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Is Affinity Designer even developed anymore?


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I seem to have made a mistake of switching to Affinity products a while ago with not enough research. Now I keep reading 5 years old forum threads requesting some of the most basic features present in vector graphic software, yet half a decade later still missing from Affinity Designer. Is Gimp with its horrendous UI really the only reasonable choice against Adobe scamming practices?  This is extremely disappointing.

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On 1/11/2021 at 3:34 AM, HypoSim said:

...Affinity Designer. Is Gimp....

Gimp vs Affinity Designer? I understand that ADesigner is not enough for you 🙂

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Welcome to the Serif Affinity forums, HypoSim.

Yes, Designer is still being developed. All you have to do is look at the release notes for each of the releases, and you will see many major and minor enhancements have been made over that time period. You can find them here.

And the next release, 1.9, is in beta testing now with additional enhancements.

That does not mean that Serif will provide all the functions that everyone is asking for; they have their own plans and their own priorities.

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Some features are still missing, but I can assure you the app is still very much under development. It take times to develop something to be so stable and when people are paying money. Especially for the design community who are very critical of even simple changes. They are also writing for multiple platforms, which doesn't help when their team is limited. GIMP has been around for over 20 years, is open-source and so the comparison is not a good one.

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Well, here is what I have been thinking lately about some of the major missing features in the Affinity line.

Since Serif is getting very close to the next version 2.0 release of the entire line, isn't it understandable that those missing features will probably debut in the 2.0 upgrades? 

I have Mac, Win and iOS versions of the apps and will be happy to buy the version 2.0s if those features are available. But if they aren't?  Then Serif is going to have a hard time convincing their users to upgrade to version 2.0 of Designer aren't they?? They have to know this, if some sort of bitmap to vector conversion feature is available, if some sort of vector distortion/envelope feature is available, etc, then that will greatly boost sales for a 2.0 of Designer.

That is my hope anyway.

 

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1 minute ago, Scungio said:

Serif is getting very close to the next version 2.0 release of the entire line

I don’t think we can infer that at this point. Version 1.9 may be ready for release to retail within a few weeks or even just a few days but the public betas for the next version are likely to be several months away, and that next version might be 1.10 rather 2.0.

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On 1/11/2021 at 7:26 AM, walt.farrell said:

That does not mean that Serif will provide all the functions that everyone is asking for; they have their own plans and their own priorities.

I agree Serif has every right to include or exclude features based on their plans and priorities, but they are also beholden to their customers or else they will fail to exist. Serif risks their product being viewed as an amateur alternative if universally understood expectations for professional software are not met sooner than later.
Everyone feels their tool preferences are "essential" and I know not everyone agrees on what is truly necessary to make Affinity products stand on their own.
I think many would agree with my perspective, that properly functioning boolean operations, true vector brushes and text warp are a few examples of basic necessities for a wide majority of designers.
How can anyone create professional designs if the boolean operations create dirty geometry and parts go missing? How limiting is it that only raster brushes can be unique? Why has text warp been available in Photo but not Designer for years?
I'm excited about the little new features like being able to port your brushes to any installed version of the apps on different devices automatically... that is cool - but it feels like we're getting excited about new fancy rims on a car and ignoring the fact that we've never installed brakes. I'd rather a car with brakes and the other essentials over one that has fancy rims and no brakes.....
Yeah the car looks nice with the new rims, but it can never leave the driveway safely... I'd much rather we get the car drive-able first and then worry about making it look flashy.
I'm using an outdated version of Adobe CS6 Illustrator to do my vector work.... I have to paste anything i do in Designer over to Illustrator to merge vectors so they are not a mess. I rely on Illustrator or Vectorstyler to make blends and make text warps. If I want to fill in sections of negative space in a design, I have to also paste it in illustrator to do a live fill or use a blob tool or use the merge tool with a fill behind the negative space to cookie-cutter it. I care WAY more about basic function than I do about the bells and whistles.
 

