Jump to content
LondonSquirrel

Can the Affinity range of products really be called 'pro'? I say no...

Recommended Posts

22 minutes ago, Jens Krebs said:

Since everything that is in a beta can potentially change, it's not worth putting any time and effort in promoting or explaining it.
I'm sure there is going to be more detailed information when the software is publicly released, maybe even with video tutorials.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that software companies introduce new features in their beta software in order for them to be in a better position to gauge and understand user feedback. The moment a feature is added to beta software it means it's ready for testing by the public, otherwise why put it in there in the first place...

Documentation for new features should not be obscure. Remember that these features are meant for your user base. So how can the users give you the desired feedback if they don't know how to use the new features?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, ideally when you release a beta to users it's to garner feedback on the new features, as well as bug fixes and overall stability of the release. The best betas I've been on (oddly, Macromedia/Adobe used to be very good with their betas) are often accompanied with well written documentation (including rough drafts of tutorials, images, videos, etc. - this was a time when the initial documentation was often written in tandem with feature development) describing any new features, changes, known issues, as well as info on any upcoming features that have yet to be implemented but the designers and developers want to get feedback on before committing resources to implementing them. It's always easier to change a design/implementation 'on paper' than it is in code.

A release with a download link and a few notes often doesn't provide enough context for many users to understand the implications and usage of any new features, with the result being they are often overlooked, with little to no meaningful feedback (from a large enough sample). I remember a video (I can't find it now) from one of the developers showing an early implementation of the contour tool that was brilliant in providing an early illustration of how Serif envisioned the tool working, and how it might be used. I seem to recall it generated a fair amount of discussion and feedback (as well as anticipation). I'd love to see more design/development 'sneaks' like this, but possibly easier to find and more organized towards recording the discussion around the feature, how folks envision using it, and what their expectations are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Bryan Rieger said:

Does it have to be a knife? Probably not, but that's what we're used to.

EXACTLY!

If the vector-based drawing software segment is ever going to get out of its decades-long lethargy (due primarily to the market dominance of Illustrator), we should be thinking beyond the mediocre status-quo conventional-wisdom.

Serif's Affinity project is a rare opportunity to start doing that, because it actually listens to user input on features not yet implemented in yet another look-same, act-same, "me, too" fashion in order to satisfy often very rudely presented repetitive 'demand' for more of the same old crap.

I don't need more of the same old crap.

A 'knife' tooI' is a case-in-point. These programs still too much assume a need to continue user-interfaces based on metaphors that are outdated for approaching half a century. Forget the lame metaphor of an X-Acto knife. I've been arguing for decades that in a program (a medium) designed primarily for manipulating Bezier curves, one should be able to convert any path to either a cutting path or a selection marquee. Find me a program that does that.

Forget Illustrator. There are many opportunities to get out of the same old ruts that too many think are 'must haves.'

JET

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, JET_Affinity said:

Serif's Affinity project is a rare opportunity to start doing that

To start doing it? Designer has been around for 6 years, and a tool which is completely standard in other apps is missing. 

I am all in favour of improvement and doing things in new ways. But when is this new-fangled knife replacement coming? in the meantime, I need a knife.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Imagine time traveling 15 years back and telling everybody photoshop is not a professional software because it lacks x, y and z. If Affinity does not have the things you need for your work, find another software that does, solving problems is what professional do.

I payed my bills and leisure for the last 2 years using affinity photo and designer exclusively, theres is many many things AP and AD can do better and I hope they do, but for now I wont ask for a saw if I just need a hammer.

This is by no means me telling you to be quiet, on the contrary, say everything you dont like and how you think can be improved, thats how this software can become better, meanwhile use something that helps you do the job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, william said:

Hopefully plans are also under way to enable same node tool to copy, cut and paste path segments.

Yes please 👍


Mac Pro Cheese-grater (Early 2009)
2.93 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon
48 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 ECC Ram
NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 - 2 GB
Ugee 19" Graphics Tablet Monitor
Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6

Affinity Designer, Photo and Publisher 1.8.6 + Latest Betas when available

Currently working on bits and bobs
www.bingercreative.co.uk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Mithferion said:

This is something that they really need to think about, for future Beta versions:

  • Don't just say there is a new feature, but do a little explanation about how they work
  • Say something about improvements like this, and also show how they work

That way many things wouldn't be overlooked.

