denim textures, this set has a selection of different grains and styles of denim to choose from. Because these brushes are high resolution, you get the most true-to-life appearance possible. The best part is that the set is completely free.

The Best Photoshop Brushes For Shading

This paid set contains an array of brushes and textures made for digital artists, several of which are perfect for shading. The brushes are in a vintage style and thus are especially useful for any antique or retro-styled projects.

This free brush pack comes with 40 natural watercolor brush strokes in a variety of styles and hardness. For anyone who uses Photoshop to make digital artwork, shading can be a challenging aspect to master, and using watercolor-style brushes at a low opacity is a great way to blend and shade with ease.

Similar to the watercolor brush set, this brush set creates strokes like a paintbrush with oil paint. These brushes are light and buildable, which makes them perfect for rendering midtones while shading. The different strokes and intensities make this pack another excellent free addition to any artist’s brush set.

A set of charcoal brushes is a valuable and unique addition to your Photoshop brushes. Charcoal creates beautiful effects that you can easily recreate in Photoshop using this free set of 7 brushes. The brushes differ in texture and hardness, so using one of the softer brushes will give you the perfect consistency for shading.

Stipple shading is a unique way to render shading in a project using tons of tiny dots. While it usually takes quite a long time to make each dot, using the brushes from this paid set, you can create many small dots at once so you can shade much faster. 

Here’s another paid stipple brush set if you’re interested in trying out this method of shading. This pack by Eclectica provides 18 different stipple brushes. Each one is high-quality and makes it easy to try out the stipple effect on your projects.

The four basic brushes in this free pack are perfect for beginner artists just starting to grow their Photoshop brush collection. The style is similar to oil painting, so they’re particularly useful for anyone trying to shade or blend – just lower the opacity and blend away!

The Best Photoshop Brushes For Hair

This paid brush set contains over 50 brushes to make a fur, hair, or grass effect. The brush strokes have different edges representing different thicknesses and hair types, so you’re sure to find the one that works for you.

This paid kit, designed by professionals, comes with ten different hair strand brushes – you can see the various options in the image above. Each brush is high-quality and lets you create convincing strands of hair in one motion. 

These paid brushes create facial hair you can easily apply to faces in your work. The brush is specifically for images (requiring images with 72 DPI or higher). The high quality of the brushes means you’ll get photo-realistic effects each time.

This set may only have a few brushes, but the effects they create are perfect for creating hair while digitally drawing. However, using these brushes on images is not recommended, as the effect is not photo-realistic. Instead, the brushes make smooth strands perfect for comics or digital art.

These free fur and hair brushes are another great option for any digital artist, as they allow you to create realistic hair effects. There are different options for different hair and fur textures, and the brushes work especially well when combined.                         

Only one brush comes in this free set, but it does an excellent job of creating hair from scratch. You can even use this brush on photographs, like in the example image above, to add or lengthen someone’s hair. The brush is relatively smooth, so this may not be the best option for curly hair or creating small strands like flyaways.

This brush set comes with 15 high-quality brushes. The variety means you can create different hair styles and types, from straight to wavy to curly. The best part is the brush set is free to download and use!

This paid set contains 15 brushes perfect for filling or repairing areas of hair on an image. The brushes come in different textures, either with visible or more smooth strands. There are even a few brushes to add flyaway hairs for an extra realistic look. Using these brushes with a pressure-sensitive stylus is recommended for the best results.

This set of free brushes features 10 high-resolution graphics perfect for adding isolated sections of hair to images and digital art. The pack comes with curly and straight graphics, and you can easily add them to your image in whatever color you’d like by changing the color.

The Best Creative Photoshop Brushes

These gorgeous brushes are perfect for creating vibrant watercolor works. The paid pack comes with 15 brushes and even 15 flora and fauna PNG files to spruce up a project. The brushes are hand-drawn and high resolution, so they’ll make an excellent addition to any artist’s brushes.

Lightning can be tough to recreate accurately in Photoshop, but this brush pack makes it easy to add lightning to your project. With 43 different styles of lightning to choose from, you have many options to try out until you find the one you like best. The pack is free for non-commercial use, or you can purchase the brushes to use commercially.

This free pack comes with 15 flower brushes you can quickly stamp onto your project. Each is a different type of flower; you’ll get a rose, a carnation, irises, and more. The flowers are high quality and will apply seamlessly to your work.

Dispersion is a unique effect in which pieces of an object or image appear to be “dispersing” or floating away from the rest of the image. It adds an abstract, dreamy effect that you can easily recreate using this free brush set.

Watercolor splatters like the ones above can make an interesting and creative addition to your project. The effect you get from the brushes in this paid kit is so detailed and true-to-life that you can see the inconsistency in the color distribution across each splatter. 

These smoke brushes are the perfect addition to a photo, graphic design, or digital art project. The brushes are realistic and high resolution, with tiny details that will ensure the effect blends into your project seamlessly. The professional quality is well worth the low price.

This brush pack contains a set of snow effect brushes. The brushes are free to download and use. Each is a different size and shape, and you can further customize the settings in Photoshop to create the exact look you want.

If you’re looking to add a splash to your art, this free brush pack offers 11 different water splash effects for you to choose from. Each one is high resolution and easy to use – you simply stamp them onto your project wherever you’d like, and you can adjust them from there.

This free brush pack contains 15 different sun and light rays to add a bit of flair to your project. The effect is photorealistic, so you can even use these brushes on photographs for a natural look.

As you can see, there is a world of brush options to try out in your creative endeavors. Whether searching for a specific effect or looking for inspiration, you’re sure to find something interesting among these Photoshop brushes.

