Like Photoshop, After Effects include the blending mode drop down options, this is a must know feature to become a good motion designer. When used appropriately the AE blending mode options can be very powerful and improve your video, motion graphics to the next level.

My objective here is to save you time and to show you a comprehensive preview of each blend mode in After Effects with clear and simple definition so you can quickly decide which blend mode works best for your layers, compositions or video.

Let’s get started with the essential below.

What’s blending mode in After Effects

In simple term blending mode allows you to blend light, colors, or shape of a layer against other layers below it.

When you apply blending mode to a layer all the layer below it are affected.

Blending mode are typically use to merge the data of multiple layers, it is heavily used when compositing in After effects.

Tips: You can import your photoshop psd file that contain blending layers into an After effects composition it will keep the exact same settings.

Where is the blending mode located in After Effects.

The blending mode options can be found on the After Effects timeline, see  screenshot below.
If you don’t find the blend mode dropdown right click on the Layer name > Columns > Modes

Blend mode shortcut

You can quickly switch the blending mode drop down option by using this shortcut: Hold SHIFT then press – or +

After Effects Blend mode shortcut

After Effect Blend mode list

In the After Effects you will find 38 blending mode in the drop down menu, check the blend mode list below you can click on each one to get preview.