Best regards!

👍


Mac Pro Cheese-grater (Early 2009)
2.93 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon
48 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 ECC Ram
NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 - 2 GB
Ugee 19" Graphics Tablet Monitor
Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6

Affinity Designer, Photo and Publisher 1.8.6 + Latest Betas when available

Currently working on bits and bobs
www.bingercreative.co.uk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Arceom said:

Imagine time traveling 15 years back and telling everybody photoshop is not a professional software because it lacks x, y and z

Arguably Photoshop was professional software in those days. I don't recall Adobe reinventing or reimagining Photoshop as a 'pro' app, then removing a whole bunch of features which used to exist in its 'old' apps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, LondonSquirrel said:

To start doing it? Designer has been around for 6 years…

How many years has Illustrator been around? Are you unaware that up to at least CS6 (final version before Captive Customers licensing, which is when I flatly quit buying it) its 'professional' knife tool still doesn't know what to do with an open, unfilled path?

Have you been active in the Affinity Beta testing? I know personally that new features are tweaked and improved as a result of feedback there.

Unlike Adobe for its entire history during when I bought it, you had to sign NDAs to participate in beta programs.

JET

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, JET_Affinity said:

How many years has Illustrator been around?

I guess we are just going to disagree. It is clear to me (and others) that Affinity is good at some things, but lacks some tools which are considered necessary or basic.

Let us go back six years to when the missing knife tool was first noticed to be missing. This knife tool is considered by many to be a basic tool in vector graphics. If it was apparent then that there would be no knife tool (or whatever was going to replace it) for six years and maybe more, what would people think? You may not like the analogy of a knife. To me it is as basic as a ruler.

I think I've made my point here. I'll state it again in summary: Affinity's apps cannot yet be considered 'pro' apps as they lack certain tools which are customary in other 'pro' apps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, william said:

Thanks for picking it up haakoo! The introduction of the segment cutter is an intuitive and effective way of working with paths. Wonder why such a beautiful addition wasn't documented by Affinity😮

Hopefully plans are also under way to enable same node tool to copy, cut and paste path segments.

Sometimes things slip through the cracks. When I was testing last year's 1.8 Beta, the devs forgot to put into the patch notes that you can change brush size/hardness as well as toggle between different brush settings like rotation, spacing, etc. I just happened to find it by accident and then told people about this nice quality of life change which the devs then added to the patch notes by my request. 

It is fun when you find those little secrets though.  :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, haakoo said:

It's called the segment cutter ( on windows in all three programs )
 

clipimage.jpg

Judging by this image, it doesn't look like it does what the knife tool typically does.  When you cut across an object with the knive tool, the resulting objects are closed.  That green object looks like what you'd get if you were to select a node and break it except in this case you'd be breaking a segment where no node existed beforehand.  Also, the knife tool closes the objects as it cuts through which means you can do freehand cuts with the knife tool in Illustrator.  I'm just guessing based on what I see in the image above, and also the fact that it's called a segment cutter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Kuttyjoe said:

Judging by this image, it doesn't look like it does what the knife tool typically does.  When you cut across an object with the knive tool, the resulting objects are closed.  That green object looks like what you'd get if you were to select a node and break it except in this case you'd be breaking a segment where no node existed beforehand.  Also, the knife tool closes the objects as it cuts through which means you can do freehand cuts with the knife tool in Illustrator.  I'm just guessing based on what I see in the image above, and also the fact that it's called a segment cutter.

Yes a knife tool is still needed, as the original stroke / expand / divide workaround is still a faster option for trimming shapes with curves and wotnot  - I assume most users are using this workaround?


