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Pasting Images Into Alpha Channel


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25 minutes ago, Tatom said:

I meant the possibility of direct interaction with alpha channel (and all channels - including RGB separately) quickly and directly. And PS does a great job with that; you could copy and paste whatever you want to wherever you want into an RGBA image (per channel level).
Everything is more complicated than that is a bad implementation of channel/alpha handling.

In AP the implementation is a joke. That is why I use PS, waiting for a clever developer hired by Serif.

 



 

I'd say the workflow is far more superior in Photo. The fact that you can create multiple spare channels as buffers for your data is way better than Photoshop (you can't hold multiple copies and then paste them individually in Photoshop, unless you use layers; which at that point is the exact same way as doing things in Photo). You have the visibility flag (the eye icon) and the editable flag (the pencil icon) for every channel in your document when working with multiple channels in Photo (right in the Channel tab), allowing you to toggle the visibility of each individual channel independently. IdleJohn even mentioned a neat workflow above on how you can work with the alpha channel too (sure it isn't "directly" but what is the difference? You are still working on some layer in your document to put into the alpha channel, it just requires a couple more clicks). Like I say though, I do agree with you, there is room for improvement in terms of usability. My point though is that functionality is there, you can work with individual channels of an image in Photo it just takes a little change in your workflow. Why would Serif developers make Affinity Photo work the same as Photoshop, that would be completely pointless as Photo wouldn't be unique in any way at that point, it would just be a clone of Photoshop.

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More superior? In what? What is the typical workflow in texture packing? Most of the cases it is used for the very same material (AO/Roughness/Metalness and similars). What editing does it need? Typically nothing, just copy and paste, which is a joke in AF, far-far overcomplicated.
Typical adjustment scenario: changing values of a channel manually (like adjusting roughness) if you don't want to edit it in the engine or replace a former channel with another (if you prefer manual packing for control).

In PS you could have Layers to store the data (AS also), multiple alphas, too. At the end you just export the visible info.

'you can't hold multiple copies and then paste them individually in Photoshop'
You could have multiple alpha channels. What is the sense of having multiple copies in your workflow? When it comes to export it is almost the same like working with Layers.... The 99% of work is a simple Copy/Paste or manual adjusting a single channel (like changing brightness of the Roughness channel - in AF it seems to be global, not a single channel operation). PS  is far superior for that.

 

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And yes, if PS is doing something well, than it must be cloned. Number one UX rule.

BTW there are things in AF what are superior compared to PS (like cloning on multiple layers) or the terrible PNG saving speed in PS compared to Export speed in PS (affinity is fast), but what I see is that in almost everything they tried to clone PS (even with PhotoPlus) and failed with a worse solution.

 

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If you are copying and pasting RGB values from one channel to another channel independently then your results will differ as pixel values aren't constant throughout this process.

On 7/5/2019 at 2:25 PM, kirk23 said:

It's very outdated way of channel packing  in Photoshop and actually  even a wrong one  because with default Photoshop out of box setting  if you copy RGB   "grayscale" image  in a buffer and paste  it to a single channel  it recalculates pixel values to be not exactly same . You should first set sGrey  for Grey in Color Settings at least.

The right way of channel packing is not doing it manually but rather  with  checkboxes  in a layer or group  "Layer style"  dialog   (dobleclick on a layer in layer panel) . That way you could set to what channel selected thing would add its values only.   And  you could make it a layercomp  to quickly switch on and off to same layer.

Or even a  more convenient way  with some 3d party packing  script you could find in Internet , (sorry forgot its name)   which packs your layer comps named  layercomp_ALPH, layercomp_RED  etc, into output tga automatically.

Affinity Photo Customer Betta have  so called "procedural filter" that also could pack  layers to certain channel . Non-destructively, with on and off option, even swap channels  a layer would add values to.    No need to do something through copy/paste absolutely.     I

I still miss the convenience of LAyercomps although

I personally would change the way you work (to progress and get better results). I'm going to stop here, either way I hope the information I've provided has given some insight (despite my own opinions, which don't really matter).

Cheers!

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15 minutes ago, SlipperyBrick said:

If you are copying and pasting RGB values from one channel to another channel independently then your results will differ as pixel values aren't constant throughout this process.

I personally would change the way you work (to progress and get better results). I'm going to stop here, either way I hope the information I've provided has given some insight (despite my own opinions, which don't really matter).

Cheers!

