LAYERSLAYER -- matte painting tool for Photoshop

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Old 01 January 2012   #1
LAYERSLAYER -- matte painting tool for Photoshop

Hey guys, I just am finishing up tweaking the final stages of a matte painting tool/color pipeline for Photoshop. Most of you know the routine, you get a log tiff or Cineon file, or get a 32 bit linear EXR and have to do some funky stuff to get it to look right to paint on, and in the end it's a hassle. Well I've managed to take the Fnord Cineon Converter plugin and wrap it into a nice automated process that takes the user error out of the equation, and even manages versions and naming. Take a look at this thing and let me know what you think!

Link to Demo Video:

Please note that this script will require that you download two plugins from external sources. The first is the FNORD cineon converter, available for free download at:

The guy is giving it away for free, so be sure to check out his other plugins and tools at

And for the time being, Layerslayer is also dependant on the EXR Alpha plugin, this can be downloaded from here:

Last edited by tide78 : 01 January 2012 at 09:55 AM.
Old 01 January 2012   #2
Hey Zach, sweet looking tool. Is it available to download?

Old 01 January 2012   #3
its not ready for a short while Dave, Zach is ironing out the bugs. This is a tool that is sorely needed.
Rockhopper VFX

Old 01 January 2012   #4
Yeah, I'm taking care of a couple of small issues present in the interface, and then I'll be releasing it within the next couple of weeks, Just trying to generate some interest and awareness before then. Glad you guys are wanting to use it! I have to say that it's one of those tasks that eventually gets really annoying, having to export and save all your layers separately. This tool in particular is helpful for situations where you are exporting multiple layers out for 3d projections. I had some co-workers use the original script this was born from when they were working on Thor at DD. At that point, the script ran a series of actions on all layer sets and the user had no ability to choose what layers you exported, it just ran them ALL. Well, the painters were exporting upwards of forty different layers to be projected in Nuke on that show. Needless to say, even at the crude stage the tool was at, it saved these guys a TON of time. I'm happy to say that even though it seems like it's geared specifically towards a matte painting workflow, it would also prove to be an excellent tool for texture artists, motion graphics artists, and graphic designers as well. Anyone who needs to export multiple layers with alpha channels out at any capacity can find sanity from this. I can guarantee that. But yeah, thanks again for your interest guys. I can't wait to drop it on you and see if you find it as useful as I have.
Old 01 January 2012   #5
Yep, it sure is a pain in the arss having to split up PSDs into Tiffs and alphas. At the previous studio i was working at i had a TD throw together a similar tool, it was a BIG time saver without doubt!

So to clarify, does the tool split out a separate mask tiff, or simply save the layerd file as a tiff with transparency? Personally I use Max for projection work, and when i prep a PSD for projections i have to save a flattened pre multiplied tiff onto black with a separate mask file. With both files i have to remove all alpha channels and paths, otherwise Max gets confused and starts acting retarded.
Old 01 January 2012   #6
Does the tool split out a separate mask tiff, or simply save the layerd file as a tiff with transparency?

That's an excellent question. The answer is yes on both accounts. It's really up to you.

To get the result of a tiff with a separate mask, you would just deselect embed alpha in the tiff options, and then select whatever layer you want exported in the MATTE EXPORT listbox. This will spit out both an RGB tiff and another color tiff with the alpha image in the RGB channels.

OR if you prefer, you can leave embed alpha checked in the Tiff options, and it will export the file with an alpha channel embedded.

Another feature that I haven't really explained in the video is exactly what's happening in the float operation. I think an image would better help illustrate just to be clear.

The first image is that of your layer in photoshop, we will consider for the first image that the transparency is the black color.

As you can see there are areas that have both hard transparent edges and semi-transparent edges. Always a pain to deal with. My solution exists in the FLOAT column to the left of the EXPORT COLOR listbox. When checked for a layer, the result will be as follows:

As you can see all the image area from the original layerset is preserved in the alpha image, or channel depending on how you export, and the RGB layer is stacked up to concatenate the pixel color, and that way you don't have to worry about any premultiplication problems popping up. The RGB has enough coverage to be cut out by the alpha without revealing the black background.
Old 01 January 2012   #7
Well seems cool to me

One last question; does it support both CS4/5
Old 01 January 2012   #8
yessir it does! I've got a mac and pc version that both currently work.
Old 01 January 2012   #9
Zach, if you were a lady and could cook and iron id marry you,

Rockhopper VFX

Old 02 February 2012   #10
I used this script on several films so far and its a huge time saver - it works great. i was able to shave about 2 hours a day on Thor using this. I had about 50-60 layers for my projection painting and I would just run layer slayer and go to the beach and hit on some trim and drink while it batched out all my layers.

you want to be the first guy on your block using this script i promise. it will get you laid!

Nick Hiatt
Old 02 February 2012   #11
Originally Posted by NickHiatt: you want to be the first guy on your block using this script i promise. it will get you laid!

Oh, no! I've used it too ... its very cool.
George Krauter

"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."-Yogi Berra
Old 02 February 2012   #12
OK everyone! It's ready! I have spent a lot of time creating this tool out of necessity. I hope you like it and find it useful.. If you do find it useful, know that's why I put a donate button on there. You can download it

now go get it!
Old 02 February 2012   #13
My Norton av wont let me open it, checked with Norton and seems as its a new programme it sees it as a threat. There is a web dispute form on there site.

I know it does not have a virus in it so im hacked off with Norton using its crowd sourcing software to generate false reports of a virus.

Rockhopper VFX

Old 02 February 2012   #14
That's odd, I have installed it on a couple of machines with Norton and had no problems. Does it still give you guff if you turn off the Antivirus and install? Also another important note, The ICC profiles get installed in your system32 folder in Windows, so you should install using administrator privileges if you are on Windows.
Old 03 March 2012   #15
Installation Question for windows

Hey Zach,

I am trying to install this on windows 7 cs5.1 and not sure where to put the .png files or the jsx and jszbin files. I have tried to put them in the plugins root directory and also into the filters directory. Can you give me a detailed walkthrough? I did install the icc profiles into the System 32 directory so thats all good.


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