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JGD

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About JGD

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 05/30/1985

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Lisbon, Portugal
  • Interests
    Typography, type design, modular geometric type design, grid systems, information design

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  1. I do, Patrick, because I actually admire what you've achieved in such a short time span. And I'll stop short of asking you for a job at Serif because I had my chance to migrate to the UK, and I passed up on it, but if things had turned out differently, and if I had a degree in UX, or PR, or even software engineering, I would totally do that. But hey, I'm gunning for academia instead, and hopefully will teach young folks their way around design, including… yep, design software. You can absolutely have an ally in me, but by god, get your act together, measure twice and cut once. Internal lapses of communication are perfectly normal in any organisation, but please don't give them way immediately – as it may show misdirection –, and don't assume they couldn't have happened either and that you know everything, even if you're the boss – as it shows overconfidence. Being human while running a business/team means straddling that fine balance between… I don't know, fallibility and confidence? Well, one company from which you could learn a lot are your buddies at Apple. They've been getting way better at that balance act as of late. I want you to succeed, and the only reason I haven't been more vocal before was because I was stuck in the molasses of writing an MA thesis. Well, you wanted your beta tester/evangelist in full swing, and here you have me now. I'm sorry if I come across as a bit of a wisecrack, rude, whatever, but… I absolutely have my heart in the right place, I know how end-users think, and I really think my feature requests through (I've been sitting on this for a few weeks, ever since you released the last betas/GM previews which mangled my toolbars and birthed these buttons, and I only committed to these posts after testing the feature and having the epiphany that, yes, it could be very useful). If they didn't have decent, sensible use cases behind them, and if I hadn't spent the last 15 years of my life reading on UX and working with this kind of stuff, I wouldn't even bother spending my time here writing these rants. These aren't just brain farts I wake up to or something; they are ideas I come up with and on which I hone in while testing the apps, or just by looking at my and my colleagues' professional corpus, and realising that feature A or B is essential to reproduce some of that in a sensible fashion. And believe me when I tell you that I can absolutely imagine all the troublesome ramifications some of my suggestions may bring; if you care to read my posts, I actually anticipate some of them. Also, while on that subject, I want to make this perfectly clear: I don't want Affinity apps to turn into Adobe apps, or into convoluted, F/OSS-like apps such as Scribus. I know what feature bloat is and how to mitigate it. But I also know you want to attract users to your apps, and… if it's already done and works perfectly, please don't chuck it in the bin. I mean, I know I keep pestering you about your spending of resources on flashy features instead of on polishing the underlying UX and document model, but wasting work that's already done just feels extra crazy; that includes additions like arrowheads, and if you notice that discussion thread, even though I started out by criticising your priorities, I immediately switched into improvement suggestion mode because that feature was already a fait accompli and I do prefer giving out constructive, useful comments. The same goes for my current suggestion of implementing a market segmentation strategy, that perhaps wouldn't be ideal or even sit well with some of your intermediate but eclectic users but would at least reward the most loyal ones who are willing to buy the entire suite. That is, after all, what you're essentially doing with Publisher personas already, and you never once heard me dissing your strategy there. It makes sense, it was communicated upfront, and you may very well have Publisher-only clients which may have to embed .afdesign and .afphoto files but not really edit them (especially if they are dedicated seats inside of a larger organisation), or users who just prefer to use Corel apps, or F/OSS apps like Inscape and GIMP and just pair them with Publisher (I mean… poor Scribus, really… It's not even in the same league). It's a smart business move. But crippling at least Designer (Affinity Photo and Photoshop are an entirely different matter; I strongly believe users should actively be discouraged from typesetting long blocks of text in bitmap editors for production reasons, period, and I will always tell that to my students and colleagues; on the other hand, as a typographer, baseline grids are absolutely a soft spot for me, and whenever you may have to or even just be able to typeset but a few lines of text, they should always be an option), on the other hand, feels short-sighted. It only reinforces the fact that Designer is, first and foremost, a vector illustration application, and not a design application. You can absolutely design a typography-heavy and vector-heavy single-page document and make good use of baseline grids in a vector app, and turning to Publisher/InDesign/Quark would be overkill in that scenario and might make some other operations harder for no good reason. Oh, and I know this is slightly off-topic, but when I ask you to lift some stuff from Adobe is because a) they are also doing that to you, big time (look at their new corner tool in Ai… gee, I wonder where that came from?) and b) it's because I am absolutely sure it will benefit your apps and your end-users. It really boils down to a simple cost/benefit analysis. Anyway, I have my viva 7 days from now and I have to prepare it in earnest, so I'll have to go now. After that, come the 25th and beyond, do check out the forums. I'll hopefully have earned myself a nice little vacation, but I'm sure I'll also have time to do a few demo videos for the three or four belated features I've been asking for (just simple stuff that can make or break the whole UX); even if you decide against implementing them, I at least owe you that after the earlier votes of confidence you gave me.
