JET_Affinity

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  1. If you are talking about Photoshop's 3D features, this is an entirely different thing. This is entirely 2D; there is no actual 3D modeling going on. This is entirely vector-based drawing; there is no raster imaging involved at all in the example sketch. The Lookin' UP graphic consists entirely of normal Bezier paths on all the "surfaces" shown. It's just copies of the graphic at lower left that have been transformed using regular—but somewhat automated—2D transformations (rotate, scale, skew). The copies of it on the billboard are just as normally editable as the original. This is not painting a raster-based texture and mapping it onto the surface meshes of a 3D model. This is about using a 2D grids feature and live 2D transformation features in software to help facilitate a 2D axis-based drawing discipline which dates back to long before computers, just as traditional "vanishing point" perspective construction methods also long predate computers, and are facilitated in some 2D drawing programs. JET
  2. The most telling detail of FreeHand's elegance was its selection and path manipulation interface. Illustrators who never used it just don't realize that its single selection tool did more—and did it more intuitively and efficiently— than any program with the now pandemic separate node selection tool. The insistence on two separate main selection tools is so ingrained due to Illustrator's market dominance that I fear most users will never know how much better it could be. I knew FreeHand's demise was immanent as soon as Macromedia added the completely useless white pointer, just to appease Illustrator users. (It was literally just that. It wasn't until the very last version that the white pointer actually gained any ability in FreeHand that couldn't be done with the black pointer; and even that was a token detail, unworthy of a separate tool.) Nonetheless, up to that point, FreeHand underwent marvelous advancements while under Macromedia's control. A huge one was its complete interface rebuild to an Inspector-based one. Everything you needed to know about the current selection was visible and settable in the efficiently designed Inspector. No drawing program's attempt at so called control panels and object attributes ribbons has come close to the efficiency of FreeHand's Inspector palette. Once again, Illustrator's schizophrenic attempt—which can't seem to figure out if it's a tool options bar or an object attributes bar or a commands bar—wins worst-of-class. (Ironically, FileMaker Pro—a relational database management program, of all things—comes close with the comprehensive Inspector palette of its Layout Mode interface.) My nostalgia is not rose-colored glasses, though. Even when FreeHand was in its hey day, I was quite vocally bemoaning the fact that the interfaces of all the Bezier drawing programs (including FreeHand) were actually more analogous to a mere "line up table" or "paste up table" (a glorified light table with a T-square, used for flat design, stripping film, etc.) than to a proper drawing table equipped with a Mutoh track drafter (used for illustration). It was so refreshing when FreeHand's full-blown Perspective Grids feature appeared. I wonder how few know the one in Adobe Illustrator is a direct copy of it; just one of those things for which Adobe gets the credit by merely acquiring it from elsewhere, and very belatedly adding it to Illustrator. And though I sung its praises when it first appeared in FreeHand, I was deeply disappointed that they had chosen to address converging perspective before parallel perspective, which I think is arguably more amenable to 2D drawing programs by its nature. Still today, with few exceptions, almost everything in a "drawing" program's interface is tyrannically oriented toward the horizontal and vertical. When drawing, an Illustrator couldn't care less about the page edges. An illustrator is thinking in terms of the spatial orientation and angular view of the subject being drawn. When you really think about it, we are usually struggling against the conventional-wisdom features when trying to draw real-world things. After over thirty years of ostensibly "rocket fast" computer and software development, little has really changed from that in the 2D drawing genre. That's why I find it so refreshing whenever I see a feature explicitly designed to support illustration in a mainstream Bezier drawing program, like Affinity's axonometric grids. Axonometric is a particular passion with me, because it's such an elegant system. It's so neat to watch your constructions just come together and fit perfectly together throughout the drawing with geometric accuracy equal to that of mechanical drafting. And especially today its application is far broader for commercial illustration than commonly assumed. I blame the misconception on decades of neglect, both in software and in general art classes. By the way, I never had a FreeHand file fail to RIP. In the days of slower processors and early PostScript, too many users indiscriminately built their files using all kinds of willy-nilly, sloppy, convoluted constructs without a thought beyond on the monitor appearance, thereby effectively begging for output problems. Such problems occurred with all graphics applications. CorelDraw gained an undeserved bad reputation in that regard, largely just because it was so feature-rich. Too many users still do the same today, but the output systems have become much more forgiving in terms of error handling. For one example, back then stray points (single-point paths) could cause output problems, and Adobe Illustrator (precisely because of its awkward selection interface) is the program most prone to inadvertently creating stray points. JET
