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Erase Blend Mode: transparent background while keeping shadows


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I finally wrapped my head around the Erase blend mode and WOW! It has revolutionized a common workflow of removing the white background of a "still life" shot while keeping the original shadows intact.

In Photoshop, the usual flow is to mask the subject, use a copy of the subject layer as a mask on a black fill layer with some level adjustments and touch up.

My flow in APhoto has been the same, but a bit trickier due to the way masks and alpha channel adjustments work. Despite the awkwardness, I've muscled through. See here and here and here

But with Erase blend mode…I mean…it's so freakin' simple!

The new flow (as seen in the video) is to mask the subject, duplicate the subject layer with no mask, group with a black fill layer underneath, set Erase blend mode and tweak the curve for levels. Further touch ups can be done by adjusting the group transparency (or even adding an additional mask or manually touching up the Erasing layer.) Export to PNG.

Easy peasy! Thanks to the Affinity team for the software and others on the forum suggesting this workflow as an alternative to the somewhat wonky mask/alpha channel route.

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