Blending Modes

by Jon (Updated on 2014-01-26)


  • What are Blending Modes?
  • How to Set the Blending Mode
  • Limitations


What are Blending Modes?

When semi-transparent images are drawn (particularly when two or more overlap), the graphics engine has to know how to draw the overlapping area. This is known as blending.

Blending Modes are the equations used to determine how to draw these semi-transparent images. There's no better way to show this than through a live demo.

Isn't that neat? You may wonder which ones are commonly used.

In reality, the majority of games get by with "Normal" (the default), "Add" and "Multiply."


How to Set the Blending Mode

Blending Modes can be set directly on an actor or an entire layer.


Set an Actor's Blending Mode

Use the "set blend mode for Actor" block (Actor > Effects) to change the actor's blend mode.



Set a Layer's Blending Mode

Use the "set blend mode for layer" block (Scene > View) to change an entire layer's blend mode. The layer is specified using a Layer ID, which can be found by viewing the Layers pane in the Scene Designer.



Users coming from Stencyl 2: It's no longer possible to set the blend mode during custom drawing.



Blend modes only work in entirety for Flash games due to limitations with the underlying technology (OpenFL).

Some Blend Modes work on Desktop and Mobile targets but only Add, Multiply and Screen. We hope that in the future, OpenFL will support all blend modes on these targets.



  • Blending Modes determine how semi-transparent images are drawn, particularly when multiple ones overlap.
  • View our demo to determine which ones fit your needs. The vast majority of cases just need Normal, Add and Multiply.
  • You can apply a blending more to an actor or an entire layer.


Challenge: Name that Game

Although most games can get by with Normal, Add and Multiply, can you name instances (from real, shipping games) where other blending modes have clearly been used? Share links to images of those games.

Disclaimer: All articles are geared towards Stencyl 3.0 and above. Use comments to provide feedback and point out issues with the article (typo, wrong info, etc.). If you're seeking help for your game, please ask a question on the forums. Thanks!


Updated the article to 3.0 standards.
0 10 months, 6 days ago
There is still mention of patch 2.5, even though that has morphed into 3.0
0 2 years, 3 months ago

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