  3. Egads! It tickles me how often in the Illustrator User Forum, users struggling to get their heads around its convoluted interface so often say they are "visual learners." Every time it makes me think, "Um...you do realize you are reading the answer you just thanked me for, right?" But seriously, since the early days, I have made it my habit (and advice to beginners) to start by not just reading through the manual start-to-finish, but actually work through the operations it describes as you go. In the end, that is so much faster than asking random "how to" questions in online forums or watching videos because it is, first, accurate (amateur videos and answers in online forums are so often just cases of the blind leading the blind) and, second, more thorough. Plus, actually sitting at the computer with the manual and playing with the functions as they are described removes most of the painful boredom, and encourages experimentation in a sensible sequence in the learning process, as opposed to struggling with operations as they happen to occur at random. I suspect it's already occurred to you, Befehr, but... Create a cylindrical extrusion along the Y (vertical) axis in isometric: Ellipse tool: Drag an ellipse onto the page. Transform palette: Set its width (major diameter) to the true measure of the circle it represents. Set its minor diameter to "w*sin(35.26)". PenTool: Line Mode. Mousedown on the center of the ellipse and shiftDrag any arbitrary distance upward. Transform palette: Set the 9-point proxy icon to one of the bottom points and set height to "[true measure length of the cylinder] * cos(35.26)". CopyDrag the ellipse by its center and snap to the top of the centerline. (Yeah, you could have just moved a copy of the ellipse vertically by the cosine of the iso angle, but in the real world, it's usually advantageous to draw centerlines of extrusions.) Beyond that: Select one of the ellipses. Click the Pie button. You now have an interactive isometric protractor for finding correct measures of off-axis lengths rotated about the Y axis. Just key the needed angle(s) in the Start and End fields. Get accustomed to this and you can easily start thinking "Who needs grids?" JET
  4. Actually, in those years, Adobe Illustrator (1987) and Aldus FreeHand (1988) were practically simultaneous, given that FreeHand's drawing engine was largely based on its progenitor, Altsys Fontographer (1986). Right out the gate, FreeHand surpassed the functionality of Illustrator (Illustrator could not even "edit in preview mode"; you had to switch to "outline mode" to edit paths), and Illustrator continued to trail years behind FreeHand's functionality throughout their competitive history. Having lived through all that (my first hands-on exposure to Bezier drawing being Fontographer on a Mac Plus), I simply attribute Adobe's dominance to the fact that it created PostScript. That's what made it the "household word." All the buzz of the "desktop publishing revolution" was about "Adobe PostScript." So anything with the Adobe brand on the box was considered the "safe bet." JET
  5. Sure. We all do. And I'm confident all that is coming. But that doesn't mean they have to be implemented in the same conventional-wisdom "me, too" way, or that I want them to be. I'm as eager as anyone, precisely because I highly desire more innovative thought being applied to even such seemingly mundane capabilities. I'm in a hurry, but not for yet another look-same, do-same program. I already have a slew of those. One of my favorite cases-in-point is Affinity's value fields. Long before most programs like cough Adobe Illustrator cough figured out that it runs on a computer, a precious few other programs like cough Macromedia Freehand cough enabled its users to key a math expression directly into its value fields instead of having to turn away from the $1000 computer to open a drawer and drag out a $10 pocket calculator. It was years later that Illustrator caught on, but as of CS6 (the last version available without a rental contract), that capability is still limited to a single kind of math operator (multiplication-division or addition-subtraction, but not multiplication and addition in the same expression, or parentheses). Spunky Affinity comes along and, right off the bat, betters FreeHand and pretty much all others in the Bezier drawing software category by letting us enter trig functions into value fields. And that plays quite handily into the feature being discussed. Here's how: Those familiar with the ubiquitous