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Feature request for Affinity Photo: Embed changed linked files until an update by user


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Feature request for Affinity Photo: Embed changed linked files until an update by user

Situation:

If you load a project file, then all missed linked files will be displayed pixelized. This is extremly contra productive.

Better:

To avoid missed linked files please embed the visible result into the Affinity project file. If there are files missing, you can still inform the user, but please don't destroy the implemented material by pixelizing it. This solution would secure the use of the files by 3rd parties, without having the original assets. You don't need to save the original file or filesize, just the edited result is all an user need.

Seeing the result, even if you don't have the linked material is better, than destroying the project by showing pixelized results.

This is the way how it works in Adobe Photoshop and a much better solution, than currently in Affinity Photo.

Do you know, what I mean?

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7 minutes ago, Christoph Werner said:

Do you know, what I mean?

My reading is that you want Linked files to be Embedded automatically flattened Documents.

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 12.7.2 
Affinity Designer 2.3.1 | Affinity Photo 2.3.1 | Affinity Publisher 2.3.1 | Beta versions as they appear.

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

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13 hours ago, Old Bruce said:

My reading is that you want Linked files to be Embedded automatically flattened Documents.

Yes, but not by default embedded. The user has still to know there are linked layers missing and can update them, if the source path is known or the files are existing.

Regular embedded layers would expand the Affinity project file size, because they're normally embedded in the origin file. My wish is to keep the linking functionality but don't destroy the visibile results by pixelizing them, like it is now.

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6 hours ago, Christoph Werner said:

but don't destroy the visibile results by pixelizing them, like it is now.

This is not "pixelization", but the use of a low-resolution preview instead of the original linked file. If the result should be kept in full quality in the file, its size will be significantly increased.

Affinity Store (MSI/EXE): Affinity Suite (ADe, APh, APu) 2.3.1.2217
Dell OptiPlex 7060, i5-8500 3.00 GHz, 16 GB, Intel UHD Graphics 630, Dell P2417H 1920 x 1080, Windows 11 Pro, Version 23H2, Build 22631.2506.
Dell Latitude E5570, i5-6440HQ 2.60 GHz, 8 GB, Intel HD Graphics 530, 1920 x 1080, Windows 11 Pro, Version 23H2, Build 22631.2506.
Intel NUC5PGYH, Pentium N3700 2.40 GHz, 8 GB, Intel HD Graphics, EIZO EV2456 1920 x 1200, Windows 10 Pro, Version 21H1, Build 19043.2130.

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16 hours ago, Pšenda said:

This is not "pixelization", but the use of a low-resolution preview instead of the original linked file. If the result should be kept in full quality in the file, its size will be significantly increased.

I know this, as I wrote it above. But in my opinion it must be always ensured the user can continue the work in some way. Even if the file size will be increased a bit, the current option to save extremely low quality thumbnails can still exists, but there should be an option to save "rasterized previews" of linked layers, too.

I've prepared an example to document my proposal

In the image below you see a linked photo file. On the left you see what happen, if the file would be rasterized, but still missing. This is my proposal. On the right side you see, what Affinity Photo is doing today if a linked file is missing.

Here a list to compare the Affinity Photo project file sizes on a harddrive:

  • File size using linked image (Current Affinity way) = 0.739 Megabytes
  • File size using rasterized image preview (My proposal) = 1.7 Megabytes
  • File size with embedded images (Affinitys way, if we embed the photo. What I don't want to and isn't my proposal!) = 5.77 Megabytes

So you can see the project files size increases if we save rasterized linked layer previews, but it's still smaller than embedding it in the default way. My way is safer, because it always keeps a backdoor to work with the project, even if there are file links missing.

Example_problem.jpg.ba7467100e4ece27632e52e8d98e509f.jpg

And following an example how my solution could be implemented into Affinity Photo:

The exclamation mark warns the user of missing data. You can see it in the layer panel and at the related image position. If the user ignores the warning and want to change the layer, then always the existing layer resolution will be used for further changes. A further proposal: As long as the user doesn't save the project, it will keep the linking information of missed files. So if the user relinks the missing data later, any afterward changes will be executed for the relinked files. That would improve the work with Affinity Photo a lot in my opinion.

The developers could implement my idea as an additional option. There is no need to have just one way.

Example_solution.thumb.jpg.4285077ea4058f76f5000c0debf5782a.jpg

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7 hours ago, Christoph Werner said:

it must be always ensured the user can continue the work in some way.

