Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Just got done watching the "Lockdown 2020" video: "Speed and motion: illustrating a car in Affinity Designer with Chris Rathbone".  One thought occurred to me: when it came time to block in the color, shadows and highlights, having the equivalent of Adobe Illustrator's Blob Brush would be more intuitive to work with and more efficient. The Pen Tool makes sense for line work, but a Blob Brush that "paints" freehand shapes would be better for painting areas of flat color.

 

(https://youtu.be/iMlJrYE8Xo0)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Mark Oehlschlager said:

The Pen Tool makes sense for line work, but a Blob Brush that "paints" freehand shapes would be better for painting areas of flat color.

 

(https://youtu.be/iMlJrYE8Xo0)

The Blob works better and faster than the way he did it, but even better would be to use a vector paint bucket (It was called Flood Fill in Serif's old DrawPlus) to just click once and fill the enclosed area with color.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Kuttyjoe

I don't see how a flood fill paint bucket would be an advantage here. In the tutorial, the artist was not filling existing vector shapes; he was outlining new shapes with the pen tool before filling them. A Blob brush would enable him to "paint" in the new custom freeform shape with fill directly applied.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, mackleys said:

I use the blob brush all the time.

 

I never do, because of stuff like this:

image.png.2b6d040e8f0a9b837cc440b657f97cac.png

 

Call me an 'old school' curmudgeon. 50 auto-generated nodes to draw a curve that should have no more than 3 intelligently-placed ones? It just makes my skin crawl, especially in anything supposed to be commercial-quality vector-based work.

That's why I just don't care much for instant-gratification 'brush-like' features in vector-based drawing programs in general. How many slightly-different tool interfaces trying to emulate free-form scribbling with some kind of analog brush or marker does a vector drawing program need to have? It's trying to make vector-based drawing act like something it's not.

This kind of stuff is way, way down on my priority list. Others obviously feel differently about it, and I recognize that. But my vote is for Affinity development to focus on delivering more sophisticated and elegant implementations of the core intent and inherent advantage of vector-based drawing; not on making its own carbon-copy of every user's favorite feature in every other drawing program out there.

JET

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Mark Oehlschlager said:

@Kuttyjoe

I don't see how a flood fill paint bucket would be an advantage here. In the tutorial, the artist was not filling existing vector shapes; he was outlining new shapes with the pen tool before filling them. A Blob brush would enable him to "paint" in the new custom freeform shape with fill directly applied.

I misunderstood what you were saying there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@JET_Affinity

Plotting points is tedious and more in line with an engineering mindset. Some tasks are suited to careful, surgical point plotting, but for digital illustration which assumes an artists mindset, there should be direct intuitive drawing and painting tools. Natural, direct, efficient, intuitive.

As for your complaint about excessive points, that's a software engineer's problem, not an argument against a painting tool that creates freeform vector shapes. Consider the problem Serif had with excessive points for expanded strokes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Mark Oehlschlager said:

@JET_Affinity

Plotting points is tedious and more in line with an engineering mindset. Some tasks are suited to careful, surgical point plotting, but for digital illustration which assumes an artists mindset, there should be direct intuitive drawing and painting tools. Natural, direct, efficient, intuitive.

As for your complaint about excessive points, that's a software engineer's problem, not an argument against a painting tool that creates freeform vector shapes. Consider the problem Serif had with excessive points for expanded strokes.

This is a good point.  Different users would have very different perspectives and needs for the same software.  Jet may be coming from an engineer's perspective, you have an Illustrator's perspective, and I would personally have a production artist's perspective.  Jet is looking at precision.  You are looking at free form drawing, while I'm looking at the clock and asking, how efficient the tool and workflow would be.  I think though that Affinity Designer is absolutely being promoted for Illustration work so the blob brush makes sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Mark Oehlschlager said:

@JET_AffinityPlotting points is tedious and more in line with an engineering mindset.

No, it's not. It's a tactile skill. Just like painting with a watercolor brush is a very different skill from painting with an oil paint brush or twirling a lettering quill. 'Drawing' in a vector-based program is a different skill from 'painting' in a raster imaging program.

