Layer usuability idea

Boudewijn Rempt boud at
Mon Nov 7 19:54:10 CET 2005

On Monday 07 November 2005 13:32, Thomas Zander wrote:

> I know the problem; there are a number of interaction problems with layers
> in krita currently. They have been noted and we intend to fix several of
> them in a future rewrite of the layers panel.
> The major problems I detected were;
> a) layer selection.  Which layer to start drawing on.
> b) feedback for 'current layer'.
> c) picking a color and other such interactions are a bit weird with
> layers, they require a more complex mental model.
> the last one is minimized by the selection tools defaulting to 'all
> layers' which is a good thing.  But the feedback of which layer is what
> is lost whenever the user tries to change that.

First I thought you were talking about the selection tools, but I guess you 
just mean the colour picker. Where the colour is picked from is already quite 
visible, with the default being "sample all visible layers" -- i.e., exactly 
what you want. The color you see on screen is what you get when using the 

> I'm dreaming of a fast way to display the clipmask for a layer in an
> overlay.
> ok, I'll rephrase this technical term with an example;
> Imagine the user moving his mouse over a preview area in the layers
> control.  As soon as the mouse enters a preview it will update the main
> area to paint a fully red area on top of the full image. But only the
> parts where at least some pixels of the layer are visible will be
> painted.   So; it is a fully red area to display the effective pixels of
> a layer.
> Moving the mouse off of the preview square will make the image return to
> normal.
> In a future version the red area can be painted half transparent or even
> using some xor color instead.

It's probably doable, but at a severe performance penalty, I think. The thing 
is, what do you want to count as part of a layer: all non-transparent pixels, 
or the minimal rect that contains all pixels of a layer, or the rect that's 
defined by all non-default tiles -- remember that layers are infinite in 
size, bounded only by the size of a common or garden integer.

> Letting the user directly see what in a layer represents what on screen
> will help problems (a), (b) and (c) substantially.

But will it help the main problem, viz, accidentally working on the wrong 
layer? This only works when you're hovering over the preview. Unless you make 
it a mode. (Of course, all tools in a paint app represent modes, so Krita is 
already heavily modal.) I was thinking of showing the layer's name and number 
in a semi-transparent osd on top of Krita's window when changing a layer.

> Notice that its still needed to add features like doing a ctrl-click to
> select the layer the pixel being clicked is in.

All layers are infinite in size. So there's no reasonable way to know whether 
a pixel is accidentally transparent, or outside the layer boundaries for many 

Boudewijn Rempt
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