Pre scriptum: have a big trouble to attach images right, sorry (help if you can)
Pre pre scriptum: English is not my native language, so sorry for grammar and other mistakes.
I’m professional designer almost for 14 years and i have used and tried a lot of tools for my work for this period and
now my workflow include AD and Sketch. I’m even switch platform for with 2 apps. And now for one year of experience
with AD I want to note my feelings and suggestions how I want to see the future of application that i have make a bet on.
Main idea - I wan’t to save a time and attention in my work flow.
(Disclaimer : all of suggestions visualise are draft, don't be too hard on them. I've just explain the congseptions
Let me start from bad things.
A lot of windows - bad
AD make a bet for a windows interface and i think it’s bad. Because, I think, you make it with careful eye on Photoshop
and Illustrator, which didn’t have change they products almost from start. And they make it in order to please old users,
and don’t think about new.
You just think about this fact - AD have 23 (!) working windows (Actually 24: 1.5.3 added another one). I don’t say i’m use all 23 at once, but 10 windows
I'm using all the time. Tabs don’t solve the problem - I’m just wasting my time switching between them. It’s annoying!
If functionality will grow (and I think it’s just a reality) we soon will be buried under windows. That is what happening
with Illustrator right now: over 30 (!) windows and it number is grows with any new installed plugin.
1. One panel that show property of current object or selection:
Nothing selected - properties of selected tool (pointers, primitives, text and on and on)
Object selected - object properties depends on object type (primitive, curve, text, group)
You realise this mechanism for the pointers, primitives , but ignore it for the objects? Why?
The main idea for this - I need to see information and properties only for selected object.
If i selected primitive it’s obvious - i don’t want to see information about text, curves, symbols, etc.
The products that fine solve it problem is Freehand MX (yeah it’s old, but they are first,
property panel made my first 6 years in business),
Fireworks (almost good),
Xara (if only they have good curve editing).
Sketch App - almost good
Paint Code 3 - probably the best solution for 2D editors
And the best solution - Cinema 4D (product that have huge functionality and abilities can be controled almost just from one panel).
But it's bit out of margin of 2D editor.
My variation draft (please don’t stuck on details, catch the principles)
2. Particularly move ability to change properties live, right on object. Why not? Such things that
uses in work flow all the time we can move right on object. Fills and strokes colors, stroke width, fill type.
Bit noisy? Ok what about toggle with a hotkey and it appears right under cursor?
Layer oriented - bad
If you look at usual Photoshop users work flow you’ll see one fact - they spend half of time for work
with layer panel: organise layers, search (!!!) needed layer, working with adjustments and effects on them.
It’s waste so huge time, that users even forgot what they working with objects on canvas.
By the way, did you tried to rearrange layers using layer panel? I did and it was torture:
- if you wanna rearrange two objects that to far from each other to see them in panel,
i need to have special knowledge that layer must be places exact in left upper (or lower)
corner of panel to start it scrolling, and it scrolls so unpredictable, that i was drop a tear.
- have you ever tried to select two or more layer adjustments? I did and it was stunning when
I can't, because the last selected was just off and nothing else
problems are countless
Down with layer editing!
Object oriented. In fact i have to open layer panel only then i want to unhide object (N.B. may be we can separate hided object from visible? ) or organise them before export, in other time this panel useless. It means: i see object on canvas - i can select it and edit. Object arrangement must be instant between overlapping objects, even they stand far in layer hierarchy. Because it’s obvious - I want to change arrangement of selected layer if only it overlapping (or being overlapped by) some other layer. If layer don’t touch each other in this moment - they arrangement is not interesting me. (for example : I didn’t know about Freehand or Flash layer panel for a long time, it’s almost useless there, but arrangement wasn’t steal a time, and I was concentrated on canvas, not on some layers.
That sent us to previous problem/solution and move all effects and adjustments to an object property. You don’t have to show all available effects and adjustments in special window. Make them applicable. Best solutions - Fireworks, Sketch and Cinema 4D.
Poor control over curves.
You trying catch up for the Sketchup making «symbols», but you forgot the thing where you was good at first place - curve editing.
I want total control over my curves, because it’s 30 % of workflow time. So, follow tools, I think, «must be». Knife (oohh will kill for a good knife)
Points alignment (we align objects, why we can’t align points between themselves or objects?)
Welding points (it’s necessary right after Boolean operations at least)
Fast group of points selection ( for example relative to origin point of object: from left, from right,below and under it)
Life expand and shrink stroke
Free point movement over the curve (without deform path)
Lack of third party plugins
You got to face it - you can’t do all of your road map quickly(all we remember how long it takes to get updates 1.5 and 1.4).
And you can’t spread your time for «unserious» experiments. So why you ignore power of community? Let your fans improve
your project. Crowdsourcing is powerful: even Adobe do it from Photoshop 3.0. Give users flexible API or something, and see
how your project will grow exponentially.
Ok, stop criticism for now. Let me suggest something really new for 2D editors, that can change workflow of illustrators.
Something completely new. The new level of vector editing : parametric object drawing.
It saves a lot of time, give us new inspirations and abilities.
The lot of time in object editing we waste on cloning and rearrange for similar (or not so similar)objects.
Now you have 2 generic tools to work with it : duplicate (yak!) and align. And it’s a long time to work with, before you get right result.
My suggest - new object type Cloner. You’ve just put objects in it and adjust they principle of cloning!
We can easily rearrange objects in any moment (because it’s object) and realise instance when we need.
Adding some randomness is giving us new principle of canvas editing, just imagine what kind of textures,
backgrounds, ornaments, will be appears faster then you imagine before! Tables, layouts creation is the matter of seconds now.
Examples of using cloner
Physical simulations engines is not problem right now about last 6 years. Box 2D is a standard right now.
So why illustrators can’t use it’s abilities for they needs?
My suggest - new object - Simulator. Main idea - put my objects that i want to place in more realistic arrange.
We create Simulator, put objects inside and gives them roles : ColliderS, Rigid bodies, Emitters, Attractors.
Proceed simulations and realise objects instances when we need. Tadaaa! We have fast and realistic draw in the minutes!
In conclusion - that my wishes, I'm not offensive demanding it. I hope Affinity will be in progress and only time will show us are you on way with users or not.
I love Affinity Designer. Literally the only thing keeping me from ditching Sketch completely right now is the erratic behavior of the font picker. Every time I go to select a font, it just jumps around like crazy, making font selection nearly impossible. It's extremely frustrating.