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JGD

“Edit All Layers”: A word of thanks (and praise), and some suggestions

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Hi guys,

I just wanted to drop by to thank the devs for bearing with me (well, us, really, as I think I speak for all the others who complained about it) and finally getting “universal” layers right with the hugely improved “Edit All Layers” toggle behaviour (even new objects get added to the active layer, yay!). Kudos for that! Now I can start testing this beast in earnest…

Now also comes the fun part (because of course I would have suggestions to make):

What if… we could switch from a layer to another (or to an artboard) without going to the Layers panel, just by pressing a modifier key and clicking an object from said alternative layer/artboard? Or have that as a togglable behaviour, and make the “Edit All Layers” ‘off’ mode a bit more customizable (i.e. maybe even like Ai's default behaviour, as it's already just a step shy of it)? Or what if we had some keyboard shortcuts to switch between top-level layers/artboards (if they're not available already; if they are, please excuse me for not having looked for them before posting, I'm in the midst of writing a paper due in three days and actively procrastinating right now)?

Just a thought, as it would make work for many of these users much easier… Having your work segregated by layers across an entire document is the entire point of our [finally met!] request, but having it too segregated on our entire workflows may hinder productivity a little.

You see, in my personal case, my iMac's 27'' screen is humongous and I don't even have my Layers panel on it, but instead on a secondary screen, which would force me to drag my mouse pointer alllll the way to the right just to switch between layers. See where I'm coming from? I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in thinking this, as even for someone with a screen as “small” as the new 16'' MBP or a larger PC laptop it might get a bit tiresome after a while in more complex projects (which, as stated before, are precisely the ones that stand to benefit the most from this mode).

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2 hours ago, JGD said:

getting “universal” layers right with the hugely improved “Edit All Layers” toggle behaviour

I'm afraid I don't see what one of those has to do with the other.

The layers are still page-specific and not shared between pages.

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On 1/29/2020 at 4:50 PM, fde101 said:

I'm afraid I don't see what one of those has to do with the other.

The layers are still page-specific and not shared between pages.

Ah, see, now that's where you're mistaken. If you create a new layer and drag it outside of the artboard it was created in – as in, above it and all the rest (if you have more than one artboard, that is) – and stick to working with Edit All Layers mode turned off, any and all new objects you create will go into that layer as long as it's selected (or “active”). If you want to create new “universal” layers, you will have to repeat that procedure, but only once for each one of them, and if you want to create new objects in different “universal” layers or edit different layers you will always have to manually select them on the Layers panel, but only once for each “session” if you plan to create a lot of new objects into a single layer. This, IMHO, is great, sensible UX, which is a refreshing change.

Said “universal” layers – and their respective “universal” objects – can then span an entire document (including multiple adjacent artboards), with no cropping nonsense, because they do not belong to any individual artboard (the “universal” objects contained therein will always be, however, correctly exported into the artboards/slices atop which they sit, which is absolutely key). They can also be hidden, locked or reordered in the z-axis stack across the entire document, regardless of the artboard(s) atop which they sit, with the click of a single toggle or the dragging of a single UI element (on the Layers panel, that is).

Try it for yourself. They may not be useful for you personally, but all users who were clamouring for “universal” layers (by that or any other name, such as “document-wide”, “artboard-agnostic” or whatchamacallit) are now just a wee bit happier and more optimistic about using Designer for complex information design projects.

Seeing how this is a substantially different interaction model which seasoned Designer users may find foreign, or even useless, I completely get how you may think layers absolutely must still be page-specific/contained (and, indeed, Designer still nudges users towards that model, at least by default). That used to be the case, sort of (you could indeed drag them out of their containing artboards already, but that would be a useless and frustrating endeavour, as dragging any object over an artboard would instantly cause it to be sucked into it, regardless of the current “Edit All Layers” mode setting), but not anymore; you can now have artboard-independent layers and use them in sensible – if not perfectly fine-tuned or smooth – workflows.

If you still can't figure out how any of this may work, for you or anyone else, I'll do a little video demo later on when I have a bit more free time. Stay tuned!

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11 hours ago, JGD said:

artboard

Ah...  sorry, somehow I missed that this thread was discussing Designer; I had assumed we were discussing Publisher, which uses pages, not artboards.  I believe most of the past discussion on the need for global layers has been in the context of Publisher.

I'm not surprised then (for Designer) that this method could appear to work while editing, but how does it handle exports?  I'll need to play with this when I get a chance - a bit concerned that some form(s) of exporting may leave out the objects that are on layers which are created this way, as they might not be considered part of the artboard...  would be happy to be wrong as I haven't tried this yet and am just guessing right now, but something to investigate before jumping the gun here.

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2 hours ago, fde101 said:

but how does it handle exports?

Objects on such a layer that is not inside of any artboard are exported with the artboard's content. I just did a quick test, though.

d.


Affinity Designer 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.650)   |   Affinity Photo 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.650)   |   Affinity Publisher 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.651)
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2 minutes ago, dominik said:

Objects on such a layer that is not inside of any artboard are exported with the artboard's content. I just did a quick test, though.

Nice... then this may indeed provide the desired solution for artboard-based documents.

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1 minute ago, fde101 said:

Nice... then this may indeed provide the desired solution for artboard-based documents.

I then opened my AD document with 6 artboards and one layer outside of all artboards in APub. Artboards converted in spreads.

APub then omits the layer and objects outside the artboards.

If the artboards are not converted to spreads the layer and it's objects remain.

d.


