Basic Overview: Blend modes

The blend mode, also referred to as layer mode or blending mode, determines how the pixels of a layer and therefore its color and lightness information are calculated with the layers underneath it. You can apply blend modes to any kind of layer, except for the background. In practical exercises, you are most likely to encounter the following most common blend modes:


Has a darkening effect and is especially useful for adding detail to areas which are too light.


Has the opposite effect to Multiply. Lightens all tonal values and lowers the contrast.

Soft Light

Increases the contrast, but not with 50% gray. It hides 50% gray, therefore this blend mode is especially useful for neutral layers, the High Pass filter and the Add Noise filter.


Combines the color values of the active layer with the luminance of the one below, but not with grayscale. Very well suited for coloring or re-coloring while maintaining the original luminance values.


Combines the color values of the active layer with the luminance values, the hue and saturation of the underlying layer. Well suited for coloring or re-coloring image areas as the colors are rendered more strongly. Also useful for coloring grayscale images.


Has a comparing function and is useful for precise overlaying of almost identical image areas. Identical image areas are displayed as black, different ones as light edges.


Adopts the color values of the layer below and uses the luminance ...

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