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Joe Kohlmann

[Affinity Photo 1.3.4] More Clarity for Layers Imported from PSDs

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Affinity Photo (henceforth "AP") does a stellar job of importing from PSDs, but there are some usability improvements that would help to properly set user's expectations about the nature of the import process. For example, AP appears to rasterize Vector Smart Objects and Embedded Smart Objects into "pixel layers".


Fortunately the user can determine the type of an imported layer quite easily by looking at the parenthetical text following its name, but AP's attempt to preserve layer names has the potential to set false expectations at-a-glance, as this image describes:




As also noted in the above image, this can have significant usability implications for exporting to PSD, as rasterized layers may keep their default names (as imported by AP), but are in fact be pixel layers within the exported PSD. This confused me the first time I exported to PSD after initially importing from one.


There are similar caveats for the layer names of other imported layers. For example: type layers are imported with their names, which suppresses AP's automatic layer naming for type layers based on their text content. It's likely that these layer names originated as auto-generated names in Photoshop to begin with.



Based on these observations, I have a few recommendations in the form of optional PSD import options for layer names:

  • A "PSD Import" option to append " (Rasterized by Affinity Photo)" to the end of layers in a PSD that become pixel layers upon import into Affinity Photo
  • A "PSD Import" option to remove names of type layers if the entire layer name exists as a substring in the type layer's text content, starting from the first character
  • An option to review layers that have been rasterized upon importing a PSD



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Hi Joe Kohlmann,

Thanks for your feedback. The current PSD import/export state is not definitive. We may need to rethink how some layer names are being imported to avoid confusion but we are continuously improving all import/export formats meaning that some features that aren't currently working may be supported in the future.

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That's a great point, and just from using the product itself I can guess the whole team is ambitious about improving the quality and robustness of PSD support. That said, these are practical issues that can make it difficult to verify the "integrity" (i.e. state of editability, etc.) or potential "data loss" (by way of rasterization) within documents when working within a larger, multi-person workflow (which may or may not involve trips back to Photoshop, especially if, say, only one person is currently using AP). Hence, added clarity in some form or another would go a long way in helping new users establish trust with the application (which is already pretty high for me, to be fair).

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