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I'm an Indesign convert to Affinity Publisher and I'm still finding my way around. I've also been a user of Pageplus from the first "Tiger logo" version and up to version X9. I really like the new affinity suite and it's much more professional in every way.

However, I can't find that old bastion of graphics software, the drop Shadow either as an effect or as a tool in Publisher. I'm probably staring at it, but I can't see it, please help.

Also is there some way to add a small non printing notepad page on the canvas outside my design, so that I can type notes about the effects, fonts and info that I've used for future reference?

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Hi Cailean,

Welcome to the forums :)

Outer Shadow is an fx that can be added to any layer in Publisher, this can be accessed just below the layers panel -

image.png

17 minutes ago, Cailean said:

Also is there some way to add a small non printing notepad page on the canvas outside my design, so that I can type notes about the effects, fonts and info that I've used for future reference?

You can use the left or right hand side pasteboard in any document for such notes (Provided you have View>View Mode>Clip to Canvas disabled), as shown here -

b024e59557118f85a1adf8465f69b0bb.gif

Anything not included on the canvas won't be included when exporting your document, so they remain as notes for you only. I hope this helps!

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Hi, thanks for your help, the pasteboard is a great idea. However I still can't find a drop shadow effect. It was listed in Pageplus X9 in the FX panel, but it's not listed in Affinity Publisher. Outer shadow is not the effect that I'm looking for. Please see the screenshot from X9. Drop shadow is highlighted in blue in the X9 screenshot.

IMG_20191101_171644.jpg

Edited by Cailean
Error

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Thanks Dan. 

It's unbelievable that such a fantastic piece of graphics kit doesn't have a drop shadow effect! 

Ok, I know that I can use the outer shadow effect and mess around with the settings, but messing around with the settings to achieve a basic effect like a drop shadow is inefficient in otherwise fast software. 

I'm sure I'm not alone in looking for a basic effect like drop shadow in Publisher and it must be included in a future update. 

I also think the other effects worked better in Page Plus than in Publisher. 

Edited by Cailean

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Drop Shadow in Page Plus and Outer Shadow as a layer effect are pretty much the same thing.

To simplify shadow creation, use the Effects panel, and twirl down the Outer Shadow options. Apply the effect, and then use the Offset Tool button to quickly drag the shadow in the view. This is a quicker method to control the effect.

A potential issue is that Affinity does not remember the settings you used previously, and always resets to the defaults. Most users tend to use the Outer Shadow layer effect to create a drop shadow effect, and it would be handy if Affinity would remember the last used settings in these cases.

For images and drop shadow effects you can recreate Page Plus's drop shadow presets by right-mouse clicking an image with an outer shadow effect, and then select "Create Style". This adds the currently applied Effects setting to the Styles list panel.

Next time you need a drop shadow, select the image, and apply the style. Caveat: Styles in Affinity seem to save ALL settings, including fill/stroke colour settings. If you apply this drop shadow style to a vector object or text, the fill and stroke settings will be set to "none", which is frustrating. I haven't found a way to prevent this from happening. The way object styles in Affinity function seems to save all visual settings, and there doesn't seem to be a method to exclude specific visual properties, unlike InDesign and other design software.

By the way, Page Plus also has a dedicated Shadow tool. Affinity Publisher does not include a feature like that.

 

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Thanks, but it would be far simpler to have a drop shadow effect rather than using Outer Shadow and having to adjust the settings. Moreso if these settings have to be reapplied on every document.

 

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Drop shadow settings in the Serif apps invariably needed adjusting so no difference in Affinity apart having to get used to a more accurate term “outer” instead of “drop”.

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Some of the Affinity Effects have a default that gives an immediate visible result when first applied – 3D, Bevel/Emboss, Colour Overlay, etc. – and some do not – Outer Shadow, Gaussian Blur, etc. It would be interesting to know why this difference exists from an application design point-of-view.

For instance, with Outer Shadow, it it better that the application doesn’t give you any visible effect immediately thus forcing the user to explore the settings, or is it a preferable situation that the user – once they have added the Effect – could assume (without knowledge of the settings) that what they get at first is all they can have? My guess is that there are good arguments on both sides that are equally valid, but for quite different reasons. The up-shot probably being that we can’t all have what we personally prefer and some middle-ground has to be taken by the developers.

