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Posts posted by scamper

  1. Showing or hiding arbitrary groups of contiguous layers is much faster in Photoshop, solely because Adobe is using a custom control that lets users click+drag. Since Designer uses a traditional checkbox for the same function, users must click each individual layer they wish to hide (or select the layers first and click one checkbox to affect all selected). I usually rail at Adobe for using non-standard UI affordances, but in this case it’s hugely beneficial to be able to show and hide vast numbers of layers at once. This is definitely one of those things that you do more often than you think!

    Attached image illustrates this better than I’ve described it. Please let me know if I’ve overlooked something. Otherwise, it would be nice if Serif implemented a similar mechanism for Designer.


  2. Just for the record, you can move a shape with the Shape tool, by dragging its border. You can resize it by dragging its handles. You don't need to change tools for this.


    True as that may be, it doesn’t address the request at hand. The spacebar modifier could be made to change the behavior of the cursor as you’re dragging out a shape, as it does with some other popular software packages. This is the time saver we’re interested in seeing implemented.


    (Moving and resizing a shape after it’s created — another matter entirely — is a given.) :)

  3. This is something I didn’t realize I used so often… until it was gone! No idea if others do this too.

    In Illustrator (and Photoshop, to a lesser degree), no matter what tool you have selected, holding down the Command key will briefly put the cursor into “move mode” (the Selection tool) so you can move any existing shape before you start drawing the new one.


    This is usually better than using the Selection tool explicitly — in fact, I never have to use the actual Selection tool — because the soft function is always available at the press of a button, and whatever you had selected on the tools palette remains selected.

    AF originally bound object copying to Command-drag (?!), but now that they’ve fixed that, there should be no more conflict with my suggestion.


    I’m sure I can’t be the only one who uses Illustrator this way…?

  4. Actually, I think it’s simpler than that. We’re talking about placement vs. drawing.

    In Illustrator or Photoshop, after selecting a shape tool, merely single-clicking on the canvas (no modifier keys required) will call up the placement dialog box with some settings related to that shape (dimensions, radius, number of sides, etc.). Of course these same features are already present in the Control (Illustrator) / Options (Photoshop) bar (not sure what AF calls it), but as @jgrayillustrate says, sometimes you want to set those things before the shape is placed.

  5. It’s one of those things that may sound obscure, but you’ll come to rely on it as a time-saver, since you don’t have to draw a shape, reposition it, and then resize in three separate steps.


    I definitely use this feature almost daily (in other apps). As you’re dragging out a shape, before you lift up on the mouse button, the Space modifier should let you reposition the origin (with the shape remaining at its current size), until you’ve lifted up on the Spacebar. And it doesn’t conflict with any other functions.

  6. +1 for a toggle to lock guides.


    Getting off track:

    As for layers being located within the layer paradigm, I'm less sure. Illustrator draws a guide on whatever layer you happen to have active. Hide that layer, and only the guides on that layer will hide. It can be useful, but also super-confusing if you're coming from Photoshop (or AF).

    Photoshop's guides exist outside the layer scheme entirely, and AF seems to do the same. I use Photoshop far more than I do anything else, so that's just what I'm used to. (I'm not used to keeping track of where a particular guide might be physically located within my document.)

    I've never used an app, like Freehand, with one single dedicated guide layer, but it sounds intriguing (though the ability to designate shapes as guides is similar to Illustrator). Maybe the best of both worlds.

    Anyway, I can see the pros and cons of any of these, honestly... but back to the topic at hand: yes to being able to lock guides, *however* they're implemented! :)

  7. I'd like to see selected nodes that are scaleable, rotatable AND can use the alignment tools. Also, the ability to set the center point that the nodes translate about.


    Absolutely agreed on all... erm... points. Basically, treat selected nodes like a class of objects in themselves, and allow me to transform and permute them likewise. Industry “standard” apps are a good reference point here. ;)

  8. Well, to be fair, most of the above epic was down to user error on my part. Yeah, it's always unsettling when a key piece of functionality changes in such a drastic way... but I hardly ever use the expand button in day to day life. (I was far more disturbed when they changed the shortcut for creating a new folder to Command-Shift-N from Command-N!)

    Yosemite is 95% cool with me.

  9. (@ronniemcbride mentioned the right side of the screen, which was the Mavericks way.)

    “Problem” solved. Turns out AD’s Toolbar wasn’t docked to the top of the screen, it was merely positioned there. I blame too many years of Photoshop, whose toolbar is docked to the top of the screen. I’m sure there’s a lesson in psychology there.

    tl;dr: If the “shrink” button draws behind your Toolbar, move the Toolbar. (AD should do this automatically, IMO.)

  10. @Andrew Tang: Command-Control-F doesn't work in AD, as I said earlier.