I have AO, Roughness, etc. input in greyscale typically, I just want to be able to tweak them quickly and paste them to a channel. I don't know what could go wrong with it in a visible way; but I appreciate if you could give me a hint how to adjust an RGBA TGA file Blue channel only with Brightness/Contrast as easily as in PS. Thx.

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9 hours ago, Tatom said:

I just want to be able to tweak them quickly and paste them to a channel.

Copy /pasting  in channels is  annoying  and redundant manual operation.  Both Photoshop and Affinity Photo have ways to make "packing" automatically  though  regular layer stack.    

Aphoto has actually a small advantage of previewing only channel you need  not switching back to RGB.

In  example  I attached you can see  you don't need to copy/paste anything at all  and at the same time can  edit each channel  separately , make a special group for every Chanel and create whatever stack of layers you need  inputting to that channel only, including alpha.    Use link panel to make layer clones   in different  channels or use symbols containers( from Designer)  to link transforms of layers  residing in different channel groups      etc.

You can also  create  such a layer structure by macro with a single click .  As well as in Photoshop too.

Then a single thing you do is export to tga

 

My guess it's why Serif doesn't react to copy/paste in channels requests .  Why force some ancient feature when there is more simple and easy way, totally non-destructive.

 

channel packing.afphoto

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17 minutes ago, telemax said:

@kirk23 in your Alpha example, Blend Rnges are applied to the image, not to the group. Is this intentional?

No , I just made it without the group at all at first.   It's irrelevant .  Just wanted to show it could be a whole grroup of layers  for any of  RGBA

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3 hours ago, kirk23 said:

 

Copy /pasting  in channels is  annoying  and redundant manual operation.  Both Photoshop and Affinity Photo have ways to make "packing" automatically  though  regular layer stack.    

Aphoto has actually a small advantage of previewing only channel you need  not switching back to RGB.

In  example  I attached you can see  you don't need to copy/paste anything at all  and at the same time can  edit each channel  separately , make a special group for every Chanel and create whatever stack of layers you need  inputting to that channel only, including alpha.    Use link panel to make layer clones   in different  channels or use symbols containers( from Designer)  to link transforms of layers  residing in different channel groups      etc.

You can also  create  such a layer structure by macro with a single click .  As well as in Photoshop too.

Then a single thing you do is export to tga

 

My guess it's why Serif doesn't react to copy/paste in channels requests .  Why force some ancient feature when there is more simple and easy way, totally non-destructive.

'Copy /pasting  in channels is  annoying  and redundant manual operation.  Both Photoshop and Affinity Photo have ways to make "packing" automatically  though  regular layer stack.  '

It is not, when you are tweaking some materials (on texture level, not shader-level), correcting something or you want to extract info from specific TGA. Which - in PS - is a piece of cake. You import the RGBA Tga and you could just do whatever you want immediately. Now do that in AF. :D

'Aphoto has actually a small advantage of previewing only channel you need  not switching back to RGB.'

I don't get this. In PS you have per channel view also.
image.thumb.png.6ae9423811a2d278e9b36a934c1c844c.png
'In  example  I attached you can see  you don't need to copy/paste anything at all  and at the same time can  edit each channel  separately , make a special group for every Chanel and create whatever stack of layers you need  inputting to that channel only, including alpha.'

I have no problem with copy/paste at all. Quick as hell. I also could edit each channel separately in PS (which is not really needed in my workflow typically).

'Use link panel to make layer clones   in different  channels or use symbols containers( from Designer)  to link transforms of layers  residing in different channel groups'

I have no idea what is that, why is that good for me, so I cannot comment that.

'You can also  create  such a layer structure by macro with a single click .  As well as in Photoshop too.'

I don't need it.
It like having a spoon at home and a swissknife with spoon, too. I understand that swissknife has more options with less efficient solutions for everything, but in 364 days of a year I eat with a regular spoon. Because it is faster and better for my eating 'workflow' (and as you see that it is a problem for many-many people here, they prefer the regular spoon for eating).

'My guess it's why Serif doesn't react to copy/paste in channels requests .  Why force some ancient feature when there is more simple and easy way, totally non-destructive.'

IMHO they just don't want to deal with it as the current solution.
It is everything but not simple or easy compared to the oldschool one.
Take PS as an example: it still offers you destructive and non-destructive adjusments. I love that. When I tweak a Roughness channel I don't need being non-destructive...there is undo for that if needed (one hotkey press). If needed, I just make a duplicate with the originals. 2 clicks.

channel packing.afphoto

 

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4 hours ago, Tatom said:

I don't get this. In PS you have per channel view also.

