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JGD

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  1. Well, I can most definitely assure you that it's not just “some people”. It may be entire classes of students. Entire categories of professionals, even. And I personally use it frequently enough for it to be a serious issue, which could and should've been avoided from the get-go. It was a problem Serif created, and which doesn't exist in any other comparable software package, because they tried to get a bit too smart and reinvented a wheel that was turning just perfectly, thank you very much. I obviously know everybody else's needs aren't the same as mine. But what irks me to no end is that the possible benefits users may get from the artboard-as-container model are negligible, at best (that autocropping is not something they couldn't achieve by working with, say, something akin to clipping masks in isolation mode, and objects don't really need to formally “belong” to an artboard to be dragged along with it, as Ai's default behaviour proves), and do not outweigh the massive damage that very model causes to other people's workflows. And, even then, I've been arguing (rather soundly, if I may add) that some of the users that model was geared to (illustrators, yes) may not even like it that much, either, because it doesn't conform to the way those who work with physical media think. It all feels like a wasted effort from Serif developers. If that wasn't enough, to add insult to injury, I've been complaining about this for years and nothing has been done about it; not even adding it to the roadmap, or just giving it a tentative ETA, or even a proper reaction other than “we want you to be happy, show us what you've got” (yes, that's all well and good, but a specific reaction to my demonstration and rationale… no, not yet). Zilch. Nada. And yes, I know perfectly well it's probably harder to fix that than adding… I don't know, five or six tools and as many other minor features, but this is a serious core issue. More serious than Serif devs are giving it credit. It's not just useful for me or my potential students… I can immediately think of quite a few scenarios where universal layers can be useful and make the difference between an easily manageable multi-artboard, multi-media (in the literal sense of the term) project and a total mess (either by splitting media across different files, by omitting artboards altogether in work files, or whatever else).
  2. Well, I didn't say it wasn't implemented at all. Only that it wasn't properly addressed. And, indeed, it wasn't. In fact, it was so badly addressed that it created, for no good reason other than for the sake of being different than all other vector design apps, a nearly unsolvable (not without some disruption to the user experience, that is), unusable mess. Now there are several people complaining about the artboard-as-container document model both on Designer- and Publisher-related threads, and I am willing to bet that many who you didn't hear complaining just went elsewhere and ignored Affinity altogether because of that, and because they didn't want to bother. I, for one, am certainly a bit fed up of waiting for more than four years, but since I don't have much else to do right now, have invested actual money in Affinity apps and still believe it's the contender most likely to succeed against Adobe, I'm still willing to put up with it for a few more months. In fact, I've been considering some workarounds, so that maybe I can still use AD for professional work and recoup some of my investment, but I'm still wary of spending too much time in an app I may not end up using much after all. And you know what? Watching that tutorial you've just linked to makes me cringe. Because it features the exact same use case I recently demonstrated in a video complaining about artboards, except whoever did it never got to the point that he had to put an object across those three artboards (which is a completely normal thing to do; in fact, I just did a book project in InDesign last month that featured some photos across the spine of its cover) and, thus, never got to experience just how dumbfoundingly frustrating, counterintuitive and useless the artboard-as-container model is in the real world. It feels as if, during development, these features were being thrown at a wall without proper testing (and I don't mean “testing” as in “looking for bugs”, but testing for… actual usefulness and UX). Sometimes I feel like I'm personally to blame, because I was too busy writing a dissertation to notice this back then and give Serif as strong a feedback then as I'm giving them now. But really, am I to blame? Doesn't Serif have direct, personal access to at least a few designers, working in-house, even? Shouldn't our “job” as beta-testers be mostly about reporting bugs? Sometimes this feels like a crowdsourced app development process, except even our best efforts are, more often than not, for naught. At least I speak from experience… Out of the weird UX behaviours in AD I pointed out here over the years, only one has been properly solved that I can remember of from the top of my head (the duplicate after Option-dragging operation requiring an extra undo). The same goes for technical limitations (the whole spot colour gradient and transparency being converted into CMYK situation). It does make me happy to see that those two shortcomings, and probably some more which I can't remember right now, were fixed, but the ones who weren't are complete non-starters which make the app feel like a discombobulated contraption. So, yeah, that's where I stand right now. My current plan seems to be waiting until version… I don't know, 3 or 4 of the entire suite and skipping all paid updates in between, and pay for it again once it's mature and popular enough that it either makes up for the hassle of learning to cope with manifestly inconsistent and grating UX quirks (and yes, Affinity – and especially AD, the app I tested the most – is positively riddled with those; it's not just missing features, but also suffers from strange inconsistencies with Apple's HIG, missed opportunities of doing things better than Adobe, paradoxically enough also strange and utterly failed attempts at being better than Adobe, etc.), or that they will be gone altogether.
  3. Oh, another thing: even if we accept the Command+Drag as the default behaviour for duplication operations as a fatality, let me just add that it is extremely buggy as of now in the latest v.1.7.0.12 beta. If the operation is done too quickly, AD will not duplicate the object and, instead, just drag the original, which makes it extra frustrating, to say the least. That was not an issue in the MAS version, and if this latest beta is already an RC, as I've read elsewhere, the next MAS update will come with a new bug right out of the gate.
  4. Also, on this subject, I should add that, for consistency and usability, objects should already snap to their originals when doing Option+Drag duplication operations, which is already their behaviour when performing Command+drag operations. And I've just realised, while looking at the status bar messages, that apparently Command is [now? Since v.1.6? Since… ever?] the default modifier for duplicating and Option the default modifier for ignoring snapping. This, per Apple's Human Interface Guidelines is completely unacceptable and inconsistent with the behaviour in the Finder and pretty much all macOS apps. When you click and drag an icon (or an image or block of text in any text editor, like TextEdit or Pages, or any object in Keynote) while pressing Option, you will always get a duplicate, and when you click and drag the same icon while pressing Command, in a window – or the desktop – with “snap to grid” activated, the Finder will ignore the grid (and so will Keynote regarding snapping, if you're dealing with objects). WHY should Affinity behave in such a blatantly inconsistent way with the rest of macOS? It started out as a macOS app, first and foremost, and if you really must have it be consistent across OSes, at least allow the users some degree of finer control as to how modifier keys affect its operation. You don't want to become the new Adobe (or, worse even, outdo them) when it comes to OS-app UX inconsistency, trust me on that one. Designers do not take that lightly.
