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Alex_M

[APh]Can't flatten document if there's no pixel layer at the bottom of layers list?

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I'm unable to flatten the document with "merge selected" (Ctrl+Shift+E) if there's no pixel layer at the bottom of the layers list. Why do I need to have a pixel layer there for this to work? I don't get it.  :mellow:  In Photoshop I can flatten the whole document no matter what kind of layers are there and their order.

 

Please see the screenshot below.

post-48369-0-68520400-1487381339_thumb.png


Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 for Windows Windows 10 x64 1903  CPU AMD Threadripper 1950X @3.9 Ghz  RAM 32 GB GPU GTX 1080 Ti FE 11GB NVMe SSD Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB

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I think you have to add option key to the keymix. Anyway, I think problem has to do nothing with pixel layer or its absence. My system merges happily regardless the bottom layer type.

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I get similar results to Alex_M: Merge Selected does nothing in Affinity Photo if applied to a collection of layers containing groups and/or vectors unless there is a pixel layer at the bottom of the Layers panel.

 

This behavior is alluded to but not made very clear in the Merging and flattening help topic:

Merging layers combines multiple layers together. Pixel, vector, mask, adjustment or image layers can be merged into a new merged layer or into the first available pixel layer beneath it in the layer stack.
{…}

Any non-pixel layer existing between the layers to be merged will not be included in the merge.

 

 

 However, from the same help topic:

To flatten all layers:
From the Document menu, select Flatten.
The document will then contain a single flattened layer.

 

This works perfectly, whether or not there is a pixel layer at the bottom of the Layers panel, & there is no need to select any layers.  :)


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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I have groups of shapes (vector), Merge creates a merged new layer leaving originals as they are, which is the expected behaviour (well, logic would say originals should be trashed..)

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I have groups of shapes (vector), Merge creates a merged new layer leaving originals as they are, which is the expected behaviour (well, logic would say originals should be trashed..)

I think you are referring to the Merge Visible option, right? Merge Selected works differently, displaying (at least for me) the same behavior Alex_M reported.

 

The help topic section for Merge Selected says this:

▾ To merge selected layers:

1. On the Layers panel, select multiple layers using ⌘-click or ⇧-click.

2. From the Layer menu, select Merge Selected.

The selected layers merge down into the lowest layer in the selection.

 

That last sentence is somewhat misleading, since from what I can tell the lowest layer must be a pixel one or it does nothing.

 

The Merge Down section is more informative, saying "The selected layer merges with the first available pixel layer beneath it," but there is still room for improvement.

 

There is also the Copy Merged command on the Edit menu that copies all visible layers to the clipboard, which together with New From Clipboard would be another way to get a flattened version of the document, & equally as non-destructive as Merge Visible (which is probably why it does not trash the originals).

 

So the app provides multiple ways to flatten a document -- it is just that they are not all documented as well as they could be.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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Ok, I'll submit a bug report then, I think it might be a bug or something. I think we should be able to do Merge Selected no matter what layers we do this operation on. This is how it works in Photoshop and IMHO this is how it should work here too, no point in making it more difficult just to be different than Photoshop. There's no logic in having to create empty pixel layers every time you want to merge selected items in the layer list. It's a waste of time.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 for Windows Windows 10 x64 1903  CPU AMD Threadripper 1950X @3.9 Ghz  RAM 32 GB GPU GTX 1080 Ti FE 11GB NVMe SSD Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB

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I don't think it is a bug or done just to be different from Photoshop. Merge Visible already provides a way to merge selected items, & like so many other things in Affinity, it is a non-destructive operation. It is also easy enough to add a keyboard shortcut for the Document menu > Flatten command if you regularly want to destructively flatten the entire document, or add one to the Edit menu > Copy Merged command if that works better for your workflow.

 

Affinity Photo was never intended to be a cheaper version of Photoshop. It is designed from the ground up to be part of a suite of apps that can be used separately or together as seamlessly as possible. It does not do everything the same way as Photoshop does in part because of that, & in part to avoid some of the 'under the hood' things Photoshop does not do very well, like eating up lots of memory or incessantly paging out data to scratch disks to be able to handle large documents. That in turn enables AP to do some very useful things like pan & zoom at very high refresh rates & provide nearly instantaneous previews of layer modes & many effects, even on modestly performing systems.

 

So basically, if you expect it to do everything the same as Photoshop, you are certain to be disappointed. However, if you can adapt your workflow to take advantages of its strengths & minimize its weaknesses you might find it to be a good alternative to Adobe's suite of apps ... & much easier on your wallet as well.  :)


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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I don't think it is a bug or done just to be different from Photoshop. Merge Visible already provides a way to merge selected items, & like so many other things in Affinity, it is a non-destructive operation. It is also easy enough to add a keyboard shortcut for the Document menu > Flatten command if you regularly want to destructively flatten the entire document, or add one to the Edit menu > Copy Merged command if that works better for your workflow.

 

Maybe the title was a bit misleading. At first I wanted to flatten the whole document but now I also want to know how can I flatten just the selected items. So Merge Selected in my view can't be considered fully working and fool-proof because, as evident, if no pixel layer is at the bottom it won't work.

 

Affinity Photo was never intended to be a cheaper version of Photoshop. It is designed from the ground up to be part of a suite of apps that can be used separately or together as seamlessly as possible. It does not do everything the same way as Photoshop does in part because of that, & in part to avoid some of the 'under the hood' things Photoshop does not do very well, like eating up lots of memory or incessantly paging out data to scratch disks to be able to handle large documents. That in turn enables AP to do some very useful things like pan & zoom at very high refresh rates & provide nearly instantaneous previews of layer modes & many effects, even on modestly performing systems.

 

So basically, if you expect it to do everything the same as Photoshop, you are certain to be disappointed. However, if you can adapt your workflow to take advantages of its strengths & minimize its weaknesses you might find it to be a good alternative to Adobe's suite of apps ... & much easier on your wallet as well.  :)

 

But why do things slower and more unintuitively just to be different? Why not be different and smarter/faster? I'm not saying this out of spite but in order to try and help the product get better by sharing my experience with it as a user. :)

 

I still submitted a bug report because nowhere in the help file does it say that you explicitly have to put a pixel layer at the bottom of the layers/groups you've selected in order to merge them.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 for Windows Windows 10 x64 1903  CPU AMD Threadripper 1950X @3.9 Ghz  RAM 32 GB GPU GTX 1080 Ti FE 11GB NVMe SSD Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB

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To flatten just selected items, have you tried using Merge Visible or Copy Merged according to the directions in the help topic?

 

I don't see anything about merging that is done just to be different. Each of the options is well suited to certain workflows. I particularly like basing merges on what is currently visible -- it makes it easy to avoid discovering too late that a layer I did not want to include is now merged with what I did & I will have to do a lot of tedious work to remove it from the flattened version.

 

That, along with making everything as non-destructive as possible, is I believe a smarter way to go. Of course, YMMV.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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Ah ok. I did select Merge Visible and that was not the OP problem. True, Merge Selected has behaviour which is not explained anywhere. Maybe it should be renamed (though it is still unclear what is the purpose of it..).

 

Anyway, if you just want to flatten all go Document> Flatten – hidden layers are thrown away and you get one pixel layer.

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