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1 hour ago, Boldlinedesign said:

I agree Serif has every right to include or exclude features based on their plans and priorities, but they are also beholden to their customers or else they will fail to exist. Serif risks their product being viewed as an amateur alternative if universally understood expectations for professional software are not met sooner than later.
Everyone feels their tool preferences are "essential" and I know not everyone agrees on what is truly necessary to make Affinity products stand on their own.
I think many would agree with my perspective, that properly functioning boolean operations, true vector brushes and text warp are a few examples of basic necessities for a wide majority of designers.
How can anyone create professional designs if the boolean operations create dirty geometry and parts go missing? How limiting is it that only raster brushes can be unique? Why has text warp been available in Photo but not Designer for years?
I'm excited about the little new features like being able to port your brushes to any installed version of the apps on different devices automatically... that is cool - but it feels like we're getting excited about new fancy rims on a car and ignoring the fact that we've never installed brakes. I'd rather a car with brakes and the other essentials over one that has fancy rims and no brakes.....
Yeah the car looks nice with the new rims, but it can never leave the driveway safely... I'd much rather we get the car drive-able first and then worry about making it look flashy.
I'm using an outdated version of Adobe CS6 Illustrator to do my vector work.... I have to paste anything i do in Designer over to Illustrator to merge vectors so they are not a mess. I rely on Illustrator or Vectorstyler to make blends and make text warps. If I want to fill in sections of negative space in a design, I have to also paste it in illustrator to do a live fill or use a blob tool or use the merge tool with a fill behind the negative space to cookie-cutter it. I care WAY more about basic function than I do about the bells and whistles.

I agree

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The question is not so much whether Affinity Designer is still developed (it obviously is) but whether Serif still has any kind of ambition of delivering a viable Adobe Illustrator competitor, and are devoting the development resources needed to do that.

The answer to that question once appeared to be yes, about five years ago. Today, I think the answer is pretty clearly no.

When AD launched back in 2014, its biggest shortcomings versus the industry leader were acknowledged and actively pursued. Artboards were at the top of the list, and indeed, were one of AD 1.4's marquee features the next year, proudly marked off the now-infamous 1.x roadmap. 

Then Affinity Photo happened, and AD development slowed to a trickle. Not a standstill – updates such as improvements to the pen tool continued to show up a few times a year. But by the time Affinity Publisher came around, the original Designer roadmap had not only been abandoned, but deleted from the site. Six years after Affinity Designer 1.0, most of the software's original ambition remains unrealized. The improvements that continue to ship every now and then are certainly welcome, but are a far cry from what was once planned.

The intended use for AD has clearly shifted. Once positioned as a tool for working professionals, it's now aimed at hobbyists and people who need vector software for side projects. And as someone who uses AD for side projects, it works well for that! If I were doing vector illustration in my day job, though, there's no way I'd choose AD over Illustrator. The time savings of features like shape blends, vector art brushes, envelope distorts, scatter/pattern brushes, isolation mode, and more would have me (however grudgingly) paying Adobe's stupid subscription fee.

Of course, Adobe has teams upon teams of developers, product managers, UX designers, and QAs working on Illustrator. Serif, as best I can tell, has one person working on Affinity Designer. But I guess that's not a bad fit – Serif's side project is the tool I use for my own side projects.

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19 hours ago, Clayton said:

The answer to that question once appeared to be yes, about five years ago. Today, I think the answer is pretty clearly no.

I don't it's that simple. Starting that "comparing to Illustrator" is what users do, not what they per se do (at least, not directly). Obviously there are many good things that you can do in Illustrator that you can't in Designer, and those features are a must for most.

We'd need to be in their meetings to know the real answer, and whatever that is, the truth is that there is disappointment and bewilderment in a good deal of people for their workflows.

For me, I want 1.9 to be out there soon so that they can work on the next release.

 

19 hours ago, Clayton said:

Serif, as best I can tell, has one person working on Affinity Designer.

If I'm not mistaken, the total number of developers is 12 (around that number is a good guess), and that'd be about an eight of the total number of employees at Serif.

 

Best regards!

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10 minutes ago, Mithferion said:

If I'm not mistaken, ....

You are mistaken not all the developers post here

Patrick Connor
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Thanks for clarifying that. :)

Best regards!

