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Stephen_H

Can we just get the basics that are missing, and not worry about unique, cutting edge features for now?

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I purchased Designer and Photo years ago but I just couldn't replace Illustrator & Photoshop because of a few missing features that are just workflow basics. I've moved to the Windows platform and just downloaded new trial versions of them to give them another chance, and these problems persist. Most of them relate to features that prevent the user from making critical, unprofessional mistakes like inconsistent color use across multiple documents. If you are deigning a flyer, a business card and a name badge, you can't have variations between them. These are a few [very] minor omissions that I am missing that risks me making amateurish mistakes:

- Global swatches don't carry to another document when copy-n-pasting a logo from one document to another (same as in Publisher)

- Swatches not carrying over to the new document also means that overprint setting are lost because overprint is defined in the swatch, not in the object.

- I can't tell what color mode I'm working in. If my mode is RGB for a flyer, I need something to shout out at me, or at least give me a clue that my print job is going to be disaster. A simple RGB/CMYK icon would suffice. Even Photo displays its color mode in the document's header, but Designer [where it's more important] doesn't.

- The colour picker only picks up RGB/CMYK values, not a global swatch. Even if I've pasted a logo into a new document and it's displaying a global color, the eyedropper doesn't read it as a global color so I can't even reliably copy colors from my source logo. 

- To duplicate an object by dragging it, I have to press the Alt key before I select the object, not during the drag. Most of the time, I need to be certain I have selected the correct object before I duplicate it, however, now I have to duplicate something and then find out if I selected correctly. I don't know how many times I have moved items I want to duplicate and duplicated items I didn't want to duplicate because of this. An application is not fast to work in if I'm constantly undoing my actions.

- Changing the colors of margins & guides. If I design a blue brochure, my margins and guides disappear. I need to make them red or yellow or anything. I don't expect to be able to mix my own colors, but a dozen pre-mixed swatches to choose from would solve this problem. (apart from working in wireframe mode)

- Connecting the selected transform corner in the transform palette to the free transform with the move tool. It's very strange that I can select a corner in the transform palette, but then I always rotate around the center. I have to manually type rotation values in degrees to get the rotation around a corner. Why the disconnect? This disconnect is similar to the disconnect I experience between the swatches, color mixer and eye dropper.

- Previewing at export. Even in Photo, I can't see the effect of the level of JPEG compression being applied to my exported files (neither in Designer nor Photo). I have to export a file half a dozen times until I hit upon that sweet spot of small file size to barely noticable quality loss. Even the open source GIMP does this with a live preview at export. I can do awesome professional work, and then break it all with a poor export... and not even realise it.

- Proofing colors. I really need to be able to see how my colors will separate before I save my PDF. If I've accidentally worked in RGB, this will reveal my mistake as I go to repro. Overprinting and knockout will also be a disaster if not picked up in time. (Who here hasn't experienced the dreaded white text set to overprint and wondered where all your text went?). This feature alone forces me to keep a professional, licensed copy of Adobe Acrobat around to preview color separations. In my final repro file, I have to know if my spot colors are still spots and if I'm printing fine black text as 100% black, or a full color breakdown that will turn my single color print job into a full color one. Previewing the separations (or channels in your photo editor) points out my potential errors.

- Overprinting settings. The previous point leads straight into this one. Why is over printing set in the swatch and not the object? If I want some small paragraph text to over print, but large display text to knockout, I have to make 2 identical black swatches to do this. Why can't I specify this on an object-by-object basis? I guess "Multiply" does the same thing and works as a work-around, but you're targeting print designers, and use the term overprint yourselves so why the strange and risky implementation.

- Snapping to "round" values. When manually selecting a color in CMYK, we are inevitably creating a color using round number values from a color chart. It's slow and frustrating trying to select exactly 50% in a slider as it hops from 49 to 51 and back again while we search for that perfect pixel placement. How about snapping to increments of 5% by holding down the shift key? Your snapping features are awesomely powerful, but only in the document. Why not extend this into the sliders and the rest of the application? (Admittedly, I don't know any other application that does this, but it makes sense and would be welcome.)

