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SF Charter Boat

How to use gradient tool, the BASICS?

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Hello, I have spent the last two hours on various Youtube videos, searched this forum, watched the Affinity tutorial, but, as with most of the instruction for me, it is too fast or complicated. Understood, the zillions of tools, but beginners, I feel, really need more attention, and the teachers either do not understand the patience needed or do not know how to teach someone starting. Most comment about Photoshop or Lightroom, for gosh sakes, please assume some is starting from scratch.

My rant over, I want to simply darken a sky. Essentially a neutral density grad filter. Pretty simple. A soft graduated ND filter. What are the steps please, 1, 2, 3. Or how to find what I consider a simple, basic tool? (I tried to do it with Aperture, burn tool, but the line is visible and it is not a good job, my error...)

Last thought-does anyone provide  screen sharing instruction? That would be really helpful to me, and certainly worth a reasonable fee. Basically a personal tutor?

Much appreciation, Stuart

AV.jpg

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Hi Stuart
I know, you have checked the tutorials, but I recommend these two videos:

https://affinity.serif.com/de/tutorials/photo/desktop/video/334283412
https://affinity.serif.com/de/tutorials/photo/desktop/video/296616219

Step by step guide:

  1. Use the selection brush to select the sky, check this about the selection brush https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgJH9IBsJ8I
  2. Go to the "channels" tab, scroll down to the "Pixel Selection" (see screenshot 1)
  3. Right click the "Pixel Selection" and choose "Create Spare Channel". Scroll a little down to see the Spare Channel below the  "Pixel Selection" element.
  4. Right click the "Spare Channel" and choose rename, for example "Sky"
  5. Now, you can apply adjustments only to the sky: In the menu go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer
  6. Choose for example "Brightness / Contrast" and move "Brightness to the right to darken the sky
  7. If you want to apply the adjustment with a gradient (eg. from dark to light to down), choose the gradient tool in the tool bar on the left
  8. Apply the gradient to the sky
  9. Click the gradient circle and choose black (black = no adjustment / white = full adjustment) (see screenshot 2)

I hope this helps you further.

Kind regards,
Jan

 

screenshot1.png

screenshot2.png

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I'm neither at my computer nor have I installed APhoto on the new computer anyway. 

I would replace the sky altogether. Using the selection tools, for which Serif has tutorials, I would select the sky, refine the selection, and cut it out, then place the cut out sky back.

I would duplicate the foreground of the bay/boat/buildings. Move the cutout of the sky in the layers panel behind the cutout of the bay/boat/buildings.

Find a good perhaps cloudy sky and bring it into a new layer. Move the clouds image using the layers panel between the sky image and the bay/boat/buildings and lower its opacity to say 40% or so. This will make the cloud image look more natural to the washed out look of the buildings. 

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Here's one way of approximating a graduated ND filter. I'm sure there are others.

 

1) Create a new pixel layer above the background layer. I renamed mine to Gradient.

1145818726_Screenshot2019-11-14at21_08_02.thumb.png.416064b2b8fac88906e0eac6a3afc618.png

 

2) With the Gradient layer active, select the Gradient tool and drag it from the bottom to the top (hold down the Shift key to keep it vertical). This will give a white-to-gray gradient on the upper layer, and your boat will be temporarily obscured.

437253124_Screenshot2019-11-14at21_09_57.thumb.png.30dd9eabc327e6fd33b1a91efb7f2237.png

 

3) Change the blend mode of the upper layer to Colour Burn .

995141420_Screenshot2019-11-14at21_13_01.thumb.png.005c1037f482e197b3e773285c748593.png

4) With the gradient tool still selected you can now start refining the effect with various settings. For example, you can move the top and bottom handles of the gradient slider up and down to make the gradation more or less defined. You can even drag the handles outside the image, although if you bring them too close together you will get a noticeable line. If you click once on either of the gradient handles you can then change its colour in the Colour panel. Changing the grey to black will give a very strong result. Other colours may get you some pretty nightmarish results:

 

2145319765_Screenshot2019-11-14at21_20_00.thumb.png.98f7dd1de24eea635901ae2ce1ce9d02.png

 

You can tone the results down by adjusting the Opacity of your Gradient layer:

1065015624_Screenshot2019-11-14at21_22_47.thumb.png.71c3b9f31d42d12090e855658fa54633.png

 

You can also experiment with different blend modes, and you can refer back to the original image by temporarily hiding the Gradient layer:

486342748_Screenshot2019-11-14at21_25_21.thumb.png.1d390737cf5d8d76e92e07b73b5d66dd.png

Once you're happy, save this file in .aphoto format (so you can edit it later) and then export to your preferred final image format (.jpg etc).

Hope some of this helps!

