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Take a look:

Screenshot A: 
image.png.1dcf4eabe4be8328ef2cab19c6ec3d06.png

Screenshot B:
image.png.04445c15a1ed9b0c3e4d5425f9bb5615.png   

No difference?
The file on Screenshot B has one layer.
The file on Screenshot A has none, it´s completely empty - but looks exactly the same! No buttons dimmed, editing tools are available.

???

I suggest:
Please make an empty file look e.g. something like this:  

a subtle thin border indicating the document size... but nothing more since there is no white background-layer!
image.png.de21512f076baa1fe29a8092d202cecd.png

What do you think?

kind regards
Fritz

 

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1 hour ago, Fritz_H said:

No difference?
The file on Screenshot B has one layer.
The file on Screenshot A has none, it´s completely empty - but looks exactly the same! No buttons dimmed, editing tools are available.

You have the option of having a transparent document, which will give you a checkboard pattern rather than white. You can access it in the New Document window, or from the Document menu item in Photo.

The buttons aren't dimmed, and the editing tools are available, because they are all usable even with no layers in the document yet.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   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 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.742 Beta.

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21 minutes ago, Fritz_H said:

@walt.farrell 

Thanks for the hint, did not notice that checkbox before!

Therefore I want to change my suggestion to: make this "transparent background"-box checked by default.

kind regards
Fritz

That is already possible. Just make a new document with it checked on and Affinity will remember the last settings for said document the next time you make a new one. Just remember to shut down the program after doing this so you don't have to redo this in case  of Affinity freezing or crashing later.

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I'll have to give a -1 to that, Fritz :)

I prefer it not to be the default.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   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 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.742 Beta.

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12 hours ago, Fritz_H said:

@Frozen Death Knight

OK, need to be more precise in my wording: 

Serif, please make this "transparent background"-box checked by factory-default.  :-)

kind regards
Fritz

But why? It's not really much different from how Photoshop starts off with a white blank canvas or any other similar program for that matter. The way Affinity is currently set up it allows you to have that white canvas without needing to take up another layer spot like Photoshop does it. Serif thought their design through here and did not just copy Photoshop by adding some nice quality of life changes .

By changing this default default factory setting you break standard UX practices among image editing softwares. Having transparency checkers always visible as the default canvas is not really a standard practice among most image editing softwares.

Besides, setting all of this up takes far less than a minute. You can even create a custom shortcut if you want to switch between having a transparent or a white background.

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8 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

I'll have to give a -1 to that, Fritz :)

I prefer it not to be the default.

Hi @walt.farrell

That´s OK for me, although I would appreciate if you could give me an explanation for your point of view.

mine is easy:
I am obviously too stupid to remember that I have to create a layer before starting.
I see a blank white sheet, I see active Tool-Buttons: lets go!..  well..
(some tools make no sense when there is no content.. they should be dimmed...)

So my explanation is usability:
If something has 2 different states it should easily be possible to distinguish between them.
As you might know: one of the rules of usability says: don´t make me think.

@Frozen Death Knight
Thanks for your feedback.

You compare to other graphics-Software. But does this really matter?
allow me to explain:
Besides the usability-aspect I tried to show above, I also think about the target audience.

I dare to claim that more than 50% of all Photoshop-Licenses are used (?) by ordinary office-people  (u know: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, SAP...)
doing tiny editing jobs which could also be done with PS Elements, GIMP or Paint.NET.
I also can confirm based on my job-experience, that the average User always asks for "Photoshop" - mainly because they
don´t know of any other editing application.

If Serif is targeting these type of users they will have less stress with requests for high-level features,
can sell lots of licenses since the price is a "no-brainer" (esp. in tight enterprise purchase-request and -approval situations)
BUT Serif has to put strong focus on Usability.

