Blends modes in Affinity Photo for iPad allow you to merge layers together based on their colours, luminosity and other properties. They can be used to apply textures, overlays, or target modifications to particular areas of your picture.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the most popular blend modes and how they work, as well as provide some tips on adjusting the opacity to get the effect you want.
What is a blend mode?
Blend modes determine how the pixels in one layer are combined with the pixels of the below layer or layers. These blend modes works non-destructively by controlling their visibility without altering or affecting the pixels.
Mixing layers together affects all underlying layers, not only the two layers lying above each other. Blend modes can be set on different types of layers, namely fill layers, layer masks, adjustment layers, and so forth. The default blend mode for Group layers is named Passthrough.
There are also ‘On Brush’ Blend modes which come with the brushes themselves. These are automatically applied when you paint to achieve interesting affects.
How they work
Blend modes works by obscuring certain colour values to mix layers together. This is obviously determined by the blend mode you choose.
The numerical values of each pixel ranges from black (0.0) to white (1.0). With Black, the pixels in your image will be converted to darker shades. With White, the pixels in your image will be converted to lighter shades.
Each blend mode has a particular formula which affects the values in various ways.
Changing the blend mode of a particular layer is very easy! Simply select the layer, and tap on More in the Layers Studio. Underneath Opacity you will see a dialog, simply tap on it and pick the preferred Blend mode from the pop-up menu.
You can experiment with different blend modes to see what effect they have on your image.
Popular blend modes in Affinity Photo for iPad
There is a wide range of blend modes to choose from.
The following are popular blend modes used by photographers as well as graphic designers.
The main three Blend Modes consist of the following:
- Multiply: This blend mode multiplies the pixels in a layer with the values for corresponding pixels from the underlying layer. This can darken an image or add contrast.
- Screen: This blend mode works in an opposite manner from the Multiply blend mode, resulting in a lighter image.
- Overlay: This blend mode combines the two blend modes discussed above. This will increase the contrast of your image by darkening dark area and brightening light areas.
Next, let’s dive deep into each blend mode, one after the other. Firstly, let’s look at the Multiply Blend mode.
Multiply is a darkening Blend Mode. It takes the top layer and multiplies its colours by the bottom layer, making everything darker. The perfect case for using Multiply is when you want to add shadows to an image.
If you have an image that looks too bright, you can use the Multiply Blend Mode to darken it.
To use the Multiply Blend Mode, simply create a new layer and set the Blend Mode to Multiply. Then paint over the areas you want to darken. You can also adjust the opacity of the layer to control how much see-through the layers are.
Some effects of the Multiply Blend mode are the following:
- To add shadows to an image
- To darken an image
- To create a vignette effect
- Reduce the brightness of overexposed photographs
Now let’s take a look at the next popular Blend Mode, Screen.
Screen is the exact opposite of Multiply. It is a lightening Blend Mode. Screen inverts the values of top layer and the bottom layer, multiples them and inverts them again. The perfect use for Screen is when you want to add highlights to an image.
If you have an image that looks too dark, you can use the Screen Blend Mode to lighten it.
To use the Screen Blend Mode, simply create a new layer and set the Blend Mode to Screen. Then paint over the areas you want to lighten. You can also adjust the opacity of the layer as per your requirement.
Following are some applications of the Screen Blend mode:
- To add highlights to an image
- To lighten an image
- To create a glow effect
- Bring out details in underexposed photographs
As you can see, the Screen Blend Mode is a great way to add highlights and lighten an image.
Now that we’ve covered the two most popular Blend Modes, lastly let’s take a look at the third, Overlay.
The overlay is a combination of Multiply and Screen. It takes the top layer and multiplies it with the bottom layer, then screens the result. The effect is to increase the contrast of an image.
The perfect use case for Overlay is when you want to add both shadows and highlights to an image. It darkens the darker areas, while lightens the lighter areas.
If you have an image that needs more contrast, you can use the Overlay Blend Mode to increase it.
To use the Overlay Blend Mode, simply create a new layer and set the Blend Mode to Overlay. Then paint over the areas you want to affect. You can also adjust the opacity of the layer to control how much it increases the contrast.
Some applications of Overlay Blend mode are:
- To add shadows and highlights to an image
- To increase contrast
- To bring out more details in an image
Now that you know about the three most popular Blend Modes, experiment with them and see what effects you can create.
Next, let’s check out other available blend modes.
Other blend modes in Affinity Photo for iPad
In addition to the three most popular Blend Modes, Affinity Photo for iPad offers other Blend Modes. These can be used to create different effects.
Some of the other popular Blend Modes include:
- Normal- The default blend mode is Normal. According to the opacity of the top layer, the pixels of the underlying layer are hidden or revealed.
- Divide- The lower layers are lightened in accordance with the brightness of the top layer. White has no effect. Grey progressively enhances lightness, from white to black.
- Colour Burn- The bottom colour pixels are darkened relative to the values of the top colour pixels.
- Hard Light- The effect is similar to shining a harsh spotlight on the image and giving a desaturated look.
- Darker Colour– The darkest basic display of pixels, which gradually fade away. The colours do not alter.
- Linear Burn– Lightens the colour base. No change is produced by blending with white.
- Lighten– The inverse of Darken. The brightest colour produced as a result is the base or blending colour.
- Lighter Colour– The opposite of Darken is Lighten, which causes the primary or blend pixel to be displayed. The colours are not altered in any way.
- Colour Dodge– Colour Indifference is the opposite of Colour Burn. The use of basic colours and contrast are minimized. There’s no change when you blend with black.
- Add– In the same way, opposite of Linear Burn. There’s no difference in colour when blended with black.
- Soft Light– Diffusion is similar to overlay, but it uses darker and lighter instead of multiply and screen. This is comparable to diffusing a Diffused light.
- Hard Light– This is similar to pointing a harsh light at the image.
- Vivid Light– It is similar to Hard Light, but it uses colour dodging and colour burning instead of multiplication and screening. It has greater contrast than hard light does.
- Linear Light- The light source is the blending colour.
There are numerous other blend modes, including Pin Light, Hard Mix, Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, Hue, Saturation, Luminosity, Colour, Average, Negation, Reflect, Glow, Contrast Reduce, Erase, and Passthrough.
In Affinity Photo iPad, there are a total of 32 different Blend Modes that you can experiment with. Each one will create a different effect.
So play around with them and see what you can come up with.
Adjusting the opacity
One last thing to note about Blend Modes is that you can adjust the opacity of the layer to control how much the underlying layer is obscured or shown. Simply select the layer and use the slider to adjust the opacity.
This can be a great way to fine-tune the effect of a Blend Mode.
Blend Modes are a great way to add both shadows and highlights to an image.
They are handy to create a variety of different effects. P.S. don’t forget that you can adjust the opacity of a layer.
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