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Scungio

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About Scungio

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  1. I think a Blob Brush has its place in the program but I got tired of waiting so I rolled my own version using the tools in Designer. Here is how I did it. You use the Vector Brush. I don't necessarily want to use a Blob brush just to fill in areas to color but to create shapes that are more organic, more freehand, less pristine and sterile. So I use the Vector Brush, create my shape and then I have a MultiAction set up with my Stream Deck XL. This is a 32 button separate input/display that I have set up with Designer and Photo I press the key that I have set up as 'Blob', and it takes the shape (Curves) I have selected, performs an Expand Stroke, then an Add, and then selects the Pen Tool. Then I have to perform a Smooth command on it from that point myself as that is not accessible with a keyboard shortcut. At that point I then typically will use the Pencil tool with the Sculpt option to carve and trim away portions of that shape. The shapes that I can create in this manner with my 'Blob Brush' have a personality and charm that are distinctly different from me just using the Pen Tool. Like I said it has a purpose, just another arrow in the quiver to be used when the time is right. If I have time Sunday, maybe I will post a video showing this Blob Brush of mine in action.
  2. I have been developing a workflow that makes the Vector Brush behave like Ilustrator's Blob Brush. I use Stream Deck Mobile on an 8 inch Android Tablet for my shortcuts. I wanted to create a tool similar to the Blob Brush to quickly color in a more freeform way. Basically, I use the Vector Brush to fill in areas, then select the area I colored, expand stroke, Geometry>Add, then Smooth to reduce the node count. It works pretty well, then I am able to use the Pencil Tool with Sculpt mode on and use that as an Eraser to trim away any excess or where I went outside the lines, etc. Now I would love to be able to set up a macro to take care of that Expand/Add/Smooth steps. My Stream Deck app has the ability to set up a sequence of actions, a macro, and bind it to a button. Anyway, there are so many things that I wish we had access to in terms of setting up a keyboard shortcut, which I then would be able to set up with my Stream Deck app. Like the Node Tool, or the Pen Tool, we have access to Break Curve, Join Curve but why not Smooth Curve? Why can't we be able to have access to Sharp and Smooth to covert nodes?? The Isometric Studio, I would love to be able to assign keyboard shortcuts to speed up the process for that too. I am still only one week into perfecting/setting up the Stream Deck to use with the Affinity Apps. Here is an early go at trying to figure out what to include, and nothing is definite yet. You can have a button be a folder which will open another screen with 15 buttons, so you are not limited to just 15 buttons. Also, I am using the XP Pen 22R display tablet which has 2 Dial Wheels and 20 buttons, so that has given me plenty of options between the two. I really, really don't like using the keyboard, don't like having to contort my hand and fingers to reach keys, or remember the keys themselves. I like the visuals, the icons of what I am setting up and for me it will be easier to work that way, using the keyboard as little as possible. Anyway, again, please Serif, more access to commands, actions, etc for keyboard shortcuts. -Mark
  3. Just a note on the XP Pen 15.6 Pro, it is currently selling for $320 on eBay by various vendors. $320 is just an incredible price for what you are getting. I am not an XP Pen employee just a really satisfied customer. It is a great time to be an artist and in need of a tablet or display tablet, just so many options and companies to turn to besides Wacom.
