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Hi all, 

TIA for help, and really appreciate the product and this community...

I'm a new user trying to make a smoother transition from Adobe to Affinity. The biggest hurdle I keep running in to is understanding WHERE to find things. I know there are keyboard shortcuts (as well as the tips on the bottom of the Navigator), but that's not what I'm looking for. I know there are a ton of video tutorials, but I don't have time to sit through them with eyes plastered so as not to miss the one cursor movement I need. What I can't find is a simple way to see how to interact with the UI to access features, even those discussed in the HELP document

Let me provide an example.

I have a photo, and want to adjust the Contrast in Affinity Photo. I look up Contrast in HELP, and I find a section addressing it -- but that section doesn't explain, or show me, where it is, how do I get to it?  (Yes, I did try command-L, as a Photoshop habit, but that's not where Contrast resides). So I inevitably spend a TON of time looking everywhere, googling, etc. to just try to figure out where Contrast is buried in the user interface. I still don't know. 

This happens to me over and over again, and is incredibly frustrating when trying to retrain to a new UI, especially so when all that is needed is a "breadcrumb" or some kind of visual that shows a person where to find that feature (or command or what not).

If I'm missing a resource that lays bare the UI in such a way, please let me know.

Otherwise, Serif, can you please add breadcrumbs (eg. File > Edit > ) to the HELP section ASAP? That oversight is without a doubt the most disorienting yet easy-to-fix hurdle I have with all Affinity's apps. Thanks, again.

- joanne

 

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This Affinity video might give you a bit of start.

Maybe the best way to think about the commands you are looking for it to ask "what does the command do?" In the example you quoted of contrast " I have a photo, and want to adjust the Contrast in Affinity Photo" it's an adjustment so that where it is, under the adjustments tab in the Studio panel. Granted it may not always work, but it's one way of looking at it.

I have been through your experience before with other software so can understand your frustration.

GeoffH

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Welcome to the Serif Affinity forums, Joanne.

Sorry to hear you're struggling. Perhaps it is, in part, a need to figure out how the Help works. It's important to understand that, because the Help is the primary documentation.

For example, considering your example of adjusting the Contrast:

  1. Open the Help (or use the Online version).
  2. In the search box (or on the Search tab, if online), type Contrast.
  3. You get a list of search results. In this case, the first one (Brightness and Contrast Adjustment) is the one you want.
  4. However, when you get there you find that you don't fully understand what it's talking about. It tells you what the adjustment does, and what its settings are, but you need something more basic (how do you invoke the adjustment, for example). At the bottom of the Help entry you'll find a "See Also" list.
  5. The first entry in that See Also list is "Applying Adjustments", which has more basic information about using the Adjustment panel.
  6. Beyond that, you might search for "Adjustment panel" to get more information on that panel in general.

However, in general I would recommend watching some of the official tutorials, which I think explain things very well. For you, in particular, perhaps the UI Overview tutorial would be a good starting point.


-- 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 1.9.0.911 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.911 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.911 Beta.

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FWIW, one of the first things I have always done when confronted with an app that uses a UI I am not familiar with is to spend 5-10 minutes to briefly try opening every one of the app's menus & the items in their submenus. At that point, I am not trying to use any of those items -- I am  just trying to get a general idea of how the menus are organized.

That way, once I actually start trying to use the app, I already have learned enough to get a basic feel for where I might find (& just as importantly not find) something I want to do with it.

This also helps me better understand the nomenclature the app uses, which in turn helps when searching for more info about some feature.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 14.0.1

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@firebelly the recommended video doesn’t show anything about the Adjustments, Layers, and Filters options on the main menu.   But I am in agreement with @R C-R.   And after following his advice, I would just open an image and fiddle with it, using as many LAYERS>New Adjustment Layers, LAYERS>New Live Filters, and FILTERS>...   as I wanted, to see what they do.  You can always delete individual layers in the Layers Panel as you go along so that you are back to your original image.  I agree that it is a bit intimidating at the beginning, but predict that you will be whizzing along very soon.  (And, personally, I find HELP a wee bit unhelpful occasionally too.   I have learned the most from the official Affinity Tutorials and from those provided by users in the Tutorial Forums section.)


21.5 iMAC Retina 4K display. MacOS High Sierra v. 10.13.6.  3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz.  Memory 8 GB 1867 MHz LPDDR3.  1TB Fusion Drive.          
   Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 1536 MB.  Affinity Publisher 1.8.4, Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4
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   True Tone Backlit Magic Keyboard.   Affinity Publisher 1.8.6, Affinity Photo 1.8.6, Affinity Designer 1.8.6
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Appreciate the responses so far. I would like to re-emphasize what I'm asking about, though... 

