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I'm trying to find my way with Affinity Photo and struggling a bit.  The thing I need to understand first is the masking.  I've watched the videos, but don't seem to having a lot of luck with refining my mask.


I made this with the Selection Brush and that's okay, but when I look closely at what it has produced, I find it needs cleaning up ... the dark edge which was covered by the marching ants when masking.  


I've selected the mask in the layers palette, then 'Refine Mask' from the Control-Click drop-down menu.  Then according to the help at the bottom of the screen, tried to remove the dark areas, but when I brush, nothing happens ... or ... it isn't selecting a colour/tone to remove, instead, it's just removing everything.


What is the best way to proceed from here?



Grumpy, but faithful (watch out all you cats)

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Hi JFisher,


sure ... I'm using it as a learning file for Affinity Photo, because it's one that was shot with masking in mind from a recent job (as is obvious once you see the image!!) and it's quite hard to mask some areas of it cleanly.  However the area that I'm showing you here, should be very easy : Lots of contrast and a clearly defined edge.


So far, I'm finding Affinity Photo to be slower and less accurate for masking than my 20 year old, favourite imaging app!  I have some suggestions for tools that work very well ... although the algorithms are down to you guys.  :)


I'm spending time on this today and have found that Affinity Photo appears to be adding a black mask when exporting a PSD with an alpha channel/transparency.  Unfortunately, this black is showing through in my other app.  Any ideas?  I'm guessing this is what's happening, because the black background is visible in the file's preview/thumbnails.


Where do I post the file?  (Don't want it available publicly)

Grumpy, but faithful (watch out all you cats)

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Hi JFisher,


thanks for looking at the file.  I'm getting a better understanding of how the tools work.


There appear to be some bugs, which is fair enough in a 1.0 release.  I have found that after some sequence of events (I have no idea what) the brush in Refine Mask just stops working.  Well it works, i.e. it draws, then the Refine Selection progress bar appears, but nothing happens other than that.  No edit.  This makes it a little hard to understand what's going on (I'm using a Wacom with the latest driver on 10.11).


Regarding your treatment/mask of my file - you did indeed clean up the black on the edge, but at the cost of some detail.  Also, the sliders in the Refine Mask dialog are global, so whilst it cleaned up that edge, I found (when subsequently trying the same technique) that it messed up other areas which were fine previously.


So, really, the Refine Mask aspect of masking needs to be improved.  As far as I'm concerned it is a bug, because if I can't brush the black areas out using any tools other than an eraser, then something isn't working correctly.



Suggestion for Refine Masks tools:



Have a user selectable outside and inside dropper tool (instead of the vague current system).  It should be colour + tone based, so that I can tell Affinity Photo, what I want masked, rather than it having to try and work it out on its own.  Show me what colours I've selected, via the Refine Mask window.  Then I can just brush an area, having selected the inside and outside colours/tones and Affinity knows what to remove.  As I work around my image, refining, I would be constantly using the dropper to tell Affinity what to do ... or not if I unchecked the option in the window.


(In my 20 year old app, I have this tool and it is pressure sensitive, which means that if I press harder with the pen it will be more aggressive with the masking and if I go very lightly, it will be more subtle).


Ideally, the dropper is just for the outside of the mask, and anywhere I touch with my brush, becomes the new inside colour.  This makes for very fast and accurate masking.  (If you want I can make a short screen-movie to show how I work with this).



Also add to this toolset a paint/eraser tool, so that when Affinity Photo simply can't get it right (there are areas of my image - top-right - where no matter what I did with Affinity Photo, it just couldn't get what I wanted.  If I had a straight forward paint/eraser option, I could just have taken over to carefully brush the required area in or out.  Much faster and much more accurate and infinitely less frustrating!)



The current inside/outside selections appear to be tone based.  I'm assuming this, because Affinity Photo struggled a lot working around the nuts to the top-right.  It just couldn't pick them out cleanly, which is surprising, because they should be easy.  So please make them tone + colour based ... or ... fix the bug that is preventing them from working properly.  :)


I'm guessing that this is a bug too ... very odd.  I closed the Refine Mask window then re-opened it and this is what appeared.  NB, the colour of the alpha mask was orange'ish instead of red. I had previously brushed carefully around the area I want as 'foreground' (zoomed in).  It looks like this area was then made into another kind of mask, but not properly combined with the overall mask:



Grumpy, but faithful (watch out all you cats)

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For anyone reading this, I have discovered how to get a 'sharp' clean mask.


You have to use the Selection Brush tool and do NOT use the Refine Mask tool.  If you use the Refine Mask dialog, your neat/sharp mask will be instantly transformed into a mushy mess.


In order to improve your mask after having made it, you have to select the layer containing your mask, then choose : -Select Menu/Selection from Layer -  you must zoom in and use the Selection Brush on the Selection to improve it.  Then save as mask.


The Refine Mask tool may be good for soft edged masks, but it doesn't work well for clean edged masks.

Grumpy, but faithful (watch out all you cats)

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