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midsummer

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  1. 1-bit support has been discussed here in the forums for several years now. Andy's statement about plans to never implement this is the only input I remember seeing on this matter from the developer side so far. I think that answers your question. The Affinity suite seems to be first and foremost aimed at photographers, illustrators, and people who do stuff for the web. There are currently too many print-specific features missing (no separations preview etc.), so I suppose it makes sense for Serif to keep the focus on what they're already doing well. Real print pros are probably (and unfortunately) too married with Adobe's ecosystem of software, fonts, and stock photos to be won over at this point.
  2. And to further elaborate a bit, this is how I'd like 1-bit stuff to go in Publisher (as I'm sure others have noted also): 1) When placing a 1-bit image into the document, Publisher should render it correctly, making the white parts of the image transparent. 2) It should be possible to colorize the bitmap image with any single (spot) color (doesn't make any sense to keep them just black, of course). 3) When exporting PDFs, it should be possible to control 1-bit resampling independently. 4) The user should be able to trust the exported pdf to have the correct color values for the bitmap, with no unexpected conversions. I don't know if this would require just as big technical changes under the hood as full bitmap support in Photo. Probably it would.
  3. Well, I'll unfortunately have to be honest here too: this drops the Affinity suite out of the professional league, at least for now. I wish this information had been public earlier, I would have looked elsewhere right away. But a missing feature is not exactly a selling point, so I can understand the silence. I can't use these apps in my ordinary workflow in their current state, and learning now that they will never work is a pretty big bummer indeed. I have bought the entire suite, after all. Feels like buying a fantastic new sportscar that's more pretty and aerodynamic than the competition, with nice upholstery and all, only to learn that one of the wheels is missing and will not be added in a later update. Now I need to keep riding my old Lada CS5. It gets me wherever I need to go, eventually. Not without technical problems of its own, but it works. Adobe of course only offers pricey taxi services nowadays. 1-bit export would be a good compromise. However that is not enough by itself, you'd have to be able to export PDFs from Publisher without downsampling the 1-bit image to 300 dpi, since that quite simply negates the advantages of using 1-bit in the first place. One resolution setting for an entire DTP document doesn't really make sense in many scenarios. 300 ppi for CMYK images, 1200 for line drawings. And since there's always somebody wondering why 1-bit would be a big deal (Who in their right minds would ever want files with no possible color shades?): 1-bit is a technical requirement when using images (mostly line drawings, like in comic books or logos) in many specialized print jobs. It's also used in a lot of product packaging stuff that's not printed in CMYK but as one or two spot colors. Say you're designing a CD or DVD label (which is what I often do) and you want to print a one-color line drawing that is too detailed to vectorize, and you want it to be printed straight on the silver surface of the disc without a white base disc colo (which is what you usually find hidden underneath the prints of disc labels). You can't use CMYK colors, because that's three colors more than you need, so you pick one Pantone spot color to print with. Using a 1-bit image that has been well prepared from a high resolution original you can have the printed result appear just as crisp as a vector drawing would. The image can be 1200 ppi (say 15000 x 15000 pixels, or something) without any problems. The file sizes aren't that big either, because there's just one bit of data to save per pixel. This is old technology, for sure. But it will continue to be relevant as long as physical products are made by applying ink to paper with various different printing methods. If I design a newspaper ad for a client, why would I be ok with having the client's crisp one-color line art logo turned into 200 dpi mush on cheap paper stock when it could appear as sharp as the text? If I now design a CD cover with Publisher or Designer and send it to the CD manufacturer, their printers will send the file back to me right away with a note saying "please fix anti-aliased barcode". They are very strict about this stuff. Same goes for one-color T-shirt designs – "That's a very nice looking mockup you have there, now please send us the high-resolution final version". If you only ever do CMYK stuff, you'll never even realize that an important piece of the DTP publisher's toolkit is missing. But even then 1-bit has its uses. Illustrators often use 1-bit patterns for texturing vector art, for example, since they can be used for that fake old-timey comic book dithering or distressing patterns, for example. If you can't produce files that your printer can work with, you need to change software. This, of course, is only a problem to people like me who have to struggle to shell out the 700 euros or whatever it costs nowadays to get a year of Photoshop + Illustrator + InDesign. It's not Affinity's or Adobe's fault that I'm just a poor freelancer, stuck with ancient pay-once-use-forever software. I'd much rather get paid for work than pay to work. It's important to note that Serif has no responsibility to cater to my personal needs, and I'm in no position to make demands. I just feel that the product is crippled in a fundamental way, which is frustrating, because Affinity gets so much else right. Long rant, sorry about that. And like I've said before, Affinity apps are fantastic for their price, Serif is a top-notch software company, and that's before even considering what incredile feats the iPad versions of these apps are. I wish Serif the best of luck, things are looking very promising for the company now indeed. I just hope the sportscar gets that missing wheel at some point. Even a battered old spare fished out of somebody's trunk would do. It's a tow truck race for now. Ps. The "Unrivalled compatibility" part of Affinity's sales pitch sounds quite hyperbolic for now, all things considered.