My question isn't about _how_ to do something, but _where_ to go to access the panels and tools being referenced.

So, @walt.farrell , speaking to the example, no where on that Help page am I shown  _where_ that Brightness and Contrast panel can be found. I'm told what they do -- which I already know -- but, unfortunately, that's all that Help page is offering.

@R C-R  I agree, reviewing menu options prior to jumping into a new UI is good practice. I also agree watching videos can be helpful. But, again, I was asking about something specific, ie., is there a resource out there that provides a quick reference for navigating the UI. Most people don't have eidetic memories that allow them to fully capture a UI upon initial review. And even with doing a review, there are often incidents where a capability or practice is residing under a different name or different tool -- or just plain handled differently than what past experiences may lead a person to assume. 

People generally learn best by doing -- and it's at that point where my Q comes into play... within a workflow. I, as a user, am in the middle of working on a photo or design, and want to do something specific, whatever that may be. I hit walls when I can't quickly discern where to go to do that one thing. Many application developers provide 'quick reference' UI resources (_not_ referring to videos here) that communicate to users where to go to do X or Y or Z. I can't seem to find that resource for Affinity apps, and without that, it's a headache and time suck having to spend 20 minutes reading through forum posts and even more so to have to watch videos to figure it out. 

I imagine I'm not alone with this challenge, and, really, all Serif needs to do is provide what's referred to as a breadcrumb when the item is accessible from the menu, or a screenshot or two highlighting where that capability resides within the UI window. Providing such information in its Help section is highly intuitive, and IMO, would improve people's ability to learn as they go. Orienting takes time, and reducing the friction a user encounters in figuring out where to go to do X or Y would go a long way to reducing what can be a steep learning curve.

As I originally posted, if such a resource already exists, I would love to know! -- along with where is that darn Contrast panel is located  :)

- joanne

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1 hour ago, firebelly said:

Many application developers provide 'quick reference' UI resources (_not_ referring to videos here) that communicate to users where to go to do X or Y or Z.

As with several other graphics editing & creation apps, there are different ways of doing most things in the Affinity ones & thus more than one place to "go to" in the UI to do them. There are also different reasons for using one (or more) of them in a particular workflow.

So for example, in AP there are 3 different places to "go to" to access a simple Brightness & Contrast adjustment:

  1. In the Layer > New Adjustment submenu
  2. In the popup Adjustments menu at the bottom of the Layers panel
  3. In the Adjustments Studio to use "Brightness / Contrast" default or user created presets

(Most menu items also either have a default keyboard shortcut or can have a custom one set in Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts.)

Of course, there are quite a few other ways of directly or indirectly altering contrast and/or brightness, among them with the "Enhancements" buttons in the main toolbar; by using other adjustments and/or live or destructive filters; or with the retouching tools. AP also has dedicated Tone Mapping & Develop Personas, both of which offer various ways to alter contrast and/or brightness.

So considering this, it should be at least somewhat evident why a 'quick reference' to all the resources of the UI would either be exceedingly complex or omit lots of relevant items for the sake of simplicity ... & why you are getting replies suggesting alternatives to find what you are looking for, even though we know they are not much like the non-existent 'quick reference' you were asking about.

The bottom line is it is going to take longer than you were hoping for to understand the intricacies of the Affinity UI. That can be extremely frustrating at first -- it certainly was for me -- but once you learn how a few key features work, it should get progressively easier to anticipate how others will. When you get stuck on something, asking about it in this forum is a great way to leverage what other users know about it, & often reveals things that are new even to many  longtime users.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 14.0.1

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5 hours ago, firebelly said:

So, @walt.farrell , speaking to the example, no where on that Help page am I shown  _where_ that Brightness and Contrast panel can be found. I'm told what they do -- which I already know -- but, unfortunately, that's all that Help page is offering.

@R C-R  I agree, reviewing menu options prior to jumping into a new UI is good practice. I also agree watching videos can be helpful. But, again, I was asking about something specific, ie., is there a resource out there that provides a quick reference for navigating the UI. (...)