Mac Pro Cheese-grater (Early 2009)
2.93 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon
48 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 ECC Ram
NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 - 2 GB
Ugee 19" Graphics Tablet Monitor
Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6

Affinity Designer, Photo and Publisher 1.8.6 + Latest Betas when available

Currently working on bits and bobs
www.bingercreative.co.uk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, JET_Affinity said:

EXACTLY!

If the vector-based drawing software segment is ever going to get out of its decades-long lethargy (due primarily to the market dominance of Illustrator), we should be thinking beyond the mediocre status-quo conventional-wisdom.

Serif's Affinity project is a rare opportunity to start doing that, because it actually listens to user input on features not yet implemented in yet another look-same, act-same, "me, too" fashion in order to satisfy often very rudely presented repetitive 'demand' for more of the same old crap.

I don't need more of the same old crap.

A 'knife' tooI' is a case-in-point. These programs still too much assume a need to continue user-interfaces based on metaphors that are outdated for approaching half a century. Forget the lame metaphor of an X-Acto knife. I've been arguing for decades that in a program (a medium) designed primarily for manipulating Bezier curves, one should be able to convert any path to either a cutting path or a selection marquee. Find me a program that does that.

Forget Illustrator. There are many opportunities to get out of the same old ruts that too many think are 'must haves.'

JET

 

Just to let you know: knife tool's origin has nothing to do with Illustrator, but the CTF where such stuff as rules, knife, scissors etc. were main part of the workflow.
When Illustrator was created, the authors tried to make it as close to the CTF that was used as possible, not to reinvent the wheel by creating new terms that might confuse the operators.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Kuttyjoe said:

udging by this image, it doesn't look like it does what the knife tool typically does. 

The new Node Tool feature discovered by @haakoo deletes the segment on which you click. It is not intended to be a knife tool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Marder said:

Serif knows this. They would never sell the program at this price level if they really targeted true professionals.

Sounds very like every dismissive comment I heard from the sales execs of pre-press 'color houses' in the 80s from across the client-stroking luncheon table whenever the topic of Macs, Postscript, and desktop applications came up—the beginning of the time frame during which color houses started dropping like flies. ;-)

JET

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Marder said:

Actually, gentlemen, Serif is not trying to attract and convince professionals with the use of 'pro' in their marketing. That is not how you sell to the professional market. It is just a strategic buzzword. It is used to attract semi-professionals, prosumers.

Um, there are so many things wrong with this statement I don't know where to begin. Putting aside the dismissive, sexist, and condescending tone—I think you really need to look at how the 'pro' market has changed in the past decade. A software suite that used to costs thousands of dollars roughly every 18 months, can now be had for roughly $600/year, with alternatives costing a fraction of that providing viable alternatives for many. iPhones are increasingly used to shoot professional photos (and video), and iPads (and Microsoft Surfaces) are making a serious dent in much of Wacom's business—especially with tools such as Procreate being exclusive to iOS. DaVinci Resolve (free) is replacing Avid, Premiere and Final Cut Pro in many production studios, and Blender (free and open) is increasingly being adopted by gaming and animation studios looking to eventually replace Maya, Max, etc in their production pipelines. The same features pros paid thousands for a decade ago, are now often to be found in inexpensive, accessible consumer technology—and with better GPUs, machine learning, and new technologies these alternatives often offer vast improvements on the original 'pro' inspirations.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that much of what was 'pro' before is now widely available in consumer tech, and in many cases the consumer tech is replacing (or surpassing) the legacy 'pro' gear. If you want to pay more (or have very specific requirements) you can of course find someone to cater to your needs, but the the democratization of 'pro' tools within consumer packages doesn't lessen their value—it simply removes the barriers to entry and enables more folks to participate in an endeavour that was largely the domain of a small, and privileged few. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Marder said:

Try selling a huge enterprise license; then you will know what pro really means and takes. Serif is simply targeting someone else than you think.

We just do not agree.

So, I wouldn't exactly equate 'enterprise' with 'professional', but hey—if that's your experience then that's your experience.