Photoshop let you preview a channel but you can't  continue to work with a document, add layers or do anything meaningful  .  Photoshop switches back to RGB preview .  You can't  make a stack of layers  while previewing  only alpha channel .

 

4 hours ago, Tatom said:

You import the RGBA Tga and you could just do whatever you want immediately. Now do that in AF.

You can do perfectly same . Open  your tga and put levels adjustment layer  ( it has a drop down menu to what channel it works for)   or  add a pixel layer  with procedural filter I showed  to paint something that would go to only and exactly  channel you need. 

 

 

 

 

 

       

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1 minute ago, kirk23 said:

Photoshop let you preview a channel but you can't  continue to work with a document, add layers or do anything meaningful  .  Photoshop switches back to RGB preview .  You can't  make a stack of layers  while previewing  only alpha channel .

 

You can do perfectly same . Open  your tga and put levels adjustment layer  ( it has a drop down menu to what channel it works for)   or  add a pixel layer  with procedural filter I showed  to paint something that would go to only and exactly  channel you need.   

 

 

 

 

 

       

I'd also like to chime in on the fact that you do have macro's (as said earlier) in Photo. So if you aren't happy with the workflow of channel packing, why not make a macro that does it for you?

In regards to everything else that was previously discussed, I've also explained the available options you have for working with multiple channels in Photo (one of my previous posts in here). I'd highly recommend (as I said before) to continue tweaking your current workflow within Photo to best suit you, use the macro system and the available tools they have, as it really is far more superior than Photoshop.

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9 minutes ago, kirk23 said:

Photoshop let you preview a channel but you can't  continue to work with a document, add layers or do anything meaningful  .  Photoshop switches back to RGB preview .  You can't  make a stack of layers  while previewing  only alpha channel .

 

You can do perfectly same . Open  your tga and put levels adjustment layer  ( it has a drop down menu to what channel it works for)   or  add a pixel layer  with procedural filter I showed  to paint something that would go to only and exactly  channel you need. 

 

"Photoshop let you preview a channel but you can't  continue to work with a document, add layers or do anything meaningful  .  Photoshop switches back to RGB preview .  You can't  make a stack of layers  while previewing  only alpha channel ."

Which is something I don't need at all. Typical scenarios: combining layers as channel packing manually from external output and editing channels. Both could be done; combining is clearly faster vith copy/paste; for adjustments you could select which channel to include. Even with this overcomplication you could copy/paste any channel to a layer and adjust while you have multiple copies and past back. So still don't get it, sorry.

'You can do perfectly same . Open  your tga and put levels adjustment layer  ( it has a drop down menu to what channel it works for)   or  add a pixel layer  with procedural filter I showed  to paint something that would go to only and exactly  channel you need. '

This is how the TGA looks in AF and PS after opening. I have direct access  to alpha without any tweaking (it is used typically for Roughness/Smoothness) and that needs tweaking typically.

image.thumb.png.9921b0f853601f62533845342a2ca54f.png


 

 

 

       

 

image.png

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'I'd also like to chime in on the fact that you do have macro's (as said earlier) in Photo. So if you aren't happy with the workflow of channel packing, why not make a macro that does it for you?'

I'm not so deep in AF, but on channel-level operations it didn't allow me to record steps. Generally I very rarely use macros for anything (even in PS); I don't need them. When I do, I use 3rd party stuff for that.

'In regards to everything else that was previously discussed, I've also explained the available options you have for working with multiple channels in Photo (one of my previous posts in here). I'd highly recommend (as I said before) to continue tweaking your current workflow within Photo to best suit you, use the macro system and the available tools they have, as it really is far more superior than Photoshop.'

Well, I will see. I still have no idea who could I get back the Affinity example you uploaded from a freshly imported TGA created by someone else. Also it seems that alpha appears on all channels in your example file, I have to guess out how to change that. I also want to check if I link (place without embedding) an image from Affinity Designer as a channel to your file as Roughness (Alpha), will this work or not. There is a lot to discover and I don't like it. After many years any app what changes proven UX methods and forces me to to the same differently is a big 'no go', if from UX aspect it has no reason to do it differently.

