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JCD2016

Set Units to MM (millimeters) application wide

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When I create a design, using MM (millimeters as units) and export it to let's say EPS. Open this back again, i'm back in px (pixel) units. Somehow the application does not allow me to ALWAYS use Millimeters, as this is the most logical unit within sign-graphics, nobody uses pixel units in signage.

Perhaps the solution to this problem is, just like Adobe does; choose what you want to use from the application it self, and it will create or interpret loaded ('strange formats' outside Affinity) always with that unit. Saves me alot of work, since plotting vinyl does only take EPS/ AI in Summa's WinPlot.

 

Using Designer 1.7.3.481 on Windows 10

 

 

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@JCD2016: Affinity native document formats (.afphoto, .afdesign, .afpub) and possibly PSD record many aspects of the document, including the units you've selected.

Non-native formats (except possibly PSD) don't record that information, and when you Open them they will show in px. You can change the document units in Designer in several ways:

  1. File > Document Setup...
  2. With the View Tool (Hand) selected, in the Context Toolbar
  3. With the Rulers showing: right-click on the unit value shown where the rulers meet, and choose a new unit.
21 minutes ago, Fixx said:

exported eps opens with points as unit... :-D

For the document size? Or for a line in the document? If you're talking about lines in the document, you might have this option set in Preferences, User Interface:
image.png.266fc9c7fc9aac94e02798e2ec65ce36.png

With it off you should see px, with it on you'll see pt.


-- 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 1.8.4.647 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.647 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.3.627 Beta.

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Interesting. I had never noticed that. Thanks.


-- 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 1.8.4.647 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.647 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.3.627 Beta.

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It honors it as long as it stays a Affinity Designer format, but when you exported it to EPS. And load it back in later, it's back to pt or px. Both highly unusable. I want it to (en)forced within the whole designer application to mm.

And that goes for the document size 'sheet' and the shapes as well, fonts and so on. Hopefully this will be adressed some time soon.

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On 1/5/2020 at 9:08 AM, JCD2016 said:

fonts and so on.

Make sure "Show Lines in points" and "Show Text in points" are turned off in preferences (see the post by @walt.farrell above) and those will display in the document units.

Set the document units to mm and you should be good.

Note that the document units are synced with the rulers, so if you have the rulers showing, you can right-click on the corner where the vertical and horizontal rulers meet and select the units from there without needing to open the Document Setup window.

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It all goes sideways, when exporting it to an NON Affinity document. So you set it all correctly, save the affinitydesigner format. Then export it to EPS (to cut graphics on vinyl plotter). Then you realise you need to edit the file again, you'll take the EPS open it in Affinity, boom we're back at PT. Pixels, Points useless stuff within Designer.

 

That's why the Application itself has to overrule the units chosen inside the document. So, set it once in the application to your desired units. Then never have to think about it ever again.

 

Yes, I turned off the Lines and text in points.

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The same applies to exporting objects.
Not always if I export objects to * .jpg, these are files for websites - of course then in px size.
In most cases, in my daily work I need to export objects to e.g. * .jpg in mm size, e.g. designs for signs and banners for a printing plotter.
Then I need the size in mm. And although the whole document is set in mm, the size of the objects in the transform panel is displayed correctly in mm, in the export window to e.g. jpg it is not possible to set the units in mm, the information is displayed only in px.
A long time ago I wrote about adding the option to select units in the size boxes, but you can see Serif has more important priorities.

I would like to be able to choose units when exporting. E.g. Right click on the dimensions window in px, a popup menu will open with the units to choose from.

This is a necessity for normal work. After all, Affinity is professional software.

export mm.png

 

export mm1.png

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13 hours ago, GRAFKOM said:

jpg it is not possible to set the units in mm, the information is displayed only in px

The JPEG file format, like most raster formats, has no concept of different units of measure - they are purely in pixels internally, though some raster formats will track a DPI value (pixel scale) which is otherwise unused, typically just an FYI for any software that happens to pay any attention to it.

With a raster format that tracked pixel density, if you were to set the size in millimeters, that would be problematic as the question would arise as to whether you were trying to adjust the number of pixels, or simply their density (via the DPI setting), and that would leave the software clueless as to how many actual pixels to export the image at.

For this to work, you would need to specify both the size AND the density so that the software could calculate the number of pixels, and some software may very well ignore the density setting anyway which makes that of questionable value in the general case.

That being said, in a "pure" JPEG file there is no way to store pixel density, so it would not transfer to other software anyway.  There is an extension to JPEG, called JFIF, which allows this information to be stored, but since there is no mechanism to adjust the pixel density within the Export settings in Affinity Photo, I would need to assume that Photo is not supporting this extension upon export.  Even if it were, the software reading the JPEG would also need to support that extension and make use of the information for it to have any value.

