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Layer Grouping


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I have an idea/suggestion for a feature for future versions of Paint.NET. I've searched briefly, and can't find any mention of it, so apologies if someone's said this already, or if it's being worked on already.

I do quite a lot of drawing from scratch in Paint.NET, and at times it gets quite complex, with dozens of layers (one scene I'm working on had 38 layers at last count, and it's only about halfway done). Often, many of these layers are related - for example, I'll have a whole set of layers containing a variety of black, white and grey shapes, with various different blending modes and set to different transparencies, for shading. I merge as many layers as possible, but often a layer has to be left separate because I'm still editing it, or because I have to keep turning it on and off to work on what's under it. I think it would be really useful to have the ability to group layers. It shouldn't even be that tricky to implement - not that I know much about Paint.NET's inner workings, but in the programming I've done, I can't see that it'd be massively difficult... right?

The basic functionality:

- Ability to make a group by clicking the 'Add Group' button

>- 'Add Group' button opens a small dialog box where you can tick the layers to group, or select 'Empty Group', as well as name the group

- Layers within a group can be shown or hidden separately

>- When a hidden group is shown again, layers within that group that were hidden before are still hidden (ie. layer show/hide within a group is independent).

- Layers can be moved up and down within the group; groups can be moved up and down as layers

>- Groups have no effect on how the layers blend or appear in the final image; they're still treated as an individual stack of layers - grouping is just an organisational aid.

My quick before/after impression of how it might be implemented

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Layer "folders", or the ability to organize layers in a hierarchy -- I want this too, and it depends on some major plumbing work being done. This would be a Paint.NET v4.0 level of feature. No ETA.

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