Layers in Editor

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Currently we can send objects forward and back on the canvas. But it might be nice for some to be able to see those layers in a list. We wouldn’t want this to be exposed too much, because we don’t want to intimidate new users or those that won’t use it.
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Chris Larson, Snagit Technical Product Manager

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Posted 1 year ago

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Rick Grunwald

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A simple layer panel that would allow dragging layers might be helpful if it does not add bloat. It seems layers are already there
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Paul

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Go use Photoshop, Corel Draw or whatever, if you want layers that much
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Rick Grunwald

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Well ... they are already there. If you cold pop a paned to drag the elements around it would be useful. NOT looking for adjustment layers, filter layers etc. just a view of what is already there.
Disclaimer: I would not use it that much. Others asked for "layers" and after pointing out that they are already there, this seemed like a good compromise. 
If I need adjustment layers that is exactly what I do is take it to a program that is made to handle that level of editing
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caz

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Sadly, this is what I do. Adds unnecessary time and expense to a job. Photoshop is overkill for most screen editing when all you need is the layers exposed. Not only that, to the best of my knowledge, you can't use the snag it benefits and retain a layered project file to open in photoshop.
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Rick Grunwald

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The only thing that keeps the layers is a SNAG file. If you take it to Photoshop it is flattened and you are quite correct, big graphics programs are overkill for quickly marking up a document. (Try adding a callout)  
I have a preset make to take screenshots to Affinity Photo as the need arises for all the adjustments I may want to do and then copy it and paste it as new into the snagit editor for stamps, callouts
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Paul

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There's another thread somewhere about the benefits of TechSmith using a standard layered file such as TIF I believe>
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Rick Grunwald

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I think it was your suggestion was it not? That would work
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Paul

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Yes, it was, but I can't find it now.
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Rick Grunwald

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Yeah I have that trouble too. Can't remember what I had for breakfast
Cheer up we make new friends all over again every day!

(Edited)
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coldwhitefire

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Suggestion: Layer tools palette, creating templates, exporting stamp from selecti....

Suggestion Feedback:

Layer Tools Palette 

Could you guys make a basic layer by tools palette (show layers ⌘4 in the view menu (Mac)),

This would be so helpful in the next update! I have been using SnagIt for about 5 years now on and off both on Windows and Mac

I use both Photoshop and Snagit. Using Snagit has been very helpful to annotate very quickly, whereas having to do it all in Photoshop would take a long time.


The value of layers is very helpful to identify which object one is trying to move.

For example here are two annotations I did for an example to help me describe to a webmaster the difference of what happens when logged into one's account versus not being logged into one's account on this website. 

Here is where one is not logged in and the annotations I did for a screenshot of their website: 

And the other where one is logged in and the annotations I did for the same website: 

I had to switch out the background images and things got a little messy while trying to sort out managing which layer was which. 

Having a layers palette would really improve the functionality of Snagit because it would allow the user to definitively put some objects on one layer, and others on another, and do whatever effects one desires to those layers. 

In Photoshop, Layers is the main source of where all the action happens. 

Creating Templates from Selection OR from a .
snagproj 

Especially if one has many layers. Such like this image of https://www.robotpencil.net/ screenshot. I am a club member of this artist community, and I want to save my work as a template for next time with the resolution I saved as a screenshot with Snagit, and Grab on the Mac. If I could use a lot of stuff over from a previous project, it would help me be more efficient in the next project; which would make Snagit even better!

It would also be cool to be able to create a template from select (such as the examples above in Layer Tools Palette and below in Exporting Stamp from Selection) or creating a template based on a .snagproj project file. Allowing a user to create a template from a selection or based on a Snagit project file could help projects gain more momentum as base templates could be used to create items in a desired arrangement and be reused with other projects or other items and effects. 
 
Exporting Stamp from Selection

Here I have selected items within this project and it would be cool to be able to "export stamp" from selected items in a Snagit project. 



Overall I feel like Snagit is a great tool that could be utilized more effectively if these considerations were implemented within the software. 

Thanks! 
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Paul

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I understand what you're you;re wanting to do, but SnagIt is a screen capture annotation tool.  It seems to me that what you are doing is in the remit of a design tool, of which there are many. If it were to be morphed into a design tool, many many thousands of developer hours would be required.

What I think is essential though is for SnagIt to drop the proprietary .snag file format and adopt a layered standard such as TIF that could be opened in any graphics package.  Then  interchange between apps is viable.
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Rick Grunwald

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That seems to be the fine line ... a really good markup editor vs a design tool. Some of us have been vocal about not trying to make the editor into photoshop or illustrator light.
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Paul

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+100 from me.
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rene.morales

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"What I think is essential though is for SnagIt to drop the proprietary .snag file format and adopt a layered standard such as TIF that could be opened in any graphics package. Then interchange between apps is viable."