  5. Well, that much I can say about InDesign, too. I rarely use layers on that. There's probably one or two complex and recurrent projects I've used them on, but that's about it. However, in Ai, that's a whole different story… I just can't work without functional, universal layers in about half of all my projects. And on AD, the only workaround I can think of is treating it like Ai CS2 and just ignore artboards altogether until I need to export stuff (which can be a bit of a bummer if I'm working with a client and need to show some .PDFs along the designing process, by the way).
  6. Ok, some observations on the feature, which I may eventually use one day for the aforementioned kind of projects (and, indeed, the kinds of arrowheads available right now do seem to be mostly geared at technical drawings rather than “artistic” stuff): What I like: the fact that you can see the arrowheads in outlines mode. It really helps a lot, since in the projects they are most useful in their current state, that's also where that mode frequently comes in very handy. It's also a nice preview of the Expand Stroke command when working in that mode. So, kudos on beating Adobe on this particular point, as it's already shaping up (ha!) to be nicer overall. What I don't like much, but understand it's probably not to be expected in a v.1.7.0 implementation, as it's so new: you can't have separate “within the line/at the end of the line” parameter settings for head and tail, but must instead select it for both. Seeing how there's an “origin” terminal, it would make sense to have, say, that one “at the end of the line” on the tail, and an arrowhead at the other end, “within the line”. A small panel reshuffling would be in order, as the “swap arrowhead with tail” button would have to give way to a duplicate pair of radio buttons for that parameter (maybe by getting rid of the “Start:” and “End:” labels altogether? I mean, that portion of the stroke panel is pretty much self-explanatory)… And, by the way, the “swap…” button should also swap that parameter along with the corresponding arrowhead. Since I've mentioned Adobe before, I just realised Ai does not even allow for this option. Should you choose to implement it, you'd actually be one-upping them. Also, and I know I'm going out on a limb here, I've just realised that the “cap” on a stroke is just another form of terminal (please pardon the typographic jargon, but that's just how my brain works). What if you consolidated the panel further and got rid of those three “cap” radio selectors altogether, while changing “arrowheads” to just… “terminals”? The “square” (or, in Ai jargon, “projecting”) cap could just be achieved by using that parameter, with the added bonus that you could also have a round cap with the outermost node contained within the stroke, and different caps on different ends. Again, that's something Ai can't do, and which could be very useful in diagrams like the ones I've shown you on the other thread (and please, oh please, do add triangular caps/arrowheads that don't protrude further than the stroke, while you're at it; I know it could also be yet another form of “cap”, but the arrowhead implementation is just so much more flexible right now and could become even more so if you added that suggestion). The only issue I could see with this would be… now that you've opened the whole outlines view can of worms, how would those caps display? But eh, I suppose that would be a little inconsistency (either the caps would not be visible at all, or be visible and appear as “arrowheads”, as the strokes/stroke bounds shouldn't appear in any case) that wouldn't hurt users that much.
  7. Indeed it has. Maybe you could take part in the discussion and chime in on those threads, even if it's just with your reactions? You see, it's also best to consolidate the discussion on those, instead of spreading it out across new ones. This is a pervasive issue across the entire Affinity range and it must be solved ASAP (as in, hopefully in v.1.8.x, as it is way overdue) if it is to be taken seriously. I've been seeing scattered users asking for this, but I believe there are many more of us than Serif devs suspect. Many of them may not even be reacting, but just abandoning the suite altogether after they finish their trial.
  8. What feature are you alluding to, pray tell? Maybe I missed something, and/or I'm not fully understanding your comment. As for the development strategy, I do believe you can and should have a mix of both. Yes, you must adhere to some sort of over-arching strategy, lest you give off that aimless vibe I was talking about before, and not just pander to whatever preconceived notions of your audience, as that would also devolve into the whole “giving them a faster horse” thing. On the other hand, you really should listen to your user base if they flat-out tell you that one of your ideas is completely nonsensical and hinders them more than it helps them. Yes, even if that means buckling to one of said “preconceived notions”, because not all of them are inherently bad/wrong. I can absolutely guarantee that while Adobe's implementation of multiple artboards isn't as elegant as it might have been (Freehand's, as far as I can remember, was much more so, as you could even select and focus on the damn things directly on the Navigation panel, and I can't for the life of me understand nor accept how Adobe, being the sole owners of Macromedia's entire IP, couldn't have straight up lifted the entire UX from FH and put it into Ai after all these years), the overall layer concept and its relation to artboards is more flexible, WYSIWYG and intuitive. And that's not just for me, but for the entire combined mad-at-Adobe-because-of-CC Ai, former-and-even-more-disgruntled-because-of-the-Macromedia-takeover FreeHand, and curious CorelDRAW user base that Serif seems to wish to attract judging from their marketing (even though, in all fairness, they seem to be gearing themselves towards the Pixelmator and Sketch crowd with the actual product). And it's a very safe extrapolation for me to do because I happen to have used all three applications throughout my career, and so did many of my colleagues (CorelDRAW being very popular in secondary education in my country and elsewhere in Europe, I believe, and the former two in undergraduate and professional education since time immemorial); I really feel dead sure that Serif's management and devs are shooting themselves on the foot with this. Unless, of course, that is a remnant of Draw Plus' UX, to which I also say – much to the chagrin of Plus users, which I