If I have a layer with a white background and I want to remove it, I can often just change the blending mode to Screen or Overlay and it ends up exactly the way I want it. However, I often want a different blending mode for the remaining visible pixels. Of course I could just select the area I want, but it takes a long time to achieve the exact same effect, especially when using overlay.

So I was wondering if there's a simple way to keep the layer exactly as it looks with a blend mode, even when converting it back to Normal? Hope that made sense

  • Short answer: No. Longer answer, and i do mean longer, would be maybe.
    – joojaa
    Apr 24, 2016 at 13:49
  • as @joojaa said it would be a long answer, Interested to know what could be ;) ... as far as I know we could achieve the same effects with some hacks.
    – hsawires
    Apr 25, 2016 at 9:57
  • 1
    You can not "remove" a white background changing blending modes.
    – Rafael
    Aug 25, 2016 at 16:43

1 Answer 1


I am not sure if I understand what you mean. If you want to make all the white pixels transparent, you can use layer styles.

  1. Double-click the icon of the layer. The Layer Style window will open.
  2. In Blending options>Blend if>This layer, option-drag* the white slider all the way to the left: Slider

These sliders determine the range of brightness values that the layer will be visible in. You can read more about that here: Specify a tonal range for blending layers.

When you click OK, only the dark pixels will be visible. You can select any blending mode you want.

*This is on a mac. On different operating systems, you may have to use other keys than option.


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