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When I start a new document with a non transparent background the BG is shown in white ... when adding a pixel layer now BG is shown white but the thumbnail shows the BG in black (or similar). Is this a bug? From my understanding unless the BG is NOT transparent there needs to  be some kind of BG colour (and consequently some kind of "layer" containing this colour). Even if only a textlayer is applied the BG is exported as shown (white). Is it some kind of imaginative BG that still is exported but can't be edited nor it is shown in the layers list and where I can't choose the colour of? This seems not easy to understand and somehow inconsistent to me. Maybe I did not fully understand the concept?

Cheers, Timo

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When I start a new document with a non transparent background the BG is shown in white ... when adding a pixel layer now BG is shown white but the thumbnail shows the BG in black (or similar).

Do you mean the thumbnail of the new pixel layer? If so, that is just because it is empty so there is nothing for the layer's thumbnail to show. Draw something on it & the thumbnail should update to show that.

 

The canvas background (not to be confused with a layer named "Background") is not a layer & has no color of its own. Since there is no way to show that, if the document is set to use a transparent background the characteristic checkerboard pattern is shown; otherwise a default while background is used. Neither one is part of the document; they are just visual aids.

 

When exporting to formats that do not support or use transparency, you have the option to set the document background color -- this is available in the "Matte:" color rectangular swatch of the File menu > Export > More settings & in the Export Persona > Export Options tab.

 

Just click on the color swatch to pop up a color picker if you want to set that to something other than the default. A white swatch with a diagonal red line through it is the "no color" indicator; in the picker it is represented by a tiny white circle with the red line, the same as in the Color Studio panel & elsewhere in the UI.


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
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Hi R C-R ... thanks for the explanation!

And yes I was referrring tho the thumbnail of the empty pixel layer. I thinks it's just irritation showing the canvas background in "white" but effectively it is not available (maybe transparent). Of course once I start drawing on the pixel layer things I did are shown in the thumbnail ... still the thumbnail more or less stays black in the transparent areas while the canvas still shows white ... I wonder if it wouldn't be generally better to have the canvas displayed as transparent (in chekerboard optic)? I'm aware you can set this option when you generate a new file.

Being in the export persona and selectiong JPG as file format the parameters still offer "no matte" or "no colour" as you mentioned (white rectangular with a diagonal red line inside) as a standard selection ... shouldn't that be "white" instead - because that's what gets exported in JPG (since JPG does not have the transparency option)? From what it looks like you can't even set "matte" to white ...


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Being in the export persona and selectiong JPG as file format the parameters still offer "no matte" or "no colour" as you mentioned (white rectangular with a diagonal red line inside) as a standard selection ... shouldn't that be "white" instead - because that's what gets exported in JPG (since JPG does not have the transparency option)? From what it looks like you can't even set "matte" to white ...

I am unable to duplicate this for JPEG format exports, either for the four JPEG presets or for the Edit Export Options for selected slices. There is no white rectangular swatch with a diagonal red line in the Matte choices when the JPEG export format is selected.

 

It defaults to white, but it can be set to any color using the HSL color wheel or any of the other popup color pickers available when I click on the Matte rectangle. There is always a way in each of those pickers to change the color back to white, for example by moving the selection dot on the color wheel to the white tip of the triangle, moving sliders to the appropriate values, or just clicking on the tiny white dot next to the eyedropper icon. But none of these pickers has a "no color" option unless I change to a format that supports transparency.

 

I am not sure what you mean about the canvas background. It is not a layer nor is it available to draw on; it is a property of the document itself. There must be some way to show the difference between a transparent & non-transparent document, for example when importing a PNG which many or may not have a transparent background.

 

I do not know if you are irritated by the difference in the display of the background of the canvas & the background of a partially transparent layer's thumbnail. I suppose the thumbnail could mimic the checkerboard pattern for the transparent parts, but it is so small that isn't very practical.


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
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Hmm, maybe there's a misunderstanding or a bug somewhere. When starting a new picture and exporting it as JPG, there seems to be no possibility to put the "Matte" setting to white .... it automatically switches to "no colour". This is the same in the pixel persona with "Export" or the export persona options. See below:

Export in "pixel persona":
post-29950-0-48346900-1498909724_thumb.jpg
The original docuzment is larger than the photo. The photo is on an seperate image layer not affecting the surrounding transparent canvas.

