JPGs vs. Transparencies vs Screens
Many of you have asked me to explain the difference between JPGS, Transparencies, and Screens; so let’s take a look at that today
All 3 products have a place in my digi-scrap stash, and I love using them all. I don’t think one product is better than the other. They just all give different results, depending on what colors you are working with, what textures are involved, and what blending modes are applied. I might try an Overlay, and if I don’t get the result I am looking for, I will try a Transparency or Screen. Or vice-versa. Sometimes I use a combination of all three.
The Textured Overlays 01 are grayscale, in JPG format. There are many ways to use these: colorize, blend with other papers, experiment with blend modes and opacity levels.
The Textured Transparencies & Screens 01 include 2 products: Transparencies are PNG format. The pattern of the product is white, on a transparent background. The Screens have the same pattern as the transparencies, only the pattern is merged with a black background. I create Screens with Transparencies for 2 reasons: each product can be used differently, and white patterns on a transparent background are difficult to see in a viewing program. I personally don’t like having to open a transparency in Photoshop to see whether or not I have chosen the pattern that I intended to choose.
So let’s take a look at how different each product can look, and how having all 3 formats can be helpful.
This is Textured Overlay 05 (JPG). There is a solid blue color underneath the JPG overlay. The blend mode of the overlay is set to “Overlay.”
Here is the same Textured Screen, over the same solid blue layer, with the same blend mode of Overlay.
And here is the same Textured Transparency, over the same solid blue layer, with the same blend mode of Overlay.
The same pattern, with 3 totally different looks, based upon the format of the pattern itself. Each has its own design possibilities.
Now let’s take a look at the specific differences between using the Screens and the Transparencies.
Screens were specifically designed to use with the Blend Mode: Screen. Here is Screen 05, with the blend mode set to Screen, as intended. You can see that the end result with the Screen blend mode is exactly the same as using the same Transparency in the Overlay blend mode. (Compare image below to image above.)
Before we take a look at how we can use Transparencies and Screens differently, here are a few more comparisons using the same texture (JPG) and transparency (PNG) using different blend modes:
You can see the different looks you get with the same pattern, by using a different blend modes. All of these options can have their place within a particular design.
An additional advantage to using a Transparency instead of a Screen is the flexibility it offers. Apply a mask to the Screen (Click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel), choose Black as your foreground color, choose a soft-edge brush, click on the mask to make it active, and brush away whatever part of the design you do not wish to use.
In the image below, I lowered the opacity of my brush to give a smooth transition between the part of the pattern that I removed and the part that I kept. I removed most of the pattern in the middle of the page, and I lightened the white around the edges. You can see gray on the white mask: those are the parts of the transparency that were removed.
I love having options both in my design work and personal scrapping. I hope that you have found this tutorial helpful, and that it has sparked some new ideas on how to use overlays, transparencies, and screens in your own work.
You will currently find my new Textured products at SnickerdoodleDesigns and The Digichick.
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