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natecombsmedia

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Everything posted by natecombsmedia

  1. This is exactly what I do just to get my brain back into the rhythm of working on chapters individually instead of one 300+ page document, which gets large, slower, and loses the scroll wheel after a certain number of pages. Just curious if any updates/bug fixes are around the corner. I have found that anything related to the left window of panels, particularly "Books" and "Find and Replace" (which I used to use often enough) freeze up AP 2, and not always with workarounds like this.
  2. Good idea! I'll add it to my list of Text Styles with my other Garamond fonts. Didn't know I could shortcut that. That's perfect. Thanks Walt! One question. Do you know exactly where I apply a shortcut to that specific Style? Looking thru menus now and am unsure. So far, I have found a simple ctrl+c over a text with the Style copies it and then will apply the copied style with a ctrl+shift+v (Paste Style). I can always do that.
  3. Loving the V2 suite, and I've always been a proponent of being able to apply almost anything in a program to a keyboard shortcut (Cubase, Mainstage), but there are a few in particular that I use all the time that aren't here yet. Specifically in Publisher, I have authors for the books I lay out who are really partial to Garamond typefaces, particularly EB since it is a little thicker and just works well for stories. However, it's default italic mode adds an unnecessarily massive swash to the end of every e and a few other letters. It would be great to just press "alt+L" to undo that when I italicize rather than having to go to the Character Panel > Typography > ... > Positional Alternate > Final Forms to turn it off. They italicize enough for me to think about it every book. I have suggested in the old suite as well shortcuts for the "Edit Section" and "Start New Section" parts of "Pages." Not as pressing anymore, but any additional shortcut options are appreciated!
  4. No worries, and thank you all. So far, it is coming along nicely. Filter Forge worked fabulously for some rough edges, and I'm just working around the masking this guy is doing and hand-drawing a few things (like extreme Crystalize) myself.
  5. The good news is rasterizing allowed me to use the filter and start the process out a little differently from the tutorial, since all edits were made to the mask there.
  6. And it has to be with RGB files? I'm developing a book cover in Publisher, my preferred app for nearly every cover due to personas (which can't use Filter Forge without sending to Photo I've learned). My current project is actually RGB/8 right now since I am doing the digital version first at the request of the author. @walt.farrell, since you help on nearly every post I have ever seen, would you have any idea with the current direction print shops are going if I should move all projects, particularly ones that have print and digital versions of equal importance like book covers, to being RGB files and letting the print shops convert to CMYK? I had that suggestion in a different post, but I typically create both projects and alter anything that doesn't quite match up. It would be much easier to develop one file if they are going to do a good enough job converting. I have experimented with both for Amazon authors, and found RGB seems to work better with very dark covers, and I even had a print-only card game template project that required .png (RGB) files for the final prints earlier this week. To everyone else, I can always experiment with layer types and other forms of "roughing" up the letters since I am following a Photoshop Tutorial that isn't exactly 1:1 with Affinity for the effect I want. Was just hoping to speed up hand-created effects. Here is the tutorial, if anyone is interested or knows a quick way to make my text edges rough:
  7. Wanted to test out the demo within Affinity before purchasing (just to make sure I can achieve the effect I want...applying an artistic border to text via mask). Is it not able to be run within AP2 as a demo plugin? It was automatically detected, and I checked Allow Unknown Plugins. After restarting, I can see it, but it is gray and will not open. I don't mind just buying it, but I want to make sure that is the issue as I don't have a large need for such effects...yet!
  8. Ah, great to know actually. Amazon requires Affinity's style to be single pages or it doesn't turn out properly (odd because it's a PDF and other programs, they only take two-page spreads). The padding was my big worry. I have been making sure so far that there are no blank pages at the beginning or end of a document, and the page numbers seem to be lining fine. Hopefully, a final export will work out fine.