plastic ellipse templates used in mechanical drafting since long before drawing software came along know that the cutouts on those templates are labeled not in terms of height and width (as mainstream drawing programs universally do), but in terms of angle. Why? Because a 25° template has elliptical cutouts which are correctly proportioned to represent a circle which is tilted 25° degrees from the viewer's (and the illustrator's) line-of-sight. Now, which of those is of most value to an illustrator? "Height and width" may be of value to a designer making a pleasing page layout, but it's pretty useless to an illustrator thinking about the orientation of a circular part of his subject in space. So you want a 25° ellipse in Affinity? Just key "1" in the width field and "sin(25)" in the height field. That one simple direct unsung capability puts affordable Affinity light years ahead for anyone interested in using their software for mechanically-correct drawing. And as the grids/axis feature becomes functionally enhanced, these two seemingly separate features don't just stand alone, but further empower each other—again, the very definition of functional elegance. That kind of feature implementation is what used to be called functional elegance; a driving principle in the early days of graphics software, but one which seems to have been long forgotten by the monolithic software vendors. A designer not needing to think of ellipses in terms of tilt angle can just enter height and width values as common. And beginners intimidated by such a capability can work as usual without stumbling over it (or even being aware of it) until they have the need. I can easily imagine that if Adobe Illustrator ever gains this long overdue practical capability, it will be rolled out with fanfare rivaling New Year's Eve in New York and a clever Adobe-esque name (LiveSmartAngledEllipses!), as if Adobe invented the sine function—and many Illustrator-only devotees will be convinced it did, just as they seem to believe Adobe invented multiple pages and the concept of a 2D converging perspective grid, and will have its own separate "Tool" given predominate space in the already over-crowded main tool bar, right beside the all-important "Lens Flare" tool. So Affinity Team, please do take your time. Just hurry up about it. JET
  6. I don't know what program you're alluding to. (You know you can just say it, right? Don't worry; just change your hair color and wear a hood when you go out.) Similar ability to do what was shown in the demo clip does exist in a few other 2D drawing programs, but not, for example, in Adobe Illustrator which (at least as of CS6) doesn't even provide for creating non-rectilinear page grids at all. In case you're thinking of Adobe Illustrator's 3D Effect plug-in, that's an entirely different thing that shouldn't be confused with the subject of this thread. (And even 3D Effect doesn't let you perform that kind of transformation "live" on the page.) This is all 2D. So there is no actual "tilted" plane in the sense of a 3D model. There is just an on-page grid which effectively constitutes a drawing of a tilted plane. You can already do that in Affinity Designer: View Menu: Grid and Axis Manager Turn off the Use automatic grid checkbox Click the Advanced mode button Select the Isometric or one of the Dimetric or Trimetric presets from the Grid Type popup menu. That alone is a far more capable grids implementation than is provided in the majority of mainstream 2D vector drawing programs. The point of the demo, though, is that Ben has been working on adding some functional geometric association between the grid and on-page objects. The live-shape Star object has been "sent" (using DrawPlus's term) to a "plane" (grid) as you would often want to do in a 2D parallel perspective drawing with something like a logo. But its association is not just a done-and-over-with 2D transformation. The association is still "live" so that Ben can just drag the familiar rotation handle of the Star object's bounding box and effectively "rotate it upon the plane" defined by that grid. And yes, there are a few programs which can do that, too. My two favorite examples are at opposite extreme ends of the price spectrum: Serif DrawPlus, using its 3D Planes feature, and Corel Technical Designer, using its Projected Axes feature. (In fairness, there are other reasons for the price difference.) But the fleshing out of this feature set in Affinity Designer is a huge functional advantage over all the current mainstream 2D drawing programs. It constitutes explicit support for an entire drawing discipline that is just as appropriate for 2D drawing programs—and for commercial illustrators—as converging perspective. It's frankly rather laughable that over three decades after the "desktop publishing revolution" of the mid-80s that such things are still almost entirely neglected by the monolithic 2D drawing programs. As mentioned earlier in this thread, this is (so far) about parallel perspective (based on parallel axes), not converging perspective (based on vanishing points). That's why Affinity's grids feature is appropriately called the Grids and Axes