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Feature Request - Alpha Channels (AGAIN!)

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This was requested and talked about before, but here goes again.

Spare Channels don't behave as simple additional alpha channels.
When I create a new Spare Channel, specially if it is created out of a color channel, I expect it to behave just like a color channel, except that it describes "luminosity" ou "opacity/transparency" information.
But I assume I could still use all painting/editing tools on it. Stuff like brush, dodge, burn, smear, blur, etc. Also, Levels, Curves, Brightness/Contrast, or any filter.
In effect, a Space Channel should be treated as an additional greyscale image, and I should be able to deal with it exactly like it was a simple greyscale image.
I could, after editing it (again, like a regular greyscale image), decide if I want to use the luminosity information as a mask or simply load it as a selection or whatever.

BUT, PLEASE, make spare channels work like regular greyscale images inside the document, an not like a "special transparency information type of thing".

Professional editors need to be able to create complex masks and we need to be able to use all the available tools to do so.

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+1


Affinity Publisher, Photo,¬†Designer &¬†DxO Photolab¬†on 2019‚Äė iMac 27‚Äú 3,1 Ghz i5, 32GB RAM, Radeon pro 575X,¬†MacOS Catalina

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I really need this, its the one thing im keeping other software around to do. BLENDER handles channels better than affinity photo. BLENDER! I work in VR but also do some graphic design and photography, and in every area of my work, i need this. From texturing for a games engine, quickly editing a mask while photo editing, removing noise, creating brushes, getting a clean transparency when reverse engineering a logo, Even my concept art composting has had to change, as i cant use unpremultiplied renders anymore, because i have no way of editing the alpha channel directly.

In my photography ive experimented with using red, green and blue lighting setups, and combining these separate photos to create different effects. that's just impossible in affinity photo right now. 

 


.... its really starting to feel like i'm missing a key tool with no good work around.

And yes, there's some uses for the channels panel as it is, but it all feels like long-winded workarounds, when all we want is to be about to edit each channel no differently than we do the combined image.

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Honestly, I have been trying to give Affinity Photo a chance, dealing with channels and trying to do in Affinity Photo whatever I do in Photoshop, with the composite channels and with additional alpha channels.
And, either it is very cumbersome and not very intuitive, or I can’t do it at all.

This is really forcing me to avaluate the type of work I need to do, to decide if I should use Photoshop of Affinity Photo.

I really hope the way channels operate, and the amount of stuff we can do with them, improves in the future. Hopefully, in a nearby future.

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Hey guys. Same here... I installed the trial version and playing with the software but this feature is missing... I thought I could be doing something wrong, but apparently it doesn¬īt exist... :(

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Also please let us create a selection by cmd/ctrl clicking a channel.
Right clicking a channel to create a selection is awkward.

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For all of our sake, it might be great, when an official statement can be posted from Serif - devs/support/marketing/whatever else.

With certainty we can stop hoping and begging if it will ever happen or not.

I am not asking *when*, I am asking *if*...


Thank you very much and have a nice day!

 

 

Because both threads are dealing with the same issue/question and are the latest ones, I have posted this text here as well as in

 

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Wow, after happy exploring of AP for a few weeks and recommending it to everyone I know, this came as a surprise!

Never expected to find a limitation in such a seemingly basic functionality.

I think a possibility of viewing and editing any channel directly is essential, and if I were to choose which new feature has a priority, this would be the number one by a large gap!

Dear developers, Affinity Photo is an amazing software, winning in many areas, but this one thing makes it inferior for any more or less elaborate work. If you put aside everything else and implement seamless channel workflow, you will definitely win professional community.

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1 hour ago, Gregory Chalenko said:

Wow, after happy exploring of AP for a few weeks and recommending it to everyone I know, this came as a surprise!

Never expected to find a limitation in such a seemingly basic functionality.

I think a possibility of viewing and editing any channel directly is essential, and if I were to choose which new feature has a priority, this would be the number one by a large gap!

Dear developers, Affinity Photo is an amazing software, winning in many areas, but this one thing makes it inferior for any more or less elaborate work. If you put aside everything else and implement seamless channel workflow, you will definitely win professional community.

I simply do not understand why the developers chose to make channels editing so clunky and limited instead of doing the blatantly obvious alternative of making them be editable as if they were a layer of grey pixels.

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3 hours ago, anon2 said:

I simply do not understand why the developers chose to make channels editing so clunky and limited instead of doing the blatantly obvious alternative of making them be editable as if they were a layer of grey pixels.

I'm pretty sure there was a reason which had to do with efficiency, but indeed, it would be great if they found a way to make working with channels more streamlined for the user, regardless of how the software deals with them internally.

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6 minutes ago, Gregory Chalenko said:

I'm pretty sure there was a reason which had to do with efficiency, but indeed, it would be great if they found a way to make working with channels more streamlined for the user, regardless of how the software deals with them internally.

Yeah, PhotoPlus - predecessor of Affinity Photo had only alpha channels and not spare channels, much more like Photoshop's.
Not sure the purpose of this change.

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8 minutes ago, ashf said:

Yeah, PhotoPlus - predecessor of Affinity Photo had only alpha channels and not spare channels, much more like Photoshop's.
Not sure the purpose of this change.

I've never used other Serif software, but if you say it wasn't like this before, then I think it wasn't a good decision to limit the channels functionality, regardless of how much performance gain it provided.

