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Kevin Ar18

Can you edit layer masks like a normal layer?

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I have Windows, so can't check...

 

Description:

In GIMP, layer masks are treated the same as layers in the sense that you can edit the layer masks using all the same tools you can use to edit layers (drawing, filters, etc...).  In addition, changes you make to the mask show up live on the entire image, just like editing a normal layer.  You can also switch between editing the mask and the layer with a single click.

 

In Serif Photo, you can not edit a mask directly, but have to first detach it, then edit it, then reattach it to see if it's the effect you wanted... a frustrating process.

 

Does Affinity Photo allow live editing of masks with ALL the same tools you can use in normal layers... without having to attach/detach the mask?

If not, where can I post this as a feature suggestion?

 

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Hi Kevin, yes, you can edit layer masks using all the conventional tools - paint brush, eraser, gradient/fill tool, clone/healing brush etc. No detaching required!

 

Additionally, all adjustment and live filter layers you add inherently have their own mask, so you don't need to add separate layer masks to them in order to mask their effect.

 

There's a tutorial video on Layer Masks here which will allow you to see some of the functionality: https://vimeo.com/130972598

 

Hope that helps!


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Hi Peter,

You can apply a Curves Adjustment to a mask however it  doesn't change mask's pixel data directly, it only affects the mask non-destructively, that is, you see the results of the adjustment affecting the mask output, however the pixels on the mask itself don't change.

To do this drag a Curves Adjustment over the thumbnail of a mask until a small vertical blue line appears, then change the Curves Adjustement dropdown on bottom from Master to Alpha. Drag the graph curve/add point and you should see it affecting (non-destructively or just visually if you prefer) the mask.

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I see, fantastic, thank you! Great to be able to do this non-destructively as well.

 

But to be honest, I think this feature would be much easier to discover and also much faster to use if the Curves layer was added in the correct nesting position automatically if a mask is selected in the layers panel. Thus the workflow would be as simple as Select layer mask and press Cmd+M. Ideally, the user would even be presented with the drop down in the Curves dialog set to "Alpha" already.

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Could someone please explain a bit more about curves adjustments or direct me to a tutorial.


Mac MacBook Pro 15 in.  OS X 10.9.5, Mid 2012 456.77 GB Affinity Design and Photo.

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When you require to do something complicated with a mask, then it is sometimes easier to play with a mask as with normal pixel layer.  To do this you have to convert the mask into greyscale pixel layer. You have to choose mask layer first and then in the channels panel find "your mask name" alpha channel. For alpha channel, there is the menu (right mouse click) with "Create Grayscale Layer" option. This option lets you to create the normal pixel layer which can be edited as usual.

 

Other layers can be deactivated or blocked with an additional black pixel layer or what is sometimes better newly created mask layer. When you are happy with the result you can create a new mask using Rasterize To Mask from layers menu. In this case, the whole group will be converted to mask. If you want to keep group, you can use Merge Visible and then convert the newly created layer to mask.

 

You do not have to use groups, but this permits you to keep a history of mask creation. What is more important - such groups can be utilized as templates for other masks. You can also utilize tools which are unusual when we think about masks. For example, you can use vector graphic to make the mask.

 

You can also utilize spare channels for such operations like adding, subtracting or intersecting. In this case, you are going through pixel selection layer. From any colour channel, you can create a spare channel and load this extra channel to pixel selection. It means that in Affinity Photo we have full round-trip: from selection to mask and from a mask to grayscale and from grayscale to selection.

 

Do not forget to deactivate group or greyscale layer when you want go back to normal editing tasks.

 

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In Serif Photo, you can not edit a mask directly, but have to first detach it, then edit it, then reattach it to see if it's the effect you wanted... a frustrating process.

 

Assuming you mean Serif PhotoPlus, that is not the case. You can select the mask for editing by clicking on its thumbnail in the Layers tab, or by choosing 'Mask > Edit Mask' from the Layers menu; choose 'Mask > View Mask' (also on the Layers menu) if you want to see the mask itself, rather than its effect.


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Assuming you mean Serif PhotoPlus, that is not the case. You can select the mask for editing by clicking on its thumbnail in the Layers tab, or by choosing 'Mask > Edit Mask' from the Layers menu; choose 'Mask > View Mask' (also on the Layers menu) if you want to see the mask itself, rather than its effect.

 

In Affinity Photo you can edit mask attached to layer but with only limited number of tools. Mask editing can be a frustrating process but only in a situation when you rely on other programs behavior. This is a problem for designers because Affinity Photo should not have to be an exact copy of any other program GIMP included.

