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Colour Panels. Swatches, Palettes and Mixers.


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I've always had trouble working with colours in Affinity. I believe in its current state it's a very clumsy and inefficient way of doing things. Not to mention frustrating. Im writing this post after posting a 'bug' which Sean P was quick to respond to, however I now believe it was ultimately my error in using the swatches/palettes panels. I do though, also believe that if the way swatches and palettes are implemented in Affinity were refined it could be much easier to work with colour not to mention much faster.

Ive attached some screenshots of a way that, I believe (and feel free to pick this apart), Swatches and Palettes could/should work, for better clarity and efficiency.

First of all the current implementation merges both swatches and palettes and they are almost treated as the same thing when I believe this should not be the case. You will see in my attachments that I believe Swatches are individual colours in a collection you can choose to work with and a Palette is the place to keep all the colours you are indeed working with. While this is essentially true in Affinity there is quite a bit of overlap between 'swatch' and 'palette' and both are hidden behind one drop down. At the moment it's all a muddled mess that hides information and slows down the user.

I believe there should be 3 colour panels. One for a collection of Swatch books so you can choose 'Pantone Coated V4' for example and then choose a coated Pantone from that list to add to the (separate) Palette. There should be a colour mixer panel to mix colours with the usual sliders etc from there you can add to the separate Palette and then there should be the Palette itself. This will contain any and all colours within the document (raster images excluded unless you choose to add them from an image).

As an aside, if you have an item selected on your pasteboard and you choose or mix a colour the item on the pasteboard will change accordingly and the swatch should also auto appear in the palette as it is now in use on the pasteboard. Also with these 3 panels being separate you are able to glance at your working palette useful while mixing another colour or choosing a complimentary spot colour from a colour book but the biggest benefit of all is being able to quickly drag and drop colours between each panel.

I hope that makes sense when looking at the attached diagrams but let me know what you think. Also note the more consistent layout of the panels. Notably the search bar and Opacity. How do you find working with colours at the moment?

 

 

 

 

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@haakoo

It doesn't have to be separate panels. It just has to be better than now. Work better and smarter in any workflow.

A user experience designer could find a way.

@Nazario made one suggestion. Part of a creative process. Serif are grateful for these input.

The difference between you and me... You complain a lot about other users and opinions. Constantly. Sad-face tag as much as you can. The effect of your approach did not change much in the history of mankind.

If you had any - any - experience with the real and professional world - for example design sprints, rapid prototyping - you name it - you would know that solutions comes from many suggestions, iterations, errors, minimum viable products. Listening. Effort. Input. In the modern and progressive world and software industry a user experience designer has a key role in this crucial phase of software development.

I am asking for professional UX assistance in Nottingham. Specialists. Improvements.

I have nothing more to add to your countless, pointless sad-face tags and comments. It is simply just a monumental waste of time for the reasons stated above.

  • "The user interface is supposed to work for me - I am not supposed to work for the user interface."
  • Computer-, operating system- and software agnostic; I am a result oriented professional. Look for a fanboy somewhere else.
  • “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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At the moment Swatches and Palettes are hidden behind a single drop down. What if I wanted to look at my current palette while choosing a new spot colour that suits said palette? You cant see both at the same time as I far as I can tell. If they were separate panels you could see them side by side and drag and drop between them.

You could also create new swatch books by dragging from the palette to a new swatch book in a separate panel. Much quicker than current way of working as its more visual. After all aren't the type of people using this software visual thinkers? If you think about who the end user is and how they work then the solutions become much clearer. Trying to tuck things away because it looks cool with drop down or merging and classing similar but distinctly different elements then just causes confusion which slows down the brains train of thought. Yes its an extra panel but it is a clear distinction between palette and swatch books and offers a faster route between the two.

UPDATE: Just looking at InDesign. Adobes way is similar to mine in that when you choose a new swatch from a colour book it opens up a new window so you can still see your 'palette' (they call it 'swatches') so in effect Adobe also have 3 panels too. The swatches panel, the colour mixer and the pop up for adding colours from a colour book. My idea is much more ingrained within the current UI and maintains a consistency with it. Even Adobe don't offer drag and drop though and I think they're missing a trick for quick adding of multiple colours.

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1 minute ago, haakoo said:

This wasn't a comment about you or your post, sorry for the hijacking.
I know there are points that can be improved in the programs.
I thank you for your effort to come up with a might be solution.
 

I misread Jowdays post and responded as I thought how he/she had tagged me they were unloading on me lol. Ive since retracted my original response to that. Thanks.

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Its taken me 5 minutes to figure that out! That just proves my point how convoluted things are currently. All that does however is EDIT one colour already in your palette does it not? I want to choose four or five quickly from a colour book to add to my palette so I can then begin working with them whilst viewing both the swatch book and palette for comparison.

Also to get all that information available you already have to select the spot colour book to get the 'edit global/spot colour' button so you've already opened up the book you want, to go past it to then edit only one colour. Thats a heck of a lot of clicks to just see two panels side by side or edit a colour. I appreciate you showing me that though as I had no idea you could.