As I originally posted, if such a resource already exists, I would love to know! -- along with where is that darn Contrast panel is located  

Not only GeoffH pointed you the right way to the Help. All hints above were sufficient when you consider how obvious the searched info is presented there: Additionally you may hover over the UI image (see below "2") in the help to get further text info popping up, related to your mouse position on the image. I guess R C-R was polite or optimistic when saying "spend 5-10 minutes", since the entire UI is quite complex with all its options, and, unfortunately, the Help is no real reference manual cause its content and its search function may appear less complete then wanted or needed.

But for the start it's all there and, concerning to your initial post, easy to find, beginning directly below the Introduction:

1678600796_photohelp1.thumb.jpg.494488d83bdfbb3821aba98221e97ea0.jpg
 

601162248_photohelp2.thumb.jpg.8421c5e55f0f72b45f631388072c369c.jpg

 


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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First, super helpful comments -- thank you, @R C-R and @thomaso! I'm genuinely appreciating that Serif didn't try recreating Photoshop, but reinvented from the ground up, leap-frogging to a smarter way of working with photos and designs. You both are right, of course -- 

And now, my mea culpa! I didn't understand the "hovering" reference above -- I've been going right to the online Help, Googling and/or searching the Forum as  defaults for seeking answers.

So, yep, sorry to be ' that person' (ie. user error!).  I missed the indicators that pop up when using Help > Search within the app. 

Genuinely humbled and grateful to you all for your patience with this newbie!
(though some breadcrumbs with the online Help wouldn't be a total waste of time ;

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2 hours ago, thomaso said:

I guess R C-R was polite or optimistic when saying "spend 5-10 minutes", since the entire UI is quite complex with all its options ...

Maybe it was not as obvious as it could have been but what I was suggesting was to spend no more than 5-10 minutes to quickly get some understanding of the general structure of the menus & how they are organized into submenus & menu items. The idea is not to dwell on any one menu or its items for very long -- it is about trying to get a quick feel for the size & shape of the forest without being overly distracted by the characteristics of its trees, so to speak.

I have more to say but the power is flickering here & I am getting constant alerts that my iMac is switching over to its UPS to avaoid shutting down, so I will post this now & try to add more when the power stabilizes.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 14.0.1

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On 7/8/2020 at 12:38 AM, firebelly said:

I'm a new user trying to make a smoother transition from Adobe to Affinity.

 

I just want to say I feel your pain. The software is very powerful and I'm making this transition too after 20+ years using and teaching Adobe software.

It's almost as if there could be a separate forum section for other "Adobe oldie/ Affinity newbies" to help each other out. I've found the tranistion is not like picking up Clip Studio / Krita etc etc - Affinity does enough things differently that I am struggling along at snails pace here.

A happy snail may I add....

 

 

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@firebelly

Hi Joanne

Serif reads all posts but doesn't reply to them all. When they do you can expect some delay. If a reply is not constructive or helpful just ignore it. So your feedback has been read and understood in Nottingham.

Yep, it is not always easy to move from software to new software. Especially after many years. And it doesn't help when you are getting older.

  • Personally I never used manuals much. I simply spend hours exploring the programs and the many options. I think it is a faster method in the long run. You can of course combine it with manuals and help files. 
  • Second step is to follow tutorials - walk-throughs - even more important. No one will ever figure out what the filters do in Photoshop before seeing the unlimited combinations and use cases for them.
  • When the baby steps are over - just come here and ask for help for specific features. That is why the forum is here.

You apply adjustments in Photo via adjustment layers - you cannot do it directly to the image - that's why contrast is tricky to find:

  • Layer -> New adjustment layer

Further filters can be applied directly to an image layer from the Filters menu - OR as a non-destructive live filter layer:

  • Layer ->  New live filter layer

I suggest you monkey around with the layers panel from Studios -> Layers

Start from the bottom 🙂

image.png.2bed218051db39ad29eb8abebaaa1a3f.png

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5 hours ago, R C-R said:

I have more to say but the power is flickering here ...

What I wanted to add when I wrote that is to make another suggestion that those new to the Affinity apps may find helpful. That is to open Preferences > User Interface & move the Tooltip Delay slider almost all the way to the left & restart the app. Do that & the text 'tooltip' popups will appear almost immediately when the mouse pointer is over any item that has one.

It is very useful for learning what some of the icons with less than obvious functions do, & for revealing a few otherwise obscure options like that the color dot to the left of the slider at the bottom of the Color Panel is a switch.

It is also perhaps worth mentioning that the status bar at the bottom of the workspace window dynamically updates depending on where the pointer is, making it easier to see what modifiers are available to change the behavior of certain tools.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 14.0.1

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