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Calina Bell

Is it possible to do precise line work in Affinity Designer?

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I'm using an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. I do lettering and patterns by hand and I need the lines to stay exactly as I draw them. Affinity Designer keeps shifting my lines around in random ways and making a mess, even with stabilizer turned off. I tested this in Adobe Draw and it's capable of rendering vector lines the way they're drawn, but it saddens me that I might have to use it instead since it's inferior to Affinity Designer in almost every other way. Before I give up and move on to a different app, I'm posting here to see if there's something I'm missing or if there's some other method I can use to get Affinity Designer to keep my lines as I draw them.

I made a comparison image to show what I'm talking about. I got the Affinity Designer "as drawn" image by taking a screenshot before lifting my pencil.

affinity-designer-vs-adobe-draw.jpg.ea59e74e9e4a412499b058477b8bcf88.jpg

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I'm not trying to do that kind of precision work. The lines are supposed to appear hand drawn so they have slight flaws. It's the same issue with details in lettering.

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I've followed your post @Calina Bell, because it looks quite fascinating.

What I'm struggling to understand is exactly what's occuring. Sorry for being a bit slow here.

Is it that...

You draw your lines with the... app pencil tool or vector brush tool? (I assume you're in Designer persona, not Pixel, so not the pixel brush tool).

You do so on a vector layer, not a pixel layer?

So then, when do the lines move of their own accord exactly? You say below "before lifting my pencil"... and I take it that that is when they change.

On 8/22/2020 at 6:34 PM, Calina Bell said:

I got the Affinity Designer "as drawn" image by taking a screenshot before lifting my pencil.

Do you not lift your pencil while drawing all those lines at all, at any point - it's one continuous action?

Just trying to understand exactly what occurs.


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iPad 12.9"/512GB Gen4 & Apple Pencil Gen2 + (soon to be replaced, hopefully) Macbook Pro 17". Nikon D7200 & Fuji X100F
Affinity Designer & Photo (iPad & Desktop) + Publisher (Currently Desktop only available).

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@ProDesigner When I draw with the pencil tool, after I lift my pencil the lines move around and become more simplified instead of the way I actually drew them. This feature is usually called line smoothing or stabilization in vector software. Even though I found this option in Affinity Designer, turning it off doesn't actually turn it all the way off. It just makes it do it a little less. This feature can be awesome for drawing to help you get nice clean lines, but it can become problematic if you are trying to do work where the lines need to remain exactly the way you drew them.

This is specifically an issue with vector lines and not pixel lines. Switching to pixels is not an option for me. I want my final product to be scalable at many different sizes.

After starting this topic, I found this longer discussion which is about the same issue I'm describing. Apparently this isn't limited to the iPad version. It's unfortunate because it means I won't be able to use Affinity Designer for this project, and I really wanted to. ☹️

As an addendum to the first post, I won't be using Adobe Draw either. I quickly found out it uses a brush stoke like the blob brush in Adobe Illustrator instead of making vector lines. I found a free app called Vectorinator on the app store that has a pencil tool that draws vector lines where the smoothing can truly be turned off.

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I've not used the pencil tool very much so far, I must admit this.

However, I've just tried the pencil tool. The assistent created a "curve" layer automatically (I have no idea if this is an inconsistency with the term "vector layer" or not. I don't know if there's both 'objects' and 'layers' in the Layers Studio.. something I've not yet got a grip on).

I have "Controller" set to none and likewise "Stabiliser" set to No Stabiliser. (Sculpt is off too)

My pencil line thickness is set to 0.1mm.

After I lift the pencil it created a lot of nodes and, as far as I can tell, it has preserved every single wobble in the line's progress. I also deliberately tried to make a really wobbly (tiny deviations) line and that seems to be 100% as drawn.

Perhaps an illustration of the number of nodes on your lines would shed light on what's happening?

As I say, I tend to always work with the pen (though the hand-drawn style of wobbly lines is something I want to explore in future). Hence I found your question interesting.

Scanning the pencil settings, I see only mitre limit (mine's set to 1.5) that might - might - be playing a role here. Drawing on my long history using this kind of software, I know I've encountered the mitre limit before, though I can't remember exactly what the issue was. I'm sorry if I'm being frustrating.

Otherwise, if you're not getting the number of nodes needed, then there might be a setting elsewhere or something I'm missing.

Perhaps someone who'd worked with the pencil tool more than I have will happen along and shed more light.

I hope we've got a bit closer to curing this for you.

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- Vectornator does seem very good, very intuitive... I got further into it before getting stuck, than I have with Designer. The jury is out between the two at the moment, as far as I'm concerned at the moment.


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iPad 12.9"/512GB Gen4 & Apple Pencil Gen2 + (soon to be replaced, hopefully) Macbook Pro 17". Nikon D7200 & Fuji X100F
Affinity Designer & Photo (iPad & Desktop) + Publisher (Currently Desktop only available).

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@Calina Bell
have you tried the app concepts, there you can set line smoothing from 0 to 100%. 0% is handdrawn.

I like concepts very much for sketching, and it is a vector app.

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