  4. Thanks for the clarification, Mike. This is good news.
  5. As I've said elsewhere on the forum, InDesign's first version was merely promising too – it couldn't really be used for anything much, if I recall correctly. It wasn't until the first big update that it became a proper alternative for real projects. Publisher is very promising indeed, it's just that I feel that Serif's priorities in development are a bit strange. Core functionality like PDF support should be there from the start, bells and whistles should be sprinkled on top after the basics are there. If I've understood correctly, the Affinity suite uses a third party library for all PDF operations. If that bit is misbehaving or lacking in features, I'm afraid Serif's chances to fix these things in the near future may be limited?
  6. You would think that preserving the look and content of a PDF file would be the greatest priority for a DTP app... Treating all PDFs as editable files doesn't make any sense whatsoever, preserving the look of the original PDF should be Publisher's default behaviour. I'm starting to feel that Publisher's beta stage ended a few months too soon. Support for embedded fonts is simply DTP core functionality, I don't really know who Publisher's target customer group is at this point?
  7. The beta versions were not meant for real production work. A typical scenario would be a magazine with advertisements in it. There's nothing uncommon about placing PDFs in publications. All magazines and newspapers want customers to send their ads as PDF files. Affinity Publisher is a fine piece of software (and I pre-ordered it the very minute it was possible), but it's no replacement for InDesign in professional print production yet. Especially not, if there's PDF compatibility problems. PDF export needs to be flawless and users need to be able to fully trust the files Publisher produces. Of course we should remember that the very first commercial version of InDesign had so many missing essential features that it was little more than a curiosity. The second version was already useful for work. Publisher is surprisingly useful for a first version of a new DTP application. I'm sure it's going to be amazing by 2.0.
  8. According to my Adobe Acrobat, the original images in that PDF of yours are grayscale, not 1-bit. Help docs for Photoshop describe 1-bit bitmaps like this: It is a color mode that is entirely different from grayscale. And last I checked, none of the Affinity apps know how to deal with images in that color mode correctly. It's simply not supported, which is a major bummer.
  9. Literally the very first thing I tried to do with Affinity Designer was to drop a 1-bit logo file into a blank document. It was a bit disappointing to realize that I'd just bought a graphic design app that can't handle company logos or barcodes. In InDesign or Illustrator you can just drop a bitmap logo / drawing into a document and change its fill to any color (very handy for designs that require spot colors). The bitmaps keep their crisp 1200 dpi resolution (and don't get anti-aliased) when exported to PDFs. It's a very hassle-free and effective way of working. Am I just old-fashioned? Is there some new way of dealing with this stuff in Affinity Photo / Designer / Publisher that I'm just not aware of yet? Every alternative suggestion I've seen on the forums has been far too complicated for what needs to be done. Following those suggestions would also lead to losing the benefits of working with 1-bit bitmaps anyway, resulting in downsampled and lossily compressed images in PDFs. Adobe's software offers separate downsampling settings for color, grayscale, and bitmap images, Affinity squashes all and everything with equal measure. That makes Affinity apps simply unsuitable for some print workflows, despite all the fantastic features they have. I'm aware that proper 1-bit color support might be technically more challenging to implement than it sounds, as it comes with the requirement to treat different image files placed in the same document in a different manner. That would probably pose new challenges for drawing the images on the screen too. And the PDF engine is probably a big hurdle too, since it is a third-party solution (as far as I know), and not flexible enough? It would be nice to hear the developers' view on bitmap support. What's the reasoning for leaving it off the roadmap? Is it going to be added later (together with better tools to work with spot colors, maybe), or has the decision been made that it's simply not going to be supported and old-fashioned geezers like me should look elsewhere? Affinity Publisher's release is going to attract even more people fed up with Adobe's pricing model looking for alternative software. The lack of bitmap support might be a decisive factor for many, more critical than the design tools themselves. Some software can't deal with CMYK. Affinity stumbles with 1-bit images. (I probably sound like a broken record at this point, having written many posts about this subject already. Sorry about that.)
  10. Unless Dave 1946 meant bitmap as in 1-bit color mode. None of the Affinity apps currently support that. I've already said it in a couple of threads elsewhere, but the absence of bitmap image support renders the otherwise fantastic suite of apps ultimately unusable for many graphic design professionals who deal mostly with print.
  11. midsummer