  9. I do not believe the instability is related to a ToC, unfortunately (but I am not a software engineer). I love the idea of this feature and its user-friendly goal, but I do not have ToCs for most books I lay out since the authors are writing novels. I get crashing and hanging simply based on trying to load a chapter to the books panel and save the book. Now, I do have a few ideas as to where my situation may be related or separate. Related: I use Master pages to fill in page numbers and some other formatting. The page numbers do auto update based on the order of the chapters (super cool), and chapters seem to save fine. It is literally just my book file. However, numbering is technically involved, so perhaps it is related to the numbering and updates itself. Separate: For my first try at separating out chapters like this, I loaded a previous book from the same universe (ie, all formatting identical, was a V1 file); deleted it down to the title pages (saved as one doc), Ch 1 (saved as another doc), and end pages (saved as third doc); and then built the following chapters by saving over the Ch 1 file. So all chapters have the same origin file. Perhaps the book setting doesn't like that. I am in the latest version but am having a Windows issue right now where my new (5 months old) computer suddenly believes it isn't compatible with Windows 11...which it came on and was built professionally by Eniac at Newegg so that I could avoid such an issue (I assumed the weird and random Windows issues I always get came from me building my own computers). I do remember in a very specific update from around 2 months ago, I experienced a similar bug whenever I tried to use the Section Manager window (instant crash). Today, it seems like it is no longer crashing, but just that the save feature is completely dead in the books tab. I have also had the issue with DaVinci Resolve where the save feature would completely die if certain FX were used (guessing you are all familiar with it since it's the best and you have to make all your videos somehow). The program was completely fine, but the second I applied a speed up or slow down, saving did nothing. Then, if I tried to close the program, it would ask me if I would like to save...which still did nothing, then the program would hang, and finally, it would crash or be manually shut down. This is exactly what Affinity Publisher 2 is doing regarding Books.
  10. Also experiencing regular crashing when trying to save the book file. Am I not supposed to add chapters as they are formatted? Is this more of a compile it at the end feature? That's how I did it back in the day, which is fine. It's just this feature is more advanced and theoretically user-friendly than InDesign 10 years ago.
  11. Hey friends, Today is my first time trying out the new Books feature in AF Publisher 2. I love this idea and used to use the equivalent when I was back on InDesign. It has more files to work with, but I like the tradeoff for things it opens up, the document cleanliness, and the software power/stability. However, the initial setup is definitely taking more time than it needs to. I just want to check if I am setting up the smartest way: Is there a way yet to automatically view chapters that start on an even page (left) as a left side starting spread? Right now, everything starts on the right regardless of where it falls in the book. For example, chapter 2 might say Page 1, with the book page number (10) in parenthesis next to the document page. I saw in the documentation that you can use the Stray Pages feature to clean up after the fact, but I am pretty sure I will need it before the export stage. Some chapters that have shapes and other things that will cross over from the left to the right, and they don't work this way. I have been using Document Setup > Model > Start On Left (or Right) to adjust existing chapters manually, and this is probably fine since I believe I set up a master for both options to save each chapter over years ago in Adobe, but if there is anything simple I am missing to that is better, I would love to know. Thanks!
  12. Yeah, I'd even say this post makes you seem very inexperienced with any type of design or publishing software. I use all 3 Affinity programs for a wide variety of things and I have some issues here and there, but no more than other companies, video software, music software, the internet, Windows, Mac, etc. Publishing software doesn't really like more than 400 pages in a single document in my experience, and I have some of the most powerful computers I could ever need to run way more than a simple publishing doc. In InDesign, I used to use the books compiling feature to keep files under 30 or so pages (based on chapter lengths), and so Affinity was a shock at first when I had V1 and docs over 350 pages. Massive slow down and scrolling loss. V2 now has the chapters feature, and it seems a little buggy/crashy since it is brand new. Hoping it gets fixed as quickly as issues arise, but today is my first time trying to get it set up. I've already learned that how you save the main book file vs the chapters is very important, or yes, you will lose some things. It hasn't been difficult to get back though. As far as the hyperlinks part goes...what do you need them for in a massive print file? (Side note, if you plan on publishing yourself or on behalf of a self-published author on Amazon, hard cover copies have a limit of 500 pages). If you are publishing a digital copy to Amazon, they need an ePub anyway, which Affinity doesn't do. Though you could probably get away with exporting a WebP file to Amazon still (how Microsoft Word users used to have to do it). Most authors use Google docs for Kindle copies, set up their basic formatting there, export the ePub, and then let Kindle take care of the rest since it has so many formatting restrictions. Hyperlinks work great. Using Publisher for something like that definitely wouldn't be my recommendation unless they worked together with Amazon to create some sort of awesome, seamless export style.