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20 Best Photoshop Plugins For Designers

Although there are many great and free alternatives, Photoshop is still the most popular and powerful graphics editor, and the default choice of many designers, illustrators and photographers. If there’s a feature you need, but can’t find in Photoshop, don’t worry – countless scripts and plugins are available to help you extend and improve Photoshop’s functionality.

Here is a selection of 20 useful Photoshop plugins for designers. Photoshop Plugins For Mockups and Layouts 1. WebZap

If you’re a web designer, WebZap can make your life significantly easier. This plugin helps you create website mockups by providing layout guides and templates for the 960 grid. You can use it to generate placeholder text and choose pre-made interface elements to add to your website. Every element can be modified as a separate layer. WebZap can also create attractive previews of your design for showcases and presentations.

Key Features:

Requires Photoshop CS 5 or newer

Works both on OS X and Windows

Lets you create website mockups

Offers pre-made layouts

Generates dummy text (“lorem ipsum”) and UI elements (menus, buttons…)


Webbsy makes web design a breeze by converting your PSD files into HTML and CSS. You don’t have to markup your layers – Webbsy can automatically name them and export all design elements into CSS3. If something can’t be converted into HTML, Webbsy renders it as an image. It supports responsive web design by exporting to appropriate sizes for different devices. Webbsy lets you use Google Fonts in your designs, and can automatically export into formats for LESS, SASS, SCSS, Stylus, HAML, Slim and Jade.

Key Features:

Converts your PSD designs into HTML and CSS

Supports Google Fonts, LESS, SASS, SCSS and Stylus

Lets you export images from your project and choose their quality

Slices images, can export text elements

Requires Photoshop CS6 or newer, including CC

Price: $49, free 14-day trial available

3. Velositey 2

Velositey is an amazing plugin for creating mockups and prototypes. It uses presets and templates to streamline the design process. You can insert pre-made modules and modify them later, and let Velositey generate favicons and mapicons for your project. With Velositey, it’s possible to build an entire mockup in just one minute.

Key Features:

Choose pre-made elements and templates to create a mockup

Use a grid to position elements

Generate favicons and mapicons

Works in Photoshop CS6, CC and CC 2014

Price: Free

4. Elemente

Key Features:

Converts PSD into a WordPress theme

No coding required; just design a blueprint, conversion is automatic

Lets you use templates and group elements

Exports clean, SEO-optimized code

Works only on 32-bit Windows

Supports Photoshop CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6 and CC

Price: $99 for Personal plan, $199 for Developer plan, free trial available

Photoshop Plugins For Grids and Layers 5. GuideGuide

Key Features:

Create and save grids

Adjust guides and margins

Supports Photoshop CS5 and newer

6. Layrs Control 2

Layrs Control 2 is a practical solution for layer management, and it can come in especially handy when working on large, complex design projects with multiple layers. You can use this plugin to edit layer names, optimize your project by removing unused effects and empty layers, and flatten all selected layers. It’s also possible to rasterize smart objects and convert selected layers into smart objects.

Key Features:

Works with Photoshop CC & CC 2014

Rename and flatten layers

Remove empty layers and unused effects

Price: Free


This plugin simplifies converting Photoshop layers into CSS3 code. Just create your graphics in Photoshop, select desired layers and wait for the plugin to load the result in your default web browser. Supported properties include size, border radius, inner and drop shadow, inner and outer glow, as well as the usual font properties for text layers.

Key Features:

Works on Windows and OS X, requires Photoshop CS3 or newer

Lets you convert one or multiple layers to CSS code

Supports browser prefixes (-webkit-, -moz-, -ms-…)

Automatically calculates appropriate sizes and converts the layer size

Price: Free

8. UberColumns

Key Features:

Works on OS X and Windows, requires Photoshop CC or CC 2014

Splits text in a text layer into a desired number of columns

Automatically adjusts text if you resize the layer

Price: Free

Photoshop Plugins For Colors, Fonts and Effects 9. Swatchy

Swatchy is a small plugin that makes it possible to organize your color swatches into folders. This way you can save and easily access your color schemes, and preview colors you often use.

Manages swatches and lets you organize them into folders

Works on OS X and Windows

Requires Photoshop CC and CC 2014

Price: Free

10. MagicPicker

MagicPicker is a color management plugin that improves the existing color tools in Photoshop by adding helpful features. You can use options like Tone Lock to control the gamma of selected colors, and an enhanced Color Wheel tool with triangle, box, and diamond modes. It also helps you generate color schemes and offers a compact mode to save screen space.

Key Features:

Works on OS X and Windows

Supports Photoshop CC2014, CC, CS6, CS5.5, CS5, CS4 and CS3

Lets you generate color schemes

Pick colors from an improved color wheel with 3 modes and tone locking

Choose only warm or cold tones from the palette

11. FilterForge

FilterForge is an incredibly powerful editor that can be used as a standalone application or a Photoshop plugin. You can use it to create your own photo effects and filters, and it gives you access to a huge online repository of user-submitted content. It supports seamless tiling for textures, and filters can be rendered in any resolution. Every preset has several variations to choose from, so FilterForge should satisfy all your photo effects needs.

Key Features:

Works on both OS X and Windows

Lets you create your own filters, effects and textures

Choose from an online repository of filters

Generate maps and textures that support seamless tiling

Price: $399, free 30-day trial available

12. Eye Candy 7

Eye Candy 7 by Alienskin is a plugin that lets you choose from 32 effect categories and more than a thousand presets to apply to your graphics. You can use it to create your own effects and instantly preview changes applied to any layer. All effects are applied in a new layer, so your original artwork remains untouched until you decide to change it.

