Deep compositing is an important practical tool in creating digital imagery, but there has been little theoretical analysis of the underlying mathematical operators. Motivated by finding a simple formulation of the merging operation on OpenEXR-style deep images, we show that the Porter-Duff over function is the operator of a Lie group. In its corresponding Lie algebra, the splitting and mixing functions that OpenEXR deep merging requires have a particularly simple form. Working in the Lie algebra, we present a novel, simple proof of the uniqueness of the mixing function. We then show how the Lie group structure can also be used to develop a compression technique that outperforms OpenEXR's.