Manager. The whole purpose and intent of "axis-based" (axonometric) drawing—of which isometric is just the most common variation— is to be able to draw "directly into" a mechanically-correct perspective view. The whole idea, dating back hundreds of years, is to not have to draw everything first as rectilinear side views (like traditional drafting) and then construct the desired perspective from those. So in this sense, while the rotatable star screen grab demonstrates one of the "building block" capabilities, it does not demonstrate the eventual drawing power that capability will yield. The capability proven by the demo is useful in itself for doing things like not just "sending" the logo to the various planes of my billboard example, but also easily rotating it as needed on those planes. But its ramifications are much larger. So don't get me wrong, that capability is very useful. But the real power represented by the rotating star is in how it will play into empowering an illustrator to "draw directly into" a parallel perspective view of objects which are not so conveniently "boxy" in shape and neatly aligned parallel to each other. Providing the typical basic rectangular warp tool is fine for simple things like distorting something drawn "in the flat" to fit a photo of a monitor or the side of a cereal box. But that's really minor compared to the scope of more fully supporting an entire long-established drawing discipline which will empower users to do a whole lot more. JET
  7. Your idea was not off-point. Ben's demo does apply to your example of positioning multiple separate images on a billboard that is already drawn in perspective (except that the perspective would be a parallel perspective, not a converging perspective with vanishing points, etc.). The salient point of the demo in that context is that you can not only effectively drag and drop those other images (be they rectangles or stars or whatever) onto the face of the billboard, but having done so, you can also freely rotate them while they are "projected" onto that surface just as easily as you would rotate them when drawn "flat on the page." Don't let the terminology dissuade you. One big misconception is that "isometric" drawing is just a trivial and limited way to draw "boxy" things. At the opposite extreme is another misconception that it is only appropriate to the engineering department for exploded parts catalogs, and that it is more difficult than it actually is. The terms themselves explain a lot of it: Isometric (same measure) drawing is just the most commonly used variant of axonometric (axis-measured) drawing. Its defining characteristic is that all three axes of the measuring system are equally foreshortened, so the same scale (same measure) can be used along all three directions. Dimetric (two measures) orients the coordinate system in such a way that two of the axes are equally foreshortened. So two measuring scales are used (one ruler for the two equally-foreshortened axes, and another for the third one.) Trimetric (three measures) orients the coordinate system in such a way that all three axes are foreshortened different amounts. The key is that in all three cases, the three axes are not arbitrarily foreshortened; they are foreshortened in geometrically-correct proportion to each other. The grids feature takes care of that for you. The system is actually just as venerable and rich a drawing discipline as "vanishing point" perspective, and just as widely applicable to commercial illustration projects (see my Jan 27 post). It's not trivial, but it's not difficult, either. And you don't have to have a mechanical drafting background to use it. A few examples already in the Affinity Designer marketing, videos, and Workbook make the point: They range from the mildly "technical" (the building floorplan video) to the completely whimsical (the colorful bird's-eye view fantasy artwork). The stuff Ben has given us a sneak peek at just adds some very useful and powerful automation to the process, which will make such things all the easier and quicker to accomplish. JET
  8. But lest anyone under-appreciate the significance of this feature, here's a simple example of what I'm talking about in the context of your billboard question: So you see, such a feature set does indeed facilitate "rotation on multiple planes". Although this is an entirely 2D construction method, and although there is no "live" rotation connection between the default isometric and the custom dimetric grid presets, it's still quite practical in terms of expedience and its result is just as geometrically correct as if it had been generated by a 3D CAE program. This is what I meant in saying that isometric and dimetric (and trimetric) methods can actually be used together in the same drawing. They are not separate, unrelated arbitrary conventions. The grids feature will help you do that. And much more. The above is fairly trivial. Axonometric drawing is not just about drawing "boxy" objects, or using "clever tricks" to "project" flat designs onto a plane, like the ubiquitous mockup of a cereal box which is all many illustrators with little exposure to isometric drawing mistakenly think it's about. The axonometric grids will be just as useful for constructing mechanically-correct parallel perspective drawings of objects of any shape, and the opportunity it represents to commercial illustrators is significant. JET
