Imerge is a layer-based compositor, so layers are the fundamental element from which your composite is built. The layer stack controls how the contents of the layers will be combined.

Layer types

Each of the six kinds of layer in Imerge Pro serves a different purpose.

  • Image: Image layers are used to store any images you want to import into Imerge Pro. Each image layer is a container, and can store as many image variations as you require.
  • Text: Text layers are used to generate text. All features of the text remain fully editable, so you can change the contents, the font, the color, or other aspects of the text whenever you need to. Each text layer is a container, and can store as many text items as you require.
  • Solid: A solid layer is simple a rectangle filled with a single color. This can be further modified by applying effects or mask to adjust the color, pattern , or shape.
  • Adjustment: Adjustment layers apply effects to all layers below them. This makes it easy to apply effects to multiple layers in a project, without needing to apply the effect to each layer individually. You can also mask an adjustment layer to apply its effects to only specific areas of the layers below.
  • Group: This layer serves as a container for other layers, to group them together. This is useful for keeping your project organized when many layers are involved. It also allows you to apply masks or effects to multiple layers at once. When a mask or effect is applied to a layer group, all layers inside the group will be affected.
  • Stacked: Stacked layers are used to combine multiple images into a single result.
    • HDR Merge: Combines multiple exposures of an image, each with different exposure compensation, to create an image with increased dynamic range.
    • Focus Stack: Combines multiple exposures of a scene, each with a different focal distance, by using the in-focus area from each image, to create a final image with deep focus or infinite depth of field.

Layers as containers

As noted above, image layers and text layers serve as containers. The contents of the layer are separate from the layer itself, and so each layer can contain multiple images, or multiple text items. This is primarily used for batch processing multiple images, or creating multiple variations of a layout. See the layer content page for full details.

Layer functionality

  • Visibility: The visibility of any layer can be enabled or disabled using the square toggle next to the layer’s name.
    • Visible: When the toggle is filled, the layer is visible. When the layer is not selected, the fill will be blue. when the layer is selected, the toggle will be filled with white.
    • Invisible: When the toggle is empty, the layer is invisible.
  • Locking: Any layer can be locked to prevent accidental changes to its contents.
    • Locking: To lock a layer, right-click the layer in the layer stack, and select Lock from the menu. The lock icon will be displayed next to the layer name when it is locked. You can also select a layer and use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+L (CMND+L on Mac) to lock the layer.
    • Unlocking: To unlock a layer, right-click the locked layer and select Unlock from the menu. The lock icon will be removed. You can also select a locked layer and use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+L (CMND+Shift+L on Mac) to unlock the layer.
  • Naming: When working in projects with multiple layers, taking a moment to rename your layers logically can make it much faster to find the specific layer you need. There are several options for renaming layers.
    • Double-click: Double-click the name of any layer to select the name, then type the new name you wish to use.
    • Right-click: Right-click the layer you wish to rename, and select Rename from the menu. Then type the new name you wish to use.
    • Keyboard shortcut: Select the layer you wish to rename and then press F2 on Windows, or Return on Mac, to select the name. then type the new name you wish to use.
  • Previews: To the right of each layer name is a preview thumbnail, which provides a quick indication of the layer’s contents. For image and Solid layers, the thumbnail is dynamic, and represents the actual contents of the layer. For other kinds of layers, a default preview indicates the kind of layer.
    • Image preview: For image layers, which can contain multiple variations, the currently selected variation will be displayed in the preview. The preview represents the original image, before any effects, masks or adjustments are applied.
    • Text preview: Text layers use a generic preview, so you can easily identify text layers in the stack. The preview is too small to represent the actual contents, so you may want to rename your text layers to indicate their contents.
    • Solid preview: Solid layers contain a single color. The Preview will be filled with the current color of the solid. If you change the color of the solid, the preview will update to the new color.
    • Adjustment Preview: Adjustment layers have no actual contents, instead they store effects or settings that are applied to the layers below them. Therefore, a generic preview is applied to all adjustment layers. You may want to rename your adjustment layers to indicate what they contain.
  • Search: At the top of the layer stack is a search box. For projects involving large numbers of layers, this can be helpful for quickly locating a specific layer in the stack. The search is dynamic, so as you type, the layer stack will update to show only layers that match the current search term.

Rendering overview

Understanding the rendering process used by Imerge Pro is beneficial to determining how to set up your project. All projects are rendered by going through the following process:

  1. Create a new image with the size and color profile defined by your canvas settings.
  2. For each layer, working from the bottom to the top of the layer stack, complete the following:
    1. Take the active content variation and render it onto a layer the size of that content. For solid layers, the color defined in the transform section is used to fill the layer. For Adjustment Layers, it copies what was composited onto the canvas at the end of the previous layer.
    2. Apply any layer masks. When multiple masks exist on a single layer, the masks are applied in order from top to bottom.
    3. Apply any effects contained in the layer. When multiple effects are contained in a layer, the list of effects is applied from top to bottom. For each effect, if an effect mask exists then the results of the effect are limited to the area defined by the mask.
    4. Composite the layer onto the canvas with the layer’s transformation settings.

So in summary, rendering flows up the layer list, and down the layer inspector.

Last modified: 24 September 2020

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