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Can we add one more tool to the boolean set? A "merge" tool like in illustrator? The current "add" tool reminds me a lot of the "Unite" tool in Illustrator. It's like a scorched earth approach where everything is combined into one shape with one set of properties. The "merge" tool in Illustrator allows object with differing attributes to cut into one another like a cookie-cutter does. Also, I can put a fill shape of another color behind a vector fill with a negative shape and it will essentially fill that negative space. This is such an essential part of my workflow.  I watch others forced to fill objects when there is still a closed stoke or go back in afterward and re-draw the existing shapes as fills only. What about a live paint fill tool that does not require a continuous united path in order to fill it, but instead recognizes all four sides being closed in some way, whether by the same stroke or different overlapped strokes?

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  • 2 months later...

Divide and merge are very different Boolean operations in illustrator. Divide is the same in both programs. Merge in illustrator acts like a cookie cutter. So you could cut one object out of another. Merge also compressed and flattened whatever was selected. To my knowledge, there is no equivalent way to do either task in designer. Really hoping this gets addressed soon by serif

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3 hours ago, Boldlinedesign said:

Merge in illustrator acts like a cookie cutter.

Could you explain a bit more, for those who haven't used Illustrator? On the face of it a cookie cutter would behave how the Affinity "subtract" operation does, i.e. "cut one object out of another". And you can also do that non destructively using Layer -> Create Compound, then selecting subtract on the first object, in the layer panel.

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Merge is in illustrator a "pathfinder" - an easier way to perform several steps - than all manual:

The Merge pathfinder is similar to that of the Trim command when applied to two multicolored shapes. When applied to three shapes, two of them being the same hue, the Merge action joins the two yellow shapes and trims the outline of the other blue polygon.

In a professional setup where time is money and the shortest path is always the preferred one such features are greatly appreciated - not to mentioned understood. Such tools are invaluable when working on huge illustrations/project where the user makes many, many, many adjustments and shapes. It is also totally meaningful that the software takes many operations out of the workflow so the creative can focus on being creating. Not focus on moving bricks around.

The whole point of using a computer is that such tools and features can help and assist the user. We need more than tools like glue, knife and scissor. A computer can combine their work into one single TATJING. 

It seems that these features comes at a premium price in other products, though. Fine. I have the premium products too. But they would make sense in Affinity as well. To me at least. I fooled around enough with scissors and glue in First Grade.

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@Roqoco This is an example of what i need Affinity designer to be able to do for me


@Jowday explained it well. I use the Illustrator version of "merge" to quickly fill in a background color inside a negative space - like in the tiger. Sometimes I use the live paint feature in illustrator, but it's often just as easy to do what I just explained and is shown in the video. I also use the same feature to combine different expanded strokes that were overlapping. When I am inking a cartoon image like this tiger, I use the brush tool to get thin to thick lines and overlap on purpose... then I grab them all and after expanding them into vector fills, I divide them using pathfinder to be able to select the overlap parts and delete, leaving me a clean intersect edge.
I also need the ability to destructively collapse a pile of vectors for final output. Affinity's options to keep things flexible is great.... but at some point, I need to be able to flatten and collapse what i have made.
It's possible these things can be done in Designer and I just missed them. If so, let me know

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On 2/14/2021 at 7:35 PM, Boldlinedesign said:

This is an example of what i need Affinity designer to be able to do for me

I don't think that's directly possible.

Workarounds:

  • duplicate the front object(s) and use them to boolean Subtract destructively
  • boolean Subtract as Compound, then copy and paste the subtracting objects via Layers panel in front
  • boolean Divide and remove redundant objects
  • in some scenarios, a simple boolean Add should also have the same effect

For what it's worth, there's also the buried Layer > Geometry > Merge Curves but that does something else.

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6 hours ago, loukash said:

I don't think that's directly possible.

I appreciate you listing alternative methods to test and I will do that.  I agree that what I am asking for can't be done right now, but it's a vital part of working vectors for me and I believe many others. It's also a standard operation in other vector apps. Now that we're hitting the end of the first version of Designer, I'm hoping they add this in to 2.0.
There's no way to quickly fill in a negative shape in the background. No way to truly compress and flatten down for final output... these are necessities of a professional vector app. I hope Affinity is listening.