Or - keep .snag format but allow a layered format export.
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Daniel Foster, Snagit strategy lead

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Hi Rene, thanks for the input! The Snagit format does preserve layers that can be edited in Snagit on another machine or a later time. So I assume you mean allow a different layered format export. If so, which format(s) do you have in mind? What kind of editing would you be looking to do with this other format?

Thanks for any additional details you can share!
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Tomas

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Photoshop standard file format - so it can be opened in Photoshop by others if needed.  (With layers, etc.)

Great idea!
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Paul

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As in File > Save (As) (choose type)?  Like this?

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Tomas

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Precisely!  :)

Just be sure that layers are included.  :)

.
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Daniel Foster, Snagit strategy lead

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Thanks, Tomas!

In what situations/workflows would you find this useful? What edits are you then making in Photoshop? Are you using other tools to generate this kind of layered PSD file today?

When you bring a file like this into Photoshop, what is your expectation for what's "in" each layer? A flattened bitmap? Editable text? Other?

I want to be sure I understand the use case you're describing.
(Edited)
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Rick Grunwald

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A layer export should leave the text, callouts, stamps etc on their separate layer so further editing can be done. If you support a file format for IMPORT  it should be able to  be able to  deal with adjustment layers etc without supporting that usability. i.e either strip them out or allow some blank layers where adjustments and layers were.
If anyone wants full layer compatibility with photoshop they are opening a can of worms
Actually  while simple layers are great and useful, a wise workflow would send a screen capture to the heavyweight graphics program first where all the masking, adjustments etc can be done and then export it to snagit for finishing. Stamps, arrows and shapes are for the most part easier in snagit and really, how often does anyone need to carry something into Photoshop or Illustrator?
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jimk

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I can agree with all of this.  I haven't worked with layers in SnagIt yet, but have in other fuller tools like Photoshop. On one side, with layers already in SnagIt, if a panel wasn't a big deal to add, go for it. I know when software makes it confusing which layer your attempting to edit, it can be very frustrating. Can accidentally delete a layer.

I also understand TechSmith position of keeping SnagIt low profile & not becoming a bigger tool. It would be interesting, if they could collect data by user as to what features were used & how often. Compile the data, in the background & from the general user base. To see what things simply don't get used & maybe remove them.  Unless they do that already?
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Daniel Foster, Snagit strategy lead

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Hi JimK, we do collect anonymous data on feature usage to help guide roadmap decisions. Other inputs include customer interviews, surveys, market and trend analysis, feedback from customer-facing groups like sales/service/support, usability testing, competitor research, and this community. We weigh many factors when deciding what to add (and, on rare occasions, what to remove) from the product. And we're very fortunate to have a highly engaged and vocal customer base who love the product and have lots of ideas for how to keep improving it. Since I am heavily involved in the research and conversations, this makes my job a joy.  :) 
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Rick Grunwald

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>>(and, on rare occasions, what to remove
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Daniel Foster, Snagit strategy lead

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Heh, yeah, what you learn quickly in this business is that, even if--statistically speaking--0% of the more than 13 million Snagit users actually use a feature...the handful of people who do use it have strong opinions about how vital it is to the product and to their workflow. Makes perfect sense, and I am very empathetic to that. Each person sees what they do with the product and assumes the same must be true of most other users. So we have tried to be very careful to 1) avoid removing things whenever possible and 2) work to more deeply understand not just the breadth of impact but also the degree of impact (and what other options are likely available to a customer) when it becomes necessary to remove things.

I have also learned that the statement "necessary to remove things" makes no sense to many consumers of software. The assumption we have as consumers is that keeping features in the product has 0 cost. But that's not true. When we make a big change in the technologies or architecture "under the hood" in order to enable some new functionality or maintain development velocity, it sometimes means rebuilding old features. Given a finite pool of development resources, that means we are sometimes faced with the choice of rebuilding an old feature that is almost never used or adding something new that our research and customer feedback suggests will get a lot of use. Those are tough calls to make, but we do our best to make the right call each time. Not saying we have always made the right call...or that the call will feel right to everyone...but that's the aim.  :)
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Rick Grunwald

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Well ... how often is it "0%" and the ones here in the feedback forum are using the product heavily and care about it.
"Snagit is a screen capture tool with advanced markup abilities' That is my take on it. Please add or correct and post it back ... and print it out to put on every monitor in your organization. If you keep to that then you won't have anymore disasters like what happened with the version 12 release. Notice it is "markup abilities" rather than graphics abilities. If we agree on that then things like rulers and snap to guides can make sense but it might have prevented some things like smart move and color adjustments. (Not knocking smart move, just saying)
If you guys get a focus and share it then life in this forum would be a lot simpler for you
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Daniel Foster, Snagit strategy lead

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Hi Rick - Our primary focus is on technical communication and technology training use cases. We've been sharing that focus as we have the opportunity. See, for example, my intro to the Snagit 2018 reveal. That's why we're intent on solving problems germane to technical communication, such as the difficulty in keeping screenshots up to date as the tech is constantly changing (hence Smart Move / Text Replace).