  2. Patrick, I don't mean to be rude, but that is patently false. I can (even if it's “by accident”, hence my suggestion of it being added “by design”), and it absolutely works. Perfectly. In a very predictable and workable fashion. Stuff snaps to it. Text snaps to it. Boom. I don't even think it needs much testing at this point, really… Maybe just validation, I guess. It's a marketing decision, nothing less. I am genuinely disappointed in you, I'm not even kidding. I almost feel like not buying Publisher after all. You guys are really losing me. Instead of telling me that you'll look into the matter, you're actually arguing with a user (which, mind you, is one of your earliest advocates and internal beta testers who has been asking for essential features for FOUR YEARS and being – or, at the very least, feeling –, err, a bit ignored) and saying, point-blank, that you'll remove this. Wow. It boggles the mind. Not even Apple, with its myriad hidden preference flags for power users, treats us like this. You've even outdone them in arrogance, jesus.
  3. So… how do you justify the presence of a “Snap to Baseline Grid” option in the snapping manager, then…? That seems a bit weird, to say the least. Still, my suggestion still holds. It's already there, and if it works… I know Designer isn't a DTP app, but for light, single-page work, such as academic posters, I could totally see myself using Designer instead of Publisher (especially some vector-heavy ones). In fact, I make one or two every year in Illustrator, and I do miss having baseline grids, so… yeah. If this is a feature segmentation decision to avoid cannibalisation, or to keep the software simpler, at least tuck the option somewhere else, like a menu item (e.g. under Text > Baseline > Baseline manager), or as an extra tab under the Grid and Snapping Axis manager, or something. And restrict it to Publisher owners, as you already do with its own Designer and Photo personas, if you must. I understand you may want to avoid feature bloat, but it's already in the code base. Removing it/omitting it just feels… petty, and… almost Adobe-like, if I must say so. You guys keep disappointing me more and more, I can't believe this.
  4. Hi guys! As I've said earlier in the forums, apparently Publisher's Baseline Grid Manager is included in the code base of both Designer and Photo. And, weirdly enough, this feature's corresponding button materialised in both applications, and it seems to be fully functional. However, when customising the toolbar, there doesn't seem any way to put it back there if it ever goes away (or if I actively delete it), nor any other way to access it via the menus, though “snap to baseline grid” is an actual option in the snapping manager. Can you make this feature accessible by design, since it's already present in the code and seems to work just fine? Even if it's just as an exclusive for people who also own Publisher, in case you don't want Photo to cannibalise it or something (not that a photo editing application should be able to do that, but there are indeed people who do design work in Photoshop, so…)? Or… did you mean to actually include as an accessible feature all along and just forgot to put it in the toolbar?
  5. Hi guys! As I've said earlier in the forums, apparently Publisher's Baseline Grid Manager is included in the code base of both Designer and Photo. And, weirdly enough, this feature's corresponding button materialised in both applications, and it seems to be fully functional. However, when customising the toolbar, there doesn't seem any way to put it back there if it ever goes away (or if I actively delete it), nor any other way to access it via the menus, though “snap to baseline grid” is an actual option in the snapping manager. Can you make this feature accessible by design, since it's already present in the code and seems to work just fine? Even if it's just as an exclusive for people who also own Publisher, in case you don't want Designer to cannibalise it or something? Or… did you mean to actually include as an accessible feature all along and just forgot to put it in the toolbar?
