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JET_Affinity

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  1. Macro, unlikely. Too many variables. Although Windows applications tend to refer to Visual Basic scripts as 'macros', generally speaking, a macro is just a recording of a sequence of individual performed operations or commands provided in the standard interface, like so-called Actions in Adobe apps. The sequence would likely be different for every piece of artwork, thereby negating the advantage. Scripting, on the other hand, maybe. But that's far more ambitious. A good scripting implementation provides for variables and conditional logic. But the operative phrase here is "good implementation". I've resorted to writing Javascript to create a substantial collection of 'missing features' in Illustrator, and yes, I am one of those who dearly wants to see Affinity provide a complete and well-documented Javascript object model as soon as its feature set is more fully fleshed-out and stabilized. But even so, it was the continual frustration of scripting AI that I had to resort to it for no-brainer missing functionality like, for just one example, a simple reverse path command. (And no, no one need trot out clicking an endNode with the Pen Tool.) But it comes immediately to mind in this context that Illustrator's Javascript (as of CS6, after which I abandoned it because I will not enslave myself nor have my business-critical files held hostage to a software vendor) provides no method for collision detection between paths (something I asked for throughout the years of writing AI scripting). So one might be able to devise into the script a repetitive loop of 'tests' to determine which paths actually overlap. But I'd be gritting my teeth doing that just because the functionality should be in the standard interface. The use case I described (vinyl cutting) is one in which something akin to Illustrator's Merge command quickly becomes indispensable. But its utility is certainly not limited to that. It's one of the kind of features that a user may not immediately recognize the 'need' for, but will quite likely find many uses for once it is provided. Adding a button and a slider to a Boolean palette would not constitute excessive gratuitous tool-glut. If one thinks it through, it becomes evident that the so-called Merge Pathfinder is doing essentially much the same thing that the much later so-called Live Paint and Shape Builder features are doing. They're just doing it as a 'live effect' with an elaborate tool interface, instead of by a simple command. Much of Illustrator's tool glut boils down to 're-packaging' of existing functionality with more elaborate interfaces. Of course it did. And I dare say, like many other things, it probably appeared before Illustrator's trapping functions. But FreeHand did not have a command akin to the one specified in this thread. The Merge command was one of the precious few positives in having to segue to AI after Adobe bought and killed FreeHand. I'd have to fire up the old bulbous pinstripe Mac G4 relic to verify, but something in my own vague recollection suggests that FreeHand's Boolean path operations could be made to incorporate manually-built traps. All this is why I continually argue that we need to think beyond Illustrator. Illustrator is just one of the old 'Big Four" (FreeHand, Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Canvas). A lot of redundant clutter lingers from the ad-hoc development since those days and elegance is lost when new offerings just 'copy what [historically] sells.' Elegance is achieved by providing fully thought-through and integrated functional power just beneath a clean, minimalist, but intuitive interface. The clutter of the older apps is nowadays nothing to emulate. My favorite example of the 'everybody now does it, so it must be right' fallacy is the now omnipresent confused, always-shifting, schizophrenic 'Bar' that can't decided whether it's a Tools Option Bar or a Commands Bar. Every graphics software developer should be required to understand and experience the advantage of FreeHand's incomparable Inspector Palette. (Closest thing to it in any program I use is in the Layout Mode of FileMaker Pro; a database program, of all things.) JET
  2. As I've suggested in similar contexts: Commands should be provided to convert any path to either a cutting path or a marquee selection (with a Boolean option for 'contact' as opposed to 'surround'). JET
  3. For those not familiar: Illustrator's awkwardly named Merge performs two basic Boolean operations in one move, based on their color: It Unions touching (abutting or overlapping) fills of the same color. It Punches (subtracts) overlapping fills of different colors. (Frontmost punches others). So it results in the minimal individual paths around visually contiguous regions of the same color. One common real-world use case for this is when preparing a design for cutting from sign vinyl. In that common workflow, you don't want any cuts across same-colored regions, because as the vinyl shrinks over time, void slivers appear. So the Merge command saves a lot of time and tedium. However, it addresses just half of that use case: When different colors of a sign vinyl design need to appear to abut, one actually does need a small amount of overlap for the very same reason: It's very difficult to physically perfectly abut different-colored pieces of vinyl when applying it, and even if you could, the eventual shrinkage would again cause slivers between them. The practical fix is analogous to that of color trapping (chokes, spreads, and overprinting) in print. So this is yet another opportunity to improve upon an Illustrator feature by addressing its shortcomings instead of just mimicking it in 'me, too' fashion: Such a command should incorporate an Overlap setting that would default to zero, but could be set by the user whenever a trap (parallel to the shapes) is needed. That would address the tedium of having to manually apply Offset Path (in AI) or Contour (in Affinity) to the results of a Merge operation. In other words, the suggested new feature function should incorporate three basic operations (union, subtract, and offset), not just two (union and subtract). Illustrator could have long since addressed this by providing a checkbox in its Merge command: Respect Manual Traps or Respect Overprinting Strokes. But it doesn't. And its 'Pathfinders' generally ignore strokes anyway. Expand Appearance 'sees' manual traps built in Illustrator, but treats them as 'third' colors instead of as the same color as the spread or choked color. Another low-hanging-fruit opportunity to surpass Illustrator's functionality by avoiding its endemic characteristic of too many grab-bag standalone features being 'unaware' of each other. JET