To me enterprise is either having to use the same stuff I used twenty years ago because everybody is afraid of change (although Google Docs, Slack, Salesforce, etc have caused many orgs to question their reliance on those annual Microsoft service agreements), or having something (often unsuitable) foisted upon the entire company because some muppet in the c-suite went golfing with the wrong person. In my experience 'pros' will meticulously look for tools that meet (or exceed) their needs, or enable them to accomplish things in completely new and novel ways, while 'enterprise' has always been about enforcing standardization and efficiency.

I actually agree that we don't agree! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Bryan Rieger said:

I actually agree that we don't agree! :)

Great, you have given me an headache... 

Rather like:  "This statement is false."


MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) Mac OS 10.12.6 || Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 10.14.6

Affinity Designer 1.8.6 | Affinity Photo 1.8.6 | Affinity Publisher 1.8.6 | Beta versions as they appear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Bryan Rieger said:

Putting aside the dismissive, sexist, and condescending tone

I didn't find his tone to be condescending.  It struck me as straight talk which will be taken as harsh or condescending, depending on the culture.

1 hour ago, Bryan Rieger said:

I think you really need to look at how the 'pro' market has changed in the past decade. A software suite that used to costs thousands of dollars roughly every 18 months, can now be had for roughly $600/year, with alternatives costing a fraction of that providing viable alternatives for many. iPhones are increasingly used to shoot professional photos (and video), and iPads (and Microsoft Surfaces) are making a serious dent in much of Wacom's business—especially with tools such as Procreate being exclusive to iOS. DaVinci Resolve (free) is replacing Avid, Premiere and Final Cut Pro in many production studios, and Blender (free and open) is increasingly being adopted by gaming and animation studios looking to eventually replace Maya, Max, etc in their production pipelines. The same features pros paid thousands for a decade ago, are now often to be found in inexpensive, accessible consumer technology—and with better GPUs, machine learning, and new technologies these alternatives often offer vast improvements on the original 'pro' inspirations.

I agree with both of you.  The difference is in how the two of you are defining "pro", which is nothing more than a marketing term.  Define it one way, and you are correct. Define it a different way and he is correct.  The way I see it, every tool used by a professional is a professional tool.  I also understand that Affinity software is not comparable to Adobe or Corel or Quark, etc.  Not everybody understands that.  I can find many people who actually believe that Adobe software just has a few more things, and the only reason for the price difference is that Adobe is a big greedy corporation.  Of course, Adobe is a big greedy corporation but so is every other company in the business for the purpose of making profit.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Bryan Rieger said:

Um, there are so many things wrong with this statement I don't know where to begin. Putting aside the dismissive, sexist, and condescending tone—I think you really need to look at how the 'pro' market has changed in the past decade. A software suite that used to costs thousands of dollars roughly every 18 months, can now be had for roughly $600/year, with alternatives costing a fraction of that providing viable alternatives for many. iPhones are increasingly used to shoot professional photos (and video), and iPads (and Microsoft Surfaces) are making a serious dent in much of Wacom's business—especially with tools such as Procreate being exclusive to iOS. DaVinci Resolve (free) is replacing Avid, Premiere and Final Cut Pro in many production studios, and Blender (free and open) is increasingly being adopted by gaming and animation studios looking to eventually replace Maya, Max, etc in their production pipelines. The same features pros paid thousands for a decade ago, are now often to be found in inexpensive, accessible consumer technology—and with better GPUs, machine learning, and new technologies these alternatives often offer vast improvements on the original 'pro' inspirations.

I agree with much of the sentiment here but with some caveats and some disagreements. It is true that we have tools today which cost a lot less than they would have several years ago. 

The free version of DaVinci Resolve is purposely limited in both functionality and performance, most notably the free version does not have GPU acceleration. Nonetheless, the free version is still very good indeed. So in any comparison with Avid, FCP, etc,  the Studio version (paid for, or free with most of the Blackmagic cameras) should be used. That is fair.

There is no way that an iPhone is a professional camera. It just is not. It does not and cannot have the same quality output as an Alexa. Or a Blackmagic. Or even my 'prosumer' GH4. The sensor does not even begin to compare, the dynamic range, ... That does not mean that some people do use iPhones professionally, but if you look closely the output just does not even begin to compare with a professional camera. But I agree that the iPhone camera is astounding compared to what we had at that price a few years ago. Fine.

