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Adding Multiple Gradients to One Layer Mask


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I was wondering if there was anyone to add several gradient masks to one layer mask? In Photoshop you are able to add several gradient masks to one layer so for instance, I want to fade out all four sides of an image, I can. Maybe I'm missing something in Designer and Photo but currently I have to add a mask do the gradient, then add another mask to the same layer, create the gradient, and repeat the process based on how many gradients I need. 

Essentially, we would like to just be able to continue adding gradients to the same mask instead of creating new masks.

masking sample.jpg

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Hi @JayFree,
welcome to the Affinity forums!

In Affinity you can't apply more than 1 gradients (as fill colour) to 1 item. One workaround could be a combination of different gradient options, for instance to use a gradient fill + a gradient layer-effect. But additionally, layers of type "Mask" are limited towards other layer types, for instance they don't show layer-effects which get applied to them.

So I know compromises only. In case of fade out all four sides of an image you could use a workaround of a masking rectangle shape as masking object + blur it with a Gaussian Blur Layer-Effect to cause reduced opacity at its edges. Or apply an elliptical transparency gradient to the masking shape, as kind of transparency vignette, unfortunately not rectangular, as with 4 linear gradients.

396498336_softedgemasking.jpg.a9a041bddc91960a5140748f2c1f6bc5.jpg

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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5 hours ago, tudor said:

Yes, you can.

While true in Theorie, this does not help in the specific case of the OP:

  1. appearance panel not available in Photo
  2. Does not work on mask layers

 

Mac mini M1 A2348

LG34WK950U-W, calibrated to DCI-P3 with LG Calibration Studio / Spider 5

iPad Air Gen 5 (2022) A2589

Special interest into procedural texture filter, edit alpha channel, RGB/16 and RGB/32 color formats, stacking, finding root causes for misbehaving files, finding creative solutions for unsolvable tasks, finding bugs in Apps.

 

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14 hours ago, JayFree said:

I was wondering if there was anyone to add several gradient masks to one layer mask? In Photoshop you are able to add several gradient masks to one layer so for instance, I want to fade out all four sides of an image, I can. Maybe I'm missing something in Designer and Photo but currently I have to add a mask do the gradient, then add another mask to the same layer, create the gradient, and repeat the process based on how many gradients I need. 

Essentially, we would like to just be able to continue adding gradients to the same mask instead of creating new masks.

 

You found a weak spot of Affinity Photo.

Depending on your workflow needs, there are multiple workarounds possible, but all are limited and cumbersome:

  1. The method of @thomaso 
  2. If you want to get fewer layers: Creating several layers as you do, and then combine them into one. Unfortunately, this will be a destructive operation. 
  3. Using pixel layers, and then use them as masks with the known methods (blend mode erase & blend range settings)

please note that multiple layers used as masks are always subtractive. If you want additive masks, more effort ist required

Edited by NotMyFault

Mac mini M1 A2348

LG34WK950U-W, calibrated to DCI-P3 with LG Calibration Studio / Spider 5

iPad Air Gen 5 (2022) A2589

Special interest into procedural texture filter, edit alpha channel, RGB/16 and RGB/32 color formats, stacking, finding root causes for misbehaving files, finding creative solutions for unsolvable tasks, finding bugs in Apps.

 

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2 hours ago, tudor said:

He asked about both Designer and Photo in the original post.

You are right, but the second point still holds (does not work on mask layers)

Edit: but it works on vector layers used as masks.

Edited by NotMyFault

Mac mini M1 A2348

LG34WK950U-W, calibrated to DCI-P3 with LG Calibration Studio / Spider 5

iPad Air Gen 5 (2022) A2589

Special interest into procedural texture filter, edit alpha channel, RGB/16 and RGB/32 color formats, stacking, finding root causes for misbehaving files, finding creative solutions for unsolvable tasks, finding bugs in Apps.

 

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1 hour ago, tudor said:

It does not work on pixel masks. It does work on vector masks.

No. It does not really support transparency. If you create a radial gradient, and reduce the transparency of one node, the color is replaced by black instead of becoming transparent. (Tested on iPad).

to be clear: it works in general, but it is not really usable for masking purposes.

Edited by NotMyFault

Mac mini M1 A2348

LG34WK950U-W, calibrated to DCI-P3 with LG Calibration Studio / Spider 5

iPad Air Gen 5 (2022) A2589

Special interest into procedural texture filter, edit alpha channel, RGB/16 and RGB/32 color formats, stacking, finding root causes for misbehaving files, finding creative solutions for unsolvable tasks, finding bugs in Apps.

 

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One method to get masks with multiple gradients is shown in my attached video.
(In the video I am just revealing layers rather than drawing them, to save time. Note the use of the Multiply blend mode.)
The original “Mask four sides” layer can be saved as an Asset to be reused, and modified before making into a mask if necessary.

It’s not as good as being able to add multiple gradients to a mask but someone might find it useful.

This technique can be used in any of the Affinity applications.

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1 hour ago, tudor said:

:) then what magic did I do in the screenshots I posted above?

You are right. I was working on iPad, and the UI does all it can do to make this task as hard as possible, next to impossible. When using appearance panel with multiple fills, the UI jumps erratically from a selected fill to the rectangle itself. 

After trying again on Desktop, it worked.

 

Mac mini M1 A2348

LG34WK950U-W, calibrated to DCI-P3 with LG Calibration Studio / Spider 5

iPad Air Gen 5 (2022) A2589

Special interest into procedural texture filter, edit alpha channel, RGB/16 and RGB/32 color formats, stacking, finding root causes for misbehaving files, finding creative solutions for unsolvable tasks, finding bugs in Apps.

 

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3 hours ago, tudor said:
3 hours ago, NotMyFault said:

No. It does not support transparency.

:) then what magic did I do in the screenshots I posted above?

I get a third result: it does support transparency but appears to subtract the transparent areas of several fills (while both black or white work for the non-transparent areas). – What is setup wrong below?

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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51 minutes ago, thomaso said:

get a third result: it does support transparency but appears to subtract the transparent areas of several fills (while both black or white work for the non-transparent areas). – What is setup wrong below?

For multiple fills, the regular layer/alpha blending is applied. It might be easier to spot if you isolate the vector mask. The blend mode allows more flexibility, e.g. to use add. 

And the color itself is irrelevant when used for masking. Only the opacity / transparency values of the colors matter.

Mac mini M1 A2348

LG34WK950U-W, calibrated to DCI-P3 with LG Calibration Studio / Spider 5

iPad Air Gen 5 (2022) A2589

Special interest into procedural texture filter, edit alpha channel, RGB/16 and RGB/32 color formats, stacking, finding root causes for misbehaving files, finding creative solutions for unsolvable tasks, finding bugs in Apps.

 

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