Key Features:

Create and apply realistic effects

Choose presets from a rich collection

Supports editing in a new layer to preserve your original design

Instantly preview effects

Works on OS X OS X 10.7 or newer, Windows 7 and 8

Requires Photoshop CS5, Elements 10 or newer

Price: $129, free trial available

13. Font Hero

Key Features:

Import, preview and organize all your fonts directly in Photoshop

Tag and favorite fonts to make searching easier

Support for web fonts

Works on OS X and Windows, requires Photoshop CC 2014

Price: $39

Some Other Photoshop Plugins 14. FlatIcon

FlatIcon is a popular stock resource, and this simple plugin lets you use their free icons directly from Photoshop. Selected icons are imported as vectors, which means you can freely edit them to suit your project.

Gives you access to thousands of free icons

All icons are available in fully editable vector format

Supports Photoshop CS5, CS6, CC and CC 2014

Price: Free

15. QR Code Generator

This plugin does exactly what its name says – it generates QR codes as vector masks which you can edit and use in your designs. QR codes are generated in print quality with CMYK compatibility, so you don’t have to worry about that. The plugin supports several QR code types, including URL, SMS, business card, plain text and email.

Key Features:

Generates QR codes as images that you can modify

Supports several QR code types

Codes are optimized for printing and follow the QR code standard

The plugin works on OS X and Windows

16. TinyPNG

TinyPNG lets you export images to PNG and compress them to reduce their file size, but preserve transparency. It supports batch-editing and automatically converts images to sRGB if necessary. And it has a cute panda as a mascot!

Key Features:

Works on OS X and Windows

Supports Photoshop CS5, CS6, CC and CC 2014

Lets you edit multiple images at once

Compresses PNG files while preserving transparency

Price: $40

17. Descreen

Descreen is a savior if you often use scanned materials in your design projects. It removes screen and moire (interference) patterns from scanned images using a precise Fourier transform method. Unlike other tools which rely on blurring, Descreen can preserve more details thanks to this approach. Recommended resolution for scans is between 600 and 1200 pixels/inch.

Key Features:

Supports Photoshop from version 7.0 and CS to CS6 and CC

Removes screen and interference patterns from scanned images

Works on Windows and OS X

Price: Home Edition €15, Professional Edition €75

18. Perfect Resize

Key Features:

Lets you enlarge, crop and straighten photos

Optimizes photos for printing

Supports resizing many photos at once

Works on Windows 7 & 8 and OS X 10.8 – 10.10

Requires Photoshop CS6, CC, or CC 2014 (also Elements 11, 12, or 13)

Price: $79.95, offers a 30-day trial

19. Cover Action Pro

This plugin is perfect for book cover designers and anyone who needs to showcase their work in a professional, visually attractive way. Cover Action Pro converts your designs into 3D product shots; or rather, transfers them onto product models. You can use templates and guides, and choose from 25 categories containing more than 150 models, including books, binders, DVD boxes, greeting cards, business cards, magazines…

Lets you convert your designs into 3D product models

Offers templates and models

Developed for Photoshop CS6 and newer, but can work on CS5, CS4 and CS3

Automatic updates

Price: $147 or $247 with 60 designer templates

20. Avocode

No, it’s not a misspelled fruit. Avocode is a design collaboration and project management tool meant to bring designers and developers together. It lets designers upload their project via the Photoshop plugin, and developers can then inspect the design elements in the web interface or a standalone app. It’s possible to export layers as images, convert layers to CSS, Less, Sass or Stylus, get information about text formatting and layer dimensions. Avocode saves previously uploaded design versions on the server, so you can use it as a version control system for your project.

Key Features:

Easily share your designs via Photoshop plugin

Inspect the design in the web interface or in the app – works on OS X, Windows and Linux

Export layers as images, convert to CSS

Access previous versions of shared designs

 SEE ALSO: 10 Free Tools To Create Your Own Fonts

The 12 Best Selection Tools In Photoshop You Need To Try

With so many selection tools to try in Photoshop, it’s hard to know where to begin. If you’ve spent some time cutting out images in the past, you likely have a go-to tool that you always fall back on. The problem is, what if there’s a tool out there that would be better for the job, and easier to use, but you just don’t know about it yet?

Here are the 12 best ways to make a selection in Photoshop.

1. The Rectangular & Elliptical Marquee Tool 

The Rectangular and Elliptical Marquee tools are great for creating basic selections in rectangular, square, or circular shapes. Although not ideal for selecting a subject or removing a background (unless your subject is a box, I suppose), these tools are great for adding to existing selections or cropping layers to a specific size.

– Rectangular Marquee Tool

You can find the Rectangular Marquee Tool in the Toolbar or by pressing M.

With the tool selected, drag your mouse over the object you want to select. 

Once you select your object, you can move it with the Move Tool (V). Then, press Control + D (Win) or Command + D (Mac) to deselect it. 

While using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, if you hold down the Shift Key, you will lock the aspect ratio to a square shape. 

Holding Control + Alt (Win) or Command + Option (Mac) and dragging your selection will duplicate its contents. While doing this, hold down the Space Bar to adjust where you place your copied selection. 

Press Control + D (Win) or Command + D (Mac) to deselect your selection.

You can use the Patch Tool (J) or a similar tool to clean up your work. 

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– Elliptical Marquee Tool

You can find the Elliptical Marquee Tool grouped with the Rectangular Marquee Tool. 

You can move your selection with the Move Tool (V). Deselect your selection with Control + D (Win) or Command + D (Mac). 

Hold Control + Alt (Win) or Command + Option (Mac) to copy and move a selection’s contents.