 

Basic features that are even in open source software seem to be missing. We waited for years to get arrow heads. You claimed it was because you wanted to get it awesome, but they are no more powerful/different to anything else out there on the market. I suspect we only got them when Publisher was released. Did we have to wait for a whole new app to be leased to get arrow heads? Now we sit with other missing basic, common features like:

- Blend/Interpolate

- Stroke drawing tools like a grid tool and a straight line tool. These are enormous time savers.

- Tabs. (I understand you want to protect Publisher by keeping high end text features like hyphenation, drop-caps and text wrap out of Designer, but this feels like a very basic feature compared to your range of kerning, alignment and Opentype features already here from day one)

 

I understand that everyone's needs are different and you can't satisfy everyone, but you are targeting print designers as well and illustrators and web designers, and  these are all features every professional expects and is surprising that they're not here. You give us features that most professionals just leave on the defaults because few of us even understand them (like color profiles and LUTs), but then drop the ball by not pasting a global swatch from one document to another.

It's confusing and just doesn't make me feel confident in the files I send to print.

Please can you look at these issues before adding new features. I understand that new features are needed to sell products, but a lot of us early adopters are just wondering where the small tweaks and refinements are.

It seems that your development team needs to consult with an old school designer or printer to get these fundamentals right. It feels like you've only got young designers who have grown up with an RGB workflow and have never had to bang out 6 flyers in an afternoon and send them to print with the job being rejected.

 

 

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Lots of stuff for them to work on there Stephen, don't know if any of it gets fixed in V 1.9

Guide colour has been on the must have list for over a year or more. Apparently in the beta you can now actually save workspaces with the palettes, requested that at the photoshow two years ago.

I love Affinity stuff and I'm sure they will get there, took Adobe years to add some stuff aswell

I'm sure they are listening, really want them to succeed, my mac is Adobe freeeeeee

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I forgot to add another problem with swatches not carrying over to another document via copy-n-paste... if your swatch is a SPOT color, the SPOT swatch is left behind. Try and re-make that swatch from your pasted object and you'll only create a CMYK swatch. Your SPOT color is gone for good.

This is a blinding oversight that should be treated as a bug fix rather than a missing feature.

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I agree with most of these points to get Affinity to a usable state. The duplicate point is a big one for me. You end up destroying your layout to get to the thing you want to duplicate then have to put it all back together again. Even in the layers panel its a pain in the ass. If you could drag an element first then you'd know that you have the right piece and you're already halfway to having a duplicate where you want before you even press option to confirm the duplicate on release. It's little things like this that REALLY make a difference in a workflow.

I created a thread in feedback section about sorting out the colour palettes and posted a video of a guy taking nearly 4 minutes to add 5 swatches to a palette. We need to be able to drag and drop colour swatches from the builtin colour books into a SEPARATE document panel. It would then probably take 6 seconds not 4 minutes!

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2 hours ago, Stephen_H said:

straight line tool. These are enormous time savers.

How is a separate straight line tool an "enormous" time saver over the pen tool?

  • With the pen tool in Pen Mode, you click on each end of the line.  Press ESC to start a new line if needed - the ESC is one extra step per line after the first.
  • With the pen tool in Line Mode, it works just like the traditional "straight line tool" - drag a line from one end to the other.  Start dragging again and you get a new line.  This is one extra click to change the mode, then you can create many lines.  Add one extra click if you must for switching the mode back.

 

Quote

- Tabs. 

In Designer you can configure tab stops in the Paragraph studio panel.

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On 10/30/2020 at 1:45 PM, Stephen_H said:

To duplicate an object by dragging it, I have to press the Alt key before I select the object, not during the drag. Most of the time, I need to be certain I have selected the correct object before I duplicate it, however, now I have to duplicate something and then find out if I selected correctly. I don't know how many times I have moved items I want to duplicate and duplicated items I didn't want to duplicate because of this. An application is not fast to work in if I'm constantly undoing my actions

A lot of points raised which if Team Affinity were to revisit these areas would make Designer much more powerful. 

As a lifetime Adobe Illustrator user, I also used to face the same frustration when trying to duplicate objects in Affinity until I had to relearn the other duplicate option. Simply use the Control key on Windows and you will get the desired and expected behaviour. The Control key when used for duplicating will behave in exactly the same way as the Alt key used in Adobe Illustrator. Affinity once got it right a couple of versions back where you could actually have the Control and Alt key sharing the same behaviour when duplicating. Alas, this was to be short-lived. I don't know what went wrong and the functionality somehow got broken on the Alt key.