 

Export options in "export persona"

post-29950-0-28848900-1498909798_thumb.jpg

 

I'm pretty sure "no colour" is the only option that is no option in JPG for the canvas. Interestingly enough you can select any other colour, but when you set RGB to 255, 255, 255 it automatically switches back to "no colour". Proper white is no option for the matte.

What I find irritating as well is that for PDF I can't even define a matte colour?!. Even more irritating: PSD format easily can reflect  image transparencies, but is exported as a white bg layer and the other layers on top. You can not even choose if you want to export the non-existing canvas or what colour the matte has got (very inconsisten - even thoughh you can easily delete the BG layer in PS). I think PS is far more consequent here: If there is a canvas (and a new picture obviously has a canvas) than it has a colour (AP makes it a fake and non existing white) that is put on a dedicated layer in PS (background). Even an transparent BG is a pixel layer without content in PS (and you can use it as such)

Cheers, Timo


iCore i7-3770, 3.50GHz, 32GB RAM, SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570, Windows 7 Enterprise 64Bit, SP 1 - AP and AD latest final & beta
http://www.timobierbaum.com

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Since there is no way to show that, if the document is set to use a transparent background the characteristic checkerboard pattern is shown; otherwise a default while background is used. Neither one is part of the document; they are just visual aids.

 

This is not entirely true, R C-R. Create a document that has a white, non-transparent background, add some objects, and export to a file format that is Alpha channel aware, such as PNG. Regardless of your Matte setting (see below!), you will get a white background in your exported file. If you want to have a transparent background in your exported file, you will have to select background transparency for your document, and that means, your document canvas must show the checkerboard pattern. So these are not just visual aids.

 

When starting a new picture and exporting it as JPG, there seems to be no possibility to put the "Matte" setting to white .... it automatically switches to "no colour".

 

This is definitely a bug, Timo, for the JPEG file format is not Alpha channel aware, and therefore it does not make sense to offer the “Transparent” for the Matte setting. The Mac version is correct here. I would report this in the Bugs on Windows section.

 

Hope that helps …  :)

Alex

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In short:

  • If you want to have a transparent background in your exported file, select Document > Transparent Background, set Matte to Transparent (red strike-through) and export to an Alpha channel aware format.
  • If you want to have a colored, non-transparent background in your exported file, forget about the menu option Document > Transparent Background and (a.) either use a bottom layer filled with the desired color or (b.) set Matte to the desired color in your export dialogue. Then export your file. In the latter case, your Matte setting will overrule your document background settings, so there is no need to care about a particular choice.

In Designer you can use the same settings. Does that make sense?  :)

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Maybe this is a Windows only bug because I never see the white-with-red-slash "No color" Matte choice with any JPEG export setting, neither in the Pixel Persona Export > More panel or in the Export Persona Export Options. I don't know if this has been reported in the Bugs on Windows forum so you might post there to see what they say about that.

 

As for the PDF & PSD stuff, I believe you are still thinking of the document background as if it was a layer. It is not a layer, so if you want to be able to set the color of the background, add a fill layer (for example) & move it to the back of the document. You can set it to any color you want.

 

For transparent backgrounds, things are more complicated & I think there may be a bug in the PDF export for this (but I could just be missing something). As I understand it, only PDF v.1.4 or higher supports transparency, so if you use the "PDF/X-4" compatibility setting it should export a transparent background (if the document is set to use transparency) ... but I cannot get that to work on my Mac system.

 

However, export to PSD includes a transparent background, again if the document is set to use transparency.


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A_B_C,

 

I sort of figured someone would bust me for the "just visual aids" comment, & I suspected it might be you.  :) I knew it was not entirely correct but I wanted to emphasize that the Matte is a property of the document, not a layer, & I got sloppy.

 

That said, you wrote

Create a document that has a white, non-transparent background, add some objects, and export to a file format that is Alpha channel aware, such as PNG. Regardless of your Matte setting, you will get a white background in your exported file.