 

The GIF, TGA and EXR formats don't support storage of pixel density at all.  PNG and TIFF make it optional much as JPEG does.  From what I can tell, the Affinity products don't currently support pixel density settings for any of the supported raster file formats, only for raster data embedded in SVG and the various supported document formats (PDF, etc.).  There is room for improvement here, but this information is likely to be ignored by a lot of other software anyway, so even if implemented you would need to be careful about relying on it.

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6 hours ago, fde101 said:

 There is room for improvement here, but this information is likely to be ignored by a lot of other software anyway, so even if implemented you would need to be careful about relying on it.

I would like to point out that I use Affinity programs for work, not play. I run an advertising company, we make signboards, banners, posters, business cards, etc. I also use CorelDraw since 1992. Please see the pictures, there is no problem with changing units when exporting to jpg, png, tif, bmp etc. I can choose different units of measure when exporting. Also, such a file, e.g. * .jpg, is imported into a program that supports a large eco-solvent plotter (PhotoPRINT DX) and is displayed in mm in it. I can't imagine how I would handle such large prints, e.g. 250cm x120cm if they were expressed in px. All products not related to screen display require units of measurement in mm, cm and meters (Europe, Poland).
I still have a foil cutting plotter and a laser plotter in my company, for some reason these devices do not work with Affinity because there is no raster vector signal to the devices. And these devices require a vector signal.

So it would make my daily work much easier if I could set different units of measurement than px when exporting to bitmaps.

export mm2.png

export mm3.png

export mm4.png

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4 hours ago, GRAFKOM said:

I can choose different units of measure when exporting.

Yes, and right next to that is a density (DPI) setting, allowing the pixel size to be calculated from the units you entered.  If that program uses the optional capability to store that setting as metadata within the file, and the receiving program similarly reads that metadata, then it can reverse the calculation and determine the physical size from the pixel size and density.

That can work well if all programs involved correctly support that optional feature of the file formats, but not all of them do (the Affinity programs being one example of programs that currently do not; I'm quite sure I can find others rather quickly if I start digging for them - video editors for example are unlikely to care about or use such metadata).  Also, most of those formats do not store what units were selected, so if you were to export it in inches and the program you open it in is configured for centimeters, it will probably show the size in centimeters when opening, not in the inches you used while exporting, though that should hopefully be much less of a concern.

Behind the scenes, the raster formats are ALWAYS measured in pixels internally, that is the "true" measure of their size regardless of how the programs handle the metadata for providing a default scale when opening them.  GIF, TGA and EXR, from what I can tell, don't even support pixel density as an option, so the receiving program would need to default to or guess at the pixel density unless you manually provided it for that capability to work - otherwise you could only get the size back in pixels with those formats, or with any image saved without density information.

Again, there is room for improvement here, I'm not arguing that point - what you are asking for is reasonable, but it is not universally useful nor is it implemented across the board by some of the types of software that would be opening these images, including "professional" applications of various kinds.

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5 hours ago, fde101 said:

Again, there is room for improvement here, I'm not arguing that point - what you are asking for is reasonable, but it is not universally useful nor is it implemented across the board by some of the types of software that would be opening these images, including "professional" applications of various kinds.

I don't believe that only I need this unit selection feature during export, there are probably 2 million users of Affinity software already.
Not everyone uses this software for fun, according to the developers it is professional software, so how can you say that what I suggest is not useful?

Imagine that even if in Affinity Designer I set the document resolution to e.g. 150 dpi, I would draw a protocol size 600mm x 45mm and export to * .jpg (export settings show the size in pixels 3545px x 2658px) and open this file in a program for printing on large format printer, it displays information about the file that is expressed in cm, and shows me the correct size 60cm x 45cm, although the export units were pixels. Even if I import this * .jpg file into CorelDraw (document settings CorelDraw 300dpi), it shows me the object size 600mm x 450mm 150dpi.)
So Affinity exports well, other programs interpret it well.

So I would like to have Affinity selection of units of measurement when exporting, to see exactly what size, e.g. in mm I export (if the document is set in mm) so that the size of the selected object is correct or that I can change the size of the exported object in the export window instead of changing it physical size in the program. This is normal in other graphic programs that I use in my advertising company.

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5 hours ago, GRAFKOM said:

professional software

You seem to be assuming yours is the only profession that uses high-end software?

For example, the density values used to calculate physical dimensions are meaningless when the person using the software is doing video/cinema work and nearly as meaningless for most web development.  I would not discount either of those as being somehow unprofessional.

 

5 hours ago, GRAFKOM said:

how can you say that what I suggest is not useful

I didn't.  I said it wasn't universally useful - there is a difference.

It is not useful if the images are being transferred into software that will ignore the information anyway.

It is not useful if the user is putting it into software where it will be scaled to fit some container or manually positioned/scaled such that the information is going to be overridden regardless.

 

5 hours ago, GRAFKOM said:

So I would like to have Affinity selection of units of measurement when exporting, to see exactly what size, e.g. in mm I export (if the document is set in mm) so that the size of the selected object is correct or that I can change the size of the exported object in the export window instead of changing it physical size in the program.

