JET_Affinity

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  1. Not likely. It's been requested for decades. JET
  2. Nice, Ben. I hope everyone knows that the sensible, useable polygon behavior of this is absent in the Lasso Tool in Adobe Illustrator (even though its raster version has long been present in Photoshop). However, does this not work if the path(s) are not already selected? And it's not limited to one path, correct? JET
  3. BrightBold, No offense, but almost everyone says that about his/her most desired feature. As just one individual example, another "me, too" autotrace feature is not even on my list of desired features. I almost never use one, there are plenty of them out there (even free ones), and they all do pretty much the same thing (which I expect is unlikely to change unless and until an affordable one acquires some measure of shape recognition intelligence). That doesn't make me "right" or you "wrong," but as has been explained, it's on the planned features list. But priorities are up to the developers. I would imagine that sometimes features are inter-dependent, and have to be developed in sequence. JET
  4. Right. So just seeing the area value for each lets you determine the needed scale factor. If I have four objects with areas of 225, 275, 300, and 265, and want the first three to be scaled to have the same area as the last, I can simply key "*265/225" in either of the first's size fields to scale it by 118%, enter "*265/275" to scale the second by 96%, and "*265/300" to scale the third by 88%. JET
  5. Uses for knowing the area (or length) of a path would be very user-specific. Max may want to perform scaling based on area or path length, either of which, as Ben mentioned, is a simple matter of uniform scaling which can already be keyed as an expression into the dimension fields. I, on the other hand, may want to know the area or path length in order to convert the value to another unit of measure (e.g., acres or miles) in order to paste it into a dimension callout on a land plot drawing. Or any number of other things. So there's no need for any elaborate re-work of the Transform palette for this. Object attributes like area and length just need to be visible in any sensibly unobtrusive location of the interface so the user can use them as values in whatever specific calculation needed. Sure, the Transform palette is one logical place to display dimensional object attributes, but it's not the only place to do it. Consider: There are other kinds of object-level attributes also very useful to know (count of nodes, open or closed, etc.) which are not dimensional, and would not be used as transformations. Such specific uses are not things every user would do every day in the same way. The user just needs to know the values in order to use them as fits the needs. They could appear in an attributes pane, or in a contextual cursor menu, for example. Let's trust the developers to know how to best integrate such things into the established interface schema so as to preserve the overall elegance. JET
  6. Re: Area: Of course, visual appearance of "same size" is not just a simple matter of area (as any type designer knows), but it's at least a starting point for that, and useful for many other common things. Personally, I've long maintained that every serious drawing program should provide path length and area as visible attributes (as, for example, ACD Canvas has for as long as I remember). If they were given, one could devise whatever calculation needed for use-specific purposes (especially given Affinity's more capable value fields). The object model for Illustrator's JavaScript implementation includes area as a path property. So it's fairly trivial to write a JavaScript that will do whatever calculation you want that includes area as a factor. (I've used it in a few of my own AI Javascripts.) There are a couple of caveats; for example, the value shown is a simple sum of subpaths in a compound paths, regardless of winding order. AI used to only provide path length (among other object values) in its hidden programmer's dialog which was accessed by an "Easter egg" keyboard shortcut. After a period of user demand, path length was eventually exposed in its Document Info palette (a frankly rather half-baked grab-bag feature), when the Objects and Selection Only palette options are on. JET
  7. A man after my own heart, Alfred. JET
  8. I've long maintained it would be less tedious and more accurate to simply provide a set of straightforward commands or buttons which allow the user to convert any ordinary path into a selection marquee or a cutting path (complete with appropriate contact-sensitive and select/subselect options). That way, any path drawing tool could be used, with all its accuracy advantages, instead of the conventional separate screen pixel-based marquee selection tool that: Makes it far too tedious to weave around the desired selection in tight circumstances (a very frequent problem when working with the disjointed polylines exported from CAD programs). Prevents being able to zoom in or out while making a selection. Wreaks havoc when the "lasso" comes into proximity of the screen edges, causing you to have to start all over. I see no reason for separate functionally-limited "lasso" selection and "path cutting" tools, when the whole set of drawing tools could be used to perform both with more versatility. Consider how ironic it is that conventional-wisdom vector drawing programs always resort to a clumsy screen-pixel tool for a so-called "lasso" tool, while Photoshop and similar raster imaging programs let you draw an accurate vector-based path and then convert it to a selection. JET
