Live Filter Layers In Affinity Photo

Youtube video on subject

Layers panel - KEY

A super useful graphics application from Serif, Affinity Photo includes many wonderful tools such as live filter layers (a sort of equivalent to the smart objects and smart filters in Photoshop) and these live filter objects are standard entries in exactly the same way as a pixel one and they can be treated as a standard object and moved around and positioned beneath or above others such as text as well as vectors and more. Find it via the studio in the view menu

menu Commands

Go to the layer menu and select the live filters. You will notice that some are not available, they are not grayed out, they are just not in the list. You will also notice that you have liquify which is equivalent to the the persona, this not in the filters menu. The ordering is slightly different as well.


You can select the little icon in the panel and drag the effect below the current or above. Select some pixels in the panel. Add a new effect such as sphere (exactly the same as you would with the filters) and that will be associated with background etc only and will only modify that.

Rename them

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

Top Of the Hill

Apply to nothing and the live filter effect will be above all and will be applied to all. Have an object selected, it will be added to that and will be local to that only.

Move Effects Up and Down

Select an entry and drag to a different position in the panel. You can put things at the top or the bottom and beneath pixels etc or associate with pixels etc. You can move them up and down the panel

Delete and remove

You can simply select an entry in the panel and delete it by clicking the Del key or pressing the delete button on the panel.


You can also add a mask to an entry and that modifies the strength of the live effect. You can click n the icon and then modify the mask with brush strokes etc

Selections and effects can be used

Another interesting area to explore is to use a selection and then add an effect 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 effect to the current selected item in the panel. You can also use the marquee tools to add and subtract etc

Youtube video on subject


You can create a pattern and use it, scale, rotate etc and you can also add the same effects to it as with shapes etc. They are still editable in both cases

Youtube video on subject


You can also use all these in Designer, go to the edit in Designer and then use them and edit the effects in exactly the same way. The only issue, you can't add a new one though you can duplicate etc

Youtube video on subject


You can also select the entry in the panel, any of them such as a motion blur, and then right click and apply a duplicate command and you will then see two entries for that. The settings will be the same but you can always double click either of the entries and then set the value to a different strength or angle depending on the effect. In the case of the motion blur, change the rotation and perhaps keep the radius at the same setting. If you don't change the blending for the panel, the end result will depend on the effect but with the motion blur it will be a double direction blur. Make sure you click the icon for the effect, if not you may just end up doubling everything by accident.

Youtube video on subject