And this is a fair request - again, I never said it wasn't.  I am pointing out that there are limitations to such a feature that should somehow be made clear to the user.  At a minimum, this would need to be coupled with an option to set the density in order to make it a bit more clear what it was doing, since the underlying raster image is *ALWAYS* physically stored in pixels and those metrics on their own could be more confusing than helpful.  The pixel size should ideally be presented as well to make it a bit more obvious what is being stored behind the scenes, as the physical dimensions are meaningless unless the software the image is being imported into accepts them.

It is also questionable whether or not this should be available for formats such as GIF, TGA and EXR which don't support tracking of the density, as the physical dimensions would not carry forward to other software regardless.  While the pixel size could be calculated from those dimensions and stored, I would be concerned that people would then start complaining that the dimensions did not carry forward to their other software like they did with the other formats, and we would get a whole new topic repeatedly started on this mess.

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So I would like to have  selection of units of measurement when exporting, to see exactly what size, e.g. in mm I export (if the document is set in mm) so that the size of the selected object is correct or that I can change the size of the exported object in the export window instead of changing it physical size in the program.

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24 minutes ago, GRAFKOM said:

or that I can change the size of the exported object in the export window instead of changing it physical size in the program.

You can already do that for image file exports: PNG, TIFF, JPG. Just specify the size you want in the Export dialog, using any units you want. They will, though, be converted to the equivalent px measurements, but the resizing will be done as part of the export.


-- 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 1.8.4.647 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.647 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.3.627 Beta.

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18 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

You can already do that for image file exports: PNG, TIFF, JPG. Just specify the size you want in the Export dialog, using any units you want. They will, though, be converted to the equivalent px measurements, but the resizing will be done as part of the export.

Yes, I know that, but after entering the appropriate size, e.g. 150mm width and moving to the height field, the width size will be automatically changed to px, and I would like this value to remain on the screen in mm, even if I want to export something later. This is my request for this possibility, it really facilitates work, and yet the point is to make the program pleasant to use. Truth?

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Just in short, FORCE the application to always use Millimeters to the users needs. (set it once, just like in Ai) Basta. So the application has to convert it, so no matter what you export it to, it will always honor the users decision for units. This is so damn simple. Just cannot understand why this is such hassle. Everyone would agree with me, with design or other areas. NOBODY USES px in vector orientated designsoftware. Pixels is for pictures, mm is for vector/designwork.

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7 minutes ago, JCD2016 said:

Pixels is for pictures, mm is for vector/designwork.

In webdesign I often work in AD and my documents are set to pixels. No offence, just another perspective. I doubt there is such a general rule.

d.


Affinity Designer 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.3.647)   |   Affinity Photo 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.3.647)   |   Affinity Publisher 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.3.641)
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Yes Dominik, you are absolutly right. I fully understand why, I would do the same in that case. So you are in luck, I have to export stuff to eps, and loading that back in; And im back to the px units :( Terrible

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1 hour ago, JCD2016 said:

Yes Dominik, you are absolutly right. I fully understand why, I would do the same in that case. So you are in luck, I have to export stuff to eps, and loading that back in; And im back to the px units :( Terrible

I agree, there is room for improvement in regard to unit handling. I suspect there is a certain logic to it as it is now.

d.


Affinity Designer 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.3.647)   |   Affinity Photo 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.3.647)   |   Affinity Publisher 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.3.641)
Affinity Designer for iPad 1.8.2   |   Affinity Photo for iPad 1.8.2

Windows 10 (1809) 64-bit - Core i7 - 16GB - Intel HD Graphics 4600 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
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Logic would be setting a default unit for once and everything after that, and if you need something else (for one specific document) you can change it for that document. That is the logical way in my opinion.

The problem does not exist if you stay within the own affinity document files. But i need to export stuff to PDF, EPS for other software.

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IMO the best way is like InDesign - when you save the document, it save all changes you made. So, when you start a new document you start with those settings.


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Yup, but affinity-documents won't play ball with graphics software like RIP (large format vinylprinters) or vinylcutting software. So i HAVE to export this to a non-affinity document like PDF or EPS. But loading those back in, for a minor change... ends up back at PX. Because the application doesn't enforce one choice for the user of the software. As long as you stay within the affinity documents you're in luck. Otherwise, I'll end up using Adobe Illustrator.

I hate to still needing that software for the stupidest reasons... I like Designer, but it's like a half-full toolbox and the lid keeps popping open when you try to close it... or something like that.

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What is the problem? Surely, the most efficient workflow is to keep your main design file, saved as a .afdesign file, exporting to pdf or eps as you need. If you need to modify the pdf, you load the .afdesign file, modify in Designer, then export to pdf and save as .afdesign. I use a similar workflow for my .afpub and exported pdf files.

John


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