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Layer opacity vs. fill


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Ok. For you guys and / or gals thinking that fill and opacity are the same thing, or who think that a similar result can be achieved by using blendif, I do need to add a bit of clarity to our discussion.

Layer fill and layer opacity behave the same in most blend modes. There are, however, 8 blend modes where these do NOT behave the same. Those are:

  1. Color Burn
  2. Linear Burn
  3. Color Dodge
  4. Linear Dodge (Add)
  5. Vivid Light
  6. Linear Light
  7. Hard Mix
  8. Difference.

You will also find that "linear light" (in certain circumstances) likewise works better with layer fill than with opacity as shown in the video in this post above.

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52 minutes ago, Smee Again said:
  • Linear Dodge (Add)

I have got curious  how such a simple math  operation, basically  just  "+"   could possibly look different .    And I  switched a doc into floating point 32-bit  where it's  actual simple math haven't been spoiled  by typical  sRGB  c gamma  issues.    Not much to my surprise it eliminated any difference in between fill and opacity.    So maybe it's a bug in Photoshop code   :) ha-ha

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22 minutes ago, loukash said:

So essentially, "fill" is kinda "layer opacity with a mask". At least in some instances.

 

Sort of, the shadow, text effects & watermarks he demonstrates at the beginning can be achieved with the current fill box in the affinity fx panel, it is when you move towards the end of the demo and the blend modes are shown that the problems arise in Affinity, some effects can be emulated with a fair bit of faffing around, others can not. It is for the use cases that can not be emulated that the fill slider is needed.

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31 minutes ago, loukash said:

Watched a bunch of "opacity vs fill" videos. This guy sums it up quite nicely: youtu.be/F7Uhs9yd8Yg
So essentially, "fill" is kinda "layer opacity with a mask". At least in some instances.

 

Comparing tanks and daisies again. Would you like to see "layer fill" as compared to "layer opacity"? Don't skip ahead, but do watch the videos.

This is not about placing shapes, adding shadows, and making the shape disappear while keeping the shadow.

Open an image - any image.

Add a "New Fill Layer" (MENU: Layer/New Fill Layer). You do this to "color grade" an image. (other ways, but this is the simplest).

Change the New Fill Layer's blend mode to one of the 8 special blend modes. Now, look at how awful it appears. This is why you need "layer fill" and not just "layer opacity".

Watch these two short videos:

The Easiest Way to Get Rich Skin Tones in Photoshop

The Hard Mix Blend Mode in Photoshop

This is the "Layer Fill" this thread is about, not about drawing shapes and making them disappear.

Just how many photos have you seen in galleries that have shapes like stars, clouds, or squares drawn over the subject? We're not talking about drawn shapes, but color grading. A BIG TOOL is missing here that would make this software so much more valuable to persons like me.

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1 hour ago, Smee Again said:

Thanks, I'm getting the technique.

1 hour ago, Smee Again said:

This is not about placing shapes, adding shadows, and making the shape disappear while keeping the shadow.

Yep. That's what I meant by:

2 hours ago, loukash said:

At least in some instances.

;)

3 hours ago, kirk23 said:

And I  switched a doc into floating point 32-bit  where it's  actual simple math haven't been spoiled  by typical  sRGB  c gamma  issues.    Not much to my surprise it eliminated any difference in between fill and opacity.

Hm…
From my help files:

 
Quote

 

Blending mode descriptions

 

Choose from the Mode pop‑up menu in the options bar.

Note: Only the Normal, Dissolve, Darken, Multiply, Lighten, Linear Dodge (Add), Difference, Hue, Saturation, Color, Luminosity, Lighter Color, and Darker Color blending modes are available for 32‑bit images.

 

 
Only one from those "magical 8".
Uh, strike that, I've looked at the wrong place. It's two in CS5.1
Edited by loukash
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On 2/10/2021 at 6:10 PM, hanshab said:

There is a fill opacity slider in the Affinity Photo Effects panel. It does not work as a layer fill slider should.