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18 hours ago, Boldlinedesign said:

it's a vital part of working vectors for me and I believe many others

I can only second that. Affinity's boolean operations still have a loooooong way to go.

18 hours ago, Boldlinedesign said:

Now that we're hitting the end of the first version of Designer

No offense intended, but how did you come to that conclusion? You're aware that after 1.9 there may come 1.10, 1.11, 1.12, … 1.348… ;)

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10 minutes ago, loukash said:

I can only second that. Affinity's boolean operations still have a loooooong way to go.

No offense intended, but how did you come to that conclusion? You're aware that after 1.9 there may come 1.10, 1.11, 1.12, … 1.348… ;)

They must have recently changed it, but as of the other day, the main text at the top of the Serif Affinity page said "last major update" instead of "latest", as it does now.
Whether or not it goes to 2.0 next, perhaps Affinity does not want people to stop buying the 1.9 version knowing there's another payment in a year or so, instead of getting several years out of their investment cost

BLD 2021-02-16 at 08.03.42.png

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For those not familiar:

Illustrator's awkwardly named Merge performs two basic Boolean operations in one move, based on their color:

  • It Unions touching (abutting or overlapping) fills of the same color.
  • It Punches (subtracts) overlapping fills of different colors. (Frontmost punches others).

So it results in the minimal individual paths around visually contiguous regions of the same color.

One common real-world use case for this is when preparing a design for cutting from sign vinyl. In that common workflow, you don't want any cuts across same-colored regions, because as the vinyl shrinks over time, void slivers appear. So the Merge command saves a lot of time and tedium.

However, it addresses just half of that use case: When different colors of a sign vinyl design need to appear to abut, one actually does need a small amount of overlap for the very same reason: It's very difficult to physically perfectly abut different-colored pieces of vinyl when applying it, and even if you could, the eventual shrinkage would again cause slivers between them.

The practical fix is analogous to that of color trapping (chokes, spreads, and overprinting) in print.

So this is yet another opportunity to improve upon an Illustrator feature by addressing its shortcomings instead of just mimicking it in 'me, too' fashion: Such a command should incorporate an Overlap setting that would default to zero, but could be set by the user whenever a trap (parallel to the shapes) is needed. That would address the tedium of having to manually apply Offset Path (in AI) or Contour (in Affinity) to the results of a Merge operation. In other words, the suggested new feature function should incorporate three basic operations (union, subtract, and offset), not just two (union and subtract).

Illustrator could have long since addressed this by providing a checkbox in its Merge command: Respect Manual Traps or Respect Overprinting Strokes. But it doesn't. And its 'Pathfinders' generally ignore strokes anyway. Expand Appearance 'sees' manual traps built in Illustrator, but treats them as 'third' colors instead of as the same color as the spread or choked color.

Another low-hanging-fruit opportunity to surpass Illustrator's functionality by avoiding its endemic characteristic of too many grab-bag standalone features being 'unaware' of each other.

JET

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On 2/16/2021 at 4:03 PM, JET_Affinity said:

 

 "performs two basic Boolean operations in one move, based on their color"

 

Could these composites of boolean operations be handled by implementing a macro language? That could be useful for many other things... and would prevent the UI becoming cluttered with commands that are aimed at particular niche areas. Would also be a major feature for AD 2.

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On 2/17/2021 at 4:57 PM, Roqoco said:

Could these composites of boolean operations be handled by implementing a macro language? That could be useful for many other things... and would prevent the UI becoming cluttered with commands that are aimed at particular niche areas. Would also be a major feature for AD 2.

Macro, unlikely. Too many variables. Although Windows applications tend to refer to Visual Basic scripts as 'macros', generally speaking, a macro is just a recording of a sequence of individual performed operations or commands provided in the standard interface, like so-called Actions in Adobe apps. The sequence would likely be different for every piece of artwork, thereby negating the advantage.

