How To Create An Affinity Photo Template For Photography

by Sep 14, 2023Photo Editing Tutorials

Robin Whalley Landscape Photographer

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How To Create An Affinity Photo Template For Photography

In this tutorial, I explain how to create an Affinity Photo Template to layout photography.

Recently, a Lenscraft newsletter subscriber contacted me. They wanted to switch from Photoshop to Affinity Photo, but one thing was preventing them. They used a layout like the one below for their photography and needed to be able to recreate this. In Photoshop they had an action they could run to produce the layout, but could Affinity Photo do the same? Here’s my solution using an Affinity Photo Template rather than creating a macro.

Finished Affinity Photo template showing the image layout

Start The Template With A Finished Image

The best way to begin creating the Affinity Photo template is using a finished image that’s ready for publishing. I tend to save my finished images as a Masterfile. Then when I want to use them, I make a copy to work with.

With my image open in Affinity Photo, there are a few steps to prepare it for the template:

  1. Flatten any layers in the image.
  2. Convert the image to the destination colour space.
  3. Resize the image.

Let’s look at each of these steps in turn.

Flatten Any Image Layers

It’s usually best to flatten any layers in the image before converting the Colour Space. Doing this can help avoid colour shifts, although there will usually be some caused by Out of Gamut colours, but more about this in a moment.

To flatten the layers, click the image top layer in the Layers Studio Panel to select it. Then whilst holding down your shift key, click the bottom layer. You should now see all the image layers selected in the Layers Studio Panel.

In the Affinity Photo Layers menu, click the option “Merge Selected”. This will merge all the selected layers in the image to a single pixel layer.

Convert the Image Colour Space

Having merged the image layers, it’s time to convert the image to the required Colour Space.

I like to edit my images using the “ProPhoto RGB” colour space. If I decide to print an image, I tend to convert it to “Adobe RGB”. But if I’m sharing the image on the internet, where there are unknown devices, I convert it to the smaller sRGB Colour Space.

To convert the image, choose the Affinity Photo Document menu. Then click the “Convert Format/ICC Profile…” option to open the “Convert” dialog which you can see below.

The Convert dialog in Affinity Photo used to convert the image colour space

When the dialog opens, we can choose the new Colour Space from the “Profile” list. In the screenshot above, you can see the sRGB profile has been selected.

As the sRGB Colour Space is a lot smaller than the ProPhoto RGB space used for editing, converting the document is likely to cause colours to shift. This is because some of the colours in the image will be Out Of Gamut for the new Colour Space. In other words, they don’t fit. These are then converted to new in gamut colours using the Rendering Intent. You can select which Rendering Intent to use from the dropdown list in the dialog. To learn more about Rendering Intents, see my Affinity Photo Soft Proofing tutorial and video where they are explained.

You can then click the Convert button to convert the image to the sRGB Colour Space.

Resize the Image

The final step in preparing the image is to resize it. By using a suitable size, it will allow us to reuse the Affinity Photo Template with other documents of the same size.

As the image that I’m using is over 10,000 pixels on the long edge, I’ll reduce it to a more manageable 3,000 pixels. I can do this using the Resize Document command found in the Affinity Photo Document menu. This opens the Resize dialog shown below. If you’re not familiar with the dialog, read my Affinity Photo Resizing tutorial.

Resizing the image document

In the screenshot, you can see that I’ve changed the width of the image to 3,000 pixels. The Height has then been automatically set by Affinity Photo in proportion to the Width. It does this to maintain the aspect ratio of the image and prevent it from becoming stretched.

The other settings of the dialog have all been left at their default values.

After resizing the image, it’s time to create the Affinity Photo Template layout.

Affinity Photo Template Layout

The steps to produce the Affinity Photo Template are:

  1. Add a white border with a dark keyline or stroke around the template.
  2. Add a further outside border to the template.
  3. Add a text label below the image in the template.

Let’s look at how to do each of these in turn.

Add a Border and Keyline to the Template

To add an inside white border to the Affinity Photo template, we will expand the Document Canvas size. Ordinarily, the Canvas is the same size as the image, so we don’t see it. But by expanding it, we can create a border around the image.

To resize the document Canvas, select the “Resize Canvas” option in the Affinity Photo “Document” menu. This displays the dialog you can see below.

Resizing the document Canvas in Affinity Photo

We will use this dialog to expand the Canvas by 50 pixels on each edge around the image.

Notice that the link icon between the Width and Height fields has been toggled off by clicking it. This allows us to resize the two fields independent of each other. Both have been increased by 100 pixels.

The Anchor Point was then set by clicking the three-by-three grid icon. The centre point was selected as the anchor so that the Canvas will extend evenly on all edges of the document.

Here’s what the image looks like when the Canvas is extended.

Canvas extending around the edge of the image to produce a transparent border

Here you can see the border created around the image by extending the Canvas. This is currently showing a checked pattern, indicating the area is transparent.

