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How to Edit the Alpha Channel


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20 minutes ago, anon2 said:

There is a very high probability that rui_mac was correct, in case you haven't yet grasped that.

What makes you think that? Do either of you two claim to know anything specific about how data is stored in the native file format?

I have no special knowledge of that, but I have studied enough native format files with BBEdit to see that the format is unusual.

Affinity Photo 1.10.5, Affinity Designer 1.10.5, Affinity Publisher 1.10.5;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
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1.10.5.280 & Affinity Designer 1.10.5 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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This discussion has taken a pointless turn. What difference does it make how AP represents and arranges image data? I create and edit files in AP format, but save them out in TIFF, PNG, or JPG formats. It doesn't matter to me HOW AP saves the data internally, it's the data that AP saves that's important. Even more important for this discussion, a portion of those data have been made non-editable for some unknown and apparently arbitrary reason.

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Yea I said a while back that it doesn't matter what you call them, they're basically all the same and should be treated the same. The problem we all have is the difficulty editing alphas, masks and individual channels both in ease and consistency. R C-R seems to have a habit of going into threads about legitimate problems for users who want to help better the software and suggesting there is no reason to change the software. Last time I saw this was regarding targa editing where R C-R was the only solution is to use AP and some other software to convert file formats instead of... Improving AP by adding a widely used file format.

Anyway, there really is no reason not to improve this part of AP. There is no excuse or reason it 'needs' to stay the same and one of the devs did chime in to this discussion to say it's not high priority (though for us it is but I imagine the devs have data on what the vast majority of users want to see improved first). I myself have only few problems so far with AP and the devs are working hard at improving the software so for that I'm thankful and I appreciate it. We want to be able to use the affinity line of applications, we want it to be the best software. :) Photoshop probably didn't have game development in mind either but they've since embraced it. I know it has 'photo' in the name but in the end, affinity photo is just an image manipulation software and it'll be used for photography, generally painting artwork, graphic design, game development and TV production. I don't know which of these categories have more users but honestly I'd embrace the many industries that can use the software. :) 

No need to fight against potential improvements. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Please please please can you let us edit the Alpha channel, make dodge and burn work, as well as curves. I'm a Lead Matte Painter in the Film and Tv VFX industry and i've seen the gradual decline of Photoshop over the years. Affinity is so close to becoming the main 2D workflow in Visual effects houses around the world, ilm, Framestore, Cinecite, etc etc. You guys and gals just need to sort this out. Until you do we will continue to use Photoshop which many of us dont want to do anymore, but can't make the change to Affinity unless we can edit in the Alpha channel. Its not just Matte Painters, its 3D artists, its game designers. we all need to edit the Alpha channel quickly and easily. Yet again i will have to save what im doing in Affinity and move it into Photoshop to finish off my shot

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On 6/28/2020 at 9:47 PM, R C-R said:

What makes you think that? Do either of you two claim to know anything specific about how data is stored in the native file format?

I have no special knowledge of that, but I have studied enough native format files with BBEdit to see that the format is unusual.

LOL!!!

Beyond ridiculous.

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42 minutes ago, anon2 said:

Beyond ridiculous.

You said here that "There is a very high probability that rui_mac was correct, in case you haven't yet grasped that."

Unless you do have some detailed knowledge of how color, greyscale, & opacity data is stored or used in Affinity, or believe rui_mac does, don't you think it would be at least a bit ridiculous to claim there is a very high probability that he (or anybody else besides the staff) is "correct" about any of this?

Among the things I do see from rui_mac is this:

Quote

I'm a coder and I know what I'm talking about. One of the last plugins I coded as a 3D vertex painting set of tools. It deals with RGB and, optionally, with an opacity map. The same set of code that is used for each of the R, G and B channels (that are, fundamentally, three greyscale channels), is the one I also use for the opacity map. 

What if anything does that have to do with Affinity's code; or how it stores, maps, or otherwise uses color & opacity data? Is he suggesting Affinity's code implements any of this in the same way as in his plugin? How would he know if it does?

