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  • Staff

Apps: Affinity Photo / all
Platforms: Windows, macOS and iPad

Affinity Photo: Mask button on layers panel

In Version 2 we added the new functionality of being able to apply live range masks (Hue, Luminosity and Band-Pass) as well compound masks to Affinity Photo. As well as being available from the top Layer menu, we also included them in a new drop down when you click the mask icon in the layers panel. 

Helpful feedback has informed us that this drop-down menu is more of a hindrance than anything (as most users just want to add a mask much more frequently than any of the other options). For this reason we have reverted to making single click on the mask button just add a mask. If you want to access the other mask options from the layers panel button you can now do that using Alt+Click.

Assistant auto mask placement (all apps)

When:

Adding mask layer to selection = Add mask based on selection

Within assistant options, the logic is that if the current selection isn't a mask then the mask layer gets placed as a child, but if the current selection is a mask the new mask layer gets placed above. However this was treating both Adjustment Layers and Live Filter layers as Masks for this purpose which was incorrect. Basically now if you have your assistant setting to this and you have either an adjustment or live filter layer selected, the new mask will be added as a child of those layers rather than placed above.

Again we think this is the correct logic and matches feedback we have seen, but let us know what you think.

Managing Director

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MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021) / Apple M1 Max / 64GB / macOS 12.0.1

iPad Pro 11-inch 3rd Gen / iPadOS 16.2

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  • Staff

Known Issues

  • (related) Mask gets deleted when undoing the last brush stroke

Further known issues will be added to this list as they are reported to us by customers in this thread.

Fixed Issues

  • AFP-6092 - The pop-up menu for masks fails to highlight the list of masks correctly

Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility lies in being superior to your previous self."  W. L. Sheldon

 

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4 hours ago, Ash said:

we have removed the drop down from the mask icon in the Layers panel now and reverted the mask button to be:

  • Click: add Mask
  • Alt+Click: Add empty mask

This also matches the mask button function in all other apps / personas. As the other options of live and compound masks are required much less frequently we think this makes sense, and for those who often need one of those items they can always be assigned a shortcut. But certainly interested in any feedback around this.

So the only way to get the others is by using the Menu (and or any shortcuts) to access the other mask types. Am I correct with my thinking here?

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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Forgot to say that I can live with this. After all I am still getting used to the new mask types.

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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I think our sense was that normal masks and empty masks are probably used by most people 10x, 100x more frequently than the other much more specialised / niche use cash masks. For that reason we are much better off getting rid of the extra clicks for the standard masks, even if it makes it slightly less convenient to add the other mask types.

Managing Director

Help make our apps better by joining our beta program!


MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021) / Apple M1 Max / 64GB / macOS 12.0.1

iPad Pro 11-inch 3rd Gen / iPadOS 16.2

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The reversion to click and alt/opt-click for Mask and Empty Mask, respectively, is good.

I'm baffled that the mask button list hasn't been retained and made accessible by cmd-click (ctrl-click on Windows) on the mask button (in addition to commands in Layers menu).

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That could be done, but to be honest would make it very much an outlier in terms of any button in the app where a cmd-click does something different. Obviously alt-click is used a lot, we did initially think to just make alt-click bring up the menu and therefore make adding empty mask require two clicks, but was also wanting to get back to consistency with all personas in all apps. 

Managing Director

Help make our apps better by joining our beta program!


MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021) / Apple M1 Max / 64GB / macOS 12.0.1

iPad Pro 11-inch 3rd Gen / iPadOS 16.2

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I am of the opinion that I preferred the menu since it compiles everything in one place without going into the top menus, but I can see why adding the instant mask button was done. A modifier key to enable the menu again would be a nice middle ground, or alternatively add a new icon next to it to activate the menu. Would take up a bit of extra space, but it's worth considering at least.

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This is a nice change! It simplifies the process. One small thing I'd like to see adjusted with adding masks:

When you add a mask > paint once > then CTRL+Z to go back 1-step (undo paint brush), the mask gets completely removed.

Instead of removing the entire mask, I think it should just undo the single brush stroke.

 

1904592683_MaskSuggestion.jpg.a8bf8f3535179fc1f9eb9994bc46a613.jpg

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Not sure I'm going to benefit from this change:  An empty mask layer could have been assigned a shortcut key, but not the three new mask types. So, I'm now going to need to resort to using my mouse and ploughing through menus to find the three most useful masks I use when photo editing. Any chance they could be invoked by shortcut keys as the empty mask now is? I though personally, with my workflow, it was ideal as it was. Never thought I'd find something to complain about with AP! Unless of course I'm missing something.

