Photoshop: Selection, stored in alpha palette, is displayed reversed

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  • Updated 8 months ago
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Hello Adobe,
you ask people for their satisfaction, but you obviously don't care because some the simplest tools are buggy since two years!
Here is one very annoying: To reproduce the bug:
1. Make a selection 2. save the selection to Alpha palette
 => BUG: white is not selected area but black!

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Benedikt Zwölfer

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Posted 1 year ago

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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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I don't think this is a bug, but a matter of understanding the philosophy. If you make a selection, and the you turn that into a mask, everything outside the selection will be masked. So you could say that the mask is actually the inversed of the selection. That is why a mask is black on the outside of the initial selection, and a saved selection is black.
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Benedikt Zwölfer

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No this is definitely no question of "philosophy", because it must be the consistent for everything.

1. You can't argue, when it is a layer mask, that black means not selected and when it is a alpha channel we decide black is selected. The minimum would be to leave the decision up to the user. And part 2 of the same bug is, that you can't change the preferences for a new document. And by the way who gives you the right to decide about my workflow philosophy?!

2. And if you would work with other softwares,  you wouldn't call it philosophy because you will find quite quickly out that there are clear rule on this earth, regardless if you are in aftereffects, nuke, mari, illustrator, maya or anywhere else, even how path selections are displayed. I have to work with about 10 different softwares... black means not selected, this is standard and has been ever since [and comes from masking in the dark room]
It has been the same in Photoshop for 2 decades and then this alpha palette bug was introduced.
So, I would really like to hear someone from Adobe here replying...
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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I agree that it can be confusing, but think about it this way: If we see a layer with a mask, we tend to look at the layer itself as being the mask. So we see white as the mask (because that is where the layer is opaque) and black as the 'holes in the mask'. The layer itself is not the mask however; the layer has a mask. A mask hides your face, the holes show your eyes. So if you look at it this way it makes sense that black is the mask (because black hides the layer) and the holes are in the mask are white. That also explains why a fully white mask is the same as no mask.
(Edited)
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Benedikt Zwölfer

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Johan, sorry but it took me an hour of my spare time describe this enormous problem which drives all of us crazy here, every f***k**g day...
I will not discuss this with you anymore. It is a bug. I already explained logically why it is.
I'm still waiting for Adobe to reply...
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Fine with me. Just don't hold your breath waiting for that 'bug' to become fixed...
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David, Official Rep

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Hi Benedikt,

Well, I'm not exactly sure why the implementation appears different, but I've a strong suspicions it's about workflow and how the feature is used.  One person's use-case is another's bug.

Let me assure you that Photoshop has CONSISTENTLY behaved in this same way since CS2 (which came out more than 12 years ago and is the oldest version I can get to run on my machine).  So if it's a bug, it's a VERY old bug.  And yet this is the VERY FIRST TIME I've ever heard anyone complain about it and I read the forums every day I'm in the office (and some days I'm not!).  So no one else seems to have an issue with this.

Remember, masks use the paradigm of white = show and black = transparent.  So in a context of transparency, namely an alpha channel, black as transparency actually WOULD be consistent.

Thanks,
David
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NICOLE ANDRES

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Hi David,

this is Nicole... Benedikt is teacher (!!!) and I am a Photoshop professional since 1999 (!) working in 5 companies with different workflows and teams - every day.
And I can assure you that this bug is new since maybe two years.
I am not sure if YOU understood the problem: Because YES: black must be transparency and nothing else and only this is consistent.
But it isn't in our Photoshops and that is why this bug was reported.
If in your alpha palette is a selection stored with black as transparency you have a different copy of Photoshop.
Then you will have to check the German Photoshop-Version, if it is a language problem.

Still when I open some years old files, I can see how alphas were stored always before. Black was transparency.

p.s. And only because people don't report bugs, it doesn't mean that they don't exist.
Some friends ask us "why do you make yourself such effort with reporting bugs, they don't listen to you".
I can spend a day in things that are buggy and interrupting our workflows every day, and it is not possible that you don't know that issues, when you have any good beta testers.
Yesterday IAH1 from another company has spent 2 hours in describing a bug with colored folders that exists since ages. But my impression is, that you at Photoshop care only about fancy new tools that nobody needs, who is working as a professional instead of fixing that many small bugs... 
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David, Official Rep

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Hello Nicole,

I'm afraid that you have an incorrect mental image of what Photoshop team members like myself and Jeff are interested in.  We monitor the forums (which are officially user-to-user) in addition to our regular work in the hopes of making the product better for our customers.  We're very interested in hearing feedback and making improvements, particularly to existing tools and workflows.  The forums are an EXCELLENT way to hear and understand the little bugs that plague our customers -- we want to make it better for them.  That said, not every idea we get here checks out or is actually correct.

