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ladlon

Confused about adjustments

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So, I'm all fine with doing non-destructive adjustments (ex. levels, HSL, etc), as well as adjustments to a specific layer (as opposed to globally affecting all layers below it)... but I'm confused about something else, which I can't seem to find any documentation/videos on...

If I want to do (say) a saturation adjustment to a single layer, but also make it permanent, I can't seem to find a (working) method.

If I apply the adjustment the regular way (select the layer, select an adjustment, make the adjustment (move the sliders), I then have the usual two options.... Exit out of the adjustment window (resulting in a non-destructive adjustment layer parented to target layer... or hit merge, which NORMALLY bakes the adjustment into the target layer.

But, instead, when I try and do the Merge (since I do not want the non-destructive adjustment layer parented 'under' the target layer), it ends up 'erasing' my target layer (becomes blank) for some reason.

So, then I would think to try dragging the adjustment layer out for the parenting, and put it on top of the target layer (unparented) and do a Merge Down.  But,  that is ending up doing the same thing for some reason (blanking out the target layer).

I always did find it weird you can't just do a destructive/immediate adjustment on a layer, if only just the basics (levels, saturation).  Being able to do non-destructive adjustments to layers is great and all, but sometimes you want to bake it in, and not have all these 'adjustment patches' attached to each layer you tweek.  But, I can't seem to find any way now of doing direct adjustments.

If there is no means currently, it would be great if you could hold down a keyboard modifier (ex. SHIFT) when clicking on an adjustment/filter, to tell Affinity to make it a destructive/permanent adjustment.  Again, it would seem that the Merge button on the adjustment's window should do that, but instead, it seems to just erase all the contents of the target layer during the merge.

 

Using the current version of Affinity Photo (March 23/2020) on Win7 Pro on a PC.

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Something weird about the latest version of Affinity Photo is that, when merging, it is important the order in which you select the layers that you want to merge. If you want to merge down, then select the lower layer first and upper layer second. Then do crl + shift + e. If you select the upper layer first and lower layer second, then it will merge backwards, and it'll be all weird. I honestly don't know why they decided to do this, maybe it's a bug idk.

Anyways, I recommend just masking the adjustment layer to the layer and then rasterizing that layer and its masked adjustment.  I show that here:

https://youtu.be/MAboIcG0Eos

Please note that I have a different setting than you. When I make a new adjustment, I have my Assistant set up so that it makes a new adjustment that affects the image as a whole. It sounds like you've told it to child the adjustment to the layer you have selected. Here's how you can see that setting:

nqgxGsq.png

In the end, though, i'm not fully sure I understand your question. I get the feeling you're having a problem with the new way layer merging works, i'm not sure though. Let me know if this information answered your question.

And yeah, I agree. They should add an option to quickly do a destructive adjustment to a layer you're editing, like crl + shift + u instead of crl + u in order to do a destructive HSL adjustment. This is a great idea.

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Hi, HuniSenpai.  Thanks for that info and workaround.  I'll try that out.

Ya, I could have sworn it worked before, and perhaps is DID, but I am doing the selections in the reverse order that is required, and so now it 'suddenly' doesn't work.  I suspected it had something to do with the latest update, for that reason.  Seems odd/redundant that you need a specific selection order, when it just merges downwards anyway.  A few of the design decisions in Affinity puzzle me, though.  (...including why there ISN'T a destructive/instant layer adjustment in the first place!)

Cheers!

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10 minutes ago, ladlon said:

Hi, HuniSenpai.  Thanks for that info and workaround.  I'll try that out.

Ya, I could have sworn it worked before, and perhaps is DID, but I am doing the selections in the reverse order that is required, and so now it 'suddenly' doesn't work.  I suspected it had something to do with the latest update, for that reason.  Seems odd/redundant that you need a specific selection order, when it just merges downwards anyway.  A few of the design decisions in Affinity puzzle me, though.  (...including why there ISN'T a destructive/instant layer adjustment in the first place!)

Cheers!

Glad to help!

One of the odd things is that it merges top to bottom if you select bottom first and top second, but it -- for whatever reason -- merges bottom to top if you do it in opposite order.

Bottom to top means that the lower layers take precedent over the upper layers when you merge. So, let's say you have a nice blue sky for a background, and a cartoon drawing for a foreground. If you select the foreground first and then the background and press crl + shift + E, the foreground disappears and you just get the background! The cartoon disappears in this merger. Inversely, if you select the background first and foreground second and do crl + shift + E, you get both the cartoon and the blue sky merged together, just how you'd expect. Really odd and kind of annoying to be honest. 