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Straightforward tool to use 

Excellent for small or medium-sized subjects to select 

Great for cropping layers


You can only use it to select square or circular-shaped objects for the most part 

You may need other tools to clean up where you selected

The Quick Selection Tool is one of the most beginner-friendly selection tools in Photoshop. This tool essentially “paints” a selection over your image and automatically snaps to the edges of your subject. Although fairly accurate, this tool doesn’t perform well against complex backgrounds or on fine edges such as hair. Instead, this tool shines when there are more defined edges against a simple background.

The Quick Selection Tool (W) is grouped with the Object Selection Tool and Magic Wand Tool.

Before you make your selection, adjust the options under the Drop Down Menu in the Options bar. You can change the Size, Hardness, and Spacing. Adjust these settings to the size of your object, and remember to come back here if you need to while selecting. 

It’s common for this tool to select too much or too little of your subject. Luckily, you can easily subtract from your selection by holding Alt (Win) or Option (Mac) and dragging over unwanted areas.

Once you’ve selected your entire subject, you can make whatever edits you need for your project. 


Super quick

Easy to use 


You will spend a lot of time deselecting areas you shouldn’t have selected in the first place

You may have to clean up your official selection afterward 

3. The Select Subject Button 

When you need a selection of your subject but don’t feel like spending the time, the Select Subject Button is the answer. This tool is great for getting a selection started, so all you need to do is refine it as needed. It can also be used as a way to create selective adjustments to your subject when editing photos.

To access the Select Subject Button, select either the Object Selection Tool, Quick Selection Tool, or the Magic Wand Tool.

With your subject selected, you can now make any edits you need for your project, including removing the background by adding a layer mask.

You may notice when using the select subject button that it’s not 100% perfect. You may see some pixels missing, especially when it comes to hair. 

You can fix this by using the Brush Tool (B) and painting white to add or black to remove from your layer mask. 

Alternatively, you can use the Select and Mask workspace by pressing Control + Alt + R (Win) or Command + Option + R (Mac) to clean up the selection.

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Can have difficulties with complex backgrounds

The Remove Background Button is a good alternative to the Select Subject Button in situations when you just want to remove the background. This button does the extra step of adding your selection to a layer mask and non-destructively cutting out your image.

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If you don’t use this button often, you will probably forget where it is and how to access it 

You can’t refine the selection before it’s applied to a mask.

The Object Selection Tool can be found in the Toolbar or by pressing W.

Photoshop’s AI will most likely select your exact subject on the first try. You can now make whatever edits you need for your project. 

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Every once and a while, the tool selects something you don’t want to be selected

You can find the Lasso Tool in the Toolbar or by pressing L.

Once you select your subject, you can move it with the Move Tool (V), copy and paste your selection, or do whatever edits you need for your product. 


Probably the best tool to grab when you need to move small objects quickly. 

Easy to use


More difficult to use for selecting larger objects

Not good for accurate selections

You can find the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) grouped with the Lasso Tool. 

Once your subject is selected, you are free to make any edits you need to. 

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The perfect option for selecting a subject with plenty of straight edges 


Not easy to use 

It’s very difficult to select rounded edges

The Magnetic Lasso Tool snaps to the edges of your subject as you drag your mouse, adding far more accuracy than the regular Lasso Tool. The only trouble with this tool is that it can be frustrating to use as it directly follows your cursor. If your cursor drifts off course, it’s likely your selection will mess up too. This tool is worth knowing about but probably won’t be your first choice when creating selections.

The Magnetic Lasso Tool (L) is grouped with the Lasso Tool. 

Move your mouse around the perimeter of your entire subject to select it. 

The Magnetic Lasso Tool will most likely miss big chunks of your subject. To fix this, use the Add To Selection button to add the missing pixels to your selection. 

Even after you add the missing pixels to your selection, you will still find trouble spots after making your edits. You’ll have to fix these problems manually with whatever tool is applicable to your situation. 

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It works okay with images that have distinct edges with different color values


Can be frustrating to use

Will constantly select areas you don’t want to be selected 

You will most likely have to touch up your final selection with a second tool

The Magic Wand Tool samples a color in your photo and turns it into a selection by finding other similarly colored pixels. It’s great at removing all of one color from an image or just removing a solid-colored background.

You can find the Magic Wand Tool (W) grouped with the Object Selection Tool and Quick Selection Tool 

If you find that not all your target color is being selected, experiment with the Tolerance until you find a better result. A higher tolerance will include more shades of a sampled color.

Once your color is selected, you can make whatever manipulations you need for your project. 


Easy to use

The quickest way to select a single color in an image


Difficult to use when your subject has similar colors as the background you want to remove.

10. The Select Color Range Adjustment 

Select Color Range is one of my favorite tools for selecting a single color. Like the Magic Wand Tool, it works by sampling a single color and finding other similar colors to add to the selection. The only issue is that there are limited options to prevent the tool from selecting more areas than you were hoping to. However, what this tool gains over the Magic Wand Tool is the use of the Fuzziness Slider, which makes it easier to refine your color selection more accurately.

You can further adjust the selection using the Fuzziness Slider. Use the selection preview to refine your sample and fuzziness amount until the subject is accurately selected. 

Once your selection is complete, you can make any edits needed for your project or remove the background via a layer mask.


A quick way to select a single color 

The Fuzziness slider is easy to use and gives a good visual aid to follow with the Preview Window


This method will select ALL of the pixels with the color you select, including areas you don’t want to be selected

There will be times when you will need to use other tools to deselect and touch up your selection

When you want the most accurate and clean selection possible, the Pen Tool is just the ticket. This tool creates a path that can be later used to create a selection. Since the path must be defined manually, it’s relatively easy to have an accurate selection of the edges if you spend time on it. The only downside to this tool is it’s time-consuming, but that’s a trade-off for pixel-perfect selections.

