Are all retouch tools destructive?

Is something not working like it should? Let us know.
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2018-10-20 18:02:00

I'm new to Pro and trying to understand which tools are destructive and which are not. Perhaps this is listed somewhere and I've missed it.

I get that Color Adjustments and Effects are nondestructive, and I get that Repair and Clone are destructive but one can use a transparent overlay layer with them.

But other retouch brush tools like Sharpen and Desaturate also appear to be destructive though the Help does not mention this. Am I correct that if I want to do nondestructive editing with these tools I should first select the area to be retouched and then copy and paste to create a new layer for retouching?

How about a table in Help that breaks down how each tool can be used nondestructively?

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2018-10-20 18:53:43

Hi David.

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Pixelmator Pro and this is the only big gripe I have with it. Everything done by the Style, Adjust Colors, and Add Effects tools is non-destructive – which is awesome – but touch any pixel directly with any other tool and all Styles, Colour Adjustments, and Effects are immediately committed to the layer without warning – which really sucks.

I really wish that layers would lock, i.e. stop you from painting but still allow you to add adjustments, as soon as a non-destructive effect was applied. Unfortunately the way the layer lock works, it bars you from making adjustments too, so you can't even use the layer lock to stop you from making an unfortunate edit.

Hope this helps.

- Stef.
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2018-10-22 11:48:53

The long-term goal was always to let you keep all adjustments/effects/styles applied as you edit the pixel content of a layer without merging them. You'll probably recall that there were some bugs with editing inside groups with effects/adjustments applied but I hope you'll also notice that those bugs are no longer there! At least, for the most part... So, the basic functionality for a completely nondestructive workflow is pretty much there, which is to apply your adjustments and effects to layer groups and work on the pixel layers inside the groups. One stumbling block I guess is that layer styles cannot be applied to layer groups.

In the future (hopefully nearer term) we're hoping (/planning) to transfer this functionality over to regular layers, so hopefully you'll be left with no gripes at all!

P.S. We'll see what we can do about making the help documentation more explicit and informative about this.
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2018-10-22 13:58:18

Hi Andrius.

I just had a play and this is starting to get there (edit: this is way more than starting to get there, this is most of the way – good work, guys). I can paint on a layer in an adjusted group which is really good, but not all tools behave as well. Let's test this out:
1. Create a new image.
2. Put the background layer in a group.
3. Paint in a brightly coloured brush on the layer.
4. Add some adjustments/effects to the group. I did a Hue shift in Color Adjustments > Hue and Saturation and Effects > Spin Blur because... hey... Spin blur.
5. Do things to the layer.

And by things, I mean.
Paint with the paint tool.
Paint with the pixel paint tool.
Fill with the Color Fill tool.
Fill with the Gradient Fill tool.
Erase with the Erase tool.
Erase with the Smart Erase tool.
Repair with the Repair tool (edit: using sample all layers). That leaves some wrong-coloured sludge. (edit: so don't use all layers in this situation).
Repair with the Repair tool on a freshly created layer in the group (edit: using sample all layers). Also sludge. (edit: so don't use all layers in this situation).
(edit: Repair with the Repair tool (sample all layers off) Works a charm.)
Clone with the Clone tool.
Sharpen... (works but doesn't have a large effect)
Soften... (works but doesn't have a large effect)
Saturate... doesn't seem to do what I expect, even without the adjustments of the group. It looks like it works well as an undo brush for the Desaturate tool, but if I paint in pink, I don't seem to be able to make it red. It's not a tool I use so I'm not sure how much of this I my expectation.

That's a much better result (and a longer list) than I was expecting. Good work guys. Previously I'd been wary of touching any bitmap that had an adjustment or effect applied to it, even if that effect was applied to an enclosing group. This is excellent news. I'd be grateful if you could give saturate a look over, though. If I set a colour with low saturation (using HSB), the Saturate tool doesn't seem to do much to bring it up.

This is why the forum is so important. There have been a few bugs that have got me into a certain way of working. When they're fixed I don't necessarily know about it or change my ways. (edit: Also, when I did do a quick test, the first tool I reached for was the Repair Tool which made me think that things were worse than they were.)

All the best.

- Stef.
(Testing done on Pixelmator Pro 1.2.1 beta.)
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2018-10-23 12:04:16

The Saturate tool works a little differently to how you might expect because it's designed with a purely photographic use in mind and preserves colors from completely degrading into unnatural versions of themselves. If you were to try this tool out on a photo, it should do a great job. Or if you take a dirty pink like C3A3A3 and saturate that (especially with the Strength set to 100%, you'll notice a big difference).

As for the Repair tool, I'm guessing you have Sample All Layers turned on, in which case, the Repair tool is behaving correctly, i.e. taking the visible state of the entire composition (meaning it includes the color adjustments) and recreating the removed areas based on that. Once the area appears, the adjustments applied to the group now also apply to it, so you get double the color adjustments you originall had. If you turn off Sample All Layers and repair directly on the target layer, the colors should match up. If you'd like to keep Sample All Layers turned on and repair on an empty layer, you'd need to temporarily disable the adjustments before repairing.
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2018-10-23 12:29:08

(edited above tests in response)

Thanks Andrius, and thanks to the whole team for sorting this. That's a clean bill of health for Adjustments and Effects applied to a group. Good work, all!
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2018-10-23 12:43:07

Hooray! Now we just need to keep making everything even better...
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2018-10-27 15:31:50

I see that I'm not the only one noticing that, once some Effects have been added to an image, doing something such as like Tools-Retouch-Sharpen, "commits" the Effects to the image, and there's no way to change a given Effect later.

Keeping Effects available to change after applying Tools would be at the top of my list for a future revision.
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2018-11-05 11:50:39

Noted, it's very high up the list of our priorities as well! Although that doesn't mean we won't be shipping things that are easier to do in the meantime while simultaneously working on this as well.