Fill Vs Opacity

When navigating the Layers panel in Adobe Photoshop, you’ll come across two seemingly similar sliders – Opacity and Fill.

At first glance, they appear to perform the same function, altering the layer’s transparency. Yet, beneath this surface similarity lies a nuanced distinction that holds significant implications for your designs.

As you slide either the Opacity or Fill slider, the transparency of the layer is indeed affected. However, the critical distinction arises when a Layer Style is applied to a layer.

When a layer has a Layer Style, adjusting the Opacity slider results in a transformation that affects both the original pixels and the effects applied by the Layer Style.

On the other hand, the Fill slider affects only the original pixels of the layer and leaves the layer styles untouched.

Note: There are 8 special Blending Modes that blend differently with the layers below when Fill is adjusted compared to when Opacity is adjusted.

These blending modes are:

  1. Color Burn
  2. Linear Burn
  3. Color Dodge
  4. Linear Dodge (Add)
  5. Vivid Light
  6. Linear Light
  7. Hard Mix
  8. Difference

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