know are also a bit disgruntled – good riddance. They weren't afraid of distancing themselves from their old suite in the past, and if it's the case again they shouldn't be now, either. In any case, whether it's a rehash of an old idea or a brand new one, this whole lack of universal layer support and “artboards-as-containers” thing is the proverbial hill I'm willing to die on. Users are willing to tolerate drastic changes/omissions to their tools, and even to the UI (Corel's, for instance, is very different from everything else, with those ridiculous panels that only open one at a time and waste huge amounts of screen space, and that's one of the reasons I personally didn't wish to go back to it even if I had the chance – and, in fact, I now do once again –, but if I was forced to at least I would be able to, you know, do my job somewhat unhindered; and I guess the same goes for Quark, even with its likewise stupid, non-standard keyboard shortcuts, and its limited tool set…), but there's only so much divergence they are willing to accept and live with when it comes to core features and workflows. And if those changes/omissions render a piece of software useless for half of their projects, it's all but guaranteed they will just ignore it or, worse even, if they are reviewers or influencers, outright pan it. Once again, my mention of Corel and Quark isn't that innocent, either. Right now, Adobe has real, cross-platform competition from three different companies, and while Serif is the only one which offers a comprehensive and affordable suite that also runs on iOS, the other two also offer perpetual licenses, so if you're that mad at Adobe you could, in theory, buy a CorelDRAW suite and a QuarkXPress licence and have, right here and right now, a complete, mature, industry-standard and cross-plaftorm solution on desktop hardware. Ever since CorelDRAW came back to the Mac, this scenario became a serious existential threat to Serif, IMHO. No matter how expensive those products are, we all have to face that reality head-on, because… guess what, schools can get those software packages at a reduced price, too. On the other hand – and I'll say it again –, judging from Corel's feeble commitment to the Mac and Quark's abysmal response to Apple's technological transitions in the past, the upcoming transition of the Mac to ARM-based A-series processors is a golden opportunity for Serif. But that will only work in their favour if their product is ready for competing with the “big boys”, which, no matter how good their sales figures may look, I feel it still isn't.
  9. Hi guys. Sorry in advance for the redundancy, but I'm creating a new, separate topic, since part of this request was already kinda “solved” and my earlier post on said thread is TL;DR material. So here goes the shortened [it ballooned a bit again, but now with new, useful ideas] and focused version: There's a super easy way to solve a very serious philosophical UX choice which almost completely prevents me to recommend Affinity Designer to, well, mostly everyone. As you know, when you have a document into artboard mode, objects will be cropped whenever they go past the boundary(ies) of their respective artboard and reappear once they fully transition into the pasteboard, and AD automatically moves them in the layers panel according to whichever artboard they touch/hover above. This is already normal and expected AD behaviour for most users. You can also manually move objects and layers outside/above artboards (I'm henceforth calling those “universal layers”, but feel free to give them a better name, like “document layers” or whatever), which do allow you to have any objects they contain appear – and, obviously, export – in two or more adjacent/close artboards. This is a great sign of a potential UX choice, as it is proof the document and layer model is completely ready for the addition I'm proposing; only the UX and the UI need a slight tweak in the form of a toggle and a few lines of code (by the way, nudging objects with the arrow keys doesn't trigger this behaviour, so it should be properly harmonised with the click+drag behaviour in both modes). The only issue is that doesn't allow you to deactivate said behaviour of automatically moving objects/groups/layers into artboards when dragging them around with the mouse/trackpad, even with the “Edit All Layers” option disabled (the logical behaviour would be for objects not to switch layers or move into artboards under any circumstance if you're working in one layer in isolation, period. That particular case should be treated as a bug, not as a feature, and maybe the devs should ask users if they mind that slight change). That could and should still be the default behaviour, so as not to confuse current happy users, but if we were given said toggle, AD would instantly become much more usable for 99,9% of use cases and a much bigger percentage of current and prospective users. As I've said before, if any of the devs/mods or other users want me to do a little narrated screen capture to demonstrate this, I'm all up for it. Kudos for the Affinity team and all the best for you all, João
  10. True. Still, even with the current limitation in number of reactions per day (which sometimes feels a bit constraining, but I understand where you're coming from with that), it would be nice to have some more elaborate feedback from other users than the odd and not very constructive emoji. Or, you know, some suggestions as to alternative UX models or even workarounds (I just came up with one in a different thread: using AD more like Ai CS2 and older, as in, not using artboards at all while in the designing process, but just for exporting the final artwork for printing/linking… It's not 100% practical or elegant, but a functional workaround nonetheless). Debating stuff, if done with respect, is healthy, and I hope you take my jabs at you well. I don't wish to make users mad at you and pile up on you for the sake of it, and if that's the end result of my rants, well, I'm very sorry. All I say here is in good faith and with a very specific goal which is arguably in your best interests, and I'm not even mad or angry, just a bit sad and disappointed at the overall slowness of this process of attracting new users to the fold (I really wanted to work towards that goal in earnest, but I just can't bring myself to do it until a certain bare minimum of functionality is met, and I'd say this is the last big hurdle to be overcome). But oh well, at least I know I and others are being heard, which is much more than you can say about the competition.