  4. I have the large 12.9 inch iPad Pro second gen and the first gen Apple Pencil. I also have the iPad 2018, 9.7 inch model. To me I love it as much or more than the various Wacom products I have had over the years. The apps have started to come to iOS. You have the Affinity products of course, but also Procreate and Clip Studio Paint. There are those that hate iOS file management, and supposedly there are big things in store for iOS 13 but really, I have been getting along fine with Sratospherix FileBrowser as my Mac OS Finder replacement or iOS. Readdle's Documents is another worthy Finder replacement for iOS. I am not a big fan of the second gen Apple Pencil. Yes, it appears better in most regards but fails me in customization. With the first one I can use an assortment of custom pencil grips. I have always preferred grips with pens and pencils. I am partial to this UK company named Ego that makes Apple Pencil grips. But now with the double tap functionality of the Apple Pencil 2 how do I do that if I have a pencil grip? How do I charge it with a pencil grip on it?? I am in the minority on this I know but I will really miss my first gen Apple Pencil when I upgrade to a new iPad Pro in a year or two. It will be interesting for Mac users how Apple's Sidecar works out and develops. Could an iPad Pro be a replacement for a Ciniq? Could Apple make even larger iPad Pros?? Who knows? It is important I think to not try and shoehorn everything into one device or expect one device to be great at everything. There is a reason why I have a Mac Pro and a Ryzen PC, why I have a laptop and iPads, why I have a Wacom Intuos Pro medium sized tablet and an XP Pen 15.6 Pro. I like to change things up and sometimes things work better in certain situations. Pick the right tool for the job at hand. For example, say you want to do a pattern, a repeating pattern, have it be a vector. Yeah, some may go into Illustrator to do that, some might even do it in Affinity Designer and use symbols as a workaround to get it done. Me? I first turn to Lost Minds Patternnodes 2. It is this parametric, node based app that gives you so many options and possibilities. You can even do animations with it. Anyway, you could develop this repeating pattern, really complex and then export it out to use in Designer. But this app is only on Mac OS, so I would use the Mac Pro for that. As I have gotten older I have tried to become platform agnostic, and not tie my wagon to any one OS but at the same time I try and take advantage of each OS and what it has to offer.
  5. I was really torn this year when buying a new display tablet. Wacom has started to make more affordable Cintiq models by stripping out some features from their pro lines. I am opposite of SrPx, I prefer smaller displays, wanted something along the lines of a 16 inch display. I like being able to be more portable and take it along with my laptop when the need arises. So, I look at the Wacom 16, not the Wacom 16 Pro, and really I was not that thrilled with what they were offering. A 1920 x 1080 resolution display with 96% sRGB/72% NTSC, 3-in1 cable setup, it comes with retractable legs to give you, what, 20 degree working angle, and no express keys. You would have to pay extra to get the Wacom Remote to get the express keys. That would bring the price to $750 (Wacom 16 $650, Wacom Remote $100). I then looked at the XP Pen 15.6 Pro. It offers the same 1920 x1080 display but has 120% sRGB/88% NTSC coverage, has the same 8192 levels of pressure, comes with a cheap, but functional stand that gives you the same working angle, 19 degrees? It differs from the Wacom 16 in that it has 8 express keys and a Red dial, scroll ring. It comes with the same 3-in-1 cable type of setup. Pen does not have to be charged. The laminated display of this XP Pen 15.6 Pro really does improve parallax greatly and I think eventually they will update their 22 line with laminated displays as well. The cost of the XP Pen 15.6 pro was $400. Did I want to spend $750 or $400? No matter which one I chose, I was going to calibrate the display with my SpyderPro. And a better stand would need to be purchased regardless of which one was chosen too. The one clear advantage that Wacom has is the pen and software/drivers. But is that advantage really so great to be worth the extra $350?? In my mind, no, I think XP Pen is close enough with their pens and drivers. Wacom has decades of experience, I think they were founded some 35 years ago? And XP pen was founded in 2005? Yeah, Wacom has way more experience and development time in this field but I do think XP Pen has made a lot of progress lately. I think XP Pen and their drivers are second to Wacom, I think Huion and the other companies are not quite as mature and lacking in their drivers and support. Just my opinion of course. Anyway, I bought the XP Pen 15.6 Pro and it has been a fabulous experience. My favorite 'feature' is that I don't even have to use all of the 3-in1 cable. I plug in the HDMI connector and one of the USB connectors and the remaining USB connector goes unused. On both my Ryzen PC and my Ryzen laptop, they both provide enough power to run the display. I don't have to use that last USB connector to plug into a wall outlet. So I am able to go out and about and use the 15.6 display with my laptop and not be worried about being tethered to an additional power source, wall outlet, etc. If I remember right I got something like 220 nits of brightness when measuring the 15.6 Pro, I believe the Wacom 16 is 250 nits? But the color gamut of the Wacom is worse and I think the XP Pen has the better display. Now if I considered the Wacom 16 Pro, that has the same form factor as the 16 but more of the high end features that you associate with the Pro