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A blend mode allows you to define how the colors in an object will interact with the colors in an object behind it. So let's take a look at the three squares I have on the Stage. Each of these squares has a different blend mode applied. If I double-click the first square, you will see that it's white. So I have a white square and it's an instance of a movie clip called Overlay. The other squares are instances of the same symbol called Blend. Notice that they look different. If I double-click the Blend symbol, you will see that I have a medium gray color.
This color is exactly halfway between white and black. To set a blend mode, you need to start with an instance of a movie clip. So you will create a movie clip and then select it on the Stage and then go to the Display section in the Properties panel. There are really only three blend modes that you need to be familiar with. Most of the rest of the blend modes are variations on these three. When I click the dropdown menu, you will see a lot of different blend modes to choose from. The main blend modes are Overlay, Screen and Multiply.
Normal is the default and Layer acts pretty much like Normal. So Normal is good most of the time, but for special cases you will use blend modes like Multiply, Screen and Overlay. The Overlay blend mode removes any medium gray inside of your shape and increases contrast. So if you'll look at the square on the left, I had it white. So you can see that generally this part of the image is lighter and there is more contrast. So again Overlay gets rid of medium gray and increases contrast.
The next one is Multiply. Multiply makes things darker. So the medium gray square that I used for the Blend symbol is making the background image darker here. And finally, Screen makes things lighter. So the same medium gray square with a blend mode of Screen makes the background image lighter. So using blend modes, you can control how the colors in a movie clip instance react to the colors in the object behind it.
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