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JET_Affinity

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  1. Not to butt-in on Lagarto's generous attempts to help, but it seems that a very common general misconception about the basics of working with Spot inks may be at play in this thread. So please forgive my attempt to re-phrase part of what has already been explained: I emphasize inks instead of saying Spot colors because software users confuse 'swatches', 'colors', and such with inks, and thereby think working with Spot inks is more complicated than it is. Even when talking about CMYK process, color-separations for prepress production are not imaged in colors; they are imaged to film or directly onto the press plates as grayscale or bitmap images. The 'color' is all about what inks are loaded into the press. When you define a 'Spot color' in software, all you're really doing is telling the software to specify that an additional grayscale separation be generated and labeled by that name. Any objects in the file to which that same label is applied (by selecting the defined Spot color swatch named by that label), get sent to that extra grayscale separation. It really has nothing whatsoever to do with selecting a Spot ink from a 'library'. The Spot 'libraries' are nothing but a convenience for selecting the ink manufacturer's recommendations for how to approximate their inks' colors on an RGB monitor. Functionally, it's literally "all in the name." What color gets printed is entirely just a matter of what physical ink the pressman loads into the inkwell of the press. As Largato explained in other terms, you can specify how a 'Spot color' or a 'Spot swatch' appears on-screen any way you want: by selecting it from a pre-defined 'Spot color library' or by just coloring it with literally any mix of RGB or CMYK values you want. Either way, so long as it's defined as a Spot swatch, it's not going to affect its printed color. Objects assigned that color are simply going to be associated with the additional grayscale color-separation by that name. Consider the context of a Spot metallic ink: No combination of RGB values are going to enable your monitor to look anything even close to a translucent physical ink that has reflective metallic powder in it. That, in fact, is one of the main reasons Spot Inks even exist. But that doesn't matter one whit. You can select 'Pantone Metallic 8007' from a 'library' list in the software, or you can just set a new swatch that you've set as Spot and then 'mix' your own on-screen display of it. No matter how you try, you're not going to make it look like the actual copper-ish metallic ink that the pressman loads. All that matters is that the 'swatch' is defined as Spot, and is named 'Pantone Metallic 8007', so that's how the associated grayscale film or plate will be labeled when printed as color-separations. This is why I (and no doubt countless others) routinely simply define a commonly-used Pantone spot ink (e.g.; PMS 185) using my own display values (100y 100m), instead of Pantone's library recommendations. It doesn't make one bit of difference in the printed results. The pressman is simply going to load Pantone 185 ink into the inkwell because that's the name of the color-separation plate. When working for print--and especially when working with Spot colors--much confusion is avoided by always thinking in terms of inks, instead of 'colors.' JET
  2. This is competitive low-hanging fruit if there ever was such. Obviously, transformations (scale, rotate, skew, translate) should of course be relative to the artwork in-progress. But we've been so conditioned to the tyrannical vertical-horizontal fixation of nearly every feature of this genre of drawing programs that the obvious is overlooked, even by the users. Think about it: It's almost as if drawing software UI developers think 2D doesn't stand for "two dimensions", but merely 'two directions.' A precious few 'escapes' --features such as snap-to angled guides and rotated grids--have appeared over the decades. Some attempts are better than others. But they all fall short. I've been at this vector-based illustration thing since FreeHand 1. Believe me, I know what the cumbersome workarounds are. Thus the feature request. Exactly. That's the problem. And the low-hanging fruit. As I pointed out, Affinity does at least provide what Canvas has for decades: it can 'remember' the rotation of a selection. But unlike FreeHand and Illustrator, Affinity does not provide transform tools. It only provides its tactile (i.e., dragged-on-the-drawing) transform features as bounding-box handles. Well, any illustrator who doesn't just draw boxes needs to be able to perform translations in any direction relative to the artwork, not just to a rectangular bounding box. Illustrator provides both transform tools and bounding box transform handles. And it, too, rotates an object's bounding box when the object is rotated. Inkscape doesn't even do that. Inkscape's bounding box stays parallel to the page edges even when an object is rotated. FreeHand avoided continually cluttering the interface with bounding boxes. What most Illustrator users don't know is that FreeHand's transform tools were better than Illustrators in that they worked better (more powerfully and more controllable) when dragging at arbitrary angles. Again: Affinity provides a ridiculous five rotation handles on its bounding boxes, all of which do exactly the same thing. Honestly, who needs that? Meanwhile, try this: Select something. Show the Transform Anchor. Drag it to somewhere other than the selection's center. Now drag one of the scale handles. The Transform Anchor is ignored when scaling. To make drag-scaling act at least similar to what Illustrator's Scale Tool can do, you need to temporarily draw something else to serve as the 'transform anchor' and add it to the selection. Don't try to tell me Affinity's selection/transform interface doesn't still need work. But as always, Illustrator is hardly anything to which to aspire. like Affinity, its rotated bounding boxes also cannot be rotated about its selection in order to orient the transform handles to the direction in which the selection needs to be scaled. In fact, I don't know of any program in this competitive genre that empowers the user to re-orient the bounding box relative to the selection. It's time one did! It would 'transform' Affinity's scale handles from sub-par to superior in one elegant, unobtrusive functional enhancement. I don't want Affinity to be a cheap 'me, too' clone of Illustrator. I want it to become something better. Low hanging fruit. JET
  3. Fde, Please go back and re-read my post carefully. I'm well-aware of the Cycle Selection Box. I even pointed out that feature when I said: "Like Canvas, it does let you switch a rotated bounding box back to its as-created pagewise (vertical / horizontal) orientation" What I'm talking about is the ability to rotate the bounding box relative to the selection so as to thereby orient the bounding box's scale handles in a direction pertinent to the actual artwork. The point is to be able to scale a selection that is already rotated as needed in the direction that it needs to be scaled. JET
  4. Unlike some mainstream drawing programs (FreeHand, Illustrator), Affinity doesn't provide Tools (i.e., icons in the Toolbox) for tactile (dragging) common transformations (scale, rotate, skew). Instead, it only provides bounding box handles. Here's a triangular path: It's been arbitrarily rotated from its original orientation. Unlike Inkscape, Affinity's bounding box 'remembers' a selection's rotation: Like Canvas, it does let you switch a rotated bounding box back to its as-created pagewise (vertical / horizontal) orientation: The bounding box provides no less than five rotation handles: We can change the object's 'remembered' rotation by rotating it again and invoking the Reset Rotation command. Thereafter, clicking the Cycle Selection Box button switches between horizontal-vertical and the new 'remembered' rotation: But what if I want to scale the object in some direction other than the sides of the often entirely irrelevant bounding box? For example, in the direction perpendicular to the rightmost side of this triangle?: Why can't at least ONE of those ridiculously redundant five rotation handles (the 'lollypop' one) be used (even if by means of pressing a keyboard modifier) to rotate the bounding box itself, relative to the selection, and thereby have that become the 'remembered' bounding box orientation? To illustrate, I've just used a simple triangle. But this ability would be a boon to all kinds of selections with any number of objects in any number of orientations. In technical drawings, for example, 'tilting' objects drawn on a plane, is a matter of scaling them in the direction of their 'thrust line' (a line perpendicular to their plane). But this is just as applicable to countless situations even in freeform 'eyeballed' drawing. JET (I intended to post this as a Feature Request. Moderator, please feel free to move it there.)
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
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