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42 minutes ago, David66 said:

Not sure I'm going to benefit from this change:  An empty mask layer could have been assigned a shortcut key, but not the three new mask types. So, I'm now going to need to resort to using my mouse and ploughing through menus to find the three most useful masks I use when photo editing. Any chance they could be invoked by shortcut keys as the empty mask now is? I though personally, with my workflow, it was ideal as it was. Never thought I'd find something to complain about with AP! Unless of course I'm missing something

Hi and welcome to the beta forums! Thanks for this feedback. Overall here we are listening to what people think. It's hard for us to gauge in the sense that the way we changed it in V2.0 to have the drop down generated quite a lot of complaints about adding clicks to just add a mask. But of course it's not like we get the comments from people who really liked how we made it with having the drop down / who might not like us changing it back.

So all feedback at this point is valuable...

Managing Director

Help make our apps better by joining our beta program!


MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021) / Apple M1 Max / 64GB / macOS 12.0.1

iPad Pro 11-inch 3rd Gen / iPadOS 16.2

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51 minutes ago, David66 said:

An empty mask layer could have been assigned a shortcut key, but not the three new mask types. So, I'm now going to need to resort to using my mouse and ploughing through menus to find the three most useful masks I use when photo editing. Any chance they could be invoked by shortcut keys

Of course they can.

1297787367_ScreenShot2023-03-16at11_41_35AM.png.5320fe6d030cc2c08f12c67b67ea725e.png

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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My wrist appreciates less clicks. I use masks more frequently than most functions.

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1 hour ago, David66 said:

Not sure I'm going to benefit from this change:  An empty mask layer could have been assigned a shortcut key, but not the three new mask types. So, I'm now going to need to resort to using my mouse and ploughing through menus to find the three most useful masks I use when photo editing. Any chance they could be invoked by shortcut keys as the empty mask now is? I though personally, with my workflow, it was ideal as it was. Never thought I'd find something to complain about with AP! Unless of course I'm missing something.

F-keys are unassigned except F1 iirc if you are a heavy mask user. I understand what you mean though. I have looked a few times at getting a macro keyboard or a radial menu software setup on my machine but it is another thing to setup. The new mask options are very welcome and so I found myself using them regularly. This did mean accessing them plenty through the drop down menus.

 

Perhaps if Serif would prefer, they could create a floating masks toolpanel. Yes, another panel. But it could just be for mask activities. Especially since this is catering to Affinity's specific workflows involving non-destructive philosophy. Maybe a panel that allows adding masks quickly would be in order? Also the ability to load from saved selections this way on the fly somehow... I leave it to them in terms of how it would be laid out, but essentially make masking more enjoyable, more centralized around the core functionality of Photo, basically.

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (Build 19045)
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X @ 3.8Ghz (-30 all core +200mhz PBO); Mobo: Asus X470 Prime Pro
32GB DDR4 (3600Mhz); EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 3080 X3C Ultra 12GB
Monitor 1 4K @ 125% due to a bug
Monitor 2 4K @ 150%
Monitor 3 (as needed) 1080p @ 100%

WACOM Intuos4 Large; X-rite i1Display Pro; NIKON D5600 DSLR

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Sorry. In Photo  I use compound, hue and luminosity masks quite frequently and don't like the changes. 

Setting up the masks to select by hue and luminosity is painful enough as it is. Why add complications. (If macros would let me mov ethe masks a lot would be forgiven)

And why no colour picker for the hue mask?

If you look at PhotoLab you'll see  the sort of functionality that is possible with hue and luminosity masks.

 

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For my use, this simpler option is faster and much better.

I can, however, see the desire to have the other Live Masks exposed in the palette, maybe as suggested a second mask button or right click on the mask button to get the previous menu. The fact that all of these are available by custom keyboard shortcuts is ideal and much appreciated.

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I use hue, luminosity and compound masks often. I think clicking on the mask icon should generate a regular mask and command or option click could bring up the drop down menu. That should satisfy everyone. Going to the top menu would be inconvenient. Making special provisions for an empty mask isn't necessary since one could just invert the regular mask - that's what I do.

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Single click for a normal mask, long click for drop-down menu

Would that work for those users that prefer the "old" way?

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1 hour ago, carl123 said:

Single click for a normal mask, long click for drop-down menu

Would that work for those users that prefer the "old" way?

I agree up to some degree. I mean, for some people like me who suffers of carpal tunnel, long clicks put more strees in the wrist. But following your idea, what if right click on the mask icon is what invokes the drop-down menu?

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