We now want to add a new empty layer to the document by selecting the “New Layer” option in the Affinity Photo “Layer” menu. When the new layer has been added, fill it with white using the Flood Fill tool from the Affinity Photo Tools Palette.

At this stage, the new white layer is likely to be covering the image. If it is, drag it below the image layer in the Layers studio panel.

Adding a Keyline to the Inside Border

To add a thin keyline or stroke line to the edge of the inside border, we will use the Layer Effects in Affinity Photo.

First ensure that the empty layer is selected in the Layers Studio panel by clicking it. You can then click the “FX” icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to open the Layer Effects dialog. The “FX” icon is indicated in the left screenshot below.

Applying the outline layer effect to the border layer in Affinity Photo

In the right screenshot above, you can see the Layer Effects dialog. This lists several effects on the left side that you can choose to apply to the layer. After selecting the Outline option, you can set the colour of the line, the Radius to control the thickness, and the line Alignment. The Alignment sets where the keyline will appear on the layer. I personally like to set this to “Inside”.

At this point you may not be able to see the keyline properly, but you will once we add an outside border to the template.

Add an Outside Border to the Template

To add an outside border to the template we will resize the document Canvas again. This time we will add 100 pixels to each edge.

As before, select the “Resize Canvas…” option from the Affinity Photo “Document” menu. This opens the dialog where you can set the new canvas size. You can see the settings used in the screenshot below.

Resizing the document canvas to add an outer border

After applying these settings, we need to increase the canvas size below the image by an additional 150 pixels. This will allow space to add a text label at the bottom of the Affinity Photo Template.

To add the additional space to the template, choose the Resize Canvas option a second time. Then in the dialog, add 150 pixels to the height and set the Anchor point to the top centre. You can see this in the screenshot below.

Adding space below the image in the Affinity Photo template

After adding space for the label to the outer border of the template, the border is probably transparent.

If it is, you can change it to display white by turning off the transparency. You do this in the Affinity Photo Document menu by clicking the “Transparent Background” option. This toggles the transparency off and on.

Another alternative, which is shown in the later video below, is to add a Fill Layer. Fill Layers will always fill the canvas area when it expands. They also benefit from being able to change the colour at any time.

Now it’s time to add the text label at the bottom of the template.

Adding a Text Label to the Template

To add the text label to the template, select the Artistic Text tool from the Affinity Photo Tools Palette, on the left of the interface. You can see this indicated in the screenshot below.

Selecting and configuring the artistic text tool in Affinity Photo to add text to the template

After selecting the Artistic Text tool, you can configure it in the Affinity Photo Toolbar at the top of the interface. You can see the Font, Size and colour indicated in the screenshot. Don’t worry about the size too much as you can easily change it after adding the text.

To add the text, click and drag on the template below the image. As you drag, you will see a letter appear, showing the height of the text. After releasing the mouse, you can enter the text.

Having added your text to the template, select the Move Tool in the Affinity Photo Tools Palette. This is usually the second from the top and displays a black arrow with a white edge around it. When selected, you will see a blue box appear around the text, with circles on the edges and corners. You can click and drag these to resize the text. You can also click inside the box and drag to reposition the text on the page.

Here’s a screenshot of the finished Affinity Photo Template, ready for saving.

Finished Affinity Photo Template ready for saving

Saving and Using the Affinity Photo Template

Having completed the template design, let’s now save this as an Affinity Photo Template. To do this, click the Affinity Photo “File” menu and then select the “Export as Template…” option. This opens a dialog where you can set the name and location to save the template to.

It’s a good idea if you are using Affinity Photo Templates to create a folder to hold them. It’s also a good idea to include details of the templates size and purpose as part of the file name. This makes selecting the right template to use later much easier.

Affinity Photo Templates are saved with the “.aftemplate” extension.

To use the Affinity Photo Template, you can open the template document you saved. Alternatively, click “File” and “New” to display the startup dialog in Affinity Photo 2. You can see this in the screenshot below.

Affinity Photo Templates dialog

On the left side of this dialog is a Templates option. This is a useful feature where you can add the folders containing your Affinity Photo Templates. The templates are then displayed as a grid of thumbnails, where you can select the template that you want to use to create a new image.

When you create a new document using an Affinity Photo Template, it will contain the layers and images of the original document it was created from. The difference is that the document doesn’t have a file name as it hasn’t yet  been saved. You can now replace the image and change the text as necessary before saving it.

The Affinity Photo Layout Video

Watch the entire process of creating the layout in the following video.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel

You can also watch this video on my YouTube channel. I publish a new video every week, often based on subscribers’ requests and feedback. Subscribe to my YouTube channel now and be sure not to miss future videos.

More Affinity Photo Tutorials

You’ll find more high quality, free tutorials on my Affinity Photo Tutorials page.

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