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Thread: Merging layers lose blend effect - bug?

  1. #1
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    Merging layers lose blend effect - bug?

    I wonder if this is a bug or not. When I have a blend applied to a top layer and I merge it down with the layer below I lose the blend. For now, I've been grouping instead of merging to get around this. 4.5.2 MAC

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  2. #2
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    When you merge two layers the resulting layer can only have one blend mode. If the layers have different blend modes the resulting layer has to strip one of them so we revert to Normal. If the layers have the same blend modes the blend mode can be preserved.

    It's important to note that effects obtained with blend modes rely on there being multiple layers stacked on top of each other. Every layer that has a blend mode requires the layer beneath it in order to look correct. Blend modes adjust the colour of a layer based on the colour of the layer beneath, the colour of the layer beneath depends on the colour of the layer beneath that etc. This means that merging layers with blend modes can easily change the appearance of a painting, you are removing data from the painting when you collapse two layers that have blend modes in to one, so it's not possible to maintain the same look.
    Matt
    ArtRage UI
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  3. #3
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    Unless you "bake" the merged layers. True? So, if I have three layers with the top two using blends, could we not bake all at the same time resulting in a layer with all the blends correctly made? I wonder if that could be a future possibility. I am thinking as one's painting become larger and more sophisticated not being able to merge layers might become a hindrance.

    ArtRage4.5.9 MACPRO (El Capitan), Wacom Cintiq 13HD, iPad3, Note 4, Wacom Intous & Nomad Brush Compose.
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  4. #4
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    That would only work if all the paint on the layers above the bottom-most one you merge have paint that only falls inside the paint on that bottom layer and the bottom layer is either Normal or has no paint beneath it, and even then it wouldn't really work if the bottom layer is not Normal because there's canvas colour underneath. Basically, it doesn't work because it's mathematically impossible to flatten a traversing compound calculation in to a single result while maintaining non flat blend in the eventual calculation.

    The only baking that works is flattening the entire image, because you're stripping away every calculation in the layer stack traversal by replacing it with the eventual result of that calculation with no chance of a further blend being applied underneath.

    This is how Photoshop does it too - Basically, don't merge layers if you're using different blend modes because you won't get the results you expect (unless you are completely familiar with the insane complexities of blend calculations as they apply in a stacked traversing system and expect results that don't look the same as the ones you have before the merge!).
    Matt
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    Ambient Design.

  5. #5
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    Very interesting. Thanks Matt. I think I understand why it can't be done. C'est la vie.

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  6. #6
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    The work around for this in photoshop is what I call "smash fist". It is control + alt + shift + E (also called "stamp visible"). If you only have the two layers visible that you want to merge, and you "stamp visible", photoshop makes a new layer that is like taking a photograph of what you currently see on the screen. At that point you can delete the two layers you wanted to merge. I think the ability to do a "stamp visible" in Artrage would be a valuable addition.
    Last edited by BobsDaubs; 11-12-2014 at 06:55 PM.

  7. #7
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    Would this "Smash Fist" be like exporting the image from the file menu? I do this all the time. I turn off the visibility of the layers that I don't want in the image and then export the image. What you see on the screen is what you get in the image. You can import the image back in to a layer then if you really want to. I use this file export because I can get several finished elements or completed layouts from one ArtRage file. I'll change colors add or remove elements and export when I see what I want on the screen. I can then undo or eliminate what I don't need any more. This is far more flexible then just exporting the individual layers. I don't have to merge the layers to export the few layers that I want in the image.
    Aunt Betsy

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt_Betsy View Post
    Would this "Smash Fist" be like exporting the image from the file menu? I do this all the time. I turn off the visibility of the layers that I don't want in the image and then export the image. What you see on the screen is what you get in the image. You can import the image back in to a layer then if you really want to. I use this file export because I can get several finished elements or completed layouts from one ArtRage file. I'll change colors add or remove elements and export when I see what I want on the screen. I can then undo or eliminate what I don't need any more. This is far more flexible then just exporting the individual layers. I don't have to merge the layers to export the few layers that I want in the image.
    Thank you Aunt Betsy. This is exactly what I want to accomplish with "smash fist". It is quite a bit slower to do it your way than the smash fist way, but it is a workaround. The reason I want the merged layers, is because I often need to do some blending of the two layers and I don't want to lose the look I have. If I merge the two layers with a blending mode on the top layer, it results in a look that is different than before the merge.

    So, I still think the "smash fist" or "stamp visible" as it is called in Photoshop would be a wonderful addition to ArtRage. Hint, hint, hint

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