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  1. I think the problem is more general with inaccuracies with the boolean operations. I'm only a light user of Designer but have discovered these problems myself recently and by chance decided to have a look on here for answers this morning. Whilst PixelPest's answer solves this specific shape issue, more complex shapes exhibit similar problems and can't be solved this way. If you look at the attached Designer file as an example (I'm not looking for a solution to this specific shape problem) even what should be relatively straightforward operations fail miserably, and it gets even messier with much more complex shapes. I'm assuming this is a bug. I don't remember having this simple problem in Illustrator. Boolean Inaccuracies.afdesign
  2. I couldn't resist taking a peek. Quick tip - in the develop module, if you pull down the exposure, and you keep pulling it down and still there's no details in the highlights and it's just a flat block you have indeed unfortunately blown out the highlights when you took the shot. Not surprising really given the lighting and the subject matter!
  3. Everything you see in that image was done in DT (although I would not normally do it that way!) Noise was reduced using a combination of the "Denoise (profiled)" module with very low settings and also the Equalizer module, only for chroma noise. Sharpening and contrast was achieved with the Equalizer, Local Contrast, Tone Curve, Sharpen and High Pass modules, each one contributing only a small amount. I have found that layering small amounts of different processes often achieves a better result that trying to do everything in one or two steps. It does take longer, but you are less likely to "break" the picture. I have also found that changing the blend mode of a module can make a dramatic or subtle difference to how it works. For example I used the "average" blend mode for the Sharpen Module, but sometimes also use "darken" as well as normal, and change the opacity of the module to get the effect I want. If you haven't already seen Harry Durgin's videos about DT on Youtube, check them out. They are quite long and very technical in places, but I learned a lot, many things that can be applied to lots of different editing programs, not just DT. https://www.youtube.com/user/harrydurgin/videos No apology necessary - that sounds like an excellent three days!
  4. @Didix I wouldn't say I've got lots of experience of DT, but I have spent time understanding what it can do. I just had a go with your raw file. I wanted to emphasise the warm golden sun, so this is my interpretation of the image. One final stage I would do would be to open it up in AP and use the inpainting tool to get rid of the cable and the lens flare as DT's spot removal tool is not that great. I normally wouldn't do this much in DT alone, so this has been an interesting exercise. My preferred way of working is to use DT to get a well exposed, tonally even but very flat looking image with no clipped highlights or shadows, remove any lens distortion, set the white balance and correct any colour shift and then pass that on to AP as a 16bit TIFF for any other manipulation, also making use of the Nik Collection toolset. [Edit - just replaced image with a slightly tweaked version I prefer]
  5. How about like this? (see attached .afphoto file). The additional gradient mask was created by using the gradient tool on a new pixel layer, then using Layers -> Rasterize To Mask and then dragging that mask down below the existing mask. Add Gradient To Mask.afphoto
  6. Here's where I quickly managed to get (with settings). In a nutshell, because of the extreme contrast of the source you need to get those highlights down and bring out the shadow detail - exactly what the shadows and highlights section is for. As soon as you try to adjust by exposure you'll blow it all out. A nudge up on the brightness helps bring out some of the dark to mid tones without blowing out the highlights. I needed to drop the saturation down a little as it got very orange, and a little clarity helped with the pop. This is with the developer assistant auto-applying a tone curve (lazy!). Hope that helps, and fantastic image!
  7. I have to say I have become a big fan of Darktable (ex Lightroom user). I do still have a current Adobe subscription in place but I almost never open either Lightroom or Photoshop any more as the Darktable/Affinity Photo combination satisfies my requirements. I won't be renewing my Adobe subscription when this current year runs out. Just because Darktable is free and opensource does not mean it cannot achieve excellent results. Yes the interface is different to Lightroom, but at the same time it is very familiar. Yes some of the tools seem a bit geeky in their presentation, but in many cases are far more powerful that the equivalents in Lightroom. Like any new software when I first used it I felt lost and became frustrated because I knew what I wanted to do but not how to do it. But, if you invest some of your time trying things out, watching a few videos on YouTube, playing with each module to understand what they do, limiting the visible modules to the few favourites you use on nearly everything, setting up a few default module settings that can be different depending on the incoming file's EXIF data, making use of the straightforward (hierarchical) tagging system (which uses separate sidecar files - no central catalog to get corrupted) and your life becomes so much easier. The only thing, and it is only one thing, that I miss from Lightroom is the side by side comparison feature that is not present in Darktable although you can achieve something similar using the snapshot feature. I would pay good money for Darktable, the fact that is free is quite unbelievable. It's worth noting that you don't have the ability to create a panorama within Darktable, and although you can merge several backeted shots to a HDR file (you do your own tonemapping using the existing DT tools) the images have to already be aligned as the process does not currently do that. It is possible to more or less integrate Affinity Photo with Darktable. There is an extension to Darktable that gives another option in the export module to open the selected image in The Gimp. It's straightforward to install (copy and paste a few files into a folder) and then instead of pointing it at the gimp executable, you point it at the AP executable. Then in Darktable you select the file you want to edit in AP, use the new export option which opens up the file in AP, do your edits, save and close AP and the new image is automatically imported back into DT and grouped with the original source image. Works a treat (on my Win 10 machine - no direct experience of any other OS). some info here: https://github.com/darktable-org/lua-scripts If you are at all technically minded you can edit the script to change references in the displayed text from "gimp" to "external editor" although this is not needed for this to work. Spend some serious time with Darktable and I'm sure some people will find it an excellent replacement for Lightroom, whether you are on a budget or not.

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