Then the user should ultimately know what they are doing:

  • either keep track of your linked documents and their location
  • or if you aren't capable of that for whichever reasons, embed your linked document and stop worrying

That said…

8 hours ago, Christoph Werner said:

there should be an option to save "rasterized previews" of linked layers, too.

… I think it's a good idea.
Having options is usually a Good Thing™. :)

MacBookAir 15": MacOS Ventura > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // MacBookPro 15" mid-2012: MacOS El Capitan > Affinity v1 / MacOS Catalina > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // iPad 8th: iPadOS 16 > Affinity v2

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15 hours ago, loukash said:

Then the user should ultimately know what they are doing:

  • either keep track of your linked documents and their location
  • or if you aren't capable of that for whichever reasons, embed your linked document and stop worrying

...

This isn't the problem and your're basically right. Your mentioned workflow works fine as long as you're working alone and are responsible for the data yourself.

As soon as you get data from strangers or get something very old and not embedded, then you have a problem and my system would at least help.

Anyway. You got the point. Let's see if the devs find this here... :)

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8 hours ago, Christoph Werner said:

there should be an option to save "rasterized previews" of linked layers, too

On a second thought:
You're aware that you can always do that yourself, e.g. before saving and closing a document?

  1. duplicate layer
  2. context menu > rasterize (document DPI dependent)
  3. group with original for easy manipulation
  4. disable the pixel "preview" layer unless you need it
6 minutes ago, Christoph Werner said:

Your mentioned workflow works fine as long as you're working alone and are responsible for the data yourself.

Fair enough, I'm a "lone wolf" since 33 years… :D
And during that time I have definitely learned my lessons loong ago.

8 minutes ago, Christoph Werner said:

As soon as you get data from strangers or get something very old and not embedded, then you have a problem

Sure. Then I get back to them and request correct data. If they cannot provide them, then there will be extra costs ultimately paid by those who failed to comply. Since I usually get such data from a client, it's them who will pay for any extra work needed, unless I'm willing to be benevolent. :)
Been there done that quite a few times, of course.

MacBookAir 15": MacOS Ventura > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // MacBookPro 15" mid-2012: MacOS El Capitan > Affinity v1 / MacOS Catalina > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // iPad 8th: iPadOS 16 > Affinity v2

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On 4/29/2021 at 9:18 AM, Christoph Werner said:

My way is safer, because it always keeps a backdoor to work with the project, even if there are file links missing.

I don't understand how a quality "result" without source linked images could save a project?
The result/displayed result is in most cases a series of layers with different effects, masks, blending, adjustments, editable text and vector drawings, which if you lose the underlying/linked originals, you can never use them again and change their parameters.
In my opinion, this is not a back door to the project, only perhaps a replacement for the exported output, that I forgot to make and save.

Affinity Store (MSI/EXE): Affinity Suite (ADe, APh, APu) 2.3.1.2217
Dell OptiPlex 7060, i5-8500 3.00 GHz, 16 GB, Intel UHD Graphics 630, Dell P2417H 1920 x 1080, Windows 11 Pro, Version 23H2, Build 22631.2506.
Dell Latitude E5570, i5-6440HQ 2.60 GHz, 8 GB, Intel HD Graphics 530, 1920 x 1080, Windows 11 Pro, Version 23H2, Build 22631.2506.
Intel NUC5PGYH, Pentium N3700 2.40 GHz, 8 GB, Intel HD Graphics, EIZO EV2456 1920 x 1200, Windows 10 Pro, Version 21H1, Build 19043.2130.

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20 hours ago, Pšenda said:

I don't understand how a quality "result" without source linked images could save a project?
The result/displayed result is in most cases a series of layers with different effects, masks, blending, adjustments, editable text and vector drawings, which if you lose the underlying/linked originals, you can never use them again and change their parameters.
In my opinion, this is not a back door to the project, only perhaps a replacement for the exported output, that I forgot to make and save.

Basically you're completely right. But an artist who gets the Affinity Photo project file with missing linked files can't do something with it, currently. The reason are the pixelized previews of missing files. It would safe time doing changes or using the result for other tasks while waiting for the missing data. At the moment you can do nearly nothing and have to wait until the data comes from the creator. Depending of the cooperation this can take days.

