Paint Shop Blend Modes

The Paint Shop blend modes determine how one layer will interact with the layer(s) below it.

They are really useful  and very easy to understand. No doubt they will help improve anyones digital editing with Paint Shop Pro.

This tutorial will focus on improving images and they can also be used to create some interesting special effects - they can be seen in Terry's Tutorials.

Well actually - the Blend Modes are Flippin' Awesome!!

While there are 20 blend modes in Paint Shop with the most useful ones being:

  1. Multiply
  2. Screen
  3. Overlay
  4. Color
  5. Luminosity


This mode effectively burns the top layer into the layers underneath. The Multiply mode darkens all colors where they mix. With layers, it’s comparable to sticking two slides in the same slot in a slide projector.  Selecting Multiply will darken an image and is great for rescuing an underexposed image.


This mode is the opposite of Multiply and lightens the layer where it mixes with the layer underneath. Blending with black pixels has no effect. It’s like putting two slides in two different projectors and pointing them at the same screen. Screen can rescue an overexposed image.


On an image, Overlay multiplies the dark pixels in the top layer and screens the light pixels in the underlying layers. What this does is increase the contrast of an image as well as saturating the colors.  Perks up a flat looking image.


The color mode blends the luminance of the the underlying layer with the saturation and hue of the top layer.  This is the go-to mode for coloring grayscale images because the shadows, highlights and details of the underlying layers remain visible but now with color.


Luminosity is the opposite of color because it blends the hue and saturation of the underlying layers with the luminance of the top layer. The shadows, highlights, and details from the top layer are preserved as they mix with the colors of the underlying layers. 

In addition to the 5 Paint Shop blend modes, Mask Layers are also very useful and powerful.

The videos on this page cover the 5 Paint Shop blend modes listed above as well as Mask Layers.

In addition to the blend modes on their own, the layer opacity can be lowered to modify the effect of the specific mode.

The Blend modes can be applied to any layer above the Background and you may find it more useful to add either a Levels or Curves layer because the adjustment offered in these Adjustment Layers can also be applied.

I hope you enjoy the videos and learn as much as I did when I was making them!

Paint Shop Blend Modes

The Multiply Paint ShopBlend Mode is really useful for darkening an image that may be too light.  These are the steps to using this Blend Mode ...

  1. Either Duplicate the Background layer - or - add a Curves or Levels Adjustment layer above the Background layer.
  2. Change the Blend Mode of the top layer to Multiply.
  3. Adjust the Opacity to suite your taste.

If one part of the image is too dark you can use a Mask Layer (if you know how to use Mask Layers) to lighten up an area.

Here's an example of the Multiply Blend Mode ...

As Shot

With Blend Mode Set To Multiply

Multiply Blend Mode and Mask Layers

Paint Shop Blend Modes

The Screen mode is used to lighten an image that is too dark - like if you've under exposed a shot.  Here are the steps to use the Screen mode ...

  1. Either Duplicate the Background layer - or - add a Curves or Levels Adjustment layer above the Background layer.
  2. Change the Blend Mode of the top layer to Screen.
  3. Adjust the Opacity to suite your taste.

Here's an example using this Blend Mode.

As Shot

With Blend Mode Set To Screen

After setting the Screen Mode, this image still needed some additional adjustment.  I added a Curves Adjustment Layer, set the mode to Screen and then made some additional Curves Adjustments.  Not all images will need this additional step, however.

This is the Curve for this image.

The changes that will be made with the Overlay Blend Mode tend to be very subtle.  What it does is restore the original color after adding a Levels or Curves Adjustment Layer.

Screen and Overlay Blend Modes

Color Blend Mode

The Color Blend Mode is particularly useful when you want to colorize a black and white image.

What it does is apply the color to the layer while maintaining the underlying texture in the image.  Here's an example of this layer mode being used to color a black and white image.

Original Black and White

Colorized Image

Paint Shop Pro has a lot of different Layer Modes - these 5 are probably the most useful for editing images.  Have fun with them and remember you can use a Mask Layer rand change the layers Opacity to modify the end results.

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