I already pointed out earlier that the "mouse-over" - visual-feedback is inconsistent.
Also these 3 Buttons are an usability-issue since there are 4 display-states but only 3 buttons to visually represent them:

image.png.af6897c2483e008ef86ba24db43bea18.png

Perhaps my input is less from the artistic side but none the less I really try to provide creative input to help to improve the products.

kind regards
Fritz

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2 hours ago, Fritz_H said:

mine is easy:
I am obviously too stupid to remember that I have to create a layer before starting.
I see a blank white sheet, I see active Tool-Buttons: lets go!..  well..
(some tools make no sense when there is no content.. they should be dimmed...)

Let's start with something slightly different: With that blank white sheet, what tool buttons don't make sense to you?

You may have a point that some should be grayed out, but that is totally different from talking about having a transparent background.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   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 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.742 Beta.

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@Fritz_H Your arguments do not really justify having a transparent canvas as the default behaviour however, as Walt already pointed out. It also does not solve your actual problem, which even you admit are that some tools are "useable" despite not having any layer to work with.

The Assistant feature actually creates new layers automatically by using brushes that create paint, which is the reason why the toolbar isn't deactivated. This behaviour is actually pretty convenient, so it should stay. However, not all tools are supported, which I think is where the confusion lies. Either Affinity could just create a new layer regardless of what tool is used with the Assistant or alternatively deactivate/"grey out" the tools that don't have any layer content to work with. That's what I think is the more sensible approach to take than break standard conventions which would not really solve anything.

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6 hours ago, Fritz_H said:

since there are 4 display-states but only 3 buttons

There is no problem in displaying the 4 states with the three buttons (with exclusive state). It is not necessary to occupy space on the Context Toolbar with another button.

 


Affinity Store: Affinity Suite (ADe, APh, APu) 1.8.5.703.
Windows 10 Pro, Version 2004, Build 19041.508.
Dell Latitude E5570, i5-6440HQ 2.60 GHz, 8 GB, Intel HD Graphics 530, 1920 x 1080.
Dell OptiPlex 7060, i5-8500 3.00 GHz, 16 GB, Intel UHD Graphics 630, Dell P2417H 1920 x 1080.
Intel NUC5PGYH, Pentium N3700 2.40 GHz, 8 GB, Intel HD Graphics, EIZO EV2456 1920 x 1200.

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3 hours ago, Frozen Death Knight said:

create a new layer regardless of what tool is used with the Assistant

The deactivation of the Assistant should be respected.


Affinity Store: Affinity Suite (ADe, APh, APu) 1.8.5.703.
Windows 10 Pro, Version 2004, Build 19041.508.
Dell Latitude E5570, i5-6440HQ 2.60 GHz, 8 GB, Intel HD Graphics 530, 1920 x 1080.
Dell OptiPlex 7060, i5-8500 3.00 GHz, 16 GB, Intel UHD Graphics 630, Dell P2417H 1920 x 1080.
Intel NUC5PGYH, Pentium N3700 2.40 GHz, 8 GB, Intel HD Graphics, EIZO EV2456 1920 x 1200.

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8 hours ago, Pšenda said:

There is no problem in displaying the 4 states with the three buttons (with exclusive state). It is not necessary to occupy space on the Context Toolbar with another button.

(@all: off-topic since this refers to Designer, sorry...)

@Psenda

I know about your opinion.
From a usability point of view that is not good design.

and: there is more than enough room for additional buttons...
image.thumb.png.c861bc0eb91c7698878f695a2702985a.png

kind regards
Fritz

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12 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

A) With that blank white sheet, what tool buttons don't make sense to you?
B) You may have a point that some should be grayed out, but that is totally different from talking about having a transparent background.

