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As many of you I recently moved from Illustrator / Photoshop to Affinity's alternatives because of the pricing issue. Design has become more of a hobby, and I can't justify a monthly subscription. 

Overall, I am really impressed with the applications (Designer / Photo, mac and iPad), but one thing I really painfully miss from Illustrator, though, is I heavily relied on the Pathfinder, more specifically the "Divide" operation. I was used to, for example, divide shapes using a curve, or divide multiple shapes to very reliably. As many pointed out, the experience in Designer is less than perfect - for one, you can only combine shapes with other shapes, and even so, in simple divisions, you get a ton of unwanted curves spliced off the intersections.

I saw a bunch of posts describing the problem, but not really a lot of workarounds or solutions. So I'm writing this post to see if I can get something a little more constructive than 'Divide is still garbage' comments. 

So I guess I have 2 questions.

One for the dev team: Where does this fall on your roadmap? Can you shed a light on if and when can we expect to see reliable divides integrated on the app?

Another for the community: Do you have some good techniques / workarounds that you've found to overcome the divide limitations that you could share?

Thanks in advance!

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Hi, workarounds/alternatives to those things?

  1. If an app doesn't support certain features I need, I simply use another one which does. - In your case here related to Ai Pathfinder & Shapebuilder you can try out the free Inkscape for those things. - (See for example: Inkscape vs Illustrator here).
  2. Another approach is to vector trace shapes as PDF/SVG and reuse those in AD then. - (Though again here you need third party tracer tools, Inkscape again has one build-in).
  3. For very simple things I just redraw them in one turn manually.
  4. If there is no tool pleasing me, but I need something very often (again and again) and so it's boring and very time consuming to recreate things every time, then I spend some time to automate that process in a flexible manner via some custom programs. - Meaning here, I then program my own workarounds and solutions.

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.5 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.5 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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On 6/17/2020 at 7:46 PM, al7design said:

Another for the community: Do you have some good techniques / workarounds that you've found to overcome the divide limitations that you could share?

The lack of vector features in Designer means you have to either use time consuming and annoying workarounds - creative process and inspiration killers - or buy something else as a replacement or to supplement Designer. It really shouldn't be necessary to buy more similar software to get working boolean features. If you are really good at what you do and spend a lot of time doing it I don't think the monthly subscription for one Adobe app is too much. I consider that the best alternative. Use what works best for you for what makes you happy.

Otherwise Xara Photo and Graphic Designer or Inkscape are worth taking a look at. Xara is sold by a company offering constant fake discounts with constantly moving never ending deadlines. It is ridiculous. The program looks a bit archaic now but the vector features and boolean operations work as they should. Copy paste between Affinity and Xara works okay I think. I didn't use it much, I was just curious. Both Xara and Inkscape has real vector features - basic and advanced ones - currently not available in Designer at all.

EDIT: Copy paste with Xara is a no go. And their sales methods are appalling.

Free on OS X is also Vectorstyler.

  • "The user interface is supposed to work for me - I am not supposed to work for the user interface."
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  • “When a wise man points at the moon the imbecile examines the finger.” ― Confucius
  • Not an Affinity user og forum user anymore. The software continued to disappoint and not deliver.
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Thanks for the answers! Yeah, that's a little disappointing. I think the biggest issue is that I don't work professionally anymore with vector graphics, so I wanna make Affinity work. 


Serif folks, do you have any update on the priority that is being put on reliable boolean operations?

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Moderators
On 6/18/2020 at 6:17 PM, al7design said:

Serif folks, do you have any update on the priority that is being put on reliable boolean operations?

Hi @al7design,

My sincerest apologies for the delayed response here.

I've spoken with Matt, a developer for Affinity Designer who has said the following;

We acknowledge and intend to fix the problem with divide, and we will get to it as quickly as possible. Unfortunately we can't commit to timescales or ranks of importance.

If you find Divide is not working as intended for you, please try constructing the shapes using subtract/intersect manually in the meantime as this works better in certain cases.

I hope this helps!

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