I copied this code from this answer.

\tikz [blend group=screen] {
  \fill[red!90!black]   ( 90:.6) circle (1);
  \fill[green!80!black] (210:.6) circle (1);
  \fill[blue!90!black] (330:.6) circle (1);

I compiled it with XeLaTeX, the result is the following:

XeLaTeX output

(FYI it's just a white square)

And this is the output from pdfLaTeX and LuaLaTeX:

pdfLaTeX output

Which is what I was hoping for.

Is this some kind of bug in XeLaTeX? Did I miss something?

Edit: Mark Wibrow in the comments linked this answer, that was compiled with xelatex. Now, my experience with tikz and related graphic packages is very limited: I don't really understand what I'm doing wrong here, but even if it's somehow fixable I'm pretty sure that xelatex and lualatex shouldn't produce such different outcomes.

  • 6
    It's not a bug but a known shortcoming. These features are even new for many PDF viewers let alone TeX engines. And XeLaTeX uses a fundamentally different way of creating PDF.
    – percusse
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 9:21
  • Oh, ok... I guess this means that there's no way to do it with xelatex ):
    – izabera
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 9:51
  • @izabera this answer using blend modes in both PGF and PSTricks was compiled with xelatex from TeX-live 2013. Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 17:42
  • 1
    @MarkWibrow I can reproduce the error with XeTeX 3.14159265-2.6-0.99991 (TeX Live 2014). I can also reproduce with XeTeX 3.1415926-2.5-0.9999.3-2013060708 (TeX Live 2013). With XeTeX 3.1415926-2.4-0.9998 (TeX Live 2012), I get a complaint about blend mode but I do get the circles in the PDF - just not blended as expected with an older version of tikz. This is GNU/Linux x86_64. Not sure why you don't see the problem with the same version of XeTeX as my 2013 one.
    – cfr
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 22:17
  • 1
    @cfr actually it's nothing to to do with ghostscript or xelatex, it is beacuase I am using the latest CVS version of PGF. See my answer below. Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 8:56

1 Answer 1


The PGF releases on CTAN and sourceforge contain a bug where the interaction of shadings/transparency and the standalone package and xelatex (and xdvipdfmx) causes problems.

The code will work if, for example, the document class is set to article (and, obviously \usepackage{tikz} is added to the preamble).

This was fixed in the CVS version back in January.

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