I'm frankly not sure what the point of merging bottom to top is-- that just effectively deletes layers above it. Makes me think it's a bug.

 

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9 hours ago, ladlon said:

But, instead, when I try and do the Merge (since I do not want the non-destructive adjustment layer parented 'under' the target layer), it ends up 'erasing' my target layer (becomes blank) for some reason.

If you mean the "Merge" button at the top of the adjustment window, I tested this on my Mac in both AD & AP 1.8.2 & everything seems to be working correctly. Can you try it with this HSL merge test.afphoto file & see if it works for you? In this file, I set the blend mode of the HSL adjustment to Hue, but I also tried the other blend modes & all seemed to work as I would expect.

If it does not work with this file, maybe there is a Windows-only bug. If it does, maybe attaching one of your problem files to a post so we can check it would help locate the source of the problem.


Affinity Photo 1.8.2, Affinity Designer 1.8.2, Affinity Publisher 1.8.2; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 
1.8.2.174 & Affinity Designer 1.8.2.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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7 hours ago, R C-R said:

If you mean the "Merge" button at the top of the adjustment window, I tested this on my Mac in both AD & AP 1.8.2 & everything seems to be working correctly. Can you try it with this HSL merge test.afphoto file & see if it works for you? In this file, I set the blend mode of the HSL adjustment to Hue, but I also tried the other blend modes & all seemed to work as I would expect.

If it does not work with this file, maybe there is a Windows-only bug. If it does, maybe attaching one of your problem files to a post so we can check it would help locate the source of the problem.

You know, I never realized there was a merge button lol! But yeah, clearly that's not what i'm referring to since I didn't even know that was a thing.

No, i'm referring to crl + shift + e. It doesn't work the same in this latest affinity photo version. Here's an example.

Frankly, I think this new "feature," if it is a feature, is more annoying than anything. If I want to change the arrangement, I can just drag the layers around first and then merge. This feature is unnecessary and really confused me for some time after the change was made. If I was a new user, I don't think I would have ever even figured out that the order mattered. 

P.S. I absolutely, completely and utterly hate how you have to rasterize each layer -- by hand -- before you can merge layers. I really wish you would automatically rasterize them when I merge them together. Sometimes I need to merge a few dozen layers: right clicking and rasterizing each one by hand wastes a lot of time.  

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Merge Selected (crl + shift + e) now acts differently depending on which layer you select first

We are still awaiting confirmation as to whether this is a bug or the new intended behaviour


Due to the fact that Boris Johnson is now our Prime Minister, punctuation, spelling and grammar will never be worried about ever again.  We now have far bigger problems to be worried about.

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20 minutes ago, carl123 said:

Merge Selected (crl + shift + e) now acts differently depending on which layer you select first

We are still awaiting confirmation as to whether this is a bug or the new intended behaviour

Yup, I noticed. Regardless of whether it is intended behavior or a bug, I think it should be reverted back to how it used to work. I appreciate predictability in a program. Also, if you have to question whether or not something is a bug, then it's probably not a good feature to add, to be honest.

Also, do you think they can let me crl + shift + e merge layers, even if I don't rasterize them first? Can't Affinity Photo rasterize them for me? Look at the video: before I could merge, I had to right click on each layer and rasterize. Sometimes, I have 20 layers I need to merge, and I have to right click and rasterize each one by hand! This is another annoying thing. This has been in Affnity Photo for as long as I can remember.

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It has previously been requested that multiple layers can be selected then a single Rasterize command performed that will Rasterize all layers at once, rather than doing each layer individually.

We are still waiting to see if that functionality will be added


Due to the fact that Boris Johnson is now our Prime Minister, punctuation, spelling and grammar will never be worried about ever again.  We now have far bigger problems to be worried about.

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1 minute ago, carl123 said:

It has previously been requested that multiple layers can be selected then a single Rasterize command performed that will Rasterize all layers at once, rather than doing each layer individually.

We are still waiting to see if that functionality will be added

I mean that would be a cool feature too, I suppose.

I'm just asking if it could automatically rasterize 'em when you try to merge multiple vector layers into one. That's how Photoshop does it. I know I use a crazy old version, don't judge me lol. But notice how I can just go and merge the vector layers (the squares) together, and it makes it raster:

In Affinity Photo, if I even one vector layer selected it won't let me go through with the merge. I can press crl + shift + e as much as I want and it'll do nothing. I really wish it would just rasterize and merge them. I know what i'm getting myself into: yes, I lose the ability to resize losslessly or change color when things are rasterized. But I also think that the kind of people concerned about layer merging are fully aware of that fact.

