Jump to content
rui_mac

Why does Dodge and Burn tools don't work on masks?

Recommended Posts

It just depends on how masks are interpreted.

To me, a mask is a greyscale image. White means opace, black means transparent.

And ALL professionals think like this.

I must respectfully disagree that all pros think like that. Many are fully aware that masks have no color or grayness of their own; that while they may be presented & sometimes manipulated as if they were grayscale images, they are in fact just a particular kind of alpha channel.

 

In fact, I think it would be unusual for anybody in the video industry to think of them as grayscale images.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know it can be hard to learn new methods. I spent 30 years as a professional Photoshop editor and it was hard to give up my old, trusted PS techniques. However, Affinity can do virtually everything PS can (sometimes better) but does occasionally need a different approach.

 

So . . to create your mask in Affinity

 

Pick your image layer, duplicate it

 

Apply a black and white adjustment layer,

Play around with the B/W adjustment colours to get a nice contrasty image, depending on what the main image colours are, This is far more flexible than choosing from the channels! (In some cases, you can benefit from tweaking the colour saturation levels first.)

Play around with levels, curves, shadows/highlights, contrast etc. You can even use the adjustment layer's mask to paint out part of that adjustment on a tricky area.

Apply dodge and burn, exactly as in the video.

You can even turn the layer opacity up or down at any time to see how everything is working.

 

Make a mask from it. OK, you can't work on the mask as well afterwards as PS, but the pre-mask stage is much better.

 

Tell me that is in any way inferior!

 

The main difference is, you are making the mask with layers with all the flexibility that gives, rather than rigid channels. It's even non-destructive and you have access to every tool and technique in the Affinity arsenal. Personally I think Photoshop "channel masking" is a bit old fashioned. The above method does the same job with quite a bit more control.


Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[…]

Make a mask from it. OK, you can't work on the mask as well afterwards as PS, but the pre-mask stage is much better.

Tell me that is in any way inferior!

No need to tell you toltec. You just did on the line above…

How can you pretend that your described workflow is non destructive while it's last step makes it even non-editable?

 

I've 100% quit this shit of Photoshop for about two years now. So if I was "thinking" Photoshop, I would be quite weird on my decision making to be productive and live from my work.

The described need on this topic has in the end nothing to do with Photoshop itself. Aperture is exactly using the same black & white concept for mask, as well as hundred of app out there, 2D or 3D.

There is a reason Affinity also renders it also and B&W.

It's an extremely efficient, not old fashioned, and powerful way to work. If you are not concerned by it or don't see it's potential, it's fine.

 

But toltec, I'm trying to understand you here… We would like the mask behaviour to be enhanced, for the good of it. Out of curiosity and rather than arguing against the feature itself, how would —your— work be impacted by a behaviour like the one we want? Because, my small brain is searching for valid reasons, and while a pixel B&W behaviour for masks would insanely help our workflow in Affinity, I don't see how yours would change since your work seems obviously not concerned.


WebSite.pngTwitter.png500px.pngFlickr.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been giving classes for over 20 years now and many of my students are professionals in the graphic arts and video areas (I give specialized classes to recent graduates and long time professionals) and ALL of them know that, when it comes to masks/alpha channels, white stands for opaque and black stands for transparent. It is almost a mnemonic for them because when they visualize a mask (an alpha channel) that is how it is shown.

Most of them deal with alpha channels, straight or pre-multiplied, as extra channels or as independent files and all, and I really mean ALL of those alpha channels (masks) are simply greyscale images. And they must be, since they all have to manipulate those alpha channels (masks) as any other image, blurring, contrasting, smudging, sharpening, etc.

And, internally, an alpha channels (mask) is stored as grid of 8 or 16 bit values, just like any other greyscale image.

So, there is no reason whatsoever to treat an alpha channel (mask) as something other than a greyscale image. There are only advantages in treating it as a greyscale image and be able to manipulate it as such.

But if anyone can point me out any huge disadvantage in doing so that greatly surpasses the advantages, please, tell me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I agree that it would be better if Affinity allowed more editing on masks but for now it doesn't.

 

I come from the era when Photoshop was lacking lots of features too (Version 3). I still had to do the job so I have had to find many workarounds over the years, until Photoshop caught up. Some of which involved lots of channels, like T Shirt printing.

 

Sometimes you just have to use what method is available.  :)


Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I'm even more old-school :)

I have been using Photoshop ever since version 1.0 !!!

And, besides Photoshop, I already lost count to how many other applications I used that deal with masks.
For the last 20 years I have been using and teaching 3D also. And, in 3D we also have alpha maps. And, guess what?!? They are greyscale images :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, Version 1. You must be older than you look  ;)

 

I can't even begin to imagine what it did, or didn't do.


Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been giving classes for over 20 years now and many of my students are professionals in the graphic arts and video areas (I give specialized classes to recent graduates and long time professionals) and ALL of them know that, when it comes to masks/alpha channels, white stands for opaque and black stands for transparent. It is almost a mnemonic for them because when they visualize a mask (an alpha channel) that is how it is shown.

My point was simply that "stands for" is not the same thing as "is." As you say, it is just a convenient way to visualize an alpha channel mask. Of course, if you think about it objectively, it is a little weird that black, the "color" that absorbs all light, stands for transparent but that convention has been in use for so long that everyone accepts it as normal.

 

I have no problems with, nor with adding the ability to use the dodge, burn, etc. tools on a mask.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, black=transparent sounds weird for graphic artists because to them, black is "all colors combined", because they use the subtractive system (CMYK) but is it obvious for the video-guys, because they use the addictive system (RGB) and, in there, black stands for "no light information" or "absence" :)

 

Anyways, all of those artists (print or video) assume that the alpha is just another image that is used to convey information about how the transparency/opacity of the color components should be shown.