  4. For clarity, I certainly hope no one is asking for this to be a default behavior. I do not want an endNode of a path to auto-join to another path just because I drag it to within pick distance of another path's end. There are countless situations in illustration in which one draws coincident paths that should not be joined. Look no further than paths of different weights, color, or other style attributes that nonetheless need to have coincident ends. What about when more than two endNodes are coincident? How is the program supposed to know which path I would want it to auto-join to? The auto-joining behavior of Adobe Illustrator's Pen, for example, is one of its most infuriatingly intrusive stumbling blocks. To avoid its infernal insistence on auto-joining to other deselected paths when drawing, you actually have to invoke this ridiculous override: Mousedown somewhere that you don't want the next node to be Press and hold the spacebar Drag to where you do want it the node to be Mouseup Release the spacebar A path drawing tool is not a selection tool, and should not act like one. It has no business affecting unselected paths just because you need to place a node within pick distance of another path's endnode. Nor should it occur when just dragging an endNode. At most, any such behavior should have to be invoked by a keyboard shortcut. It should not be default behavior. The task of cleaning up DXF files is an oft-cited use case, and one with which I am quite familiar, having been doing technical illustration since well before personal computers. But it's still a specifically vertical use case; nothing that should be cited to justify a default behavior. Other programs accommodate it with separate, explicitly-invoked menu commands. You select the paths you want to be affected and then invoke the joining command (with whatever parameters offered in a dialog). If that's what you're recommending, I'm fine with it. But auto-joining as default behavior is bad. JET
  5. Multiple discussion threads on it in the Beta forum. JET
  6. There is a lot of functionality in a dedicated standalone cutting application, too. As for steps 2 and 3; no. That's what enables me to use the single familiar cutting / driving application with all the vector-based drawing program I have, and to use files provided by others outside my shop. But again, the primary advantage is avoiding mission-critical dependency upon a single drawing software 'host' for the plug-in. JET
  7. This is why you're really better off using a separate standalone cutting software to drive your cutter, rather than using a plug-in that traps you into dependency upon a single general-purpose drawing program. My cutters are Rowland. But if your hardware is Graphtec, have you not looked into one of the Graphtec Studio applications? With a separate cutting-prep application, you can use whatever drawing software you want, so long as it can export to a common vector file format that the cutting application can import. In the case of Affinity, that would be SVG, which is indicated on Graphtec's site as one of the formats supported by Graphtec Studio. You would: Do the drawing in Affinity Export as SVG Import the SVG into Graphtec Studio Set whatever device-specific options or features the software provides Send from Graphtec Studio to the cutter Typically, what actually drives cutters is just ordinary simple pen-up, move-to, pen-down HPGL instructions. So even when you use your Graphtec plug-in for Illustrator, what's really going on is, the plug-in is converting the Bezier curves to plotter language and then sending it to the cutter's driver. JET
  8. twopointoh, The development of Affinity applications is being openly shared with the user community in the Beta section of this forum. If you download the current beta, you will find that an offset offset path function is among the things under current development. JET
  9. Live Text On A Path cannot actually be saved in a PDF. When you save a file as a PDF from Illustrator, you have the option to Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities. If you have that option turned on, Illustrator stores a full native copy of the content, stashed away in a 'cordoned off' area of the PDF file. That's why 'PDFs' saved that way from Illustrator are so much larger than if they are saved without that option on. If you then re-open that 'PDF' in Illustrator, Illustrator doesn't open the PDF content; it opens the stashed-away native copy. That's why the Text On Path object is still editable. When you save a file as a PDF from Illustrator with that option turned off, and then 're-open' that PDF in Illustrator, you will find that there is no live editable Text On Path. Affinity Designer does not 'open' native Illustrator files, just as Illustrator does not 'open' native Affinity Designer files. Both can export and open PDFs. Illustrator does the inverse with its 'native' .AI format: When you save a .AI file from Illustrator, you have the option to Make PDF Compatible. If you have that option turned on, Illustrator stores a PDF copy of the content, stashed away in a 'cordoned off' area of the .AI file. If you then open that '.AI' file with Affinity, Affinity doesn't open the native AI content; it opens the stashed-away PDF copy. That's why the Text On Path object is not editable. JET