But if you added a feature to "batch-rasterize" layers, I suppose that would work. The only annoying this is that you'd have two steps instead of one. You would 1) have to batch rasterize and then 2) merge with crl + shift + e.

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2 hours ago, HuniSenpai said:

You know, I never realized there was a merge button lol! But yeah, clearly that's not what i'm referring to since I didn't even know that was a thing.

No, i'm referring to crl + shift + e. It doesn't work the same in this latest affinity photo version.

My reply quoted & was intended for @ladlon; thus my reference to the Merge button in the adjustment window.

I am a Mac user. The closest equivalent in AP to crl + shift + e on my Mac is Shift+CMD+E, the shortcut for "Merge Down" in the Layer menu. It only works when a single pixel layer is selected & when there is a pixel layer immediately below it for it to merge into. Otherwise, it is greyed out. I am not sure, but I think it has always worked this way.

EDIT: I just noticed that on the popup menu in the Layers panel, the keyboard shortcut for "Merge Down" is listed as ⌘E (Command+E) while in the application Layer menu it is listed as ⇧⌘E (Shift+Command+E).

⇧⌘E is the correct shortcut -- ⌘E is actually the shortcut for "Merge Selected." 


Affinity Photo 1.8.2, Affinity Designer 1.8.2, Affinity Publisher 1.8.2; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 
1.8.2.174 & Affinity Designer 1.8.2.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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Okay, this is messed up....

I have a (pixel) layer in Photo..... I add an HSL adjustment to just that layer (adjustment layer gets parented to the pixel layer).... I do the adjustment, and then click the Merge button in the HSL window (which SHOULD bake the adjustments into the pixel layer)... and the content of the newly merged layer disappears.

I can't try any of the suggestions regarding selection order, since you can't separately select both layers (pixel and adjustment), since selecting the pixel layer will also select all the child layers anyway.

What happened???!  The merge doesn't appear to work at all now.

BTW, for those of you struggling with this, there IS a workaround....  select the pixel (parent) layer (which then selects both layers), and hit Rasterize, which will bake the adjustment of the adjustment layer into the pixel layer, and merge the two.

So, what exactly IS the point of the Merge button in the HSL window?  (This most likely also applies to all adjustments)

NOTE: I'm on Windows 7.

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4 minutes ago, ladlon said:

Okay, this is messed up....

I have a (pixel) layer in Photo..... I add an HSL adjustment to just that layer (adjustment layer gets parented to the pixel layer).... I do the adjustment, and then click the Merge button in the HSL window (which SHOULD bake the adjustments into the pixel layer)... and the content of the newly merged layer disappears.

I can't try any of the suggestions regarding selection order, since you can't separately select both layers (pixel and adjustment), since selecting the pixel layer will also select all the child layers anyway.

What happened???!  The merge doesn't appear to work at all now.

BTW, for those of you struggling with this, there IS a workaround....  select the pixel (parent) layer (which then selects both layers), and hit Rasterize, which will bake the adjustment of the adjustment layer into the pixel layer, and merge the two.

So, what exactly IS the point of the Merge button in the HSL window?  (This most likely also applies to all adjustments)

NOTE: I'm on Windows 7.

When you press merge, the adjustment layer looks at the layer below itself and merges with that. When the adjustment is a child, there is no layer that it can look down to. So, when I press "merge" on a child adjustment layer, it does nothing. I'm surprised that, for you, it actually does something. Either way, I feel like it makes sense for "merge" to not work right when the adjustment layer is a child, since it's supposed to merge downward to the layer below itself.

Here's a video showing how the behavior is for me: 

I think they should fix this though. I mean, yeah, technically the merge is supposed to merge down. But somewhere in the code they should write that, if the adjustment is a child and you press merge, it should apply the adjustment to the parent for you.

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11 minutes ago, ladlon said:

I have a (pixel) layer in Photo..... I add an HSL adjustment to just that layer (adjustment layer gets parented to the pixel layer).... I do the adjustment, and then click the Merge button in the HSL window (which SHOULD bake the adjustments into the pixel layer)... and the content of the newly merged layer disappears.

The closest I can come to this with an HSL adjustment layer is to set the blend mode in the HSL window to Subtract & then click the Merge button, or the Difference blend mode, & then only if the applied HSL adjustment does not change the parent layer appreciably.