 

And, since it is just another image, it should be possible to do whatever is possible to do with an image.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will be 46 years old, next September :)

 

Ha! You are just a kid. Add your age to how long you have been doing classes & that would still be shy of my age.

 

As for old-school thinking, I was doing darkroom work (black & white only) before Photoshop (or for that matter personal computers) even existed, so when I think of dodging & burning, I still think of something substantially different from the fancy digital versions with all their options.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course, if you think about it objectively, it is a little weird that black, the "color" that absorbs all light, stands for transparent

 

Would it really be any less weird if white, the 'colour' that reflects all light, stood for transparent? :P


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.1.404 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.1.143 • Designer for iPad 1.7.1.1 • iOS 12.3.1 (iPad Air 2)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Here is a movie I did, when I found an old copy of Photoshop lurking around. This is still pre-1.0 and the version I started using was, in fact, 1.0

But you can see how it was, back then :)

 

Thanks, I enjoyed that. Brought back a few memories, especially of the Mac desktop and ClarisWorks.


Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha! You are just a kid. Add your age to how long you have been doing classes & that would still be shy of my age.

 

As for old-school thinking, I was doing darkroom work (black & white only) before Photoshop (or for that matter personal computers) even existed, so when I think of dodging & burning, I still think of something substantially different from the fancy digital versions with all their options.

 

Yes, lots of dipping in trays of smelly chemicals and no wimpish undo button. Ah, those were the days  :rolleyes:

 

These youngsters don't know what they are missing.


Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would it really be any less weird if white, the 'colour' that reflects all light, stood for transparent? :P

The transition from physical/analog to virtual/digital has made many things that were once weird in one way weird in another. Factor in the nature of human visual perception & it all gets crazy weird if you think about it too much. We use mathematically contrived virtual color "spaces" to describe the colors of "real" space more or less as we see them but they are just approximations, imperfect models of a perceptive process that we do not even fully understand.

 

The only reason I mentioned black as a weird convention for representing transparency is from a physical standpoint it is the absence of all light, so in a sense it is the only absolute "color" that is the same in all spaces ... except that it isn't a color at all & nothing in the real world is a perfect black.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been using Photoshop ever since version 1.0 !!!

Bummer, I started at version 2. Before that though I did a lot of dodging and burning in the darkrooms of Department of Photography at the local University of Arts and Design.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The debate is silly and futile. I completely agree with rui_mac ... Masking in AP is horrible and illogical and it is the main reason many people can not switch to AP despite its many advantages and their wish to do so.

The developers are going the wrong route here anyway. They try to make some magic masks for hobby user to remove birds from sky and cars from selfies. Completely useless for serious work ... And those insulting automatic hair masking examples that can be sold only to someone who never did work on hair with low contrast relation to the background ...

The odd thing is the blur and sharpen tool work so I gather there is little technical reason for other tools not to edit it in edit mode. Should simply become a grayscale layer in this mode - that would fix it ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Hansha said:

The odd thing is the blur and sharpen tool work so I gather there is little technical reason for other tools not to edit it in edit mode. Should simply become a grayscale layer in this mode - that would fix it ...

Masks have neither color nor greyness. They have only an alpha channel & thus affect only the opacity of whatever they mask. If they became greyscale layers, they would add a grey cast to whatever they mask.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, R C-R said:

Masks have neither color nor greyness. They have only an alpha channel & thus affect only the opacity of whatever they mask. If they became greyscale layers, they would add a grey cast to whatever they mask.

BS. Hansha meant that masks, when they are alpha channels, should behave like grey channels when editing them. (Vector masks should behave like vector objects, obviously..)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Fixx said:

BS. Hansha meant that masks, when they are alpha channels, should behave like grey channels when editing them.

How do you burn or dodge an alpha channel that only affects opacity/transparency?

EDIT: This is a serious question. I don't understand what the expected affect should be, or how it would differ from painting on the mask with a grey brush color to change the opacity, as we can do now.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

R C-R, let me try to explain this slowly and clearly.

Internally, alpha channels are stored as a list of 8 bit or 16 bit values. Let us assume an 8 bit list, for the sake of this example.
A value of 0, means transparent. That is the opacity that will be applied to the RGB values, meaning that they will simply not be shown.
A value of 255, means fully opaque. That is the opacity that will be applied to the RGB values, meaning that they will simply be shown in full color.
Any other value between 0 and 255 will show the RGB values with different opacities.

But those alpha values (between 0 and 255) are shown as greyscale values because, in fact, they describe a greyscale image. And that is how you see an alpha channel: as a greyscale image.

Since it is shown as a greyscale (because it is simply a list of 8 bit values), and you can perform painting operations on it, there is simply NO REASON whatsoever for not being able to perform ALL operations that you could perform on a regular/official greyscale image.

You just have to imagine that an alpha channel is simply an extra channel, besides the Red, Green and Blue channels. Since each Red, Green and Blue channels are simply greyscale images by themselves, the extra (alpha) channel, is also a greyscale image.

If you export a set of frames from a 3D or video application an ask for the alpha to be exported as an independent files (required, when exporting frames in file formats that DON'T support extra channels besides RGB), guess what you get... an RGB file and a greyscale file.
So, alphas ARE greyscales.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, rui_mac said:

But those alpha values (between 0 and 255) are shown as greyscale values because, in fact, they describe a greyscale image.

They can be represented as a greyscale image for editing & visualization purposes but the opacity alpha channel is not actually a greyscale image. For that matter, neither are the RGB channels. Each of them is just a set of numeric values in an RGBA color model.

Edited by R C-R
added reference to RGBA

Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×