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MrMe

Designer hanging when using fill tool on gaussian blurred pixel layer

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I'm trying to create a blur gradient, so I:

  • Duplicated a rasterised image
  • Added ±65% gaussian blur to the top image
  • Tried to use  the fill tool to create a transparency gradient of the top image

Every time I select the pixel image and pull the fill tool across it, the program hangs solid. I've tried:

  • Restarting Affinity
  • Restarting the laptop
  • Not using the gaussian blur
  • Changing the image

Anyone have any idea why this is happening and how I can get around it?

p.s. I'm not sure if this is the best way to achieve the affect I'm looking for, so if anyone has any alternative suggestions I'm all ears :)

p.p.s. The spinning beachball of death does its thing pretty much as soon as my mouse stops on the right-hand side of the image.

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Hi MrMe,

Would you be able to attach your document please? I'm curious about the full size of the artboards! From what I can tell is happening is that as you apply the gradient on the pixel layer, it expands the pixel layer to the whole size of the document (from the top left artboard to the bottom right artboard). If your document is quite large pixel wise it is likely struggling because of that.

To achieve the effect you want you're better off selecting the blurred pixel layer and first clicking the 'Create Mask' button. You can then draw the mask using the gradient tool onto that layer. That way the mask isn't being created too big and killing your Mac.

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In case it's relevant, here's a test I just did on Windows:

  1. Create a new document in Designer with an artboard. (I used the current 1.8 Windows beta).
  2. Create 3 more artboards using the Artboard tool.
  3. Create a pixel layer on one artboard.
  4. Select the Fill Tool, and choose a fill type of Solid. Immediately a bounding box appears surrounding all 4 arboards. (Note: If I actually set the fill, it affects only the artboard where I created the pixel layer. But that bounding box seems odd, and possibly related to what's being discussed here.)

4-artboards18.afdesign


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.651 Beta.

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Thanks for the reply @Sean P

I'm afraid I'm not allowed to attach the document here, but I did consider that the issue is with the size of the document — I'm working on 66 artboards (of which only 12 are populated so far). The project file is 262MB (images embedded).
(Yeah, this might be a project better suited to Publisher. But I don't have it just yet, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

I did test the same functionality in a new project later and it didn't hang, so it may just be that the issue is specific to the processing density of the fill / gradient tools?

Also, I really need to figure out how to use masks. I'm super new to design work, so I'm still doing a great deal of learning on the job.

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16 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

In case it's relevant, here's a test I just did on Windows:

  1. Create a new document in Designer with an artboard. (I used the current 1.8 Windows beta).
  2. Create 3 more artboards using the Artboard tool.
  3. Create a pixel layer on one artboard.
  4. Select the Fill Tool, and choose a fill type of Solid. Immediately a bounding box appears surrounding all 4 arboards. (Note: If I actually set the fill, it affects only the artboard where I created the pixel layer. But that bounding box seems odd, and possibly related to what's being discussed here.)

4-artboards18.afdesign

Essentially that is the issue - it is just creating a pixel layer the size of the entire document, and not the artboard that is selected. I'll get this passed on to development once I get MrMe's document size, as we really don't want it freezing up like that!

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13 minutes ago, Sean P said:

That's not a problem if you're unable to attach it, however would you just be able to go to the Document Setup dialog and just post a screenshot of that showing the Dimensions tab please?

I've attached the screenshot — I hope this helps.

I noticed that the DPI is 300, which feels a little higher than necessary. If I reduce it to 72, will it also reduce the project weight?

Screenshot 2019-12-20 at 11.32.32.png

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Thanks for the screenshot! Essentially it is trying to create a pixel layer that is 33096 x 46807pixels which is enormous and is likely using all your RAM! 

Without seeing the rest of the document and knowing the intention I can't advise on the DPI, however if it is for print (looks like it might be a photobook?) then you will want to stick with 300DPI. 

As I mentioned I will pass it on to development, as ideally the pixel layer that gets made should be constrained to the artboard size that it is being made on.
 

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58 minutes ago, Sean P said:

Thanks for the screenshot! Essentially it is trying to create a pixel layer that is 33096 x 46807pixels which is enormous and is likely using all your RAM! 

Without seeing the rest of the document and knowing the intention I can't advise on the DPI, however if it is for print (looks like it might be a photobook?) then you will want to stick with 300DPI. 

As I mentioned I will pass it on to development, as ideally the pixel layer that gets made should be constrained to the artboard size that it is being made on.
 