  9. I'm not quite following your description. Maybe post a sketch. But it sounds like you may be thinking that the preview demo of rotating a star shape amounts to rotating a whole extruded three-dimensional shape (like one of the triangular tubes in a billboard, which rotate to display three different advertisements every few seconds). If that's what you're talking about, no. The demonstration is of a star shaped path being rotated on one of the three axo planes (the horizontal one). If that star shaped path is going to be used as the horizontal face of star shaped extrusion, rotating the star on the horizontal plane is not going to automatically also rotate the drawings of its vertically extruded sides. (That is, rotating the star is not going to "rotate" the three perpendicular grids together, as if they are a 3D object.) The feature as demonstrated would, however, help you to correctly construct various views of such a mechanism rotated to as many different positions about the vertical axis as you want. It's a 2D drawing program, and axonometric drawing is a 2D method for constructing correctly-proportioned 3D parallel perspective (orthographic) views. The three grids are just three 2D grids that span the whole view. They are not an actual 3D cube object that is being rotated when a shape drawn on one of the planes they represent is rotated (although an intuitive interface for their setup could be designed to work that way). But the three grids can be set up to be in proper proportion to each other so as to serve as a 3D coordinate system (and will no doubt be able to automate that proportional linking, as the grids dialog already does). I assume we will be able to store as many user-defined presets as we want (as one can do in DrawPlus, Technical Designer, etc.) One of the common misconceptions about axonometric drawing is that isometric, dimetric, and trimetric orientations are just arbitrarily derived sets of angles and scales, and have nothing to do with each other. Much of that misconception stems from the limitations of the pre-computer analog tools. A full range of isometric-specific templates, protractors, etc., was (and still is) readily available, while templates for dimetric and trimetric were very few and far between. (Necessarily so, because there are theoretically infinitely many dimetric and trimetric orientations, so manufacturing physical templates for all of them would be unfeasible.) So dependence upon physical drawing tools implied that isometric, dimetric, and trimetric are arbitrary, unrelated systems. But they are not. Fact is, correctly done isometric, dimetric, and trimetric coordinate systems (axis triads) can actually be used together within the same drawing, when it's expedient to do so. And in software, there's nothing preventing doing so. And it's not nearly as complicated as it may sound to the as-yet uninitiated. So back to my interpretation of your billboard mechanism question, you could, for example, set up a trio of grid presets to facilitate drawing on (or parallel to) each of the three sides of an extruded triangle. (Think of the billboard structures which support three different whole billboards arranged in a triangle, each one facing a different road at an interchange.) JET
  10. I can't speak for Psenda, but I certainly do "know Photoshop and other Photo editing software." Frankly, it sounds more to me like Photoshop is the only program with which you are very familiar. One of the most annoying things that too many software vendors do is mix what should be the clear and normal meanings of saving a file versus exporting a file. And Adobe is one of the worst offenders in this regard. It leads to endless confusion among beginners about a very fundamental concept. The "Save" word should only be associated with the program's native file format. Whenever a program converts one of its native files to some other file format--be it an exchange format or the proprietary format of another application--that is by definition exporting it. Similarly, "Open" should only be associated with the program's native file format. Whenever a program converts a foreign file format--be it an exchange format or the proprietary format of another application--to its own native format, that is by definition importing it. Importing and exporting requires translating parts of the file or its syntax to conform to the standards of the incoming or outgoing format--in other words, altering the file. Failure to understand this is why so many users of any given graphics program continually beat up on their pet program's vendors. Blurring the terminology just creates confusion and frustration among the users. Illustrator users complain to Adobe because the marketing bullet point claims it can "open" .cdr files. They try to do so and become upset when their Conical Grads and Dimension objects disappear. So they scream "Illustrator is crap! I'm switching to