You can find the Pen Tool in the Toolbar or by pressing P.

The Pen Tool is known for making precise curves by dragging the mouse to the right or left after you drop an anchor point.

If you mess up with your anchor point placement, you can move it by holding Control (Win) or Command (Mac) and dragging the anchor point where you need it. 

You can also move the handles by holding Control (Win) or Command (Mac) and dragging the handle where you need it. 

Make your way around your subject until you reach the first anchor point you placed.

Then, under Make in the Options bar, choose Selection.

With your object selected, you can make the edits you need or remove the background.


The most accurate way to select an object by hand 

Anchor points can be moved, so you don’t need to have perfect placement 



12. Channels

The Channels method is one of the most unique selection techniques in Photoshop since it uses contrast to create selections. This gives it an upper hand when selecting small and complex edges such as hair or tree branches. So whenever there are extremely fine details in your image, Channels are likely the best selection option assuming your background isn’t too dark.

Sometimes it’s easy to tell which channel has the most contrast, and other times all three channels will look similar. Do your best to decide which one works for your image. 

Once you’ve decided which channel works best, drag that channel down to the New Channel Button. This will make a copy of the channel. 

Once you have your copy ready, press Control + L (Win) or Command + L (Mac) to open up the Levels Panel. The handle on the left controls the Shadows in your image, and the handle on the right controls the Highlights of your image. The handle in the middle controls the Midtones. 

Adjust the Shadows until the inside of your subject is as dark as it can be without distorting the rest of your image

Adjust the Highlights so your background is as bright as it can be

Adjust the Midtones to help darken the inside of your subject if needed

Adjusting the Levels of your image doesn’t always get the result you want. There will most likely still be bright spots within your shadow areas that need to be black. To fix this, grab your Brush Tool (B) and make sure your Foreground Color is black.

With your Brush Tool, paint over the lighter spots in the dark areas, and don’t worry about the rest of your image that has pure white or grey on it. You will handle those areas later. 

After you touch up the dark areas, you must touch up the lighter areas of your background as well to make sure they are pure white.

To do this, grab your Brush Tool (B) and set the Mode to Overlay in the Options bar. This prevents your brush strokes from painting over your black areas and only paints on the gray and white areas. Brush over anywhere you feel is not white enough to be selected. 

You will see all the bright areas of your image selected. 

Looking at your selection now, it looks better, but it’s still not where it needs to be. This is an easy fix. 

Also, ensure that Normal is selected under Mode in the Options bar. 

With your Brush Tool set up, paint over the areas that are transparent. Do this for all the transparent areas in the middle of your subject. 

You may have areas around the edge of your subject that need to be painted back on. If this is the case, paint over these areas as well, and don’t worry about slightly going over the edge of your subject and bringing back some of the background.

Now, to remove the areas that you don’t want to keep, grab the Quick Selection Tool (W), which I showed earlier, and select the background areas.

Once you have your background areas selected, fill those areas on the mask with black by pressing Control + Delete (Win) or Command + Delete (Mac). Just make sure that your Background Color is black to make this work.


Probably the best way to select a very complex subject with little chance of missing any pixels that are important

If no other selection tools or methods work, this one should 


Not beginner friendly

There are many steps to the process, and it will take you time to memorize them all 

Now to get a more in-depth view of any of these tools, I have individual tutorials about these varying tools you can find on my Photoshop Basics Resource Page.

Happy Selecting!

The 3 Best Ways To Reduce Noise In Photoshop (Step By Step)

Digital noise can damage an image’s sharpness and even make it hard to distinguish its original colors. Fortunately, there are many ways to remove digital noise in Photoshop.

When removing noise from an image in Photoshop, you have to be careful. That’s because if you apply too many effects, you risk making the image look unnatural, or even worsening noise. So it’s important to aim for strategic editing so that you can remove noise while preserving the details of the picture. 

Types of Digital Noise

Before you start editing, it is important that you know what causes digital noise and what you can do to prevent it.

In most cases, high ISO settings cause digital noise. During the day, for example, light easily enters the camera, and good-quality images are captured. While photographing at night, however, you will often have to increase the ISO, so the sensor is more sensitive to light. When you do that, the camera sensor will have to work harder to capture light, which will often lead to digital noise. Noise artifacts will be more or less evident, depending on the camera’s sensor quality and size.

There are two types of digital noise: luminance and color noise. Luminance noise affects the brightness of pixels, but it doesn’t harm their original colors. Color noise, on the other hand, appears as red, blue, or green artifacts in areas where they don’t belong. 

To identify what kind of noise an image has, set the zoom to 100%. If you see green, red, or blue artifacts not matching the background, what you see is color noise. If you see black, white, or gray spots contrasting against an area, then it’s a case of luminance noise.

To prevent this problem from happening, you can take some precautions, such as keeping your ISO as low as possible while taking pictures. In some cases that isn’t an option, but luckily you have Photoshop to save the day.

How to Remove Digital Noise In Photoshop

So let’s say you’ve already taken the picture, but the only problem is some tiny artifacts scattered through it. Luckily it’s quite simple to solve this problem in Photoshop. I will show you how to correct this issue with both Reduce Noise Filter and Camera Raw.

This is the image I’ve chosen as an example.

 At first glance it doesn’t look like there is anything wrong with it, right? But if I enlarge it or print it, the noise will be awfully evident. To check if your picture has noise, set the zoom to 100%. To do that, press ‘Control’ and ‘+’ on your keyboard.

This is how much noise my image has (at 100% zoom).

 That happened because it was taken at night, so a high ISO was needed. Let’s start removing the noise.