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7 minutes ago, haakoo said:

What is it that you want to achieve?

14 minutes ago, Nazario said:

 I want to choose four or five quickly from a colour book to add to my palette

 

same.

  • Main machine: iMac (21,5-inch, Late 2013), 16GB RAM, 1TB nvme + 2TB ssd, running on 10.14.6 Mojave;
  • Display setup: 27" Thunderbolt Display (primary) + 21,5" iMac-Display for studio panels (secondary);
  • Keyboard layout: german apple extended keyboard (aluminium);

 

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Overall a simple way of working with colour. But the biggest one is simply adding colours from colour book to your document palette.

Currently you have to manually create a document palette, then leave your palette, go to a colour book, click a colour, go back to you palette, then click add. It's slow, cumbersome and lots of faffing with a small little dropdown. 

Two panels side by side. You can see everything at once and drag 5 colours into your palette in 5 seconds, faster if you're wired on RedBull. You could set the default drag option to add as global if you wish or even have modifier key when dragging to switch global or local.

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@Nazario I'm also not very happy with the current colour system in the affinity apps.

Working with what we got here, I would say:

  • By "palette" you would use affinity's "document palette"
  • the Swatch books would be all the other palettes in this dropdown
  • >>> (your and my) problem is – one can never see them side-by-side for a simple drag-n-drop action.

(of course there would be some other things left to repair...)

  • Main machine: iMac (21,5-inch, Late 2013), 16GB RAM, 1TB nvme + 2TB ssd, running on 10.14.6 Mojave;
  • Display setup: 27" Thunderbolt Display (primary) + 21,5" iMac-Display for studio panels (secondary);
  • Keyboard layout: german apple extended keyboard (aluminium);

 

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4 hours ago, woefi said:

@Nazario I'm also not very happy with the current colour system in the affinity apps.

Working with what we got here, I would say:

  • By "palette" you would use affinity's "document palette"
  • the Swatch books would be all the other palettes in this dropdown
  • >>> (your and my) problem is – one can never see them side-by-side for a simple drag-n-drop action.

(of course there would be some other things left to repair...)

Yes exactly. At present we have 'swatches' and 'palettes' which are all under one dropdown under the swatches panel. They should all be classed as 'swatchbooks' (as they are collections of swatches) and the one and only palette should be the one that contains the colours in your current document and treated separately.

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My use-case would require that I also have unused but registered colours in my document palette.

If I understand correctly, you would aim for a clean solution with only actually used ones in there? Sorry if I'm misunderstanding.

  • Main machine: iMac (21,5-inch, Late 2013), 16GB RAM, 1TB nvme + 2TB ssd, running on 10.14.6 Mojave;
  • Display setup: 27" Thunderbolt Display (primary) + 21,5" iMac-Display for studio panels (secondary);
  • Keyboard layout: german apple extended keyboard (aluminium);

 

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3 hours ago, woefi said:

My use-case would require that I also have unused but registered colours in my document palette.

If I understand correctly, you would aim for a clean solution with only actually used ones in there? Sorry if I'm misunderstanding.

No. If you add five colours either from the mixer or from a colour book immediately after opening a document the colours aren't necessarily on the canvas yet. If you create a shape and create a colour for it using the inkwell or colour mixer that is not already in your palette then that colour once applied to the shape could appear in your palette without you having to manually add it yourself.

Furthermore if you have a shape in a colour already in your palette and then change the shape to a colour not in your palette the new colour could then be added automatically to the palette. The original colour would still remain in the palette however. So yes there would still be colours in your palette that aren't necessarily on the canvas. These colours will have either been added by yourself or actually used at some point.

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Just now, haakoo said:

Create document palette>create four rects>add colour from wherever
Swatches menu>create palette from document>done

Click click click click click click click etc.lol.

 Thanks.. Im talking about improving the suite overall, I know how to achieve these things but Im saying the way they are currently implemented could be greatly improved. :)

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I totally agree but try and think of it like this. 

You're an artist. You've got a nice new blank canvas ready to paint on. All your paints are stored in a multitude of draws all around your room. You rummage through some draws and find the colour you want. Only thing is you don't have a palette to put it on. So you go into another room to procure a palette. You put a bit of paint on your palette. Now you want to add another colour so you put your palette down and go rummaging back through the various draws in the other room. Find a new colour take it to the room with the palette in and add it to your palette. Now you want a third colour and so back to the draws again in the other room. Keep repeating that until you have the palette of colours you need. This is what's happening in Affinity at the moment.

I propose you have one draw with the paints neatly arranged in boxes and your palette already to hand. You could hover over the draw and pick as many as you like in one go. With colours on your palette and full view of the draw full of paints you can easily choose complimentary colours to add to the palette. That to me is better preparation.

I'll leave it there because I've made clear my ideas and don't want to keep flogging it. Just hope some of it gets taken into consideration :)

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