line. 4K display, etc. But a jump in price to $1,500? But it still doesn't include any express keys and you still would have to buy the Wacom Remote, so the total cost would be $1,600??? And is the display really better in terms of color gamut? Better than the XP Pen 15.6?? And then I have seen really bad reviews of the early buyers of the Cintiq 16 Pro, seems Wacom did have quality control issues with the first year of this model. So, I ponder to myself, $400 for the XP Pen 15.6 Pro or $1,600 for the Wacom 16 Pro? What could I do with the $1,200 difference between the two?? Well, I could buy an Nvidia 2080 Ti for that much money. With so many programs now using CUDA or OpenCL, using both the CPU and GPU, my time in Blender or Resolve would be much, much nicer with that 2080 Ti card. I am happy with my choice of the XP Pen, for now, but even if I had the budget of $1,600 say, I would still choose the XP Pen. One last thing, it was mentioned earlier about taking into account your desk and the space you have. I can't stress this enough, having a quality desk seems to be way down the list of priorities for artists and if anything it should be right at the top. I had an Anthro computer desk and various accessories and it served me well for 20 years but I decided to upgrade to something different this year. It was a do it yourself project. I bought and assembled my own sit/stand desk. I did not go with an electronic motor but one that has a simple, rock solid manual crank. I went to Home Depot and bought a butcher block counter top, 5 foot, 1.5 inches thick put a couple coats of polyurethane on it. Together the frame and desktop weigh about 100 pounds, it goes from 27 inches to as high as 50 inches. So, I can sit in my ergonomic chair and then change it up, crank the table up and stand and work. I have a nice floor mat that I stand on that has various cushioned structures on it so that you can shift your weight, massage the arches of your feet, etc. With my regular displays mounted on arms, I can push and move them around, and there is just so much space to set up the XP Pen 15.6 Pro, to have my Ryzen laptop on the desk as well, or to have say my iPad Pro set up as well. So often I see Youtube videos where artists are using so little space, I get claustrophobic watching them. It is like a juggler going into a tiny closet and trying to juggle. Yeah, I guess he can adapt and figure out how to do it, but why??
  6. One last thing on the 2400G, I promise!! My old server was a Mac Pro, the original, first Intel Xeon based model from 2006. From 2012 to November of 2018 I used it as a media server. When I retired this old Mac Pro and replaced it with the 2400G, boy, did my electric bill drop!!! It was an 8 core Xeon and if memory serves it drew 160 Watts when idle and would ramp up to 250 watts when on load. The 2400G is 65 watt TDP chip and that is variable and I find it manages power very well, even under load. This is another area where AMD is taking it to Intel, the latest 3000 series of Ryzen are even better at power management. Anyway, the savings per month on my electric bill, switching from the Mac Pro to the 2400G, I figure that after 18 months it will have paid for that 2400G build. I have one last item to replace to improve that electric bill, a 10 year old Plasma TV! It is still beautiful, but the power draw is unbelievable. I know when I replace it with a new modern 4K TV that my electric bill will drop even more. Isn't technology grand? It is incredible how tech improves so rapidly, gets better, cheaper, more efficient.
  7. I always cringe at some of the case designs that I see today. To me the best ones are those that provide real airflow. I don't see how having a solid piece of plastic or a slab of glass in the front, and only allowing the air to sneak in through these narrow edges on the side, provides any airflow. Ideally you want as much mesh on the front so that your front case fans aren't obstructed and can get as much air as they can to cool your computer. There was a classic example the past year or so of Gamers Nexus (search for them on Youtube), were critiquing a CoolMasters case and they had glass/plastic on the front with only thin intakes on the side. GN did testing, thermals and the results were pretty bad, they went so far as to mod the case, putting in more mesh and showed how it greatly reduced temps. CoolMasters, to their credit, eventually did redesign this certain case a couple times and did come out with a front mesh version. This stuff isn't rocket science and yet some companies try and make it more complicated than it has to be. Sanderguy777, does your old PC not have an expansion slots? $15-20 will get you a PCI card that could be installed to give you 4 USB 3 ports. I did want to point out a couple more things concerning the Ryzen 5 2400G, first Ryzen doesn't support Thunderbolt at the moment. There have been some people doing some hacks, complicated workarounds getting TB working on Ryzen with Linux as the OS. Maybe when Intel officially makes Thunderbolt part of the USB 4 spec, then it will be available for Ryzen. The second point I wanted to make is that the Ryzen 5 2400 G has some PCI 3.0 limitations. For example it has only 8 lanes dedicated to the one slot if you want to install a graphics card. In the non APU Ryzens, the 1600, 1700, 2600, 2700 families, so to speak, you can have a PCI 3.0 x16 lane slot for your graphics card. Some might argue that there is little difference between the two but if you bought a real high end graphics card it may very well perform worse in that x8 slot then in a x16 slot. An RX 580 would be a perfect mid tier card that would give you a big upgrade over the Vega 11 graphics. It would also be a very good 1080 gaming card.