Draw!." Inversely, Draw users complain to Corel because the marketing bullet point claims it can "open" .ai files. They try to do so and their Brush objects become dumbed-down to groups of simple path objects with no live behaviors. So they scream "Corel Draw is crap! I'm switching to Illustrator!" Those are just particulars among many, many more examples that are affected in conversions in either direction. But all that blustery know-it-all nonsense stems from failure to understand that .ai and .cdr are proprietary formats each of which include proprietary constructs that the other doesn't understand (or have rights to). Like Illustrator, Draw has a "Brushes" feature. But that doesn't mean it is anything like an Illustrator Pattern Brush. Like Draw, Illustrator has Grad Fills. But Illustrator only provides the two most basic types: Linear and Radial. And to this day, Illustrator still fails to provide even basic dimension objects. Inkscape catches a lot of grief from users of other drawing programs who don't understand that it is primarily all about compliance with an open standard (SVG), even though Inkscape tries to provide clear documentation and alerts to make the user who pays attention aware when an operation or feature is not yet part of the standard. So my "vote" is: Leave Serif alone in this matter. I strongly applaud its trying to adhere to the meaningful difference between Save and Export, and between Open and Import. I, for one, want to know when I'm actually invoking a conversion filter, and not just "opening" or "saving" a file as-is. JET
  11. Dimension tools are certainly not just for drafting. If you're referring to isometric drawing in general, well...you're right on cue, I'll give you that. There are many misconceptions about isometric drawing, but that's probably the largest. Consider: How is explicit support for 2D parallel perspective any less appropriate for a general purpose 2D drawing program than is support for 2D converging perspective? Doesn't the existence of 3D modeling render vanishing point perspective obsolete? I mean, by comparison it's not very realistic. (And as most commonly used, not very rigorous, either.) Should Adobe not have given Illustrator its Perspective Grid feature (a copy of the almost identical feature which FreeHand introduced years before Adobe's acquisition of Macromedia)? It's one of those chicken-and-egg things: Do most mainstream drawing programs ignore isometric drawing because there is no demand, or is demand limited to those with experience because there is no express support for it in mainstream drawing programs? First, in most any city in proximity to a military facility, there are typically a number of private firms, small and large, to which government awards contract work on technical publications. It's a decent size industry in itself. Guess what they do? In many cases, they use mainstream drawing programs to clean up or update 2D drawings exported from CAE systems, or create such drawings from scratch, using working drawings as source material reference. Fact is, the vector line art exports from even high-end CAE software is seldom very pristine. Industry often does the same thing in-house. That's why programs like Corel Technical Designer and IsoDraw exist. They are basically 2D vector drawing programs, but have accessory extensions (involving costly license fees) which can just open a 3D model and rotate it into the desired viewpoint before exporting it as something ready to be worked on in the 2D drawing environment. But moreover, contrary to popular misconception, use of isometric drawing (just one variant of axonometric) is not limited to mechanical engineering environs. And commercial illustrators who don't care to add it to their repertoire are missing out on opportunity (and enjoyment). The dramatically exaggerated converging perspective view of the proposed trade show booth will help sell Management on the design concept. But a few isometric drawings will far better serve the trade show crew to get it built, assembled, and in place on time. The photo realistic renderings on the box cover of Lego, Lincoln Logs, and Tinker Toy kits will help sell them initially. But the equally colorful isometric step-by-step instructions inside are what ensures success and adds value to the product. TV ads of the latest, greatest roller coaster will convince the family that they have to go this weekend. But the cartoony yet proportionally-accurate bird's-eye-view theme park map will help them find the coaster amid all the other attractions. How many of a freelance illustrator's clients for identity graphics or placement ads and brochures are small-to-medium product manufacturers? (A good many in my experience, and they have been delighted to find out I can also produce their products' assembly instructions and exploded parts breakdowns.) Fully rendered axonometric phantom cutaways can intuitively show a product's functional advantages, and show equal detail throughout the depth. And the list goes on. I sense a long overdue awakening of interest in isometric drawing (and a mass of confusion) within the commercial illustration community, despite the historic neglect of the big-name software vendors. This is going to be an important advantage of Affinity Designer. JET
