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MichaelG

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  1. Dear Affinity Team, First of all, congratulations on the release of Affinity Publisher V1. Great job! I am now running the official release and I'm looking forward to using it. I did post a topic on this subject on the Affinity Publisher Beta forum. Things have improved somewhat since then, and my understanding of what is going on has improved too. However, I do feel there is still an underlying problem. I have done a considerable amount of research and testing, and I am sharing the results here. I have gone into as much detail as I can, and as a result this is quite a long post. Problem Summary: With a large number of fonts installed on my computer, Affinity Publisher, and other Affinity apps too, take significantly longer to launch than other design apps. System Details: Fujitsu Celsius workstation. Core i7, 6 Cores, 16Gb, SSD, Windows 10 Pro Version 1903, OS Build: 18362.207. Fonts Installed: 4862. Prior to performing any tests, the following actions were performed: I performed a major cull of installed fonts, and removed several hundred since I performed this test on the beta release. After the cull, the Windows font cache file was deleted. (C:\Windows\System32\FNTCACHE.DAT) The Windows font management service was stopped. The contents of the folder C:\Windows\ServiceProfiles\LocalService\Appdata\Local\FontCache were deleted. All Adobe font cache files were deleted. (AdobeFntnn.Lst) The computer was restarted. Each application used in the test was launched once to allow any caches to be rebuilt. The application launch times recorded were as follows: Adobe InDesign CS6: 0:25 Serif PagePlus X9: 0:08 Affinity Designer V1.7.1.404: 3:00 Affinity Photo V1.7.1.404: 3:20 Affinity Publisher V1.7.1.404: 3:10 In each case, I deemed the application launch to be complete when the welcome screen appeared. Each app was launched separately to avoid any risk of the apps interfering with each other. No other foreground apps were running other than Windows performance monitor and the stop watch app. It can be seen that the Affinity apps have similar launch times to each other, and these are significantly longer than either PagePlus X9 or InDesign CS6. I believe the prolonged launch times for the Affinity apps is due to a font enumeration and/or font caching issue. Application Readiness: As stated, when the welcome screen appeared I consider the application to be ready for use. However this is not the case with all apps. For InDesign and PagePlus, as soon as the welcome screen appears I can create a new document, then create a text frame, and then select a font from the font selection drop down. In both cases, the font list was fully populated with font previews, and there was no perceptible delay in scrolling trough the font list. However with Affinity Publisher (and Designer and Photo too) when the welcome screen appeared I could create a new document and create a text frame, but when I went to the font selection drop down, the font previews were not yet rendered. If I waited with the font drop down open, I could see the font previews slowly appear. (The apps opened with Arial as the default font, so the font list open with the fonts beginning with "A" visible). Now if I tried to scroll through the font list, Publisher became unresponsive. However patience pays, and eventually the font previews progressed downwards through the list. Eventually all the previews were visible, and at that point I could scroll back and forth through the font list without any further problems. However, to completely render the font previews takes in the order of 12 minutes. If I launched another app, such as MS Word, whilst the font selection drop down was open and the font previews were being rendered, then the font selection list would always be on top of MS Word. This continued until the font previews had been rendered. Conclusion: Affinity Publisher (and other Affinity apps) is not fully ready to use when the welcome screen appears. Background CPU Usage: After Affinity Publisher (and other Affinity apps) displays the welcome screen, it continues to consume approximately 4% to 6% of the CPU for a period of approximately 12 minutes. After this time, the background CPU usage drops off. If I launch Affinity Publisher and then wait for the CPU to become quiescent, I can then create a new document, create a text frame, and open the font selection list. Now all the font previews are present, and I can scroll back and forth through the list without any delay and without the app becoming unresponsive. Conclusion: Only when the app gets to the welcome screen does it begin rendering font previews. On this machine with this number of fonts, this operation takes approximately 12 minutes. Only when this is done is the app fully ready for use. It is my belief that after Affinity Publisher is launched and the welcome screen is displayed, it then gets to work rendering the font previews. Moreover, it does this each time it is launched. There would not appear to be a persistent font cache. Adobe Font Caches: The Adobe suite creates and maintains a number of font cache files in various locations. They usually have a names like AdobeFntnn.lst. As part of the preparation for this test I deleted all these files, and after a system