@walt.farrell @Frozen Death Knight

A)
1st: there is no "blank white sheet" - that´s the point:  in an empty document there is "nothing" but the application does display something.
2nd: all buttons that CHANGE or SELECT existing pixels/content don´t make sense since there is no content in an empty document:
- Perspective Tool
- Node Tool
- the whole group: Healing Brush to Red Eye Removal
- the whole group: Blur Brush to Smudge Brush
- undo Brush Tool
- Clone Brush Tool
- Dodge Burn Sponge Brush Tool
- Group: Eraser Brush-Tools
- Freehand selection Tool (incl. all the Marquee tools in that group)
- Flood select Tool (Magic Wand)
- Selection Brush tool
- Color Picker Tool

B)
to me these 2 things are related to each other since a transparent background clearly says: "nothing here" which also explains why so many buttons are greyed out.

kind regards
Fritz

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8 hours ago, Fritz_H said:

there is more than enough room for additional buttons.

This is not true at all. First, it depends on the size of the display, which each user has a different size, and then it is possible to add to the Toolbar other useful buttons (hopefully more will be added), so you can use its space significantly more efficient, than you have.


Affinity Store: Affinity Suite (ADe, APh, APu) 1.8.5.703.
Windows 10 Pro, Version 2004, Build 19041.508.
Dell Latitude E5570, i5-6440HQ 2.60 GHz, 8 GB, Intel HD Graphics 530, 1920 x 1080.
Dell OptiPlex 7060, i5-8500 3.00 GHz, 16 GB, Intel UHD Graphics 630, Dell P2417H 1920 x 1080.
Intel NUC5PGYH, Pentium N3700 2.40 GHz, 8 GB, Intel HD Graphics, EIZO EV2456 1920 x 1200.

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On 1/4/2020 at 7:41 PM, Fritz_H said:

buttons that CHANGE or SELECT existing pixels/content don´t make sense since there is no content in an empty document

The pixel selection is largely independent of the existence of content.

 

On 1/4/2020 at 7:41 PM, Fritz_H said:

a transparent background clearly says: "nothing here"

No, it just means that anything which is there is transparent/invisible.  Creating a pixel layer in a document with a transparent background does not suddenly make the background opaque, so it really doesn't tell you anything about the state of the layers/objects within the document: the layers can have transparent content at that point and there is "something there" but you still can't see it.  The opaque or transparent background exists behind the layers, independently of them.

 

On 1/4/2020 at 7:41 PM, Fritz_H said:

Color Picker Tool

The one on the Color panel?  That works quite well with no content in the document as it can pick from anywhere on the screen, including other applications.

 

On 1/3/2020 at 5:16 PM, Fritz_H said:

The file on Screenshot B has one layer.
The file on Screenshot A has none, it´s completely empty - but looks exactly the same!

This is because the layer that exists is most likely completely transparent so you are seeing the "paper" through the layer.  If you don't want them to look the same, then simply paint something onto the layer.

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Although I realized that in this forum there is hardly anyone with a slight understanding of usability, I will try to answer:

Quote

The pixel selection is largely independent of the existence of content.

Come on, think again. Select Pixels that are not there?
And even if there was a use for this: all the other Tools I mentioned do not make sense without content.

Quote

No, it just means that anything which is there is transparent/invisible.  

In an empty document there is nothing = this "nothing"-ness (?) can not have properties like being invisible.

Quote

The one on the Color panel?  

of course not. I am talking about the tools on the left border...

Quote

This is because the layer that exists is most likely completely transparent so you are seeing the "paper" through the layer.

In case you refer to the picture A:  again: no Layer in Document = no content in document = no "paper" to see through...

I guess I made my point clear; enough said.
Now its the turn of Serif to finally contact some usability-experts to check their UI-Design (better be prepared to have it shred to pieces...)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usability

kind regards
Fritz

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22 minutes ago, Fritz_H said:

Come on, think again. Select Pixels that are not there?

For the marquee selection tools (as opposed, perhaps, to the Flood Select Tool (the magic wand)) it makes perfect sense.

A marquee selection is not a selection of pixels. It is a marked region of the document, independent of any layer. When you make use of the selection (copy, or delete, or apply some adjustment) your action is applied to whatever layer is selected and visible. But the marquee selection is not itself part of that layer, and you could make another layer active and the selection would apply to it, instead.