  12. Regarding callouts: One of the things I applaud about Affinity is the energy toward keeping the program as elegant as possible. A large part of that is avoiding tool glut (separate dedicated tools for every little specific use), and carefully designing features to serve as many uses as possible. Especially in a general-purpose illustration program, the proper place to provide for things like callouts (and leader-lines, thrust lines, hidden lines, ghosts, etc.) is a carefully built and thorough Graphic Styles feature. Affinity still lacks a "path ends" feature. I take that as a hopeful indication that the Team has ideas in mind beyond the mediocre standard-fare arrowheads feature. A well thought out path ends feature can address that and much more. Also, drawing standards vary widely. Some clients (military branches, for example), specify arrowheads on callouts; others don't. Whenever I have the choice, I do not use arrowheads on callouts because in my experience (both in engineering and technical communications, and behind a parts counter) I find them to create unnecessarily distracting visual "blobs" which actually make it more difficult to find the item looked for. A well-built graphics styles feature set (which allows multiple strokes and fills, stored Symbols for path ends, positioning of path ends relative to the endpoint of the path, and separate settings for each end) allows an illustrator to build as many style libraries as needed for vertical-application uses. Canvas, for example, includes style libraries for various established drafting standards. That's fine for its specifically technical marketing focus. But much as I like it, Canvas does suffer from a bit of tool glut. In a general purpose illustration program, an auto-expanding text object grouped with a styled two segment path can serve as a suitable callout object. Individual users can create special purpose Style libraries for their own purposes or to share. Connector capability, on the other hand, could be very useful not just for technical drawing and not just for the common decision tree graph or org chart, but for many other things. But even here, I'm not convinced its interface has to follow conventional wisdom as a separate "tool" or a separate kind of object. Why can't connections just be an attribute setting for the end node of any open path? JET
  13. Just for clarity to anyone who may not be acquainted with axonometric drawing: I'm not talking at all about 3D modeling. If I want to model things in 3D, I use a 3D modeling program. But axonometric is a 2D drawing construction method. That's why it's entirely appropriate for any modern, mainstream, general-purpose, 2D commercial illustration program. The foundational principle of axonometric drawing is that direct measures are made along the three drawing axes (using correctly-proportioned scales). Measures for object edges which are not parallel to the axes (what I'll call off-axis measures) are transferred from measures made along the axes. (At least that was the case in the days of drawing "on the board.") The screenshots below are from DrawPlus 8. Page rulers are set to inches. On the left, the hexagon is drawn in the flat. The simple, straightforward dimension tool in DrawPlus was used to add the dimensions. The distance across the flats of the hexagon is 3 inchs. On the right, a copy of the hexagon was sent to what DrawPlus calls the "Top Plane" grid. Now, by default, when you set DrawPllus's grids to isometric, the grid increments are foreshortened (as they should be). That is, a "one inch" measure along the grid lines is actually .8165 inch. But note that when the same Dimension Tool is used to create a dimension on the Top Plane, it still shows a measure of 3 inches. In other words, the Dimension Tool is automatically taking into consideration the foreshortened scale of the axonometric plane. That is exactly the way you would want a dimension tool to work in Affinity. Moreover, note that even the off-axis measure of one of the flats is also labeled correctly even though it, too, is foreshortened and is not parallel to any of the isometric axes. The Dimension Tool correctly labels the flat 1.73 inches in both drawings. Again, this is what you want. Now, just that much functionality is far beyond what any of Affinity Designer's direct competitors offer. Even ACD Canvas (historically Deneba Canvas)--a venerable program which I love, and which is nowadays explicitly marketed toward technical illustration--provides nothing like that. The axonometric grids feature of Serif DrawPlus is very much like that of far more expensive Corel Technical Designer. This is basic functionality for axonometric drawing; support for which should have been commonplace in mainstream drawing programs decades ago. But it wasn't. So DrawPlus was ahead of its time in this regard. So the next step: Those dimension objects in DrawPlus are not "live linked" to the paths they were snapped to while drawing them, as they are in some programs which provide dimension tools. That is, if I