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About layers management (layer folders)


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I know this is in the popular features requests list, but having to deal on a semi regular basis with huge canvases where I have to composite a lot (up to several hundreds) of tiny parts, each in its own layer, I thought i could specify what would be the specs I envision. Think of detailled maps with lots of overlapping topography signs + small pics of interest, or simulations reports. In such case, each element must stay on its own layer to be moved easily and ordered with other elements.

Paint.NET is a great software that meet most of my needs (more than the too complex pro softwares), but the layer management is really a bit of problem in those situations. I could do all in Paint.net but for this.

  • First due to the size difference between the canvas and the elements, it would be an huge memory saver to have the layers at the size of the actual element and not the underlying canvas. Then you just have to deal with an offset to blend it correctly on the canvas. Ideally that should be an option. I deal with canvases in the 3000x2000 range where elements are less than 100x100 and as tiny as 25x25.
  • More than folders, what I would need is the hability to lock one layer to the one before it so that when the father is moved, it moves the same, and still having the possibility to move the child independantly. Having that working hierarchical would be handy, but even only one level is enough. Now, a single father layer could have many childs.
  • Masking the childs in the list would be handy too, but not essential.
  • Reorder the layer list by clicking on one and dragging it to its new position is a must have. Deactivating image updates while doing that would speed up things quite a lot, removing the need to zoom at 800x when you have 200+ layers.
  • An essential feature would be a tool where you click in the image window and have the topmost layer including a non transparent pixel automatically selected. Curently the only option I have is to add as text the name of each element so i can find it in the layer list later. Of course then, I must remember to remove the texts when elements are in final position.

While this is certainly not a typical use, solving it for that would also solves most of the more general needs I can think of.

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where I have to composite a lot (up to several hundreds) of tiny parts, each in its own layer,

Is it absolutely essential to have one layer per part? If the parts are sufficiently spaced, you should be able to group many parts on one layer. If one must be moved, move it within the layer.

Curently the only option I have is to add as text the name of each element so i can find it in the layer list later. Of course then, I must remember to remove the texts when elements are in final position.

Are you using text written on the layer to ID it? Try double clicking on the layer (or activate the layer & press F4). The resulting dialog allows you to name the layer.

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Is it absolutely essential to have one layer per part? If the parts are sufficiently spaced, you should be able to group many parts on one layer. If one must be moved, move it within the layer.

some of the parts overlap . eg sensors field signs.

Are you using text written on the layer to ID it? Try double clicking on the layer (or activate the layer & press F4). The resulting dialog allows you to name the layer.

the layer is named. it is not the problem. how you identify the layer one particular sign belongs when you have 25 more identical ones ?

Edited by AljJazz
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I see your problem. I can only suggest very considered labelling. Identical elements might be in layers from 1 to 12 for e.g. Put the left most element in layer 1 - call that layer 'first-left', the one to the right of that in layer two - call it 'second-left'. Etc...,

It's not much help I'm afraid. If you really need this sort of complexity there is always that very expensive alternative :(

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