You'll never know what you can do until you get it up as high as you can go!   

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I think that it would be helpful if the developers would start a survey for each program, in which they list a list of functions, tools and problems that are mentioned here in the forum, on which they are perhaps already working or should be added in the near future. I would limit the poll to about a month.

Then each user would have the opportunity to choose ten of them for each program and tell them which he / she would like to see until about the next updates of the programs.

This would give the developers an overview of which priority which function, tool or bug fix is first with the users and so they could focus on these things.

And as soon as these lists are worked off, one could start a new inquiry. This way the developers as well as the users of the programs would know what to expect next and the developers would not be accused of not working on the problems or wishes of the users.

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31 minutes ago, PaRunk said:

I think that it would be helpful if the developers would start a survey for each program.......

This has been suggested before, and for fear of repeating myself, sorry but this is not going to happen

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31 minutes ago, PaRunk said:

I think that it would be helpful if the developers would start a survey for each program, in which they list a list of functions, tools and problems that are mentioned here in the forum, on which they are perhaps already working or should be added in the near future. I would limit the poll to about a month.

Sorry @PaRunk, you are completely misunderstanding how software development works and what our role in this forum is. This is not a 'Wunschkonzert' (= request concert). Any kind of poll would interfere with the thorough behind the scenes planning and architecture of the software. Of course we can file feature requests and discuss their pros and cons. But it is a complete misunderstanding if you think we should or could have a direct influence on what the developers are doing. This has to be part of the companie's inner decesions.

Cheers,
d.

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It had only been a suggestion.

I just see constantly in the forum that one finds more and more frustrated users, which some topics, these partly already exist for some years, again and again to address, but until Today still no solution was found and thus users think that one does not take care of this matter or they only put off.

Sure, I don't really know anything about programming, and so I don't want to cause trouble, but it is very depressing to read what some people write here in the forum and how they feel, because many things have not yet been fixed, changed or added.

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5 minutes ago, PaRunk said:

It had only been a suggestion.

That's OK and I understand your intention to help. From reading this forum for quite some time I came to the conclusion that forum member participation with development decisions just does not work that way.

 

5 minutes ago, PaRunk said:

I just see constantly in the forum that one finds more and more frustrated users

I myself think that the ratio between complaining and critisism in contrast to creative feedback and discussion is a little 'unbalanced'. But I assume that's how it is (= people are). It may be different if you also start reading the 'Learn and Share' section. It is full of valuable, creative and informative contributions and feedback 🙂

Cheers,
d.

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I do agree to some points to the extent I wish an Affinity person would outline in an open letter stating what their future plans are (as well as outline ambitions) so that it can be referred to in the future instead of just "guessing". I would also like this letter to be very realistic. If it's a small team, with a small budget, I can understand there's issues. Transparency is important.

I understand if they had a roadmap and it didn't develop out in that order and it had to be taken down because it was misleading people. I think that was. That's something that happens when ambition outweighs realistic expectations. I think it was acknowledged before that was what happened?

I don't know that Affinity Designer development has slowed to a "trickle" (at least on Windows), but it has slowed some (the virus surely doesn't help). I think they are trying to keep all 3 programs as consistent as possible with the other and there's cross-program/platform features and other compatibility issue(s) that are being worked on (such as 3D acceleration) and that is making the foundation take longer to set. After Publisher was added, I think that is when it did slow significantly, but I see that as a clear sign they are attempting to compete directly with Adobe because having a Publisher-type app would be important to competing with Adobe's suite.

They are still building the foundation, but we are asking about the facade. Once the foundation is there, I feel like the facade can be built much faster when the skeleton (i.e. stasis) is finished. It's just taking so much time.

Adobe has a consistency problem program-to-program and I think that's why they feel so clunky for me now. Each is their own beast in their own right. Some people love this distinction. I do not personally. I like the method that Affinity has gone with and how it feels more seamless and not a drag to work with. Sometimes things don't work as they should in the program, but it is not like bugs have been ignored. Some things have taken too long to fix, that is true. i.e. Expand Stroke.

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3 hours ago, PaRunk said:

It had only been a suggestion.