Method 1: Reduce Noise Filter – Advanced Mode Step 1:

Duplicate the image by pressing Control +J (On Windows) or Command + J (On Mac)

Step 2: Step 3: Step 4:

In the dialog box that will pop up, set the zoom to 100% so you can have a clear vision of the noise.

Step 5:

In the example below, I selected the blue channel.

Right below the channel button, there are two sliders: ‘Strength’ and ‘Preserve details’. The ‘Strength’ slider allows you to remove noise, and ‘preserve details’ bring back the details that were lost during the noise removal process.

Method 2:  Reduce Noise Filter – Basic Mode

Even though removing noise per channel is a good idea, I prefer removing it in the basic mode since my image has a lot of noise all over it.

Step 1:

Duplicate the image, convert it to a smart object and open the ‘reduce noise’ filter, as we did earlier in this tutorial.

These are the sliders that come with the basic mode.

Step 2:

The main slider is ‘strength’. You can move this slider to remove noise. As there is too much noise in the image, I will choose 9 (The maximum available is 10).

The ‘preserve details’ slider helps refine the ‘strength’ slider because when you reduce noise too much, you end up losing details. Since my image has severe noise, I will choose 3%.

Use ‘Reduce color noise’ if you notice color noise in your image. Mine has some next to the stars, so I will choose 45 %.

The last slider is called ‘sharpen details’. I don’t recommend you to set high values for this slider, because you may end up bringing the noise back. For my image, I will choose 8.

Step 3:

This is how the image looked after applying the ‘reduce noise filter’:

Method 3: Camera Raw Filter

The Camera Raw Filter is another option to remove noise from your images. This option is very similar to Lightroom, so it will feel quite familiar if you often work in that program.

Step 1:

To start editing, open the image you want, duplicate it and turn it into a smart object, as we did earlier in this tutorial.

Step 2: Step 3:

In Camera Raw, set the zoom to 100%. Otherwise, it will be hard for you to see the changes being applied.

Step 4: Step 5: Step 6:

You can move the ‘noise reduction slider to the right until you see the noise is gone. As this effect is a little harsh, try not to push it too high because you might end up giving your image an unnatural look. For my image, I chose 27.

When you reduce noise, you lose some details, so you can go to the ‘detail’ slider and move it to the right a bit. Don’t increase it too much because it might bring noise back. For this one, I chose 24.

Losing contrast is another drawback of reducing noise, so you can bring the contrast back by moving the ‘contrast’ slider to the right. I will add a high value to this because there is a lot of variation in the star’s brightness and I want to keep these features. So I will choose 57. 

Step 7:

Now, I will move on to the color noise reduction section. The ‘color noise reduction’ slider allows you to reduce the color noise itself. The ‘detail slider’ brings back the details that are lost while you remove the color noise. The ‘smoothness’ slider, on the other hand, is a complement to the color noise reduction slider. Once it smooths areas where color noise is present, it blends pixels or softens the transition between them.

For my image, I added the following values.

 And that’s my result

I liked the result since I just wanted to reduce the noise a little without losing the stars’ features. However, you can play with the sliders until you are satisfied. The exact amount you use will depend on your specific photo. These steps just offer a solid outline to get started with!

Noise is Not Always a Problem

Noise is very common in photography, that’s why it’s important to be careful while dealing with it. Before trying to remove noise from an image, figure out what you want to achieve with that image, and decide if it would be ok to keep a little noise in it or not. If you want to give your pictures a vintage look, for example, a little noise can be a good choice. If you want a high-res editorial-looking image, perhaps reducing the noise is a better idea. Now to help you avoid getting noise in your images, check out this tutorial on the best camera settings for beginners!

Happy editing!

The Best Free & Cheap Photo Editing Software For 2023

Phones have certainly made the process a lot more painless and their built-in photo apps have reasonably good editing facilities. But when you need to go further and do more than applying filters, adjusting contrast and cropping, you’ll almost certainly want to switch to your laptop or PC and use a dedicated photo editing app.

The obvious one is Adobe Photoshop or perhaps Lightroom, but unless you’re prepared to take out a subscription for the full version or buy Photoshop Elements for a still-considerable one-time fee, you’ll be searching for alternatives that offer a similar range of tools but without the cost.

You don’t have to install anything at all: there are lots of online apps which you can use in a web browser.

We’re focusing mainly on Windows apps here, but there are lots of great photo editing apps for iPhone and Android. We’ve already mentioned the built-in apps (Photos on iPhone, for example) but you get even more control from Camera+, if you don’t mind paying a few dollars / pounds for an app. Google Photos is available for iPhones as well as Android and offers great editing capabilites, but the Google-owned Snapseed is even more powerful and is, again, available on both platforms.

If you want to cut and edit video, then we also have a round up of the best free video editing software.



Photoshop alternative for free


Not the most user-friendly option

GIMP (which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, and nothing remotely dodgy) has basically been around forever, at least in internet terms. You can trace its origins way back to 1995 when it was created as an open source equivalent to Photoshop.

These days you can get it for Windows, macOS and Linux, and it’s entirely free. While it lacks some polish compared to some of the others here, you can’t really fault GIMP for its selection of features, which is about as comprehensive as you can get without laying down some money.

It helps that the layout is pretty close to Photoshop’s, making it immediately familiar to anyone who’s dabbled with Adobe’s editor.

It doesn’t replicate every last feature in Photoshop, and some tools don’t perform to quite the same high standard, but you can’t complain when it’s free.

2. Paint.NET


Supports layers, filters, levels and curves


Not as many tools as Photoshop

The name might bring to mind MS Paint (which this began as a replacement for), but chúng tôi does an awful lot that Microsoft’s simplistic editor can’t, with support for layers, effects, and a variety of other tools.

