11 Replies Latest reply on Dec 19, 2012 7:45 PM by erflink Branched from an earlier discussion.

    Merging layers isn't quite the same

    erflink Level 1

      Hi... I actually have a layer merging question in CS5.

       

      I have a document with three "normal" layers and two hue/saturation adjustment layers. They're at the top. The next two layers, and the adjustment layers, have layer masks. The bottom layer has no mask. The blend mode between the fourth and fifth layers (counting from the top) is "Hard Light".  The blend mode for all other layers is "normal", and all opacities are 100%.

       

      When I flatten the layers, what I get is not what I had before the layers are different, hard to describe exactly how.  I notice that if I merge the fourth and fifth layers (with the "Hard Light" blend mode), and only those two layers, I get the same behavior as when I flatten the entire image.

       

      So why would merging two layers that have the "Hard Light" blend mode at 100% opacity look different than when the layers aren't merged?

       

      I hope I was clear in describing this... kinda hard w/o screen shots.

       

      Thanks for your help!

       

      -Eric

       

        • 1. Re: Merging layers isn't quite the same
          Jeff Arola Adobe Community Professional

          Does viewing the image at 100% view (actual pixels) before merging make any difference?

          • 2. Re: Merging layers isn't quite the same
            Noel Carboni Level 8

            Nothing's stopping you from attaching screenshots, using the web interface to the forum and the little camera icon above the edit box.  Please do, though I suspect R_Kelly is on to the root issue.  Layer Styles are approximated in the normal layered view at zoom levels other than 100%.  Got any layer styles in your document?

             

            Normally, you'd expect to see the same thing in preview as when you flatten the image.  There's no fundamental reason why that should not be.

             

            -Noel

            • 3. Re: Merging layers isn't quite the same
              erflink Level 1

              Thanks for your quick responses!

               

              First, Noel:  I was posting from one of the documentation pages, not realizing the posts end up here.  On that page, there's no tool bar to let you do anything.  Also, no layer styles in my document   .

               

              Second: R_Kelly:  Bingo!  I think.  At 100% the image (before merging) looks a lot more like it looks after merging.  Problem is, at 16.67% (which is where I'm looking at it now), it looks different after merging.

               

              So, what I'm seeing, is:  I fiddle with the photo until it looks as I want it at 16.67%, merge it, but then it looks different at 16.67% (as does the preview).  However, if I view the image at 100%, and merge it, then at 100% it looks exactly the same, which is what I would expect.

               

              I'll grab some screen shots and post them later... let me know what would be most helpful to see.  Don't have time to do that right now.

               

              Thanks again!

               

              -Eric

              • 4. Re: Merging layers isn't quite the same
                charles badland Level 4

                "So, what I'm seeing, is:  I fiddle with the photo until it looks as I want it at 16.67%, merge it, but then it looks different at 16.67% (as does the preview). "

                 

                Yep. Keep in mind neither of those views are accurate. The answer (as you now know) is to make the editing choices at 100% View.

                • 5. Re: Merging layers isn't quite the same
                  Noel Carboni Level 8

                  erflink wrote:

                   

                   

                  First, Noel:  I was posting from one of the documentation pages, not realizing the posts end up here.  On that page, there's no tool bar to let you do anything.  Also, no layer styles in my document .

                   

                  Sorry, didn't realize there was a way to start a post here without using the forum web interface.  These things are linked in mysterious ways.

                   

                  If you don't have Layer Styles, then the second possibility is that since layers are combined in low bit depth when zoomed-out (for speed), perhaps you are seeing side effects of that.

                   

                  Are you set to a mode where you're using the GPU?

                   

                  -Noel

                  • 6. Re: Merging layers isn't quite the same
                    charles badland Level 4

                    Not just Layer Styles. I'll see this view anonmally (layers v. merge) working on an image that is very detailed and high contrast (like an image with graphic pen filter) with Adjustment Layers. As a quick example:

                    more-merge.jpg

                    • 7. Re: Merging layers isn't quite the same
                      erflink Level 1

                      Thanks again everyone!

                       

                      I'm seeing something similar to what you show here Charles, and since I can post screen shots, here's what I'm seeing:

                       

                      Before flattening:

                       

                       

                      After flattening:

                       

                      So... I have to ask the question... why?

                       

                      Why is the 16.67% view not accurate?  At 100%, I can't see all of this image... not even close, and I prefer to see all of an image when I'm working on it.  It would just be a horrible workflow to have to keep zooming in and out, and/or or panning all over place and/or flattening and undoing over and over.

                       

                      Is this what people have to do on a regular basis?

                       

                      I don't claim to be any kind of Photoshop power-user (though I've been using it since version 3), but I've never come across this before.  I can't believe there's no workaround so that "what I see is what I get", even if I'm not at 100%.

                       

                      So, thank you all for your help and explaining what's going on, but any thoughts on how to "fix" this behavior?  Or is it not even possible?  That'd be a bummer.

                       

                      Thanks again!

                       

                      -Eric

                      • 8. Re: Merging layers isn't quite the same
                        Level 7

                        There is no good way to "fix" this.

                        As long as you're looking at a downsampled image (less than 100% zoom), you won't see all the detail - especially in very noisey/grainy images.

                        • 9. Re: Merging layers isn't quite the same
                          charles badland Level 4

                          Well, the real question is not why images viewed at 16.7% are not accurate... they can't be. I think the more valid question is why there can be such a dramatic preview change between the layered view and a merged view at 16.7% (among other less than 100% views).

                          (and erflink.. still no photos are posting. You can't do that via a mobile device. You have to be on a computer on the Adobe forum web page to post photos)

                          • 10. Re: Merging layers isn't quite the same
                            Level 7

                            Think about a checkboard.  At 100% you have black and white. At 50% or less you have 50% gray.

                            Then you apply an adjustment to 50% gray, and it's not the same as applying it to black and white (which you would see at 100% zoom).

                            • 11. Re: Merging layers isn't quite the same
                              erflink Level 1

                              Charles & Chris... yes, I guess since the image is being reduced, the best we could ask for is something that is "perceptually equivalent"... but as a "naive user" I'd think what I see is what I should get, I mean before and after merging.  Technically, I understand it, but ignoring the technical insight I'd think "This just ain't workin' right!"

                               

                              As for photos... I'm on the web site on a real-live big computer... but I tried copying and pasting, which looked like it worked, but, well, I guess it doesn't. I guess I'll just try again then... Nothing to write home about, but it illustrates the issue.

                               

                              Before flattening (at 16.67%):

                              Before.png

                              After flattening (still at 16.67%):

                              After.png