i have been trying to paint on a layer,  that's  over a visible image,  that i don't want to touch.

As in gluing objects over a transparent (invisible) sheet of glass.

i would like to paint,  mixing colors,  gradations and textures.  BUT,  keep its interactions

restricted to the layer that i am working on.

i would like to be able to build up textures, using this technique of stacking up layers.

Then, use the transfers modes and mix sliders, if needed, to combining or blend them.


i have read most of what is out here, in this forum,  and in its related sites.

And,  i have checked SA's  preferences,  the top Menu and the editor's panels.

i have spent hours hitting keys,  like a monkey.  Any key that in any way seems,

to be related to anything alpha.

what am i missing?.


Is there anything, that would help to make the using of the alpha capabilities of SA,

a little more tearless?

(and for my little brain, a little more-a lot-obvious) like, well,  this alpha issue:  transparent!

something like, "press here to activate -all and any- alpha"

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Hmmm- something like this??

Yes, been there and done that.

i see you stopped short of choosing from the last four options.

i guess what i am hoping  for,  is to be able to activate/deactivate the alpha thingy,

with a LOT less combining selections, that i am no fully aware to what, in actuality,  are they for.

But thank you, anyways!


a cmd-key or hot key for alpha on/off might be a good feature for v5.
yes. it would liveart.  Yes it would.

If you look at the Canvas : Alpha : Enable for View menu flag you displayed as a screen shot above you will see a menu command key attached to 'enable for view' that turns alpha view on or off.


Here's a screen shot below of the menus from Studio Artist 3.5, and you will see that we carried over the old convention we've had in previous versions of Studio Artist for turning alpha view on (enabled) or off (not enabled).

So in older versions of Studio Artist and in Studio Artist 4 the command menu keys are totally consistent for switching between current view and view all (which is command L), and for switching between an alpha enabled view or not (which is command shift L).

Full Erase erases the alpha channel for the layer as well as sets the RGB channels to the current 'erase to' option. You can get at full erase by using the Canvas : Full Erase menu command (which has a command shift B menu key command for it). You can also hold down the shit key when pressing the Eraser button in the main operation toolbar to run a full erase.


We did change the menu key command options a little for erase and full erase. Erase is like it always was, command B. Command shift B runs full erase in version 4.


I keep pointing people at this tip for working with alpha channels in layers. If you want to point out what in the tip needs to be explained better, i can modify it or put together a new one. In looking at it i noticed it users the old 'default color' terminology as opposed to the 'erase to' terminology we ultimately switched to, so i'll try and clean that up soon.


I think the thing that throws people is that running something like a canvas : erase to : white menu command is going to turn the alpha channel full on. Now we could argue about whether it should or not, but it's easy to get tripped up by that. Running canvas : full erase menu command with your 'erase to' option white will set the RGb channels to white while erasing the alpha channel. As will holding down the shift key and pressing the erase button in the main operation toolbar. If you just want to erase the alpha channel and nothing else, you need to run the canvas : alpha : set to : full off menu command. So maybe that's what people are actually asking for a menu command option for? Sorry if i'm misinterpreting people's comments.

Thanks John.

Besides this map of the interface to the wondrous and mysterious  AlphAlAnd,

should i be aware of some other control,

in any of the actual PaintSynth commands, perhaps?

i ask you this, because i feel to be 99.9% shure that i have followed

all this (an others) instructions,  to the letter and number.

The Alpha Fill control panel is the paint synthesizer determines what the paint preset is going to do to the alpha channel. Leaving the Alpha Fill parameter set to 'Default' is usually going to to be the correct thing to do. But there are other options available there that define specific behavior.


I am serious about improving the documentation for this, so being as specific as you can about what points you aren't understanding is the best way to get the documentation improved, or new tips posted.


I purposely try and steer the casual Studio Artist painter away from using alpha channels, because i think they just get into trouble. And there's really no need to bother if you just want to focus on painting. But if you really want to work that way, we should provide enough documentation to make it clear how to proceed. And i'm always open to suggestions for ways to make workflow easier for people. So feel free to suggest away.

Thanks John,

this is what i want to be able to do,

i painted a rocky landscape that i think to be perfect.  And because of this , would hate to lose it. So,  i thought to paint on another-transparent-alpha-layer,  some small detail   And  then another layer, and another.  etc, etc.

What's happening now is that after managing to make the layer transparent,

the brush that i choose to paint with changes.  Its color is gone.

If i use a trnsfer mode, the color came back but the edges of the stroke,

are now highlighted with a white line, similar to a badly done chroma key effect.

i feel i am running out of ways to describe what i wanted to achieve,

and what is in actuality happening.


Brushes don't paint color in the alpha layer.. because the alpha layer is a b&w masking layer.


there may be a non alpha layer way to get where you want to go. The first thing that I would do if I had a "perfect" image that I wanted to add a detail here or there would be to run current view as new layer. That would give you a new layer exactly like your "perfect"one, upon which you could freely wreck havoc.


Now I know John prefers not to work in a Photoshop multi-layer approach... but you certainly could. Again just open a new layer and add the strokes there and use the various compositing options to blend the strokes down to the original.


Sometimes in SA trying to think in a Photoshop way will actually complicate the process.

If there is an small area that you wish to work upon without risking the larger image then simple selections - lasso etc., can be use to isolate that area. The selection can be instantly inverted..



Thanks again, liveart.

The color at the edges of the alpha enabled paint strokes could be whatever is in the background of the layer you are working on mixing into the paint nib being applied to the canvas.

So lets say you erase a transparent layer to white for the RGB channels with full off for the alpha channel. Now, if you use a normal paint preset that fills from paint color and fills to the canvas, the canvas is white (not the paint color). The alpha channel painting associated with this paint preset is going to go from full on at the center of the brush, to full off at the edge of the brush. But the edge of the brush is going to be mixing in the canvas (which is white), not the paint color. So if you are using alpha channels it might make more sense to set Fill To to the Paint Color. I'm talking about the settings in the Paint Fill Setup control panel here.

I hope that made sense, if not let me know and i'll explain it clearer.


The other issue is that many wet paints are pulling color from the canvas again. So if the canvas is white, you won't see that if the alpha channel for the entire layer is off, but as the wet paint is drawing then that white background from the local canvas areas is going to wet blend into the actual paint brush. 


What you could do while working with alpha enabled of the kind of thing you want to do is clone a layer to a new layer, and then paint on that. So any wet mixing is going to be associated with what you already painted, since that will be the background hidden under the full off alpha channel in the new layer.


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