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@Gregory Chalenko

A couple of thoughts in the meanwhile - 1) You can reset the view from individual channels to the composite by clicking on the clockwise circular icon with the arrowhead in the upper right of the channels view.

2) You can replicate your mask construction process in AP but it works a little differently, partially because channels and masks work differently in AP compared to PS.

a) Starting with your source image, make a duplicate of the image layer upon which you want to base your mask (CMD-J) and make this layer active.  We will call this the "LayerForMask" in the layer stack.

b) Inspect your channels to see which one (or a combination of more than one, in overlay mode as you demonstrate in your YouTube clip) you want to use as the basis for your mask.  

c) If you want to combine channels in Overlay mode, for example: With the "LayerForMask" as the active layer, go to Filters > Apply Image... and choose to "Use Current Layer As Source."  Set the Blend Mode to "Overlay."  Finally, select the "Equations" check box - let's say in this example, you want to combine the Green and Blue channels in overlay mode like you do in PS using Calculations.  Here you will set "DG = SB" [Destination Green equals Source Blue) and "DB = SG" - you are basically switching the two channels and combining the result in Overlay mode.  This will give you a high-contrast result in the G channel that you can use as the basis for the mask.

d) Click on the Composite Green channel in the Channels panel of the resulting image that now occupies the LayerForMask layer - this will display the grayscale result of the operation you just performed, and you can inspect the result to see if it is satisfactory to use as a mask.  This is because the top layer in the stack is the result of the Apply Image process (therefore, the Composite layer is the top layer and you can view its channels).  Also take a look at the Blue channel.  In this example, suppose you want to use the resulting Green Channel as the basis for your mask.

e) Below the Composite layer channels in the Channels panel will be the LayerForMask channels listed.  In this case we want to use the Green channel for our mask, so Right-Click on the Green channel for this layer and select "Create Grayscale Layer" - this will create a grayscale copy of the Green channel at the top of the layer stack.  This is a pixel layer that you can edit with all of the tools like dodge and burn, etc. to construct and refine your mask.  We will call this "WorkingMaskLayer."

f) Once you have perfected your mask on the WorkingMaskLayer, this pixel layer can stay in the layer stack for further editing if you want, or stored as a spare channel, etc.  In any case, in the Channels panel, Right-Click on any of the channels in the WorkingMaskLayer and select "Create Mask Layer" - this will create a new Mask Layer out of the grayscale image from WorkingMaskLayer and you can drag the new mask layer onto the layer to which you want to apply the mask.

A Mask Layer is a special kind of layer in AP - it is similar to the layer mask layer that is attached to a layer in PS, except it is a separable element that you can move up and down the layer stack and nest with other layers.  You can edit and paint on a mask layer as well, if you prefer to refine your mask that way - you can view the mask itself (instead of its effect on the layer stack) by OPT-Clicking (ALT-Clicking) on it, just like in PS.

Kirk

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20 minutes ago, kirkt said:

@Gregory Chalenko

A couple of thoughts in the meanwhile - 1) You can reset the view from individual channels to the composite by clicking on the clockwise circular icon with the arrowhead in the upper right of the channels view.

....

a) Starting with your source image, make a duplicate of the image layer upon which you want to base your mask (CMD-J) and make this layer active.  We will call this the "LayerForMask" in the layer stack.

...

e) Below the Composite layer channels in the Channels panel will be the LayerForMask channels listed.  In this case we want to use the Green channel for our mask, so Right-Click on the Green channel for this layer and select "Create Grayscale Layer" - this will create a grayscale copy of the Green channel at the top of the layer stack.  This is a pixel layer that you can edit with all of the tools like dodge and burn, etc. to construct and refine your mask.  We will call this "WorkingMaskLayer."

Kirk

This is a really neat workaround, I haven't thought about duplicating the image first.

Creating a grayscale layer from the context menu is also a great function, I haven't noticed it before. I guess, the reason why it's not quite obvious, is that it's available only for the current layer channels, while creating of a spare channel is present in every channel's menu.

Thank you Kirk!

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You're welcome.  It has taken me a while to get my brain around how channels in AP work and redo a lot of muscle memory from using PS for decades.  I still use both applications, and I understand how you feel!

kirk

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@Gregory Chalenko

If you want to create a grayscale image from the Spare Channel there are a couple of ways, one of which may be better than the other for your application:

1) Make a new pixel layer and fill it with White - we will call this new layer "BlankLayer."

2a) Right-click on the Spare Channel that you have stored and select "Load to BlankLayer Red" - repeat but select "Load to BlankLayer Green" and ""Load to BlankLayer Blue."  Now you have a grayscale pixel layer that is a copy of the Spare Channel.  You can make a Macro that will do the sequence of steps.

or

2b) Right-click on the Spare Channel and select "Load to BlankLayer Alpha."  The Spare Channel will be transferred to the BlankLayer Alpha channel.  In the Channels panel list, right-click on the BlankLayer Alpha channel and select "Create Grayscale Layer."  In this case, the BlankLayer is a temporary layer that you use to hold the Alpha channel so you can make the grayscale image from it.

I suggest that you right-click on all of the channel thumbnails in the Channels panel and see what options each one has - there is a lot going on there, but it is sort of hidden until you realize that the options exist!  Also, even though these work-arounds require additional button presses and steps, I think that all of the steps are able to be recorded in a macro, so you could automate the process by recording a Macro.

 

Kirk

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