  11. Yes, @ygoe, I know. And I know that expecting users to just accept having to use workarounds after four years of requests is, at the very least, worrisome. But surely you can appreciate that, in the grand scheme of things, ignoring the fact that your app doesn't work at all for a sizeable portion of your current customers and/or potential user base is, for lack of a nicer term and using the obverse of the one you just used, unacceptable. We're talking nice-to-have vs. absolutely essential here. I don't know about you, but if Serif devs spoke to me, as a customer, about their strategic decisions in the same terms I outlined in my latest posts, I would understand and applaud them, because there is indeed real power in numbers (in this case, number of users). I would feel that they would be measuring twice and cutting once, trying to attract as many users into the fold as possible, and admitting that v.1 or even v.2 would indeed be a bit “road-to-Abilene-ish”, in the sense that it wouldn't be perfect for absolutely anyone but at least barely usable for everyone (that's not what they do, quite the opposite; they will say that their product is great for some users who are very, very happy… Well, good on them all, then; I've been waiting for four years for some bare essentials, and one of my biggest “small” gripes with it took as much to be fixed; I suppose you could say that doesn't bode well for the future, am I right?). As it stands, Affinity Designer, in its current state, is great for illustrators and prosumer/amateur designers, and next to useless for almost everyone else. Or else, Serif would be swimming in cash – and might've been able to hire a few more people and speed up development – and Adobe would already be trying to acquire them, or something. Even with a manifestly incomplete product by 20/30-year-old-app standards (yes, I would buy the entire Affinity range, in an incomplete – but functional – state, for an entire, multi-seat professional studio just to stick it to Adobe, even if the current tax rules in my country actually make paying a CC subscription when you own a small business a bit of a no-brainer because of rebates). Just my €0,02. Also, this kind of shortcoming is still acceptable in a product like Publisher, as DTP is an über-complex field, the app suffered a lot of delays, and is not even commercially available yet. But Designer is supposedly the most mature of the bunch and, yet, these features aren't even on the roadmap. Instead, we're getting… arrowheads. I don't know a lot about software development but, to me, this all kind of reminds me of the active procrastination I did while finishing my MA dissertation. I would invariably turn to every fun DIY project I had going on the side instead of focusing on the boring 90+ page behemoth I really had to finish and turn in before the deadline. Sure, I would feel very accomplished, but that didn't change the fact that with every delay I'd be paying more and more tuition fees and further hampering my future career. Same here with Serif: focusing on cool new tools may make Affinity look good on paper, but it won't necessarily attract those potential users anyway and will result in a loss of media and word-of-mouth momentum. They're already losing me, for one, and I'm what you could call an “influencer” (former Mac room monitor at the leading fine arts faculty in my country, with hundreds of followers and customers, and in the future hundreds of students, anyone?). Oopsy-daisy. Anyway, I digress; until I'm proven otherwise, I'm betting Serif decided to focus on illustrators and prosumers for v.1 and that's that. I sure hope to be surprised with some v.1.8.x beta or something, but it seems that the make-or-break moment will instead be v.2. If that one isn't a serious attempt at expanding the user base, with a feature roadmap ostensibly geared for just that (having it laid out in a Trac-like system would also be nice, by the way), I will not be buying it. Worse even: I probably won't be paying much attention to its development and to v.3, unless it somehow reaches critical mass and I start getting students mentioning it. You see, if and when I become a teacher, I will be able to afford a CC subscription… forever (probably with some discount, even… or maybe I'll even get it for free, depending on where I'm working). And as much as it pains me, and as much as I hate Adobe's guts, my patience is limited, and I've been trying for more than five years to help Serif devs turn this into a serious contender. And I won't be doing that anymore, possibly soon, especially if I end up doing a PhD and my entire mental energy is directed elsewhere again.
  12. I was thinking more of technical drawings of 3D objects with top, bottom and side views, with measurements and stuff… In fact, you can see that in the examples I've given on my videos, there's probably only two arrows in total, and those are precisely the instances where I wouldn't mind in the least drawing them by hand (in fact, I did draw them manually in Illustrator, as those aren't even strokes, but shapes, and the arrows aren't even arrows per se, but just pointy bits). Imaging doing this other example I'm attaching without automatic arrowheads; yeah, it would be an absolute pain to do. But one could argue that a) this isn't yet one of Affinity Designer's target use cases (nor should it probably be anytime soon… A communication designer like myself, who can't use product design-bound CAD apps, doing a project such as this one will always be an extremely niche case) and b) for me to be able to even think of doing this in AD I'd need a sensible layer model, and having the whole mass-selection situation sorted out would come in handy, too. Even with arrowheads in AD, yes, so I really fail to see the urgency in implementing them, even with this 4-year-old request. Do you people now see where I'm getting at with my logic? I'm not being all pompous and envious about it, there's a thought process and a method to my opinions as to Serif's priorities. Features and tools don't exist in a vacuum; they must support each other, make sense, and correspond to the needs of specific target users. In fact, even Ai isn't very well suited for this… If I was making this today, now that CorelDRAW is finally available on the Mac again, and not two years ago, I might give it a spin instead – and bear with its horrid selection, zoom and pan model, which is all but erased from my muscle memory after 15 years without touching it – just because it has a dedicated and automatic measure-marking tool. If Serif ever wants to tackle that market and try to eat Corel's lunch as well by implementing such a tool, sure, I'm all for it, but only after the basics are addressed. I believe even Adobe initially implemented arrowheads as a a bone to throw at this kind of niche case more than anything else; the fact that it's also useful in other scenarios, including artistic ones, is just a nice side effect that eventually became their main application (because, you know, almost everyone uses Ai anyway). And yet, Ai is horrible for this kind of work because if you need to make a 3D render of one of these, boy oh boy, are you in for a world of hurt. But at least you can manage to do it with a sensible layer model, as SketchUp can import vector files just fine. Now try and do that with AD, and having three plates (this one I've shown is just plate 2 out of 3) in the same document (which makes sense, as you can have guidelines across them) with the same layers on all of them (which is critical for subtracting all the unneeded, human-bound measurement fluff when doing those renders); whoops, you can't, because AD will insist on treating artboards as “containers” and moving all your stuff (oh, I forgot to add: including guidelines) into them instead of letting you have it on specialised layers. So, to sum it up: Affinity Designer is great for doing collections of self-contained artwork, like different illustrations or logo versions (and even then I have a few doubts about its limitations), but positively, absolutely horrid for complex projects where some logical relationships between each artboard's content are needed or at least just desired. Really, if all we can have are several small “mini-documents” instead of projects containing an entire document-level logic, we might as well not have/make use of the current multiple artboard tools at all and work like we did in Ai in the pre-Macromedia days (as in, we could have rectangles on their own layer as faux artboards, and turn them into actual artboards whenever exporting and be careful enough not to save our artwork and thus screw up the entire layer situation). It's just that sad and would, indeed, make more sense as a workaround.