Still, it hasn’t entirely lost Paint’s simplicity, which is one of Paint.NET’s greatest strengths. It’s fast and lightweight, making it ideal for quick, simple edits. It’s also great for users who want something with more oomph than Paint, but don’t need all the daunting bells and whistles of Photoshop.

It’s worth noting that Windows 10 and 11 have a new version of Paint which lets you create and play with 3D objects, but it’s not for editing photos. Instead, you can play with the built-in Photos app.

3. Pixlr


Runs in a web browser

Good range of tools


Some features only available in paid-for Premium version

Pixlr has one giant benefit over most of the other apps on this list: it runs entirely in your browser, meaning you can access it on any PC or Mac, with no need to install anything.

There are two versions, Pixlr E, a full-featured photo editor aimed at Pros and Pixlr X which is the ‘quick & easy’ option for everyone else.

Of course you can’t quite get the full power of a photo editor in a browser, but Pixlr packs plenty of features in, and the ‘E’ version is surprisingly comprehensive – especially considering how smoothly it runs.

You can download desktop apps for Windows and Mac, as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS, which can be found respectively on the Google Play Store and the App Store.

There’s a Premium version that offers more tools, including AI Cutout, and supports larger images up to 8196×8196 pixels.

4. PhotoScape


Can convert RAW files

Selection of filters


Divisive tools menu

PhotoScape is a solid free photo editor that also offers a little more besides – you can also use it to create animated GIFs, convert RAW images to JPG, create slideshows, and more.

When it comes to the actual editing tools, PhotoScape can’t beat the most fully featured entries on this list, but it does have all the core functionality you’re likely to need.

The default circular tool menu is a bit divisive, but you can opt for a more traditional grid if you prefer, and you have access to the usual array of editing and re-touching tools, including a variety of effects and filters.

Read our full

5. Fotor


Ideal for quick fixes

Lots of filters


No support for plugins

Fotor isn’t trying to be a fully-fledged photo editor, so if you’re looking for a full suite of functionality then you might be better off elsewhere.

What it does offer is a great selection of photo enhancement tools – directly through your browser like Pixlr – letting you quickly apply filters and do some basic re-touching. It also has an HDR option that lets you merge multiple photos with different exposures to create a single image that captures the ideal amount of colour and detail.

You can install Fotor for Windows (or macOS) separately, again for free, if you prefer. The desktop application offers a batch processing tool too, so you can apply the same changes to a huge number of images at once, a feature sadly missing in a lot of equivalent applications.

Read our full

6. Krita


Open source

Good range of brushes and filters


Lack of tutorials and community support

Krita is as notable for its creators as it is for its functionality. Developed by artists for artists, the free cross-platform app is designed to give artists all of the tools they need, with a focus on concept artists, illustrators, matte and texture artists, and the VFX industry.

It’s not strictly a photo editor (though you can certainly use it for basic retouching), and the focus is more on digital painting and creating artwork from scratch.

It has a variety of brush engines (along with a handy brush stabilizer feature), and you can also import brush and texture packs. The recently added support for HDR monitors in Windows is a welcome addition, and it even supports PSDs, so it’s fully compatible with anything you’ve worked on in Photoshop.

7. Adobe Photoshop Elements


Powerful set of tools

Guided Edits mode

Best Prices Today:

As powerful as many of these free photo editors are, sometimes you just need something with a little more oomph.

Photoshop Elements is the more beginner-friendly version of full Photoshop, offering most of the same features for less than the price of a year’s subscription to Photoshop. And, to be clear, you don’t subscribe to Elements: you buy it outright. It’s available for both macOS and Windows.

As well as all the photo editing options you’d expect, Elements provides some powerful tools including content-aware removing of objects. That means you can erase unwanted people or other things from photos extremely easily.

Better still, a lot of the core tools are ‘smart’ which means, for example, that the crop tool will offer you a selection of crops based its analysis of your image. And unlike others here, you can resize (or indeed crop) images to a specific pixel size, which makes it much more suited to power users that just don’t want to pay for Photoshop CC.

(But do see our Adobe Creative Cloud buying guide for all details on trials, prices, plans, student discounts and more.)

8. CyberLink PhotoDirector 13 Ultra


Lots of powerful tools and effects


Some features restricted to subscribers

PhotoDirector used to be an Adobe Lightroom clone, but these days it also has tools from Photoshop as well as ‘Guided Edit’ features from Elements.

It offers AI-powered tools for replacing skies, and you can remove people from photos as well. It’ll make animated GIFs as well.

There are plenty of easy-to-use retouching tools too, plus handy extras including content-aware object removal which lets you erase that unwanted wooden post or whatever else is ruining your otherwise perfect shot.

There’s also support for layer masks, layer grouping and adjustment layers, non-destructive editing and content-aware clone and move tools. You can see all the new features here.

Following Adobe, CyberLink now pushes you towards a monthly subscription to a version called PhotoDirector 365. This includes a range of benefits over the non-subscription version including more cloud storage and extra tools. It can also work out cheaper if you’ll only need it for a year or less (there are options to pay monthly or annually, but the monthly price isn’t great value unless you need access for a few weeks only.)

If you’re willing to spend money on a photo editor, PhotoDirector 13 Ultra and PhotoDirector 365 are good value – especially as it’s almost always discounted from its full price.

9. Affinity Photo


Supports both raster and vector images


Interface can be confusing

No photo manager

Best Prices Today:

Built to offer professional features at a budget price, Affinity Photo is a step up from the free editing software listed here.