drag the width handle of the hexagon's bounding box, the 3 inch dimension object does not automatically follow and update its value. That kind of linking between the dimension object and the path does exist, however, if the dimension object was snapped to bounding box handles when it was created. But even when the dimension object was not snapped to bounding box handles, its value is at least "live" in connection to its own bounds. So, for example, I can grab the right end handle of the 3 in dimension object and snap it to the end of one of the flats (second screenshot), and its updated value still respects the angular foreshortening of the grid. (Note its value is the same as the other one originally created to measure one of the flats.) This, to me, is practically just as well. If I change the shape of a path that is already "on" one of the axonometric planes, it is not onerous to then drag the handles of a dimension object that is already on that plane. So long as the dimension objects which are created on one of the axo planes properly reflect the foreshortening of that plane, we're good. I'm not saying DrawPlus is perfect. When creating dimension objects, the Dimension Tool seems to respect snapping to bounding box handles, but not actual snapping to nodes. I would certainly expect Affinity's implementation to fully respect node snapping (and any other snapping candidates the user has turned on). Another important element (just so I can rest assured it isn't overlooked): Even moderately serious axonometric drawing inevitably involves not just "simple rotation" (rotation of an object edge measure on one of the axo planes; in other words, rotation about one axis), but also "compound rotation" (rotation about two axes). Both simple and compound rotation are where elliptical protractors come in. Thankfully, Affinity already provides elliptical protractors: Live ellipse objects also serve as arcs. Start and End angles are provided. Disproportionally scaling a live ellipse object correctly scales its angles only in the direction of the minor diameter. That is, if you...: Draw a 1 in circle. Clone the circle and drag it straight downward. Scale the copy vertically 57.74% (to make it an isometric ellipse). Set the Start and End angles of the top circle. Set the Start and End angles of the ellipse to the same values. ...then you will see that the Start and End angles of both the circle and the ellipse are aligned horizontally. That is, a vertical line drawn downward from the circle's End angle will intersect the End angle of the ellipse. (The circle effectively represents a "top view" of the ellipse.) This is exactly the way you want ellipse angles to work. (There are drawing programs which don't work this way, and it renders the angular functionality useless for illustration, as opposed to trivial flat-on-the-page design work.) So Affinity's live ellipse objects already serve just fine as elliptical protractors for axonometric drawing, and can correctly construct both simple and compound rotations. That functionality must not be broken when a live ellipse is "sent to" one of the axonometric planes. This specific thing was broken in DrawPlus at one time, but I believe it was fixed after it was brought to Serif's attention. JET
  14. Random feature request "collection" threads like this are useless. Individual feature requests should be posted in individual threads, so the discussion of a given request is contiguous and can be followed. JET
  15. You might want to take a look at a tidy little program called DrawPlus for that. Maybe you've heard of it. But seriously, the fleshed-out grids feature by itself is going to be light years ahead of the practically non-existent support for axonometric drawing in other mainstream drawing programs. I'm just saying dimension tools will naturally follow as an expectation. To this day, Illustrator, for one example, still provides no dimensioning tools whatsoever. One has to spend half-again the price of the host program for a third-party plug-in, (for which compatibility chronically breaks when Adobe auto-installs random updates), or resort to cheezy scripts with very limited capability. So dimension functionality like that of DrawPlus would be another major competitive advantage. (Even completely dumb dimension objects dependent upon manually-entered values would be more than Illustrator provides.) Though not ideal, it wouldn't break my heart to see dimensioning implemented in stages like the grids feature has been. While waiting for full-functionality is never fun, for anyone who has been paying attention, the staged implementation of Affinity's grids in light of this "sneak peek" should at least be taken as a sign of assurance of Serif's intentions toward continuous improvement. Consider how many not-quite-there Illustrator features added years ago have received no improvements (3D Effect, for example). Here's a contradiction for you: I wish Serif continued rapid success with the Affinity line, but hope it will forever continue to "act small" in terms of customer communication, reasonable pricing, and improvement development. So far, all that's been very refreshing. JET