  8. The RAM and memory can be a finicky thing with Ryzen. I will explain my issues that I had when I first set up my Ryzen 7 1700X. Back then it was a new CPU, new chipsets, motherboards and many of the boards were sort of how can I say this? Rushed to market before they were ready?? I chose an X370 MB and thought it would be so much better than a B350 but it turns out that no matter what I did I could never get the memory past 2,666 MHz. This was normal back then, many went through these growing pains. Then the B450 and X470 boards came out and things got better with RAM, firmware updates and such smoothed out the glitches and now with the X570 and probably B550 boards later this fall, all of the RAM issues should be a thing of the past. The Corsair Vengeance memory you have chosen will be great, I have that in my 2400G server and in the MSI BIOS setting for that motherboard the XMP profile only gets it running at 2933. I was content with that, didn't really think the effort in overclocking, messing with timings, etc would yield much of a boost. I am not really big into overclocking, sort of think it is silly, but that is my personal opinion. To me the best computer is one that is stable and quiet. I love the Noctua case fans and especially the Nocuta air coolers. Can't stand the liquid coolers and I know too many people where an O ring failed and their computer got literally hosed. Bling, RGB has its place and I don't fault people for enjoying that, but for me I always want my computer to be quiet and invisible, like it is not even there. The 2400 G really is a great budget choice. 4 cores, 8 threads, 65 Watt TDP, has Radeon Vega 11 Graphics and comes with a Wraith Stealth CPU cooler. All of that for $125. If you can afford it I would try and get an NVMe M.2 SSD. Samsung, Western Digital, Adata they all make very fast drives. It is important to do your research on this though, there are some M.2 drives that aren't really that fast, are merely SSD fast, 550 MBs / 520 MBs read and write speeds. What I do is get the fastest NVMe M.2 drive I can to be my boot volume and then pair it with a regular HDD with more capacity. I love the Samsung EVO series of NVMe M.2 drives. I bought the Samsung 960 EVO when I got my Ryzen 7 two years ago and it has read and write speed of 3,200/1,500 MBs. If you shop around you can find great deals, Adata has an XPG SX6000 pro 256 GB NVMe M.2 drive selling for $37.99 on Amazon right now. It has read and write speeds of 2,100/1,500 MBs. You could probably add a 3 TB HDD drive for $50 or so. So, taking your $338 and adding $88 for the 256 GB NVMe M.2 drive and 3 TB HDD brings your total to $426. That would leave you $74 to buy a case. You didn't say but do you have a graphic tablet? Maybe that can be your next purchase for the holidays. XP Pen just release their Deco Pro series, they look really, really nice, love the design and buttons and jog wheels on those.