  13. I've had all sorts of go arounds with Amazon via Affinity files. That article linked to above was my question, partially related to how Publisher vs Designer (more issues for me) seems to get along with Amazon and their newer 3rd party printing companies. Those are more suited to cover design than Photo, and I find Publisher is most ideal for Photo-based covers (it also has a Photo persona for similar controls). Way fewer issues arise with colors that are not very dark (or red skin due to the human tone map), but I have a few questions to help out. Your post says the Kindle version is fine, as is expected (they like thumbnails around 1600x2560 pixels), but I'm not sure if you meant on a Kindle it is fine, but on Amazon's site, the Thumbnail is bad. All of the ones I design for come out great digitally at the size mentioned above. Those must be in an RGB color space to upload. Inside look on Amazon is usually bad. Don't trust it. They might even lower the quality on purpose to keep theft down, help with bandwidth, etc. I've noticed that it, along with the thumbnails on a book's page, take a few seconds to buffer. As long as your actual thumbnails, eBook, and print are fine, you kind of have to go with what they give you for preview-related content. I just looked at several random inside looks, even from top books, and yes, they are garbage in quality on the initial look inside load. They require your print file (assuming you have one as well based on photo and export settings) to be CMYK color space if you do have hard copies. PDF x-1a:2003 is definitely the way to go for print files. I used to use press-ready before the post above. That will ensure it flattens everything in your document properly and leaves no weird issues with layers sticking out. That should be all you need, but is there a reason you used pixels for the PDF instead of millimeters or inches? Amazon KDP has templates it will create for you based on your page count to get exact dimensions for everything. The things I've had the hardest time with in some of their most recent changes are: Printing the right book (a lot of authors like to go live vs proofs to get reviews in early and have proofs count as sales, then market after everything feels good). However, Amazon will randomly put pages from other books, have parts upside down, etc. Printing the cover in the right spot. I understand the margins of error, but sometimes, the cover is just wayyy off (meaning 1/8 inch | 3mm or more). Matching print and digital colors. Affinity is supposed to be able to convert color profiles to keep the look the same rather than assigning new ones, but I find them to be drastically different whether I start with RGB or CMYK and convert to the other. Most modern printers can convert sRGB profiles to the CMYK specs they need to print, and I had to do this on a dark purple book. Amazon's create your own cover option is a pain, but it requires your print cover to be a JPEG in RGB instead, and then they will convert it to CMYK and retain a close color match.
  14. Interesting. I have tried this very thing...maybe. I have made up to 5 blank pages, and no matter what, it will autofill at the end of document after it hits the last page rather than adding new pages immediately after. However, I don't think I tried with having text boxes linked in all 5. Usually just the first 2-3. Thanks!
  15. Hey friends, Anybody figure out how to do this in Affinity Publisher 2 AND have it autofill new pages immediately after the page with the current text box? In 1 it worked fine, but now in 2, shift-clicking only adds pages at the end of a document, and I cannot figure out how to change that. All of the books I lay out come with the credits/promo pages for the end already in them, so as I add chapters, it's now an extra step to create blank pages for it to safely autofill. I will probably use the new chapters feature and compile a final later, but I have moved some docs over from 1 when I switched to 2. Not the end of the world if I can't get it figured out, but would be very nice.