The layout will be mostly familiar to anyone who’s used Photoshop in the past, though Affinity has a few of its own idiosyncrasies and quirks, most obviously the ‘Personas’, a selection of operating modes you switch between depending on what you want to do, giving you access to different tools and options.

It’s available for desktop ( £48.99/$49.99 – Windows and MacOS) and mobile ( £19.99/ $19.99 – iOS only).

The Multiply Blend Mode In Photoshop

The Multiply Blend Mode In Photoshop

Written by Steve Patterson.

As we learned on the previous page, each of Photoshop’s layer blend modes, with the exception of “Normal” and “Dissolve”, falls into one of only five main groups (Darken, Lighten, Contrast, Comparative, and Composite), and each group is responsible for giving us a specific result or effect.

The first group, Darken, is made up of the Darken, Multiply, Color Burn, and Linear Burn blend modes, and each of these blend modes will darken the image to a certain extent, with the Darken mode having the least impact on the image while Color Burn and Linear Burn have the greatest impact.

However, of the four blend modes in the Darken group, one of them stands high above the others, and that’s the Multiply blend mode. The Multiply blend mode is one of the most important and widely-used blend modes in all of Photoshop, whether you’re doing traditional photo retouching work or creating some wild and crazy special effect.

It’s unique among all the blend modes in that it’s the only one named after the actual math that Photoshop performs behind the scenes when you have the Multiply mode selected. Photoshop takes the colors from the layer that’s set to the Multiply blend mode and multiplies them by the colors on the layer(s) below it, then divides them by 255 to give us the result.

Of course, you don’t need to be the slightest bit interested in math to use blend modes in Photoshop, and most people use the analogy of a slide projector when remembering how the Multiply mode works. Imagine that your photos were on slides and you held two of them up to the light one in front of the other. Since the light would have to travel through two slides, not just one, the resulting image would appear darker.

Let’s look at a basic example of how the Multiply blend mode works in Photoshop. Here, I have a very simple document I’ve created using two layers. I’ve filled the Background layer with a solid blue color, and on the layer above it, I’ve added a horizontal gradient going from pure black on the left to pure white on the right, along with three squares. The square on the left is filled with black, the square on the right is filled with white, and the square in the middle is filled with 50% gray (in other words, the shade of gray that falls directly in between black and white):

If we look at my Layers palette, we can see things more clearly, with the Background layer filled with solid blue and the gradient and squares on the layer above it. Notice that the “Gradient and Squares” layer is currently set to the Normal blend mode:

Currently, we’re seeing everything in the Photoshop document exactly the way we’d normally expect to see it, with the gradient and squares completely blocking the solid blue color on the Background layer from view, and that’s because the blend mode of the “Gradient and Squares” layer is set to Normal. When we set the blend mode of a layer to Multiply though, things change. Any areas on the layer that are pure white completely disappear from view, while everything else becomes darker. The only exception is that any areas that are already pure black remain black, since obviously you can’t make pure black any darker than it already is. So anything white completely disappears, anything black remains black, and everything else becomes darker.

Watch what happens when I change the blend mode of the “Gradient and Squares” layer from Normal to Multiply. Based on what I just said, the white square on the bottom right, along with the white area on the right of the gradient, should completely disappear. The black square on the bottom left, along with the black area on the left of the gradient, should remain black. The 50% gray square, along with the rest of the gradient, should blend in with the solid blue layer below them and become darker. Let’s see what happens. First, I’ll change the blend mode of the “Gradient and Squares” layer to Multiply:

And now if we look at my Photoshop document, we can see that sure enough, everything has happened exactly as we expected. The white square and white part of the gradient are no longer visible, the black square and black part of the gradient remain untouched, and the 50% gray square, along with the rest of the gradient, are blending in with the solid blue color below them to give us a darker result:

Real World Example of the Multiply Blend Mode

In photo retouching and restoration work, one of the most common uses for the Multiply blend mode is to easily darken photos that have faded over time. Here we have an antique photo that could use some help. The dark shadows have faded into a lighter gray, reducing not only the contrast in the photo but also some of the details:

We can now see in my Layers palette that I have my original faded image on the Background layer, and my Levels adjustment layer has been added directly above it. By default, the adjustment layer’s blend mode is set to Normal:

So far, nothing has changed in my document window since all I’ve done is added a Levels adjustment layer without actually making any changes inside the dialog box. My image is still just as faded now as it was before adding the adjustment layer. But watch what happens when I change the blend mode of the Levels adjustment layer to Multiply:

Simply by adding a Levels adjustment layer above my image and changing its blend mode from Normal to Multiply, I’ve darkened the shadows in the image and restored much of the contrast and detail:

If I wanted to darken the image even further, I could do so simply by duplicating the Levels adjustment layer (by pressing Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac)). I now have two Levels adjustment layers above my Background layer in the Layers palette, both set to the Multiply blend mode:

Unfortunately, this has made my image a little too dark now:

To fine-tune the darkening effect, all I need to do is lower the opacity of the new adjustment layer. I’m going to lower mine down to about 50%:

Here’s my image after lowering the opacity of the second adjustment layer to reduce the overall darkening effect:

You can use this exact same technique to darken and restore details in an overexposed photo. Simply add a Levels adjustment layer and change its blend mode to Multiply. Duplicate the adjustment layer if necessary to increase the darkening effect, or fine-tune the effect by lowering the opacity of the adjustment layer.

So far, we’ve seen how the Multiply blend mode, which is part of the Darkening group of blend modes, can easily be used in photo editing to restore dark areas in an old, faded image, and I mentioned that it can also be used to restore detail in an overexposed photo. These are just a couple of examples of how powerful and useful the Multiply blend mode is and why it’s one of the five must-know blend modes in Photoshop.

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