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Simple, quick, destructive adjustments

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Hi all, first of all, apologies, I'm sure I've seen this covered before, but multiple searches have come up with nothing, so let's make a new one!..


I want to make simple hue, (or whatever) adjustments to a selected layer, without it appearing on a new layer above the selected layer and subsequently affecting the whole image.

I understand the value of the live and non destructive adjustments, and, of course, wouldn't be without them, but sometimes I just want to hack the colour of a blob on a layer without having to go through all the hassle of dragging my adjustment layer onto my target layer and then applying the change.

Sometime I just want to press CMD+U and drag a slider!

Is there any way to do this as quickly and simply as some other non-mentionable apps might do it?


If memory serves correct, I think there was a setting somewhere, but even that sounds like I might have to turn it on and off each time I didn't care about non destructive stuff.


Thanks for listening



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You can go into the assistant (in the top toolbar) and define if a new adjustment layer should get nested (thus only affecting the currently selected layer) or if it should be added on top, effecting everything beneath it.


If you make a selection with a selection brush or in quick mask mode an then apply an adjustment, effect of the adjustment is masked to you selection. You can then paint with black and white to modify it further on (non destructively)


Hope this helps!



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  • Staff

Hi Wayne,


I think the closest you'll get to completely destructive is to add your adjustment (eg your CMD+U) above the layer you want to effect, then click the Merge button on the adjustment's dialog box. That will merge the effect down into the layer beneath it.


Although MBd's suggestion of choosing to have new adjustments nested as child layers means you'll get your desired result instantly and stay non-destructive!


[Edit] Here's the assistant dialog option:


Product Expert (Affinity Photo) & Product Expert Team Leader

@JamesR_Affinity for tutorial sneak peeks and more

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Very helpful, thank you both! Ah, yes, there it is, the Assistant! Strange though, to me, the assistant appears to assist with things that I just see as 'Preferences' - that's why I didn't find what I was looking for in Preferences! I've always been a bit uncomfortable with assistants in programs, still not entirely sure what they're for - especially in this case, where it just seems to be an extra place to hide preferences?!

Thanks very much ;]


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