We want Snagit to be the tool that makes it easy for people who understand a technology or interface to visually explain and document it for people who don’t. Capabilities that further that goal are higher up the priority list than those that would take us in a different direction.
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alwyn.durham

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Daniel, I think you all are doing an awesome job at this.  Snagit is my go-to tool for anything I'm doing, which is 95% screenshots and 5% image editing for documentation logos, branding, and miscellaneous icons.  Pretty much the only thing I have to resort to gimp for is dealing with transparency and fading between multiple objects/layers.  I would be over the moon to be able to handle this in Snagit, since even in gimp it's a significant headache.  Something as simple as taking two objects having one of them semi-transparent only in the area where it overlaps the other object would be great to be able to accomplish with a couple of clicks.  Solve that and I don't think I'd ever need any other program.  I don't think you're in any danger of over-engineering the product.  If someone doesn't need a feature, they can simply not use it.  Works for me anyway.  ;)
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rene.morales

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@Daniel Foster - I understand the business decisions made to update all existing functionality has to be run through some cost-benefit analysis. And you're right, Snagit users tend to think all users use Snagit use the application the same way.

Still, when existing customer functionality disappears without notice, it's painful for the user community. TechSmith doesn't announce what's going away in its updated versions. I've posted on this elsewhere, but the loss of the X, Y cursor coordinates is critical. It's created more work for my department because now when capturing URL screens, we have to first create a shape template for that capture to keep proportions.

Please spend some money bringing back X, Y cursor coordinates. Thank you.
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JMichaelTX

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Chris Larson,

 But it might be nice for some to be able to see those layers in a list. We wouldn’t want this to be exposed too much, because we don’t want to intimidate new users or those that won’t use it.
Chris, thanks for considering this idea.  I think it is a great idea.

I believe you could implement it so that the "new user" is not aware of, or confused by, the layers.  Everything could appear to be in one layer, unless the user takes some  specific action. You could even make it be a Preference option/setting, with defaults to "Don't show layers".

To those who are concerned about bloat, I agree that that is, and should be a concern.  But let's face it:  SnagIT has long ago moved past being a simple annotation tool.  For example, the very cool, and  very useful  new tools/features in SnagIT 2018 like:
  • Smart Move
  • Grab Text
just to name two.  Some may consider those bloat, but consider them a judicious choice in making SnagIT a very smart capture and annotation tool.  Neither of those tools (or any of the other new 2018 features) get in my way, and do NOT slow me down, and do NOT slow down SnagIT -- so no bloat here.

Chris, do you have a beta program for external users?  If so, you could try out a beta with layers and see what the response is.

Techsmith:  Thanks for giving us such a great product❗️   
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Rick Stone

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The way PowerPoint does it with their Selection Pane is nice.

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Paul

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Now THAT I can relate to.  It's the obvious way to do it in an app that is not a graphic design tool in the same way that Powerpoint isn't. This is very intuitive and even more helpful than traditional layers.

- Paul
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Rick Grunwald

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That would be perfect
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Joe Morgan

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What's nontraditional about it? The lack of thumbnails?

You guys crack me up on this one.Thumbnails are better than just text.IMO

The only thing confusing about Photoshop are the associated tools occupying the same panel.

The layers in the image below Look no different than the layers listed in the PP presentation above to me.
Except for added thumbnails.
The same tools would never appear in SnagIt.

Hiding the layers panel would be a setting in SnagIt.

 
 
(Edited)
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Rick Grunwald

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THumbnails would be helpful and make a place to TOGGLE a layers panel so you can pull it up, make some quick changes and dismiss it all with a couple of mouse clicks. I really don't want a constantly floating layers view. It is not central to the snagit editor as it is in Photoshop
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Joe Morgan

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I would want the panel docked. You could scroll to get to other layers and the panel could be resized like the others.

Layers are more versatile and should expand the capabilities of SnagIt's current tool set by leaps and bounds. Can you imagine? Applying Effects to just a callout,shape, a smaller copy and pasted image,etc.
The possibilities are wide open to the imagination.

I'm all for making it an Un-dockable panel as well.

While I'm dreaming I should probably ask for peace on earth.LOL

I would use the layers panel all the time. Here's where I'd place it.

