9 Replies Latest reply on May 11, 2017 7:27 PM by JJMack

    Select Back Layer Without Make Visible... making visible!

    eschelar Level 1

      Simple as it says. This works 80% of the time, but sometimes, it gets it in its head that it really wants to select the hidden bottom layer and make it visible.


      I've got a large number of images spanning quite a few years, from different cameras and worked on by different people, using different languages... it has been a headache to get it all working right so I can run a single action or two and create matched images that play nicely with each other on websites, but it is working right... sort of.


      Many (but not all) of the images have background layers that haven't been cleaned up properly. One of the background layers that shows up often are the extraction mask contrast layers (usually green or blue and sometimes a white one) that we use to check the quality of edges on background extractions. These layers can be labeled in English, Chinese or Spanish. So I use the "Alt+," command to select back layer.


      Recently, the behavior of "Alt+," has changed. When I was making the actions yesterday, it always selected the back VISIBLE layer, ignoring the hidden layers. That is as it should be and with the twirldown, it says:
      Select back layer
      Without Make Visible


      But today, it is actually making it visible. Also, when I hit "Alt+," it goes to the bottom (hidden) layer and makes it visible. It is explicitly not supposed to do this.


      This only happens when there are no layers above the layer, so Layer 1 (Content layer with mask) and Layer 2 (utility color layer which has been moved to the bottom, but is hidden). If the layer in the PSD file is opened up with another layer above it, it works normally.


      My workaround is currently to add a step of creating a blank layer above the starting layer. So far, this appears to allow normal behavior.


      Any ideas?
      This is PS CS6 and I am not planning to upgrade to CC ever. "Change to CC" is not an acceptable solution unless Adobe wants to give it to me for free. I paid for software and it should work as advertised.

        • 1. Re: Select Back Layer Without Make Visible... making visible!
          JJMack Most Valuable Participant

          It you want to automate selecting the bottom layer and insure it is visible it would be  an extremely easy process to script.  You could then use that script in actions.  If you look at the script I wrote and include in my crafting actions package. You should see how easy it would be.


          Crafting Actions Package UPDATED Aug 10, 2014 Added Conditional Action steps to Action Palette Tips.



          If I wanted to add such a script to the package I would encase the two line script in boilerplate to document it somewhat and show help in menu Help>About Plug-ins>TargetBottomLayer.

          The script would look like this,

          // A Script by JJMack's Designed for use with Custom Actions
          // This script targets the bottom layer and insures it is visible
          // This script is supplied as is. It is provided as freeware. 
          // The author accepts no liability for any problems arising from its use.
          <about>$$$/JavaScripts/TargetBottomLayer/About=JJMack's Target Bottom Layer.^r^rCopyright 2017 Mouseprints.^r^rScript utility for action.^rNOTE:Targer bottom layer wwill maht the botton=m layer visible if it was not</about>
          <category>JJMack's Action Utility</category>
          // enable double-clicking from Mac Finder or Windows Explorer
          #target photoshop // this command only works in Photoshop CS2 and higher
          app.bringToFront();// bring application forward for double-click events
          if (!documents.length) {  alert('There are no documents open.', 'No Document'); }
          else {  main(); // if at least one document exists, then proceed }
          // main - main function
          function main() {
            try {
               // declare local variables
               var layers = activeDocument.layers;
               activeDocument.activeLayer = layers[layers.length-1] // Target Bottom Layer
               activeDocument.activeLayer.visible=true;             // Insure later is visible 
            // display error message if something goes wrong
            catch(e) { alert(e + ': on line ' + e.line, 'Script Error', true); }
          • 2. Re: Select Back Layer Without Make Visible... making visible!
            eschelar Level 1

            What are you saying JJ?


            I've already described in pretty good detail the steps I have gone through in creating my action. The tool used is Alt+,


            It explicitly called it "select back layer" and "Without make visible". However, the behavior is inconsistent. If there is another layer, it works as described. If there is no layer above it, Photoshop incorrectly selects the back layer which is hidden and makes it visible.


            How is this fixed by using scripting instead?


            While I do like the idea of educating myself and learning scripting, it's vastly vastly overkill for the amount of time I have for this job. The actions work fine until they come across this single odd situation.

            • 3. Re: Select Back Layer Without Make Visible... making visible!
              JJMack Most Valuable Participant

              The top line of my append  did not make it into the append. It stated. (I can not type)..


              Something is wrong with your Photoshop CC 2017 Att+,  on my machine select the bottom most visible layer.  If the bottom layer is not visible it is not selected.


              All the layer Alt+ whatever target only visible layers.  I find it I want to target layers that are not I have to script it.  You may be able to select by layer name in actions but I do not like to do that for layer names need not be unique  a document can have more than one layer with the same name.

              • 4. Re: Select Back Layer Without Make Visible... making visible!
                eschelar Level 1

                Yep. I believe there is something wrong with it too, however it's not CC, so Adobe is refusing to honor their obligation. Which is of course one of the major reasons they have switched to CC.