Affinity Designer 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.650)   |   Affinity Photo 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.650)   |   Affinity Publisher 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.651)
Affinity Designer for iPad 1.8.2   |   Affinity Photo for iPad 1.8.2

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40 minutes ago, dominik said:

APub then omits the layer and objects outside the artboards.

Ouch... that one sounds like a bug, but in any case should produce a warning of some sort when converting...

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4 hours ago, fde101 said:

Ouch... that one sounds like a bug, but in any case should produce a warning of some sort when converting...

If you are converting Artboards to spreads then anything not on an Artboard should be discarded/not included.


MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) Mac OS 10.12.6 || Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 10.14.5

Affinity Designer 1.8.3 | Affinity Photo 1.8.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.8.3 | Affinity Designer Beta 1.8.3.2 | Affinity Photo Beta 1.8.3.180 | Affinity Publisher Beta 1.8.3.651

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28 minutes ago, Old Bruce said:

If you are converting Artboards to spreads then anything not on an Artboard should be discarded/not included.

Granted, but this is kind of a tricky case.

If the objects are exporting as part of the artboard then disappear when converting the artboard to a page that is a somewhat inconsistent behavior.

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Beg to differ, if I convert an artboard to a page and stuff not on/in the artboard is included that is inconsistent behaviour. If you need the stuff outside then don't convert the artboards to spreads as per dominik's post above.


MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) Mac OS 10.12.6 || Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 10.14.5

Affinity Designer 1.8.3 | Affinity Photo 1.8.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.8.3 | Affinity Designer Beta 1.8.3.2 | Affinity Photo Beta 1.8.3.180 | Affinity Publisher Beta 1.8.3.651

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2 hours ago, Old Bruce said:

if I convert an artboard to a page and stuff not on/in the artboard is included that is inconsistent behaviour.

Exporting a PDF and selecting the artboards as the exported area includes items that are not on the artboards but which are physically positioned over them.

Printing does NOT include those same objects, neither does converting to a page-based document.

My first argument is that one of these two behaviors is a bug and should be changed to match the other.

My second is that this entire thread is in the wrong section of the forum as it is discussing a change related to the 1.8 beta - thus it should be somewhere in the Designer Beta forums.

 

Logically, what you are suggesting makes the most sense, and things not under the "umbrella" of the artboards should be omitted.

Functionally, what is happening with the exports is more useful, and would be a nice side-effect to extend into the other areas, as it would provide a limited form of the the "global layer" functionality that people have been begging for, and I see little value in allowing those objects to overlap the page if you later on can't output them anywhere.

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2 hours ago, fde101 said:

Exporting a PDF and selecting the artboards as the exported area includes items that are not on the artboards but which are physically positioned over them.

Printing does NOT include those same objects, neither does converting to a page-based document.

My first argument is that one of these two behaviors is a bug and should be changed to match the other.

Seeing how this was demoed earlier by one of the developers as a bit of a teaser – aimed squarely as a reply at yours truly, if my memory serves me right –, and is now appearing on the betas as a deliberate decision (it reads as Improved dragging objects between artboards (takes into account "Edit All Layers" toggle”), and… getting praise, I'm betting that it's the printing behaviour that will eventually adhere to the export behaviour, and not the other way around. Besides, it's a very WYSIWYG thing, and when it comes to printing, WYSIWYG behaviours are absolutely sacred and to be expected by default.

2 hours ago, fde101 said:

My second is that this entire thread is in the wrong section of the forum as it is discussing a change related to the 1.8 beta - thus it should be somewhere in the Designer Beta forums.

Well, I posted it on the general feedback forum because it is such a momentous decision on Serif's part, which may in fact change the way many people look at Designer and influence some real buying decisions, that it wouldn't exactly be very coherent or dignified of me not to do so on the most visible spot possible (and burying it in the Beta forums, where only early adopters and enthusiasts hang around, would most certainly not be it). Not after having pestered Serif's devs and moderators over it for months – nay, years! –, that is.

For all my constant nagging (and there are still some details which, to me, feel utterly unpolished, but those are certainly not a priority as they don't make Designer unusable for vast genres of projects), I must give credit where credit is due and help Serif attract more users, as I promised I would if this improvement came to pass… To wit: when I noticed it and tested it for myself, I immediately started pushing Affinity as a viable contender again, not just here in the forums but out there in the real world™. Yes, to my students, my colleagues, my friends and even my SO. So there you have it.

This is more than just a small bullet point lost in a sea of fixes and small features; it represents a huge functional change in the context of the entire 1.x branch. It could very well be a 2.x feature – I never said it couldn't be, only that it would be sad and make some users, myself included, feel a bit duped if we had to wait that longer and for what is certain to be a paid update, no less – but fortunately we will get to put it through its paces and maybe even improve it further in time for a 1.9.x or even 1.8.x GM release. That's worth a very public mention, IMHO, and makes me – and, I'm guessing, the others who value this kind of basic, make-or-break feature – very optimistic for the 2.x branch and actually eager to invest my hard-earned money in its development when the time comes.

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On 2/5/2020 at 4:21 PM, fde101 said:

Ouch... that one sounds like a bug, but in any case should produce a warning of some sort when converting...

I posted my observation over in the APub beta forum and this is the reply:

 

We can look forward to improvement 🙂

d.


Affinity Designer 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.650)   |   Affinity Photo 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.650)   |   Affinity Publisher 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.651)
Affinity Designer for iPad 1.8.2   |   Affinity Photo for iPad 1.8.2

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