    It keeps crashing...

    Sounds like you don't really know what the beta means. When you downloaded the free beta version you read this: Affinity Publisher is not ready. It was not meant to be ready at this stage. It only works well enough now that we can test it, see if we like the interface & the way it works, and tell the developers which features we'd like to see in the future. Crashes are only to be expected. I think it's very cool that the developers made this beta open and free for all – they didn't have to do that. So the least the relatively small group of developers deserve for their efforts is that we keep our feedback constructive, don't you think? Don't expect the level of support that you'd get for a finished product. Software development is not easy. Developing a complex suite of design software is not easy – that's why there are so few practical alternatives for Adobe's applications for professionals. I think Publisher looks very promising right now, pretty much as I expected. At beta stage I didn't expect to be able to do any actual work with it. I won't take on any big, demanding design projects with Publisher before I know it's feature complete. Remember how the first version of InDesign was still practically unusable? People waited for it for a long time, and when it arrived, it had loads of bugs and missing features. It also cost a lot of money, and it was supposed to be finished & ready for production work. Now you should maybe take a little breather and read through your post again and see how it sounds.
  12. midsummer

    Bitmap Color Format

    Now that Affinity Publisher is around the corner, it would be very strange if the suite of programs didn't get 1-bit bitmap support at some point, although it still doesn't seem to be on the public roadmap. I often need to work with screen printed CD and DVD labels, which all require bitmaps and spot colors. Every design job I get also involves placing barcodes and logos in printed materials, and around half of these logos are bitmaps too. I know that everybody's always grumbling about that one particular feature they'd like to have and take personal offence if it's not immediately available. But I find the lack of 1-bit color space a really fundamental (and perplexing) flaw, since it's so essential in professional design work, and the Affinity applications are so versatile and mature otherwise. I like Photo and Designer, but currently they are little more than curiosities for me, since I can't fully use them in my workflow. I have to stick to my old Adobe CS5 applications for now. (The lack of threaded text boxes in Designer is another major bummer, by the way.)
  13. I often need to design CD packaging, including barcodes and silkscreened CD labels. 1-bit bitmap images are crucial for design jobs like these. I very much hope that the bitmap color mode will find its way to Affinity Photo in some future update. I already bought the program and I'd very much like to switch over from Photoshop, and right now it's only the bitmap issue that's holding me back.
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