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Clipping Mask On a Group


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Hey there! So as far as I can tell this still isn't possible in Affinity Photo. I want to be able to clip a layer to a group. See attached image. Has this been added and I just missed it?

Basically every psd I've made uses this feature, so as well as not being able to import my psds because of this, I can't really use affinity photo since this technique is a huge part of my workflow. Any word on the possibility of adding this? Would love to make the switch from photoshop!

Thanks for listening!

- Neil

clippingmaskonagroup.jpg

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16 hours ago, GC_Film&Images said:

I'm a new user and would like this as well. Can this be done to a single layer? I retouch with frequency sep a lot and just want to clip to the high frequency layer to patch texture. I sort of got it to work but only with one layer and it creates a mess of groups. Kind of confusing how this works.

Yup, it can be done to a single layer. Unlike photoshop where the clipping mask is above the main layer and indented, you drag it just below the layer and it shows up indented there.

But I tend to keep a lot of layers. Like for example I have 5 people in the background, each on their own layer, and I want to group them and then apply a non-destructive color correction layer to all of them at the same time.

Anyways, thanks for the wishlist support!

- Neil

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1 minute ago, soulburn said:

Yup, it can be done to a single layer. Unlike photoshop where the clipping mask is above the main layer and indented, you drag it just below the layer and it shows up indented there.

But I tend to keep a lot of layers. Like for example I have 5 people in the background, each on their own layer, and I want to group them and then apply a non-destructive color correction layer to all of them at the same time.

Anyways, thanks for the wishlist support!

- Neil

Yes sir, I figured out how to do it but what you can't do simply is use it for frequency separation. In Freq Sep retouching you need take patches of the high freq, like skin or clothing texture and use that to patch other areas non-destructively. these can be stacked easily in Photoshop by making a selection, copy, paste and drag to cover, set to normal blend mode and clip to the high freq layer. What occurs in Affinity Photo is creating a new mask which only shows my patch. Not useful. I'm getting by just fine using destructive editing to heal and stamp which works really, really well, but I would like this feature to be easier.

Screen Shot 2021-02-05 at 9.00.43 AM.png

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  • 1 month later...

I'd like to bump this issue :) This has been kind of a deal breaker for me, for the moment (still happy to support the project though, it's a wonderful piece of software).

Even with the "drag inside" method (which I get, it's not Photoshop, doesn't have to be, and it's a really fine and intuitive way to clip things), it really needs a way to handle groups, without merging or duplicating the layers/shapes (all of the workaround I've seen involves one of those two things, and it's really not great, it breaks the workflow, and you have to manage a lot of duplicated layers).


I would love to see this feature come to Affinity Photo and also Designer !

Edited by Alexandre Wige
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On 2/4/2021 at 6:29 PM, soulburn said:

I want to be able to clip a layer to a group. See attached image.

Something like this?

aph_clip_group.png.c776471687309c58ce06e3af18103f0b.png

MacBookPro9,1: MacOS El Capitan > Affinity v1 / MacOS Catalina > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // iPad 9th: iPadOS 15.7.2 > Affinity v2

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22 minutes ago, GC_Film&Images said:

To be able to stack items for retouching on frequency separation.

I'm not familar with these techniques at all, sorry.

But looking at @soulburn's example image above, I'm not even able to replicate it in PS CS5.1. I can create a clipping mask from a single layer but not from a group, it's grayed out.
Is this something new to PS CC?

Anyway. How about this?

aph_clip_mask.png.cc7966095cfe88d6ec1467dfc379ea5d.png

My first screenshot was all vector. This one is all pixel.

MacBookPro9,1: MacOS El Capitan > Affinity v1 / MacOS Catalina > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // iPad 9th: iPadOS 15.7.2 > Affinity v2

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Hi @GC_Film&Images,
Regarding your post here it's not working because you haven't clipped the corrective patch - you have nested it and used it as a mask inadvertently. To clip it drag the patch layer over the high frequency layer in the Layers panel (not over its thumbnail which is what you did in your screenshot above but over the rest of the layer to the right). If did correctly the crop symbol you see over the thumbnail should NOT appear. There's however another issue: if you copy a second patch from the high frequency layer, Affinity copies the patch as well as all clipped childs. In the screenshot below you can see i have added to patches between the person and the layers panel (the one on the top is selected in the Layers panel) and both are children (clipped) of the high frequency layer. Notice none have the crop tool icon over the thumbnails.