  9. Since you mention that... One of the most useful "shape tools" that would go hand-in-hand with the axo grids you're working on is a "threads" tools. For example, the one in Corel Technical Designer lets you simply drag to fill an ellipse with automatically trimmed half-ellipses to create a threaded hole. Huge time-saver. Related: As I mentioned in one of the threads requesting a spiral too, ordinary "me, too" spiral tools are everywhere. But in both technical and general illustration, it's arguable that the need to draw a coil is actually more commonly needed than just yet another flat "spiral." One of the oft-repeated threads in drawing software forums is "How do I draw a helix." And tech Illustrators need to draw springs just as often as they need to draw cogs. Springs are tedious to draw manually. It's my most common use for the "path stretching" features ("Rubber Band Mode" in Corel Draw, or the "Reshape Tool" in Illustrator). But I see no reason why a live Spiral Shape tool shouldn't: Provide control for both uniformly and progressively-spaced coils. Allow the spacing of uniform coils to go all the way to zero, so that the path coils effectively lay exactly on top of each other. Provide endpoint handles that can allow the spiral to be "stretched" so as to serve as the centerline of a spring. By way of example, here's a screenshot of my isometric springs "library" in Illustrator. Each of these was tediously derived by: Drawing an ellipse. Cutting the ellipse at one of its nodes. Using the Reshape Tool to "stretch" the cut ellipse into a single "spiral" coil. Storing the coil in the "side tile" of a Pattern Brush. Drawing the end coils separately and storing them in the "end tiles." Repeating that process for every 5° increment about an isometric ellipse. You can imagine the tedium involved. But once done, each of the Brushes can be used to instantly create a spring of any diameter and any length. (And actually, of any bend, too; it's not just for tech illustration. I could use any one of the Brushes to draw a Slinky toy, for example.) So in the above, I've used in non-obvious ways several features which many users consider the "high end" differentiators between ostensibly "professional" Illustrator and its competitors. But they're not really so "high end"; they're just needlessly cumbersome and not very well integrated. I've done the same thing to create libraries of vector Brushes (or combinations of Brushes) to semi-automate drawing hex bolts, wires with terminals, wire rope, various kinds of chains, and more. Again, you can imagine the hours. But I don't build such things in Illustrator anymore because I'm not going to continue to invest the effort in a program that I would have to rent (and which would thereby hold my own working files hostage). So I also do not share them, because I'm not really interested in promoting the use of Illustrator for the same reason. Along similar lines, I've explored the related features in enough drawing programs to be convinced that such things and more could be accomplished more intuitively and more powerfully by a better-integrated set of more straightforward vector-based features, including: Path Ends (not just arrowheads) Path Strokes (repeating or stretched) Symbols (as ends or repeating along strokes) Graphic Styles Blends As they say, "The devil is in the details." It's all about thoroughly and thoughtfully integrating the functionality between the features. For just one example, both Illustrator's Brushes and its Symbols are woefully debilitated by failure to abide by the option in the program's Transform palette to disallow scaling of stroke weights in the base artwork. It's arguable that the piecemeal and standalone nature of such features in the very old programs is a consequence of their being added one at a time. I don't buy that, but Affinity's being new from the ground up should help avoid that "random grab bag" of functionality feeling of the long-in-the-tooth competitors. Anyway, that's what I hope to see in Affinity. JET
  10. And for those who had no experience with FreeHand: This ability is just one of many things which FreeHand had years before Adobe Illustrator. And even when it finally appeared in Illustrator, FreeHand's treatment was still more powerful. It's one of my favorite examples of how ill-conceived fundamental elements of Illustrator's general interface (in this case, the simple principle of "selection") cascades upward through all of its features. Without going into detail, it boils down to the fact that Illustrator's interface doesn't "know" the difference between a path's being selected as an object, as opposed to having all its nodes selected. This stems, in part, from the infernal insistence on two separate selection tools. In this case, the result is that FreeHand could perform all the same alignments and distributions on nodes as on whole objects. For example, in FreeHand, you can select all the nodes of a given path—or of multiple paths—and align them. Try that in Illustrator, and you'll find that you must deselect at least one node. Thus, my automatic refrain: When building a better drawing program, Illustrator is not the program to emulate. (By the way, FreeHand could also perform alignment or distribution of multiple pages (yet another major feature which Illustrator was decades late in providing) in the same straightforward fashion. The tedium of doing that in Illustrator, at least through version CS6, is laughable by comparison.) JET