Hm. To me it seems that it actually does, with the exception of Photoshop's "magical 8" blend modes.

Perhaps it's…

6 hours ago, kirk23 said:

a bug in Photoshop code   :) ha-ha

… after all…?

Because…

On 2/10/2021 at 6:10 PM, hanshab said:

this Special 8 group

… is it even properly documented in PS help files?

I can't seem to find anything like that in the CS5/6 manual.

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6 minutes ago, loukash said:
 
On 2/10/2021 at 11:10 AM, hanshab said:

There is a fill opacity slider in the Affinity Photo Effects panel. It does not work as a layer fill slider should.

Hm. To me it seems that it actually does, with the exception of Photoshop's "magical 8" blend modes.

Once more, comparing tanks and daisies.

There are two possibilities:

1: You are completely unable to comprehend any of the conversation that is ongoing here concerning the difference between "Fill Opacity" and "Layer Fill". One makes the circles disappear while the other enhances photographs by the way it interacts with the special blend modes and some other items you may work with.

or

2. You are just being facitious and trying to start an argument.

If it's the former, I feel sorry that you are not able to comprehend the difference. If it's the latter, perhaps the mods need to encourage you to back off.

Be well.

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@Smee Again, no need to get personal. Thank you.

To remind you, in case you've missed it earlier today:

11 hours ago, loukash said:

I see that I will have to dive a bit deeper into this. It is a pretty new territory for me to explore.

So, I'd rather appreciate if you could e.g. answer my question:

24 minutes ago, loukash said:

is it even properly documented in PS help files?

That would be helpful. Thanks


 

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1 hour ago, loukash said:

Hm. To me it seems that it actually does, with the exception of Photoshop's "magical 8" blend modes.

That is the whole point of the request for it to be added so that it does work correctly with those blend modes

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2 hours ago, Murfee said:

That is the whole point of the request for it to be added so that it does work correctly with those blend modes

I got that. No problem with that, those PS's "magical 8" can do some really nice things pretty fast, indeed. And I like to have options just as much as the next guy.

Anyway.

It's an interesting excercise.
Here's a random stock photo from Pexels; searched for "jazz" and liked this one. :) A bit too pale though:

ps_vs_aph_sax_original.png.1b0a7dd76b8a907505a5ad0af7da3ccd.png

 

This is Photoshop with my hand-brushed Hard Mix on Fill @ 50%. Looks really "brassy" now, slightly over the top, just to literally "get the picture":

ps_hardmix_fill50.thumb.png.8f28641bc232541f1f3478b876e77b04.png

 

Now, in APh, there's no way to get the same result with Hard Mix whatsoever because whatever I tried, it either mixes too hard, or it becomes too pale again. And, as I have learned earlier today (yesterday, in fact), opacity sucks.

BUT:

Interestingly, eventually I got almost there just by using Reflect with Blend Range; no other "opacity" nor "fill opacity" involved:

aph_reflect_blendranges50.thumb.png.2392d5ec9fa54f2f381f9678758bb93b.png

(Got to get some sleep from all that jazz…)

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Quote

This is Photoshop with my hand-brushed Hard Mix on Fill @ 50%. Looks really "brassy" now, slightly over the top, just to literally "get the picture":

Hmm .. .  Hard mix limits the number of colors, with "Layer Fill" around 15% to 30% it would allow more colors to show through.

Personally (as I would be trying to improve the image in the eyes of a customer) I would have tried something like "Vivid Light", "Linear Burn", or even ""Linear Light" which do not limit the number of colors.

The goal for me is use "Layer Fill"  to give the color the "nudge" it needs to enhance the image rather than overwhelming it, as happens with "Layer Opacity".

jazz.jpg.0dfa0c47ef99a00b75210dce9587bb9a.jpg

 

Now I need some Charlie Parker tunes.

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5 hours ago, Smee Again said:

I would have tried something like "Vivid Light", "Linear Burn", or even ""Linear Light" which do not limit the number of colors.