Why is the insistence on vector drawing programs being designed to emulate what boils down to raster 'painting' so much more common than insistence on raster programs emulating the way one works in vector programs? Truthfully, it's just because too many are intimidated by drawing paths. It's a new and different tactile skill to learn, just like using an airbrush is a very different tactile skill from using a felt-tip marker. You develop an intuition for it, just like you do any other hand tool.

Generating fluid curves is why vector-based drawing programs are based on Bezier curves in the first place. Developing 'second hand' skill with a Bezier tool with a well-designed interface is key to using a vector-based drawing program to its vector-based advantages. It has nothing to do with a 'technical' versus 'artsy' style.

Quote

As for your complaint about excessive points, that's a software engineer's problem...

It's just as much about human aesthetic discernment as raster imaging. It's why an artist knows that the result of an algorithm trying to draw an eyeball with an instant-gratification auto-trace feature is a displeasing and meaningless kind of vector ugliness because it's not even smart enough to know it's supposed to be round. It's why auto-traced fonts have always been considered junk and quality typefaces are still drawn with deliberate human discernment.

In the mid 80s we started doing in software what we did for decades before that in so-called natural media. My own work runs the gamut between 'cartoony' and 'technical.' The vast majority of my loosey-goosey artsy work begins with pencil sketches which I then manually trace in software to refine it with human intelligence and aesthetic discernment into commercial illustration that does not degrade when it is enlarged; which is the primary intent and purpose of vector-based drawing.

If one wants software to emulate working with so-called natural media, that's what Fractal Design Painter (later acquired by Corel) was all about. I don't know of anything that did it better. But after the novelty of it, I quit using it because the whole idea was to create something artificial. Fractal Design tried the same thing on the vector side with Expression, the drawing program forever in search of a home.

Like any other medium, elegantly-drawn vector-based pathwork has its own aesthetic. It doesn't have to try to fake one that is counter to its own nature. Using it inelegantly, by just 'throwing stuff out there' and assuming some algorithm can interpret a gesture often yields results analogous to overworking watercolor. In fact, individual drawing programs have their own aesthetic, because they are, in fact, different mediums, just as the aesthetics of gouache, watercolor, and acrylic differ despite their all being water paints. The 'feel' of working in Xara differs from that of Affinity, Draw, FreeHand, Canvas, etc., and it can come across in the results.

And that's my main point: HOW MANY subtly-different interfaces for trying to do the same basic thing does any vector-based drawing program need? I happen to like Illustrator's Scribble feature. It's pretty unique. But I don't expect it to be copy-catted in every other drawing program, or that I will consider other programs 'incomplete' until they do.

So what's functionally differentiating about Illustrator's so-called Blob Brush? I see basically, three things:

  • Smoothing of your gesture.
  • Elliptical shaping of the 'nib' for direction-based thickness ('calligraphic' thickness).
  • Auto union of the outlined strokes.

Which of these are the desired capabilities? Affinity's Pen and Pencil Tools have a plethora of adjustments and their Stabilizer and Rope modes. So for example, why not just request an option on the Pencil to auto-outline and union to any intersecting matching fills on mouseup?

JET

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, JET_Affinity said:

Why is the insistence on vector drawing programs being designed to emulate what boils down to raster 'painting' so much more common than insistence on raster programs emulating the way one works in vector programs? Truthfully, it's just because too many are intimidated by drawing paths.

I think the answer to this question was already explained very well:

..."but for digital illustration which assumes an artists mindset, there should be direct intuitive drawing and painting tools. Natural, direct, efficient, intuitive."

That makes perfect sense.  Artist learn to draw with pens and brushes.  They bring those skills over to the digital world.  They would like to keep working the way they've learned.  Artists are results driven.  They are not counting how many unnecessary points are created on a shape when they draw it.  It's not like the extra points cost money.  You're agonizing over excessive points on a path, (Illustrator resolves that example you posted literally with just a single click on the line), but Illustrators are not.  The question this is, what is the focus on these programs.  If you look at how Serif is promoting this software the answer to this is very clear.  It's a tool for Illustrators.  People like you and me, trying to bend it to do other things are just out of luck.  You will need to stick with your beloved Freehand, and I will have to continue to rely on Illustrator, but when I do Illustratations, I can still find some uses for apps like Affinity Designer and others.  But, I'm being realistic about it.