Also note that Adobe Illustrator favours the Alt key to transform or scale objects from the centre and Affinity favours the Control key...

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Lots of work for a usability experience designer here - if only Serif had one... (!!!) @Stephen_H

The lack of export preview and the lack of optimized JPG algorithms etc. etc. alone is pure madness and evidence of many saddening issues in Nottingham.

I don't see what cutting edge features we got. 


I gave up using Designer - a "professional" vector drawing program without advanced or semi-advanced vector features. Customers waiting for five years in vain is more than any company can ask for. Maybe if Affinity Designer 2.0 gets real and advanced vector features I can use it. Until then... I am a customer, a potential upgrader and an active observer with an opinion.

Further... give up and please hire a professional, educated UX (user experience designer), Serif. Professional software companies used them for decades now. You must too.

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On 10/31/2020 at 7:31 PM, william said:

A lot of points raised which if Team Affinity were to revisit these areas would make Designer much more powerful. 

As a lifetime Adobe Illustrator user, I also used to face the same frustration when trying to duplicate objects in Affinity until I had to relearn the other duplicate option. Simply use the Control key on Windows and you will get the desired and expected behaviour. The Control key when used for duplicating will behave in exactly the same way as the Alt key used in Adobe Illustrator. Affinity once got it right a couple of versions back where you could actually have the Control and Alt key sharing the same behaviour when duplicating. Alas, this was to be short-lived. I don't know what went wrong and the functionality somehow got broken on the Alt key.

Also note that Adobe Illustrator favours the Alt key to transform or scale objects from the centre and Affinity favours the Control key...

Ah... use the Control key instead of Alt key... fantastic. Thanks for that tip. It just feels unintuitive because I come from an Apple background where Alt is always duplicate. I think of Control as a command key to be used with another key, not with a curser action.

Thanks for this. It makes a BIG difference.

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On 11/1/2020 at 5:05 PM, Jowday said:

Lots of work for a usability experience designer here - if only Serif had one... (!!!) @Stephen_H

The lack of export preview and the lack of optimized JPG algorithms etc. etc. alone is pure madness and evidence of many saddening issues in Nottingham.

I don't see what cutting edge features we got. 

Agreed. JPEG export preview is essential. At the very least, it's logical.

The cutting edge features I vaguely refer to are things like live vector brush strokes, advanced slice exporting, scalable objects, live shapes, live corners... things like this. Nice to have, good to brag about, but not essential.

The problem is this... we buy the app for these features that stand out in a comparesson chart against Illustrator, but then we find out that Designer only plays lip service to the basics. eg: Affinity's apps are part of a very small groups of designer apps that support a CMYK work flow which is essential to print designers. Working in RGB with the option to export as a CMYK PDF is not the same (see Pixelmator for this issue). However, when you actually start working in Designer, you quickly learn that while its color management/workflow is is genuine, it's not mature and robust.

Affinity apps remain on my computer more as novelties than my primary work tools because of this. I support Affinity because I'm hopeful of a future, but right now, I just can't let Adobe go.

 

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On 10/31/2020 at 7:31 PM, william said:

Also note that Adobe Illustrator favours the Alt key to transform or scale objects from the centre and Affinity favours the Control key...

I've just tried this. Rotating an object with while holding down the Control key and/or the Alt key doesn't make any difference to me. See my demo screencast:

 

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On windows, due to the lack of a fourth modifier key, you must use left+right mouse button to rotate around the opposite point.
Rotation will occur on bottom right when holding left+rightmouse button held down on the top left node.

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2 hours ago, Stephen_H said:

I've just tried this. Rotating an object with while holding down the Control key and/or the Alt key doesn't make any difference to me.

Check the hints along the bottom of the window.  To rotate and scale around the opposite handle is control on the Mac.  As @haakoo indicated, on Windows some of the shortcuts are bit harder to get to due to lack of a fourth modifier key on that platform.

An alternative is to set the transform origin using the option on the context toolbar, or to use the point transform tool (hidden behind the node tool by default) in Designer.

