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Clayton

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  1. I've said this before, but my biggest wish for the Affinity suite is not any one feature, but a new business model. Look at what the UX design app Sketch has been doing with an annual update program: They added more features last year than Affinity Designer probably has in the past four, and they did it without a subscription. Instead, they sell one year of updates – after one year, you can still use the last version you updated to, and it's your choice to renew to get the latest release. Basically, I want Serif to start charging at least a little more so they can fund development more sustainably. I don't expect them to keep shipping great new features when the last time I gave them any money was 2014, but they need to give me that opportunity to support the company.
  2. VectorStyler is an interesting example of a 180-degree different approach from Affinity Designer. They're still in open beta, but have tried to cram everything into their 1.0 branch: VS already has features AD has made no progress on for years like blends, distortion envelopes, and more. It all looks great on paper, but unfortunately... these features are almost unusable. Affinity Designer has been glacially slow in adding features, which is a problem, but VectorStyler has been almost as slow in addressing critical stability issues, not to mention some major usability shortcomings from adding too many features without a consistent UX vision. The app is incredibly powerful, but it's an absolute mess in its present state. If it's a choice between reliable versus feature-poor and feature-rich but unreliable, I'll gladly choose the former. But it will be interesting to see how this race plays out between VS developing reliability and AD developing a competitive feature set.
  3. The question is not so much whether Affinity Designer is still developed (it obviously is) but whether Serif still has any kind of ambition of delivering a viable Adobe Illustrator competitor, and are devoting the development resources needed to do that. The answer to that question once appeared to be yes, about five years ago. Today, I think the answer is pretty clearly no. When AD launched back in 2014, its biggest shortcomings versus the industry leader were acknowledged and actively pursued. Artboards were at the top of the list, and indeed, were one of AD 1.4's marquee features the next year, proudly marked off the now-infamous 1.x roadmap. Then Affinity Photo happened, and AD development slowed to a trickle. Not a standstill – updates such as improvements to the pen tool continued to show up a few times a year. But by the time Affinity Publisher came around, the original Designer roadmap had not only been abandoned, but deleted from the site. Six years after Affinity Designer 1.0, most of the software's original ambition remains unrealized. The improvements that continue to ship every now and then are certainly welcome, but are a far cry from what was once planned. The intended use for AD has clearly shifted. Once positioned as a tool for working professionals, it's now aimed at hobbyists and people who need vector software for side projects. And as someone who uses AD for side projects, it works well for that! If I were doing vector illustration in my day job, though, there's no way I'd choose AD over Illustrator. The time savings of features like shape blends, vector art brushes, envelope distorts, scatter/pattern brushes, isolation mode, and more would have me (however grudgingly) paying Adobe's stupid subscription fee. Of course, Adobe has teams upon teams of developers, product managers, UX designers, and QAs working on Illustrator. Serif, as best I can tell, has one person working on Affinity Designer. But I guess that's not a bad fit – Serif's side project is the tool I use for my own side projects.
  4. If you compare what Sketch added in the past 12 months with what Affinity Designer added in the past 12 months, the difference is kind of staggering. Sketch adds major features at the speed of a tech company, while AD adds minor features at the speed of a solo developer's side project. The key difference is that Sketch has an annual upgrade program. I wish Serif would introduce something like this to fund Affinity suite development – can you imagine what they might have done over the past five years if they had a little more money? The 2015 roadmap would probably not only be complete by now, but we'd likely have new tools that Adobe doesn't have, rather than still wishing for features Adobe had 20 years ago. Affinity Designer is like a skyscraper that topped out at 9 floors. It's a perfectly good 9-floor building, and I'm looking forward to them adding the 10th floor, but the groundwork was laid for so much more.
  5. Strong agree. I still don't really understand what the existing smart curve feature is supposed to do, but this feels like what I always expected.
