In Elements, you can control how the color you add to your image blends with the colors that are already there. This section takes a look at blending in two different ways—using the Smudge tool to literally mix elements of your image together, and using blend modes to determine how the colors you paint change what's already in your image. Blend modes are almost limitless in how you can use them to manipulate your images.
Figure 12-14. Figure 12-13 after the Dodge and Burn tools did their work. The girl's features are much easier to see, but if you look closely, you can see that the colors in her face are a bit flat. See The Smudge Tool to compare a different method for selectively adjusting highlights and shadows. Both solutions have advantages and disadvantages. Things are deliberately a bit too strong in both figures to show you the perils of getting overzealous with either method.
Blend modes control how the color you add when you paint reacts with the existing pixels in your image—whether you just add color (Normal mode), make the existing color darker (Multiply mode), or change the saturation (Saturation mode).
Elements 6 gives you two new blend modes with self-explanatory names: Lighter Color and Darker Color, which are available for brushes as well as layers. They appear at the bottom of their respective sections in the Mode menu. Check them ...