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Sample All Layers determines whether you paint and pick up color on a single layer or take all color into account. Whether a Sample All Layers is on or not will make a difference in the appearance of your strokes. Let's take a look. Up until now, we've been looking at imagery that's on the canvas, but now we are going to start talking about layers, and layers provides a great deal of power in connection with the Mixer brush. You can start to pick up color from underlying layers, paint on multiple layers, and build up an image, essentially, in the series of layers, and by doing so, it creates a safety net that enables you to do things that you might not otherwise try.
So we've now got a layer on here, and we are going to do a few things. First of all, the brush I am working with here, you know, it's somewhat wet. It's not going to run out of paint very quickly, and there is a little bit of mixed ratio going on, but let's just start by turning off the Load Capability. And if you remember from before, this makes this a brush that smears. Well, let's go ahead and smear now. Well, nothing is happening. Why not? Well, now we are working on a layer, and Sample All Layers is not enabled.
I want to show you this because this is one of the situations you can find yourself in where for some reason the brush isn't painting, and you don't understand why. The first thing you should do when you went into this situation is check to see if Sample All Layers is enabled. Once it is, we now have a brush that is acting as if it's a flat canvas, but in fact, this is a separate individual layer, and that's where the power of this comes in. You start to be able to do these things in a situation that is not altering artwork underneath of it.
Now another thing I wanted to show you here is I am going to create a new layer, and I am going to set this up, so I can paint, and I am going to take some black and just paint on this layer. What I want to show you is, when we go back to our intermediate layer and I turn off the Automatic Load command and enable some Wetness, I can once again uses this to smear, but I want to show you what happens. Remember, we are in an intermediate layer, but notice it's picking up from all layers.
So remember, this name is Sample All Layers. Even though we are underneath this black layer, Sample All Layers does not know the difference between working on top of color or being sandwiched in between of it. As a result, you'll get this effect. If you don't want this to happen, this is where you can take advantage - I'll do undo here - of been able to have Sample All Layers on, but turn off this layer. Now, I can go in here, and I can smear this, and I'm not having anything happen with the artwork underneath of it.
So one practice you might want to adapt to is when you're working, and you don't want to have this contamination from color above, is to just temporarily turn those layers off in order to be able to do your smearing, or whatever activity you are doing beneath it, without interacting with the color on the layer or layers above. Another important consideration to make is that when Sample All Layers is enabled, it imposes what I refer to as a performance tax.
Now on this particular image, which is at low- resolution, we are not going to notice any kind of slow-down because Sample All Layers is on, but I can tell you from experience, once you start working with higher resolution images, and just based on your system's performance, you can start to see some slow-down when Sample All Layers is on. So it is an effect that, in certain circumstances, you may find you need to be judicious about when it's turned on and when it's not turned on.
But just remember that it does have this performance tax that you may notice when you get into higher resolution imagery. Sample All Layers is a very powerful control, but it can also eat up processing power; otherwise, it opens up another door to be able to do some interesting brushwork that you might not otherwise be able to do, particularly in situations where you're working with layers.
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