How to use live filter layers in Affinity Photo tutorial

How to use the Affinity Photo live filter layers tutorial - use with many effects

Live filter layers in Affinity Photo

how to use live filter layers for Affinity Photo tutorial
  1. Layer menu in Affinity Photo

  2. New Live filter Layer

  3. Gaussian Blur filter in Affinity Photo

  4. Manipulate settings for live filter layer

  5. Go to layers panel

  6. Move live filter layer to normal layer etc

The live filter layers can be applied multiple times with multiple effects and settings to create amazing artworks


videoVideo tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


The app includes many wonderful tools such as LFL (a sort of equivalent to the smart objects and smart filters in Photoshop) and these LFL are standard layers (though filled only with the filter effect) and they can be treated as a layer and moved around and positioned beneath or above other LFL as well as other layers such as pixel layers as well as vector layers and more


The key panel to use is the layers panel which can be found via the studio in the view menu


You can find the LFL via the layers menu.


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For example, goto the layers menu and new LFL and select gaussian blur or pixelate or field blur or clarity or lens blur etc and that will be added to the panel - depending on what is selected or not.


Not all filters are available in this menu and to be honest I have no idea why the mirror filter is not there but it is not, perhaps this will change with the next version of AP


You can add multiple LFL to a pixel layer etc as well as add multiple LFL above all the other layers and also you can use blending modes with the LFL and the pixel / vector etc layers.


You can also set via the settings / blending mode the blend to lighten or difference to create a difference gaussian blur with the layers below. Using blending modes and opacity is a great way to modify the effects in 1000s of ways with the other effects and layers


You can one or multiple entries via the menu - they will all be applied to the entries below so if you have 10 entries such as duplicates of the background or type etc then they will be modified by those effects - though the results will only be seen if the blending modes are set so that you can actually see the result.



If you have nothing selected and you then go and create a new effect then the entry will be placed above the entire selection of entries in the panel which you may or may not want. If you want to move it so it is only applied to the one entry such as the background then select it im the panel and drag to that entry such.


If you click on the sphere filter icon (I personally find it more consistent to use the icon than the whole line but that is up to you) and then drag it to another line such as the third layer down - you will not see the effect. You can see the effect only if the layers above have blending modes that the layer and effect to be seen.


You can also click on the name such as (sphere) and change it to something like 'sphere filter effect etc'. You do not need to keep it as the default name and may find it easier to mark it as something else (especially if you have multiple effects and multiple layers).


top mostIf you de-select all the layers and then use the layer menu and LFL, the LFL will be added above all the other layers.


For example - De-select the layers and Go to the layer menu and New LFL

Guassian Blur (or some other LFL filter)


If you want to apply the LFL to a layer only then just select that layer and then apply the effect and you will see the effect 'attached' or beneath the layer. You can always select the little icon in the layer menu and drag the effect above the current layer or drag it to the top most part of the layer menu.


Likewise, if you have a top most layer and you want to add it only to that layer (and for the effect to be only seen attached to that layer), just select the little LFL icon and drag down to the layer icon and you will see a little expand triangle appear


You can also add the LFL to another LFL but that doesn't appear to have any effect at all though visually you can see the expand option for that effect; likewise if you do the same with an adjustment layer as that also have no content.


The key thing to remember is if the LFL is added in the wrong place then it can be moved. you can always just select it and drag it to the layer you want


The layers panel and the order and the LFL are definitely not cast in stone


multiple entriesYou can add multiple LFL effects to a layer and so you could end up with


gaussian blur

gaussian blur

ripple filter



twirl etc


You may want to move the twirl LFL to the top position within that layer then select the icon for the twirl effect in the panel and drag that above the gaussian blur entry .


The order of the effects will modify the observed final effect. The effects below such as the gaussian blur may not be visible unless the twirl LFL etc has a blending mode or opacity that allows the effects to be seen.


You can also move the effect from one layer to another layer etc

If you have two layers


Layer 1 has a twirl LFL effect / blur LFL effect / ripple LFL effect

Layer 2 has a gaussian blur LFL effect / sphere LFL effect


And if you want the sphere live effect to be applied to the layer 1 then simply select that line in the layer 2

drag to the layer 1. Place at the top of that layer thumbnail


The layer live effects will now have

Layer 1 with sphere LFL, twirl LFL, blur, ripple

Layer 2 with gaussian blur only


This can be done over and over until you are happy with the effects. The actual displayed result will only be visible if the blending modes and opacity and visibility allow it.


The effects are layers so you can go to the layer menu and select the duplicate to duplicate the current selected LFL effect (to create 10 or so ripple effects if you wish) or just select the effect and then go to the layer menu and select the delete option and the effect will vanish. You can also simply de-select the effect via the layer panel and so you don't need to delete it.


You can also right click to see a context menu such as on the left image for the layer where you can duplicate it in situ and delete and hide etc


masksYou can also add a mask to the layer, though it should be noted that this does not work with the filter applied to a layer itself but just as a seperate layer


You can select a layer and then click the mask button at the bottom of the main panel and click on the (mask) and then select a brush tool and set the color to black or gray etc and then paint the mask or paint with white to remove the entire effect.


You will then see more or less of the effect added to that layer and that can be done for all the LFL. You can also apply standard filters to the mask through you can't add a live effect to the mask layer (guess that would be getting a little complex). I would say adding masks etc as well as multiple effects even pushes Affinity a little


selectionsAnother interesting area to explore is to use a selection and then add a LFL as the gaussian blur etc effect is added only to that part of the selected image.


The selection can be a basic selection but it can also be a more complex selection such as a tonal selection via the select menu and it can also use multiple effects such as twirl and blurs etc


You can re-select and again apply another LFL effect to the current selected item in the panel


Keywords : How to use live filter layers in Affinity Photo tutorial


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