  11. But as always, please give the Spiral Shape something beyond the "me, too" conventional-wisdom standard-fare: For example, a handle by which to "stretch" the spiral into the centerline of a coil: JET
  12. Oh, gee! Sorry Alfred. I have no excuse other than Sunday morning brain freeze. JET
  13. As Alfred mentions, you can get clipart from many sources. One kind of such sources will no doubt be Affinity users who create Symbol libraries and share them with the community. But I trust you understand that the libraries that ship with Illustrator are just demos of some of the kinds of things you might store as Symbols, and that the real power and purpose of a symbols feature is its functional linking between instances of the same symbol. You should find Affinity's Symbols feature significantly more powerful than Illustrator's (at least as of the last normally-licensed version, CS6) in at least these ways: Alfred also mentioned Affinity's Shape Tools. These are not only a library of pre-defined shapes, but are shapes with live geometric properties (far more than Illustrator's archaically basic set of traditional LBOs (pronounced "elbows" and an old reference to the ubiquitous "lines, boxes, and ovals" tools that date back to the earliest days of desktop publishing). Illustrator's LBOs only just recently gained any kind of truly live adjustability. (Just one of many features long considered standard-fare in other programs, but which Illustrator was decades late in providing.) So each Shape Tool in Affinity effectively represents a whole "library" of shapes. The Cog Tool, for example, constitutes a whole "library" of cogs of any inner radius, any outer radius, and any number of teeth. But what does this have to do with Symbols? Well, not only does Affinity provide many more interactively adjustable shapes, but those Shape objects can also be stored as Symbols, and when so used, they retain all their live adjustability. Another huge advantage to Affinity's treatment of Symbols is its Sync button which empowers you to toggle on or off the synchronizing of edits to a Symbol instance at the individual attribute level. Using those two advantages in concert, you can for example: Use the Cog Tool to create a cog with, say, 12 teeth. Apply the Metal Style to it. Further stylize it as desired with fill, stroke, or effects. Open the Symbols palette and click the Create Button. The cog is added to the Symbols palette. Drag another instance of the cog from the Symbols palette onto the page. Click the Sync button to temporarily deactivate linking between the two instances. DoubleClick the second cog. Adjust its live shape parameters to change its radius and number of teeth. Reposition it so as to interlock its teeth with the first cog. Click the Sync button to reactivate syncing. Adjust its Gradient fill so as to re-orient the angle of the lighting. The change automatically applies to both cogs. ...and so on. This is an example of the kind of functional integration between features (in this case, Symbols and Shapes) which compounds the power of each feature involved, instead of each feature existing standalone in its own functional vacuum, as is so often the case in old programs like Illustrator. So Affinity doesn't ship with several "libraries" of static simple graphics stored as Symbols? That's pretty easy to overcome, and is a pretty small price to pay for much larger functionality. Now, imagine if Affinity were to offer its own API and object model documentation (akin to Illustrator's JavaScript support, or Inkscape's Python extensions) to empower users to create their own native live Shape Objects. How about, for example, a single interactive Shape Object which allows the user to instantly create, say, isometric hex bolts of any diameter, length, thread length, and head size needed, to go along with those cogs? Will such user scripting ability happen? I don't know. But I at least take things like the Symbols treatment described above as welcomed evidence that the Affinity Team is already setting its sights higher than the functionality of Adobe Illustrator. I can gather (or better, create) my own clip art. JET
  14. First thing that comes to mind is an option to have the interpolated steps of a blend uniformly spaced along the length of its spine path, as opposed to their distribution always being subject to the curve handles. Another is for it to correctly handle distribution along closed paths. JET
  15. Aaron, You're on the right track in mentioning graphic Styles, but not sure what you mean by "global" styles. Working with graphic Styles is what you need. But what's missing is a means by which to select all objects throughout the document to which a given Style has been applied (so that you can then simply apply another Style), or by which to edit or replace a Style by replacing its attributes with a differently-styled object (so that the edit automatically cascades to all object to which that Style is already applied). For me, that's one of many features which I hope the Affinity team is planning to do more thoroughly than, for example, Illustrator's small handful of "select same..." commands, which itself was a very weak answer to Macromedia FreeHand's extensive Graphic Find & Replace feature. (Insert here my customary rant that Styles, Strokes, Brushes, Path Ends, and Symbols should not be a grab-bag of standalone features, but should all be thoughtfully integrated with each other.) JET