Photoshop Tip: Exclusion

I have been creating Space art scenes for a long time. The elements I use are either made from scratch or from stock images. After combining many elements I finish the artwork by adding a top-most Shape layer with a Blend Mode of Exclusion.

Photoshop’s Exclusion blend mode help give your work a cohesive or seamless look especially if you’re into digital art.


Another plus is to adding Exclusion is that it can enhance the colour tone of your work. Space art typically has a dark theme and it has a tendency to look drab or dull or cold. Adding Exclusion does improve it – I usually add a red or purple exclusion to my Space artworks to make it look warmer like the example above.

So how do you apply Exclusion? Simple:

  1. Create a layer and make it the top-most layer
  2. Give it a near-black hue
  3. Change the Blend Mode to Exclusion


That’s it. You can play around with the hues. If you want to give it a morning or dusk look, give it a purple exclusion like the image above. If you want to add warmth to your scene – give it a red or range Exclusion. Here is a sample variation:


You can add layers of various Exclusion hues. You should be careful not to overdo it else it can ruin the image. Keep it subtle.

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