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I purchased Affinity Photo for multi-layered pixel art creation, but I'm finding that I cannot use the Merge Layers or Rasterize layer features because they automatically choose a filtering algorithm which causes blurring.

 

How can I fix this? This currently is a deal-breaker for me unfortunately.

 

I've tried the following:

  1. Using Nearest rendering in the Performance settings (this causes everything to look as I expect on the canvas while editing the document, but the blurring problem occurs as soon as a multi-layer document is merged, exported/flattened, or a layer is rasterized)
  2. Choosing Nearest filtering during PNG export. For some scenarios this appears to work around the issue, but for general purposes it's not a solution since I frequently need to be able to merge selected layers together as part of my workflow without exporting the entire document

 

I still cannot find any way to merge layers or rasterize selected layers using Nearest filtering. The result is that my artwork frequently is distorted/blurred from what I'm seeing in the on-screen canvas/display.

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide

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I suspect what you are calling blurring is the effect caused by anti-aliasing, which is used to reduce what is sometimes known as "jaggies." If so, there is nothing you can do about this, other than to work at a higher pixel resolution, & for exporting to raster image formats, use a resampling method that produces smoother looking edges.

 

If you have not already done so, it would be a good idea to review the help topic, "Changing image size (scaling and resampling)," which among other things discusses the available resampling algorithms.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.0.135 & Affinity Designer 1.7.0.9 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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1 hour ago, R C-R said:

I suspect what you are calling blurring is the effect caused by anti-aliasing, which is used to reduce what is sometimes known as "jaggies." If so, there is nothing you can do about this, other than to work at a higher pixel resolution, & for exporting to raster image formats, use a resampling method that produces smoother looking edges.

 

I don't know if that is the cause but it is possible to adjust anti-aliasing in Layer Blend Ranges and I quote

 

"About blend gamma and antialiasing (RGB documents only)

The Blend Ranges dialog allows you to adjust the blend gamma of the selected layer. This gives you the option of designing using a linear-RGB color space (1.0), regular sRGB-blending (2.2) or any gamma value up to 3.0. In other words, it gives you full control over how the tones of semi-transparent or antialiased edged objects interact with colors underneath."

 

Search in the help for "Layer Blend Ranges"

 

I don't know if that will help.

 

Don't know much at all really, it seems :(

 


Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

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34 minutes ago, toltec said:

I don't know if that is the cause but it is possible to adjust anti-aliasing in Layer Blend Ranges ...

OK, but that just gives you a choice between more obvious jagged or more obvious fuzzy edges. A pixel can only be one color, so to minimize both kinds of edge artifacts, increase the number of pixels in the document. What other option is there?


Affinity Photo 1.7.1 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.0.135 & Affinity Designer 1.7.0.9 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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Hi mrpixel,

Welcome to Affinity Forums :)

Go to menu View ▸ Snapping Manager... and tick Force Pixel Alignment. There's also a button on the main toolbar to enable it directly. This ensures the images/layer you place/move on canvas are pixel aligned and don't get blurred when you edit/move/merge/etc them.

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Quote

I suspect what you are calling blurring is the effect caused by anti-aliasing, which is used to reduce what is sometimes known as "jaggies." If so, there is nothing you can do about this, other than to work at a higher pixel resolution

 

The anti-aliasing is what is happening automatically, and what I'm trying to avoid, which is possible depending on what resampling technique is used (Photoshop allows you to choose the resampling technique just about anywhere in the app for this exact reason, between Bilinear, Bicubic, Nearest, etc.). But Affinity Photo doesn't appear to allow that to be changed in these key areas (merging or rasterizing layers). I'm working on pixel art (very small-resolution bitmaps) which I wish to use a Nearest Neighbor filtering mode. This can be achieved in the Performance settings but only appears to impact the display of layers during editing, and merging them down applies the anti-aliasing without any options on what resampling technique to use.

 

Quote

The Blend Ranges dialog allows you to adjust the blend gamma of the selected layer.

 

Quote

Go to menu View ▸ Snapping Manager... and tick Force Pixel Alignment. 

