How Do I Make an Overlay in Photoshop?

How Do I Make an Overlay in Photoshop?

Making an Overlay in Photoshop

Are you looking to add a creative touch to your images? Creating overlays in Photoshop can help you achieve just that.

Whether you want to add a vintage film effect or create a dreamy atmosphere, overlays can transform your images into something truly unique. In this tutorial, we will explore how to make an overlay in Photoshop using various techniques.

What is an Overlay? An overlay is a graphic element that is placed on top of a photo or design to enhance its appearance. It can be an image, texture, or pattern that adds depth, color, or visual interest to your work. Overlays are often used in photography, digital art, and graphic design projects to create mood and atmosphere.

Creating an Overlay Using Blend Modes One of the easiest ways to create an overlay in Photoshop is by using blend modes. Blend modes control how layers interact with each other and can produce various effects when combined.

  1. Open your image in Photoshop. 2. Create a new layer by clicking on the "New Layer" icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. 3. Select the Paint Bucket tool from the toolbar and choose a color for your overlay.

  2. Click anywhere on the new layer with the Paint Bucket tool to fill it with your chosen color. 5. Change the blend mode of the new layer by selecting different options from the dropdown menu located at the top of the Layers panel.

    • Multiply: Darkens the underlying layers.
    • Screen: Lightens the underlying layers.
    • Overlay: Creates a combination of multiply and screen effects.
    • Add: Brightens colors without creating dark areas.

Create Custom Overlays Using Patterns or Textures If you want to take your overlays to the next level, you can create custom patterns or use textures to add depth and interest to your images. Open the image you want to use as a pattern or texture in Photoshop. Convert the image into a pattern by going to Edit > Define Pattern.

Create a new layer in your main project file. 4. Select the Paint Bucket tool and choose the pattern or texture you just created from the dropdown menu located at the top of the screen. Click on the new layer with the Paint Bucket tool to fill it with your selected pattern or texture.

Tips for Using Overlays

  • Experiment with different blend modes and opacity levels to achieve your desired effect. - Try combining multiple overlays to create complex and unique looks.

  • Use layer masks to selectively apply overlays to specific areas of your image. - Adjust the hue, saturation, and brightness of overlays using adjustment layers for more customization.


Creating overlays in Photoshop is a fun and creative way to enhance your images. Whether you're adding a subtle texture or making a bold statement, overlays can help take your designs to new heights. By using blend modes, custom patterns, and textures, you have endless possibilities for creating visually engaging overlays that will make your work stand out.

So go ahead, explore different techniques, and let your creativity flow!