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  1. This is a proposal for an alternative way of interacting with Béziers that is lacking in the consumer vector design program space, though most of these have existed for years or decades with font design tools. I wrote it up to outline some key problems with vector handling in Affinity Designer and suggest a potential solution. 1. Diagnosis: "robust" Currently Affinity Designer has a flimsiness problem with its current bezier tools. What I mean is that once a change to curvature must be made, it is difficult to make it consistently and parametrically. A "robust" set of tools is one in which the behaviours are consistent, expectable, and where as many transformations as possible can be done incrementally (i.e. without relying on the mouse motion to drag things into place). It should be possible to access basic transformations (translate, scale, rotate, skew) on any parts of the curvature (segments, anchors, BCPs, whole objects) in any combination, independantly of one another, with no unnecessary steps. We can move anchor points and their BCPs ('handles', Bezier Control Points) with the mouse pointer, and we can snap them, but we can only use the anchors themselves to apply transformations or shift them with arrow keys. We also have no good way of applying transformations to even the anchors themselves if the group we wish to transform belongs to more than 1 vector layer. What this inevitably means is that for relatively simple transformations of curvature, if one does not settle for changing handle positions individually, they are required to set up elaborate grids, relying on the snapping mechanics of anchors and BCPs, which does work to achieve a final goal, but is not good for exploring a range of possibilities. If the same transformation has to be made to another part of the curvature (let alone one at an angle relative to the original), that necessitates extensive re-positioning. There are also many lacking aspects of managing curvature, such as no good ways of adding BCPs to straight line segments, inconsistent results in converting between smooth and sharp anchors, and no way to move an anchor point between its BCPs. 2. Applicability Though I will propose many features found in e.g. font design software, this is not an attempt to turn Affinity Designer into a makeshift font editor or anything of the like. Since the software is relatively specialised and I imagine not many users of the Affinity suite have experience with it, I am bringing the lack of its features to light because I think anyone who uses Béziers would find them useful in their process, but it is impossible to desire what one doesn't know to exist. More robust Bézier tools touch on every aspect of vector work and make significantly easier the processes of, for example, editing expanded typography, designing ornaments, designing frames, creating precise logos or icons, digitising raster drawings, ensuring consistency in curvature (+ removing 'sharp points'), fine-tuning masks, creating consistent shapes not covered by the shape tools, working on anything technical where things like G-continuity and/or consistency of curvature make a significant impact, or even reliably editing meshes, which at the moment is extremely labourious. Currently Illustrator has the same problem; often editing a mesh for a specific purpose is more trouble than it's worth, given that the end result is not even guaranteed to be good and may need to be adjusted later. 3. Examples of robust vector tools Most good examples of good vector handling are common within font tools, which is not very suprising given that their premise is precise vector output. For that reason I think Designer could pick up a few things common in font tools. The absence of these features in regular vector design programs could be partly because they create a lot of visual complexity with even a small number of elements. However, as I will propose later down the line, Designer already has a solution to allowing different types of editing and hiding their visual clutter which would make it possible to isolate selected objects and allow editing them comprehensively. Below are some examples of what I outlined before and a brief summary. In Glyphs, BCPs can be selected independantly from their anchors and are given their own bounding box. They may be nudged by arrows or transformed by scaling or rotating by dragging or with precise parameters. Option-clicking on a straight line segment places both missing BCPs on the line segment. Double-clicking on an anchor point or pressing 'return' with any number of anchors selected turns them from a corner points (blue) to a smooth points (orange) — meaning the BCPs on their sides are always aligned. Being able to toggle between these two options is extremely useful, especially if it is possible to ensure only one BCP realigns (currently affinity designer displays smooth anchors as round but with the same colour which should be editable separately, and when converting from sharp to smooth, both BCPs change position. I think there should be an option to have a more predictable behaviour in that place) Also notice how despite being two separate objects, all the BCPs and anchors can be selected and transformed together. There was already a post that suggested the option to view curvature combs. I will not reiterate their usefulness, only specify that the option to display them is in my view a useful tool to model Béziers with precision. On the right of the image is a use case of having clearly defined corner and smooth points in curvature; the BCP on the right of the orange point always aligns with the line that leads into the point, thus moving it around always generates a straight line that curves downwards without performing any additional steps. This is not a call for 'that specific feature.' Rather I am attempting to demonstrate that some simple shifts in how the curves are handled can be very powerful for editing and exploring within the program. I believe many font tools are at the current 'apex' of the power the user has by virtue of nothing other than just their handling of Bézier curves. There area also more specific vector tools that make mundane tasks much easier. The I-disconnector, for instance, is similar to the knife