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On 10/30/2020 at 11:45 AM, Stephen_H said:

- Previewing at export. Even in Photo, I can't see the effect of the level of JPEG compression being applied to my exported files (neither in Designer nor Photo). I have to export a file half a dozen times until I hit upon that sweet spot of small file size to barely noticable quality loss. Even the open source GIMP does this with a live preview at export. I can do awesome professional work, and then break it all with a poor export... and not even realise it.

This is very important - Both for the excellent points outlined above by Stephen and for the structure of selection outputs. Being able to see you have all the required parts of a logo being lifted from a layout to a format like SVG or PNG, without having to keep opening the file to check.

I know I say this a lot on this forum but, This was very good in the Serif Suite. Affinity's own legacy software.

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I personally thought exactly the same thing - I would love to see a release where NO new features are added, but LOTS of little things are improved. Kind of a "major maintenance release". I'm guessing this would make a lot of existing customers very happy.

I still love Affinity Photo and Designer, but still can't get my head around why new features are continually added, whilst some basic glaring omissions are passed by..


High-End Photographic Prints

 

 

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On 11/7/2020 at 10:58 AM, spidermurph said:

I know I say this a lot on this forum but, This was very good in the Serif Suite. Affinity's own legacy software.

That's interesting. Their own legacy software has this? Did they really throw everything away and build these apps completely from the ground up?

I think this is part of the frustration many feel... basics are in opensource software, AND their own legacy software. This means the code to do this exists and is available to Affinity developers. This now feels like a decision to intentionally leave these features out. I really hope this is not the case.

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21 minutes ago, Stephen_H said:

This means the code to do this exists and is available to Affinity developers. This now feels like a decision to intentionally leave these features out. I really hope this is not the case.

Hello @Stephen_H,

the reason to start coding the Affinity line of software from ground up was that the (now) legacy software was based on code and techniques that have now become outdated. That's at least how I understand it from several posts on the forum. They might be hard to find but I know that I read them.

So the reason that some features are not there is not an intentional decision to leave them out forever but more the fact that not everything can be implemented from the start. They had to make decisions on what do first and what will come later. Basically that's a roadmap 🙂.  This has been the source of many discussions around here because everyone sees his/her own missing features the most important ones if not 'must haves'.

I did read your initial post (above) very carefully and think you bring up many interesting details that could help to streamline the software. Some of them I consider more as a personal preference, but that's fine, too. I am sure Serif staff does take notice of that since they do read this section of the forum.

Cheers,
d.


Affinity Designer 1.8.5 (beta 1.9.0.864)   |   Affinity Photo 1.8.5 (beta 1.9.0.864)   |   Affinity Publisher 1.8.5 (beta 1.9.0.863)
Affinity Designer for iPad 1.8.4   |   Affinity Photo for iPad 1.8.4

Windows 10 (1809) 64-bit - Core i7 - 16GB - Intel HD Graphics 4600 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
iPad pro 9.7" + Apple Pencil

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16 minutes ago, dominik said:

the reason to start coding the Affinity line of software from ground up was that the (now) legacy software was based on code and techniques that have now become outdated. That's at least how I understand it from several posts on the forum. They might be hard to find but I know that I read them.

So the reason that some features are not there is not an intentional decision to leave them out forever but more the fact that not everything can be implemented from the start. They had to make decisions on what do first and what will come later. Basically that's a roadmap 🙂.  This has been the source of many discussions around here because everyone sees his/her own missing features the most important ones if not 'must haves'.

Ah, thanks for the insight. The comment about their own legacy software having features that are missing caught me by surprise. I have watched their roadmap, but I now take it bit a bit of salt because features on it have taken incredibly long to implement (The "arrow heads" saga comes to mind)

I think they should take a break from adding new features, correct and refine what they have and then launch version 2. It should also carry a cost to upgrade. I'm worried that Affinity's rate of development is slowing because of financial constraints. My copy of Designer and Photo were both purchased in 2014 when they were launched. I still get the benefit of the upgrades, but Affinity has received no financial compensation from me since. While I can expect to own my software for ever, I can't expect new features and free updates for life.

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40 minutes ago, Stephen_H said:

I think they should take a break from adding new features, correct and refine what they have and then launch version 2. It should also carry a cost to upgrade.

From what I observed during the last beta cycles they do have periods of introduction of new features in exchange with periods of ironing out errors. Sometimes bug fixing releases show up within only a couple of days if a serious bug was found. From my observation the fine tuning of features happens a little less obvious and sometimes takes quite some time.

