In Photoshop, I can't figure out as to why this happens.

I painted with a soft round brush at 100% opacity with the color set to white and grey on a new layer.

I duplicated the layer and then I put the duplicated layer inside a group.

Next I set the blend mode to Color Dodge for the original layer and again set the Color Dodge blend mode to just the group I created - not the layer within the group. This gives me two different results.

Can anyone please explain why I get different results with the different methods/configurations?

Color dodge applied to group only and not the layer within the group

  • I replicated your problem. I can't explain it. Looks like a bug to me.
    – Komental
    May 18, 2014 at 11:36
  • This guy is talking about the same thing 5 years ago. So it's likely a by-design limitation of group blending.
    – OGHaza
    May 18, 2014 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


Groups/folders can effectively behave in two ways, they can be an organization method where each object inside is treated as the individual objects they are, or groups/folders can treat multiple objects as one single object... The group settings will override the objects inside it. This is very handy for lots of techniques, and works with styles as well as blend modes.

Let's use overlay as the example...

If you overlay a layer over the image while not grouped, you get an overlay effect.

If you duplicate the overlay, and group it, the group should default to passthrough effectively letting the layer inside overlay the image, giving you the identical effect. If you aren't seeing an overlay effect I would check the group/folder blend mode and make sure it's set to pass through and that nothing is applied to that group/folder.

If you set the group/folder blend mode to overlay, that should ignore the layer settings and overlay the group/folder, effectively giving you the same effect. This method treats items inside the folder as a single object... Samples below to illustrate.


Regular Overlay, faded from right to left regular overlay sample

1 Overlay in group(group blend mode set to pass through), faded from right to left 1 copy in group on

Both Overlays in group(group blend mode set to pass through), faded from right to left both copies in group on

Now, without touching either layer in the group, set the group blend mode to Overlay, and watch what happens... Since both layers are identical it treats them as if there is only one because you are applying the blend at the group level and it thinks you want these items to be treated as a single object. group blend mode sample

Hope this helps, it's a very handy once you understand the relationship and behavior, so you know what to expect ;).

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