I will pass this feedback over to the dev team to see if this can be streamlined - if we could copy just the data from the parent layer (the high frequency layer) it would work fine. As it is currently you would have to delete the childs after pasting the patch copied from the high frequency layer.

frequency_sep.jpg

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On 3/25/2021 at 7:53 AM, loukash said:

I'm not familar with these techniques at all, sorry.

But looking at @soulburn's example image above, I'm not even able to replicate it in PS CS5.1. I can create a clipping mask from a single layer but not from a group, it's grayed out.
Is this something new to PS CC?

Anyway. How about this?

aph_clip_mask.png.cc7966095cfe88d6ec1467dfc379ea5d.png

My first screenshot was all vector. This one is all pixel.

Hey loukash! So that's the final result I want. But I believe your technique isn't procedural. So for example, if I move Circle B in your example above after I've made the mask, the mask won't automatically update with the new position of the circle. I'd have to recreate the mask. Unless I'm missing something about your technique.

I use photoshop CS6 BTW, not sure if you could clip to a group in CS5, but you can in CS6.

- Neil

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On 3/25/2021 at 2:12 AM, Alexandre Wige said:

I'd like to bump this issue :) This has been kind of a deal breaker for me, for the moment (still happy to support the project though, it's a wonderful piece of software).

Even with the "drag inside" method (which I get, it's not Photoshop, doesn't have to be, and it's a really fine and intuitive way to clip things), it really needs a way to handle groups, without merging or duplicating the layers/shapes (all of the workaround I've seen involves one of those two things, and it's really not great, it breaks the workflow, and you have to manage a lot of duplicated layers).


I would love to see this feature come to Affinity Photo and also Designer !

Thanks for the bump, glad to see I'm not the only one who uses this all the time.

- Neil

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12 hours ago, soulburn said:

if I move Circle B in your example above after I've made the mask, the mask won't automatically update with the new position of the circle. I'd have to recreate the mask.

That's right.
So it's a workaround for certain scenarios.
However, it's just a matter of 3 clicks – the 1st being a command-click – to recreate a new clipping mask:

The first method with vector shapes is less destructive as you can freely move and align both the shapes as well as their clipping duplicates.

MacBookPro9,1: MacOS El Capitan > Affinity v1 / MacOS Catalina > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // iPad 9th: iPadOS 15.7.2 > Affinity v2

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6 hours ago, loukash said:


However, it's just a matter of 3 clicks – the 1st being a command-click – to recreate a new clipping mask:

 

Thanks for the workaround. However, it's only 3 clicks x the hundreds of times I use this feature per day :) It's also prone to error, I can imagine changing stuff in the lower layers, forgetting to update the mask, and then spending time trying to figure out why there's some artifact in the painting. And lastly, I can't open any of my old psd files that contain this feature from CS6, I'd have to redo tons of layers to make them compatible. So I'm still hoping beyond hope Affinity adds this feature.

But thanks again for the suggestion.

- Neil

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You could always try it as a vector mask, as its always moveable and tweak-able?  

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3 hours ago, soulburn said:

Thanks, but the example I gave is just a simple example to show the idea. I rarely use simple shapes that could be vectors, the layers and groups are usually complex painted elements:

neil-blevins-06-26-inc-distant-mirage-2-

- Neil

(Woah that's really cool !!)

That's a perfect exemple ! I just want the devs to be aware that it is really a important feature that's currently missing from both Photo and Designer and it would improve the workflow a lot if we didn't have to resolve to workarounds with duplicated layers or masks.


If I have to redo the whole mask everytime I add pixels or shapes to the group, or every time I want to move them, then I think it's just not working the way clipping masks should ! Especially because in real production, it's never just 3 circles but a bunch more shapes, or complex drawings like the one Neil showed here (and really, it's basic stuff but I want to be move them and have the clipping layer match the group in real time).

But I really appreciate what you guys are proposing as solutions, it's just not what we're after.