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43 minutes ago, Tatom said:

This is how the TGA looks in AF and PS after opening.

Click "composite alpha"  and you can see it same as in PSh ,  then Ctr+L or ctrl+M , select "Alpha" in drop down instead of "master"  and you cant tweak  it.   Not much different to PSh really except it still stays non-destructive.

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@Tatom

You might consider using "Apply Image" which is macro-able and will pack channels with equations, bringing in each external texture file and placing it in the channel of your choosing in your working document - you do not even need to open the texture files to copy and paste them (you don't need to do this in PS either, because you can also use Apply Image in PS).  If you have a disciplined workflow, where each texture is named according to a consistent naming convention and you place them in a directory where the macro is made to look, then the whole process is a matter of clicking the "Play" button on the macro.

One problem with packing the alpha channel is that it is premultiplied into the composite, which burns it into the R, G and B channels.  Not good for channel packing.

 

Kirk

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9 minutes ago, Tatom said:

How I replace the alpha with another?

You can also put a new alpha as a new  layer , make white pixels  transparent in  Blend  ranges (gear button)  and give the layer "erase" blending mode.      It would totally replace composite alpha  with what you have in "erase" layer .

ps.  well. not replace actually, rather add.    to replace you have to "cancel" original alpha first with fill layer  on the very bottom

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7 minutes ago, kirkt said:

"One problem with packing the alpha channel is that it is premultiplied into the composite, which burns it into the R, G and B channels.  Not good for channel packing. "

So we are where we started, but I learned an unusable feature instead of what I wanted (no offense). :D

 

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30 minutes ago, Tatom said:

"One problem with packing the alpha channel is that it is premultiplied into the composite, which burns it into the R, G and B channels.  Not good for channel packing. "

Yeah, I forgot to mention it  but there is a simple workaround.   You  can add a  super transparent "fill"  layer   in the Alpha group of the example I posted  .  Only perfectly zero alpha pixels  are  multiplying over  other channels . If you make it like 0.0001  alpha value  in procedural filter     APhoto will not multiply it over and it will still be zero alpha in exported  8 bit tga since  0.0001 is beyond  255 shades of gray in 8 bit image.

 

channel packing.afphoto

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3 hours ago, kirk23 said:

Yeah, I forgot to mention it  but there is a simple workaround.   You  can add a  super transparent "fill"  layer   in the Alpha group of the example I posted  .  Only perfectly zero alpha pixels  are  multiplying over  other channels . If you make it like 0.0001  alpha value  in procedural filter     APhoto will not multiply it over and it will still be zero alpha in exported  8 bit tga since  0.0001 is beyond  255 shades of gray in 8 bit image.

 

channel packing.afphoto

Something you can also add in a macro.  Nice tip.

Kirk

 

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First of all, thanks dor all of your exports. Unfortunately these solutions are not even close to my expectations from workflow side; Alpha is still visible or per channel view is colored and contains alfa info (or becomes transparent if I switch off alpha); I have to deal something else now, but I try you get back ASAP and make a video about PS and AS comparison; maybe that helps more. I even don't understand logic of the macro/procedural system in AF with 25+ years experience in working and helping developers in 3d field (it is like one of the Iray implementations I saw; I could work instantly with any node based shader editor system like Unity/Unreal/Cycles/Redshift, etc.; but Iray... I gave up understanding the logic inside - also it lacked up to date documentation).

So thanks, I will be back.
 

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4 hours ago, Tatom said:

Alpha is still visible or per channel view is colored and contains alfa info (or becomes transparent if I switch off alpha)

For alpha or per-channel  view you need to  click "composite alpha"  or "composite Red"  in channels panel . That way you will always see grayscale  opaque  picture on your screen of selected channel   and continue to edit your doc, paint add layers, add curves or levels etc

I often have to do subtle tweaks for a game packed RGBA textures  and so much prefer APhoto way  for non-destructive approach in alphas . So  annoyed by Photoshop copy/pasting routine  you have to do every time you  save a tga.     

The only  APhoto drawback  is you can't tweak exported tgas  itself  since it opens them back with black  holes multiplied on other channels too . But I never do so anyway, always edit  .aphoto  originals.   

 

 

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10 hours ago, ambersand said:

Still waiting for an uncomplicated solution to paste into channels. Together with a few more filters, PNG compression, brush thumbs sizing and separated brush sets (not one big file in user profile) it is among the most desired items.

it is called PS ;)

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