 

So forget about GIMP, PS, whatever. Try to build the new mindset for Affinity Photo and all frustrations will go away. I am not sure if this is the case, but masks in Affinity Photo are connected conceptually with an idea of selection or qualification. This is in my opinion better approach than thinking about masks as normal layers.

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 I am not sure if this is the case, but masks in Affinity Photo are connected conceptually with an idea of selection or qualification. This is in my opinion better approach than thinking about masks as normal layers.

"Qualification" is a term I haven't heard used outside of movie grading apps such as Da Vinci Resolve. Interesting to hear it used here.

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I have been asking for this ability for sooooo long.
Since Affinity Photo debuted, actually.

Working with masks the same way we can work with a simple greyscale image, using all the tools, filters, adjustments, etc, is a must.

I even created a few movies showing what is the usual workflow, when using masks.

 

Here it is one of them:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6H_8gjX-eI

 

And another:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kqp1xuYBYco

 

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"Qualification" is a term I haven't heard used outside of movie grading apps such as Da Vinci Resolve. Interesting to hear it used here.

 

What is more important, features of color grading apps should be used in photo editing applications. Grade wheels for lift - gamma - gain or HSL qualification tools for example. You can emulate the behavior of grading app in Affinity but it slows you down.

 

In the same time we have in Affinity vectorscope and waveform graphs but in very small windows and without proper tools in the user interface. This is not a problem when you perform secondary corrections in Affinity but primary one for RAW is a nightmare. So I do primary correction in other software (Capture One, DxO or even RawTherapee) and then transfer results to Affinity for a secondary one.

 

This is a common misconception that color grading or color correction is primarily about fixing problems and dealing with broadcast safe issues. You grade film because you want it to look as good as it can. You "color grade" photographs for the same reason. In my opinion, we should take as much as we can from color grading community experience. 

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What is more important, features of color grading apps should be used in photo editing applications. Grade wheels for lift - gamma - gain or HSL qualification tools for example. You can emulate the behavior of grading app in Affinity but it slows you down.

 

In the same time we have in Affinity vectorscope and waveform graphs but in very small windows and without proper tools in the user interface. This is not a problem when you perform secondary corrections in Affinity but primary one for RAW is a nightmare. So I do primary correction in other software (Capture One, DxO or even RawTherapee) and then transfer results to Affinity for a secondary one.

 

This is a common misconception that color grading or color correction is primarily about fixing problems and dealing with broadcast safe issues. You grade film because you want it to look as good as it can. You "color grade" photographs for the same reason. In my opinion, we should take as much as we can from color grading community experience. 

Thanks for the info I will take a look at Capture One, DxO and RawTherapee, they sound interesting. I was delighted when I found that AP has a vectorscope. I infinitely prefer it to the more common histogram.

 

Are you a colourist or do you simply know the colourist's terms from somewhere else?

 

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I completely agree that we should have features that are common in film software inside of still image editing packages. Just compare the ridiculously ineffective brush-based masking in Lightroom with the variable feathering of vector shapes in pretty much any respectable color grading or rotoscoping software. These programs are essentially solving the same basic problem, but mostly due to Adobe's monopoly in the stills image editing market and every other contender copying only them, we are left with this bizarre divergence between tools for stills and motion.

 

Features like better scopes, spline-based warper, proper keyers (or at least a linear non-destructive HSL keyer), vector masking with variable feathering, three-way color correctors, OpenFX plugin support, particle systems, 2.5D compositing, Python scripting and so on should definitely make their way into Affinity at some point in my opinion.

 

I think the reason why these are not inside of Photoshop yet is likely because Adobe thinks in "markets", as opposed to, say, "common sense". Most of the semi-recent development in Photoshop has been focussed either on making the software attractive for new markets (built-in 3D rendering, scientific tools like measurements etc.) or on reacting to other software threatening their market domination in a specific sector (when Sketch started being a serious contender for UI design, Photoshop got features like Artboards). Plus there is usually one flashy thing based on recent research that can be bolted on without too much change to any of the existing code that keeps the existing customer base happy.

 

I'm pretty sure their thinking goes something like "Waveform monitors are a video feature, but video people don't edit videos in Photoshop, only stills for bringing into Premiere or After Effects. Also, none of our photographers in the focus group test have requested this feature, they don't even know such a thing exists because it's not in Photoshop. It would be a pain to market it to them and they don't seem to need it. Let's rather add a panel that makes it really easy for us to sell them stock photos for composites and actually increase our revenue this way.". And I'm not being facetious, I have a fear that's what their actual conversations are like.