I'm not sure precisely where this particular issue lies, but it is NOT as you or Benedikt believe it to be.

You see, these two pictures come from the very latest version of Photoshop (CC 2017) and one that is more than 12 years old (CS2), both running Windows.  As you can see, the way Alpha channels are displayed is EXACTLY the same.  There has been no change in 2 years or in 12 years.  Language version is irrelevant -- they both have the same executable.  The role of black and white is a sticky-setting which defaults to "Masked Area" initially, but which can be customized EACH TIME by the user, and then defaults to the last used setting (that's what a sticky-setting does).  Again, one user's bug is another's feature.


Now, I've just round-tripped both files to the other machine and version without problem and without any confusion on layer meanings (what's transparent in one is transparent in the other).  So, I'm back to my original question of "what is the bug here"?

Based on what's been presented so far, this entire issue appears to be a sticky-setting which you're either unaware of or which you don't fully understand -- at some point the "meaning" of black and white was switched from the default.  If this isn't true, please share with us CLEAR and CONCRETE steps and examples of the problem and how to encounter it -- if there's a bug, we're VERY interested in fixing it!

But, again, remember that not all users understand all aspects or uses of all features.  This includes teachers -- I teach graduate level (post-University) classes in Photoshop and Design myself, but I also make mistakes, even though I've worked on the team for more than 20 years.

Thanks,
David

p.s. -- Falls Sie wollen auf Deutsch schreiben, dass ist na ja kein Problem.  Also, Sprache sollte keine Behinderung sein...
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David, Official Rep

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And here are shots of the OTHER files in the opposite versions of Photoshop, showing that the layers are treated the same, regardless of origin.
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NICOLE ANDRES

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Hi David, thanks for reply and looking deeper at this topic.

- We can boil it maybe down like this:
On all our photoshops since ages has it been preference, that a selected area is white and unselected is black. (Why we work like this: Because it is the same like it is in the color channels displayed, and it is the same like a layer mask is displayed and I can immediately compare a layer mask with a stored alpha channel, and it is the same like in any other software on the world)

But if you were saying, that this has never ever been different BY DEFAULT, it means that everyone here (I promise 100's of people across the country) changed the preference immediately after the day installation to the opposite. I can say that, because I never ever got from professionals a workfile with inversed alphas like that before that particular update came (because it makes no sense with displaying different... etc... etc)

- But at least then the clear bug is that this changed preference is not stored anymore. When I want to change it because it is "my philosophy", then I want it to STAY CHANGED just for me and my other 100 colleagues. I am working with Photoshop since 1995, which was Photoshop 2.0...

The same in German: Wenn ich mir mein Photoshop so einstellen möchte wie es für unsere Workflows richtig ist, muss das bitte weiterhin möglich sein. Danke.

p.s. I only hope you just do it... making again possible to store the preference how a channel should be saved... 
Thanks in advance !
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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Nicole,

It's late today and I've got some other tasks I need to address before the end of the day.  But on Monday, I'll install the German version of Photoshop for the last three years and see what that gives me.  As far as I know, nothing has changed and the results should be identical to what I posted, above.  Are you running mostly Mac or Windows?  I ask, so I can check the same version you're using.

All the same, the functionality should never have changed.  I tested that myself over the 12 years of different versions.  How the Alpha channel is displayed doesn't not impact how it works, even when switching from one to another.

Thanks,
David
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Benedikt Zwölfer

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Hello David,
do you see a chance to make it possible to store the personal preference again?
I think this is not a big deal and everybody would be helped...
ps. I can only confirm what Nicole already said: We had definitely a different preference (for whichever reason) and there is by the way no logical reason to display alphas inversed.
And the aim is not to find out what went wrong in the past but to give everybody the possibility to custumize his software to his needs.
Thanks,
Benedikt
(Edited)
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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Benedikt,

Yeah, so that's the weird part.  Either I'm not doing what you are or I'm seeing that the preference is stored on a per-instance basis and sticky to the last setting used.  That makes it "ultimately" customizable, since you can change each time but you have a solid default.

I need to find out what went wrong so we can fix it AND make sure it never comes back again.  Plus, that way I'm sure I know what you're seeing and why.

Thanks,
David
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NICOLE ANDRES

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Just another suggestion:
If you maybe seize the opportunity when hopefully looking at the codes, you could go a small step further:
You could implement the same functionality like with layer masks:
If there someone for creating a layer mask from a current active selection presses the ALT-Key, this selection will be stored as inverted selection. Very useful in many situations.

I think the workflow with layer masks is quite perfect and commendable... even the drag& drop functionality (but that would be more luxury not necessary...;))
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Benedikt Zwölfer

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Hello David,
while I spent the last weeks time with a lot of masking, I remembered this thread and just wanted to know if anything is going on or is planned with this issue?
Just to recall : We boiled it down to a simple task:
To fix the missing ability of the alpha palette to remember which preference I personally need, when it's displaying an alpha channel.
I need always and only "Color means masked area" (translated from German Photoshop)
Thanks, Benedikt
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David, Official Rep

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Hi Benedikt,

The problem is that there isn't really a problem to fix.

