Using Layers to Combine Shaders (CineRender Surfaces)

The Layer shader lets you load multiple shaders or bitmaps into a surface’s Texture setting, which will then be rendered together.

You can stack shaders and bitmaps into layers and folders. You can define various blend strengths and modes. Alpha channels are supported. You can apply effects to individual layers or all layers.

To change the order of the layers, drag and drop them to their new positions.

You can also add folders or move images/shaders within the Layer shader itself.

Note: The order of the shaders defines the order in which they are applied to the surface.

Some shaders are available only within Layers.

See Additional Effects for Shader Layers/Folders (CineRender Surfaces).

However, you should be aware that the maximum number of parameters that can be used in a surface is 1024.

See Limit on Number of Surface Parameters.

Add Shaders to a Channel Layer

You can add multiple shaders and textures to a particular surface channel.

1.To get started, choose Layer from the channel’s Texture pop-up: 

2.With the Layer item selected or open, click the Add Shader pop-up. 

3.In the appearing shader row, use the first pop-up to choose a particular shader. 

4.Do this for each shader you want to add.

For each shader added to a Layer, you can adjust its Blend Mode and Blend Strength (see below).

Texture Blend Strength

Select a shader row within a Layer in a surface channel, and use the slider to adjust the shader’s Blend Strength. 

Texture Blend Mode

Select a shader row within a Layer in a surface channel, and click the second pop-up (with the Normal blend mode as the default) to access the Blend Mode definitions. 


Invert Image: Inverts the image’s color values. Black regions are made white and vice versa.

Use Alpha: Toggles any existing alpha channel on or off.

Invert Alpha: Invert the alpha channel, so transparent and solid areas are reversed.

Alpha from RGB: This option is made available only if Use Alpha has been activated in the same menu. Alpha from RGB generates an alpha channel using the grayscale values extracted from a given bitmap’s RGB values. If the bitmap in question also contains an alpha channel, it will also be used when Alpha from RGB is active.

Normal: The background pixel is completely covered by the blend pixel if the strength of blending is 100%.

Multiply: This mode multiples the background pixel by the blend pixel. Unless the blend pixel is white, the result will be darker than the background pixel.

Screen: This is the opposite of the Multiply blend mode. The background pixel and blend pixel are both inverted, multiplied and then inverted again. This mode generally gives a result brighter than the background.

Overlay: A combination of Screen and Multiply mode, depending on the background color.

Hard Light: This mode works like Multiply mode and Screen mode at the same time. 50% brightness is neutral (nothing happens). Lighter values act like Screen, darker values act like Multiply.

Soft Light: This is a combination of the Burn and Dodge modes. The Dodge mode is used for blend pixels greater than 50% brightness, the Burn mode is used for values below 50%.

Dodge, Burn: The brightness value of the blend pixel is used to brighten (Dodge) or darken (Burn) the background pixel.

Darken: The background and blend pixel are compared and the result is whichever is darker.

Lighten: This is the same as darken except the result is whichever pixel is lighter.

Add: One of the simplest blend modes: the background pixel and blend pixel are added together.

Subtract: The background pixel and blend pixel are added together then white is subtracted (result = background color + blend color - 256).

Difference: The background and blend pixels are subtracted from each other.

Exclusion: This mode is the same as Difference mode except that it creates a softer effect.

Hue, Saturation, Luminance: In these modes, the result is the hue, saturation or luminosity of the blend pixel applied to the background pixel.

Levr: The value of the blend pixel is used to apply contrast to the background pixel.

Organize Shaders into Folders

If you have loaded multiple shaders or images into a surface’s Texture Layer, you can use Folders to group the shaders. Folders are available only within Layers. 

Click the Folder icon to create a new folder.

Within the list of shaders on the right half of the dialog box (but not in the tree hierarchy at the left), select any shader, then drag it into the folder. You will see the corresponding hierarchy in the tree structure, too. You can use any number of folders or Layer shaders, and each can contain any number of shaders.

To remove a shader from a folder or from a Layer shader within another Layer, select the shader and click the Move Shader Up One Level button.