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Rick Grunwald

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I wouldn't want it docked in Snagit but I get it ... we work differently
That is a great idea BTW. Pop it up, move stuff around and close it ... or leave it up.. It is really useful if you have a ton of items on the canvas
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Joe Morgan

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It's the simple things.
 Users have wanted to add a border to Picture in Picture image for years.If it were on layer,there ya go.Add a border, if it clashes, change the color till it works. You can't do that on the canvas  and copy and paste from another canvas.
Layers are SnagIt's most logical advancement from here.IMO
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JL1

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This idea/suggestion/request has 137 votes as I am typing. In my book, this is way beyond meaning "We the users want this NOW!"
Please, TechSmith.
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robert.ununger

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This would help me a lot in the way I use Snagit. Thumbs up!!
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Glen Barrington

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Wouldn't it be better to partner up with an editing tool that is already in existence, rather than tie up programming resources to make a more complex editor that isn't really needed,otherwise?  I should think, it would be a minor 'fix' to ACDSee, PSP, or Affinity Photo to add the snagit file format for support.

The cross marketing opportunities could work to increase the profile of both Techsmith, and whoever you might partner up with!   

{Sorry! the old product manager in me refuses to die!}
(Edited)
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Rick Grunwald

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Amen but I doubt they would even answer a letter about this.. the snag format does not really have enough users who would want that although I am with you and would use it myself
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Paul

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I'm not sure I understand your comment.  SnagIt is an editor that wouldn't be needed otherwise?  
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Rick Grunwald

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Paul I think the inference is for more complicated stuff.  If the big programs could pick up a SNAG file this whole conversation would be moot.
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Glen Barrington

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Rick & Paul, that is exactly what I was trying to say.  The last thing I should think Techsmith wants is a mission/feature creep for Snagit.  As a product, the bit mapped editors are at a very mature level of  product development.  There just ISN'T much more the software publishers can do to make the typical editor more desirable in the eyes of the consumer.  This would seem to me to be a feature that software publishers might find attractive.
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Paul

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OK so we want n vendors to support .snag files, instead of 1 vendor producing a universal file format that n vendors can read?
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Rick Grunwald

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I don't see it happening. Why should Adobe recognize SNAG? What's in it for THEM?
Your TIF idea works and it stays away from what Adobe might do to the PSD format
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Glen Barrington

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I personally don't care all THAT much.  if Techsmith adds extra complexity to the Snagit editor, I have enough experience in bitmapped editing to handle the extra complexity.  However, one of the 'charms' of the current editor is its relative simplicity.  It is not intimidating to a new user.  I would hate for the basic editor to lose that.  

It seems to me, that as users, we need to ask ourselves, what is our goal in using Snagit over something else?
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Paul

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@Glen

Exactly.  Let people who want to do all that sexy stuff go do it, while those of who don't stay with a simple editor that is not bloated.  There are more graphics editors than you can shake a stick at - and those that want to do this sexy stuff probably already own favoured one, so why create another?  Why tray and recreate everyone's favourite features from  multiple graphics editors, when each person who wants to can go use their favourite feature right there, in their favourite graphics editor

And at the risk of sounding like a cracked record, with a common file interface like TIF you could even move an image back and forth.
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Rick Grunwald

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No disagreement here at all. A universal file format that would take layers in and out of snagit would be useful. I don't see Adobe, corel or Serif embracing the SNAG format but I could be wrong (On another not from another thread, it would be nice if the snag format generated a thumbnail that windows explorer could read)
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Paul

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On another note from another thread, it would be nice if the snag format generated a thumbnail that windows explorer could read

Hello, cracked record here.  Just wanted to say, If Snagit adopted TIF and converted all existing snags to TIFs, then Windows would rock those thumbnails without breaking a sweat.
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JMichaelTX

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Issue:  Is Adding Layers to SnagIT Within its Stated Purpose, Or Is It Adding Unnecessary Bloat?

As I mentioned above, SnagIT has long ago moved on from being a simple screen-capture/annotation tool.  Let's take a look at their latest mission statement:

@Daniel Foster, Snagit strategy lead, said this above:
 Our primary focus is on technical communication and technology training use cases. 
IMO, that is a fairly broad focus/scope.  I also think, that after decades of development, SnagIT management and developers know how to decide on what new features should be added, or not added.  I think they clearly understand the issue of "bloat".

So, I suggest that we not waste space debating whether or not adding layers is blot or not.  I'm very confident that TechSmith can make that decision.  I do see that TechSmith has a concern about adding features that make the product overly complex, particularly for new users, or, shall I say, users who have not yet developed the fuller set of graphics skills that some of us have.

Based on what TechSmith has posted, I think they want to hear from us what our use cases are for a given feature; how useful and helpful we would find it; how it would allow us to get our jobs done quicker, cheaper, better.

To a certain degree, I fall into that group of users with lesser skills in graphics.  I find Adobe Photoshop way to complex for me, in spite of the many thousands (millions?) of worldwide users who give it such high acclaim.  So I am definitely one of those who want to keep SnagIT very intuitive, very easy to use.