 


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3

macOS 10.15

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h_d, will try your instructions and assistance. Thanks but the first suggestion of replacing the sky too complicated for me, the directions and illustrated tools I hope will get me the desired result, just adding a bit of gradient instead of the flat consistent sky color . Many thanks for the time, will report back the results when I can try it, thank you again. Stuart

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Complicated? More involved, yes. But with practice it gets easier and can provide (usually) better results. The below took about five minutes of quick playing.

AV2.png.47950e9c6843ee5bcfddb1c4ef93667b.png

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Mike, For me I am at the crawl stage, then walk. All I want to learn is how to do a simple ND grad filter for the sky and it is very well pilot error but I did not find it in the book, the tutorial or could figure out any of the Youtube videos. To change the sky is an entirely different deal at this point. I will study and try the directions given in another answer when I can get to it soon.Thanks for the sample!

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h_d, "3) Change the blend mode of the upper layer to Colour Burn ."

I am stuck at #3. 

-how and where do I "change the blend mode"?

-what is the "upper layer" ? Do you mean from the middle of the added vertical line, there is a little marker? Also, is it ok to have the vertical line for the tool just in the sky area instead of from the bottom of the image?

-am I to keep the Gradient layer box checked? Because without going to step 3 it is white.

-lastly, after I accomplish the above, where is Colour Burn?

Thank you.

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7 hours ago, SF Charter Boat said:

I am stuck at #3. 

-how and where do I "change the blend mode"?

1097517899_LayerBlendmode.jpg.fae7defe41382580d4fae74bafcd44c9.jpg


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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14 hours ago, SF Charter Boat said:

Hello, I have spent the last two hours on various Youtube videos, searched this forum, watched the Affinity tutorial, but, as with most of the instruction for me, it is too fast or complicated. 

Have a look at Simon Fraser's videos - he has a few on YouTube and a number of Udemy courses starting from absolute basics.  They're comfortably paced, and the style is calm and reassuring.  


AP user, running Win10

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3 hours ago, R C-R said:

1097517899_LayerBlendmode.jpg.fae7defe41382580d4fae74bafcd44c9.jpg

Thanks @R C-R, I was in Sleep mode.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3

macOS 10.15

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12 hours ago, SF Charter Boat said:

 

-how and where do I "change the blend mode"?

-what is the "upper layer" ? Do you mean from the middle of the added vertical line, there is a little marker? Also, is it ok to have the vertical line for the tool just in the sky area instead of from the bottom of the image?

-am I to keep the Gradient layer box checked? Because without going to step 3 it is white.

-lastly, after I accomplish the above, where is Colour Burn?

 

Hi @SF Charter Boat

Sorry I wasn't clear enough - video attached.

 

You change the blend mode of the active layer (Normal, Colour Burn etc etc) in the pull-down above the layer list - see @R C-R's screen grab and the video.

By "'upper" layer I meant the top layer in the layer list - the layer I named "Gradient".

The coloured blobs on the ends of the gradient line determine where the gradient starts and ends. Once you've drawn the gradient, as long as you still have the gradient tool selected, you can position either end wherever you like - it's a matter of aesthetic judgement.

As far as I can see, moving the little marker in the middle of the gradient line does nothing (I think it ought to adjust the mid point - wonder if this is a bug...)

Once you've accomplished Step 3, then unchecking and checking the "Gradient" layer in the layer list will hide and show the effect, to compare it with the original image.

Edited by h_d
Clarification of changing blend modes

Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3

macOS 10.15

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Appreciate the time and support! Ready to read and apply the assistance and instruction, but when I open AF it shows two layers, the original  boat pix called Background, and the one above it which I termed Grad. Both boxes checked and locked, but I can't find the original boat photo, even when the Background layer is highlighted in blue. The only one appearing is a white screen with where I ended yesterday at Step 2.

How to find and open the Background layer of boat  photo?

Thx

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Can I just check that what you're seeing is like this:

 

141402013_Screenshot2019-11-16at16_56_31.thumb.png.2a1603edb639b2c1b09fdd78b923311e.png

 

Both layers locked, both layers checked, white "Grad" layer, "Background" layer showing a thumbnail of the boat? Grad layer highlighted (mine is red, yours is blue).

If not, please could you post a screen shot?

If yes, read on...

Think of the layers as sheets of paper or plastic, stacked one above the other. Your "white screen" - the top layer, Grad layer - is lying on top of your boat picture, which is why you can't see the boat. Don't worry, that's where it needs to be.

You are going to make changes to the Grad layer so that it acts as a sort of filter over the image of the boat. To do this, first you need to unlock it. Click the padlock and its icon will disappear.

The Grad layer is now editable. Good.

Now, to get used to the idea, try temporarily hiding and showing the Grad layer by unchecking the box next to its name. If you hover your mouse pointer over this box you'll see a popup that says "Is visible". Like this :

 

When you've tried this, end up by making sure that the Grad layer is selected (shown by my red highlight, yours is blue) and visible.