tool, except it also allows a specified amount of overlap to be generated. The disconnectors in general are useful for breaking down more complicated shapes with minimal effort. I could understand such things never making their way to the program. I put them into this post only to demonstrate how many core vector features are possible (but largely unexplored) within software like Designer or Ai for simplifying mundane daily tasks that consume a long time when they must be done. Brief list of integral features for precise editing of vector paths: Independently selectable anchor points and BCPs (independent of one another and the selected object in the layers window) A convenient way to rotate and scale from an anchor point. The current behaviour of having to manually drag the anchor point from the centre of selection each time is too slow. This feature is good for layers because they remember where their anchor point is, but for more temporary selections another solution should exist. More consistent conversion between smooth and corner anchors and possibility to display the distinction clearer Curvature combs On hold of [whatever key modifier] and arrow keys, the selected BCP moves along side an extension of its original 'line' from its anchor point (this already happens with shift-dragging) and on hold of [the same modifier] the smooth anchor point is moved between its BCPs and the corner point is moved independently of its BCPs, such that in both cases only the anchor is moved and the BCPs stay in place (both with arrows and with mouse dragging). Below are some of the sources of features and potential sources of additional features that would benefit Affinity Designer in my view. The reason I list them is to show the breadth of how much can be done with Bézier curves alone, and why all those features could be placed into a Persona of its own (however radical or far-fetched it may feel). I would however suggest improving the basics of curve handling before an application of any of these is considered. Most of the proposed features come directly from Glyphs 3. There is of course much more to Glyphs. I could only wish for its segment component functionality to make its way to Designer's Symbols window. The disconnectors come from DTL FM2. They are available in DTL LetterModeller. It can be a bit tricky to get into the font editor in LeMo. It has a lot of other really useful features that I didn't mention because I intend this post to primarily propose features that would be 'unlocked' to the user with only a difference in the handling of existing functionality within the software. However one 'separatable' feature I particularly like is the Shift Smooth, which is a way of moving an anchor point and recalculates all 4 BCPs of its adjecent line segments to maintain the smoothness of curvature. The curvature combs I showed come from Yanone's Speedpunk, which is a FOSS extension to RoboFont and Glyphs. Including this feature is part of why I am intent on proposing all these together as one Persona rather than individually — displaying this information in particular can be computationally intense if done by accident in an e.g. illustration process, so I think it should not be possible to accidentally enable it within a process that wouldn't make use of them. A lot of other useful functionality exists in the spaces of plug-ins for RoboFont and Glyphs. 4. Why the proposal? Is it even suitable? There are many things that Affinity Designer aims to be, and I know certain features, e.g. auto trace, are very often requested by people who wish to get as far away from Adobe's pricing model as they can. I notice that recently it also aims to be a bit of precision tool, allowing import and editing of CAD files which can also be locked behind an oppressive subscription. I believe that this is a strong point for both, providing features that most people would use and find indispensible after having tried them, and ones that people who need precision would be very happy about. They strenghten the core of what a vector design program is. The people who need precision are not just the few who cannot live without CAD support within Affinity Designer, but also anyone who e.g. designs a precise icon or logo, customises type for a large poster or mural, or just isn't sure where the object they want lies on the scale from squircle to circle to diamond, and doesn't have 4 hours to set up an elaborate grid and move the BCPS one by one, through one iteration by another. The reason I think Affinity Designer is uniquely suited for these features is because though they make life much easier, they can introduce a lot of visual clutter, which Designer already has a way of dealing with; the Personas. Dedicating one entirely to much stronger vector functionality seems to me like a good place for features that are sorely missing from the entire space, one only this particular program could provide effectively as it stands (which is why I elected to put this proposal here rather than e.g. sending it to Adobe, whatever that could have accomplished.) I am also admittedly a bit sick of creating a new font file whenever I want to edit an SVG with a modicum of speed and accuracy, despite having access to both Designer and Adobe Illustrator. To end my million-word bézier novella, I want to clarify that it doesn't matter to me how the issues I brought up are addressed if only they are. The methods used by font software are of course tried and working well; everyone I know with experience using font tools tends to edit paths within them, even if that means having to paste them from and back into other software, not to mention reposition them. If nothing changes about Affinity Designer, then that is just what I will keep on doing, but I think it would be neat if this functionality was more accessible. To anyone yet unconvinced, I urge you to download a free trial of FontLab (mac/win) or Glyphs (mac only) and spend a few hours editing paths within them, then see how you feel after returning to Designer. A testimony on the Glyphs website says: "After using Glyphs, the pen tool in Illustrator feels like carving a chicken with a chainsaw." That it does, and I'm afraid Designer currently feels quite the same, but it has the potential to make Illustrator feel like that in comparison.