I have used many graphics apps, in both Windows and Mac, for several decades, many of which have offered layers.  In fact, some of the first graphics apps for the Mac (early 1990s) had layers.  While I sometimes have trouble understanding other more complex graphics features, layers have always seemed very straight-forward to me -- easy to visualize and use.  I have found it to be a huge time saver to hide one or more layers, to restrict selection to a specific layer, to quickly get the job done.

Granted, those were general purpose graphics apps.  But if SnagIT is now supposed to be a tool which makes it quick and easy to create "technical communications" and "technology training" documents, then that moves it significantly beyond simple annotations.  I, for one, would find layers very useful in developing/maintaining those types of documents.

At the same time, I believe SnagIT can be designed to just use one layer (or apparently one layer), so that to the novice it is just a simple as it is today.
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Daniel Foster, Snagit strategy lead

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"they want to hear from us what our use cases are for a given feature; how useful and helpful we would find it; how it would allow us to get our jobs done quicker, cheaper, better." 

Yes, very much so. :) 
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Rick Grunwald

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JMichaelTX Wow what august opinions
So, I suggest that we not waste space debating whether or not adding layers is blot or not
We should stop?  Why would you post such a thing in a furum where discussion is the point?
 SnagIT can be designed to just use one layer (or apparently one layer)
If you have ever moved an item to the back YOU HAVE USED LAYERS
THey are there and all  anyone has asked is that there be a possible layer PANEL where they could move the layers easily. (There are other discussions about importing and exporting these layers)
One layer editor? There is already a program share for MS Paint. If you use that and bypass the editor all your dreams will come true
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Joe Morgan

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The canvas itself is a layer.

 A long time member told me he was converting JEG's to PNG's.
Why?
 He couldn't delete selections  of  jpeg's he captured from the internet and get a transparent background.

Well, SnagIt places a white canvas behind jpeg's by default.Leaving the impressing that you haven't deleted anything. LOL

SnagIt makes the canvas transparent by default when opening a png.

I think a layers panel might help users understand layers better.

Including Layer "0" the Canvas.
Which left a long time user of SnagIt chasing his tail, apparently for a very long time.  
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Rick Grunwald

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Not in most graphic programs. Create a new document in Photoshop and there are no layers until you add something. That confused the crap outta me for a bit once upon a time
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Joe Morgan

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I tried to get into graphics,

you need to be artistically inclined to create anything from scratch.

My stick people look like people, but that's the extent of my drawing talents.

My Wacom tablet, is really nice but gets little usage. It's great for some Photoshop editing functions. And it can draw stick people.LOL
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JMichaelTX

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@Rick Grunwald:
We should stop?  Why would you post such a thing in a furum where discussion is the point?
I think you have grossly misinterpreted my post.  Please allow me to make my points plainly clear:
  1. I don't think layers would be bloat.
  2. I think adding a layers feature would be a great idea, and would significantly help us get the task done quicker and easier and better.  I say this based on many years of experience of using layers in other apps.
  3. I think we should have a much discussion as people want about the merits of a layer feature.
  4. I don't see any point in debating whether or layers would be bloat, since the TechSmth people are more than capable of making that determination.
Perhaps TechSmith has implemented the current move object forward/back as "layers", but this is not true layers from the UI perspective.  In fact, in all of the apps I have used that support layers, you can still move objects forward/back on a specific layer.  IOW, you could have multiple objects on a layer, but each object could have a different Z position (front/back).
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Rick Grunwald

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"And it can draw stick people.LOL"
HAHA Me too. I am more into photo manipulation
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Paul

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I'm sorry to be a pedant, but your arguments are contradictory.

You "don't think layers would be bloat" but you "don't see any in debating whether or [not] layers are bloat."

Those are mutually exclusive views.  Which one do you want?  Or, having got your point in, do you want to close off debate?  Sorry mate, you're on the wrong forum for that.  

I may be wrong but the consensus here is that the merits of a layers feature are accepted and it's more a question of what form they  might take. 

Some have said we have layers already, we just don't realise it  (example - bring forwards / send backwards) so let's just expose it properly as layers like they do in <fill in name of graphics app>.

Others have said they don't mind something simple but please don't put people off who aren't used to layers / don't like the sort of layers they have in <fill in name of graphics app> with fill layers and adjustment layers and transparency layers and left handed widget layers because SnagIt is NOT a graphics design program.

I am firmly in the latter camp.  SnagIt's USP is its simplicity for annotating screenshots.  I have used it for 16 years and love it.  Coincidentally that's also the same time I have been using Photoshop and I friggin' hate it.  I don't care if what TechSmith have done with object order is or isn't the true use of layers.  It works.  It's indistinguishable from the bring forward / send backwards I have used in dozens of programs.  It's a universal metaphor and it works, however it's implemented.

