Photoshop: Merge layers with various Blend Modes, while maintaining original appearance.

  • 3
  • Idea
  • Updated 6 years ago
  • Not Planned
  • (Edited)
Merging layers with different Blend Modes often (i.e., always) ends with a different appearance...unless the bottom layer in the merge has a normal blend mode. Let's change this!


Top Layer: solid blue shape

Middle Layer: gradient going from black to white (but set with a Multiply blend mode, so it really goes from black to transparent)

Bottom layer: solid red

In this example I want to merge the Top Layer and Middle Layer, so that no matter what I change the Bottom Layer color to, the gradient will always have the same (black to transparent) effect that the Multiply gave it. Currently, depending on how I merge, I will either lose the transparency effect in the gradient from Middle Layer, or the blue Top Layer will change to black. Not cool

Basically, there should be an option to merge layers (or convert to a Smart Object) while keeping the effect/appearance. Obviously doing this would change the blend mode to Normal, but the transparency/blend effects would still exist.

I'm almost surprised that converting layers to a Smart Object doesn't already do this. Though I'm not sure how it would work if after doing this, you ended up changing the blend mode from Normal to a different mode.

I realize grouping and what-not would do the same thing, but there are times when I need it to be a single layer while keeping more than 1 blend mode present.
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Jon Fuller

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Posted 9 years ago

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Chris Cox

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Official Response
In general, that is not possible because the appearance can depend on all layers in the document.

The only time you can really preserve the appearance when merging, is when you merge all layers.

Mathematically, there is no way to do what you are asking (except in very limited, and probably uninteresting circumstances).