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Thread: How to merge layers but keep their affects active?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    How to merge layers but keep their affects active?

    So, I feel like I've asked this before last year, but I can't remember, and I can't figure out an answer now. Anyways, I want to be able to merge layers, but have them keep their layer effects in place when I merge them.

    For example, I want to use an Overlay layer, work under it, finish what I'm doing, and then merge those layers together and keep the visual effect of the Overlay the same, but with only one layer active. Why? Because I then want to make a new layer below all that and import a new Overlay texture into it that only affects those new layers that I will now below the new Overlay layer.

    Basically, what this would allow me to do is build an image with multiple Overlay Textures, but have each Overlay Texture only affect certain areas. It would be a destructive method, but would give me more flexibility in terms of textural qualities I could achieve.

    Alternately, are there other methods I could use? Artrage doesn't provide clipping, nor does it allow us to apply textures or Blending Modes that only affect groups. This might be another way to do it, if it were an option. Basically, have different Overlay Textures set up inside of different groups that would only affect layers within that Group.

    I don't think that's currently possible in AR 4, nor do I think the other way is possible. So, I guess (unless I'm wrong) the real question is-- Is there any way to achieve this, outside of, I suppose, exporting as a png or something, and then importing that flat image back in as a layer, and build a new painting that way....?? That seems sort of a hassle, an I was hoping there was some easier way of achieving this...
    Check out and submit to the thread on Watercolor WIPs in Artrage-- lots of good tips and conversation
    My YouTube video tutorial series- How to Paint with Watercolors in Artrage
    Try out the free
    Artrage Pen-Only Toolbar to improve your workflow and reduce clutter
    List of other good tutorials on using watercolors in Artrage
    List of good sticker sprays for watercolor effects in Artrage

    My blog- art, poetry and picture books- http://www.seamlessexpression.blogspot.com/

  2. #2
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    You can set the blend mode of a group in ArtRage, look in the menu on the group's entry in the layer panel. Put the layers you want to be Overlay layers in the group and make sure their blend mode is Normal, set the group to Overlay. Then you can merge layers in the group and have the results overlay.

    If you set the blend mode of the group and merge that group, the resulting layer will have the same blend mode if none of the layers in that group has a blend mode other than Normal. Group blend modes apply their blend effect after compositing their contents, so when you take a stack of layers that have different blend modes each one is interacting differently with the colour beneath so it's impossible to merge that in to a single layer as each pixel might require a blend mode of its own.

    I should clarify: The reason I say make the layers have Normal as their blend mode and only the Group have its mode set is due to compositing order. If the layers have their own blend mode AND the group has a blend mode it's applied twice - The layers inside composite with each other using their blend modes then the result is composited to the canvas. To make it look normal, the group has a blend mode and the layers do not.
    Matt
    ArtRage UI
    Ambient Design.

  3. #3
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    Slightly different question matt, but is possible (as in PShop) to merge all existing layers in to a new layer and still keep all the existing layers separate?

    Brett
    Visit my gallery here.

    =========

  4. #4
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    That's not something you can do with a function in ArtRage as merging doesn't have the ability to make a copy of the original layer. You would need to duplicate the layers, put them in a group and merge or something similar to that if you wanted to merge all layers but also keep the originals
    Dave
    Resident Bug-Hunter
    Ambient Design

  5. #5
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    Got it! Thanks dave.

    Brett
    Visit my gallery here.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hypotaxis View Post
    Slightly different question matt, but is possible (as in PShop) to merge all existing layers in to a new layer and still keep all the existing layers separate?

    Brett
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveRage View Post
    That's not something you can do with a function in ArtRage as merging doesn't have the ability to make a copy of the original layer. You would need to duplicate the layers, put them in a group and merge or something similar to that if you wanted to merge all layers but also keep the originals
    A work around I use for this (because I'd often need to duplicate 10 or more layers), is to merge my layers; use Ctrl+C to copy the resulting layer; Ctrl+Z to undo the merged layers; use Ctrl+P to paste the results of the previously undone merge.
    Nothing is easy to the unwilling.

  7. #7
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    Continuing on this vein about merging layers-
    I was doing some experimenting based on your advice, but I'm not getting entirely the effects I was wanting (nor what I think you were suggesting). So, I have a few follow up Layer merging questions...

    1) Merging in Layer Groups-
    If I have a group, and have an Overlay texture layer in it, and make the other layers in the group Normal, it seems (according to your explanation) like I ought to be able to merge those layers within the group and keep the Overlay effect in place, yes? But I'm not getting that. I'm getting that the Overlay texture layer just shows up. ??? Perhaps I'm not going about this quite right.

    I also recognize now, after some testing, that I can merge all the layers in a group (through the "Group" interface), and have the effect of the individual layer Blending Modes stay in affect, if all the layers are the same type of Blending Mode. So that's helpful to know. It means I could, for example, do all my Multiply Layers in a single Group, and then easily Merge them all later on with a single click.