I have rolled out installations of SnagIt across global enterprises and the typical user in those companies had NO idea what a layer was and would have dropped SnagIt like a hot potato if they had been required to learn about them (and Z positions). And you know what?  We still managed to churn out training docs, help systems, systems specs, web pages and all manner of illustrated materials.  On the rare occasions we got stuck we turned to a graphic designer because, to Joe's point, you need design skills as well as Photoshop. 

So let's have a simple implementation (simple in the eyes of a typical SnagIt user, not someone with graphic design tool experience) that does not impede the existing user base, with the option to disable it so that we can get on with annotating screenshots like we have always done.
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Rick Grunwald

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Thank you. I don't think this gentleman understands layers. If you move a stamp from the top corner to the bottom I agree, layers are not involved. If you have 3 stamps stacked and move the bottom one to the top then you have and are using layers even if you don't have a layers panel to graphically show the stack
A layers panel to rearrange is one thing. All the adjustment layers, masking etc don't belong in snagit. Really if you are sitting in front of a screen that you KNOW is going to need advanced graphics work, send it to photoshop first, tweak it and then put it in the snagit editor to add arrows etc that will be compatible with other items in your project (since building callouts and arrows in photoshop is relatively slow
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JMichaelTX

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@Paul:
I have rolled out installations of SnagIt across global enterprises and the typical user in those companies had NO idea what a layer was and would have dropped SnagIt like a hot potato if they had been required to learn about them (and Z positions). 
How do you know they would have "dropped SnagIt like a hot potato"?  Since SnagIT does not have layers, you are just guessing to enhance your POV.

If implemented well, then users who don't know about, and don't want to learn about, layers would not even be aware that the layers feature existed.  At least, it would not be something they would have to learn or deal with.

All objects, by default, would be created on the same layer.  A user would need to learn about layers only if they saw a demo or tutorial and decided that layers would be useful.

Perhaps there is a terminology issue, but what is usually known as "stacking order" of objects is different from  layers.  You can definitely have multible objects with a stacking order, that are all on the same layer.

From 
  Using the Arrange Commands | Working with Objects in Adobe InDesign CS4 for Macintosh and Windows | Peachpit 

Using the Arrange Commands

Objects in InDesign are layered on top of one another in the same order they were created. (This is sometimes called the stacking order.) The first object created is behind the second, the second behind the third, and so on. Though you may not see the layering when objects are side by side, it is apparent when they overlap.

The layering of objects is not the same as the layers of a document. (See Chapter 11, “Layers,” for more information on working with layers.)
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Rick Grunwald

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@JMichaelTX You don't understand this at all. You are quoting from Indesign documentation that contradicts your assertions. Stacking order as you describe it is on a FLATTENED LAYER. In snagit if you add 3 arrows they are all on separate layers not on one layer.
You seem more interested in pontificating and proving people wrong than adding anything meaningful
Learn the product
Try to understand the conversation
THEN contribute. There is no need to try and shut off conversation and then
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Rick Grunwald

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@JMichaelTX
Please reread. The layers are already in there. IF YOU HAVE MOVE FORWARD / MOVE BACK YOU HAVE LAYERS. The only thing missing is  a layers PANEL of sorts
The discussions never dictate what is bloat but many of us look at proposed new features with that in mind. SInce layers are already there we are guessing that a view (layer panel) would not be a huge reach
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JMichaelTX

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@Rick Grunwald
Please reread. The layers are already in there. IF YOU HAVE MOVE FORWARD / MOVE BACK YOU HAVE LAYERS. 

No need to reread -- I already understand the concept of layers from many years of use.  Moving objects forward/back is NOT the same thing as layers.  Perhaps you missed my statement that you can move objects, all on the same layer, forward/back.  Forward/back just refers to the relative Z position of the objects.
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Rick Stone

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Personally, I'm a bit mystified by Joe's attempt to advise us on the SnagIt layers.

Joe said: The canvas itself is a layer.

I totally disagree. And here's why.

If the canvas itself is honestly a layer, this would mean that  any image one has opened would then be a layer floating above the canvas. And if that's honestly the case, one should be able to add perhaps a callout to the image. And that would make the callout layer number 2 (assuming you are counting the canvas itself as layer zero).

Now if that canvas is honestly layer zero, the image opened being layer 1 and the callout being layer 2, one should be able to right-click the callout and move it so it actually goes behind the image and sits between the image and the canvas, no?

But as you see below, the ability to send backward is disabled when you right click. And that means there are no actual layers below the image.



Sure, we can set a canvas color, but all that really seems to mean is that's the color automatically used when filling a cut out area or expanding the borders of the image.

