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Affinity Photo: changing tabs into into layers


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Is there a convenient method for converting multiple tabs into layers of a "new" composite image?

Those who use an Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop workflow have the ability to select several images while browsing in Lightroom, and then control-click to launch a menu with the option of "edit as layers in Photoshop".

Fie on Adobe! I'm hoping to be able to do the much the same thing with Alien Skin's Exposure and Affinity's Photo, and this aim seems to be within reach. I'm happy to report that it's easy to designate Photo as Exposure's favorite editor. Having done so I can select images with Exposure . . . control-click . . . and choose "edit copy in Affinity Photo" from the menu that appears.

Doing so launches Photo and places copies of the selected images into their own individual tabs. This isn't a surprising behavior, but it isn't very convenient for combining them into a composite image with blendable layers. I need the images which have been segregated into multiple tabs to become layers of one image. What would be the most efficient technique for combining multiple tabs into one image, with each "tab" becoming its own layer?

 

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Open one of the images in Photo, drag and drop the other image files onto the open image. Don't know about Lightroom, but on Mac the drag&drop proxies work from Finder, Bridge, NeoFinder (if these are catalogs of existing local files), GraphicConverter browser, heck, even from the antique iView/Expression Media.

For some highly illogical reason, drag'n'dropping an image proxy onto the Layers panel will open it in a new tab. Doesn't make any sense whatsoever but duh.
You also can't drag'n'drop a layer from one Photo document onto another. Another duh.

Copy & paste layers works though. That process eats a lot of CPU on my aging MacBook, however, so a cautious hooray.

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16 minutes ago, Christophe07 said:

So, just to clarify, if the multiple images are already open in Photo, then Copy and Paste is the only way to move one image onto another as a layer?

Yes.

-- Walt

Desktop:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 
Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
        Affinity Photo 1.10.6 (.1665) and 2.0..3  and 2.0.3.1670 beta/ Affinity Designer 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta / Affinity Publisher 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta
iPad Pro M1, 12.9", iPadOS 16.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard

      Affinity Photo 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Designer 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Publisher 2.0.3

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5 minutes ago, haakoo said:

No

Oh, good, an argument. Or I've forgotten something. :)

Care to explain the alternative to copy/paste? I have a vague memory that there are ways to get drag/drop to work between documents, but that it's tricky. Or is it something else?

-- Walt

Desktop:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 
Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
        Affinity Photo 1.10.6 (.1665) and 2.0..3  and 2.0.3.1670 beta/ Affinity Designer 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta / Affinity Publisher 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta
iPad Pro M1, 12.9", iPadOS 16.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard

      Affinity Photo 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Designer 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Publisher 2.0.3

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You can also export the images from Exposure as TIFFs, for example, and in AP choose "File > New Stack..." and then select all of the rendered TIFFs you want to composite.  They will be opened in a single AP document as individual layers in a stack.  If you do not want to work with them in a stack, you can just drag them out of the stack and they will become plain old layers.

Kirk

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12 minutes ago, kirkt said:

If you do not want to work with them in a stack, you can just drag them out of the stack and they will become plain old layers.

Or: Arrange > Ungroup from the menu (or right-click on the live stack group in the Layers panel and Ungroup).

-- Walt

Desktop:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 
Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
        Affinity Photo 1.10.6 (.1665) and 2.0..3  and 2.0.3.1670 beta/ Affinity Designer 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta / Affinity Publisher 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta
iPad Pro M1, 12.9", iPadOS 16.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard

      Affinity Photo 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Designer 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Publisher 2.0.3

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2 hours ago, haakoo said:

2 floating windows>select in layers panel>drag/drop onto canvas second document.

That doesn't work on Mac, I just wind up with a duplicated layer of whatever the destination document is.

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 11.7.3 
Affinity Designer 2.0.4 | Affinity Photo 2.0.4 | Affinity Publisher 2.0.4 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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Thanks for your help, loukash!

Using your suggestions, here's the outcome . . .

After opening an image with Photo, I dropped an image from Finder onto it. Like you said, it worked great . . . the dropped image showed up as a new layer.

However, when I try to drag&drop an image from Alien Skin Exposure, and new layer appears but there is nothing (except a gray and white checkerboard pattern) within the layer. This new layer is labeled in the layer-selection panel as "(selectedImages)".

Of course, it would be fantastic if I could just select multiple images within Exposure, use some kind of "edit as layers in Affinity Photo" command and (abracadabra!) there they would be, ready in Photo as multiple layers inside of one document. But it's really not the end of the world if I have to assemble multiple discrete images into a multi-layer composition.

So, that leaves me wondering if there's a more elegant way to combine multiple tabs into an image with multiple layers than copying and pasting. If there is a way to do this, I'd sure like to learn how. (Are macros able to create a new document by assembling images from the other open documents?)

At the end of the day, I'm attempting to do exposure blending. As I learn more about Photo I see it can be done by creating stacks. Though it would be ideal if I could feed my source images into Photo with Alien Skin Exposure, I now see that I can do it with Photo alone.

Thanks again, loukash. Here's wishing you bountiful good karma.

 

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14 minutes ago, o4tuna said:

when I try to drag&drop an image from Alien Skin Exposure, and new layer appears but there is nothing (except a gray and white checkerboard pattern) within the layer. This new layer is labeled in the layer-selection panel as "(selectedImages)"

No idea about Alien Skin Exposure and how it works.

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Thank you, haakoo.

The method you suggest is intuitive and quite elegant. However, it doesn't seem to be working for me.

What usually happens when I drag a layer from the layer panel of one document into another is this: the receiving document creates a duplicate of its original "Background" layer, and the image being dropped vanishes. The end result is that the receiving document winds up with two layers of the same image, both named "Background".

If I then repeat the operation, but this time using command-C and command-V to copy and paste a layer, it works as expected.

Evidently, there's something wrong with dragging and dropping layers in my environment (Mac OS 11.2.1, Affinity Photo 1.9.0).

While the copy/paste operation always works, the drag&drop operation has only worked about twice out of at least a hundred attempts. I've been trying to isolate what the conditions of a successful drag&drop are, but without success. It doesn't seem to matter whether or not the files are opened through Finder or from within Affinity Photo.

After posting this, I'll go see if Serif has a bug reporting system in place.

 

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loukash, Alien Skin Exposure is an alternative to Adobe Lightroom.

I'm willing to go to great lengths to avoid giving Adobe any more money, and I'm happy to discover that Serif's offerings are so capable and its user community so active.

 

 

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On 2/15/2021 at 5:06 PM, Old Bruce said:

That doesn't work on Mac, I just wind up with a duplicated layer of whatever the destination document is.

Old Bruce, I'm experiencing the same behavior. I've posted a bug report.

 

Edited by o4tuna
elucidation, including a related link to a bug report
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