 

Thanks for the suggestions, I've tried Force Pixel Alignment and also making use of the blend ranges options but that doesn't solve the problem. What is happening is a very visually-obvious blurring when layers are merged or resampled. This blurring is a result of the filtering technique used under-the-hood; I need the option of using a Nearest Neighbor algorithm. I understand that 99% of Affinity Photo users don't want this, since in large-pixel documents the anti-aliasing provides smoother and more pleasing results. But for pixel art it causes the artwork to become blurry and distorted which is not desirable.

 

 

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Are you scaling up/down the layers? If so yes, they are being scaled using a bilinear algorithm. There's currently no way to change this. If you are just merging/moving/rasterising them, then having them pixel aligned will ensure that they will remain as crisp as they were originally. If you want/can to resize the whole document try going to Document ▸ Resize Pixel Art Document.

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2 hours ago, mrpixel said:

I'm working on pixel art (very small-resolution bitmaps) which I wish to use a Nearest Neighbor filtering mode.

It isn't a "filtering mode." It is one of several possible interpolation algorithms used to resample a raster image when its size is changed, or when anything else results in unaligned pixels, like merging multiple layers when all of them are not aligned exactly on the document's pixel grid. For this, it does not matter which algorithm is used; all of them will cause antialiasing to some extent.

 

The only way to avoid this is to make sure everything in the document is pixel aligned to its pixel grid. So among other things, you have to avoid anything that results in a diagonal edge, like frequently occurs when adding text or vectors to the document, using soft brushes, applying less than 100% opacity to anything (including using layer blend modes that result in less than 100% opaque blends), & so on. If you are creating very low pixel resolution documents, your best bet is to avoid the brush tools completely (including the erase ones) & use the Pixel Tool, set to Normal blend mode, & create everything on one "(Pixel)" layer.

 

Obviously, with all those restrictions, Affinity Photo is not the best app for that kind of work, so for you it very well may be a deal breaker.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.0.135 & Affinity Designer 1.7.0.9 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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Sorry for the double post but I had to say - I'm actually back to Affinity. Even accounting this terrible inconvenience, I'd forgotten just how awful Photoshop was UI-wise. That, and its terrible performance on my end, make it unusable for me.

So back to Affinity - is there any way I can work around a pixelated image in a way that doesn't blur? The particular case I'm interested in is: say, from this image below, I'd like to

1. Crop out the background so that it's transparent

2. Pick one of the sprites and change the color of some of its pixels to grey.

3. Draw my edit of the sprite on top of it (for example, I'd like to add a hat).

15592.png

 

Any way to do this on Affinity?

 

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I also have similar experience of image blurring when merging them.

 

Attached 2 visual examples to show it better.

It shows when using "merge down" in layers, the image has a blur effect.

 

I hope someone can show me a fix for this. If not, sadly this is a deal breaker.

 

 

blur issue example 01.png

blur issue example 02.png

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Hi firewater,

1. Use the Fllod Select Tool (=% tolerance to select the background blue then hit the Delete key to get rid of it. To make the document transparent go to menu Document ▸ Transparent Background.

2. Ue the Pixel Tool (same group as the Paint Brush Tool - click the small arrow in the corner to access  it through the pop-up) with a iwdth set to 1px (in context toolbar) to work/paint on pixels individually. You can use the selection tools to select pixel of the same colour (or range of colours) to them them, all.

3. See my reply above.

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On 1/15/2018 at 11:30 AM, MEB said:

Hi mrpixel,

Welcome to Affinity Forums :)

Go to menu View ▸ Snapping Manager... and tick Force Pixel Alignment. There's also a button on the main toolbar to enable it directly. This ensures the images/layer you place/move on canvas are pixel aligned and don't get blurred when you edit/move/merge/etc them.

Hi!

I got also this problem. Sometimes it gets blurry, sometimes it doesnt.

BUT "Force Pixel Alignement" is always checked!

The only thing that never blurrs is the "Flatten" button under "Document".

Im working with standard pictures (jpg) about 14MP.