Off to chase more tail... Rick ;)
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Rick Grunwald

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In most photo programs if you start a new document there is an apparent space with dimensions you specified but it does not appear in the layers panel and you can't do anything with it although you could have specified a background color when you created it.
Layers appear as you add objects. In your graphic there are 5 objects and each on their own layer. I do not know why you are getting the arrange items grayed out unless the background is a flattened image. I just reproduced it by creating a new image from the clipboard, adding a circle and like you, there was nowhere to move it via arrange
A lot of this is terminology. In a graphics program if I start a new document it does not seem to be a layer but with no document and I paste a graphic, it becomes the background layer. GO figure
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JMichaelTX

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Clarifying Object Order vs Layers

There seems to be some confusion about layers vs stacking order of objects.  This probably comes from some apps that refer to "stacking order" as "layering of objects".  But that is completely different from actual layers.

Perhaps these short clips will help clarify:

Intro to Layers
https://support.seagullscientific.com/hc/en-us/articles/206239197-Introduction-to-layers-Video-7-09-

This shows that a layer can contain many objects, and that the layer control panel can be hidden until needed, so that those who don't want to use layers need not be confused by them.

Object Order on a Single Layer
https://youtu.be/Qfj-sEFH3K0?t=1m47s

Note how as each button is created, it is on top of the prior button.  This is due to stacking order.
All of the buttons are on the same layer.

Using Layers to Make Design Easier
https://youtu.be/Qfj-sEFH3K0?t=2m55s

This will show how using layers makes the design and maintenance of a complex graphic image much easier.
It also show that you can just put all objects on the same layer, if you wish.
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Rick Stone

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Actually, I'm not sure your video about intro to layers can be directly compared to what we see in SnagIt. Seems that this video is suggesting each "layer" to be a canvas of its own that can be stacked above other separate canvases, with each canvas layer having its own "stack".

Indeed I'm also familiar with the term "stacking order" as that is how "layers" is referred to in Adobe Captivate.

Seems this is more of a "let's call the whole thing off song" tomato tomahhhto kind of thing. LOL

Cheers... Rick :)
 
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JMichaelTX

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@Rick Stone
Actually, I'm not sure your video about intro to layers can be directly compared to what we see in SnagIt. Seems that this video is suggesting each "layer" to be a canvas of its own that can be stacked above other separate canvases, with each canvas layer having its own "stack".
Where are you getting these terms from????  NOT from the video.  Did you actually watch the video?  There is nothing that "is suggesting each "layer" to be a canvas of its own". !!!

From the web page hosting the video:
layer is an object or group of objects that occupy a particular plane. Layers are often used in graphical editors to create composite images that contain overlapping objects. In BarTender, layers may contain one or more text objects, images, barcodes, shapes, and/or lines to be included on the same plane.Even if the objects on two layers do not directly overlap, each layer will occupy a different plane.
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Rick Stone

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Actually I did watch the video.

The video refers to the way a single application behaves. And it doesn't appear to be universal to all applications. I stand to be corrected, but I don't believe Photoshop behaves this way. I'm sure Joe will pop in to confirm or deny that.

Indeed, my own interpretation after watching the video was that since you are able to have several planes with each plane having its own objects, I surmised the canvas concept.

Personally, you can call it a stack, or a plane, or a layer. How about mixing all three and calling it a "splayer"?

What we call it really doesn't matter, because in the end all it really is, is objects placed above other objects. And as long as one understands how each of the objects relates to all the others you are golden. I find it kind of pointless to compare the documentation for the BarTender app to SnagIt. Obviously the BarTender app is levels of sophistication above SnagIt when it comes to layers and how they describe it.

Cheers... Rick :)
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Joe Morgan

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Well Rick,
I left your name out of conversation above because you should have know better with regards to your  converting jpegs to png's just to get  a transparent background. It's a rookies error and I didn't want to expand any further for that reason .

But now that your mystified, over what to me is the obvious, and mentioning my name. lets cover the bases.

If the canvas isn't a layer. What is it then? A figment of ones imagination? Cyber space?

You can expand it larger than the original image, place images,callouts,annotation,etc.directly on it.
Then, save it as an image.

The only you cannot do is bring it forward. It is the "Very First" base layer. Ground zero if you will. But it is still a physical layer, that can be edited,drawn on, painted,etc. 

In the image below I dragged the canvas area larger and added a couple of callouts.Some stamps, and an arrow.I saved it as an image with everything on the canvas.If the canvas isn't a layer.How was that even possible????

And the saved image

The proper name is "Canvas" it's still a layer in every sense, any way you slice it.

For context, people need to understand what you "Rick" clearly did not.Below was my post covering
using the magic wand and color replacement in another thread.

 
Replacing Color with transparency is already available. Understanding how to use the Magic wand is all that's required.

The Canvas must be set to transparent for this to work.

You start by selecting the color in the image. Like any selection tool.

The key to the magic wand?
You don't want to select "Global  Color Selection"in most cases.