Scripting, on the other hand, maybe. But that's far more ambitious. A good scripting implementation provides for variables and conditional logic. But the operative phrase here is "good implementation". I've resorted to writing Javascript to create a substantial collection of 'missing features' in Illustrator, and yes, I am one of those who dearly wants to see Affinity provide a complete and well-documented Javascript object model as soon as its feature set is more fully fleshed-out and stabilized. But even so, it was the continual frustration of scripting AI that I had to resort to it for no-brainer missing functionality like, for just one example, a simple reverse path command. (And no, no one need trot out clicking an endNode with the Pen Tool.)

But  it comes immediately to mind in this context that Illustrator's Javascript (as of CS6, after which I abandoned it because I will not enslave myself nor have my business-critical files held hostage to a software vendor) provides no method for collision detection between paths (something I asked for throughout the years of writing AI scripting). So one might be able to devise into the script a repetitive loop of 'tests' to determine which paths actually overlap. But I'd be gritting my teeth doing that just because the functionality should be in the standard interface.

The use case I described (vinyl cutting) is one in which something akin to Illustrator's Merge command quickly becomes indispensable. But its utility is certainly not limited to that. It's one of the kind of features that a user may not immediately recognize the 'need' for, but will quite likely find many uses for once it is provided. Adding a button and a slider to a Boolean palette would not constitute excessive gratuitous tool-glut.

If one thinks it through, it becomes evident that the so-called Merge Pathfinder is doing essentially much the same thing that the much later so-called Live Paint and Shape Builder features are doing. They're just doing it as a 'live effect' with an elaborate tool interface, instead of by a simple command. Much of Illustrator's tool glut boils down to 're-packaging' of existing functionality with more elaborate interfaces.

On 2/18/2021 at 5:15 AM, loukash said:

I vaguely recall that Freehand 9 had a dedicated trapping function.

Of course it did. And I dare say, like many other things, it probably appeared before Illustrator's trapping functions. But FreeHand did not have a command akin to the one specified in this thread. The Merge command was one of the precious few positives in having to segue to AI after Adobe bought and killed FreeHand.

I'd have to fire up the old bulbous pinstripe Mac G4 relic to verify, but something in my own vague recollection suggests that FreeHand's Boolean path operations could be made to incorporate manually-built traps.

All this is why I continually argue that we need to think beyond Illustrator. Illustrator is just one of the old 'Big Four" (FreeHand, Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Canvas). A lot of redundant clutter lingers from the ad-hoc development since those days and elegance is lost when new offerings just 'copy what [historically] sells.' Elegance is achieved by providing fully thought-through and integrated functional power just beneath a clean, minimalist, but intuitive interface. The clutter of the older apps is nowadays nothing to emulate.

My favorite example of the 'everybody now does it, so it must be right' fallacy is the now omnipresent confused, always-shifting, schizophrenic  'Bar' that can't decided whether it's a Tools Option Bar or a Commands Bar. Every graphics software developer should be required to understand and experience the advantage of FreeHand's incomparable Inspector Palette. (Closest thing to it in any program I use is in the Layout Mode of FileMaker Pro; a database program, of all things.)

JET

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4 hours ago, JET_Affinity said:

I'd have to fire up the old bulbous pinstripe Mac G4 relic

In fact, I did exactly that on Wednesday: :)

Freehand9onPanther.thumb.png.77acb828a833aaf7535bdd67067b42da.png

FH9 running in Classic on Panther. Haven't seen that in years! I didn't have the time to play with it though. And the toolbars are a mess because the last time I used it must have been with the Miro CRT display that I no longer have and that I don't miss at all. From what I recall, the toolbars are user configurable. Obviously I was also using quite a few 3rd party plugins. This screenshot is now on my late dad's dual HDMI Acer display which I can switch on the fly between the MacBook and the G4 – or just with the MacBook and running the G4 fullscreen via screen sharing. The G4 also boots OS 9.2, but then there's no file sharing with El Capitan whatsoever. I also remember that there was a reason why I never upgraded it to Tiger but I forgot why… :D

Ah, memories.
Now, where's my LC475?!

5 hours ago, JET_Affinity said:

FileMaker Pro; a database program

I have the feeling that you & I have a couple of things in common. ;)

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