Hello, I bought Affinity Designer a few days ago a so far the vector systems of the app are top notch, and the pixel persona is pretty good as well, and so
I was thinking to try to use it to paint as I usually do in Photoshop, with the added bonus of being able to use a much more robust and well constructed vector workflow,
and for the most part all works rather well, except for one thing, the cursor preview, Im sure some people will not see this as an issue but I use
Photoshop to do a lot painting (so that part of my workflow needs to work as nicely as possible)
and luckily the brush preview setting of that app are well tuned for almost any kind of user workflow, Affinity Designer needs a few more
options so any painter can use the app with enough controls to sustain any workflow a given person uses.
In Affinity Designer, when you are using a pixel brush you get a big circle around that show you the current size of the brush, along side with that you can have an actual
preview of the nozzle texture for the tip of your brush, this nozzle texture changes of color and of visibility, i.e. its more opaque or less so depending on the flow percentage
you set for the tool.
This settings are fine for the most part, and Im certain some people find them more than useful for the tasks they need to do.
However for some people this options are not enough, both because they would wish to be able to turn off some of the settings or because they need a few more toggles.
Analyzing this setting this are the problems I found and the reasons I cant quite use the application to paint with ease:
Dynamic color change depending on the selected color:
This setting makes the preview useless on many instances, here's my rationale for this: if you have the option for brush preview enabled
its because you need to see the shapes of the brush, now there may be times when you dont wish to have it on, and for that instance this
suggestion is moot, but if you wish to have it on, and you have a white color selected, over a very light almost white background, the
nozzle preview becomes then invisible, same if you are painting a dark color over a black section of your painting.
When you are painting you color pick neighboring colors on the dark on the meds and on the light areas to blend the colors around as you model form,
if the brush nozzle preview become of the same color as the background then you effectively made the brush invisible, and if you wanted to use the very
edge of the the texture of that nozzle on a very specific detail you are lost and then forced to aimlessly give strokes on the hope
the edge of the brush will hit the right spot.
I use a knife brush in Photoshop that fully utilizes the tilt and size dynamic functions, I was happy to see Affinity designer has the same
capability, however the brush preview does not work in tandem with the tilt functions, rendering this greats dynamic tool a bit useless
for finer work.
My knife tool changes size and rotation depending on the tilt of my stylus, this means this brush can cover a large space if I dont tilt
my stylus up, or become almost a dot if I do so with in between stages on this gradient of tilt, this means that without having to
change to a different tool, or access any extra key strokes, I can effectively changes the size, and rotation of my brush, this is super handy,
but its dependent on me being able to see a preview of the nozzle, and I need to see it all the time, without being very intrusive,
What Photoshop did to solve that is to have a 1pixel outline of the nozzle preview texture, that 1x pixel outline is set to be on a invert blend mode of sorts
in that no matter where a person places the brush cursor, it can be dark or light, you will always be able to see that texture nozzle cursor preview.
However in Affinity Designer you cannot do that, the fact the brush nozzle preview color changes to the selected color makes it
Solution: Make the color change optional,
and add an option to have a permanent 1x pixel outline to the textured nozzle preview for the
brush, set that 1x pixel outline to scale with the brush size and to be on an inverted blend mode
so that its always visible no matter the background you are painting in, if the brush becomes too
small like maybe past 7 pixel diameter then convert the brush nozzle preview to a dot, a cross hair,
or to disappear entirely, (I would not use that option my self but some people might).
Flow connected to opacity of nozzle preview texture:
The second problem is that if the brush flow is connected to the opacity of the nozzle preview, if you lower it because you wish to
have a softer more subtle flow for a gradient blending, your brush again because invisible.
Solution: disconnect the Flow input from the nozzle opacity and make it a separate dial/toggle on the tool menus of the main UI, or on
the preferences section.
Aside those two things, being able to toggle out the big circle around the cursor that show the brush diameter could be nice to have,
so for the people that just wishes to have the texture nozzle preview the cursor become a bit less intrusive.
This are my 2 biggest gripes when i comes to painting with Affinity Designer, other than that, the application works very, very, well,
the Vector systems work great, and most of the settings and options for the brushes and general work flow are really good.
Maybe for the next update this could be implemented? Im sure more than one painter that has a Photoshop background
would welcome this, and I think long time users of Affinity Designer could benefit from having some extra options as well.
Thank you for you time.