Affinity Photo 1.8.2, Affinity Designer 1.8.2, Affinity Publisher 1.8.2; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 
1.8.2.174 & Affinity Designer 1.8.2.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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@HuniSenpai:

The latest video you made has you making an adjustment layer OUTSIDE (above) the target pixel layer... whereas what I am talking about is when you have the pixel layer selected, and then select/add an adjustment layer.  As well, I am talking about a scenario where there is more layers below the target layer, which you do now want to effect.

Regardless of whether your method works, it (initially) will affect ALL layers below it, which makes it impractical if you need to be able to compare the adjustment you are doing on the target layer to the layers below it.  For example, if you have 9 layers, but the target one (say the first/top one) is too saturated compared to the others... so, if you do a 'global' saturation adjustment (even if you intend on merging it with JUST the target layer during a merge), all the layers below it are globally effected (live preview) as you adjust it, making it impossible to compare your adjustment (ex. match it) to that of the other layers, since they TOO are also changing from the very tone you are trying to match to.

So, the only solution is to do a parented adjustment right away (select the layer, add an adjustment)...which is how you'd want to do it in this case, anyway... but, after making the adjustment (move sliders) the Merge button in the ADJUSTMENT WINDOW (not the layer context menu) does not work as intended... it does not bake the adjustment into the pixel layer.

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The way it USED to work before (and the way I'd expect it) is this:

You have several pixel layers.

You want to adjust one of them (again, say, saturation) to match the others (...so, a targeted, layer specific saturation adjustment).

Since AP doesn't seem to allow you to just do a direct/instant/destructive saturation adjustment, what you would have to do is select that target layer, select a (HSL) adjustment (which would then parent an HSL adjustment layer to the targeted pixel layer).

You'd slide the sliders to your desired adjustment, and then would have TWO options:

1) Close the window, leaving a non-destructive adjustment (HSL adjustment layer parented (as child) to the target pixel layer)....  which is a nice option, if you want to be able to make future adjustment and/or restore that layer later to its original state

2) OR.... you click the Merge button at the top of the adjustment window (rather than closing the window), and that would apply the adjustments destructively to the targeted layer, and remove the parented adjustment layer (...literally merging the layers).  But, that no longer works, but instead (seemingly) merges the layers (as intended), but for some reason it also results in the resulting targeted layer to clear all of its contents (blank layer).  This is new... and a bug.

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2 minutes ago, ladlon said:

The latest video you made has you making an adjustment layer OUTSIDE (above) the target pixel layer... whereas what I am talking about is when you have the pixel layer selected, and then select/add an adjustment layer.  As well, I am talking about a scenario where there is more layers below the target layer, which you do now want to effect.

Regardless of whether your method works, it (initially) will affect ALL layers below it, which makes it impractical if you need to be able to compare the adjustment you are doing on the target layer to the layers below it.  For example, if you have 9 layers, but the target one (say the first/top one) is too saturated compared to the others... so, if you do a 'global' saturation adjustment (even if you intend on merging it with JUST the target layer during a merge), all the layers below it are globally effected (live preview) as you adjust it, making it impossible to compare your adjustment (ex. match it) to that of the other layers, since they TOO are also changing from the very tone you are trying to match to.

So, the only solution is to do a parented adjustment right away (select the layer, add an adjustment)...which is how you'd want to do it in this case, anyway... but, after making the adjustment (move sliders) the Merge button in the ADJUSTMENT WINDOW (not the layer context menu) does not work as intended... it does not bake the adjustment into the pixel layer.

Yes, that's exactly what I showed in my video. The adjustment layer merges down when it's not a child. When you do child it (see second half of video) the merge button no longer works. I think they should add some code to the program to say "if merge is pressed on a child layer, then merge with the parent layer." Instead, it does nothing.

And absolutely, it is important to make the adjustment a child when you need to mask it to a certain layer. I do this all the time, and I agree that the merge should tell the program to merge the adjustment to the parent.

What confused me is you said that the merge -- when you have a child adjustment selected -- actually does something, i.e. it deletes the content of the parent layer? I don't get that same behavior, hence why I made the video. The later half of the video showcases the behavior I get with child layer merge button.

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4 minutes ago, ladlon said:

. . .

2) OR.... you click the Merge button at the top of the adjustment window (rather than closing the window), and that would apply the adjustments destructively to the targeted layer, and remove the parented adjustment layer (...literally merging the layers).  But, that no longer works, but instead (seemingly) merges the layers (as intended), but for some reason it also results in the resulting targeted layer to clear all of its contents (blank layer).  This is new... and a bug.

So I found something weird about the program...