Because it is independent of any layer, you do not need any pixels to make a marquee selection.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   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 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.742 Beta.

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1 hour ago, Fritz_H said:

Select Pixels that are not there?

The pixels are present in the document even if there are no layers to provide them with any content other than the background (either solid white or transparent), so yes they can be selected.

 

1 hour ago, Fritz_H said:

In an empty document there is nothing

Sure there is...  the "empty" document is like a blank sheet of paper.  Even if you haven't applied any ink to it the "paper" is still there and can be either transparent or opaque.

 

1 hour ago, Fritz_H said:

I am talking about the tools on the left border...

That one also works for me even when there are no layers.  If the document is transparent it is selecting the background as a solid black color (that one might be a bug?), while if it is opaque it is selecting the white of the "paper".

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20 hours ago, fde101 said:

the "empty" document is like a blank sheet of paper.  

(sigh.)
No - an empty document without any layers is like "no paper at all"
That´s why the assistant automatically creates a layer as soon as you start to paint - since there is no "paper" yet.

kind regards
Fritz

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2 hours ago, Fritz_H said:

(sigh.)
No - an empty document without any layers is like "no paper at all"
That´s why the assistant automatically creates a layer as soon as you start to paint - since there is no "paper" yet.

kind regards
Fritz 

His analogy still holds up. The white background emulates a typical white sheet of paper which is the standard in every professional image editing and painting software I have ever come across. Your suggestion is far from the norm and something you have to learn to accept. Illustrator actually behaves fairly similar to how the Affinity Suite does it by having a white background with only an empty layer available on startup. You can also toggle between the two modes and create brand new layers by drawing vectors, just like Designer and similar to Photo's Assistant. Photoshop does this differently by having a locked white filled layer, which is actually a bit limiting when you have to delete the background layer if you don't need it instead of just toggling between checkers and white. Either way, the background is white by default regardless of software.

Also, the layers that the Assistant creates are completely transparent until you put down paint on it. By your logic of "layer = paper", a newly created layer should be filled with white for it to count as a sheet of paper, since actual paper does not have transparent layers.

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Quote

(Illustrator) ...having a white background with only an empty layer available on startup

Photo/Designer starts with no layer, see the difference?

Quote

Photoshop does this differently by having a locked white filled layer

a locked layer =/= no layer, like in Photo.

The metaphor of "paper = Layer" is incorrect of course since paper is not transparent;
we should rather compare a layer to a sheet of  "overhead projector film" (? Google offered this translation...)

Well, I tried to explain my point of view as clearly as I can (in a foreign language..).
That´s it for me now.

Fritz

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On 1/9/2020 at 10:45 PM, Fritz_H said:

 

Photo/Designer starts with no layer, see the difference?

a locked layer =/= no layer, like in Photo.

The metaphor of "paper = Layer" is incorrect of course since paper is not transparent;
we should rather compare a layer to a sheet of  "overhead projector film" (? Google offered this translation...)

Well, I tried to explain my point of view as clearly as I can (in a foreign language..).
That´s it for me now.

Fritz

I never said that they were the same. In fact, I said it was better in Affinity because it isn't a locked layer, but something that can be toggled on and off while still being the default behaviour without adding what is honestly a pretty redundant layer. That's exactly my point. They are not the same and it is not an actual design flaw. What could be considered a design flaw is that some tools are active despite not having anything they could possibly work with. However, brushes, erasers, some selection tools, fill/gradient tools,  shape tools, and some others do make sense that they can be used, since they are not reliant on layers being filled with content to work. You are however arguing for something that you can personally customise in a matter of seconds to your liking and will not solve the core issue you had about the tools being all active when maybe they shouldn't.

The overhead projector analogy is even more not in your favour. What do all projectors have in common when displaying their transparent layers? A white screen to project onto. You don't write or paint on that screen, so that analogy is actually kind of perfect for explaining how Affinity and most other similar softwares work. :P

 

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