Why is everyone mostly thinking of single person projects here when such ideas come up?  I'm earning money with cg since 1991 professionally and have seen a lot. I like Affinity Photo and just try to improve it with my proposals. Believe me, it's not a bad idea I'm asking for. :) 

Happy creating!

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2 minutes ago, Christoph Werner said:

Why is everyone mostly thinking of single person projects here when such ideas come up?

Perhaps because I work alone since 1988, and that's for a reason… :P

4 minutes ago, Christoph Werner said:

just try to improve it with my proposals. Believe me, it's not a bad idea I'm asking for.

It's OK, sure. An nice option to have when needed. But I, for one, don't see it as "essential", and probably wouldn't ever use it at all.

MacBookAir 15": MacOS Ventura > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // MacBookPro 15" mid-2012: MacOS El Capitan > Affinity v1 / MacOS Catalina > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // iPad 8th: iPadOS 16 > Affinity v2

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1 hour ago, Christoph Werner said:

... an artist who gets the Affinity Photo project file with missing linked files can't do something with it, currently. The reason are the pixelized previews of missing files

The preview of the missing linked-file is not the problem, the problem is the missing linked-file.

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 12.7.2 
Affinity Designer 2.3.1 | Affinity Photo 2.3.1 | Affinity Publisher 2.3.1 | Beta versions as they appear.

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

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This is not quite the same thing as your request, OP, but it is related to Embedded Documents.

One aspect I want to see changed with Embedded Documents is the auto-updating of the main document that is happening while working inside one of those documents. I've compared Embedded Documents with Smart Objects in Photoshop and the performance difference is pretty significant. In Photoshop I can save my progress while inside a Smart Object, but in Photo I have to switch back to the main document to save. Because of the auto-update feature the switch can be heavily delayed in big projects or even freeze, so you end up losing all the changes done to the embedded document. With Photoshop Smart Objects this does not happen. Updates to the main document only happen when you save your Smart Object and switching between the two documents takes very little time, thus making it a very good performance booster for larger projects where the amount of layers can blow up quite a bit.

Also, I have noticed that Embedded Documents are really resource heavy even while working on the main document, while in Photoshop you in fact save performance by converting stacks of layers into a Smart Object layer. Photo needs a way to create an option for Embedded Documents which is resource light and does not automatically update your main canvas until the user decides that it is time to save.

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13 minutes ago, Old Bruce said:

The preview of the missing linked-file is not the problem, the problem is the missing linked-file.

More precisely, a rasterized substitute for the linked file as the OP is suggesting is exactly what the preview image currently being used already is.

The distinction in what is being presented in this thread is the resolution of that preview.  What is really being asked for is to increase the resolution of the preview image which is already implemented.

This is a trade-off in that the higher the resolution of the preview image, the larger the Publisher document will become, and anyone who is actually doing the right thing and including the originals along with the document will suffer from the added bloat, defeating one of the primary reasons many users prefer to link the documents in the first place.

If anything, I could see an option coming from this to let the user adjust the resolution of the preview embedded in the document.

 

That said, even with a higher-resolution preview...   it will still be a preview.  It will still be rasterized.  It will not guarantee optimal quality with any filters or effects applied to it.  If the original asset was vector, you cannot accept it as anything other than a temporary substitute for the original file, and should never attempt to print the document or do any other significant transformation without the linked file being in place.

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22 hours ago, fde101 said:

More precisely, a rasterized substitute for the linked file as the OP is suggesting is exactly what the preview image currently being used already is.

The distinction in what is being presented in this thread is the resolution of that preview.  What is really being asked for is to increase the resolution of the preview image which is already implemented.

This is a trade-off in that the higher the resolution of the preview image, the larger the Publisher document will become, and anyone who is actually doing the right thing and including the originals along with the document will suffer from the added bloat, defeating one of the primary reasons many users prefer to link the documents in the first place.

If anything, I could see an option coming from this to let the user adjust the resolution of the preview embedded in the document.

 

That said, even with a higher-resolution preview...   it will still be a preview.  It will still be rasterized.  It will not guarantee optimal quality with any filters or effects applied to it.  If the original asset was vector, you cannot accept it as anything other than a temporary substitute for the original file, and should never attempt to print the document or do any other significant transformation without the linked file being in place.

You're right and I think all your mentioned conditions are hopefully clear to everyone, if a linked file is missing. An option to increase the preview resolution of the linked image to the set dpi main document size would be good.

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