  13. That is not in any way, shape or form what I said. What I said was that automatic arrowheads at the end of strokes are useful mostly for technical drawings, when you may have to draw hundreds of them at a time just to indicate measurements. For everything else, manually drawing them and saving them as symbols is most definitely an acceptable workaround, especially if you're drawing just a few of them. My issue with Serif's priorities is the fact that there are no possible workarounds for issues like the ones I cited. Missing core functionality usually turns your life into a living hell and just makes you stick with what you already have. To add insult to injury, it does seem like those two features could be implemented with a few lines of code. They are not even tools that you have to draw entire icons and design entire studio panels for (well, when it comes to universal layers and if they want to implement those in a neater fashion, maybe, but there could be an intermediate and even temporary compromise just for v.1.x, as my demonstration videos attest; it's already technically possible to somewhat circumvent Designer's weird “artboard-as-container model”, with no ill effects, except you can't really work at all because you'll be fighting the application at every corner; as for selection options, Serif could very well implement basic, Ai-like selection options for v.1, and work on a more advanced, Freehand-like selection dialog for v.2 or even v.3). If you have users trying, or wishing, to fight your app, and if not addressing that is reason enough for them to quit using your app, and if addressing it is easy enough for you to do, you should definitely consider yielding. To me, this entire container model nonsense feels like it's Serif's “darling” and they're afraid, or just too proud, to “kill it”. This isn't a case of being something too hard to implement, no. It's the case of them having reinvented the wheel five years ago for no real good reason, and now maybe being stuck (except they aren't; their document engine would work just fine in an Ai-like way if only we were given a measly checkbox). There's a lot I hate about Ai, but their implementation of layers and artboards is not one of those things (the overall crustiness and slowness of the app, the horrid bézier tools, etc. are, and Affinity Designer did seem to bring a breath of fresh air when it came to tools). And sure, they got a lot of compliments from users – mostly illustrators, I'm guessing – on their model, but those users could very well live with Ai's model and wouldn't even bat an eye because they wouldn't know any better, whereas many other users just can't use Serif's container model. At all. Period. And before you tell me that I'm being stupid because I want Affinity Designer to be more like an Adobe app, well… No. I want Affinity Designer to be more like every single design app in existence since the beginning of time. Glyphs.app (a type design app) works like this. AutoCAD works like this. ArchiCAD works like this. CorelDRAW works like this. Inkscape works like this. Illustrator obviously works like this. ALL design apps feature universal layers which are sacred. Affinity is the only app that treats artboards as containers (I will say it again: paper is always the bottom layer, not a container; and if you want a container, well… I dunno, create/use a specific slice/crop tool/whatever for that, or just group your objects into a group or a layer) and makes layering/grouping decisions for you, and before you tell me that that kind of abstraction is a good idea because kids these days will just use iPads and be done with it, no, no and no. Some professionals will always use some kind of real media, just like some photographers and DJs will always use some kind of physical media, and even if they don't, having a sensible, WYSIWYG/skeumorphic/whatchamacallit connection with the physical world and its inner workings is always a good idea. I am sad about this, but I'll have to repeat it again in this thread: Serif devs think more like engineers than like artists, and whichever artists or designers who worked with them and told them this was a good idea or at least failed to warn them of the side effects led them astray because they didn't know any better. I'll even go further and say that I will consult with some former MA colleagues of mine and UX buffs (I mean, they are teaching a postgraduate degree on that very subject) at my faculty just to confirm that I'm not the one in the wrong here. And yes, having your app making decisions for you can be good in some scenarios, but if some of your users start actively complaining about it maybe you should reconsider having that as the only option. And in this case, being different from the established standard interaction model, with not enough of a tangible benefit and verifiable disadvantages is indefensible, no matter how happy some users may be about it. At least give the users the option to disable that “feature” (I've said it before and I will say it again: in some cases, especially those which I've outlined in my demonstration videos, it feels more like a bug than anything else). Since I've already talked about wheels and reinventing them, I'll adapt an analogy used elsewhere in these forums: Affinity Designer is a bit like a Lamborghini with square wheels. Or maybe with a square, rusty steering wheel on a curved column. Or both. Sure, it has a beefy, modern engine and you can go reeeeaaaally fast with it (as in, you can import very complex .PDF documents, and look at them with buttery-smooth scrolling and zooming), but you can't make it go where you want it to go. You can't work with it. I mean, maybe you personally can, but many users – including myself and my future students – can't, not for the lack of tools (heck, I've been manually doing stuff that I know for a fact to be easier or automatic in other competing apps for years, that's just par for the course), but for the lack of core features or the weird document model. This is a deeper issue and Serif's priorities are completely lopsided, that's what I was getting at. And yes, you may be able to do simpler projects with it, but consider this from a professional's perspective; if you have to invest time – and, thus, money – in retraining your muscle memory for a new app, wouldn't you wait until you could do like 95% of your projects with it, just for the economies of scale/ROI? For me, Affinity Designer hasn't even passed the 50% threshold, hence why I'm holding off (I may make an exception for modular type design or the odd illustration to put into InDesign documents, as Designer would be just another cog in a larger workflow, but for end-to-end, .afdesign-made print media? Fuggedaboutit).