We do indeed have features which cost much more a few years ago. However, with the knife tool, that functionality has been around for at least 20 years. But we don't have it (yet) in Designer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Bryan Rieger said:

A software suite that used to costs thousands of dollars roughly every 18 months, can now be had for…

Correct. I paid $650 for the first three-color (CMY; no K) HP Color Deskwriter and thought it was a 'steal' at the time. Nowadays, of course, far better printers using the very same underlying technology are sold at or below cost just to sell customers the ink cartridges.  I paid around twice that for my first 35mm transparency scanner.

As I've said elsewhere, the pricing schemes of Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, and Canvas are long outdated. 2D Bezier-based drawing isn't rocket science anymore. But the old vendors are still clinging to the pricing models of the 80s, when it was all new.

Again, I'll cite the axonometric feature set in Affinity as example. Closest thing to it from the 'royal family' of software vendors is Corel Technical Designer ($1000). I still maintain my license to it, and will probably continue to do so as long as Corel continues to sell proper perpetual licensing. But that price is largely 'artificially' inflated by the vertical market it targets. Corel probably has to pay ridiculous royalties to vertical-market CAD/CAE vendors for the hooks it has for importing and flattening proprietary model formats. In fact, you have to pay $5000 more for an add-on if you want to do the same with CATIA and Solidworks files. (Solidworks offers its own proprietary utility application for merely doing just the same "rotate and flatten" thing, but it's far from a full-blown general-purpose 2D vector drawing program.)

Set that vertical-market proprietary-format-protectionist price-inflating  junk aside, though, and the core differentiating functionality of interest—explicitly facilitating accurate axonometric drawing—is pretty much matched in Affinity Designer, making a drawing discipline too-long considered 'vertical market' more approachable to all the 'rank amateur' freelances who are energetic enough to expand their illustration repertoire.

The 'dirty little secret' is: Mechanical engineering entities all over the world that use 'high-end' CAE systems still very commonly use mainstream 2D vector drawing programs when the presentation needs to be of higher commercial illustration quality than the archaic polyline 2D DXFs output from those 'exotic' systems. In fact, there's a whole industry of contractors serving the free world's military's needs for cleaned-up technical documentation, and those contractors use familiar mainstream 2D vector, raster, and page assembly applications.

Because it's a particular specialty and passion of mine, I can do axonometric drawings in most any mainstream drawing program, using my own methodology I've devised over the decades. And you can't tell whether I've created such a drawing in Illustrator, Draw, Canvas, FreeHand—or Affinity. But it will generally be of better quality than what you can just export from Solidworks.

So no, lower prices than intentionally 'vertical market' applications does not necessarily reflect 'unprofessional' software.

JET

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Bryan Rieger said:

So, I wouldn't exactly equate 'enterprise' with 'professional', but hey—if that's your experience then that's your experience.

Right again. So-called 'enterprise' applications (ERP, PLM, etc., some costing a company literal millions of dollars) are commonly just very vertical-market targeted solutions built by relatively tiny companies. Yes, they are typically built upon a robust database development platform but nonetheless commonly have cumbersome 1980s-era interfaces that constrain users to inflexible, clunky, even non-standard tedium that doesn't come close to the modernity of products built by developers of mainstream, blister-packed, over-the-counter software. That's why so-called 'middleware' is a growing segment. 'Enterprise' applications have high cost largely because they are vertical-market, not necessarily because they are of 'professional' quality.

No, Affinity does not yet have every tit-for-tat feature for every other application in its competitive segment. The inverse is also already true, and the competitive differences exist and will continue to narrow, just as they always have, even before Affinity came on the scene. But Serif seems to be doing well and has had a significant impact with a modern pricing model, while competitors still cling desperately to outdated over-pricing based mostly on mere brand recognition.

JET

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Please note the Annual Company Closure section in the Terms of Use. These are the Terms of Use you will be asked to agree to if you join the forum. | Privacy Policy | Guidelines | We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.