I've been playing with those, too, and those are mostly easier to mimic with Affinity's blend ranges. It's the Hard Mix in particular where PS's math acts unexpectedly "strange" as the Fill blend somehow smooths those hard edges when being applied using low % values.

After posting, I still couldn't get sleep last night so I quickly tried something else using a fill layer as demonstrated in those aforelinked videos in this thread.
Here's the unprocessed random "old man" image from Pexels:

ps_vs_aph_oldman_original.png.7a2d767d9d7269a95887020dcc71c27c.png

 

I wanted to have more depth in the shadows, so in PS I tried a green fill layer color burn @ fill 10 %:

ps_colorburn_fill10.png.04328dbbfdf420e2c80f0483beb968d2.png

 

In APh, by simply trying to achieve the same result visually, I ended up with this:

aph_colorburn_blendrangesl10.png.191bb9231fa70f9e6cf5f1eb23b6cf21.png

The nodes are at 10%, 60% and 90% positions, so there seems to be some correlation to the PS Fill value of 10%.

That said, however, apparently it's not as simple as that.
When I set PS Color Burn fill to the over-the-top but "arithmetically balanced" value of 50%, I get this:

ps_colorburn_fill50.png.3f4905cc24dcf9efbf48e50a3470400c.png

I haven't found a way to reproduce this exact appearance in APh via Blend Ranges.
So APh Blend Ranges will work (around) in some scenarios but fail in others.

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I never thought I'd stir up such a lively conversation when I started this thread ...

But just to clarify my point, there is definitely a difference between opacity and fill, especially with the blend mode "vivid light" which I often use for glowing effects.

Here are two examples with four colors (yellow, magenta, cyan and black) on a colorful background and one with a neutral grey layer with a soft white line.

Whereas I get vivid colors and an oversaturated look with fill, using opacity makes it somehow dull looking. NOT the same. 

Photoshop:

fill-opacity-PS.thumb.jpg.20886aff8470019d9309ef440360bf38.jpg

 

Here is the same file opened in Affinity Photo. Due to the missing fill functionality both sides look the same:fill-opacity-AP.thumb.jpg.40116e062d895ddf8635910c9163445d.jpg

 

Imho, there's no way to replicate that effect in AP

 

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1 hour ago, mso1977 said:

NOT the same.

Definitely not.
What's for sure: in PS, the Fill blend adds something else than just opacity of the fill when using the "Special 8".
The question that I asked yesterday remains: What is it that it does?
I haven't found any explanation – as in: a mathematical formula – online yet. Everybody knows that the "Special 8" are there, "can" do this'n'that and they love it, but nobody tells you how exactly it works.

But since it's all really just math:
How about adjusting it in APh with a Procedural Texture live filter? Has anybody tried that?
I'm no mathematician whatosever, so this is way beyond my expertize. But I noticed that @NotMyFault has recently experimented with Procedural Textures and seems to understand how it all works.

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47 minutes ago, loukash said:

The question that I asked yesterday remains: What is it that it does?

I don't think you can really pinpoint what it does exactly. I guess it depends on the material and the blend mode.

For example, when you use it with a neutral gray with a white line and "vivid light" it seems to me, that it adjusts the opacity BEFORE going into the blend mode, thus controlling the amount of the effect, unlike "opacity" which seems to adjust the opacity AFTER the blend mode. Does that make any sense?

You can see in the video, what I mean.

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6 hours ago, loukash said:

Definitely not.
What's for sure: in PS, the Fill blend adds something else than just opacity of the fill when using the "Special 8".
The question that I asked yesterday remains: What is it that it does?
I haven't found any explanation – as in: a mathematical formula – online yet. Everybody knows that the "Special 8" are there, "can" do this'n'that and they love it, but nobody tells you how exactly it works.

But since it's all really just math:
How about adjusting it in APh with a Procedural Texture live filter? Has anybody tried that?
I'm no mathematician whatosever, so this is way beyond my expertize. But I noticed that @NotMyFault has recently experimented with Procedural Textures and seems to understand how it all works.