                With a single purchase, they are obligated to provide after-sales support and fix things that don't work (doesn't mean that they will, just means that they have an obligation specified by law... which they prefer to ignore). With CC, they can just say "wait for an update that fixes that problem" even though most of the problems are not getting addressed actively. I cannot support a company with such a policy and I find it very disappointing that other professionals also lack the backbone to stand up to Adobe and object in a meaningful way being taken advantage of.


                I also have never encountered this problem before with these actions, forms of which I have been using since 2011.


                In my experience, I have also seen that Alt+whatever always targets only visible layers. I already have sections of my actions to handle hidden layers that are left over from other workers.


                You are also correct that selecting layers by layer names is fraught with problems. Another problem there is the fact that there are no "system names" for layers with language strings used as skins (as with many other programs and situations), the layer names assigned by system functions are literals and using different language versions of PS will cause actions based on layer names to fail.


                I have also had the experience that if I want to do something much more complex, scripting is necessary, however, for this particular job, it really isn't. Or at least it shouldn't be. In this case, it's a conditioner that can be applied to images inside the file share, which can be in any of several states, which pumps out a cleaned up file to a local file store for working on with other more elaborate actions.

                • 5. Re: Select Back Layer Without Make Visible... making visible!
                  JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                  eschelar  wrote


                  With a single purchase, they are obligated to provide after-sales support and fix things that don't work (doesn't mean that they will, just means that they have an obligation specified by law... which they prefer to ignore).

                  Where do you reside that has those laws.


                  Adobe does not even guarantee that Photoshop will work as documented just substantially like documented and Adobe has the rights to change how Photoshop works. I think the only thing that Adobe is obliged to do is help with installation problems.  Adobe never supports old product versions and they release a new version about every 18 month.


                  IMO Adobe support is not what it should be. It may be extremely poor. However, I do not believe where I live its a criminal offence.  You need to work around Adobe bugs. I use CC 2014 in order to use CC 2017 I need to add garbage to every document I work on.

                  • 6. Re: Select Back Layer Without Make Visible... making visible!
                    eschelar Level 1

                    Canada has consumer protection laws. If you sell something and it says it does something, but it doesn't do that, it is illegal under that law. This problem is an example of Photoshop describing that it does something, but behavior is different from that. Bugs are bugs and bugs are a fact of life. However, ignoring bugs is unacceptable on the short term. 18 months is a very short term to try to leave product unsupported. The automotive industry in Canada is required by law to have support for their product for up to 7 years. If the product cannot be repaired after 3 attempts, the customer is entitled to a refund or a replacement product of the same value. In this case, Adobe would then be required to provide Adobe CC Production Premium products to me under a perpetual license (not for this issue, but there are other issues I have experienced that are explicitly not going to be solved). I don't think I could say with confidence that Adobe is restricted by those laws on paper - I would assume that they have all kinds of loopholes engaged here. Doesn't make it right, but it might allow them to find ways to make it "not-specifically-illegal". Who is to stop them? Who would challenge them in court? Nobody.


                    Of course, this is nonsense and apples to oranges, but it shows the radical departure of how Adobe operates from any other industry. Even Microsoft can't get away with dropping 100% of their product support 18 months after the product was released. I still get updates for Office 2010, which is two versions out of date, fixing this and that, little tiny bugs all over the place... I find it hard to believe that Microsoft does all this, 7 years after the product was released, for no good reason other than "it's just the right thing to do". So I'm surprised when I see Adobe with totally different policies.


                    This isn't something I would pretend to have the inclination to take up as a legal argument, but is a demonstration of what is wrong with Adobe's current policies. I have had a dozen or so significant problems with PS and their only answer is "buy the new product". This is the policy known in trade as "bait and switch" and it is in contravention of most country's consumer protection laws. They are a large corporation though and they control the industry, so nobody stands up to them. And don't forget, just because it is your company policy to do something, doesn't make it legal. A company down the road from here was just caught paying some of their employees 8% less than the minimum wage because they were hired before min wage went up. Company policy. It was also company policy when they fired the employee who discovered it. Company policies, but now the department of labour is going to take a little trip to their office.


                    The end result is that the industries they controlled are slipping out of their grasp, but products that used to be heading towards excellence are now getting a vote of no-confidence by working professionals like me, while other working professionals just fork over the cash gleefully in support of this rather poor move that primarily affects "the little guy", ie small businesses, freelancers and guys who use their own personal licenses for work.


                    As long as there are people who put money in Adobe's pocket and promote Adobe for behaving inappropriately and harming this segment of their customer base, Adobe has no incentive to stop being evil.

                    • 7. Re: Select Back Layer Without Make Visible... making visible!
                      JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                      As I wrote Adobe contract does state that Photoshop may not always operate like it's documentation.  If their poor support is a criminal offence why would Adobe not be charged in Canada. Or Adobe banned from marketing Photoshop in Canada. Make Photoshop foreign contraband.

                      • 8. Re: Select Back Layer Without Make Visible... making visible!
                        eschelar Level 1

                        They are a large corporation. Who will lead the attack? Nobody. Who is even in a position to? Every industry has a company that operates like this, creating its own little loopholes and hurting their own consumers, but because they are taking advantage of customers, they can thrive in ways that more legitimate and benevolent companies cannot, eventually taking strong dominance.