restart they were all rebuilt. What builds them I don't know, but I believe these files play a key role in how fonts are managed with Adobe apps. However this does not explain why PagerPlus X9 doesn't suffer from any of these issues. It launches like lightning, and is ready to go as soon as the welcome screen appears, font previews and all. Go figure. Summary: OK, that's about all I can tell you. This issue is an annoyance rather than a show stopper. It doesn't appear to prevent me from using the app, it just takes a while before it is fully ready to go. But if I were using this app every day, I think it would quickly become tiresome. The fact remains that InDesign CS6 is ready to go in 25 seconds, but Affinity Publisher takes just over three minutes to give me a start screen, and a further 12 minutes before it is fully ready to go. Therefore there is some work to do with font management and optimization I think. PagePlus manages very well however, and this is a Serif app. What is its secret I wonder? If the development team would like any further information or clarification, please do not hesitate to ask. Thanks again for a great value design suite. Please keep up the good work. With Kind Regards, Mike G.
  2. MichaelG

    Two font selection problems.

    Just a quick update on this one. I've just installed the 1.7.0.145 build and this problem is still there. Sava Pro doesn't show in the font drop down at all, and there are only four members of the Arial family. Everything is fine in Designer. Let me know if you need any further information. Thanks, Mike.
  3. MichaelG

    Two font selection problems.

    Hi Chris, I upgraded my installation with build 58 but the problem remained. So I then tried: Deleting the Windows font cache. (C:\Windows\System32\fntcache.dat). Restart the computer & verify that the font cache was re-created. Uninstall Affinity Publisher. Preform fresh install of build 58. Unfortunately the problem remains exactly as described. I only see 4 members of the Arial family and I don't see Sava Pro at all in the font selection drop-down. I don't know what others might be missing. Everything shows up correctly in Nexus Font. My gut feel is that Publisher is struggling with the number of fonts installed on my machine, but I have no concrete evidence of this. I'm running Windows 10, 64-bit, Version 1803, Build 17134.285. Is there any more information I can provide for you? Thanks, Mike.
  4. I also think that calling Publisher a "massive fail" at this point is being both unfair and unrealistic. I don't know where Serif is pitching the Affinity suite, and whether they intend to rival Adobe products eventually. But even if that is the goal, Rome wasn't built in a day. I think when we look at the Affinity suite overall, and Publisher in particular, we should remember that: Adobe Illustrator first shipped in 1988. Therefore at the time of writing it has had three decades of development effort with a big engineering team and a big budget. Photoshop first shipped in 1990, so again almost three decades of development, and probably an even bigger budget. And they have Thomas Knoll! InDesign shipped in 2000, so we have 18 years of development on this product. All these products have a huge user community, and they have been providing feedback for decades. So are the Adobe products more refined and more capable? Of course they are, and it has taken Adobe 20 or 30 years to get there. I have worked in software development (also for decades) and I understand how long these things take. Hats off to Serif for even starting this project. Its always easier not to. What we are talking about with Affinity Publisher is a beta of a V1 product. So yes, it is going to have bugs and shortcomings compared to a product that has been shipping for 18 years. Even if the development team want to eventually build something to rival InDesign or Quark Xpress, that isn't going to happen with V1, or V2, or probably not V3. If they tried to do that it would never ship anything, and Serif wouldn't sell anything and they would be out of business. This is a work in progress, as is all software. Nothing is ever finished. The same applies with Affinity Photo and Designer. They are "finished" products (i.e. they are shipping as V1.*). But to expect them to be a feature for feature matchup for their Adobe counterparts at this stage just isn't going to happen. I for one would love to see an "Image Trace" feature in Affinity Designer to match AI, and also better "Content Aware" technologies in Affinity Photo to match PS. One day perhaps, but give them time. With any software product from any manufacturer, V1 is always about "time to market". You have to establish a revenue stream to fund further development. They are trying to build a suite of products. I'm sure they know we need a file browser to stand up to Adobe Bridge, and a RAW processor to match Lightroom. But one step at a time. It has taken InDesign 18 years to get where it is today, and Publisher will also mature over time I'm sure. For what its worth from my first look at Publisher I am encouraged. But its a beta, and that's why we are all here, to contribute to the development effort. Yes I have posted some items and made comparisons with InDesign. but that's because I'm used to that product. I don't expect a feature for feature matchup on day one. Thanks, Mike.
