It is no joke being a freelancer because there is far more work than what you expect.  It is always busy but always fun too. No wonder the blogs of freelancers are neglected. But anyway, better late than never, and I’m responding to this awesome post about multi-input shaders.

Did I hear somebody saying blend modes? Maybe you are feeling a bit bad because blend modes weren’t the first thing you thought about when you came across the post. But anyway, blend modes offer a person different ways for a layer to blend with the layers below it.

Without blend modes, the only way to blend layers is with the lowering of a layer’s opacity. The cool thing about these blend modes is that they unlock a world of wonderful creative possibilities. You can say that they are always useful when it comes to the likes of restoring photos and editing them.

It is actually quite hard caring about blend modes, so here are some thoughts about why I think they are fantastic, so get ready to join me on the blend modes bandwagon.

I’m not an expert here and if you want to know more, read on. The way I think is that blend modes give you the chance to define how a layer interacts with the objects underneath it. WPF and Silverlight support a version of that maths, and if you are going to support one, it is possibly the right one.

Photoshop supports about 25 different ways to do that maths. Flash also supports many. These are blend modes and come with an assortment of names such as Linear Burn, Color Burn, and Vivid Light among others. You never have to feel overwhelmed by the different layer blend modes and I’d say that there are only a few to really know.

Why blend modes matter

So the question is, why do blend modes matter? Because for many scenarios there aren’t any. What you are looking for is regular transparency. On the other hand, thinking in blend modes makes sure that you see them popping up everywhere.

I myself have a few favorites, but a top pick for me is a mode known as Linear and I think it has good application to UI. Look at the Linear Burn as we keep the contrast and the result is more vibrant. There are heaps of applications to UI, and this dimming effect of regular blending makes it harder to create generic designs that can be colored at runtime.

And then multi-input shaders also come into the picture. With more than one input into the shader, you can literally create any combinations you can think of.  You just have to do a bit of maths to say how the pixels combine.

I say that you should forget about  25 blend modes. WPF, Photoshop, or Flash has given us Infiniti. So here’s the thing now, The maths for blend modes is straightforward and it is more than likely just a weekend for someone to start building some of these, so I’m asking, are there any takers?

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