  6. Ahaha oh well, no worries, then. I mean, as much as I use all my software in English and give workshops and classes on this kind of stuff, English is not my native language, so I’ve introduced some unnecessary ambiguity there. Anyway, that A-B scenario finally made it clear, but it’s just peanuts in the grand scheme of things; you’ll finally see why I’m so fed up with waiting for this feature once you see the kind of stuff I did with it. For some of the simpler projects, I could’ve (nay, should’ve) probably used some built-in pattern-making tools in Ai (and maybe I was a bit dumb and lazy for not having taken the time to learn them way back when, and ended up wasting a lot of time and processor cycles, yes), but some of them, with progressive pseudo-gradients, selectively supressed objects, etc., really called for a greater degree of control and the ability to manually duplicate tens, hundreds or even thousands of objects at a time, and properly snap them to the rest of the pattern right away. Once you see me in action it will all finally make so much more sense.
  7. Not that hard. As a matter of fact, one of the few things I find Affinity Designer great for is creating macOS icons. The pixel grid snapping grid works great and, as long as you keep each artboard’s origin coordinates as an integer, you’ll be fine and have no need for Ai’s stupid “make pixel perfect” command. In AD, if you do your prep work properly, everything is always pixel perfect. And as for creating the final .icns icon files themselves, it’s easy as pie: just plop your exported .png artboards/slices into a folder with an .iconset extension, name your files correctly and run a Terminal command. Boom, instant macOS icon, ready for Retina and old, regular screens and all. However, I should add that there’s a pretty strong reason for Serif not to have bothered much with it; with QuickLook, which is enabled by default, the Finder already creates preview icons. Still, for those who may wish to disable that feature, those default icons should definitely be HIG-compliant, and they’re miles away from that. There are rules to follow and all of the examples given by @hawk mostly stick to them.
  8. Oh, ok. I stand corrected, then. As for my generalisation, you’re right, it was uncalled for. Anyway, before leaving once again, I’ll just ask you to trust me on this one; the workarounds offered, while very nice and well-intentioned of you, pale in comparison to what’s possible with this feature, and many of us will benefit immensely from it. Even some of those who may have never tried it in Ai, let alone in Designer (well, it’s not like they could, either, because it doesn’t even exist). And those videos will further stress my point, because while some of you already “got it”, it was only on an abstract level and even you may be shocked at just how cumbersome it would be to try and redo some of my older Ai projects in Designer. They’re technically possible to make, because Designer is already mature enough in the print production department, but would take me perhaps more than twice as long to do so (and no, considering I do a lot of pattern/symbol-based backgrounds, with hundreds of repeated elements at a time and not always in neat orthogonal or isometric grids, that’s very likely not hyperbole).
  9. Indeed, you are right. However, they could and should eventually pop up in the roadmap. Well, maybe they won’t until version 3, 4, or never will, but that, too, would have consequences, which I’ve alluded to before. I’ve explained it 3 or 4 times already in this thread, but here it goes again this time worded in a different way; it’s the same behavior as (or at least functionally similar to) when dragging in Ai, or the same behaviour when duplicating an object by Option+Dragging and snapping it to its original instance (not outright superimposing it – though that could certainly be an option, and I do use it sometimes in Ai for some applications – but, say, snapping node A to node B’s original position). I won’t be doing video demos just now because I have a viva to prepare, but sure, come the 25th I’ll get around to it. This feature is essential and easy enough to implement for me to justify doing those.