  14. It would be lovely to see other long-running threads such as this one being put to bed, too: Or other, more recent ones detailing also long-standing conceptual issues in Affinity Designer, like this one: The popularity of certain feature request threads and the time Serif devs take to address them makes me sometimes wonder what exactly is their criteria; is it the marketability of them towards a certain target user? Is it the technological implications and dependencies of each tool or feature? Well, I'll tell you something: this tool seems to be very useful mostly for people into technical drawing. It is no accident that in Ai it's lumped in with stroke customisation, such as dotted/dashed strokes. But… I will stand my ground. If they are finally trying to attract technical drawing users now, they must implement these two features I mentioned first, because… they will also benefit other less technically-inclined users and lay an important groundwork without which those users won't even get to use or even test those arrow-head terminations. It's a simple cost-benefit equation and a matter of priorities, even if these two features are harder to implement on a deeper level. Or maybe they are in fact not trying to attract those users by adding arrow-heads because… people may want to use them artistically? Or just sparingly? If that's the case, I believe they are wasting their time on fluff (users who need them artistically would probably be better served drawing them by hand, and if they are doing just a few of them at a time can very well afford to do so) and only dangling yet another carrot which will only serve to disappoint those technical drawing users when they inevitably run into the aforementioned limitations. Yes, I'm actually saying it: some new tools may actually harm Serif's reputation more than they help it because of the expectation they raise. It's better to keep a certain user at bay, by not offering nearly any of the critical tools they need, than to attract them and disappoint them, as that may actually be your only chance of successfully luring them in. Again, here are Serif devs focusing on the tools instead of on the core and general usability features. Please fix the core first, guys. And I'll tell you something else, which is indeed very worrying coming from me, the soon-to-be-graduate in a MA in Typography: these omissions are more serious than even those pertaining to typography. And I know I've badgered you with how important those were even before Publisher was a blip on the radar, but… drop everything else, including those, and focus on these features first, even if you have to address these in a phased manner. Show some commitment into making Affinity Designer a bit more “universal”, even if the tools that go with many potential use cases aren't there yet and won't even be there for a while. That will at least signal to your user base your true intentions of eventually replacing Ai, while not really hurting your current, happy user base in any way, shape or form. And yes, I will make no excuses for my use of that verb, no matter what the apologists will inevitably say about “Affinity being an alternative and not a replacement”. Of course it won't be but an alternative for a while, and of course the end-game is for it to become a replacement, even if it takes them 20 years to do so. But for them to be able to do so, they will have to line up their actions in the correct order and create the kind of proper, positive engagement with their user base. And yes, I know what I'm proposing sounds a bit paradoxical and even hypocritical, but to me it somehow feels that it's much easier to justify that you don't have the time to implement tool a or b because you're busy getting the basics, core feature x or y, right. I know that I would be much more accepting of that than the current status quo. It feels as if Serif set some lofty goals, and still boasts about them on their website, but in all truth has just settled for keeping their illustrator/artistic/web/UX user base happy (by the way, I can't, for the life of me, understand how their UX clients haven't raised the same issues I did; or maybe many of them could, but just fled from Affinity instead of putting in the time to explain their reasoning…) while migrating them to iOS. Those two goals are super important, I'm sure (and regarding the latter, the upcoming rumoured transition Apple will make on the Mac from Intel x86 processors to ARM-based, A-series ones will be a golden opportunity for Serif to do to Adobe what they did to Quark), but I'd rather see a price increase on the entire Affinity range and see them hire a few more developers and UX experts (and yes, I also know that putting more people in a project doesn't always translate into faster developing times, but clearly Serif seems to be biting more than they wanted to chew and could certainly use a few more hands on deck) so that four-year-old basic requests and inexplicable and indefensible UX gripes become a thing of the past. For all those who may think that I'm being self-centred, well, I'm not. I'm thinking not of what I do currently (or not just of that), but as a former design student and potential design teacher (as in, of the main project subject). I can immediately think of several academic and professional projects that would be an absolute pain to do, if not outright impossible, without those two features I mentioned, whereas… arrowheads? Excluding technical drawing, those would be just nice to have in some niche cases. As for the whole Mac vs. Windows thing, and the slight mismatch in tools and/or features – in a beta, mind you – I'm siding with the devs on this one; it's commendable that their releases are as in sync as they are right now. What other companies, besides the 800lb gorillas in the room – i.e. Adobe and Microsoft (and maybe now Corel, too) –, do you know that can keep entire cross-platform software suites so very much aligned in their feature set and so cross-compatible in their file formats? Come on, give us some examples… You can fault Serif for a lot of what happened (and especially what hasn't) these past few years but, if there's something you can't really be mad about is their level of commitment to different platforms. Indeed, it's that very commitment that admittedly caused all the delays in projects like Publisher, so, as someone who eagerly waited for that piece of software (and still does, for its final commercial release, at least), methinks the gentlemen (and ladies?) doth protest too much.
  15. Thank you for the support. I'm trying to “rally the troops” here, so to speak; it sounds a bit like I'm gathering a lynching mob but, really, it's in Serif's best interest that they realise and recognise just how serious this issue is. They'll thank us later after they address it and get an influx of new and/or assiduous users. My link to the separate thread I started on the topic was a bit inconspicuous and lost in that wall of text (sorry, I got off on a bit of a tangent there), so I'll post it here in full: I even made and posted some screencap demo videos there, so those should be easier to follow and understand than my written rants on the subject. As a bonus, here's another thread, this time on Affinity Publisher, outlining the very same issue and the very same concerns regarding Serif's and Affinity's credibility when it comes to their weird choice to conceptualise Affinity Publisher pages and Affinity Designer artboards as containers. It's being different for the sake of being different (and, perhaps, trying to coax users into being more neat and tidy; except creatives are usually anything but – just take a look at our desktops, both physical and virtual, and our file naming conventions, ha –, and will feel boxed in under that kind of scenario), and it's preventing users from making more complex projects. We need, for lack of a better term, more choice.
