The Pass Through Blending Mode
One thing that you may have noticed about using layer sets is the Pass Through blend mode. You can find the blend modes in the drop-down menu at the top of the layers palette. The Pass Through blend mode appears only when you have a layer set active. With this blend mode, all the layers within a set behave as if they were just part of a regular layer stack, and they blend with any layers below or with the background, as if they were not in a set. If you have an adjustment layer in the set, for example, its effect "passes through" the set to affect any layers underneath. If you use the Normal blend mode for a layer set, however, the adjustment layer affects only the layers inside the set. When Normal is used, layers within a set are composited together according to their individual blend modes, and then the "composite" of those layers is treated as if it was a single layer set to Normal.
In Figures 11 and 12, when the layer set blend mode is Pass Through, the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer alters the color of the text and the entire image of Neptune (see Figure 11). With the blend mode set to Normal, however, the adjustment layer is applied to only the contents of that setin this case, the Neptune text (see Figure 12).
Figure 11 The Pass Through blend mode blends any layers within the set and then continues blending with layers outside the set.
Figure 12 Using Normal blending on a layer set treats all the layers within a set as if they were a single layer that is then blended normally with other layers outside the set.