Affinity Photo 1.10.5, Affinity Designer 1.10.5, Affinity Publisher 1.10.5;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
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1.10.5.280 & Affinity Designer 1.10.5 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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Just now, R C-R said:

You said here that "There is a very high probability that rui_mac was correct, in case you haven't yet grasped that."

Unless you do have some detailed knowledge of how color, greyscale, & opacity data is stored or used in Affinity, or believe rui_mac does, don't you think it would be at least a bit ridiculous to claim there is a very high probability that he (or anybody else besides the staff) is "correct" about any of this?

Among the things I do see from rui_mac is this:

What if anything does that have to do with Affinity's code; or how it stores, maps, or otherwise uses color & opacity data? Is he suggesting Affinity's code implements any of this in the same way as in his plugin? How would he know if it does?

Are you serious? You told rui_mac that he was wrong:

You did not say he was probably wrong or possibly wrong. You said he was wrong. Then you stated, "I have no special knowledge of that, but I have studied enough native format files with BBEdit to see that the format is unusual." You have no knowledge of the subject, you looked at some binary files with a text editor, you saw something 'unusual' and so you concluded that rui_mac was definitely wrong. ROTFLMAO!

 

 

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On 1/17/2019 at 4:05 PM, R C-R said:

Among other things, I don't understand why the Composite Alpha channel has a 'visible' button since unless I missed something that makes everything invisible. Why would you need or want to do that? 

Sorry if it's mentioned in this long thread already: I also wonder, besides the 'visible' button, what use I can make of the 'pen/edit' button at a Composite Alpha channel.

Any idea, hint or tutorial?

macOS 10.14.6, MacBookPro Retina 15" + Eizo 27"

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51 minutes ago, thomaso said:

Sorry if it's mentioned in this long thread already: I also wonder, besides the 'visible' button, what use I can make of the 'pen/edit' button at a Composite Alpha channel.

Any idea, hint or tutorial?

If you disable alpha editing then it has the effect of preserving alpha when using a tool or filter that normally affects alpha and lacks a "preserve/protect alpha" control.

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32 minutes ago, anon2 said:

You told rui_mac that he was wrong

What I believe he was wrong about is his assertion that "a greyscale LAYER is simple {sic} a set of two 'greyscale' lists." Assuming he is talking about a raster image layer in a greyscale document (& not for example a mask layer), I do not think we know enough about Affinity's code or how the Affinity apps store image data in memory, in native document files, or even how they are displayed in the workspace to say more than that there are two paired values, commonly referred to as channel data, associated with each pixel in a greyscale raster image.

I believe this is relevant to this question he asked:

Quote

If they are all the same (and stored the same way, internally), why can't you perform on an alpha channel the same operations that we can perform on a greyscale?

I think the answer is because they are not all stored the same way, but of course that is just a guess.

Affinity Photo 1.10.5, Affinity Designer 1.10.5, Affinity Publisher 1.10.5;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.5.280 & Affinity Designer 1.10.5 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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For some reason I have a boxing analogy in my head that might fit. Affinity Photo has got Photoshop on the ropes, its almost down and out, one more punch and Affinity becomes Champion. But then Affinity Photo see's its mum in the crowd and is now just gormlessly waving at her with a silly smile on its face. Come on, finish Photoshop off, make it so we can edit Masks. Or am i going to have to turn into Andy Dufresne from Shawshank Redemption and write one letter a day for ten years until you do ? :)

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I really really really love Affinity Photo and uninstalled Photoshop just because it was that good. But AP has a lot of quirks that are driving my back to Photoshop. I have been dealing with the fact that we can't save or transfer gradients from our library and many other small things. But not being able to edit channels directly is such a burden that I have considered installing Photoshop again just because I do it so often. 

I hope Affinity considers how huge this (and other features that are lacking for seemingly no reason.)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Is there any way to get a dev voice on this so we know it's something being looked into (or not being looked into) because it is a burden and it's a basic feature that people need to use every day. Even just a quick post from a dev saying "we are listening and will be looking into channel editing in the future" or "no this is not the direction we want to take the software, we prefer difficult channel editing."

