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[Feature request] Reference layer with keyboard shortcut

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When drawing on top on an image (photo) - something I do quite a lot for weeks - I toggle displaying of the photo on and off. I partly trace the contours manually but I also recreate the texture and characteristics of the underlying layer with vectors. I compare my work with the photo constantly in the process. 

When I have many layers and expanded layers with groups the photo layer is out of reach - and to hide or show it I must scroll scroll scroll to reach it.

Feature request:

  • I suggest instead that one layer can be set as a reference layer than can be displayed or hidden with a shortcut key.
  • It would also be practical if the reference layer is visible in outline mode (but optional)

I know I can keep the photo layer to fx 50% transparent to see both vector and pixels, but I need photo at 100% to compare with my work and to get an idea about how to vector paint the various details and colours.

@VectorVonDoom Makes sense?

SERIF: Please have a look at the following posts from @softsound with examples from Krita, that does have reference layer and tools.

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It does. Before the layer selection "fix" it used to drive me mad now it can just be annoying. I sometimes use the colour coding to make it a bit easier to find the group I'm working on (usually red as it shows up the best on the mac) but when you've loads it can still takes time to find it. I never bother setting transparency either as you just can't see enough detail but I do a silly amount of exports. Also I will sometimes put a colour coded bookmark layer or empty group (I used to highlight it by the label, ****** DESCRIPTION ******), move the real group right to the top, work on it and then move it back (you don't always need a bookmark depending what you are working on).

On a related note regarding using reference photos, blue lines for the object outline can be hard to work with if your reference uses the same sort of shade of blue, the Porsche was like that. AI lets you change that colour per group but I don't think you have an option to change it at all in AD or have I missed it?

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1 hour ago, VectorVonDoom said:

On a related note regarding using reference photos, blue lines for the object outline can be hard to work with if your reference uses the same sort of shade of blue, the Porsche was like that. AI lets you change that colour per group but I don't think you have an option to change it at all in AD or have I missed it?

Layer (capital L) objects have a user-definable colour (defaulting to blue) that is used for the paths and bounding boxes of the members of the Layer. I'm not talking about the colour tag that can be set for any object.

Access the Layer colour chooser by right-clicking the Layer in Layers panel and picking Properties at the bottom of the menu.

A Group can be converted to a Layer by Promote Group To Layer in the app Layer menu. That should also be available in the right-click menu of a Group, but it's missing. (The menus of the apps could be improved with a few hours of development time, but that's likely to be eternally trapped near the bottom of a prioritised list of improvements.)

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This might be a bad comparison but in Clip Studio Paint you can toggle a reference layer and clearly see the layer marked as well. I could imagine them implementing something similar. They could probably also go the Krita route with an actual reference tool. These two reference tools work very differently with reference layers being a useful layer for filling, outlines and other functions that allow layers to reference one another while reference tools are used for loading a group of reference images you are using and you can easily adjust all reference opacity and load and unload them. I think both would be useful.

Here is how the reference tool works in Krita. (Video)

 

ExampleReference.PNG

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On 5/21/2020 at 5:09 AM, softsound said:

This might be a bad comparison but in Clip Studio Paint you can toggle a reference layer and clearly see the layer marked as well. I could imagine them implementing something similar.

They could probably also go the Krita route with an actual reference tool. These two reference tools work very differently with reference layers being a useful layer for filling, outlines and other functions that allow layers to reference one another while reference tools are used for loading a group of reference images you are using and you can easily adjust all reference opacity and load and unload them. I think both would be useful.

Here is how the reference tool works in Krita. (Video)

Hi @softsound and thank you for your reply

The reference tool panel in Krita is interesting - but it really just separates the reference images from the rest of the layers. If Krita could hide and show the reference images with a keyboard shortcut it would be exactly what I am looking for. But I don't see that option in either Krita and Clip Studio Paint.

EDIT: Krita does have a shortcut as described in the following posts.

And it is the only thing I really wish - showing or hiding the reference image quickly - because I do it a thousand times during the many needed comparisons with a photo.

A pinned layer that was always visible when scrolling though layers could also  do the trick - but the keyboard shortcut would be a blessing.

Well, Serif, food for thought... reference tools! ;-)

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Krita can hide & show with a keyboard shortcut. I set mine to space for example. And since it's not tied to the layer system it keeps things very clean. 

Affinity should be able to make a similar tool at some point, I mean Krita only has 4 full time employees after all. 

referenceImage.PNG

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1 hour ago, softsound said:

Krita can hide & show with a keyboard shortcut. I set mine to space for example. And since it's not tied to the layer system it keeps things very clean. 

Affinity should be able to make a similar tool at some point, I mean Krita only has 4 full time employees after all. 

referenceImage.PNG

Excellent - well bingo; A working example and inspiration for Serif - right there!

Indeed - and now that Designer seems to favor digital artists more than vector illustrators - it is a natural choice for implementation. I hope. 

Thanks again! 

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