Screen Blend Mode


In my analogue darkroom days, I used an intermediate negative through which I printed another image.  The negative was a contact print of a leaf.  

Just as the early pioneers like Thomas Wedgwood and his friend William Henry Fox Talbot had discovered “shadow printing” as light turned the white silver chloride onto black silver revealing detail in the specimens they had contacted with their sensitised paper, so I too recorded the fine detail of the leaf as shadow.

I wanted to copy the process in the digital darkroom.  My theme was the memory the leaf must have as it becomes detached from its parent tree.


I collected a suitable leaf from the tree just before the Fall (autumn) and copied it on my flatbed scanner.


terry screen leaf


As the Fall proceeded I went back to the trees and photographed the glory of the change.


terry screen tree


Using image>resize  the size and resolution of the leaf contact image was adjusted to that of the picture of the trees in their autumnal glory.  Image>Rotate right put the image into the same orientation.

terry resize



A new background image was created of the same size by File>New.

terry new image


The image of the autumn glory was added above the new background as a new layer by Edit>Copy from that image and Edit>Paste As New Layer into the new black background image.


screen layers


Similarly, the image of the scanned leaf was added above the new background and autumn leaf image as a new layer by Edit>Copy from the scanned leaf image  and Edit>Paste as new layer into the new black background with autumn leaves layer image. 

The blend mode for the top layer, the scanned leaf image was set to screen.


screen leaf


As a better feel for the autumnal colour, another version of the scanned image was created in black and white.  (Black and White Conversion)  A new adjustment layer was created above a new copy of the scanned leaf image Layers> New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation/Lightness.  The master saturation was set to -100.  

The layers were combined using Layers>Merge>Merge Down.  Then the contrast was adjusted using Layers>New Adjustment Layer>Curves.  <<see the curves tutorial>>


This new black and white image from the scanned leaf was the used in place of the colour version.  I think it gives the impression of the memory of autumn, which was the brief I’d set for myself.

screen leaf2






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