If you're selecting a white background. As in my example below. Any white contained in the image you are preserving will be selected simultaneously.

Unselecting the "Global Color Selection" limits the area of selection to contrasting colors. Hard edges if you will "Color changes" and will stop a selection from going any further based on the "Tolerance Settings"

Once you grasp this basic functionality, the Magic Wand is very simple to use.A little practice and time makes for more efficient use of it.  

Once you make a selection, you may need to adjust the tolerance. I've found it needs to be way down around 3 or 4 to work well in most cases.


Once your satisfied with the selected area, hit delete. That's it.



Or, If replacing the Color is your goal.
with the area still selected..............................Switch to the Paint Bucket Fill Tool instead.

Just fill the area with your color of choice. Boom, Done.



Or sit around waiting for a feature that may never ever come. I'm not saying a tolerance slider for color replacement is a bad idea.

I'm just pointing out that you already have all the tools you need to do what you desire.  

Regards,Joe

And your response to my advice.  Which was incorrect.

10 hours ago
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Rick Stone

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Note that it totally depends on your image as to whether you are even able to select a transparent background.

For example, I frequently save images from the web. They often save as JPG format. And JPG format knows nothing about transparency. So if I'm editing such an image, it's impossible to select a transparent background.

To overcome this, I will open the image in SnagIt, then save the image to the PNG format that offers transparency. And often, I'll have to totally close it out and open it fresh before I'm allowed to configure a transparent background. ;)

Cheers... Rick :)
(Edited)
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Rick Stone

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"Well Rick, 
I left your name out of conversation above because you should have know better with regards to your  converting jpegs to png's just to get  a transparent background. It's a rookies error and I didn't want to expand any further for that reason ."

I stand by what I said earlier. I sincerely challenge you to give a JPG image a transparent background. To my knowledge, transparency is something the JPG format simply does not offer. It is impossible to open a JPG image in SnagIt, create a transparent area, save that image back as a JPG and have transparency. That's all that I ever meant when I referred to transparency.

Now, as you have clearly demonstrated, it IS actually possible to open an JPG in SnagIt and configure the background as transparent. That was new to me. Honestly, since I primarily work in PNG format any more, it had actually been eons (maybe SnagIt 8 or 9?) since I had the need to get that transparency thing going. So I do actually appreciate the pointer in that we can now just make that happen. I do understand why you seemed to believe I'm constantly chasing my tail and doing crazy gyrations with images.

When I said I disagree with your comment about the canvas being a layer, you misunderstood my point. You seemed to be insisting that if one opens any image in SnagIt, the canvas is actually a SEPARATE layer to the image. And that's not the case as I tried to point out.

So sure, the canvas actually IS a layer, but it's clearly not a separate layer when you open an image for editing. The same holds true for images that have been captured. What was captured is "burned into" the canvas layer and is not a layer of its own unless you copy it and paste it back in.

I fail to understand your need to dilute and sidetrack this thread about layers by copying and pasting the gist of a completely different thread about an entirely different topic.

Cheers... Rick :)
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Joe Morgan

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An image is attached above the canvas actually. It's fixed in it's X,Y positioning and cannot be re-positioned.Unless you copy and paste.

In Photoshop the proper order is..."by definition"
1. Canvas
2.Background
3.Layer 1

But if you were to select and delete the "Entire Original Image". All that's left is a blank canvas, a transparent or colored canvas "Layer" in every sense of the word. Ready for anything you throw at it.
With the exception of moving it forward.Which is counter productive when your dealing with the base layer anyway.
Moving the base layer hides everything above it.So that just doesn't happen normally. 
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Robert R., Online Community Admin

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Official Response
Hi all;

I wanted to thank you all for your passion surrounding this topic; it is incredibly exciting to see the various use-cases and so many pros and cons to this particular suggestion. The excitement and conversation around the suggestion of layers in the Editor has become far more broad and, in some cases a bit off-topic so while I clean up the thread a bit and split replies into their own threads (if necessary), I will be temporarily closing the comments and replies for this topic.

Please note that can still vote by clicking on the "Vote" button in the upper right corner of this topic:



If you have any questions or concerns about the temporary closing of this thread, please contact me directly at: r.risdon@techsmith.com

-Robert
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Chris Larson, Snagit Technical Product Manager

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Official Response
There was a lot of discussion on this Idea. And there is certainly some value for some in visualizing the layers (and keeping them hidden from others). But it didn’t get enough votes to be under consideration for a release in the next year or so. So, we are marking this one as Not Planned for the time being. At this point, there are a lot of other things things we’ll be focusing on first. Definitely bring this up again when we do our next round of voting if you still see a need!

Here are the definitions of what the statuses mean for Ideas.
Here is the overall vote count for the rest of the Ideas in this roundup, as well as what has been implemented since our previous round.

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