  10. Well, I’ve already addressed that before, but since you’re mentioning it as a workaround, I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: yes, it’s a functional workaround, for a few objects at a time and on a clean canvas; on a busier document, when selecting large numbers of objects or symbols, it gets totally crazy and is wildly impractical. I know because I’ve tried it in Designer already and completely hated it; I’d have trouble selecting just the objects I wanted by dragging a selection rectangle, and then would have to click them one by one (sometimes having to resort to outline view because they would be partially obscured by the new objects I had just created). And it’s a workaround and requires extra clicking and finagling, it’ll always be suboptimal at best. Well, if I may ask, was it because my point finally came across, or do you feel I stepped over some line by making assumptions? If it’s the former, great; if it’s the latter, I’m sorry for making generalizations. But hey, I did guess that @Frozen Death Knight doesn’t use Designer mostly for precision, geometric work… I mean, not all of us do, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
  11. It’s very simple, really; and from an implementation standpoint, if you can achieve the same effect with an Option+Drag duplication operation, just have the Designer rendering engine create a “fake”, temporary, phantom duplicate which will be “left behind”, shown in outline view regardless of the current view mode, and delete it once the drag operation is finished, but otherwise make it behave like a real object. It might be a little taxing on your system when dragging large numbers of objects at a time, but hey, their engine is supposedly so snappy that I don’t think that would really be a problem (also, not having to render colour, gradients, effects, transparencies, etc., should keep drag operations lean enough), and it could be turned off by default. So, yeah, let’s be real here: out of all the features I’ve been clamoring for, this has got to be the easiest to implement and the one with the least dependencies on other parts of the app. Messing with the layer model requires a deep rethink of the app (especially the entire coordinate system, which is weird and artboard-centric, but does fit in with the current default model), but this? This is low-hanging fruit.
  12. Ok. Imagine I have an object, any object, and I want to offset it by half its length/height; being able to snap it to its former centre point needs that feature. Imagine that I have a triangle, and I want to put one of its vertices where a different one was; same thing. Clearly none of you must make much use of vector editors for precision work, because I, for one, use that feature in Ai all the time and I miss it dearly. And no, this isn’t snapping an object back to its original position, you’ve just described undo. The feature I’m aiming at is being able to snap an object’s nodes or paths to the positions its nodes and paths originally were in before starting the drag operation, but still performing a drag operation to completion. I’m not even bothering with making more demos at this point because I’m way too busy and stressed out for that. Please fire up an Ai CC trial, turn on Smart Guides (Ctrl/Cmd+U), create some objects, drag them around and notice how they interact with themselves mid-drag. Designer lacks that feature and is much more cumbersome because of that.
  13. Yep. I noticed that I now have a Baseline Grid Manager button across the suite, that somehow migrated from Publisher; I can't find a toggle for it anywhere else on the interface, though, which means that if I ever remove it I won't be able to add it back. Because of some weird bug, now both Photo and Designer offer extra functionality. I'm actually thinking of suggesting that that manager thing is made available by default. I also had some buttons from the wrong personas in Photo, which just crashed the app. Whoops.
  14. Thanks, that did the trick! Weird that it should've gone missing by itself, right?
  15. I also wanted to focus on this detail in particular and remind Serif devs of another essential UX trait: Photoshop, while a bit cumbersome itself in its implementation, gets this right, because it gives us some choice. When zooming in and out with the keyboard shortcuts, Command+[+] and Command+[-], the document window automatically resizes, as if the Window>Zoom command was issued concomitantly, thus eschewing the need for that extra user action; when zooming in and out with the Zoom [magnifying glass] tool or with a multitouch gesture like pinch or a Option+two-finger scroll combo, the window maintains its size. That way, managing windows in Photoshop is extremely easy and quick, even if it may appear a bit convoluted to a bystander. If we want to tile a few, we just have to hit Command+[-] a few times until they are small enough to fit; if we want to fill the screen with one image or even a few and still be able to select them with Application Mission Control (which isn't enabled by default in macOS, but should, and most self-respecting pros take care of that whenever they set up a new Mac), we can just zoom on the image with the trackpad, if it's small, and perform the Window>Zoom command to make it “maximize” (without going under the docked UI items as stated before, obviously). Alternatively, when