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AK21

Node Selection Improvements (Ring Selection)

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Hello Affinity Team,

I think the node selection tool could need some improvements for selecting multiple nodes and nodes along a path.
See at my attached video for a use case. I've expanded a stroke and now want to delete the inner shape to make it solid. As of Designer v1.7.3 I have to either select all nodes by hand or use the lasso selection tool (drag + ⌥). With complex shapes this can be quite tricky! And it would be much faster to select all nodes along a path with e.g. ⌘-clicking on a node.

This also includes the problem that it overlaps with the scrolling when keep holding the option-key. I was just accidentally finding out that you can release the option-key to work around this.

Inspiration:

Adobe Illustrator does a great job here. When selecting one node and deleting it all of the missing nodes connected to that shape will be selected after this.

Alternatively Illustrator also allows to select whole objects in one group of shapes. See here (at 5:14):

 

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My suspicion is that internally, Illustrator treats that shape as a Compund (two objects that look like one), so when you clic on the inner outline, it shows you all of the Nodes of that single shape (as it does with any shape/path), and the Alt + Click works the same way Ctrl + A on Designer: it selects all of the Nodes of the Selected Shape (unlike in Illustrator, because there Ctrl + A selects all of the Nodes of all of the Shapes).

Anyway, it's a good suggestion, but maybe internally the A Team might need more work than meets the eye.

Best regards!


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Selection in general still needs a lot of work. It seems that the Node Transform tool itself was added in reaction to shortcomings of the Node Tool. This application now has three primary selection tools, whereas most programs like it have the Adobe-esque two, which FreeHand's functionality always surpassed with but one. Too much "hard switching" between tools (as opposed to using momentary modifiers).

I do appreciate the Node Transform Tool's novel ability to uniformly scale as it rotates (which can be overridden by a momentary modifier keypress) in order to snap to existing artwork. But I don't know why the functionality of the Node Transform tool couldn't or shouldn't be integrated with the Node Tool. As AK21 mentioned, the Node Transform Tool cannot perform its transforms on a sub-selection of nodes.

Much of it seems to be in strained effort to doggedly cling to what I consider the kind of over-the-top obtrusive insistence on bounding box handles for transformations. I know this is part and parcel of Affinity Designer's ability to remember each path's original orientation, which is a valuable capability that many programs (including Illustrator) do not have. But this has long been better implemented in Deneba Canvas (one of the still-surviving venerable Big Four competitors from the 80s). Many Affinity users have complained about the inability to permanently reset the bounding box to the current orientation (which can be done in Illustrator). This is a real stumbling block when working in Affinity. But in Canvas, you can switch between a selection's "transformed" and "untransformed" values at will, with the corresponding bounding box appearing.

A small step in the right direction which would yield disproportionally large improvement would be simply for all nodes of the selected path to not automatically become unselected when merely switching from the Selection Tool to the Node tool.

Another behavior that should be standard fare is that deleting an open path's endnode should result in the adjacent node's being selected. It's a very useful thing to be able to "back up" a path from the last-placed node just by tapping Delete.

Also related to all this is the problem with drawing "lines" (single-segment straight paths) with the Pen's Line Mode. It's hard to think of anything more basic to drawing (even before drawing with software) than drawing a measured line. But with Affinity's Pen set to Line Mode, only dragging out a horizontal or vertical "line" will result in its "dimensions" corresponding to its length, because of that infernal insistence upon referencing everything to the obtrusive bounding boxes. Using the Pen in Line Mode, drag out a diagonal line, and all you'll get is its bounding box dimensions. One can put the bounding box dimensions to use, for example for calculations based on sine and cosine. But it is far more commonly useful to intuitively draw the path at its desired angle in the first place, and immediately know its actual length. And angle.

So I hope none of this is taken as derailing a specific request. I'm just saying that all these things are closely related to devising a truly elegant path selection and manipulation interface, and I suspect the devs still consider it a work-in-progress. For example, I seem to recall a mention somewhere of enabling the Node Transform tool to manipulate sub-selections something still to be worked on.

JET

 

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2 hours ago, Mithferion said:

Ctrl + A on Designer: it selects all of the Nodes of the Selected Shape (unlike in Illustrator, because there Ctrl + A selects all of the Nodes of all of the Shapes)

Awesome, thanks for mentioning that @Mithferion!
I didn't know that it works like this! I thought you can only select all nodes of all shapes ⌘+A (or ctrl+A).

Clarification of others:
Select a node of the shape you want to select and press ⌘+A (or ctrl+A on Windows) to select all nodes only of this shape.

 

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What a in depth feedback @JET_Affinity. Though it doesn't directly correspond to my points I hope Affinity is reading and listening. :10_wink:

14 minutes ago, JET_Affinity said:

Another behavior that should be standard fare is that deleting an open path's endnode should result in the adjacent node's being selected. It's a very useful thing to be able to "back up" a path from the last-placed node just by tapping Delete.

Good idea, better than selecting all connected nodes on a path after deleting the first one (my suggestion).

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31 minutes ago, JET_Affinity said:

Another behavior that should be standard fare is that deleting an open path's endnode should result in the adjacent node's being selected. It's a very useful thing to be able to "back up" a path from the last-placed node just by tapping Delete.

Agreed. On a related note, I’ve always liked the ability in Serif DrawPlus to Tab/Shift-Tab from the currently selected node to the next/previous node.


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