  9. I built a media server with the Ryzen 5 2400G. It is a really nice APU, meaning CPU/GPU. You mentioned the 2200G but if you can swing it try and go for the 2400G. It is 4 cores/8 threads whereas the 2200G lacks the SMT/Hyperthreading and is only 4 cores/4 threads. Also the 2400G has Vega 11 graphics, 11 compute units, 704 shader units, 1,250 MHz clock speed. B450 motherboards are perfect for the 2400G, an X470 board is just overkill and really, many of the VRMs (Voltage Regulator Module) for those higher priced boards are lame. I went with the MSI B450 Mortar because the VRM's are nice and they have great heatsinks on the VRMs. Now, yes, the 2400G might not have much overclocking headroom but if you are going to do it best to have a MB and VRMs that can do the job. And who knows down the road if you upgrade to a 2600X or 2700X you can really take advantage of the board. Many of these Ryzen board makers will try and dazzle you with bling, RGB, and then have a half assed VRM. I went with a Corsair 450 watt power supply (80+ bronze) because with no dedicated graphics card and the 2400G has a 65 watt TDP. More than enough. The thing about buying a case that comes with a power supply is that the manufacturer will give you a really sketchy power supply, usually a brand you have never heard of, why take the chance?? They are looking for ways to improve their margins, put more money in their pockets, right? Best to make that decision for yourself, don't risk your system with a substandard power supply. 16 GB of RAM is fine, 2 x 8 GB Dimms. Make sure you have two DiMMS installed to take advantage of the dual channel speeds. Some try and go with one 8 GB Dimm but it really handicaps Ryzen chips, it works best with dual channel memory. I believe the Ryzen APUs, the 2400 and 2200g only support 2,933 MHz speed with the RAM, so paying for more expensive memory hoping to get the memory overclocked higher than 2933 is probably futile. Other than that, I would say just be realistic in the gaming aspect of these APUs. Yes, they are worlds better than the Intel integrated GPUs but still they are not a dedicated graphics card with plentiful memory. I think the Vega Graphics have something like 1 GB of internal memory and then use your systems shared memory (RAM). If you want to play some eSport games online, great but if you are hoping to install some triple A, big name games and get 100 FPS, you will be disappointed. Just be realistic with your expectations. There are plenty of YouTube videos where people have benchmarked games and show what to expect with these Ryzen APUs (2400G, 2200G). I have 3 Ryzen systems and love each and every one. My main workstation is a Ryzen 7 1700x, first gen Ryzen, I jumped on the train early! Then I picked up this quirky Huawei Ryzen 5 2500U laptop for $450 from Walmart and it just blew my mind. Punches well above its weight, build quality is excellent, like having a MacBook. Then I built this Ryzen 5 2400 G server just 8 months ago, no hiccups, no issues. AMD just released their Ryzen 3000 series of CPUs this past week and they are getting better and better. You can't beat the price and the performance is matching Intel. Intel got fat and lazy and greedy. Competition is a good thing, no a great thing. AMD battling Intel is like Serif going up against Adobe. I have always loved the underdog!
  10. I had been a long time Wacom user and then the past 3 years or so, I started to look for alternatives. Yes, I understand Wacom is the gold standard but I didn't feel like paying for the premium any longer and I felt that the competitors were closing the gap in the low to mid range. I really like to have a smaller display tablet, for portability reasons and just my preference. I find a larger display or even a larger tablet makes my arm, hand and eyes become fatigued faster. That may sound silly but for me it is true. For years I had used a Wacom Cintiq 12WX and always had a medium sized Wacom Intuos tablet in addition to that. When it came time to replace the small Cintiq, I really did not care for the features or pricing of what Wacom was offering so I went with XP Pen. My current display tablet is the XP Pen 15.6 Pro and it fits my needs perfectly. I do think that whether it is XP Pen or Huion, the drivers are always going to be annoying from time to time. XP Pen for example tells us to make sure to remove other companies drivers like Wacom as it will cause issues. I thought that was sort of crazy but then when I used my 15.6 Pro with my laptop I was having issues. Hooked up to the desktop things ran perfectly, but when I used it with my laptop it was ugly. I forgot that I had installed Wacom drivers on the laptop as I had been testing out some old Wacom tablets that I was going to sell. I don't mean to be so long winded, but does Huion recommend to uninstall other tablet drivers like XP Pen?? I often wonder if other devices could cause problems too. Like I have a Shuttle Pro that I use too. From time to time I often find that other devices can be the culprit of glitches. It does suck though that we spend money on these competing products and then get frustrated when they don't work perfectly right out of the box. To me I have come to expect more bumpiness in the beginning, I mean after all Wacom has decades of experience, probably employs way more employees than Huion or XP Pen. If we want to have a seamless, perfect experience with as little trouble as possible then paying the premium for Wacom products is the solution. I don't want to pay that premium so I am patient and put up with a little aggravation! I do know that often times