  16. I'm quoting you again because only now did I have the time to properly check out the other threads. So, as I said, there are indeed other users speaking about this issue in as strong a language as I am (“wrong layer concept”, “users won't take Affinity seriously”, etc.). The omission of Global/Universal/Document layers is severe enough to make some users dismiss the Affinity Suite altogether as an Adobe CC alternative. @TonyB was made aware of that, as his quoted reply on one of those threads seems to imply, but I feel I should tag him anyway, because this mustn't be a Designer-only or Publisher-only issue, and the proliferation of similar requests across the board proves just that. Many projects of a certain level and/or kind of complexity, whether they are DTP or large-scale print ones, absolutely require this feature, and even optimistic and enthusiastic potential switchers like myself won't do so until it is properly implemented. Tools are flashy and make quite an impression on feature set website pages and social media posts, as do all those state-of-the-art technologies, formats and standards already supported by Affinity apps; but low-level, workflow-defining behaviours and features like this one are absolutely make-or-break and those upon which users decide to stick with an app or not. You're better off attracting users to strong, dependable apps still lacking some tools (users can always fire up a CS5 counterpart or something else if they need to trace a bitmap into a vector, or do a vector blend, or use a specific Photoshop filter, or something else altogether), than doing things the other way around (what good are Affinity's nice tools if users feel more like using Adobe CS/CC apps from the ground up anyway? Case in point: I've been using AD/APhoto for the occasional gradient, which I then import straight into Illustrator or InDesign, so… that's telling).
  17. Interesting how the DTP crowd is the most vocal about global layers. For an in-depth discussion on this issue, which also affects Affinity Designer (but in Publisher it is, I'll give it to you, even more galling), check out this thread and, if you feel you have a contribution to make, do chime in. True, document-level, global layers – and objects – over which the end-user has complete control, regardless of pages or artboards – and what Serif developers thing should be their container-like behaviour regarding objects and layers, which is, indeed, wrong on so many levels –, must come at some point across the entire Affinity range.
  18. I know I'm rather verbose, and could probably say as much with less than half of the walls of text I output here every now and then, but I try my best. I really want Affinity to be as close to perfect for everybody as possible. And I'm glad you're all paying attention to that. Anyway, keep the suggestions coming. I'm sure we'll all get at a workable solution.
  19. You know, a great way of summarising this entire issue is thusly: Affinity Designer is like a great set of brushes, pens, rulers, protractors, compass, etc., but then the draftsman table it comes with has wheels under its feet, its surface is buttered so your stuff slides around, etc. The problem with Designer is, then, not the tools, but the canvas. And my choice of word isn't innocent, either. That's a physical, white thing atop of which you scratch with pigments and splosh paint. I've said this before here on the forums about abstraction, left-vs.-right-brain, etc.; Illustrator is very WYSIWYG, even if it uses some apparently abstract conventions like the all-inclusive pasteboard (they're not abstract at all, however; originally, Ai was thought-out as a literal table where you had a literal, single sheet of paper, and now it's thought-out as a literal table with multiple sheets of paper, just like Freehand was). And that behaviour in AD we're discussing here is an attempt to make it even more WYSIWYG but, in its… AI-ness (as in artificial intelligence, not Adobe Illustrator ), can and does rub many users off the wrong way. It rubs me off the wrong way just like, say, iTunes' and Apple Photos' automatic library management rubs off Windows switchers, used to manage their stuff manually, the wrong way. The difference being that if you buy a Mac, you're not forced to use either of those apps and can carry on doing stuff the old fashioned way, whereas switching from Ai to Affinity Designer forces you to give up useful – nay, essential – workflows for certain kinds of projects. Do you now see the deeper, underlying philosophical issues I'm getting at? Automatic ≠ WYSIWYG (especially if having a layer above an artboard creates the opposite expectation on the user…). And database (something which Affinity Designer's rigid container tree does feel a lot like) ≠ WYSIWYG. If you're working on a physical table, you may have a single sheet of transparent paper over many other sheets of paper, am I right? Shouldn't you be able to work on that level/layer unhindered, then, just like in real life? Unfortunately, from a purely psychological standpoint, AD really is also worse for visual creatives (including, yes, illustrators) than Serif devs think (no, we don't usually conceptualise our work as boxes inside other boxes, but as layers of meaning/material/pigment – the lowest of which is always the paper or the canvas, hence the reason why we’d never think of an artboard as “containing” stuff, but, instead, as the substrate atop which stuff is layered, or the final artwork cropping area extracted from a larger substrate – which can be common across several different pieces – and, indeed, I've seen people working on many at the same time and on the same table –, and that also includes web and interface design! This still comes from the annals of analog media, when stuff was physically layered and then photographed for print production, and students are still taught that way in fine arts schools and faculties). It really feels like AD was designed by engineers more than Adobe's offering was, and I never really thought of ever saying this about any piece of commercial software (GNU/GPL/FOSS stuff is a different matter), ever, as that's a common grievance when it comes to users calling out the latter's developers on their mistakes (like, say, on that infamous thread about gradients in Photoshop I always love to quote as an example). Look, I'm no UX expert. But I've been doing design for almost 20 years, formally studying it for 15, practicing it professionally for around 10 and am just now starting to teach it in earnest. And I've dated a painter and illustrator (who works with actual, physical media, but also with digital tools) for a couple of years and watched her and her colleagues very closely while they worked. I know how designers and illustrators work and think, and I assure you Serif devs are absolutely in the wrong here. In real life™, physical media doesn't change its z position just because you tweaked the other two axes, you know? But that wouldn't even be an issue if we had a choice, and from a technical standpoint there are strong hints that such a choice may indeed be on the table (pun unintended), and that Serif may not be as boxed in (pun also unintended) with this model as it may appear. Let creatives be creatives and use their tools in a freer way, and if Serif devs manage to reconcile both models, they'll achieve something rather hard and not quite unlike squaring the circle. But I do think it's doable, and I'm dead sure it must be done.