Hopefully this still goes into some kind of future todo list for the devs, that's why i'm writting this ^^

I'm sure there's a clever way to make groups work with the current "drag inside" system (if not, something similar to Photoshop would also be great).

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16 minutes ago, Alexandre Wige said:

(Woah that's really cool !!)

That's a perfect exemple ! I just want the devs to be aware that it is really a important feature that's currently missing from both Photo and Designer and it would improve the workflow a lot if we didn't have to resolve to workarounds with duplicated layers or masks.


If I have to redo the whole mask everytime I add pixels or shapes to the group, or every time I want to move them, then I think it's just not working the way clipping masks should ! Especially because in real production, it's never just 3 circles but a bunch more shapes, or complex drawings like the one Neil showed here (and really, it's basic stuff but I want to be move them and have the clipping layer match the group in real time).

But I really appreciate what you guys are proposing as solutions, it's just not what we're after.

Hopefully this still goes into some kind of future todo list for the devs, that's why i'm writting this ^^

I'm sure there's a clever way to make groups work with the current "drag inside" system (if not, something similar to Photoshop would also be great).

Glad you like the painting Alexandre!

I use the clipping feature 8 times in this painting, but one of the easiest to spot is the two main characters are a group, and then I want some haze near their feet that doesn't affect the background layer. So my haze layer (which is painted with a custom cloud brush) is clipped to the "Characters" group. Each character in the Character's group is itself a group of dozens of painted layers, and let me tell you, I was tweaking the exact position and size of these characters in the frame dozens of times. If every time I moved the character a pixel to the left I also had to redo masks, this workflow would have been a non starter.

- Neil

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  • 1 year later...
On 3/31/2021 at 12:56 PM, Alexandre Wige said:

(Woah that's really cool !!)

That's a perfect exemple ! I just want the devs to be aware that it is really a important feature that's currently missing from both Photo and Designer and it would improve the workflow a lot if we didn't have to resolve to workarounds with duplicated layers or masks.


If I have to redo the whole mask everytime I add pixels or shapes to the group, or every time I want to move them, then I think it's just not working the way clipping masks should ! Especially because in real production, it's never just 3 circles but a bunch more shapes, or complex drawings like the one Neil showed here (and really, it's basic stuff but I want to be move them and have the clipping layer match the group in real time).

But I really appreciate what you guys are proposing as solutions, it's just not what we're after.

Hopefully this still goes into some kind of future todo list for the devs, that's why i'm writting this ^^

I'm sure there's a clever way to make groups work with the current "drag inside" system (if not, something similar to Photoshop would also be great).

Yes exactly, have been navigating the internet powers that be to find such a simple operation to no avail... a lot of people say "did you even try it?", or "just do the dragging thing", but I don't think it is fully grasped as it's quite a very simple thing use-wise.

Clipping mask on a group: on a group with a bunch of layers inside, use another layer to paint on top of it but using the rest of the group's content as its mask. It's really simple... Photoshop (as much as I hate it) does it by stacking things "on top" while groups are "grouped" inside it. Simple. Also, groups have a folder icon... also simple. Affinity photo groups, pixel layers, etc are all confusing.

What makes a layer clip with another or be just inside a group is the icon of it (nothing or checkerboard icon), because else, they even indent the same.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey hey,
 

I think I found the solution. You have to "Duplicate Linked" the layers you want to use for clipping. Then you create a group with those linked layers. then you drag the group in into the mask channel of the layer you want to clip. 

Important: Transforms have to be manually linked in the layers panel for some reason.

Like this, when you change the layer underneath (like painting in it) the linked layer will also change.

 

Here a Screencapture

DS000.gif

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18 hours ago, josbin said:

Transforms have to be manually linked in the layers panel for some reason.

Transform is a new feature in v2, and it's unlinked at first "by design", otherwise the linked layers would always remain exactly on top of each other. (Designer's Symbols use a different approach here, in that the linked layers are placed in the "Symbol" container so that they can be transformed independently.)

MacBookPro9,1: MacOS El Capitan > Affinity v1 / MacOS Catalina > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // iPad 9th: iPadOS 15.7.2 > Affinity v2

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