  2. Curvature Combs visualize the curvature of a Bezier curve in order to enable the designer to draw smoother curves. See section 2.11 here: http://cagd.cs.byu.edu/~557/text/ch2.pdf Often I find my self in position that I drew a curve but it just does not look smooth enough and I fiddle around until it looks smooth. Would be great to have some more clear feedback.
  3. It's frustrating to have to select a point to show the handles: I don't have any reason to have any handles hidden, and if I press ctrl-a to select every point so that every handle is shown, then if I want to move a point I have to click click-drag when I want to move any point without moving all the other points.
  4. How to move two hadles of the same node together? On the equal distance, like in Illustrator by default.
  5. So, the first hangup of working in 1.7, you can't snip off half of the Bezier curve. It deletes both handles. So ppl are gonna have to learn how to approximate the middle of the curve and build that way. I dont know if this was an unintentional change, but if it was made intentionally, It's not really ideal. Thoughts?
  6. In my opinion Affinity designer is a remarkable tool regarding how new it is. My compliments to the entire development team. There is one point of critique, though, which is that in my opinion it is not "The first OSX vector drawing app that has figured out how to do Bezier curves correctly" (besides, what matters is being best not first). Coming from an Inkscape background and having used apps with very limited bezier drawing capabilities (e.g. the old pages) it feels natural to have "symmetrical" nodes, meaning nodes where the tangent handles are constrained to have both the same slope and length. Currently one has to use shift and snapping to achieve this result on a tangent, but moving one tangent of course does not preserve this relation. The reason one might want a symmetrical node is to achieve a "better" smoothness where the curve is not just G(1) but C(1) continuous (where the derivative at that point does not just exist but is also continuous). In my opinion this is a fundamental type of node and deserves its own button in the convert section of the node tool. Even a key binding would do if not otherwise possible. If this is an intentional design decision, I'd like to see the reasoning behind it. I hope this is not a duplicate request or has been implemented in the current beta, in that case: great job and keep going.
  7. Hi, yes, yet another "how to join 2 nodes post", but I've been in struggle for two days now, I'm creating a font and will have a lot of this places with 2 points together but with different bezier points (see image), I need really clean vector with 1 point instead of 2. When moving 1 point to second one, it highlights in yellow color and snaps to it, I looks like YAAYYY it converted into 1 point???? NO, it's still 2 points just hanging in the same coordinates Selecting 2 points and clicking "Join curves" "Close curves" nothing is happening. "Smooth curve" is great feature, but not great for me in this situation, as shape very much changes How to really create 1 point from 2? without touching the bezier handles and doing anything with hands again (it will ruin the original shape) P.S. Also, why point sometimes have square markers and sometimes round markers? (like in attachment)
  8. Hi, Is there a way to make bezier handles snap to 45 or 90 degrees? Most apps allow for this by holding down shift, but shift behaved differently in Affinity Designer, snapping to the existing curve. The only workaround i've found so far is to use the pen tool to redraw the bezier curve by clicking and dragging on the same point while holding shift. Is there another way to do this? Thanks.
  9. Is it possible to create a selection using both the selection brush and Bézier curves? This can be very useful when dealing with product photos: While the selection brush usually does a great job, there will sometimes be areas where it cannot reliably detect the edges because they're simply not visible in the photo. However, a human who knows what the object looks like can easily draw it using Bézier curves (see picture). In Affinity Photo, is there a simple way to add a selection created from Bézier curves to an existing selection (made with the selection brush)?
  10. Working with the pen tool, I've noticed that there is no way to snap the bezier handles to 45° and 90° angles once the node has been placed. Normally, this would be done by holding down the shift key while moving the bezier handle. In Affinity designer, this locks the handle to the angle it was last placed at. My suggestion would be to keep the current behavior, but add an alternate keyboard shortcut that will lock the bezier handles to 45° and 90° (and possibly other) angles. Could be CMD + DRAG, CMD + SHIFT + DRAG, etc.. Thanks!