In the develop assistant, you can either choose to have new adjustments do a new layer (meaning that you affect the global image -- all layers below the adjustment layer) or you can tell it to child the adjustment layer (so that the adjustment, like HSL, only affects the layer you have selected upon pressing CRL + U). That's no what's weird, though. That's just some background information.

  • Let's say you have the first option in the assistant selected: make a new adjustment layer, don't child it. If you child it yourself and then try to press merge, it does nothing!
  • If you choose the other option in the assistant and have the program child the layer on its own, then the merge works correctly (at least for me).  

Still, I'm not getting the same behavior as you, @Ladlon. By any chance, do you have multiple adjustments being done to a single layer before you press merge, or maybe there is a mask or something? Can you send your afphoto file? 

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But, that functionally doesn't make sense.  If you want to effect a specific layer (as opposed to a global effect), you would first select the layer, which then causes an adjustment selection to be (rightfully) parented to it (otherwise, it will effect ALL layers, making it impossible to compare the targeted layer to the layers you want to adjust it to (compare).

To click on the Merge button in the adjustment window SHOULD merge (bake) the adjustment to the selected/targeted layer... as that's the entire point of it.

 

Otherwise, again, if you have 8 layers, and you want to tone down the 3rd one (as, say, it's too saturated compared to the others), how WOULD you apply a desaturation to just that layer WHILE BEING ABLE TO LIVE MONITOR YOUR ADJUSTMENT while doing so, so you can set it to the right level (compared to the other layers).  Putting the layer above the target layer will adjust ALL layers below it, making it impossible to set the adjustment of the target layer, since all the other (lower) layers that you are trying to compare it to are simultaneously (and wrongfully) getting adjusted as well, so you will never be able to get all their saturations balance, as the other layers will FURTHER desaturate as you lower the saturation of the target layer (and adjustment which won't bel applied, once you do the manual merge).

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I'm dealing with a real project (multiple layers, etc).... but, in trying out things to troubleshoot, I am simply applying a single adjustment layer (child) to a single pixel layer.

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6 minutes ago, ladlon said:

But, that functionally doesn't make sense.  If you want to effect a specific layer (as opposed to a global effect), you would first select the layer, which then causes an adjustment selection to be (rightfully) parented to it (otherwise, it will effect ALL layers, making it impossible to compare the targeted layer to the layers you want to adjust it to (compare).

...

Don't worry, I understand what you are talking about entirely. I'm make a lot of infographics for Amazon listings, and I have to affect just one layer at a time with an adjustment quite a lot.

I was just referring to a bug I've noticed, because childing it yourself vs having the program child automatically can actually cause the merge button to stop working. Really odd to be honest.

I digress, though. I'm really confused by the behavior you're getting -- as far as I can tell, the merge button should be working, as long as you had the program automatically child the layer for you. Based on all you have said thus far, it sounds like you have the program set up to do this automatic childing, so you're good to go. 

You aren't childing it yourself, right? Because, based on the bug i've just found, doing it on your own breaks the merge button.

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Okay, let me try another explanation....

You have 8 layers.  All are lovely, except the 3rd one is too bright compared to all the other layers.

Normally, you'd just select that layer, and apply (say) a Levels adjustment (live, destructively), adjusting it until it looks right, compared to the other layers.

Unfortunately, it appears that AP doesn't allow for that, opting instead to do a non-destructive Adjustment Layer method... which I am not against (as it does, afterall, offer the benefits of a non-destructive adjustment).  However, sometimes, you don't want all those adjustment layers parented inside each of your layers.  Sometimes, you just want to bake it, as you are sure you don't want to revert it back or whatever.

So, with the current system, you'd normally select the 3rd pixel layer... apply a (non-destructive) adjustment layer (Levels in this case) to it, so when you adjust the Levels dials, you can see the affect of the adjustment live, compared to the other layers, until you find the right setting.  You would then (normally) hit the Merge button at the top of the  Levels adjustment window you have been using (unless you wanted to keep the non-destructive Levels adjustment layer parented inside the 3rd pixel layer).  Normally, hitting this button would bake the Levels adjustment into that third pixel layer, and you'd have a (longwinded) destructive/instant levels adjustment to the 3rd layer.

But, that doesn't currently work, now...  Doing so causes (at least on my system) the 3rd layer to be cleared when the merge occurs.

But, there is no other method to do this type of thing, as putting an adjustment above the 3rd layer will adjust ALL the layers below it, so when you dial down the brightness of the 3rd layer (eyeballing it to the other layers), all the other layers below will also simultaneously get darker, making it impossible to match, since the other layers will 'run away' from their original settings as you approach them.

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