                        Either way, they go against the spirit of consumer protection and operate under extremely poor ethic. With the inception of CC, that got markedly worse as many customers (especially specialist freelance professionals and small businesses using the intermediate suites) are now having to pay significantly more for significantly less product, which Adobe is putting less effort to improve and less effort to ensure they work properly in the first place.


                        Regardless of whether you can see it or not, that is what is happening.



                        Fortunately, a massive chunk of Adobe's customers have seen this coming and have left, preferring to dump cash into their competitors' pockets. That might be adequate for some in some industries, but for other avenues, Adobe's dominance is too strong to break. In our company, I have to use Adobe because everyone else uses Adobe. So I use Premiere Pro instead of whatever else because someone else is going to use InDesign and while there are strong video editing packages now to compete with Premiere/AE, there is nothing yet available for ID (this is not as simple as I am saying it, but for brevity's sake).


                        I just lost an SSD type HDD on my office computer so I'm rebuilding a bunch of stuff from scratch these past two weeks. I find it remarkable to see the dramatic difference between how MS handles long-term hotfixes and how Adobe handles them. MS has so many hotfixes available for Office 2007 that they often obscure the path to the hotfixes for Office 2010. Yeah, in the year 2017.


                        MS is no shining star here of course, but compared to the attitudes displayed by Adobe, they are light years ahead. And like I said before, these two companies work under the same basic set of rules. I find it very hard to believe that MS supports their products for 7 years+ just because they want to be nice. But I find it quite believable that they do it because they feel they are obligated to (probably legally obligated to), but they haven't put their effort into trying to shirk their responsibilities as software developers and find loopholes that allow them to screw over their customers like Adobe has. Adobe might have the letter of the law on their side because they found some tricks, but the consumer is clearly getting screwed here on many levels.


                        As I said before, simply stating that software might not work as described does not absolve them of legal responsibility to ensure it works as described, it probably is just enough to make it too difficult for any interested parties to actually enforce their legal responsibilities as a software creator.


                        I work in manufacturing and we cannot simply say "this product will function as this type of product, but we make no guarantee that it will function as described" because if our product fails in this way, someone will fall off the side of a mountain or have a massive accident on the roads at high speed, being slowed down by the friction of their face against tarmac. Pretty likely that we would face some lawsuits pretty quick. However, if the worst thing that could happen was quite minor, but still impaired the function of the product in some way, perhaps something like created a bad ankle position which encouraged tendonitis in some individuals, it's pretty likely that nobody would ever take us to court for that. As a manufacturer, it is our choice then if we will modify our design to prevent that bad ankle position or if we just say "nyeh" and play the odds at the customer's expense.


                        You obviously care enough to speak out in defense of Adobe, but the matter is moot until either there is widespread, low level resistance (unlikely) or someone gets a bee in their bonnet enough to actually take them to court (also unlikely).


                        I do appreciate that you're putting time and effort into making it work and I do appreciate the information out there regarding scripting. But maybe realize that CC is a strongly destructive force in this industry. For whatever reason, that doesn't impact you personally, but it does indeed impact many, many people. The correct path chosen by many since CC was introduced is to simply refuse to pay. Adobe's prices went up significantly for the people most strongly affected, so they are insulated from that. For the intermediate suite user doing an every 1.5-2 year upgrade path (very common), the cost of CC is almost 3 times as much. They can therefore afford to comfortably lose 60% of those customers without impacting their bottom line. Press releases at that time showed that they expected a mass exodus at that time, but were rolling the dice on their dominance. It paid off for them financially and they lost less than they expected, but still probably very large numbers (greater than 50% in many segments) who were paying customers are no longer paying customers. Further, you have already acknowledged that support is bad and getting worse, but also those of us who were paying attention for the past 15 years have seen a significant decline in *useful* improvements. Without a strongly iteration-based development cycle, there is less emphasis on large product improvements and most of their improvements, even on "major" cycle releases (ie the recent one a couple of months back) are very weak and offer few genuine benefits to their users.


                        Don't be under the illusion that CC has done anyone any favors. I can't make them behave well, nor can you. But both of us who put time and effort into helping people with their Adobe software have a responsibility to be truthful and clear about the harm CC continues to do to the industry where we get they money to eat and feed our families. Is it criminal? Probably on some level. Are there loopholes so they can say "not specifically illegal"? I would assume so. Will anyone enforce it or try to clarify or protect the consumers? Doubtful.

                        • 9. Re: Select Back Layer Without Make Visible... making visible!
                          JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                          eschelar  wrote



                          You obviously care enough to speak out in defense of Adobe


                          Stop I not trying to defend Adobe as I wrote Adobe Support is not what it should be.  My opinion of Adobe support is not favorable.   I tried for years in vain to get Adobe to fix bugs.  They have fixed some bugs I have reported other go unfixed release after release.    I still report bugs but don't anticipate that Adobe will ever fix them.  I just work around them.  I do not seem to have any other choice for I want to use Photoshop.  Currently I use CC 2014.


                          All I wrote is where I live Adobe support is not a criminal offence.