As I mentioned before, one person's workflow bug is another person's workflow need, so we need to be careful when making changes to long-standing behaviors.  While this isn't what you expect, it does work for many people and has been consistent for the last 12 years (at least since CS2).  Again, this is the very first time this issue has come up since we've had the forums and multiple other users have commented that everything is work for them as expected.

The issue is that you're expecting the setting to be consistent when they're actually saved on a per document basis.  You always want the first entry in the Channel Options panel.  But not everyone would agree with you.  If the file was created or saved when a different setting was selected, that's what you will see, even if that's not what your machine is set to.

A simple way to verify what I'm saying is two create a file with an alpha channel set to the first option (Masked Areas).  Save the document and then switch the setting to the second option (Selected Areas) and save that under a different name.  Now, quit Photoshop.  Relaunch and load BOTH files.  You'll see that each has a unique setting.  And if you create a new file, then that file will inherit whatever the setting was in the last file you used (it's "sticky").

Does that make more sense?

Thanks,
David
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NICOLE ANDRES

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Hi David,
this is Nicole... oh, we talked and explained so long and I thought you told you work on this small issue!
I don't understand the excuse.

I have a personal computer with a personal photoshop and I want my personal Photoshop settings to be stored. Like the background color, the color management, positions of palettes and everything else.
But for the alpha panel I can not change the preference at all. It should remember the last way. I don't care if there is an older document from another person, that's o.k.
But when I work on my photoshop I want my way.
We want our personal preferred setting to be stored, that's all. It will not disturb anyone else in the world.

And listen, here is another proof:
I had been two weeks ago on a Windows-PC with Photoshop 2017
and there it is how it should be !!!!
So only make it [again] on the Mac the same.
What do you say now?!

Thanks,
Nicole
(Edited)
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David, Official Rep

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Hi Nicole,

Okay, I'm afraid there's either some other issue going on here or I'm not explaining myself well enough.  Let me try again.

Photoshop already gives you what (I think) you're asking for, that is, the ability to choose for yourself how you want Alpha channels to display, as you can see from the screenshot Eartho posted, below.  That's been in the product for more than a decade now.

What I believe you are encountering is, that you've set your channel options to have the color indicate the masked area, but this preference is not always being respected.  Right?  If that's not the issue you're having, then I'm sorry I didn't understand, but that is the issue I'm referring to.

Assuming I do understand the problem you're reporting, why then do I say that this is "correct" behavior?  Because the display of channel options IS SAVED WITH THE DOCUMENT.  That means, if you have everything set as you'd like, but you later open an image where the opposite setting was applied, what you will see if the opposite setting.  That's as we designed it for the wider audience.

Now, you're going to say that you set your preferences, but your NEW documents are showing the opposite.  Well, that's almost certainly because you've opened a document with the opposite settings and because these settings are "sticky," they're now your machine's default.  Remember, whether we're talking alpha channels or type layers or show/hide extras, if you open a document with different settings, those settings are applied to all subsequent, new documents you make.

Does all that make sense?  If not, please let me know where we're not in harmony here.

Thanks,
David
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NICOLE ANDRES

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Hi David,
you misunderstand the simplicity of our report, it is not a feature request, is a real Bug:

Yes: Everybody knows that Photoshop gives the option to store the alpha channel as masked or unmasked when you open the option box. 
But this setting is not sticky at all: not with the document not with my computer, not with anything and exactly this is the bug.
When I want the alpha stored in the opposite way, I have to open the option box once (that's ok) but  in the next second again and the next second again and  again and again and again. Even with the same document in the same minute. 
Over the day 100 times,  during each week 500 times, during each month over 2000 times !! 

The functionality to remember what I did before is completely corrupt with this particular option box in Photoshop on Mac since a few years and it wasn't before and I saw it is still correct on Photoshop 2017 on PC.

I have to open the option EVERY EVERY EVERY TIME AGAIN over the day to change it until I become mad – within the same photoshop session the same document within the same minute. It has Alzheimer – I don't know how to explain it better, it is so simple!
It means when I have to store within 30 seconds 10 alpha channels, then I have really to open 10 times the option box to get what I want. Is this normal workflow??
And on a PC it works correctly... please understand...!!

If you still do not understand I will to take a video and you will understand the pain...