As mentioned above, using Styles is a good way of applying the same formatting to multiple objects but if you only want to apply the same Effects – rather than all of the formatting – to multiple objects you can Copy the object that has the required Effects applied, then select each object you want to apply those Effects to, and use Alt+Shift+V (on Windows, at least) to only apply the Effects and nothing else.

Adding to that, if you have specific Effect settings that you want to apply over multiple projects you can create an Asset containing those Effects and then temporarily drag that Asset into your document, copy the object and apply the Effects as above, and then delete the object you dragged in.

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1 hour ago, Catshill said:

Drop shadow settings in the Serif apps invariably needed adjusting so no difference in Affinity apart having to get used to a more accurate term “outer” instead of “drop”.

In Pageplus and in every other graphics application including indesign, drop shadow is a separate effect from outer shadow.

It appears that the Publisher developers have ommited it and it would be interesting to hear why. 

There once were issues rendering drop shadow in Pageplus up to version 9 and would only allow RGB and output was poor. The effect was rewritten to allow spot colours I believe. I wonder if it's not been included in Publisher due to Publisher being completely rewritten and the drop shadow code has not. 

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“Outer shadow” and “drop shadow” are the same thing. Just adjust the distance and spreading. 


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Using the settings in Outer Shadow, I've settled on the ones in the attachment below that I can live with. It's a lot of fluffing about for what is a basic effect and standard in every other software that I use, which are Pageplus X9, Indesign and Illustrator CC 2019, and CorelDraw 2019.

They are NOT the same. Outer Shadow applies a shadow effect to the EDGES of the graphic. Drop Shadow applies a shadow effect that is OFFSET to the graphic. I suggest that you refer to the Affinity Publisher Help for an example and verification of this. To achieve a Drop Shadow using Outer Shadow requires manipulation of the settings, while applying a dedicated Drop Shadow effect  directly to the graphic does not. The end results are not visually as good either.

The effects in Publisher need work for a future update. This is constructive criticism and you must be prepared to listen, and not just toe the company line or improvements wanted by end users will not be made.

I also miss gridify from Indesign and several other basic features. Publisher is good, but in my opinion still has a little way to go yet until it becomes a viable replacement for Indesign.

Thank you to everyone for your help with my query, which is very much appreciated. I hope that my settings below for a  Drop Shadow effect may help someone out. These settings can of course be tweaked further if required.

 

IMG_20191102_132122.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Cailean said:

They are NOT the same. Outer Shadow applies a shadow effect to the EDGES of the graphic. Drop Shadow applies a shadow effect that is OFFSET to the graphic. I suggest that you refer to the Affinity Publisher Help for an example and verification of this. To achieve a Drop Shadow using Outer Shadow requires manipulation of the settings, while applying a dedicated Drop Shadow effect  directly to the graphic does not. The end results are not visually as good either.

The effects in Publisher need work for a future update. This is constructive criticism and you must be prepared to listen, and not just toe the company line or improvements wanted by end users will not be made.

To make suggestions for future improvements you should post in the Feature Requests forum for the appropriate application.

 


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1 hour ago, Cailean said:

They are NOT the same. Outer Shadow applies a shadow effect to the EDGES of the graphic. Drop Shadow applies a shadow effect that is OFFSET to the graphic

but outer shadow gives a offset effect.

 


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24 minutes ago, dutchshader said:

but outer shadow gives a offset effect.

 

 

 

25 minutes ago, dutchshader said:

but outer shadow gives a offset effect.

 

  

"but outer shadow gives a offset effect".

Which is not comparable to a drop shadow effect in indesign, Pageplus or any other software. If it was, it would be called Drop Shadow and not Outer Shadow. It only gives fairly comparable results if you manipulate the settings. A true Drop Shadow effect doesn't require any manipulation of the settings, so it's not the same in any way.

 

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In my experience the standard shadow effect settings in all software generally also needs additional manipulation to look good, depending on the job. I almost never am satisfied with the default settings.

The settings of Outer Shadow in Affinity and Drop Shadow in other design software are as good as identical, excepting the default settings.

But I do agree that it is rather odd that the Affinity devs decided to label it Outer Shadow and zero out the default settings, because:

  1. most users would expect a standard Drop Shadow effect to be present in design software and one with acceptable default settings;
  2. Drop Shadow is an effect extensively used (Outer Shadow, however, much less so in my experience);
  3. a typical user would look for the same effect name, which is standard in all other design software (Outer Shadow is unique, as far as I am aware).

