Jump to content
John-B

How to Edit the Alpha Channel

Recommended Posts

for example 

47 minutes ago, Patrick Connor said:

@efflam & @tazcebula

Welcome to the Serif Affinity forums :) 

Agreed, but that has not been our target market so far, sorry. Better tools to edit the alpha channel directly will be needed before Affinity Photo would be more suitable for the parts of the games industry that reply on TGA-alpha for texture storage. I would not say it "makes no sense at all", it's just not right for your particular use.

for example what If I as an artist wanted to create a transparent graphic, do you understand how hard that currently is, try that in Photoshop and you'll immediately see the issue with Affinity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, tazcebula said:

for example 

for example what If I as an artist wanted to create a transparent graphic, do you understand how hard that currently is, try that in Photoshop and you'll immediately see the issue with Affinity

I'm confused..

 

Yes, I understand your point, but two things:

 

1.) I think Affinity Photo is (sadly) interested in end-consumer only. Maybe a semi-professional market. I hoped Serif would use the chance to push Photoshop down, but it seems that this is not interesting for Serif (just have a look how much stuff is missing, if you would fully compare to Photoshop).

 

2.) You can easily create a transparent graphic in Affinity Photo. Or what do you specially mean?

 

 

Just to be clear: I wish I could replace Adobe products with the Affinity line up, but I can't, because of things like that and as I mention before, this is not the only missing feature for (full) professional work. But as I said.. that's not the main goal for Serif - I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, DeepShader said:

I'm confused..

 

Yes, I understand your point, but two things:

 

1.) I think Affinity Photo is (sadly) interested in end-consumer only. Maybe a semi-professional market. I hoped Serif would use the chance to push Photoshop down, but it seems that this is not interesting for Serif (just have a look how much stuff is missing, if you would fully compare to Photoshop).

 

2.) You can easily create a transparent graphic in Affinity Photo. Or what do you specially mean?

 

 

Just to be clear: I wish I could replace Adobe products with the Affinity line up, but I can't, because of things like that and as I mention before, this is not the only missing feature for (full) professional work. But as I said.. that's not the main goal for Serif - I think.

yeah that's unfortunate, because in many many ways it thrashes photoshop and even recently I've noticed adobe has started copying many of its features, but the alpha channel functionality baffles me. In photoshop I can just paste straight into the alpha channel, I can even just paint into it - this makes sense. I don't get how you do this in Affinity, if you even can its super un-intuitive, like i say this seems like basic paint software functionally to me, I don't see how Serif thinks its not an issue.

I wish I could tell everyone I know to buy Affinity, but it's incredibly hard to do simple things, and then by the same token some of its features are light years ahead of adobe - its a totally bizzare piece of software. Maybe in a few years it may be super good, but it just holds me up at the minute

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, telemax said:

When trying to draw in alpha, only black pixels are added, no matter what color is selected. Why is this happening?

From your video, it looks like in the Channels panel you have disabled editing anything besides the composite alpha channel.

1822636475_chanelspanel.jpg.6bf24063cbe689ee1adb33ad987ea93a.jpg


Affinity Photo 1.8.2, Affinity Designer 1.8.2, Affinity Publisher 1.8.2; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 
1.8.2.174 & Affinity Designer 1.8.2.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/27/2019 at 8:46 AM, Patrick Connor said:

Agreed, but that has not been our target market so far, sorry. Better tools to edit the alpha channel directly will be needed before Affinity Photo would be more suitable for the parts of the games industry that reply on TGA-alpha for texture storage.

It's not just textures. Transparent textures are expensive in 3D games, and I use them very sparingly. For me, it's creating the 2D interface where control of the alpha channel is most important, something I do all the time, where it's not just making cutouts. For example, a button with an alpha drop shadow can be created in AP, as I eventually learned,  it's just a different workflow. The same is true for other alpha effects I used to do in PS. I've been able to get AP to do what I've needed to do with the alpha channel, it's just not always as direct or obvious as doing it in PS.

However, regardless of AP's target audience, there doesn't appear to be any reason NOT to make the alpha channel accessible. All they have to do is make the little icon that indicates that a layer is editable work for the alpha channel (currently it's a button that does nothing). The editing tools are already there, they're just blocked from working in the alpha channel. It seems like they're going out of their way to treat the alpha channel as a special, non-editable layer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was about to promote AP to digital painters and concept artists in my community as a photoshop alternative, but based on your answer @Patrick Connor I will make sure to support products with teams who care about the game art market, (including donating to open source projects like Krita).

Thanks for being very honest though, at least I know upfront before recommending AP to people in the games industry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2019 at 6:23 PM, John-B said:

The editing tools are already there, they're just blocked from working in the alpha channel.

