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Layer Blending Modes

Each layer has a blending mode that defines how the layer content is blended into the layer below it. The blending mode occurs independently of the layer opacity and the layer opacity is applied to the output from the blending mode. The following blending modes are provided:


This is the default blending mode, pixels in the layer are simply copied over the pixels in the layer below.


This mode selects the maximum of each RGB component value from the foreground and background pixels.


This mode creates a pixel that retains the smallest value of each RGB component of the foreground and background pixels.


Multiply blend mode takes the RGB channel values from 0 to 1 of each pixel in the layer and multiplies them with the values for the corresponding pixel from the lower layer. Wherever either layer was brighter than black, the composite is darker; since each value is less than 1, their product will be less than each initial value that was greater than zero.


Difference subtracts the lower layer from the current layer or the other way around, to always get a non-negative value. Blending with black produces no change, as values for all colors are 0. (The RGB value for black is (0,0,0).) Blending with white inverts the picture.


The Screen blend mode inverts both layers, multiplies them, and then inverts that result.


Exclusion is similar to the Difference blend mode but with lower contrast.


Overlay combines Multiply and Screen blend modes. Where the lower layer is light, the selected layer becomes lighter; where the lower layer is dark, the selected layer becomes darker; where the lower layer is mid grey, the selected layer is unaffected.

Soft light

Soft light is most closely related to Overlay and is only similar to Hard Light by name. Applying pure black or white does not result in pure black or white.

Hard light

Hard Light is also a combination of Multiply and Screen. Hard Light affects the blend layer's relationship to the lower layer in the same way Overlay affects the lower layer's relationship to the selected layer.

Color dodge

The Color Dodge blend mode divides the lower layer by the inverted selected layer. This lightens the lower layer depending on the value of the selected layer: the brighter the selected layer, the more its color affects the lower layer. Blending any color with white gives white. Blending with black does not change the image.

Color burn

The Color Burn mode divides the inverted lower layer by the selected layer, and then inverts the result. This darkens the selected layer increasing the contrast to reflect the color of the lower layer. The darker the lower layer, the more its color is used. Blending with white produces no difference. When the selected layer contains a homogeneous color, this effect is equivalent to changing the black point to the inverted color.

Linear burn

The Linear Burn mode sums the value in the two layers and subtracts 1. This is the same as inverting each layer, adding them together (as in Linear Dodge), and then inverting the result. Blending with white leaves the image unchanged.

Linear light

This blend mode combines Linear Dodge and Linear Burn (rescaled so that neutral colors become middle gray). Dodge is applied when the value on the selected layer is lighter than middle gray, and burn applies when the selected layer value is darker.

Vivid light

This blend mode combines Color Dodge and Color Burn (rescaled so that neutral colors become middle gray). Dodge applies when values in the selected layer are lighter than middle gray, and burn applies to darker values. The middle gray is the neutral color. When the selected layer's color is lighter than this, this effectively moves the white point of the lower layer down by twice the difference; when it is darker, the black point is moved up by twice the difference. (This increases the perceived contrast.)

Pin light

Replaces the colors, depending on the blend color. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, pixels darker than the blend color are replaced, and pixels lighter than the blend color do not change.

Hard mix

Adds the red, green and blue channel values of the blend color to the RGB values of the base color. If the resulting sum for a channel is 255 or greater, it receives a value of 255; if less than 255, a value of 0. Therefore, all blended pixels have red, green, and blue channel values of either 0 or 255. This changes all pixels to primary additive colors (red, green, or blue), white, or black.