Now try changing the Blend Mode of the Grad layer. Hold down on Normal and scroll through the options: 

As per my original post, I would now suggest setting the blend mode of your Grad layer to Colour Burn. This is like changing your white, translucent sheet of paper into a clear sheet of plastic.

Then try dragging the Gradient tool on the Grad layer:

 

Hope this gets you further...

 


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3

macOS 10.15

MacBook Pro

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h_d

"Hope this gets you further, " thanks, made me laugh, very patient and courteous, feel like I am just trying to get in the sandbox with ice cream smeared over my face and a group of happy playful kids already in..

Anyway, success in finding my original photo. don't know why it did not appear earlier, but the boat photo is now there and I will go through the steps you have outlined and report back. One more question-if I complete, or do not finish the work I want on the photo, how shall I save it and where please? I may not be able to complete the work on the photo today and want to be able to keep the adjustments and retrieve from where I left off.

Much appreciation, Stuart

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Hi @SF Charter Boat !  Just in case @h_d does not find this last message, just go to FILE>Save As and then give your document a name (i.e. boat in harbor) and chose your destination (ie. Desktop).   Your file will be saved in .afphoto format and all of your layers, adjustments etc. will be saved along with it.  I have learned a lot from this thread too!!  


21.5 iMAC Retina 4K display. MacOS Sierra v. 10.12.6 (which I am not changing).  3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz.  Memory 8 GB 1867 MHz LPDDR3.  1TB Fusion Drive.  Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 1536 MB.   iPad Pro 12.9, iOS v. 12.3.1, Apple Pencil.  Affinity Publisher 1.7.3, Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3. 

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Will do re saving! Thanks! Support of members on this forum very helpful! Just wish there had been a simple official or otherwise explanation. The AF book I bought is projects, and beginners have to get over the hump of teachers and  Youtube tutorials assuming one has had Photoshop or Lightroom experience. I do have the Fraser tutorials and have started them, the closest to my needs re information, presentation and speed. So, am plugging along and very appreciative of those sharing their knowledge!

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Don't know why I keep losing the background image, boat. Tried clicking o each layer and checking and unchecking boxes, but on both layers I get only white

Thx

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 2.32.22 PM.png

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Your screenshot show that you have the Background selected and have the blend mode set to colour burn. Set that to Normal and choose your gradient (Grad) and set that to Colour Burn.


MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) Mac OS 10.12.6 || Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 10.14.5

Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.7.3 | Affinity Designer Beta 1.7.x.x | Affinity Photo Beta 1.7.x.x | Affinity Publisher Beta 1.8.0.518

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44 minutes ago, SF Charter Boat said:

Don't know why I keep losing the background image, boat. Tried clicking o each layer and checking and unchecking boxes, but on both layers I get only white

Thx

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 2.32.22 PM.png

It's because you're running the gradient tool over the Background (boat) layer. You need to have the Grad layer selected and run the gradient tool over that.

If you use the gradient tool on the boat layer you will lose the image.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3

macOS 10.15

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OK

Background layer is on Normal

Grad Layer, above it, is on Colour Burn

But how to remove grad tool from background, as it is still white? I still see the icon, this should be removed I understand but what is the method?

thx

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Hey @SF Charter Boat

You've overwritten the Background layer with the gradient tool, so you have a few options: 

Close, don't save, re-open, start again.

Undo repeatedly until you can see the boat. Start again.

Or track back in the History panel, start again.

And remember - don't use the gradient tool while the Background layer is active.

>:(

 

 


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3

macOS 10.15

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I am going to start from scratch. The photo used I had cropped and done a few things in Aperture before bringing it over to AF, so I am taking a similar photo and starting from the beginning here. Aperture has been my training wheels but not supported by Apple for about 5 yrs but I have still been using it because I know the things which I use, not fancy stuff, just basic. It did not have, or I did not use, layers.

So I will begin my first project.

-what do I do with what I have been working on? I don't want to keep any of it. Drag it to the trash, the little icon on the right?

-"don't use the gradient tool while the Background layer is active."   Does that mean to uncheck the Background layer when working on the Gradient layer? 

Once I have the new photo, I will return to the top of this discussion and start again.

Thanks

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If you close the image, Photo will ask if you want to save it. Just choose Don't Save.

The active layer is the one with the blue highlight. (Or red in my case). To make a layer active, you click on it and you can then edit it. 

The checkboxes set the visibility of the layer, not if it's active. A layer can be invisible but still active, or vice versa.

In the video below, I'm making each layer in turn active by clicking on and highlighting the layer. Then I'm turning off and on the Boat layer's visibility using the checkbox.

 

 

 

All the best, 

H


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3

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