it may not be the fault of the software makers like Serif but actually with Huion or XP Pen. Many people will go to XP Pen and ask why things are not working right and sometimes there were updates pushed out that did fix some issues with certain software. It does seem like that when there are major revisions to the OS or an app, like maybe the 1.7 updates to the Affinity range, that the drivers may take a while to catch up. Don't know if this helps at all. I will say this too, the competitors are catching up. That Huion Kamvas 16 Pro, wow, some Cintiq like features and build quality starting to creep in. Huion and XP Pen are now starting to have fully laminated displays, reducing parallax, they are introducing 60 degree tilt with their pens, they are improving the color, 120% sRGB, 85-90% Adobe RGB. I can't help but feel that the etched, textured glass is coming any year now and them upping the resolution from 1920 x 1080 to something more is in the cards too. I feel like those of us supporting Huion and XP Pen and the others are going to help Wacom become more accessible to all. Sort of like how AMD Ryzen is forcing Intel to lower some pricing on their CPUs. Of course maybe Wacom will just concede the low, mid range and just concentrate on the high end, 24-32 inch displays?? Who knows?? -Mark
  11. I think that Serif could get spread too thin if they took on more and more and more apps. People want them to do video editing yet there are already free options out there like DaVinci Resolve 16, that has Fairlight and Fusion, for audio and composting/motion graphics, which makes it very compelling. How does Serif compete with that?? Others want Serif to do web design, motion graphics and now animation?? I use Harmony and Moho. What I would like to see is Serif make export options that are more friendly to those apps, sort of like how we can export out with Json to Spine. I have workarounds where I export out to Moho just fine using SVGs but it is sort of tedious. Others have mentioned how they need more robust export options for formats like TGAs, Targa format, etc. To me it seems more doable, more possible to make the Affinity apps work well with other apps than it is for them to compete against them.
  12. Just for giggles I was able to open the file on my 2nd gen iPad Pro and was able to zoom in and navigate around. The problem is when I go to the blue dot ‘curves’ layer and try to select anything with the node tool it crashes.
  13. Howdy, I have a two year old system by now, an AMD Ryzen 1700x, 8 core, 16 threads, 3.5 Ghz base, with a Samsung 960 NVMe M.2 SSD, 32 GB of RAM and a 1070 Ti, 8 GB graphics card. I am able to open the file. The blue dot gradient is the very last item in the Layers panel. It is named 'Curves'. The other layers that are named 'Curve' are for each of the larger white circles. I am able to zoom in, I got to 1000% and saw all of the blue dots that make up the gradient but this is not a fun file to navigate or deal with. Designer is taking quite a bit of time to open it, display items, when zooming in, etc. Oh, now it has crashed, yeah, no fun at all. That dot gradient, there could be so many, millions of points involved in that, it is kinda crazy.
  14. I was a long time Adobe user and now I am using the Affinity apps. I know many want to be able to use the brushes, and smart objects, and plugins and whatnot that they are so used to with Adobe, but if we make the switch to Affinity shouldn't we leave that behind? There are many fine people making brushes available for the Affinity apps that are 100% created for the Affinity apps. We should be supporting them, encouraging them, we should want native brushes created FOR Affinity Photo and Designer. We are never going to be able to use Photoshop brushes and have them behave the same way as they do in Photoshop. They are two different companies with different ways of doing things in their apps. That is why I don't even bother with Photoshop brushes but instead seek out Affinity 3rd party developers, such as Frankentoon, or Paolo's DAUB brushes, or Agata's brushes. Some are paid, some graciously give away free brushes, but we should try and support their efforts. Better to have a brush that is created for and takes advantage of the Affinity line then have to settle for a hand me down Photoshop brush. Hope that makes sense.
  15. Howdy, Designer has Assets, Symbols, Artboards and Constraints. In your scenario of taking the Pen Tool in Photo and making a shape, yeah, you can do that but say you wanted to save that shape? In Designer you could save it to the Assets panel and then use that shape in any other document. Say you wanted to create a business card, a letterhead, an envelope, a tri-fold brochure, etc. How do you do that efficiently with just Photo? In Designer you can create multiple artboards in just one file. You could create a logo, save it as an asset and then use it across those artboards. Or create a logo or graphic and make it a symbol, then use that symbol across your multiple artboards. If a client wants you to change a vector graphic/logo, you can go into the symbol, make your changes and it refreshes across all of the instances that you placed it. There is a tremendous amount of overlap between both apps but both have their own specific set of features that are important and crucial. Designer has a subset of bitmap tools like Photo but I can't get to the Channels, I can't use the Filters that Photo has, the Cloning, Patch tools, etc. It is worth it to have both, and for the price almost a crime not to buy both.
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