  6. This tool was originally part of the 1.x roadmap in 2015. Unfortunately, there is no more publicly-facing roadmap.
  7. I’ve largely adjusted to the workflow of creating layers and toggling “edit across layers” on and off, but after jumping back into this thread... I have to agree that isolation mode was always a better solution. The thing is, layers are a flat hierarchy in Designer, while isolation mode is by nature hierarchical. You can use layers as a substitute, but you miss the benefit of naturally nesting groups within each other, and navigating up and down the tree. Alas, there are still half a dozen other higher-priority features I want to see in AD, but this probably ranks higher now than it once did.
  8. Serif always said Affinity Designer would have free updates for two years. It's been three now... I want to give them my money! That said, I understand it's an enormous task to create an entire suite of three professional design applications, even more to do so in a fraction of the time it took Adobe to develop modern versions of Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. I'm just looking forward to Publisher's release so Serif will have a fresh influx of cash and can hire up more developers to keep Designer going!
  9. I have to agree on gradient meshes. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I used the gradient mesh tool in Illustrator. It was one of those features that always seemed like it would be really powerful, but in practice was always too hard to get looking just right. Illustrator's new freeform gradient tool looks like a big step up, but honestly, I think Affinity Designer still needs to walk before it runs. Fancy gradients are good headline grabbers, but there are other, more basic tools like blend / live repeat, scatter brushes, and vector/pattern strokes that Illustrator has had for over twenty years and Affinity Designer is heading into its fourth without.
  10. This is one of those things that sounds boring, but is absolutely huge for day-to-day workflow. When I saw the feature list for 1.7 my first reaction was "aw man, my pet feature still isn't there?" but then I saw the videos and quickly changed my tune to "no, this is definitely more important!"
  11. Inset Path would be great, but I think an even better (and more Affinity-like) feature would be a live version of it that you can apply like a stroke. That plus a somewhat less-messy Expand Stroke would fill a lot of needs, I think.
  12. This is another oft-overlooked but important one for me, way ahead of fancy features like gradient fill meshes. Here's my two cents on what could be a really cool Affinity spin on the feature: Imagine, instead of just selecting the same fill or stroke, you had a slider where you could "fuzzy select" similar objects. So you move the slider up a bit, and now you get those other objects where you used a slightly different shade of blue, or the ones that have a 1.85 point stroke instead of just the 1.5 point stroke on your selected object.
  13. The addition of the recent fonts at the top of the font list in Affinity Designer 1.4 is great when you have just a couple of fonts you're using for a project and you need to switch between them. However, I've found it gets in the way when I'm in the early phase of choosing fonts to use. If I'm auditioning fonts, going through my font collection methodically, I lose my place each time I select something new. I can't use the keyboard to jump back by typing the font name either, because it jumps to the recents at the top. A potential solution would be to always start back at the current font's position in the list instead of in the recents, since it's much easier to scroll to the top than to find your place again. And all things considered, the recent font menu may be something of a stopgap anyway until Designer gets text styles via Affinity Publisher.
  14. Oh man, I just had the BEST IDEA for feathering. :) Don't make it an effect from the effects modal, but instead, make it an actual tool and base it on how the corner tool works. You select a node (or multiple nodes, or the whole object) and drag out an inset from those nodes, just like the corner tool... but instead of rounding the corner, it creates a feathered edge based on the distance you dragged from the node. So you can feather different nodes in different amounts for anything from realistic shadows to detailed shading. Maybe the tool could also work on segments, so you could have things like sharp transitions from a feathered edge to a hard edge. Honestly, I think this could push the need for a mesh fill tool way out there, maybe even replacing it. Especially with the edge functionality!
  15. There are a few threads in the beta forum about the decision to make artboard control a tool in a group with the general selection tool. While it works fine (and you can at least customize the toolbar to put a copy of the tool outside the group), I'm hoping the team revisits some of the thoughts around it in the future. And don't get me wrong, these minor UI quibbles do not at all dampen my enthusiasm for having artboards in Affinity Designer. :)
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