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Layers are embedded image items living in layered images. To create a new layered image go to Create > Image or press Ctrl+Shift+I. Layers are managed by the Layer Editor and the all share the following features:

  • They have a visibility flag so that they can be hidden.
  • They have their own opacity value and blending modes.
  • They can be modified by a stack of 2D filters.
  • They can be rendered to disk as stills or image sequences.

Layer Types#

While layers can be easily extended by 3rd parties in order to integrate 3rd party renderers for example, Clarisse comes by default with a few different types of built-in layers.

Layer Type Description
Color The color layer is a basic RGBA color matte layer.
File Import an image from a single or sequence of file.
3D Represent a render scene. For more information refer to layer 3D.
Image References another image layer item as a new layer.
Reference References an image layer of the current image as a new layer. This is typically used to add a stack of 2D filters on an existing layer which is useful for example to simulate additive glow on top of a rendered layer 3D.

File Output Attributes#

Images and Layers provides a set of dedicated attributes managing file output. You can find these attributes under the Output attribute group of images or layers when selected in the Attribute Editor.

Attribute Description
Render to Disk Sets if the layer/image is outputted to disk. Once renderable to disk, they' ll appear such as (2) and (3).
LUT Set the color space to be applied before saving the image to disk. For more information please refer to Color Management.
First Frame Sets the first frame to render
Last Frame Sets the last frame to render
Frame Step Sets the step between two rendered frame
Save As Sets the file output name. Sequence padding and image file extension are automatically appended to the specified filename.
Format Chooses the output image file format
Metadata Write the specified metadata to the output files. Only works with image formats supporting metadata.

Blending Modes#

Layers offer quite a wide range of blending modes used to compose them on top of others.

Mode Description
Normal Performs a basic alpha blend
Alpha Replace Replaces the alpha of the background layer by the foreground one
Alpha Add Adds the foreground alpha to the background alpha
Alpha Substract Subtracts foreground and background alpha
Alpha Multiply Multiplies both alpha channels
Alpha Divide Divides both alpha channels
Add Adds foreground to background
Multiply Multiplies foreground to background
Screen Multiplies the inverse of the foreground and background colors
Linear Dodge Brightens the background color to reflect the foreground color by increasing the brightness.
Overlay Multiplies or screen color according to the background color
Difference Substracts either the foreground color from background or background from foreground
Hue Creates a result color with the luminance and saturation of the background color and the hue of the foreground color
Saturation Creates a result color with the luminance and hue of the background color and the saturation of the foreground color
Color Creates a result color with the luminance of the background color and the hue and saturation of the foreground color
Brightness Creates a result color with the brightness of the background color


Layers can be filtered through a stack of image filters. The filter stack of layers can be edited through the Attribute Editor under Filters attribute list. There are two types of image filters available: Pixel Filters and Kernel Filters. Image Filters are always embedded in layers. They can't be created outside Layers and when you duplicate a layer, all its image filters are also duplicated.


Some filters can be textured. In that case textures are evaluated as if the layer was a quad geometry facing the camera. This is a very powerful feature since you can directly use texture operators in your image filters.

Pixel Filters#

Pixel filters are image operators that only use the information of a single pixel to perform their operation. These types of filters are typically math or color operators such as brightness or contrast.

Kernel Filters#

Kernel filters are image operators that use the information of a matrix of pixels to perform their operation. These types of filters are typically used for gaussian blur and denoising.


The kernel size is based on the actual image resolution (without taking into account the resolution multiplier) so that if when you set the gaussian blur size to 5 pixels, it will perform a 5 pixel blur if the resolution multiplier is at 100%, 2.5 at 50% or 10 at 200%. This way the filter is consistent whatever the resolution multiplier.