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41 minutes ago, MattyWS said:

"we are listening and will be looking into channel editing in the future"

Latest betas (for Mac at least) promise:

Quote

- You can now single click a spare channel in the Channels panel to edit it like a layer.

It's not something I have used myself so I can't offer an opinion.
 

Affinity Photo 1.10.5,  Affinity Designer 1.10.5, Affinity Publisher 1.10.5, Mac OSX 12.3, 2018 MacBook Pro 15" Intel.

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  • 2 months later...

Agreed Opermaks

And as I said before, this also rules out all the T.V and Film VFX Industry, which i dont know if Affinity knows is pretty big in the UK, along with the games industry. I haven't used AF since i initially tried switching from PS and realised i could edit the alpha channel. And as I work from home now, my company pays for my (expensive) Photoshop licence to be on my home computer so i've given up on AF until this Alpha channel thing is sorted.

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Yes, charliechapand there are a huge amount of indie game devs (really huge), who can easily prefer Affinity, cause it's much more cheaper for people working alone. They could easily go from photoshop to affinity. With great pleasure. But there is no any gamedev without storing alphas in textures. And this is the only serious request now...

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On 9/27/2019 at 1:46 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.

Maybe not your target audience being directly "game developers" but game development also uses photography very strongly. This is a photography suite and an image manipulation software, software used to edit and create RGBA, but sadly 1/4 of that is awkward to work with. Would you really suggest photography for game development isn't photography at all, and thus not the target audience? As the person above, I'm not trying to be harsh but "not our target audience" is quite a poor excuse for software being awkward to use. There's more industries out there other than game development that also need the use of alpha channels including photographers. If I can't use Affinity to edit my photo sourced textures (which is photography, which is your target audience) then I'd have to use photoshop... I'd rather use Affinity but like many, many others I simply can't yet.

If I'm wrong then please could you elaborate on who is the target audience if photographers aren't? 

At any rate there is an absolutely huge market to tap into, which can only mean customers and more money toward Affinity and I don't see a downside to catering to this.

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1 minute ago, MattyWS said:

who is the target audience if photographers aren't?

I think I meant this (which is from my understanding and may not be perfect).

Most photographers do not care what the RGB values are where the alpha channel is 100% transparent, but clearly game designers packing that channel with actual data, so care about those RGB values as alpha does not reflect opacity. Perhaps @Andy Somerfield can comment on whether the alpha pre-multiplication will be made an option in future to suit this market, or if there is another solution coming for texture and TGA files

Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility lies in being superior to your previous self."  W. L. Sheldon

 

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7 minutes ago, Patrick Connor said:

I think I meant this (which is from my understanding and may not be perfect).

Most photographers do not care what the RGB values are where the alpha channel is 100% transparent, but clearly game designers packing that channel with actual data, so care about those RGB values as alpha does not reflect opacity. Perhaps @Andy Somerfield can comment on whether the alpha pre-multiplication will be made an option in future to suit this market, or if there is another solution coming for texture and TGA files

 

Unsolicited premultiplication is being performed only when exporting TIFF with alpha.

Unsolicited premultiplication is not happening elsewhere in AP. That would change R,G & B for all alpha values except 1.0, and that is not happening.

The thing that is happening and making the app useless to particular groups of users is that some of the app's processes change R,G & B to zero where alpha is zero. 
R,G & B are being preserved where alpha is greater than zero, which is good.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Nice news! There are a 90-day free trial and 50% discount. But this means nothing for people making games. Even if there is 90% off this is useless cause of one reason: ALPHA CHANNEL. Just one feature and Affinity can have a huge community of indie game devs (and this is not counting different companies from game industry). Many of them ready to buy AP for full price cause it's not expensive and has a perpetual licence. Oh my God, stop slowing down, just one function. Why resist being friends with game artists so much?

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