  16. @PixelPest Thanks again. I was able to get the harder edges and thicker height by using gaussian blurs after all. It also coincidentally happened to be recommended in one of the shading tutorials. A bit more work to tweak, but worth it for the effect! Now to finish blending the letters and branches nicely, which is making me wish I had merged those shapes before all this 😆 Turns out, if you make a top and 3D layer(s) and then apply a Pillow effect with no highlights to the 3D layer, you can achieve—or perhaps enhance is a better word—similar results across an entire group. And since it is still direction-based, it adds nice thickening/thinning around curves.
  17. As I feared, Blender is pretty awesome but a bit difficult to get the lighting and angle right, especially for an all-white image as it wants to use grays. I'd also have to send the entire image as opposed to the girl, or the perspective just doesn't make it. I know Danilo Fiocco, Jhon Silva, and others have some pretty awesome vector tutorials on Affinity Designer. I may have to watch and see how they use duplicate layers and transparency to shade curves and just do some advanced shading myself. I also had an idea to gaussian blur my simplistic duplicate layers shading, which may turn out nicely.
  18. @G13RL and @PixelPest, thank you both. Those were my first attempts, but neither can come close to accomplishing the hard edge to gradient part (and I actually have some of those effects still subtly on the different layers to "glue the mix" as we say in the audio industry), hence my searching for a more detailed method. I had that explanation in the original first paragraph but deleted it since I mentioned the layer effects mockup later on so as not to overexplain or have a massive post 😅 Guess I will add it back in haha. Always helpful to know where to add clarity! And yes, that original layer effects mockup I did was with an outer shadow (along with the 3D and Emboss for making the edges less soft), and, while they all liked it, it did float off the page and felt too much like a drawing and not "this-is-intentional-white-on-white-carving" to me. But I figure, if you're gonna break all rules of art and fantasy, might as well do it as high quality as possible. I may try this Blender tutorial I found and see if I can get it not to ruin the lighting. Thanks again!
  19. Hi everyone, My goal is pretty simple: make all text and images for a book cover 3D in a "carved block" sort of design vs a simpler layer effects method (I did mockups with 3D, embossing, and shadows). Is there a way to make a gradient along a complex curve path yet? I saw some posts from many years ago hoping for this, but didn't find any current info. (Side note—because there will be questions that distract from the topic—the author is bold and requested the white on white, plus her fans loved the simpler layer-effects mockup version, so this lack of color is very intentional but shouldn't change the concept). I followed some tutorials on getting my text to have that look by using an offset duplication, combining nodes, dividing shapes, pasting the top layer on again, and deleting jagged angle edges left over from the combined layers underneath. I then used the gradient tool to manually "shade" every side of every letter myself before applying some subtle layer effects to the top, bottom, and group...that took a pretty long time, and a lot of the letters had easy, straight edges. See this picture for reference on how smooth it looks: Every shaded edge is its own unique shape, manually broken up into smaller shapes at any hard corner to add realism. A very smooth and even gradient on the straight edges. However, the main image is a girl's back with tree branches growing out of her skin. It is much more detailed, and after vectorizing the artist's drawing, I think it would be pretty much impossible or at least take days to try to shade her this way (I did test in the area highlighted on the right in the next image...the gradient is linear, so you only see it on the right side of the spine). And yet, I was able to make a "perfectly flowing" gradient in minutes by using the duplicate offset layers method and simply adding 2% black to each layer below and just not combining them. See the left side of this image: It looks decent from afar and gets pretty much the same effect across. But, if you look closely, it is just a bunch of layers copied, so the gradient isn't technically smooth, and the branch edges are hilariously jagged: Not at all like the letters were. This was so much faster though. Ideally, I would love to be able to merge these layers in some way and keep the colors from each as some sort of conversion to gradient. That would be amazing! I know there is no way to extrude. That would also be helpful, so is there any simple way to do this—to get the effect of the left side of image 2 without the jagged edges of the closeup image, instead being smooth along every curve similar to the text? Or am I better off learning how to use Blender and making it 3D there? Thank you all!
