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Brushing in a mask

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Please forgive me if I'm missing something in the videos, etc but I haven't been able to find what I'm looking for.  I'm new to Affinity Photo (on my 12" iPad Pro), and am looking to accomplish something I'm used to doing in Photoshop.  Specifically, in my workflow it's common for me to stack two images, create a layer mask on the top one, then use a brush to add the lower image but not 100%.  The brush in Photoshop would typically be set at 30% with a soft edge so that the additions are not all one layer of the other, but really a blend of the two.  Using a brush to accomplish this is nice because it lets me build up some areas while leaving others untouched.  


I've tried the same technique in Affinity, but masking seems to be an all or nothing thing here.  Either an element is masked or it's not.  An example of the style I’m looking for would be Procreate’s layer mask functionality.  There I can use a brush set at 30% opacity and brush in what I want.  However, I’d rather do it all in Affinity.  For the record, if you are familiar with Trey Ratcliff's HDR tutorials, this is the technique he walks people through.  I'm trying to replicate it in Affinity.  Thanks in advance for any help anyone can provide!

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Hi mminella,

Welcome to the forums.

Once you have added the mask layer, is it nested with the second/top layer? If not tap and drag over the second layers thumbnail and release. Make sure the mask is selected, then switch to the Brush tool, change the Opacity and hardness if needed, make sure the colour is set to Black and then paint onto the second layer, this should reveal the below layer.

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Hi Lee,


Thank you for the help.  However, after a bit more exprimentation, the issue seems to be more complex than I originally believed.  If I create a new document, create one layer and color on it with the brush (say with red), then create another layer and color in that layer over the first (say with blue), then follow what you say, it seems to work and I get purple where I’m masking in.


However, where I’m trying to do this, is in a stack and it doesn’t seem to work.  Opactiy and hardness adjustments don’t seem to work.  The mask being rendered looks like 100% hardness and 100% opacity.  The attached image shows my setup and the mask that seems to be rendering (note the hard edges and that it completely reveals the underlying layer...not the 30% opacity I expected).


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  • 2 months later...

I don't know if you can do this on the ipad, but I have the same issue with the desktop version also  When loading multiple images in a stack and attempting to work on a mask of a specific layer I get the results mentioned above.  But when I move the layer I want to work on outside of the stack, the soft edges on the brush are back.  I have a feeling it really is a bug as stated.  But for now that works for me on the desktop version.  Hope it helps you.

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