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Hi Zoroaster,
Welcome to Affinity Forums :)
Are you pressing/using the ⌥ (option/alt) unnecessarily (muscle memory)/or by accident to scale/duplicate the objects? The ⌥ (option/alt) modifier overrides the snapping settings (including Force Pixel Alignment). For example duplicating/dragging an object with ⌘ (cmd) (CTRL if you are using Windows) will honour snapping settings. Duplicating/dragging with ⌥ (option/alt) overrides them. Please check if that's the case, let me know if not.

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On 4/12/2018 at 10:01 PM, MEB said:

Hi bernard1980,

Welcome to Affinity Forums :)

Make sure all layers you want to merge are pixel aligned. Open the Transform panel and check the X,Y coordinates. Enable Force Pixel Alignment in the main toolbar (the magnet icon) to ensure all transforms/move operations are pixel aligned.

Hi MEB,

Tried that but still not working,,

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Hi,

I opened a similar thread yesterday… The only way to have an image not blured was to merge visible layers or export.

It seems merge down is bluring the image, but if you keep visible the 2 layers you want to merge down, and use the "merge visible" instead, you get a sharp result.
But you need to remember which layers were visible and which ones were not or group them before… not the simplest way to work when you've got a lot of layers and groups.

If "merge down" was behaving like "merge visible" it would be normal. 

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On 5/26/2018 at 12:15 PM, MEB said:

Hi Zoroaster,
Welcome to Affinity Forums :)
Are you pressing/using the ⌥ (option/alt) unnecessarily (muscle memory)/or by accident to scale/duplicate the objects? The ⌥ (option/alt) modifier overrides the snapping settings (including Force Pixel Alignment). For example duplicating/dragging an object with ⌘ (cmd) (CTRL if you are using Windows) will honour snapping settings. Duplicating/dragging with ⌥ (option/alt) overrides them. Please check if that's the case, let me know if not.

Im actually pressing nothing - all i do is pressing eg STRG-L for the histogram/levels and after merging it can/might be blurred. It happens rarely but still regularly...

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Suffering from the same problem. Also I can't figure out how to transform/mirror a layer without dragging it imprecisely by hand, which might be what's causing it. Is there a way to purge history?

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Yes Affinity Photo blurs layer content losing image quality when merging down layers. In my case I create multiple copies of a layer that has close to pixel art hand painted detail. I move around the copies (no scaling/resizing/rotating, just moving around) and then would like to merge them onto a single layer. Merging them not only blurs them but blurs them incrementally, meaning that the 4th copy will be blurred 4 times ect.

I'm sad seeing that this problem is not a minor, unimportant issue but one that belongs to the deal-breaker category for a number of us and still it's not officially confirmed or acknowledged. I'm sure an issue like this must be well known to developers, advanced users ect. - we're not talking about some hard to identify, hidden bug but a very obvious problem. It'd be nice to at least see that this problem is acknowledged and being worked on. At least a hope that it's not going to be there forever.

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17 minutes ago, MasterBooth said:

Yes Affinity Photo blurs layer content losing image quality when merging down layers. In my case I create multiple copies of a layer that has close to pixel art hand painted detail. I move around the copies (no scaling/resizing/rotating, just moving around) and then would like to merge them onto a single layer. Merging them not only blurs them but blurs them incrementally, meaning that the 4th copy will be blurred 4 times ect.

If moving layers results in any that are not aligned to pixel boundaries, a certain amount of blurring is unavoidable if the layers are then merged. This is what using the "Force Pixel Alignment" button in the Snapping section of the main toolbar is intended to prevent.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.0.135 & Affinity Designer 1.7.0.9 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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"Force Pixel Alignment" and "Move by whole pixels" have been checked in the snapping section all the time - it does not prevent the type of blurring I/we are talking about...

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2 hours ago, MasterBooth said:

"Force Pixel Alignment" and "Move by whole pixels" have been checked in the snapping section all the time - it does not prevent the type of blurring I/we are talking about...

"Move by whole pixels" can cause problems like that. The general recommendation I've seen is to leave that option off.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1903 (18362.145), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.0.367 and 1.7.1.390 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.0.367 and 1.7.1.390 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.0.384 Beta

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