Using same mask and/or layer between documents

Howdy! Short-time lurker, first-time poster…

I’m not heavy into image editing as a general rule. I primarily use Acorn as a more “layer-capable” editor than the venerable GraphicConverter, but even then, I consider myself a novice.

I have a project this weekend that looks like it will entail me taking 16-20 images (rasterized from a multi-page PDF), getting them to be the correct size & crop, AND erasing a lot of extraneous information from each image. The nice part is that much of the extraneous image information is the same from image to image.

My thinking is to create a layer (or a quick mask, or a layer mask) on the first image in order to erase the common extraneous information, then apply that same carefully-crafted “erasure layer” to all of the other images, leaving me just a little touch-up on most of the images.

  • What’s the best ‘layer style’ to do this with? Create a new simple layer and draw on the new layer in white to “erase” the background image? Or should I use one of the other special masking layer types? To be honest, I don’t understand the pros & cons of all the masking options available.

  • How do I then export/copy/paste the resulting “erasure layer” to my other images? It doesn’t look like the “Smart Layer Export” is the tool I’m looking for.

All suggestions appreciated!


What I would do, and what it sounds like might be the easiest solution, is to make a new layer with brush strokes (or use the shape tools) blocking out whatever you want gone. Then you can export that layer (via File ▸ Export ▸ Layer Export…) to a tiff or png, open up your next pdf, and drag and drop that exported layer in. Or you could use copy and paste if you’re going quickly.

While masking and layer styles and such are great solutions for a lot of problems, I think a simple low tech solution will easily work for you in this instance.

Let me know if that works or not!


Thanks for the fast reply!

Basic idea worked great–I ended up rasterizing the PDF into a single document–1 layer for each page. I then created a “Master Erase” layer on top where I whited out the common information. By toggling the visibility settings of the various layers, and by creating additional “Erase layers” when needed, I was able to make short work of the bulk editing, leaving only tiny individual cleanups on each image.

Exporting the visible layers as JPGs finished everything off nicely.

One problem I had throughout the process is that it appeared that I would lose the tool I was working with (brush outline, marquee crosshair, etc.) when a notification popped in. The tool would continue to work, but it would be the standard MacOS selection pointer arrow. Re-selecting the tool gave me the proper tool icon.

I also noticed many times (primarily when using the brush tool) when I’d get the rainbow spinner while brushing. Acorn apparently cached my movements, because once the spinner disappeared, a bunch of brushstrokes would apply at the same time. Probably due to my aging hardware (2010 MBP) :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks for everything!

Were these notifications that you got from Acorn, or from the system?

I currently happen to be rewriting Acorn’s brushing engine right now, and things are going pretty smooth. Hopefully they’ll get faster for 6.2 for you.

Thanks for the follow up!

The notifications were the OSX banner notifications that slide in (with emails, etc.)

I saw you blog post the other day about brush work—I’ll cross my fingers that they help my 2010 MBP! :smile: