I have created this shaded relief image in arcmap (first image). Is there a way to paint part of it according to geology and keep the relief texture (like the green color on the second image)? Creating a different layer in order to paint it on another software (e.g. photoshop) will make the relief texture faint and not very visible, so I was wondering if I can do it through arcmap.



  • Do you have a shapefile with the geology layer? why won't you overlay it and use transparency in places you don`t want geology layers to be shown? Note that one raster holds one attribute, i.e. altitude, therefore you must have at least another raster / shapefile with the geologic information – dof1985 Aug 2 '16 at 7:25

If I understand you correctly, it is easier to do this work in QGIS than ArcGIS, because you can adjust blending mode directly from layer properties in QGIS.

In this example, I have duplicated a geological vector layer (shapefile) from the table of content and used them as follows:

enter image description here

  • The first Geo layer used layer blendeing mode of Multiply with transparency of 20% to see the hillshade from one lithological type of A. Then turned off all other lithologies.

enter image description here

  • The second layer (Geo copy) used layer blendeing mode of Normal with transparency of 0% to hide the hillshade, and turnd off lithology A.

enter image description here

If you want to see the hillshade without any lithology, you can simply uncheck the lithologies that you don't want.

enter image description here

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  • I dont see any advantages in qgis vs. arcmap with respect to this question. – dof1985 Aug 2 '16 at 7:38
  • In terms of layer blending mode, QGIS is easier and straight forward. I know about ArcGIS image processing tool, but it will take longer time to achieve same thing compared to QGIS. Beside I mentioned already in my explanation that the data I used is vector data not raster. – ahmadhanb Aug 2 '16 at 7:48
  • I see, I still don't understand why transparency by itself is not enough. – dof1985 Aug 2 '16 at 7:54
  • If you compare using only transparency of 20% without any layer blender mode with using transparency of 20% and layer blender mode of Multiply, for example, you will notice the difference in terms of clarity. – ahmadhanb Aug 2 '16 at 8:13
  • Nice. Found this as well. Cheers – dof1985 Aug 2 '16 at 8:18

Not sure I understood your problem, but I think the following tutorial could help you : An alternative to overlaying layer tints on hillshades.

Instead of a tinted elevation model, you'd have to use a rasterized layer of your geological data.

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  • I understand that this tutorial has to do with making the raster more vibrant when colored. On the other hand, I would like to create colored sections of the geology, like the green part of my second image and don't loose the hillshade effect. – Georgios Alevizos Aug 2 '16 at 7:22
  • I don't have the geological data, but it's pretty easy to do by hand as the area is small. So, if I had paint options on arcmap that would be great. My approach is easy, I would just like to paint on the hillshade, without loosing the hillshade info. The problem with transparent layers (at least on photoshop) is that if I want to show the geology, I loose the hillshade more or less. That's why I posted the picture, to take a look at the green color. That depicts geology but as I understand is painted ON the hillshade effect because it is visible. I would like to create something similar. – Georgios Alevizos Aug 2 '16 at 7:28
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    So you should create a polygon layer in which you will "paint" (digitize) polygons that represent your regions of interest. Than use symbology to select color for your layer. Namely, by digitzing you create your data. – dof1985 Aug 2 '16 at 7:37

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