Question - Copying multiple masks on a layer?

This is effectively a thought experiment since I don’t have this scenario in front of me, but I’m just curious.

Let’s say you have a local editing tool (doesn’t matter which one) with more than one mask on a layer. For example, you add a Color Similarity (or Parametric) mask then use a Brush mask to touch it up by either adding or removing coverage. Then you want to copy the composite coverage of those masks, i.e., the entire layer as it were, for use by another tool.

First of all, is there a way to do that? To effectively copy everything at once, as one aggregate mask that behaves (e.g., inverts, intersects, etc.) as a single mask would?

If not, it would be nice to be able to do that. Couple of possible ways I can think of offhand (probably more):

  • Have an option at copy time to copy the entire layer at once. You’d probably have to also either make that copied mask compatible with pasting into any type target mask or get the desired type right then.

  • Have an option to flatten all masks on the layer, either in-place or as a new mask / layer, so it could then be copied.

Anyway, just wondering… thanks.

You can copy/paste the entire mask settings as a whole (with the buttons at the top, next to the mask name), but their effect will be slightly (or not so slightly) different on different tools, because they will be applied to different inputs (i.e. the image at different stages of the pipeline).
If you want the exact same mask, this is currently not possible with art (I believe darktable has it, called “raster mask” iirc). But I’d be curious to see a use case where this makes a practical difference (in what you can achieve with ART, indeed with a more flexible pipeline I can certainly see its use)

Well, like I said I may be missing a better way. :slight_smile:

But as to a use case, not infrequently I want to emphasize a foreground object and drop away the background. To do that, I’ll often mask the foreground object (which will usually be a combination of color similarity and brush masking, to clean it up) and adjust color / tone of the foreground. Then I’ll copy / paste that mask into local contrast and tweak the same area there. Then I’ll copy / paste it again onto another color / tone layer, invert it and subdue the background. So I’m dividing the image into multiple areas and treating each differently.

So there are three masks: the foreground tone / color, the inverted background tone / color and the local contrast. And you’re right, in darktable I would often put additional module instances downstream from an original module with a mask and use its raster “version” for them.

A couple of times in the past mask copies in ART have behaved a bit unexpected, particularly when making further adjustment. Not buggy unexpected behavior, just due to my obviously incomplete understanding of how overlapping masks interact and how that reacts with subsequent changes, etc. So I was thinking a single composite mask might be simpler.

But once again if there are better ways, that’s great.


Mask copies within a single tool are exact copies. The behaviour changes when copying among different tools, for the reasons explained above. I agree that “raster” masks would be handy at times, but implementing them would require quite a bit of work, and I’m not convinced that the benefit is large enough to be worth it, that’s all. In other words, they can certainly be useful, but I am declaring what is there to be good enough :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Good enough! :slight_smile: After all it was a thought experiment…

Sorry to butt in and slightly change the subject.

Any video showing on how to create and use these mask in ART? I’d like to learn.


I’m on my phone now so it’s harder to check, but look at the documentation page of the ART website. There are some silent short desktop videos and a step by step procedure for area masks.

Later update

Here’s a link: agriggio / ART / wiki / Home — Bitbucket

In particular…
Local Editing with Layers and Masks
Area masks: creating polygonal shapes
Mask creation video
An introduction to ART

Thanks, I’m checking them right now