This. And the same applies to masks (which in a way are separate alpha channels). It really should be just Choose a channel/layer > Edit channel/layer. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is really essential for us in the animation and games industry. Our whole team has moved to Affinity and today I'm trying to edit the alpha channel of a splat map and I just can't. It's pretty crazy really. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, RustySpannerz said:

This is really essential for us in the animation and games industry. Our whole team has moved to Affinity and today I'm trying to edit the alpha channel of a splat map and I just can't. It's pretty crazy really. 

This may not be nice, but you should check those things before you switch, if your work is in the professional field.

 

Affinity products are really great ..for the range of customers it was build. These are semi-professionals (and for sure professional designers) - but never for the game-industries.

Yes.. I'm also a person who tries to save money, but I never understand how a professional game-designer can say that he/she want's to save money on photoshop or whatever and complain about missing features in the cheaper solution.

There's a reason, why Adobe products are much more expensive. Yes, they are very old-school in many cases and yes, they are slow and so on - but they have so many more features, they work hand in hand together. You can't only compare the price or the much nicer UI of Affinity.

Photoshop for example is much faster, x times better RAW processing, alpha-channel as it should be ;), 3D, much better resizing, real 100% PSD file format (which is so important for a good game-dev-workflow), .....

 

So people.. Affinity products? For sure!! If you work as a DESIGNER or PHOTOGRAPH(!) -- definitely not, if you are a (professional) game-designer.

 

BTW: To all Adobe haters, which are game-developers.. did you recognized, that Adobe invests a lot of money for game-developers? Like Mixamo or that they bought Substances and work together with Maxxon (Cinama4D). I'm pretty sure, that Adobe will dive much deeper into the Game-Industrie in the next month/years. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure this was working as expected, PS style, and got broken on one of latest versions.

It does make zero sense that all tools only adds white to the Alpha channel. It's like all operations are only additive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to add my voice here. I'm generally very happy with the whole Af suite, but this Alpha channel issue is very frustrating for me. I'm an animator and today I need to create a complicated transparency for a texture I'm developing. I couldn't find a way to do it on my own so I came here. Very sad to see this is an issue I might not be able to solve. Serif, please recognize that this is a concern for many of your clients. A fix would be very much appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/2/2019 at 8:47 PM, DeepShader said:

Affinity products are really great ..for the range of customers it was build. These are semi-professionals (and for sure professional designers) - but never for the game-industries.

 

On 9/27/2019 at 2:46 PM, Patrick Connor said:

@efflam & @tazcebula

Welcome to the Serif Affinity forums :) 

Agreed, but that has not been our target market so far, sorry. Better tools to edit the alpha channel directly will be needed before Affinity Photo would be more suitable for the parts of the games industry that reply on TGA-alpha for texture storage. I would not say it "makes no sense at all", it's just not right for your particular use.

I am art director and bought Affinity products because it can handle all the print stuff we need to do in the games biz. Like the OP I had hope to also fiddle with the Alpha and RGB channel like in PS. As of January 2020 this is still not possible. Affinity Photo is marketed as Photoshop alternative. It would be great if Serif could hold up to this. But with statements like those two above, I have little hope Serif will achieve this. It's also sad to read that Serif seems to aim for semi-professionals. Whatever a "semi-professional" might be....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen a whole lot of people saying Affinity Photo is a Photoshop alternative or a Photoshop killer but I've not seen serif tout Affinity software in such a way.

I think it would be foolish to brush off the gaming community and the professionals creating for it as not the target market, and it's obviously a huge market to tap into, but anyone with common-sense would be naive to think Affinity Photo is anywhere near the capabilities of Adobe Photoshop CC and a contender for it's crown. 

There are  some fundamental omissions from Affinity Photo and I would consider decent alpha channel editing to be one of them.

I respect Affinity for staying on mission and remaining focused on providing a good quality product for a very considerate price point, John Lydgate would say 

Quote

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”

 


iMac 27" Late 2015 Fully Loaded, iMac 27" Mid 2011 both running High Sierra 10.13.6 - Affinity Designer/Photo & Publisher - Illustrator CC, Inkscape, Blender, Sketchup, Pepakura Designer, MTC, Pixelmator & Pixelmator Pro + more... XP-Pen Artist-22E, - iPad Pro 12.9 B|  

Affinity Help - Affinity Desktop Tutorials - Feedback - FAQ - most asked questions

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Adding to this, bottom line is no matter what dev says, replies, cites, or explains over and over, I can't find one post or comment online praising Affinity Photo alpha channel related features or workflow.

I however, as many other experienced AND HOBBYIST graphic artists, each time  trumped or frustrated when in need of an alpha channel in AP, can easely find writings about users not liking it, and worse, STILL not understand it any better.

just like me, as I just did.

 

Once again.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I touched a nerve with this post.

