Working with Skin tones using Blending Ranges

In Affinity Photo, we can change skin tones using blend modes and blending ranges

Erik Engheim


When working with AI Art, I often need to make changes to skin tones, so I watched various videos on the topic. These videos are great, and I advise you to have a look. However, occasionally, we just want to have something to read as a quick reference, reminder, or overview. That was my motivation for writing this article.

It is a short version and overview of what you can learn quite well by watching the videos I have linked in.

The basic idea here is that you can use color burn to darken a skin color. However, a color dodge alone doesn’t work well since it will get too dark everywhere. That is why using blending ranges, discussed here, is so useful.

Understanding Blend Modes

You are probably played around with blend modes such as darken, multiply, color burn, lighten and luminosity before. Just playing with these modes helps develop a sense of what they do. But how do you take that knowledge and apply that to something practical?

I think it is useful to know the main categories each blende mode belongs to.


  • Darken
  • Multiply
  • Color burn — Tonal range compressed. Dark areas get darker, but light areas are preserved.
  • Linear burn
  • Darken color


  • Lighten
  • Screen
  • Color dodge
  • Linear dodge
  • Lighter color


  • Hue
  • Saturation
  • Color
  • Luminosity


  • Overlay
  • Soft light
  • Hard light
  • Vivid light

Here a British gentleman does a very thorough discussion of blend modes:Blend Modes in Detail: How Color Burn Works



Erik Engheim

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.