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Alex_M

[AP] How do I edit the mask of a Fill layer?

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So I created a fill layer but I can't figure out how to edit its mask. It seems that its mask layer doesn't work the same way as the masks I create from the layers panel. No matter what color brush I use, be it black or white, it always subtracts from the fill layer. :( In Photoshop the masks of Fill layers follow the same concept as any other mask - black brush for subtracting and white brush for adding to the mask.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 for Windows Windows 10 x64 1909  CPU AMD Threadripper 3970x  RAM 32 GB GPU GTX 1080 Ti FE 11GB NVMe SSD Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB  Monitor Eizo ColorEdge CS2420 24"

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It seems that its mask layer doesn't work the same way as the masks I create from the layers panel.

 

But that's precisely what they do. Use a black brush to mask out areas of the fill layer, use a white brush to make them visible. The only difference is that other than with pixel layers, the fill layer itself works as a mask. This means that you don't need to add a separate nested mask layer – but you can if you like and it'll then work like any other layer's mask.

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I already know that it has it's own mask but it doesn't work for me, as I already mentioned in my initial post. :( Please check the attached video I where I demonstrate the problem. What am I doing wrong?

 

 

fill_layer.mp4


Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 for Windows Windows 10 x64 1909  CPU AMD Threadripper 3970x  RAM 32 GB GPU GTX 1080 Ti FE 11GB NVMe SSD Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB  Monitor Eizo ColorEdge CS2420 24"

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From what I can tell, in Affinity a Fill layer (identified as "(Fill)" in the Layers panel) is neither an adjustment nor a normal pixel layer. For one thing, the Fill layers help topic says they "automatically resize to fill the page if the canvas size is modified" & "contain an adjustable solid or gradient colour."

 

Apparently, they have no built-in mask. They do not respond in the normal way to the Paint Brush tool -- it seems the hue & saturation values don't matter, only the lightness of the brush color does anything, & that is to erase inversely proportional to the L value, creating transparency (set L to zero in the Colors panel HSL mode to create full transparency). The opacity, Hardness, etc. of the Brush tool do work, so this may be a way to create mask (mask-like?) effects on a fill layer.

 

However, unless you want to keep the auto-resize feature, it is probably simpler just to choose "Rasterize" from the Layer panel popup to convert the Fill layer to a regular one & apply a mask to that.


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
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I've just tried your suggestion by setting the Color Chooser to HSL mode, dropped down the H and S sliders to 0 and tried various different grayscale colors with he L slider and my brush strokes still don't have any effect on the fill layer. It still completely subtracts from the fill layer no matter the grayscale value of the brush. Does it work for you?

 

Rasterizing the fill layer defeats the purpose of it.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 for Windows Windows 10 x64 1909  CPU AMD Threadripper 3970x  RAM 32 GB GPU GTX 1080 Ti FE 11GB NVMe SSD Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB  Monitor Eizo ColorEdge CS2420 24"

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It still completely subtracts from the fill layer no matter the grayscale value of the brush.

 

In your first step when you create your new document, make sure that you have the "Transparent background" option checked. It should then work as expected.

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Apparently, they have no built-in mask. They do not respond in the normal way to the Paint Brush tool -- it seems the hue & saturation values don't matter, only the lightness of the brush color does anything, & that is to erase inversely proportional to the L value, creating transparency (set L to zero in the Colors panel HSL mode to create full transparency).

 

How is this any different from the behavior of the paintbrush tool on adjustment layers or live filters? You use the paint brush tool and a black, white or any shade of grey brush color to control the transparency of specific areas of the layer. By definition, this is manipulating the mask or, in other words, the alpha channel of the layer.

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In your first step when you create your new document, make sure that you have the "Transparent background" option checked. It should then work as expected.

 

Nope, still doesn't work. Besides, why does it matter if the background is transparent or not?


Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 for Windows Windows 10 x64 1909  CPU AMD Threadripper 3970x  RAM 32 GB GPU GTX 1080 Ti FE 11GB NVMe SSD Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB  Monitor Eizo ColorEdge CS2420 24"

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I've just tried your suggestion by setting the Color Chooser to HSL mode, dropped down the H and S sliders to 0 and tried various different grayscale colors with he L slider and my brush strokes still don't have any effect on the fill layer. It still completely subtracts from the fill layer no matter the grayscale value of the brush. Does it work for you?

 

Rasterizing the fill layer defeats the purpose of it.

The H & S values are irrelevant. As a test, just set the L value to (for example) 50, select the Fill layer, select the Paint Brush, & set (again, for example) Opacity to 100%, Hardness to 100%, Blend Mode to Normal, & turn off Wet Edges & Protect Alpha in the Brush tool's Context toolbar.

 

Paint on the Fill layer with the brush. This will result in the opacity of the Fill layer being reduced to 50% wherever you brush. However, you wont see anything different unless either there is layer below the Fill layer to show through or the Fill layer's color is not white (the default when the document is not set to use a transparent background).