It is officially announced that the upgrade to version 2 will be a paid upgrade.

d.


Affinity Designer 1.8.5 (beta 1.9.0.864)   |   Affinity Photo 1.8.5 (beta 1.9.0.864)   |   Affinity Publisher 1.8.5 (beta 1.9.0.863)
Affinity Designer for iPad 1.8.4   |   Affinity Photo for iPad 1.8.4

Windows 10 (1809) 64-bit - Core i7 - 16GB - Intel HD Graphics 4600 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
iPad pro 9.7" + Apple Pencil

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12 minutes ago, ceocan said:

When do you think V2 will be released or announced?

This is completely unknown.

d.


Affinity Designer 1.8.5 (beta 1.9.0.864)   |   Affinity Photo 1.8.5 (beta 1.9.0.864)   |   Affinity Publisher 1.8.5 (beta 1.9.0.863)
Affinity Designer for iPad 1.8.4   |   Affinity Photo for iPad 1.8.4

Windows 10 (1809) 64-bit - Core i7 - 16GB - Intel HD Graphics 4600 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
iPad pro 9.7" + Apple Pencil

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On 10/31/2020 at 1:13 AM, Nazario said:

I created a thread in feedback section about sorting out the colour palettes and posted a video of a guy taking nearly 4 minutes to add 5 swatches to a palette. We need to be able to drag and drop colour swatches from the builtin colour books into a SEPARATE document panel. It would then probably take 6 seconds not 4 minutes!

You also can't "undo" a change to a swatch I've just noticed, amongst a host of other frustrations. 


Windows 7 & 10 64-bit, Dual Xeon workstation(s) 64gb RAM, and single i7 laptop 32gb RAM

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On 11/9/2020 at 4:09 AM, Stephen_H said:

Did they really throw everything away and build these apps completely from the ground up?

Yes, intentionally.  Evidently the code from the old Plus series had reached the point where it was becoming more difficult to maintain and enhance and they determined that the best path forward was to rearchitect the solutions from scratch, creating brand new applications rather than trying to continue maintaining the old ones.

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10 hours ago, fde101 said:

Yes, intentionally.  Evidently the code from the old Plus series had reached the point where it was becoming more difficult to maintain and enhance and they determined that the best path forward was to rearchitect the solutions from scratch, creating brand new applications rather than trying to continue maintaining the old ones.

Also, the legacy software was Windows only, and Affinity was designed specifically for Mac, initially. Only after the initial success of AD they decided to port this to Windows, too, and abandon the old Plus series completely (at least that’s what it looked like from an outsider’s perspective).

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16 minutes ago, VIPStephan said:

Also, the legacy software was Windows only, and Affinity was designed specifically for Mac, initially.

The Affinity apps were initially only released for Mac, but the code for the core functionality has always been ‘platform agnostic’.


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher for Windows • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.8.6 • Designer for iPad 1.8.6 • iPadOS 14.2 (iPad Air 2)

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On 10/30/2020 at 3:13 PM, Nazario said:

I agree with most of these points to get Affinity to a usable state. The duplicate point is a big one for me. You end up destroying your layout to get to the thing you want to duplicate then have to put it all back together again. Even in the layers panel its a pain in the ass. If you could drag an element first then you'd know that you have the right piece and you're already halfway to having a duplicate where you want before you even press option to confirm the duplicate on release. It's little things like this that REALLY make a difference in a workflow.

I created a thread in feedback section about sorting out the colour palettes and posted a video of a guy taking nearly 4 minutes to add 5 swatches to a palette. We need to be able to drag and drop colour swatches from the builtin colour books into a SEPARATE document panel. It would then probably take 6 seconds not 4 minutes!

It is so obvious that Serif has no educated, experienced, real user experience designer. So obvious that you can see it from space.

Impact is obvious too. You are paying.


I gave up using Designer - a "professional" vector drawing program without advanced or semi-advanced vector features. Customers waiting for five years in vain is more than any company can ask for. Maybe if Affinity Designer 2.0 gets real and advanced vector features I can use it. Until then... I am a customer, a potential upgrader and an active observer with an opinion.

Further... give up and please hire a professional, educated UX (user experience designer), Serif. Professional software companies used them for decades now. You must too.

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