  5. I agree with everyone on this one. I have just tried creating a table in a text frame with Publisher and assumed that when I couldn't make it work, I must be doing something wrong. But no, when I get rid of the text frame, then I can create my table. Just look at any corporate document, such as an annual report. You will always see lots of text, with tables scattered throughout with the numbers, and also few pie charts and/or graphs. And as another post has identified, theses object must move with the text, and therefore be anchored. For the record, with InDesign a table behaves like any other character in a text flow. Therefore a table is anchored by default. With PagePlus. a table is first created within a text frame and then it is anchored to the text as a separate step is required. The table therefore becomes an anchored object like a graphic. Thanks, Mike.
  6. I have been testing the procedure for creating a collection of swatches for a project, and have come across some issues that I think could be improved. For the purpose of this exercise, I am working in CMYK, and I need a collection of swatches that include both CMYK mixes for global colours and some Pantone spot colours too. I accept that I may be missing something basic, and if that is the case then please correct me. When starting a new project for a customer, I usually start by building a collection of swatches using the client's colours as dictated by the branding. Job 1: Build a set of CMYK swatches. Let's start with a simple set of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black and a Rich Black too. In the SWATCHES palette I choose Add Global Colour. I get the Global Colour dialogue with the HSL colour wheel. Problem 1: If I am working in CMYK, then the HSL colour wheel is of little use to me. I'm working with INK (or toner if you want), so I want the CMYK sliders presented as the default. I now choose CMYK Sliders and dial in my first colour. In this case its C:100 M:0 Y:0 K:0. I name it Cyan and click Add. Problem 2: The Global Colour dialogue closes when I click Add. However I haven't finished yet. It would be helpful if the dialogue were left open, so I could add more colours. OK, I now want another colour, so I go to Add Global Colour again. Once again I get the Global Colour dialogue, and once again I am presented with the HSL Colour Wheel. Problem 3: I can forgive that fact that, when I add the first Global Colour, I am presented with the HSL colour wheel. However having made the choice to use the CMYK sliders in step 4 above, I expect this preference to be persistent within a session at least. (Maybe there is a preference that I have not found yet?) OK, so I go through this sequence to add each of my CMYK swatches, and now I have a few global colours in my Document swatches panel. Now I need some spot colours. Job 2: Add some Pantone spot colours to the document swatches. I choose the Pantone+ Solid Coated-V2 library from the drop down in the Swatches panel, and I type 7421 in the search box. Sure enough, I am presented with PANTONE 7421 C, which is what I want. I double click the swatch. I now expect this spot colour to be added to my set of Document swatches. Why do I expect it to work this way? Because that is exactly how it works with Affinity Designer. With Designer, you just call up the spot colours you want, double click, and they are added to the Document swatches. Problem 4: With Publisher, double clicking a spot colour doesn't seem to add the swatch to the Document swatches as is the case with Designer. Instead I have to double click the spot colour to make it the current fill, and then click the "Add current fill to palette" button. Tedious. Problem 5: Assuming that Designer exhibits the correct behaviour, whereby double clicking a spot colour adds it to the set Document swatches, there is another issue. The spot colour is added as "Global Colour nn" and not PANTONE 7421 C. I expect spot colours to be named as such in the Swatches palette. As it is I have to rename them, which is a drag. And finally, lets assume I want to make a 50% tint of PANTONE 7421 C. First I need to make a copy of the swatch, then I need to set the tint. So I right click my PANTONE 7421 C swatch and select Make Copy from the pop-up menu. Now Publisher