  20. Exactly, and as I've said before on the forums and now on my little demos, I totally get the thinking behind it. Which leads me back to the entire illustration vs. design, and Designer vs. Illustrator switcheroo. Both apps are trying to address both fields at the same time, and the old 80 lbs. incumbent gorilla is still best suited for design, whereas the nimble newcomer is most definitely more suited for – and more popular among – the illustration crowd, precisely because of the features which you've mentioned and I'm addressing more as bugs than as features (not because they are bad ideas per se, but because they a) need to be optional and b) need a lot more polish). What frustrates me to no end is seeing that Designer is one centimeter away from being great for really complex design work as well and kick the gorilla in its proverbial groin. Heck, rename the current Vector Persona into an Illustration Persona and recreate a new, tweaked Design Persona if you must, or create two entirely new ones from scratch with slightly different behaviours (yes, it's a very Charing-Cross-becoming-Embankment-and-Strand-becoming-Charing-Cross kind of thing, but if you must do it, please do it ASAP). That was supposed to be the beauty of Affinity, right? Personas. I don't know if that's the solution, but it would certainly be a way of looking at it, and totally justify momentous changes of behaviour and apparent document structure. That's definitely discoverable and predictable, IMHO. Perhaps save it for v.2 but, if possible, the groundwork for such a set of features could perhaps be laid down and tested in the real world right now. Plus, it would further differentiate Designer from Publisher (which should still feature a cut-down/consolidated Vector Persona), and bring it a bit more on par with Photo (which appears to be, at first glance and with its five Personas, a much more complex application).
  21. For me, they are disastrous. There's nothing more terrible than software making these kinds of decisions for you, without affordances to prevent it. Intuitiveness is hard to explain as a concept, but what you've just seen in those videos is something Serif should've done with live testers, sitting on a chair at their HQ, with a camera pointed at their faces, and addressed before even shipping v.1. You may notice I've isolated at least three or four instances of unpredictability and objects just “disappearing” (i.e. bad UX). I know for a fact that I'm not the only one feeling this way about AD. Just because there's a sizeable number of users who don't, that doesn't mean there isn't an equally large number of those who do and either put up with it, or just bailed on it and stuck with Adobe. The difference here being that I'm not willing to take Adobe's crap anymore, but am not willing to severely downgrade my workflow, either, and I've bet heavily on Serif and Affinity. They are indeed the ones with the best chances of making it, and believe me when I tell you that I did look at alternatives and keep doing so. Nothing comes close. Not even CorelDraw, an application on which I did the first versions of those diagrams back when I was only fifteen (so, some 18 years ago now), and which I still used in the v.11, PowerPC OS X days. But that doesn't change the fact that if I can't do with AD at least 95% of what I do in Ai without wanting to pull my hair out, I just… won't.
  22. It kind of does, yes. Maybe have a super-artboard called pasteboard, above all others? And allow you to add a toggle to layers so as to force whatever objects in them to stay put in whatever artboard they belong to, including the pasteboard? And as a solution to the entire cropped objects conundrum, considering different behaviours other than cropping them outright? Just making them x% transparent? And maybe fix the entire selection model, thus allowing to select anything visible/unlocked (including, yes, artboards) regardless of where it sits on the document tree? That can of worms is already open, as you pointed out. It is inconsistent behaviour, and it will lead other people to, just like me, think they can use it for universal layers, only to become immediately frustrated and disappointed. Or, I dunno, just allow users to pick between an Ai-like document model and an Affinity-like document model, as long as they are fully-compatible between one another (say, by even allowing to automatically move all universal objects to whichever artboard they're sitting atop of at the push of a button, or automatically extract all objects from each artboard into the pasteboard – maybe you'd lose whichever universal layers you had set up before, but that would be understandable) and with Publisher, document-specific (so it could be a Document Setup-level preference) and easily discoverable (see above). We're already allowed to pick between Corel's (lasso) and Adobe's (intersection) selection model, so… why not? We could certainly hash out some ideas here and get at a more sensible solution. There is a lot to love in Designer but, as I've said it before, it feels too rigid and dumbed down, with some disastrous, unforgiving UX results. :\
  23. By the way, I know that this is slighty off-topic, but since this was another issue that was preventing me from doing a large volume of projects and that I've just noticed it's gone, I'm very happy to see that the click+Option+drag to duplicate behaviour is finally fixed (maybe it was before and I didn't notice it, but it's definitely a v.1.7.x thing). I can perform an undo and AD will finally undo both the duplicate and the drag operation, instead of the drag operation only. It's these little things that really do make me want to use Affinity instead of just firing up good ol' crusty Ai. That one in particular drove me absolutely nuts because I do a lot of modular typography and duplicate objects constantly (and, accordingly, undo those operations just as frequently when I inevitably mess up). It might have been just an extra Command+Z press, but it was a behaviour inconsistent with any other vector design app – from Adobe or otherwise –, the Finder, and the entire Apple HIG. Plus, it added up over time. Another point scored for Affinity, and at least I can now tell you that I'll probably start doing all my modular type projects in it and recommending it for students, or even for a teacher and colleague of mine who does a lot of that kind of work, too.
  24. Hi again @MattP, As promised, here are my video demos and the test file I was working on. I'm sorry for all the ranting and raving these last few days (and you can still sense my frustration in my voice), but I do feel I'm onto something here. If you can address this without opening, as I said, a few cans of worms, this should be a low-cost, high-benefit fix. I wouldn't say this is the only issue preventing me and other users from using Affinity Designer on a daily basis, but I will say it is the most serious, and it is indeed preventing me from even wishing to test it on more complex projects. All the best, João universal_layer_test.mov universal_layer_example.mov universal layer test.afdesign
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