    @Raskolnikov: The green button draws *behind* the Toolbar chrome if you have it docked to the top of your window.

    @ronniemcbride: That trick works only in Mavericks. They changed it for Yosemite.

    I appreciate the suggestions, but I explained in the OP that I've tried those things. The only thing I can't figure out is why my Toolbar is docked on my work computer. It's free-floating on my home computer, which means I can reach the "Shrink" button with ease.

  11. It’s excruciating to ask this, but: how do I leave full screen mode in AD?

    Yosemite changed the way the expand button works, so I find myself entering this blasted full screen mode several times a day. The only way to get out of it (that’s I’ve found) is to move the cursor all the way to the top of the screen until the “shrink” button appears (see attached). There’s also a keyboard shortcut that works with Apple apps: Control-Command-F.


    The problem is that Affinity Designer offers me neither of these options. Having mistakenly entered full screen mode, when I move the mouse to the top of the screen, any window management buttons are hidden behind the AD toolbar (which doesn’t budge, and can’t be turned off, apparently -- “Show Toolbar” is locked on). Plus, AD doesn’t honor Control-Command-F at all.

    As a result, I’m now stuck in full screen mode in AD, even between sessions. It’s locked into full screen!

    So how do I exit this full screen nightmare? (I’ve been using Macs since the 80s, so I’ve possibly just gone senile.)


  12. If I draw or select a shape, its handles and bounding box are active as long as it's selected. Okay so far. But when I elect to add a Layer Effect, the handles and bounding box should be temporarily hidden, as they can obscure the very effects I'm carefully applying.


    I realize that, unlike Photoshop, AD allows me to edit/deselect a shape even while the Layer Effects window is in the foreground. It's not really a modal window! So what's the solution? Well, a compromise might be to hide the handles and bounding box, when the Layer Effects window is present, unless my cursor explicitly moves over the active shape -- making those things more sensitive to my actual intent, in other words. Otherwise assume that I need those to be hidden until I've dismissed the Layer Effects window.


  13. Very helpful tip!

    However, I'd like to vote for things to be the opposite: non-destructive Boolean operations should be the default (non-Option), and committing the compound to a new shape -- since you can only do that once! -- should be a separate explicit action. The assumption should be that the designer would like to keep adjusting compound shapes until the last moment.

    Adobe's solution is to make Combine, Subtract, Intersect, and Exclude non-destructive, and then "Merge Shape Components" is its own separate action.

    Anyway, can't hurt to ask. :)

  14. Is there a way to transform only selected nodes within a shape? I can select nodes, but I can't figure out how to scale, rotate, or skew them, though I can apply those functions to the entire shape.


    In Photoshop (for example) I can select any number of nodes within a given shape, then hit Command-T to enter Free Transformation mode. From then on, any transforms will apply only to the nodes I had selected.

    I've attached an example. I just want to know if this is (yet) possible in AD, as it's something I actually find myself doing quite regularly. (Apologies if I've missed something!)


  15. Okay, I definitely wasn't seeing the behavior shown in that video. So I decided to do some investigation. The short story is I have the answer: "Snap to Units" must be off! With it on, AD will favor pixels (or whatever your unit of measure is) over anything else, and you won't see reliable snapping to objects at all. Turn it off and you'll get exactly the snapping behavior I was looking for!

  16. Simply put, it’s great to anti-alias artwork, but please don’t anti-alias UI elements such as selections, handles, and guides.

    I’ve attached an illustration that shows why anti-aliasing selection guides can lead to difficulty when it comes to precision alignment. Affinity Designer anti-aliases everything equally (with the sole exception of ruler guides), so handles and shape edges end up looking blurry. As a result, you have to zoom in to make sure things are where you think they are. In contrast, Illustrator (Photoshop, too) always renders guides and handles to the pixel, and aggressively snaps things into place, so you can always see (and feel) exactly where everything is.

    I think pictures speak louder than words, so let me know if the attached image doesn’t make my case.

    (Note that I’m not talking about styled borders or strokes. I’m talking about the blue “active selection” indicators. You never want those to be anti-aliased, for the same reason you don’t want the ticks on rulers to be anti-aliased. They should be rendered at screen resolution, to the pixel grid of your working view.)


  17. Maybe I have different expectations for snapping behavior, but what I find missing is that little “catch” when, say, the side of one rectangle meets the side of another rectangle. I’ve turned on every conceivable snapping option (is that part of the problem?), yet when I drag a rectangle, it just passes by the other one as if it weren’t there. If I take the time to pause then I do see fuzzy (anti-aliased!) colored lines appear, but they’re often “off” by a few pixels due to their inherent blurriness (yes, operating at 100% magnification), and there is no physical snap that assures me that two edges are truly coincident.

    Am I missing something, or is physical (magnetized) snapping still to come?