crashes. Problem 6: When I try and make a copy of the swatch, Publisher throws an Unhandled Exception error. (See error message below). Ooops! OK, that's about it for my adventures is swatch land. I have some questions if anyone can help me: When adding a CMYK swatch, I get a "Spot" check box in the Add Global Colour dialogue. What is this for? There is also an "Overprint" check box. This implies that overprint is a swatch attribute, and not an object attribute. So if I have two objects with the same fill in a document, and I want one of them to overprint, how is this achieved? Is there a built in safeguard to prevent setting a white swatch to overprint? Or maybe something in Pre-flight? This is always a killer. (Designer creates artwork. An object is filled with a colour and is set to overprint. Just before going to press, the customer says "Actually, I would like that object to be white." Designer changes the fill, but forgets to remove the overprint attribute. Result: Object disappears when printed. Designer gets fired, or has to pay for the re-print!) If I want to make a tint of a spot colour, I can right click a copy of the colour and choose Edit Fill. I can then use the T slider to make my tint. However, I also get a Noise slider? What does this do, and when would I use it? I am used to adding noise in raster effects such a glows and shadows, but I don't understand its relevance for a tint of an ink. Thanks, Mike.
  7. Hi, Thanks to everyone for all the feedback. I accept that using a font manager may be a way to alleviate the prolonged launch times. I do actually have NexusFont installed so I may try that approach. However I have not used a font manager in the past to activate a only subset of fonts, simply because that has not been necessary for acceptable launch performance with my existing apps. The fundamental fact here is that InDesign launches in under 30 seconds and Affinity Publisher Beta launches in approximately 4.5 minutes on the same computer. (Let's leave Photo and Designer out of it for the moment, as I suspect there is a common code base for many components). I make that an increase of approximately 900%. I therefore suspect that there are some optimization opportunities that have yet to be utilized, and others have alluded to this too. Remember also that PagePlus X9 launches in 14 seconds, and that is Serif technology. My purpose in making this post was to make the developers aware, so they can consider whether or not this is an issue worthy of investing some development time. For me its not a show stopper, just a moderate inconvenience. Kind Regards, Mike.
  8. I have identified two font selection issues with Publisher as follows: 1. Not all font variants are available in Publisher. In Publisher, when I select the Arial font family, only 4 variants are available. However when using Designer on the same machine, nine variants of Arial are shown, which is correct. The following two screen shots illustrate the problem. 2. Some fonts not shown at all in Publisher. The second problem is that some installed fonts are not showing up in the drop down at all. However, everything is OK in Designer. The fonts in question in this particular example are Sava Pro and FF Meta Pro. Here are more screen shots to illustrate this issue with Sava Pro. You can see it is missing from the list in Publisher. Sava Pro is available in Designer. But it is missing in Publisher. Thank you, Mike.
  9. Hi, Since my original post I have upgraded both Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer to V1.6.5.123. The launch times for those apps now are: Affinity Photo 1.6.5: 8m 50sAffinity Designer 1.6.5: 8m 50s So not much change from the earlier versions. So the observations are: Affinity Publisher launches in approximately half the time that Affinity Photo or Affinity Designer do. Publisher is significantly slower to launch than either PagePlus X9 or any of the Adobe CS6 products on the same computer. For what its worth, Adobe seems to build its own local font caches for each product. Each product folder has one or ore AbobeFNTnn.lst files, which are the local font caches. This may be why the Adobe apps can enumerate fonts very quickly. However, PagePlus X9 is also very quick to launch, and comparable to Adobe. Thanks, Mike.