I recently discovered another problem associated with the way alpha channels are handled. If you let AF create the alpha (e.g., drawing a circle on an otherwise empty canvas with a transparent background), the empty space remains empty in AF, but not necessarily when you save as TIFF and open in another app. I noticed this when I was making light-colored buttons with rounded edges. When I placed the light-colored buttons on a light-colored background the buttons had a black border. They were not antialiasing correctly with their background, and I've not been able to eliminate that dark edge completely. In Photoshop this was never an issue because I always made the edges of the button graphic match the background the buttons would be on, so they always had nice-looking edges and blended seamlessly. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, John-B said:

I guess I touched a nerve with this post.

I recently discovered another problem associated with the way alpha channels are handled. If you let AF create the alpha (e.g., drawing a circle on an otherwise empty canvas with a transparent background), the empty space remains empty in AF, but not necessarily when you save as TIFF and open in another app. I noticed this when I was making light-colored buttons with rounded edges. When I placed the light-colored buttons on a light-colored background the buttons had a black border. They were not antialiasing correctly with their background, and I've not been able to eliminate that dark edge completely. In Photoshop this was never an issue because I always made the edges of the button graphic match the background the buttons would be on, so they always had nice-looking edges and blended seamlessly. 

Exactly the reason, why I posted. My story started with leaf textures for palm trees and ugly edges around the leaf. I use Clip Studio for most of my work and wanted to use Affinity for that. In the end I needed Krita to get the job done.

In Krita just follow those steps:

Create the circle. Create a second layer below the circle and fill it with the color of your choice. Duplicate the circle layer. Merge the original circle down to the color layer. Create a selection of the circle layer and invert the selection. Select the merged layer with the background color. Right click and chose Split Alpha and then Alpha into mask. This creates a mask. Select the the mask and hit backspace to remove the background. Then right click the mask and choose Split Alpha again and then Write as Alpha.

Good news: Your color information are now stored! You can even save as png.

Bad news: Your Background is transparent now and you cannot see or change the color easily 😜

In general: Krita seems to have some focus on game development e.g. it's easy to create tileable textures or store color information in the alpha channel. Downside: You probably have to reasign every single hot key to get an environment you can work with. And: "Working" with the "alpha channel" is also weird in Krita.

I only had to create some shrubs and leaves, so using Krita was ok. But if my main job was to create vegetation on a daily basis... well... we all know the answer😉

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, protoloss said:

In the end I needed Krita to get the job done.

It looks like Krita is Windows only.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, John-B said:

It looks like Krita is Windows only.

Hey John,

It's also for Mac. It's a bit hidden. Go to download and underneath the big Windows installer button you can find the link "All Download Versions". If you click that one, you can also choose Mac OSX. 

I spend the whole day in Affinity working with the RGBA channels. I was able to work with the RGB channels. Not as smooth as in PS but I got some decent results. The main problem in Affinity is that it treats the channels like a coder does. So we artists need to use the eraser tool in order to "paint" black in the channels. Painting directly into the channels is very easy in Affinity. But let's assume you want to bring a b/w perlin noise or voronoi texture into one of the channels. You cannot just copy the map. You have to separate the white pixels from the black pixels. I can do this very easily in Clip Studio, but I haven't figured out a way to do this in Affinity.            

The PS method is so powerful, because you can just copy and then paste the b/w image into the channel. It's one single step. In Affinity or any other program you need to create an inverted selection of the stuff you want to bring into the channel and then erase in the channel by pressing backspace. Which sounds easy in first place, but you will spend some time figuring out how to set up the selection. 

Is there a fast selection method in Affinity where a white pixel is treated as fully opaque and a black pixel as fully transparent?

Edited by protoloss

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, protoloss said:

Is there a fast selection method in Affinity where a white pixel is treated as fully opaque and a black pixel as fully transparent?

Yes, opt+cmd+click (alt+ctrl+click if Windows) a source object's thumbnail in Layers panel to get a luminosity-based pixel selection.

If you create a Spare Channel from the pixel selection, the Spare Channel can be loaded into a channel of a Pixel object in the document - see steps 3 and 4 below.

 

1 hour ago, protoloss said:

The PS method is so powerful, because you can just copy and then paste the b/w image into the channel. It's one single step. In Affinity or any other program you need to create an inverted selection of the stuff you want to bring into the channel and then erase in the channel by pressing backspace.

An alternative method in AP:

  1. Layers panel: select the source Pixel object
  2. Channels panel: right-click on the thumbnail of a channel of that Pixel object and pick Create Spare Channel
  3. Layers panel: select the destination Pixel object
  4. Channels panel: right-click on the thumbnail of the Spare Channel and pick Load To <destination name> <channel name> 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Luminosity based selection! New term learned! That really helps a lot :D
 I will try to fiddle with the Spare Channel tomorrow! Cheers!

1 hour ago, anon2 said:

Yes, opt+cmd+click (alt+ctrl+click if Windows) a source object's thumbnail in Layers panel to get a luminosity-based pixel selection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Please note the Annual Company Closure section in the Terms of Use. These are the Terms of Use you will be asked to agree to if you join the forum. | Privacy Policy | Guidelines | We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.