I just see constantly in the forum that one finds more and more frustrated users, which some topics, these partly already exist for some years, again and again to address, but until Today still no solution was found and thus users think that one does not take care of this matter or they only put off.

Sure, I don't really know anything about programming, and so I don't want to cause trouble, but it is very depressing to read what some people write here in the forum and how they feel, because many things have not yet been fixed, changed or added.

Food for thought, though I think that your post is still quite valid. Consider some of us have been here a while. Look at my post count. When I have a problem, I tend to report a bug or write about it on the forum. My post count is not very high at all when you consider when I registered, and it's not like I only post "critical" things.

I will say that some of the problems I've had are still not fixed. That's why I think that is where your points are especially valid.

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I am also very happy with the concept of the Affinity Programs. And I can also understand that with a smaller team of programming you can't expect to get a whole bunch of new functions with every update.
Especially at the moment, when several viruses are turning everything upside down.

I also report one or the other problem and make suggestions as to what could be improved or functions that can make work easier and save time and which I would like to have in the programs.

But I don't need a clone of the other programs, because I find that they have far too many functions, some of them only save one additional work step and thus make the programs bigger, slower and more instable. And who can say that he / she uses all the functions that these programs have all the time?

I think that basic functions should be available, that they are actually used very often, which is for the most part the case in Affinity programs, and that they also work perfectly. Of course, some functions are still missing, which I also count among the basic functions.

Nevertheless, with the current status and functions of the programs, really creative and professional designs can be created.

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Lack of features such as properly functioning boolean operations, vector brushes, perspective deformation and distortion, convenient possibility of fast merging of vector objects makes me think about going back to Adobe Illustrator. Unfortunately. I am a big fan of the Serif products. But the lack of some features causes me despair.

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I can understand some who are not quite so satisfied with the current programs because they have very high expectations and are looking for an alternative to Illustrator and Corel, because they want to escape the subscriptions and the ever higher costs. Who does not want that. But many are not aware of how complex it is to develop a program and that it takes a lot of time until a new function has been developed and programmed and it then works perfectly.

Which probably many do not know either because they may not know the beginnings of the competitor programs and see the current versions of the competitor as the absolute standard and expect the same from the developers at Affinity, how many years, for example, Adobe and Corel have put in development time until their products have received their current functionality.

Who is interested in finding out when which functions e.g. B. found its way into Illustrator, you can look it up on Wikipedia. Here you can find a list of the versions and when which function was added.

In addition, Adobe and other software manufacturers have significantly more employees who work on the individual products than with Serif and thus the development of new functions is much faster than with Serif, which also affects the high price of the competition affects.

If you compare the functionality of Illustrator and Designer, I would think that Designer has roughly the same functionality as Illustrator had in version 10-11.

There are smaller solutions and functions in the Affinity programs to get the same result in the end. But of course you have to know which alternative paths are available and how to use and combine them.

Nevertheless, I am of the opinion, as I have already mentioned several times here in the forum, that the errors in the functions that are already available are finally fixed so that they can also be used and implemented.

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I am deeply involved in software development of a huge project and at this time two huge projects of national importance. Actually three now covid-19 is here. We are scaling up and down from one to several teams and funding is great at times, sometimes not. I know a thing or two about building products from the ground and up. Was involved in four major projects similar to Affinity: starting from scratch on new platforms. There is a factor these apologist posts totally - totally - misses: management decisions, product vision and just plain vanilla business priorities.

My job is to tell developers (entire teams) what to do next. Their job is to offer advice about how to do it and to then implement the features. If we need a bigger team to reach the target and in time, my job is to get the extra money from management. Usually not a big problem if there is a business priority behind and a well defined business case. Architecture and complexity is a huge part of software development and you have to build things in the right order. But you also have to adjust the team for the tasks and projects at hand. The alternative is starvation of resources, reduced speed of development and goals not met and in the end... failure to meet expectations. And all that follows. Sounds familiar? We are super agile and flexible. Because we HAVE to.

No need for these endlessly repeating apologist explanations about why Affinity is developed they way it is and why it takes time. Guestimates from deep down the Mariana Trench.

No further comments. 

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