  10. This was a big problem with PagePlus and Affinity Publisher looks like it has the same problem. My argument is that the "B" and "I" control buttons are unnecessary. We have a drop down to select the font family, and another to select the required member of that family. That is all that is required. The "B" and "I" buttons are not only unnecessary, but will potentially will cause problems. For example, In Affinity Publisher I set some type in Avenir Next LT Pro Regular and then I perform the following sequence: Select one or more words that I want to be in italics. Press the "I" button. My selected text is changed to Avenir Next LT Pro Condensed Italic. It is unlikely that I will want the condensed variant. If I then click on the "I" button again, the text is changed to Avenir Next LT Pro Condensed, and not back to Regular which is what I started with. I then change all my text to Avenir Next LT Pro Condensed Italic. Select some text and press the "B" button. The selected text is changed to Avenir Next LT Pro Bold Italic, and it is no longer condensed. So it seems that the "B" and "I" buttons are making the wrong choices, which is hardly surprising. They will probably work with simple font families like Arial, but for professional OpenType fonts it will end in frustration. In the case of the Avenir Next LT Pro font family, there are a total of 24 fonts. Myriad Pro has 50, and Minion Pro has 74. Two buttons will never make the correct choice with so many variants. The big problem with PagePlus is that there is no dropdown to select the member of a font family. Therefore one had to use the "B", "I", "U" & "O" buttons, and the results are always unpredictable with large font families. Now we can choose the member of the font family with Affinity Publisher, we don't need the buttons. I'm coming at this as a long time InDesign user. My preferred approach is: Set all the type in the required font, say Avenir Next LT Pro Regular. Create a paragraph style based on that. Select a one or more words that I want in italics. Change the font for the selection to Avenir Next LT Pro Italic. Create a character style called Emphasis Italic and apply it as required. Now select some text that I want to be bold. Change the font to Avenir Next LT Pro Bold. Create another character style called Emphasis Bold, and apply it as required. If necessary, additional text styles can be created, such as Emphasis Bold & Italic to combine both text attributes. This approach eliminates all the guesswork, and once you have created the styles, everything else is easy. InDesign does not have the "B", "I" or "U" buttons for this reason. Thanks, Mike.
  11. If I create a CMYK document, then I get CMYK sliders in the colour panel as expected. However if I then create an object such as a rectangle, and then go and alter the fill or stroke properties, then I get the RGB sliders initially. Surely the sliders offered initially should follow the document colour mode, either CMYK or RGB. Thanks, Mike.
  12. When creating a new document, it would be useful if a couple of additional items were available on the New Document dialog. It would be useful to be able to select the required bleed when creating the document. (I realise that this can be done later in Document Setup, but this is an extra step that could be avoided). The same applies to "Facing pages" setting. Why not have all this available when creating the document? The margin settings should have the option of being linked. Therefore, if I want a 20mm margin, I just enter this in the first box, and all the others change too. (There should be the option to "unlink" the settings if asymmetric margins are required). Thanks, Mike.
  13. Dear Affinity Team, First of all, thank you for this beta release. I have a few initial observations that I will post today. I have noticed that the launch times for all Affinity apps is very long when a large number of fonts installed. System: Fujitsu Celsius workstation. Core I7, 6 cores, 16Gb, SSD, Windows 10. (Not a slow machine by any means). Fonts installed: 5857. (As these products are targeted at professional designers, I don't think this is an unrealistic number). Measured launch times as follows... Affinity Publisher: 4m 38s PagePlus X9: 14s Adobe Photoshop CS6: 13s Adobe Illustrator CS6: 26s Adobe InDesign CS6: 25s Affinity Photo 1.6.4: 8m 55s Affinity Designer 1.6.4: 9m 5s Each app was launched separately and then closed before launching the next. It can be seen that the Affinity apps take significantly longer to launch than the competition. I would be grateful if you could pass this information to the Affinity Photo and Designer teams. Thank you, Mike.
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