we wish to work in only one window at a time, pressing F does the trick without having to activate the Application frame. And this is crucial, for a very important reason: activating the equivalent in Affinity Photo automatically renders Application Exposé/Mission Control completely useless, and even though you could undock file tabs from Photoshop's main window, when toggling the Application frame Photoshop sucks all files into said window, thus resulting in the very same scenario. If Affinity apps had a proper Separated mode, they would work nicely by default with Application Exposé/Mission Control. If they also offered a “Fullscreen without going fullscreen” mode, weird as that Adobe holdover from back when there wasn't a proper, OS-wide fullscreen mode may be, they would allow you to work on one document at a time and still work nicely with Application Exposé/Mission Control. The advantage of this feature, especially on bigger screens – and in particular with Adobe's implementation, which resizes any inactive windows back to their original size (and here Serif could try and one-up them by resizing all windows to their original size while App Exposé was toggled, including the current one) –, over the regular fullscreen windows mixed with virtual desktops on Mission Control, is that document windows can be huge if you only have a few of them open, whereas the latter are tiny no matter how few you have open. For photographers working with many photos, even in “pseudo-fullscreen mode”, in Photoshop, this is extremely useful. I'm not even kidding, they are a four-finger swipe – or, in my case, active corner – away, whereas in Affinity Photo you have to go and pick at a tiny tab and can never see them tiled when in proper Single-window or Fullscreen mode. You just can't have your cake and eat it too, and must either keep your desktop über-tidy, or get some desktop-obscuring app (and you would still have to deal with all the other Separated mode shortcomings, of course). This is one of those rare cases where I say: screw Apple and their official HIG implementation and current dictums. Yes, fullscreen/single-window apps and simple, all-windows-in-a-jumbled-mess-or-grouped-into-smaller-jumbled-messes Mission Control work great in small laptop screens, and should absolutely be embraced. But good old App Exposé and Adobe's arcane methods, for all their own quirkiness, are absolutely key for larger screens. They are holdovers from a nearly bygone era, yes, but there's a reason why they haven't killed them off yet, and probably never will (if anything, that Pro Display XDR beast is absolute proof that computer displays are still growing, not shrinking… 32'' 6K iMac Pro in 5 years' time when that panel – and maybe even that crazy backlighting system – drops a bit in price, anyone? And why wouldn't they add to the product range or fill its slot with a bigger, 8K Pro Display XDR? OLED-based? Who knows, really…). And, once again, Serif could add similar advanced UX tricks which might even be disabled by default so as not to confuse less demanding users. Make it a subset of Separated mode called “Concentration/Focus mode” (in a nod to Microsoft, ha), which is greyed out until the former is activated, or something. Maybe one day (soon?), when Marzipan/Catalyst gets mature enough and macOS converges further with the other two touchscreen platforms, Apple will allow “intra-window Application Exposé” (“Window Exposé”? It's a sensible name, from a strictly hierarchical standpoint) for single-window applications with a proper, public and documented API; It's not much of a stretch to assume that, since Safari on iPadOS (it's weird calling it that, but I'm sure we'll all get used to it in no time) already does this with its tabs (in fact, that feature appeared at least in iOS 9, because I'm still running it on my iPad 3 and it does that), and Safari on macOS has also been doing this for a while (since… Sierra? High Sierra? Earlier still?). Maybe those who are working with a desktop and a mouse/el cheapo pen-digitiser-only tablet can get a system-wide keyboard shortcut (hopefully a better one than Safari's weird, right-hand-friendly Command+Shift+\) instead of the predictable pinch gesture (maybe adjusted with some extra fingers, 4 or 5 in total, to distinguish it from the two-finger pinch-to-zoom gesture, possibly a back-port to the Mac of the newfangled three-finger pinch-to-cut/copy gesture and definitely the pinch-to-open-Launchpad one) which may activate it, or whatever. But, until then (and I would strongly discourage Serif devs from rushing and trying to implement such a specific feature before Apple makes it available as a prepackaged solution; variable UI gamma does indeed offer more than Apple's own binary dark mode/light mode implementation and absolutely equals Adobe's own, which made it a smart move, but going crazy with aping Safari tabs because maybe it will become a new standard UX model would be just wasting resources, and it's been already long enough since it's been available on iOS/iPadOS for it to maybe not be a priority for them), their photographer users' needs will go unaddressed, and that's a shame. For now, they should take what macOS already offers and users are already accustomed to, and adapt accordingly. I.e., be a good macOS citizen.
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