 

That is not what I get. I created a document set not to use a transparent background, so it showed as white on the canvas, but in the Export Persona using the PNG 24 option, clicking on the Matte swatch & setting it to any color both updated the thumbnail view & exported the PNG with that as the background color. It also worked using the Pixel Persona Export > More panel & changing the Matte color there, but of course there is no thumbnail to update in that panel.

 

The "no color" Matte option only works if the document is set to Transparent Background, but we already know about that quirk.


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I suspected it might be you …

 

Seems you have acquired a pretty interesting picture of my person …  ;)

 

Actually, I got confused not by the “visual aids” comment, but by your phrase “neither one is part of the document”. I must have misunderstood your use of the word “part” here … I took this for “property” … which was certainly a misinterpretation of your words. Background transparency is a basic property of the document, but not a part of the document in the sense of a layer. In short, I just meant to emphasize that the Matte settings are (a.) buggy on Windows and (b.) interrelated in not so obvious ways with the background settings of the document. It might be more obvious, for instance, if Matte would *always* overrule the document background settings. But that’s not the case, and this is what I wanted to express. Anyway, I believe the great advantage of the current implementation is that you can export the same document with different Matte settings in one go.

 

… with that as the background color.

 

 True. That’s where I got sloppy. It even contradicts my follow-up post.  :(

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I agree that the Matte settings are interrelated in non-obvious ways. Aside from the bugs, I think it would help if for formats that support alpha transparency, setting the Matte to 'no color' worked regardless of the document background transparency setting.

 

Anybody think that is worthy of a feature request?


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It seems to be a windows only bug ... I'll post it in that part of the forum ...

And I think I did understand the thinking behind the basic document setup event though It seems pretty twisted and hard to communicate ... certainly having any kind of real live comparison in mind. And I certainly do not see any advantage except increased complexity in this concept in comparison to the way PS deals with it.

 

Looking the setup of a new document. Either it has a transparent BG or not! There's nothing else from my perspective that would improve handling of the document or opening up ennhanced technical opportunities ... Klicking on "transparent" shows the checkerboard as expected (nothing else as a transparent layer that is inaccessible and not shown in the layer palette). Not clicking on "transparent" shows a white bg (nothing else than an inaccessible white layer not shown in the layer palette). Why not simply add this as a real layer either transparent or white? ... You could in that case even start with a predefined coloured bg. There's no difference except making it difficult to understand. There's no need for AP to install this virtual inaccessible container - at least I don't see any reason for it. Each time you start creating a document you unnecessarily have to add an additional step to create the first real drawing canvas (layer). Beeing aware of this fact AP in many cases adds this first layer automatically through the assistant (kind of telling you that you forgot to add a layer.) An unnecessary step if the layer would be available already. It even leads to great irritation if you try to floodfill an empty document (regardless of the matte) since here not even the assistant adds a new layer. It just seems to perform the food fill but effectively does absolutely nothing - not even an error message (hard to explain). Unless there's some "hidden" advantage to handle it this way I guess there must be some kind of twisted mind behind this concept ;-)

 

The only possible explanation could be: One starts a new document with transparent BG. If you want to save this in a format that can't display the alpha channel you have through the "matte" setting the possibility to define an exchange colout for the alpha channel. But frankly spoken, I think that could have been aquired far more easily than by this complex virtual document property ... (PS in this case asks for the BG colour to exchange the alpha channel with)


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All I can say is to repeat that the background is not a layer. It is a property of the document itself. As for making it a "real" layer, that would mean it would be treated the same as any other layer, which could be extremely confusing.

 

For example, imagine moving other layers with the Order buttons in the menubar -- "Send to back" would make any layer it was applied to the new background layer. Layer grouping options add more complications. Beyond that, consider that "real" layers can be scaled, rotated, or skewed; use different layer blend modes; & so on. By making the background a property of the document, all that is avoided & I am very glad it is.

 

Besides, since in AP "Transparent Background" is a Document menu item (which might give you a clue about its scope), it can be assigned a keyboard shortcut, making it quick & easy to toggle it on & off. To see why toggling it can be useful, try adding a white shape with no stroke or white text to an empty document, or one that has pixel layers that do not cover the entire canvas or have transparent or semi-transparent areas. There are times when it is convenient not to be distracted by the checkerboard background & times when it is convenient to see it.

 

Aside from all that, what good is a completely transparent "real" layer? What would you use it for?


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