3 hours ago, JET_Affinity said:

Generating fluid curves is why vector-based drawing programs are based on Bezier curves in the first place. Developing 'second hand' skill with a Bezier tool with a well-designed interface is key to using a vector-based drawing program to its vector-based advantages.

Vector based programs and also raster programs have long since outgrown their original basic concepts and tool sets, and have become something greater.  I read all the time from random people who say, "Photoshop is not a painting program because it's primarily a photo editor".  I'm pretty sure that by the time Photoshop had reached version 2 or 3, it was already growing beyond simply being used to edit photos.  By version 4 you could have a caree with Photoshop without ever editing a photo.  Now we have software that combines the both vector and raster into a single program and it's very useful and I would say, amazing.

4 hours ago, JET_Affinity said:

why an artist knows that the result of an algorithm trying to draw an eyeball with an instant-gratification auto-trace feature is a displeasing

Beauty is still in the eye of the beholder, is it not?  If you find something displeasing, the next person disagrees and loves it.  Also, there's plenty to be said of "instant gratification", or I would say, instant results.  Instant results equal bigger paycheck.  Time is money.   As a freelance artist, most of my work dried up during the coronavirus lockdowns, but I gained a lot of new work in vectorizing art and preparing for print with limited colors.  I have to make a certain amount of money per hour and that would be impossible without a high quality vector tracing feature.  I'm absolutely relying on it.  The value of vector tracing in my opinion can not be overstated.  You just need a broader understanding of how people are actually using it.  You only understand it's use as a creative tool, which is fine. But some of us are using it as a production tool.

4 hours ago, JET_Affinity said:

does not degrade when it is enlarged; which is the primary intent and purpose of vector-based drawing.

No, that is more accurately a primary advantage of vector based drawings.  The primary intent of vector drawing is whatever the artist primarily intends to create with the software.

4 hours ago, JET_Affinity said:

If one wants software to emulate working with so-called natural media, that's what Fractal Design Painter (later acquired by Corel) was all about. I don't know of anything that did it better.

You're putting constraints on artists and telling them what they must use to create art?

4 hours ago, JET_Affinity said:

In fact, individual drawing programs have their own aesthetic, because they are, in fact, different mediums, just as the aesthetics of gouache, watercolor, and acrylic differ despite their all being water paints.

and....painting with vectors.  It has it's own aesthetic too, right?  If I were make an argument in favor of painting in vector software, that would be the strongest argument that I could come up with.

4 hours ago, JET_Affinity said:

And that's my main point: HOW MANY subtly-different interfaces for trying to do the same basic thing does any vector-based drawing program need?

That is a question that doesn't really need an answer.  A better question is probably, why not?  You make strong arguments against things that are not causing problems so why argue against painting with vectors, or using vector tracing features?  None of it is hurting anybody.  People are making great use of it.  Creating great art, and improving their productivity.  What exactly is the reason why these things are troubling you?

4 hours ago, JET_Affinity said:

So what's functionally differentiating about Illustrator's so-called Blob Brush?

Vs a pen tool, or brush tool, the main attraction is probably workflow.  You could achieve the same result with all 3 tools but you pick the one with the best workflow.  It's not more complicated than that.  If you suggest some features for the brush tool which gives it a similar workflow to the blob brush, then that is fine too.  Either way, artists should pick the tool that gives them the best workflow for what they are doing.  I may move a single piece of art through Serif's DrawPlus, over to Photoshop or Clip Studio, and possibly into Illustrator as well.  I'm using the best tool for specific tasks to achieve a result as quickly as possible.  Speed is among my primary goals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Kuttyjoe said:

You will need to stick with your beloved Freehand, and I will have to continue to rely on Illustrator

No, I won't. I can get good productive and profitable work out of Affinity using what it can do. I don't need Affinity Designer to become a clone of Illustrator to do that. I don't expect every program I use to do everything all the others do in the exact same manner. Affinity already has a plethora of 'brush' features. It doesn't need another just to have one that acts exactly like a particular one in Illustrator. And there are other things I consider much higher priority.

That's my vote on this.

JET

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Please note the Annual Company Closure section in the Terms of Use. These are the Terms of Use you will be asked to agree to if you join the forum. | Privacy Policy | Guidelines | We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.