 

In fact, if you think about it, there is even no logical reason why After Effects and Photoshop should be two completely separate programs, with completely different code bases, implementing the same effects. The only reason is the fact that Adobe bought After Effects and never bothered to refactor everything to the point where they could actually at least share parts of the code. That's why we're still stuck with the 1990ies "Clouds" filter in Photoshop and there is the infinitely more powerful "Fractal Noise" in After Effects for instance.

 

But I'm afraid this is getting a bit off-topic.

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But I'm afraid this is getting a bit off-topic.

 

We do that sometimes. Er ..... quite often in fact ......  ;)

But your post is still AP relevant. It is odd that the tool sets of photography and film/tv are so different. I don't do hands on movie grading myself - I sit beside a professional colourist. I have two really first class colourists I work with whenever I can - one for TV and one for Screen. I have total respect for their skill and their fineness of eye far exceeds my own.

 

So when Da Vinci Resolve became available for free download I grabbed a copy to play with on my MacPro so I could better appreciate what they do. Best fun I've had out of bed for a long time! ....... and it increased my respect for them even further ........... 

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There is actually not much difference in terms of what you are trying to achieve in a still photo raw converter or raster editor and a high-end color grading suite. The rules of what makes a great image don't change between the two.

 

It's just that some things are much harder to do in one world than the other. For instance, I do a lot less relighting and masking in stills software since it's just too cumbersome and rather fussy to adjust after the fact because there are no decent vector masks. Or things like the missing HSL curves (the artifact-prone HSL sliders are a poor substitute).

 

Conversely, the highlight/shadow recovery sliders from stills software would be quite useful when grading video/film. However, these are not point operators but actually localized adjustments, so it's more processor intensive to compute them in real time of course, so it's kind of understandable.

 

For very challenging color casts, I have actually used the (rather limited) waveform in Affinity and then manually transferred my curves into other software like Photoshop or Capture One when necessary in the past. Before that, I have used a somewhat slow Pixel Bender shader for AE/Photoshop that I had written to do the same thing, but Adobe broke that workflow when they decided to remove Pixel Bender Toolkit from their software without warning, so I was quite thrilled to see that RGB Waveform feature in Affinity.

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I have Windows, so can't check...

 

Description:

In GIMP, layer masks are treated the same as layers in the sense that you can edit the layer masks using all the same tools you can use to edit layers (drawing, filters, etc...).  In addition, changes you make to the mask show up live on the entire image, just like editing a normal layer.  You can also switch between editing the mask and the layer with a single click.

 

(...)

 

Does Affinity Photo allow live editing of masks with ALL the same tools you can use in normal layers... without having to attach/detach the mask?

If not, where can I post this as a feature suggestion?

 

Back to topic... As I stated in my post #10 you can do whatever you want with masks but not with "one click". You create masks "with one click" using selection tools and refine. The problem is: you have some kind of workflow based on GIMP, Photoshop, whatever and with Affinity some operations are different. In this moment your workflow collapsed.
 
My question is: is there anybody here interested in the full tutorial how we can obtain the FINAL result in Affinity? (Not video! with click here and next there) I am not interested in "mimicking" Photoshop or GIMP but rather in particular problems we encounter during photo editing.

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I have been using Affinity photo since a month now, and have been using masks very extensively. But today I was adding a mask, but wasn't able to edit it, using the paint brush tool (Tried Black/White all colours). Please help. I checked everything .. my mask layer is selected when I am trying to modify it.

 

Screenshot attached (The circular brush/cursor should show me the preview of the brush effect on the mask ... correct? ... but it doesn't). Please suggest what am I doing wrong?

Affinity Help.jpg

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Try switching off "Protect Alpha" in the context tool bar for the brush


Due to the fact that Boris Johnson is now our Prime Minister, punctuation, spelling and grammar will never be worried about ever again.  We now have far bigger problems to be worried about.

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Minor question/suggestion. Is it possible to attach a adjustment layer to a mask?

Let's say I have something in the mask, say gradient or BW copy of a specific layer or part of. Now, I decide to that it's not enough, in Gimp I could attach levels or curves and fix these (move black point or white point, or anything) to suite my needs.

Another example is having a part of a photo makes out (ie black spot on a white mask), now I decide that I want to control the transparency. If I modify the mask transparency I can only "remove" from the image. With levels or curves I could do a simple curve modification to change it the black color to whatever Grey I desire.

 

Am I missing something or is this not possible for now in AP? If not, maybe it's a viable option.


"I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK, I sleep all night, and I work all day..."

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Hi,

1. Thanks

2. Created a issue with this on beta:

 

3. Is it possible to do the same to adjustment layers? Or do I have to put these layers into a group?


"I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK, I sleep all night, and I work all day..."

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