Hi,

i must admit that i didn't fully get this Photoshop & fill thing (lacking any Photoshop experience after ~1990).

For those interested into understanding how blend modes are working in Affinity, i highly suggest the Wikipedia artikle (including all the math)

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blend_modes
  • BTW: assuming "apply image" will do the trick of blending two images better than procedural texture, which is limited to the underlying layers & possibly a color (entered as R G B) and a mask.

and these Videos (showing the practical side):

 

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9 hours ago, loukash said:

When I set PS Color Burn fill to the over-the-top but "arithmetically balanced" value of 50%, I get this:

ps_colorburn_fill50.png.3f4905cc24dcf9efbf48e50a3470400c.png

I haven't found a way to reproduce this exact appearance in APh via Blend Ranges.
So APh Blend Ranges will work (around) in some scenarios but fail in others.

 

Forget about blend ranges.

The trick is to Normal blend the green layer with white, the neutral colour for Colour Burn, and then Colour Burn blend that intermediate result with the base image. Use Photoshop's fill percentage for the green layer's opacity and use 100% for the intermediate result's opacity.

colour burn fill.afphoto

screenshot_colour_burn_fill.thumb.png.7f1217e21b229b34274b207b2fa4920e.png

 

That technique of blending with neutral can be used to simulate a "fill percentage" for 6 of the Special 8 modes:

  • Colour Burn and Linear Burn, the neutral colour is white.
  • Colour Dodge and Add (Linear Dodge), the neutral colour is black.
  • Vivid Light and Linear Light, the neutral colour is mid grey.

 

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1 minute ago, loukash said:

Not necessarily because they can still add other interesting nuances. :)

Of course blend ranges can be useful for other things. Give me a break. My statement was in a very specific context.

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28 minutes ago, anon2 said:

 

Forget about blend ranges.

The trick is to Normal blend the green layer with white, the neutral colour for Colour Burn, and then Colour Burn blend that intermediate result with the base image. Use Photoshop's fill percentage for the green layer's opacity and use 100% for the intermediate result's opacity.

colour burn fill.afphoto

screenshot_colour_burn_fill.thumb.png.7f1217e21b229b34274b207b2fa4920e.png

 

That technique of blending with neutral can be used to simulate a "fill percentage" for 6 of the Special 8 modes:

  • Colour Burn and Linear Burn, the neutral colour is white.
  • Colour Dodge and Add (Linear Dodge), the neutral colour is black.
  • Vivid Light and Linear Light, the neutral colour is mid grey.

 

Mixing that colour layer and the white layer can be achieved by using HSL directly at the colour layer. Adjust via the Saturation and Lightness slider. No need of the white layer. Same result (at least as far as I have tested). For the dark ones just move the L slider to the dark side (instead of mixing it with a black layer).

HSL.jpg

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32 minutes ago, user_0815 said:

Mixing that colour layer and the white layer can be achieved by using HSL directly at the colour layer. Adjust via the Saturation and Lightness slider. No need of the white layer. Same result (at least as far as I have tested). For the dark ones just move the L slider to the dark side (instead of mixing it with a black layer).

HSL.jpg

 

Your result is fine (it would have been identical to mine if you had specified a slightly different blend colour, of course), but I think you've missed the point of my intermediate blending with neutral colour; it was to provide a way for users coming from Photoshop to specify a "fill percentage".

 

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4 minutes ago, anon2 said:

the point of my intermediate blending with neutral colour; it was to provide a way for users coming from Photoshop to specify a "fill percentage".

Agreed. For someone amidst a Schmadobe-to-Affinity transition, that's a more intuitive way to get an expected result quickly.
Playing with the HSL method now, a 50% fill apparently equals S:33 L:67.

Both methods are brilliant though. Thanks, guys!

~~~

Now… anyone knows what happens with Hard Mix? Is there some kind of blur involved?
As noted above, the Reflect mode seems to behave similarly in combination with blend ranges.

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