    2) What does the Group Blending Mode do, versus individual layer Blending Modes-
    I'm confused about what the Blending Mode of the group does, versus the individual blending modes of each layer. Does it somehow aggregate the individual effects of all the layers within in the group and then apply that Group Blending mode to the whole set, relative to the rest of the painting??? Just trying to understand how to use this feature....

    3) Mostly, I just want to merge a bunch of layers and have them look, as 1 merged layer, the way they did when they were 3 layers with 3 non-normal Blending Modes-
    Beyond all that, the truth is that making the Blending Mode be Normal for all my non-Overlay layers (to better facilitate merging in a Group) doesn't work for my workflow, as I use the Multiply blend mode for my watercolor painting. So.... instead, I tried Merging Down my Multiply Layers together one by one, and that seemed to work. The two layers combined retained the visual effects they had together before I combined them (my goal). Once combined into a single layer, I then changed their Blending Mode to Normal in the hopes that I could then Merge Down my Overlay layer and have the visual effect stay the same, but also a no go-- as before in #1, the Overlay texture image shows up on the entire canvas, instead of still looking "overlayed".

    There ought to be a way to merge down a layer with an Overlay blending mode and keep the Overlay effect in place, right? It seemed like you were suggesting that was possible if my lower layer had a Normal blending mode, but that didn't seem to work.... Or perhaps there's just no way? Besides exporting the image as a png or something and then re-importing it....

    Sorry for the barrage of questions. How Blending Modes function when you merge them, and how they function within a Group, is not very clear....
    Last edited by Steve B; 09-19-2013 at 02:21 AM.
    Check out and submit to the thread on Watercolor WIPs in Artrage-- lots of good tips and conversation
    My YouTube video tutorial series- How to Paint with Watercolors in Artrage
    Try out the free
    Artrage Pen-Only Toolbar to improve your workflow and reduce clutter
    List of other good tutorials on using watercolors in Artrage
    List of good sticker sprays for watercolor effects in Artrage

    My blog- art, poetry and picture books- http://www.seamlessexpression.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Someonesane View Post
    A work around I use for this (because I'd often need to duplicate 10 or more layers), is to merge my layers; use Ctrl+C to copy the resulting layer; Ctrl+Z to undo the merged layers; use Ctrl+P to paste the results of the previously undone merge.
    Sos, this only seems to work though if you all your Blending Modes are the same, yes?? My issue is I have more than one Blending Modes (Overlay and Multiply, basically), and they seem to "come undone" when I Merge my layers.....
    Check out and submit to the thread on Watercolor WIPs in Artrage-- lots of good tips and conversation
    My YouTube video tutorial series- How to Paint with Watercolors in Artrage
    Try out the free
    Artrage Pen-Only Toolbar to improve your workflow and reduce clutter
    List of other good tutorials on using watercolors in Artrage
    List of good sticker sprays for watercolor effects in Artrage

    My blog- art, poetry and picture books- http://www.seamlessexpression.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
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    My work around post was only focusing on being able to get a merged copy of a set of layers. Working with different blend modes is a different problem, because if you merge layers that use different blends, they'll shift as they go down. You could retain the look you had, but it requires filling a layer (beneath them) with your canvas color so that the layers have something solid to flatten onto. This means you'd also be stuck with a painted background, however.
    Nothing is easy to the unwilling.

  10. #10
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    Jan 2011
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    Can you go into this in a little more detail? Where does the layer that I have filled with my canvas color go? For example, let's say I have three layers and Overlay layer on top, and two layers beneath it that are Multiply. I want to merge the three layers before I continue painting using a new overlay texture. Of course, after I merge the three layers, I would like for them to look the way they looked before I merged them. In an example this simple, I know I could just export the image as a JPEG or PNG, and then bring it back in as an image file on a new layer. That would be flat, and would work. However, let's pretend these three layers are part of a larger composition.

    Using your technique, I should place one white-filles (canvas colored) layer beneath the bottom-most Multiply layer? And then how do I merge these layers together? One by one, starting from the top? That does not seem to work. Right? Is there a way to select just these four layers that I want to merge, and then merge them together? Presumably, since most of my paintings are done using Multiply a great deal, I am ok with just being able to then take this newly merged layer with the painted white background and essentially then use it with a Multiply blend mode itself. That ought to make the white painted background disappear. The real question is how do I get all of these layers to merge, and yet have them look the way they looked before I merged of them. It sounds like you have a working answer. It would be wonderful if you could give a little bit more detail about your process.
    Check out and submit to the thread on Watercolor WIPs in Artrage-- lots of good tips and conversation
    My YouTube video tutorial series- How to Paint with Watercolors in Artrage
    Try out the free
    Artrage Pen-Only Toolbar to improve your workflow and reduce clutter
    List of other good tutorials on using watercolors in Artrage
    List of good sticker sprays for watercolor effects in Artrage

    My blog- art, poetry and picture books- http://www.seamlessexpression.blogspot.com/

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