Blend Modes in Affinity Photo | Explained

If you’re looking to create some stunning photo effects, Affinity Photo is the ideal tool for you. With its wide range of Blend Modes, you can create all sorts of amazing effects in just a few clicks.

In this blog post, we will explain what Blend Modes in Affinity Photo are and how they can be used to improve your photos. We’ll also show you some examples of how these modes can be applied to achieve different results. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced Affinity user, this blog post is for you!

What are Blend Modes?

Blend Modes can be a little confusing to understand at first, but with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to use them like a pro!

Basically, Blend Modes in Affinity Photo allow you to combine layers together. Affinity Photo offers a wide range of Blend Mode options for every occasion, from simple photorealistic composites to advanced surreal effects.

You can try out different modes to see what kind of results you can get, and experiment with different layer combinations to see what works best for your photos. Affinity Photo makes it easy to experiment and create stunning photo effects in just a few clicks.

In Affinity Photo, the Blend Mode is located at the top of the Layers panel and it is indicated by a small drop-down arrow. The default Blend Mode is “Normal”, which means that Affinity Photo will not blend the layers together if you use this mode.

To change the Blend Mode, simply select it from the list and Affinity Photo will automatically update the layer to reflect your selection. If you want to revert back to the default Normal Blend Mode, click on the drop-down arrow and select “Normal” from the menu.

How do they work?

Blend modes control how the colours of an upper layer’s pixels blend with those of the layers or layers beneath. Each pixel has numerical values, which Affinity Photo uses to create blends. Each blend mode uses these values differently to determine how the pixels should be blended together.

In Affinity Photo, black has a value of 0, while white has a value of 100. This means that the lower layer’s pixels will completely obscure any pixels on the upper layer with a value of 0. Midtone grey is a mixture of black and white, so Affinity Photo gives it a value of 50.

To understand them better, remember that the original image has particular colours for each pixel. Every layer you add above it, be it an adjustment layer, a fill layer, and so forth, also has its own set of colours. Affinity Photo then blends the colours of each layer together according to the Blend Mode you’ve chosen, and creates a new image with interesting effects.

Here’s a quick example to explain clearly how Blend Modes work. Let’s say you have two photos: one with a blue sky and one with a white sky. If you use “Multiply” as your Blend Mode, Affinity Photo will darken the blue sky to match the colour of the other photo’s white sky. On the other hand, if you use “Screen”, Affinity Photo will brighten it up so that both skies are equally bright and look like they’re in the same photo.

Now that you know how Affinity Photo Blend Modes work, let’s take a look at the different modes available in Affinity Photo.

The most common Blend Modes

Affinity Photo offers 32 different Blend Modes, which are split into various categories, including Normal, Darken, Lighten, Contrast, Comparative and Composite.

The most popular Blend Modes are definitely the Normal, Multiply, Screen, Overlay Divide and Colour Burn. They’re easy to use and can be applied in a variety of ways to get different results.

Normal: This is the default Blend Mode and it doesn’t blend the layers together at all. If you change the opacity of the layer, Affinity Photo will show the original image underneath according to the opacity percentage you set.

Multiply: Black layer with a Multiple Blend mode remains dark while lighter colours (white) becomes transparent. The amount of transparency is determined by the colour value. This blend mode multiplies the colours together and darkens them, resulting in a darker image. This Blend Mode is great for texturing your images or creating a double exposure effect.

Screen: Affinity Photo uses this Blend Mode to multiply the inverse of each layer’s colour values, which results in a brighter image. This mode is great for lightening up dark photos or adding highlights to them.

Overlay: Basically, Overlay is a combination of Multiply and Screen. Affinity Photo multiplies the colours together and then screens them, which gives you a more subtle effect than using either mode on its own. Darker areas will be darkened, while lighter areas will be lightened.

Colour: With this blend mode, the lightness of the base layer is preserved while the hue and saturation of the blend layer are blended. Colour is useful for tinting colour images and colouring monochromatic photos. Grey areas will be unaffected.

Luminosity: On the contrary to Colour, this blend mode preserves the hue and saturation of the base layer while blending the luminosity of the blend layer. It can be used to add brightness to an image without affecting its colours.

Now that you know the most popular Blend Modes, why not experiment with them and see what effects you can create? Be sure to share your results with us in the Affinity Photo forum!

Other types

Darken: The Darken Blend Mode will only display pixels from the upper layer that are darker than those in the lower layer. Basically, it compares the pixel values of the two layers and chooses the darkest one. This is great for darkening an image or intensifying shadows.

Colour Burn: This blend mode is perfect for giving your photos a deeper and darker look by increasing the contrast of the different layers. Colour Burn darkens shadows, minimises highlights and enhances colours while preserving whites.

Linear Burn: Linear Burn is similar to Colour Burn, but it darkens the colours in a more subtle way by decreasing the brightness. This mode is perfect for boosting darkness and shadows without impacting on the highlights.

Darker Colour: This Blend Mode is similar to Darken, but it compares the base and blend colours and preserves the colour of the darker one. Because the result hue is created utilizing the lowest channel values from both the base and blend colours, Darker Colour does not produce a third colour.

Lighten: The Lighten Blend Mode does the opposite of what Darken Blend Mode does. It displays only the lightest pixels from the different layers and replaces darker pixels.

Colour Dodge: Colour Dodge will lighten the base colour and increase the brightness by decreasing contrast between the channels. It’s perfect for giving your photos a brighter look or intensifying lights and highlights.