Wowzers. Yeah, that sounds like quite a RAM-hungry process. Is there any way I can minimise the overall size? The following comes to mind, but you would know better than I:

  • Drop the resolution to 72dpi (it's a brochure for a training, so as long as 72 won't bring in any visual artifacts it should be fine?)
  • Make the gaps between the artboards smaller
  • (I can unfortunately not decrease the number of artboards I'm using, although I assume that would be the first best option)

Two related questions, if you don't mind:

  1. Apart from increasing the file size and eliminating the need to keep all project assets in one place, what benefit does embedding images (instead of linking them) offer?
  2. I haven't used Publisher yet (although I did download the trial version to test on the next project on my slate), but from what I've described above, do you think it would be a better fit for this kind of project?

Thank you so much for your assistance :)

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3 hours ago, Sean P said:

Essentially that is the issue - it is just creating a pixel layer the size of the entire document, and not the artboard that is selected. I'll get this passed on to development once I get MrMe's document size, as we really don't want it freezing up like that!

This may be related to another bug discussion I've participated in, Sean.

Here's a post I made in that discussion. My point 2 seems to be this same problem, that the pixel (or fill) layer is not restricted to the size of the artboard:

 


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.651 Beta.

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5 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

Here's a post I made in that discussion. My point 2 seems to be this same problem, that the pixel (or fill) layer is not restricted to the size of the artboard:

Huh. Now you got me wondering whether Affinity:

  • just adds the size of the artboards and treats it as one big pixel layer
  • adds the size of the artboards plus the spaces between and treats it as one big pixel layer
  • processes each artboard as a unique pixel layer (and the sum of those pixel layers is what Sean mentioned).

If it is the last one, it would be soooo useful for projects like mine if they could "freeze" processing on completed artboards to minimise resource use (Logic Pro has that functionality and it's awesome).

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Just now, MrMe said:

Huh. Now you got me wondering whether Affinity:

  • just adds the size of the artboards and treats it as one big pixel layer
  • adds the size of the artboards plus the spaces between and treats it as one big pixel layer
  • processes each artboard as a unique pixel layer (and the sum of those pixel layers is what Sean mentioned).

If it is the last one, it would be awesome for projects like mine if they could "freeze" processing on completed artboards to minimise resource use (Logic Pro has that functionality and it's awesome).

The current incorrect behavior seems to be that pixel and fill layers that are created cover the entire document (including the spaces between the artboards) but in some way are clipped/mased to the artboard they're in. But because they actually cover much more, the processing of them can cause issues.

That is, your second bullet is the behavior I'm seeing.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.651 Beta.

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@Sean P I've run into another issue that is probably related to the way Affinity handles multiple artboards.

I'm trying to export my artboards (as pdf) to be able to recompile them for QA. But from when I set the name and press save until the files turned up in my folder, it took:
Artboard 7: 55 seconds
Artboard 8: 1m 25s
Artboard 9: 1m 10s
Artboard 10: 1m 17s

(For the record, I tested exporting as .png and it took more or less the same amount of time).

I don't even see the "exporting" bar until a second or two before it arrives in the folder, which means all that time (from the user perspective) is spent simply estimating file size. I'm sure there's a lot more going on behind the scenes (at least, I sincerely hope so), but it's really frustrating that all the information I have is that I'm expected to wait over a minute simply for the software to figure out a size estimate before exporting.

That is clearly way too long — I literally have to sit here for 45 - 60 minutes (!) to manually export each of the 47 artboards I've completed (the total is going to be closer to 75, which means I will be just waiting on the exports for over an hour and a half!).

I assume this is because Affinity treats the project as one giant layer, instead of each artboard being a separate entity. I have two thoughts about this:

  1. Is there not a way to automate the export of multiple artboards? (I've wished that a number of times with different projects too).
  2. Assuming the "one big pixel layer" theory is true, it would be awesome if Affinity could not need to process the entire pixel layer during the export process to avoid hassles like this.

 

ps. Please don't get me wrong here. I freaking love this software and am super grateful for the alternative to Adobe's money-slurping subscription model. I wouldn't be taking the time to do this if I wasn't invested in your success :)

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Just to clarify, @MrMe, it sounds like you are using the Export Persona so that you get 1 PDF file per artboard, as opposed to using File > Export which would give you 1 PDF with a page per artboard.

Note, too, that Serif is closed now for the Christmas Holiday until January 2, and it's unclear to me how many and which Serif staff might be working during that time:

 


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.651 Beta.

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On 12/21/2019 at 8:10 PM, MrMe said:

I assume this is because Affinity treats the project as one giant layer, instead of each artboard being a separate entity. I have two thoughts about this:

  1. Is there not a way to automate the export of multiple artboards? (I've wished that a number of times with different projects too).
  2. Assuming the "one big pixel layer" theory is true, it would be awesome if Affinity could not need to process the entire pixel layer during the export process to avoid hassles like this.

The Export Persona would probably be the best way to achieve what you are looking for. You can indeed 'automate' it to export specific slices when clicking a button, as well as to continuously update the export as changes are made (though that is probably better suited for smaller raster exports such as icons etc).

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