Thanks & sorry for persisting on this (talking here for many people not only me) & good evening
Nicole
(Edited)
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eartho

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Are you talking about the Channel Options being set to selected areas?
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Benedikt Zwölfer

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exactly, but the channel options don't store the settings as preference . so with each new document you start again there... (I think also each new alpha, I haven't Photoshop open right now)
You can say, the bug is at least also that you can't change the preferences permanently.

furthermore if you exchange documents with "foreign" others, you will still get back the wrong channel display, maybe even mixed with your own alphas. and you don't see it before testing of each alpha, how it is meant.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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I'm seeing the Channel Options stored between alpha creation, document creation and sessions (quitting and relaunching Photoshop)
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Benedikt Zwölfer

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They aren't stored at all. And for me the main thing: the default setting is wrong.
Masked Areas is technical correctly. 

Again a very simple proof:
Select any channel from RGB, for example the Blue channel and make a selection from it.
Store it.
Watch the result and compare with the original blue channel.
It's out of discussion, that this is a bug... since two years...

If you don't correct the default, people in companies will go on to exchange documents with messed up alphas. Don't expect the "normal" user to go so deep. And you really also don't want to check each alpha with a double click, to find out how it is set.
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eartho

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i've tried to reproduce this issue on multiple computers using 3 different versions of PS and, for me, it always works as expected. Do you have any plugins or extensions or panels which might be causing this behavior?
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Benedikt Zwölfer

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Hi eartho, do you work on Mac or PC? Can you store your preference on Mac? I can't
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Benedikt Zwölfer

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This is not the same... it is the opposite
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Benedikt Zwölfer

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Hello again,

and yes, David, like Nicole said...
I'm not sure if you understood how simple and how stupid the problem ("bug") is .

It just doesn't store my personal preference. Imagine you would have to set with each file saving all your color sync settings again. 

Also the path tool works correctly, it remembers what the last path has been. But this doesn't... For the next channel again the check box below ist checked (instead the upper one).
See attached screenshot.
(Edited)
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David, Official Rep

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Thanks for the clarification, Benedikt.  I wonder if there's a bug with the localized product.  I'm teaching today, so only in the office for a half day, but Monday I'll install the German app and compare the behaviors.

Thanks,
David
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Benedikt Zwölfer

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Hello David,
just to let you know: I was installing today Photoshop 2018...
and I'm really tired, annoyed, frustrated and feel mocked, that after all this unbeleveable long and detailed conversation work for an obvious bug nothing happened.
Still in the German Mac version of Photoshop the alpha setting is wrong and uncustomizable and messing up my palette every day, and not only mine but of friends and coleagues.
I am paying your creative suite with a really high amount each month (not sure why, because I mostly need only Photoshop), but you Adobe support team just don't care which problems exists.
It's exactly what other people say, don't waste your time with Adobe, they reply but don't care.
Just only with my personal annual money you could pay a software developer for 12 hours to fix this bug, and it really needs not twelve hours but only two. Instead we sit here to discuss 12 hours and again this is interrupting my work.
That's a breathtaking ignorance from your team at Adobe!
(Edited)
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IAH1

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Exactly, Benedikt... I saw your other posting from January 2016    :-D

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IAH1

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it was the same topic...
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IAH1

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Hey, the bug was fixed now in the latest Photoshop!
Great!
Thanks
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Kukurykus

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I didn't read whole conversation, but found that other topic you mentioned. Well 8 months is long, but it seems not so long when you find it took 2 years to fix it :/ Hopefully now you can be happy :)
https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/alt-key-lost-possibility-to-create-alpha-chan...
(Edited)
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David, Official Rep

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This wasn't fixed.  I never managed to get behavior that was different between English and German, so I didn't log a bug.  If things are different with the latest release, it's probably because a setting file was overwritten, but I looked again with the latest German build and compared that all the way back to English CS2 behavior and they're the same.  And, yes, I specifically checked on Mac.  Perhaps Eartho is correct and there is another plugin or some such that created the issue you're seeing, but it's no longer an issue...?
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Kukurykus

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BTW  David, could you please answer to my topic I gave much effort to collect all information in but for some reason noone is answering for :/ You can omit original post of me but read last post were I included detailed information of that newest bug I found. Thank you in advance!

https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/opened-document-s-is-are-invisible-after-comi...
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IAH1

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On my Laptop it is fixed and I was told from a collegue in a different company and different machine, that it is fixed on his computer, too, now.

I checked: The last Photoshop, which this worked correctly was Photoshop CS6, which I still have on this computer – and now even it works latest Photoshop2018.
I did not change anything, just update. Somebody must have fixed it or it was cleaned somehow in any other process.

(I will soon update my desktop computer and see then if it's there fixed, but I'm completely sure it will be then.)
Thanks
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Benedikt Zwölfer

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Hello, unfortunately not here.  
I updated Photoshop 2018 on my Desktop Mac (OS X 10.11.6) and still can't change whether the selected area is displayed with black or white.
When I take a selection from blue channel and store ist, it is inverted displayed, other than the thumbnail.
If you find a solution, would be grateful...