Using Adobe Illustrator 2022 I made some vector art. In the final step of my process I added some water-color-like texture by adding an image in a layer above the art, setting the trasparency to 30-50%, and changing the blend mode to color burn.

When I did this, the texture was visible on the art board, as well as when I exported the finished work to a .png. I made a template, complete with the image, and used it for several different projects.

Now I have updated to the latest Adobe Illustrator version, 28.1. The same water-color image (presumably with the same settings since the template is the same) now appears incredibly pale, almost invisible. When I add artwork to the layer underneath, the watercolor is not visible.

When I export the image as a png, however, the effect is there.

Here is an image of what it looks like while I am working on the art: barely-visible-layer

And here is an image of the same file exported (also how it used to look while I was working on the art in AI 2022): exported art with visible watercolor effect

What can be done to get the old behavior back? The exported result is the same, but since I am not able to see the color-burn while working on the art, it is hard to figure out exactly how strong to make it. The behavior seems surprising given that, again, I am using the same template!

Additional Information: The image is Transparent CMYK, the document is CMYK, and my color settings are as follows: color settings

  • 1
    Just a guess here, but PNG doesn't support CMYK. Could that be the source of your problem?
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jan 23 at 18:49
  • Is there some reason you're working in CMYK when the ultimate goal is an RGB image?
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 23 at 19:08
  • @Scott, I wasn't aware that png didn't support CMYK. I had assumed that as long as the document color settings were set to CMYK it would work properly. The final image is embedded in a different file which I then print. I'll adjust my workflow accordingly from here on out. Thanks for the information!
    – Ben
    Commented Jan 24 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


@Billy Kerr's comment led to this issue being solved. I re-saved the texture image as a .tiff, and color burn displayed as expected.

I'd be interested to know why using a .png image worked in the older versions but not now, however, the immediate problem is solved!

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