  11. Hello! Is it possible to snapping the bezier handles to shapes in Affinity Designer? Thanks! wave.afdesign
  12. Hi, I'm going from AI to Designer. In Illustrator you press SHIFT to get 100% horizontal & vertical handels when dragging . Is this possible in Designer? Thnx for the help. Olaf
  13. I would love it if you could easily toggle to the node tool while drawing with the pen tool. It would make drawing masks much quicker. Or even if you could choose one of the bezier handles with the pen and adjust it that way. Now, if I click on one of the control points with my pen it drops another point instead of letting me adjust the handle angle. On a related note, please let the node tool adjust just one side of a Bézier curve. I'm try to crest an accurate mask and if use the node to adjust one side the other side adjusts as well. Can't get a good mask like that. Thanks
  14. I would love it if you could easily toggle to the node tool while drawing with the pen tool. It would make drawing masks much quicker. Or even if you could choose one of the bezier handles with the pen and adjust it that way. Now, if I click on one of the control points with my pen it drops another point instead of letting me adjust the handle angle. On a related note, please let the node tool adjust just one side of a Bézier curve. I'm try to crest an accurate mask and if use the node to adjust one side the other side adjusts as well. Can't get a good mask like that. Thanks
  15. Hi everyone, Please can implement the feature to export UIBezierPath Swift and Objective C code from the drawed shape as the PaintCode and QuartzCode apps? It will be very helpful for a lot of developers, maybe can create a new 'Persona' section. Thanks
  16. Thanks for a fantastic piece of software! The only major thing missing right now I believe is snapping of bezier handles e.g. to grid points in order to draw more "geometrically inspired" or "clean" shapes quickly. In addition numerical control of bezier handles would be a great addition too. :-)
  17. Is it possible to merge nodes without losing their bézier setting? The task I'm trying to do is to create a design that has some symmetrical elements. I draw one half and mirror it over. The problem I find is when I come to join pieces. There doesn't seem to be a way to get nodes to merge properly. I can snap overlap them, but that is not ideal and may cause problems later. An example would be a heart shape outline. Imagine you draw the left side then mirror it right. Joining the top right and bottom right nodes to their left counterpart loses the bézier on the right of the node. The nodes on the left side retain their bézier, on the right they become sharp. Thanks for any help, this is driving me mad. :wacko:
  18. Hi, I'm currently testing out the Windows Beta coming from Inkscape (and Illustrator at the office) and what I'm missing a bit are the handlers for sharp control points. Inkscape does it brilliantly and it really makes it much easier to control a curve. Would love to see this kind of feature in AD. That's how it looks like in action: http://i.imgur.com/5iIRXG8.png
  19. When creating multiple shapes next to each (with no outline)other using the node tool with snap enabled, AD renders hairline gaps. Even double checking the snap values by dragging the nodes does not change this. see screenshot
  20. I switched to Affinity Designer from CorelDraw and I'm loving so much about it! There is one thing I can't seem to do though that I found very useful on CorelDraw. When working with curves the three modes are Sharp, Smooth, and Smart. I can't seem to find a way to have a curve exiting one side of a node, and a straight line exiting the other. I find I have to make really tiny curves to try to approximate a straight line. Am I missing something? Is it possible to do this with Designer? Thanks!
  21. I'd like an additional hotkey that can be used with the pen tool. Currently, after click and dragging to make a node and adjust its bezier handles, you can break the colinear-ness of the bezier handles by holding option. This matches the behavior of going back to break and edit bezier handles on existing nodes. You can also currently hold command to go back and edit the length of and existing bezier handle without breaking its colinear-ness with its counterpart. The hotkey I'd like added is: after clicking and dragging to create a new node and adjust its bezier handles, hold command to adjust the and of both handles (because they remain colinear) and the length of the second handle (the one that it under the cursor) while maintaining their colinear-ness. Currently holding command in this context does nothing, and I think this would add some symmetry between the behavior of the option and command keys between creating new nodes and editing old bezier handles.
  22. Saw this on Twitter, a great little online game for budding designers.... http://bezier.method.ac/ Dale.
  23. The docs team have put together a collection of tutorials that will grow over time, please speak up about which tutorials you feel are most needed. Here's one that covers the pen tool. Regards, Dale.
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