  20. It seems the RGB method is indeed the way to go. Eliminates a lot of issues and matching along the way. She said it uploads and approves still looking like the original design through the cover creator. Whatever conversion they do must not affect jpegs. Gonna have a proof sent and hopefully with it, a much better process for the future!
  21. So time finally came for this other cover to be due, and the proof is terribly different from any appearance on any screen. Luckily, the author was able to show me what the cover looks like uploaded to Amazon before printing happens, and that seems to be where the change happens because it prints very close to the Amazon preview, which is wayyyy off from my design. This led to some investigating, and it looks like Amazon has a list of requests to keep your covers looking as close as possible to what you want. One of those requests is to use no ICC color profile as they will remove it. However, Affinity doesn't seem to have a way to design with no color profile assigned. And assigning or using the soft proof adjustment to see other profile previews does not get me close to what they are doing to these purples, which come out nearly black even after making it much lighter. Is there a way to see/edit what it would look like without a profile? Or is there a profile that would help me get closer to whatever they are doing to it? Another option I will try today is exporting a jpeg and having her use their color creator tool to make it. Theoretically, if it is perfect as a jpeg, which is required to use their cover creator, they will do all the assigning, unassigning, and whatever other converting they do there and perhaps keep it looking good.
  22. I would love a word count feature as well. However, for those wanting counts for highlighted sections, words, characters, etc., all of the books I layout come from Google docs. Docs has all of that in its "Tools" menu. Yes, you have to highlight it over there, but I already have it open for each chapter and use 3 screens, so it's not too terribly out of the way. Everyone else, a decent workaround is just keeping a Google doc open to paste in and delete when done. Bonus docs to publisher points: since italics don't carry over from docs into a formatted publisher text box, docs has a handy little feature to highlight just italicized words. Saves me a ton! Highlight an italicized/other formatted word (or click between two italicized letters) > right click > formatting tools > select all matching text. It will highlight every italicized, bold, etc., word in the document as long as the writer did not change text styles or copy in half the text from elsewhere.
  23. Thank you. I don't need 0.1 or anything smaller than 1%, and you understood exactly what I was saying. I use the mouse currently to scroll values 1%. However, there is a keyboard shortcut that allows you to use alt/option and the arrow keys to move 10%. This is the "smaller" option, and I would never need anything bigger, so I was asking for a way to make the "tighten" keyboard shortcut 1% instead of 10% and maybe have the "tighten more" one be 10%. Right now, I am highlighting, moving the mouse, and scrolling the wheel for every line I adjust (which, to make the rag appear nicely and eliminate excess hyphens, etc, is still hundreds per book after setting the overall starting value for a paragraph). And I sometimes miss the box, since it isn't that big and nothing happens, so I have to do it twice. I would be faster if I could use alt/option + left/right to change a couple percent. Just a small idea to help with efficiency. Perhaps another cool idea would be a little menu appearing right above/below highlighted text if you hold ctrl/cmd or something, and then you're not moving the mouse so far back and forth and can get through a lot of lines quickly!
  24. Quick suggestion (I've checked all Key Command menus on two occasions far apart from each other, not finding a way...but could be wrong): It would be quite lovely if I could add key commands to some of the right-click options in the "pages" tab, particularly "Start New Section" and "Apply Master." Even moreso if one of those could be by clicking the mouse wheel, which I just discovered today applies (copies to new current clip) my color grades in DaVinci Resolve and cannot think of a better use for that overlooked button! Thank you Oh, side request (same topic): tighten and loosen by 1% shortcut ability. 10% is useful, but, as I format books line by line, I far more often find myself adjusting just a few percent at a time. I'd be perfectly happy with the same shortcut and the ability to change the value of "tighten" and "loosen." At least I can scroll the mouse wheel over the values 1% at a time and still save a decent amount of time!
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