And even the default settings don't "do" anything in this case, which can be confusing to novice users. Same with other effects. In my experience users tend to expect an immediate visual response from the design software, and that is exactly how it is generally done in most other design software. Apply an effect, see the effect applied, change the settings. In Affinity it works like: Activate the effect, nothing happens. Change the settings one by one to conjure up the intended effect.

The Affinity user experience does seem to go against the commonly accepted and expected one. Whether this is good UX or a less well thought design choice I will leave up to you.

Funnily enough I never noticed the change in effect name in Affinity before this discussion: my mind automatically 'translated' Outer Shadow to Drop Shadow. Never noticed the difference before :-)

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FWIW, I have always thought of the term "drop shadow" as meaning that the shadow is dropped below an object to create a 3D illusion that the object is floating at some height over a surface lit from above. Because of that, it has always bothered me a little that the term is so often applied to something like this, where the effect is meant to create the illusion of the letters being illuminated from below eye level by a nearby light source.

fabulous.jpg.92f356cc19484886e505d692dfd41626.jpg

So while I am sure I am in the minority, I was happy that Affinity used what to me is a more accurate term for the effect.


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To me a "drop shadow" is a shadow that gives the illusion of the object floating being raised up from the background or objects behind it, regardless of the shadows position.


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12 hours ago, firstdefence said:

To me a "drop shadow" is a shadow that gives the illusion of the object floating being raised up from the background or objects behind it, regardless of the shadows position.

Regardless of the shadow position, it is an edge effect & the name "Outer Shadow" is an accurate one for that effect.

I found it interesting that if I type "Drop shadow" into the search field in the online help, the first hit is "Outer Shadow." Of course that is because the search returns results for each word, but the example in that help topic demonstrates that it is not just for creating drop shadows, which I think explains why they decided to use the more generic name instead.

Only when an offset is added does it become what most of us consider a drop shadow, & of course the direction, shadow color, etc. all are adjustable, giving us a lot of options to create a wide range of different effects, some of which I doubt many of us would call a drop shadow effect.

All that said, the online help topic & the built-in one for Macs (which is the same for all three Affinity apps except that the example for Photo is different) mentions an "Offset Tool" said to set "angle and offset simultaneously" & a gear icon named "Layer Effects" said to provide "access to the Layer Effects dialog for more advanced settings and controls," but from what I can tell neither of those things are present in the effect window.


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12 minutes ago, R C-R said:

Regardless of the shadow position, it is an edge effect & the name "Outer Shadow" is an accurate one for that effect.

Are you sure about that? :P
Screen-Shot-2019-11-03-at-10-51-22.png


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Just now, firstdefence said:

Are you sure about that? :P

Yes, because it is derived only from the edges of the object it is applied to, I am quite sure about that. In fact, that's one of the reasons I prefer the more generic "Outer Shadow" name, which I think better suggests the range of effects it can produce.

If I was going to quibble about the name, I would be more inclined to find fault with the "shadow' part, since it can produce effects that do not resemble a shadow at all. But they had to name it something & I think "Edge Effect" is a bit too generic, so as I said I am happy with the name they decided on.

So there! xD


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On 11/1/2019 at 5:15 PM, Cailean said:

Also is there some way to add a small non printing notepad page on the canvas outside my design, so that I can type notes about the effects, fonts and info that I've used for future reference?

I understand and share what you say about "Drop Shadow", but I can offer you a solution on the design notes. There is a very simple and powerful solution for what you need. Look at the video.

That is a great advantage, because you can save the file with the notes and export it without them.

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58 minutes ago, R C-R said:

Yes, because it is derived only from the edges of the object it is applied to,

Not true. It's a shadow of the complete object, but the parts under the object are hidden by the object. To demonstrate, create an object that's partly transparent, and uncheck the "fill knocks out shadow" option.


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1 hour ago, R C-R said:

All that said, the online help topic & the built-in one for Macs (which is the same for all three Affinity apps except that the example for Photo is different) mentions an "Offset Tool" said to set "angle and offset simultaneously" & a gear icon named "Layer Effects" said to provide "access to the Layer Effects dialog for more advanced settings and controls," but from what I can tell neither of those things are present in the effect window.

The Offset Tool & "Gear Icon" are only available in the Effects panel not in the Layer Effects dialog

 

outershadow.png


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