Procreate Handbook

Version 5X
Layers

Blend Modes

By default, content on a layer covers up the contents of layers underneath it. But there are many more ways the objects and colors on two layers can interact. Blend Modes open up a universe of visual possibilities.

Interface

A scrolling list of Blend Modes gives you the freedom to preview all your options in a snap.

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Change Blend Mode

First, open the Layers Panel by tapping the double rectangle symbol in the top right of Procreate's interface.

On the right hand side of each layer, you'll see one or more letters. These tell you which Blend Mode is active on your layer.

By default, Normal mode is active, shown by the letter 'N'.

Tap it to open the Blend Modes menu.

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Blend Modes Menu

The Blend Modes menu has two parts: the name of the current Blend Mode, and the Opacity slider.

Tapping the name gives you a scrolling list of Blend Modes to flick through. As you scroll, each Blend Mode is applied to your layer so you can preview the results.

When you find one you like, tap anywhere outside the list to close it.

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Opacity

Opacity controls how strongly the contents of your layer affect the layer below it.

In Normal mode, full opacity means solid objects on your layer completely block objects on the layer below. However, in other Blend Modes the opacity can sometimes affect other visual elements like color intensity or darkness.

To adjust opacity, move the slider left to make your layer more transparent, or move it right to make the layer more solid.

This will alter the opacity of the entire layer, ignoring any current selection. Learn how to adjust opacity on only the selected parts of a layer in Interface and Gestures.

Pro Tip

As a shortcut, you can adjust layer opacity by two-finger-tapping a layer. A narrow blue bar will appear at the top of your canvas; slide your finger to the left on the canvas to make your layer more transparent, and to the right to make it more solid.

Blend Mode Types

Explore the many ways you can mix layers together visually.

Multiply

This mode multiplies the luminosity of the base color by the blend color. The result is an overall darker and more intense effect. Multiply can produce many different levels of darkening depending on the luminosity of the blend layer. It’s perfect for darkening images or creating shadows.

Darken

This mode does not blend pixels, but compares the base and blend colors, and keeps the darker of the two. If the blend layer and the base layer color are the same, Darken makes no change.

Color Burn

Color Burn is a mode designed to mimic the use of the burn tool used to darken images in traditional photography. It increases the contrast between the base and blend colors resulting in more highly saturated mid-tones and reduced highlights, and an overall darker result than Multiply.

Linear Burn

Linear Burn decreases the brightness of the base color based on the value of the blend color for a result that is darker than Multiply but less saturated than Color Burn. It produces more contrast in darker colors than other Blend Modes.

Darker Color

Darker Color functions like Darken, but takes a composite of all the RGB channels rather than looking at each RGB channel individually.

Lighten

This mode does not blend pixels, but compares the base and blend colors, and keeps the brightest of the two. If the blend and base colors are the same, Lighten makes no change.

Screen

Screen produces different levels of brightening depending on the luminosity values of the blend layer, making it an ideal Blending Mode for brightening images or creating highlights.

Color Dodge

Based on the dodge tool used to brighten images in traditional photography, Color Dodge creates a brighter effect than Screen by decreasing the contrast between base and blend colors, resulting in saturated mid-tones and blown-out highlights.

Add

Similar to Screen or Color Dodge, Add produces even stronger results. It looks at the color information in each channel and brightens the base color to reflect the blend color by increasing the brightness.

Lighter Color

Lighter Color functions like Lighten, but takes a composite of all the RGB channels rather than looking at each RGB channel individually.

Overlay

Overlay works like a combination of Multiply and Screen, both lightening and darkening images by shifting the mid-tones. Dark blend colors shift the mid-tones to darker colors, and light tones shift the mid-tones to brighter colors.

Soft Light

A gentler version of Overlay, Soft Light applies subtle darkening or lightening effects based on luminance values, achieving a similar result without the harsh contrast.

Hard Light

As a combination of the Multiply and Screen Blending Modes, Hard Light uses the brightness values of the Blend layer to make its calculations, where Overlay uses the base layer. The results with Hard Light tend to be intense. As with all Blend Modes, reducing the layer’s opacity will soften the result.

Vivid Light

Vivid Light is an extreme version of Overlay and Soft Light. Anything darker than 50% gray is darkened, and anything lighter than 50% gray is lightened. Like Hard Light, it can produce very strong results, and may work best with reduced opacity.

Linear Light

Another Blend Mode that produces very strong results, Linear Light combines Dodge effects on lighter pixels with Burn effects on darker pixels. It can also benefit from reduced opacity.

Pin Light

An extreme Blend Mode, Pin Light performs Darken and Lighten simultaneously, creating a patchy result with all mid-tones removed.

Hard Mix

Creating a super-flat, super-saturated result that almost looks posterized, Hard Mix is an extreme Blend Mode that flattens detail. It provides a result using only white, black, or any of the six primary colours - red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, or yellow. Opacity adjustments can soften the result.

Difference

As the name suggests, Difference uses the difference of the base and blend colors to create the resulting blend. White pixels invert the colors of the base layer, black pixels produce no change, and dark grays apply slight darkening.

Exclusion

Exclusion works the same way as Difference on blacks and whites, but doesn’t darken grays.

Subtract

Subtract drastically darkens colors by subtracting brightness. Light areas are darkened the most, while already dark areas produce little change.

Divide

Divide is the opposite of Subtract. Darker colors create brighter results, while already light areas produce little change.

Hue

Use Hue to change the hues in a layer while maintaining the tones and saturation of the original.

Saturation

The Saturation Blend Mode preserves the luminosity and hue of the base layer, whilst adopting the lowest saturation value of each, for any given pixel.

Color

Color preserves the luminosity of the base layer while adopting the hue and saturation of the blend layer. This makes it ideal for coloring monochromatic images. You could, for example, create a fully shaded character portrait in greyscale, and use a Color layer over the top of it to quickly and easily bring it to full color.

Luminosity preserves the hue and saturation of the base layer while adopting the luminosity of the blend layer.