Screen Blend Mode

With the screen blend mode it's possible to combine two images in some very interesting and unique ways - but first some background ...

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.

terry screen leaf

I collected a suitable leaf from the tree just before the Autumn and copied it on my flatbed scanner.

As Autumn 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 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.  (This link will take you through the process of converting images to black and white).  

So go back to your three layer image containing the black background, the coloured Autumn image and the top leaf scan layer.

Insert a new adjustment layer above the leaf layer.

Layers > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation/Lightness - like this ...

screen blend mode layer

The saturation slider is set to -100 to give a black and white image for this layer.

screen blend mode hsl adjustments

The information in the adjustment layer needs to be included in the leaf layer by merging the adjustment layer down.

screen blend mode merge layers

This black and white image needs a bit of “beefing up” by increasing the contrast.

This link will take you through the process of changing contrast of images.

Make sure the top layer is highlighted.

Layers > New Adjustment Layer > Curves

screen blend mode contrast

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 blend mode leaf

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