 

So try this with document transparency turned on, or with a bright Fill layer fill color like a fully saturated green, or a photo image or pixel layer below the Fill layer to make sure your test has obvious results. Once you see this, you can try varying brush hardness, opacity, etc. to see how that affects the Fill layer.

 

@kaffeeundsalz, This differs from working on adjustment or live filter layers because there is no mask -- you are "painting" directly on the Fill layer itself. There are no options to refine or release the mask, no separate nested adjustment or live filter layers to access.


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
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Nope, still doesn't work. Besides, why does it matter if the background is transparent or not?

 

It actually doesn't. This was just a quick idea that turned out to be useless. To make this clear: The behavior in your video is absolutely not how it's supposed to work. I'm completely unable to reproduce this here, and apparently, neither can R C-R. However, we're both on Macs, so I can't say whether your problem is related to the Windows version.

 

Could you just try and reset all your brush settings? Just to make sure that you haven't accidentally messed up any of the advanced options (which could prevent the brush from normal behavior)? If this still won't do the trick, I'm out of ideas. Sorry.

 

@kaffeeundsalz, This differs from working on adjustment or live filter layers because there is no mask -- you are "painting" directly on the Fill layer itself. There are no options to refine or release the mask, no separate nested adjustment or live filter layers to access.

 

But then again, when painting on a fill layer, the luminance of the brush color gets translated to the opacity vaule of the fill layer – just like on a mask. You actually said the same thing above. There is no actual color information applied to the layer itself. Also, both fill layers and adjustment layers do have a single alpha channel accessible from the channels panel.

 

You're right that you can't release a mask from a fill layer, but the same is true for adjustment layers as long you use the internal mask of the layer and not a separate nested mask layer (which is also possible as I've mentioned above). It's also true that mask refinement doesn't work on fill layers, but essentially all other mask-related operations do (like e.g. cmd+click for loading the mask as a selection or click+drag to reposition the mask).

 

If really the only difference is that you can't access the Refine Mask command on fill layers, I'd suspect this to be either a bug or a pure technical limitation that is completely unnecessary from a user's point of view.

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The behavior in your video is absolutely not how it's supposed to work. I'm completely unable to reproduce this here, and apparently, neither can R C-R. However, we're both on Macs, so I can't say whether your problem is related to the Windows version.

 

I can't reproduce it here either on my Mac, so maybe this is a bug in the Windows version.

 

Maybe someone using the Windows version can check this & see if they get the same results as in the video ....


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
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...To make this clear: The behavior in your video is absolutely not how it's supposed to work. I'm completely unable to reproduce this here, and apparently, neither can R C-R. However, we're both on Macs, so I can't say whether your problem is related to the Windows version.

 

I can't reproduce it here either on my Mac, so maybe this is a bug in the Windows version.

 

Maybe someone using the Windows version can check this & see if they get the same results as in the video ....

 

What the OP shows in the video is how it operates for me as well, so perhaps it is indeed a Windows specific issue.

 

The Brush tool works differently when drawing directly on Fill layer to mask it (as opposed to an Adjustment layer) and acts like an Erase Brush tool, regardless of brush colour.  If you make a selection though and fill it with white or black (Using Shift + F5), black and white work as expected.

 

As a workaround it's possible to toggle the Fill layer by going to Layer > Invert (Ctrl + I), use the paint brush tool, then toggle it back again, which makes it possible to add/remove from the mask using the Brush tool. Although this isn't 100% reliable as sometimes the brush can paint somewhere between 0 and 255 Alpha (not sure why) with no way of changing it.

 

Therefore, I'd just treat Fill layers like normal pixel/image layers.  Add a layer mask to it and draw on that layer mask instead of directly on the layer itself.

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As a workaround it's possible to toggle the Fill layer by going to Layer > Invert (Ctrl + I), use the paint brush tool, then toggle it back again, which makes it possible to add/remove from the mask using the Brush tool. Although this isn't 100% reliable as sometimes the brush can paint somewhere between 0 and 255 Alpha (not sure why) with no way of altering it.

Thanks for the info. It sounds like a Windows-only bug to me, something inverting the Fill layer at least partially avoids triggering. Regarding the variable alpha, have you tried using the HSL color selector for the brush & varying the L value (H & S won't make any difference)?

Therefore, I'd just treat Fill layers like normal pixel/image layers.  Add a layer mask to it and draw on that layer mask instead of directly on the layer itself.

 

Since Fill layers are supposed to auto-size to the full canvas dimensions, what happens to the mask if you do that & then change the canvas size?


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 
1.8.3.180 & Affinity Designer 1.8.3.2 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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On 25/6/2017 at 1:59 PM, Alex_M said:

I already know that it has it's own mask but it doesn't work for me, as I already mentioned in my initial post. :( Please check the attached video I where I demonstrate the problem. What am I doing wrong?

 

 

fill_layer.mp4

Hi the problem is now solved with the last actualization, a question, how did you move all color sliders at the same time? thanks

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