Add: The Blending Mode brightens the base colour to reflect the blend colour by increasing brightness based on the colour information in each layer. By increasing the colour, this blend mode adds brightness to the image.

Lighter Colour: Lighter Colour is similar to Add, but it compares the channel values of both the base and blend colours to create a third colour. This mode is perfect for lightening up an image without affecting its colours.

Soft Light: The Soft Light blend mode is perfect for adding a subtle light effect to your images. It does this by either darkening or lightening the colours, depending on the blend colour. If the blend colour is lighter than 50% grey, the image will be lightened. If it’s darker than 50% grey, the image will be darkened.

Hard Light: Hard Light is similar to Soft Light, but it has a more intense effect. It increases or decreases the contrast of the image depending on the blend colour. If the blend colour is lighter than 50% grey, the image will be lightened and screened increased contrast. If it’s darker than 50% grey, the image will be darkened and multiplied.

Vivid Light: The Vivid Light Blend Mode is great for increasing or decreasing the contrast, depending on the blend colour. If the blend colour is lighter than 50% grey, the hue will be lightened and if it’s darker than 50% grey, the image will be darkened by increasing the contrast.

Linear Light: Linear Light combines a Linear Dodge blend mode on lighter pixels and a Linear Burn blend mode on darker pixels. It lightens or darkens the image depending on the blend colour. If the blend colour is lighter than 50% grey, the image will be lightened by increasing the brightness and if it’s darker than 50% grey, the image will be darkened by decreasing the brightness.

Pin Light: The Pin Light blend mode replaces the colours depending on the blend colour. If the blend colour (light source) is lighter than 50% grey, pixels that are darker than the blend colour are substituted, while those that are lighter than the blend colour remain unchanged. If the blend colour is darker than 50% grey, lighter pixels are replaced, and darker pixels do not change. This mode is great for adding special effects to an image.

Hard Mix: The Hard Mix blend mode is great for creating a high contrast image. The value of each RGB channel in the blend layer is added to the corresponding RGB channel in the base layer.

Difference: The Difference blend mode creates a difference between the two layers. This is accomplished by subtracting the values of the blend layer from those of the base layer or vice versa, depending on which has a higher brightness value. The resulting value is preserved and it is combined with the original base colours.

Exclusion: The Exclusion blend mode effect is very similar to Difference, but with lower contrast. This is accomplished by subtracting the lighter colour from the darker colour or vice versa. The resulting value is then added to the original base colours.

Subtract: The Subtract blend mode decreases brightness by subtracting the pixel values of the blend layer from the base colours. When the calculated value is negative, black is shown.

Divide: The Divide Blend Mode is used to create halftone effects. Affinity Photo divides the pixel values of a layer with those of the other layer. This Blend Mode is perfect for adding brightness to grey colours or colours having a lower channel value. Lower layers are lightened based on the luminance of the upper layer.

Hue: The Hue Blend Mode replaces the hue of the base layer with that of the blend layer while preserving the luminance and saturation of the original image.

Saturation: The Saturation Blend Mode preserves the hue and luminance while replacing the saturation of the base layer with that of the blend layer.

Average: The Average Blend Mode takes the average of all the pixel values of the different layers. The effect represents half of both layers combined together. By lowering the Opacity to 50%, you can achieve the same effect.

Negation: The Negation Blend Mode is similar to the Exclusion blend mode, but it gives a brighter effect and more vibrancy.

Reflect: With this blend mode, the blend layer has the appearance of reflecting off of the base image. It may also be used to emphasize the area of light and gleaming objects.

Glow: Affinity Photo’s Glow Blend Mode brightens the composition by the amount of brightness in the blend layer. The base layer has the appearance of reflecting off of the blend image.

Contrast Negate: Affinity Photo’s Contrast Negate Blend Mode works according to the percentage of the luminosity. If the blend colour value is greater than 50% luminosity, all pixels with a luminosity value of less than 50% are replaced by the blend colour. On the other hand, pixels with a luminosity value of more than 50% are replaced by an inverted blend colour. In the case that the blend colour value is greater than 50% luminosity, this blend mode works the other way round.

Erase: The Erase Blend Mode deletes any pixels in the blend layer that match the corresponding colour in the base layer. Affinity Photo uses the transparency of the blend layer to determine which pixels to delete.

Tips for using Blend Modes

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of Affinity Photo’s Blend Modes.

First of all, don’t forget that Blend Modes affect all underlying layers, not just the ones directly below them. Layers such as pixel layers, mask layers, live filter layer and adjustment layers will all be affected by these different Blend Modes.

The ‘Normal’ Blend Mode is the default option and is applied to all new layers. This mode simply combines the two layers together without any special effects. Be sure to experiment with different Blend Modes to see which ones work best for your particular project. Remember that you can always change the Opacity of a layer to get the desired effect.

The default blend mode for a group layer is ‘Passthrough’. This means that the blend mode of the parent layer is passed onto the group since it has no particular blend characteristics. However, you can always change the blend mode by selecting a different mode from the drop-down menu in the Layers panel.

Conclusion

To conclude, Affinity Photo’s Blend Modes offer a wide range of possibilities for creative image editing. Be sure to experiment with different modes to see which ones work best for your particular project. And don’t forget, you can always change the Opacity of a layer to get the desired effect. Thanks for reading!

Do you have any questions or comments about Affinity Photo’s Blend Modes? Let us know in the comments below!

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