  10. Michael, This thread is about an envelope warping feature. If you search for "Extrude", you'll find other threads pertaining to what you describe. Those threads are about 3D features. An extrude feature to "make a 3D view", for which Michael is relating to the Isometric Grids feature (2D construction), is not about a 3D modeling feature. Extrude features like in CorelDRAW and other programs are 2D constructs and therefore not ruled out by the Affinity team's responses that Affinity will not have 3D features. JET
  11. Since this is the "General Query" thread: Does anyone know when the extra batteries for my DeWalt chainsaw will be shipping? Thanks in advance. JET
  12. Feature requests need pro and con discussion and clear behavior description. Someone says "Please add a Live Paint Bucket Tool!" because the only other drawing program they're familiar with is Adobe Illustrator and they seem to think "Live Paint Bucket" is some kind of universally understood generic industry standard 'feature in a box' that a development team can just pick off a shelf somewhere and plug it in, when it's just Adobe's proprietary name for its own particular implementation of what is generically known as a flood-fill feature. So would the voting 'ballot' list four (or more) 'party' candidates?: Live Paint Bucket Tool, identical to Illustrator's Fill Bounded Areas Tool, identical to Inkscape's Smart Fill Tool, identical to CorelDRAW's Smart Vector Fill Tool, identical to Canvas's 'Voting' features in an open public discussion forum are as silly as the user-created 'Poll' feature in a motorcycling forum I frequent. There's nothing scientific about them. Are we going to register to vote? What stops me from having a dozen login accounts so I can vote 12 times? What if 60% of the most experienced users are introverts who are simply disinclined to participate in such 'elections'? What if the majority actually making a living using the software are just too busy, or are not allowed to participate by their employers? What if the vast majority of users have never touched a 'Blob Brush Tool' because they can't afford Captive Customer fees and therefore they all vote "No"? What if the majority of the users have only ever used Adobe Illustrator and don't understand that things can be better than that? You really want the priorities of an application's development to be driven by mob rule? Building an innovative product that wins in the marketplace is not driven by simple democracy. Systematic development requires discernment about which functions comprise the most fruitful foundations upon which later higher-level features will depend. The best features are those which are cleanly integrated with each other so that the combined functionality is more elegantly powerful than just a collection of standalone functions. The feature that ends up truly 'putting an application on the map' and empowering its users the most may be something no one has ever dreamed of before. The 'voting' mechanism is already there: You can click the reaction buttons. Yeah, they could be re-named with terms less ambiguous. But the 'mob' can't even follow the most common-sense procedures: Search for an existing feature discussion topic before starting yet another one. You're very unlikely to be the first person to ask for a 'Shape Builder Tool.' Don't post 'personalized' lists of your pet features. If the topics don't already exist, start individual topics, so they can be sensibly discussed. No one is doing a search for a topic called "Joe Blow's wishlist" just because Joe Blow thinks he's someone special. No one is going to tediously dissect individual features from Joe Blow's wishlist post and move them to their appropriate subject threads. Joe Blow may have the most valuable contribution that no one else has ever thought of on a topic, but it will be forever lost because it's merits are stirred and shaken somewhere inside an unnavigable grab bag. JET
  13. Illustrator, for example, has always been awash in old fashioned modal dialogs. Correct. Interpreting the referenced article as 'putting an interface in modes is bad practice' is too broad a generalization. Working with Affinity's axonometric grids feature effectively puts all the tools in a different 'mode.' That's certainly not a bad thing. FileMaker Pro's interface has four modes: Browse, Find, Layout, and Preview. In Browse Mode, data is worked with in either Form, List, or Table views. One of its claims to fame is that its UI is arguably the most approachable in the database world. I'm not saying that Affinity's interface doesn't have some problems. I can say that any of its competitors' interfaces do, too, if I have an axe to grind. The biggest problem I have with Affinity in this regard is that its faux 'pages' are really just contiguous groupings within the object stack, like layers. Affinity is not the only program to do this, CorelDRAW being the obvious example. The problem is one of function; page-specific layers are really little more than another hierarchical level of groups, and nowhere near as versatile as they should be. But the frustration and confusion it causes is mostly due to Affinity's mixing of two metaphors; those of 'page stacking' versus 'page spreading'. Functionally, it's similar to CorelDRAW. But CorelDRAW's treatment inspires less frustration because it—wait for it—opens a modal window in order to view pages in a 'page-spreading' mode. I don't really have any problem with Affinity's Persona views. I've seen more users applaud it here than dislike it. At this stage, I certainly don't think it's going away, and I expect it will be further exploited to help minimize UI clutter as more features are added or fleshed-out. Perhaps then it will feel more 'necessary' (justified). JET
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