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postmadesign

[AD] Thoughts on path editing and Freehand drawing

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Hi Affinity Developers,

 

First of all a huge word of thanks for all the efforts and good ideas that went into Affinity Designer. It is really refreshing to have someone make a clean start on a vector drawing program. I think the interface in general is a big improvement over AI. I also really love the way AD handles masks, which I find is a pain in AI. The ability to combine raster and vector in one program is a huge plus, and it's main selling point, I think.

 

AD is still in its early stages of development, so a direct comparison with AI is unfair (also because of the price difference), yet, because I have AI CS5 installed, I still don't use AD as often as I would like. The main reasons for this are the path editing tools and the freehand drawing of vector paths. These two functions are the bread and butter part of any vector drawing program, and AI still handles some things better than AD. Let me elaborate:

 

I think the pen tool is way better than it's equivalent in AI (actually I hate the pen tool in AI!). But I confess that I have the plugin Inkscribe installed and this makes a big difference. This is basically a combination of the pen tool with path editing tools.

When comparing inkscribe and ADs Pen & path editing tools there are some things I really miss. The first thing is the way Inkscribe deletes nodes: instead of the curve just falling apart it spreads the load between the next two nodes and attempts to keep the curve intact. This is a BIG deal for me, as it makes cleaning up paths much easier. 

Also it give the ability to add nodes to the tangent point on a line, so you get handles at 90 and 45 degree angles, which is a great way to make editing paths easier. Overall I think the pen tool is very good in AD, but I miss the ability to snap handles (to the grid, for instance) or constrain them to 45 or 90 degrees, also after this is drawn. This is better in AI and I hope AD will try to replicate this behavior.

Something I find one of the most annoying things in AD though is that it is very hard to delete a segment of a line. This should be as easy as clicking on a segment and deleting it. Now I can't really figure out how to do it at all properly, and it needs way to many steps :wacko:

 

Another thing that keeps me using illustrator is the freehand drawing tools. IMHO these are still superior to AD at the moment, for the following reasons: 

  • Being able to adjust setting for smoothness and accuracy
  • The ability to redraw paths
  • The ability to extend a drawn path
  • the ability to smooth a path
  • the ability to easily connect or close a path 
These 5 things are lacking in AD, and it makes the pencil tool rather unusable at the moment for me, even if I think the brush engine is much nicer.

Another thing I would love to see is a functionality like the Dynamic Sketch plugin for AI. This adds to great features to the regular pencil:

  • a path eraser, which erases up to an intersection, really speeding up a drawing workflow. It also will automatically connect paths in some situations.
  • intelligent path joining, meaning you can draw two intersecting paths and the program creates a connected line from it, this is really great when drawing paths freehand, as you don't have to be to fussy with angles and edges
Also the ability to change setting for smoothness and accuracy after the path is drawn is nice. I hope that AD would be able to integrate some of this functionality in its program in the future so I can forget about AI… :P

 

Some other things I would like to see: (mentioned by others as well, this is just my list)

  • Multiple strokes & fills
  • live paint, or an even better way to fill shapes quickly
  • Symmetry tools (like Manga Studio / Sketchbook pro)
  • Artboards and/or pages
  • Knife & Scissors tools
 

I hope this post is not too negative. As I said AD is onto great things and I really hope to see it grow as the best in the business!

 

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totally agree with @postmadesign regarding the pencil tool !!!

 

some ideas how it should work

- symmetry - look at the mirror me plugin by astute graphics

and

- for the pencil - have a look at the Dynamic Sketch Tool by astute graphics -

 

it would save sooo much time

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I just want to bump up this topic because it is very important to me.

 

I work a lot with InkScribe and this all in one tool drastically improves my work speed.

I really really want something similar in Affinity Designer because it is a great software.

Pen tool is the most important tool in any vector design software, so you should create the best pen tool on the market 

 

I'm begging you guys, make my dreams come true.

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Yup.

 

+1 to all.

 

I know it must be quite annoying for Affinity's devs to hear the constant comparison of features with AI, but it is what it is. If you like to be a serious replacement for AI, then the minimum is having pretty much around 70% of AI features inside AD, either the same or better (i.e. more intuitive, clean/clear context/operation, more logic, etc), or... having features that can achieve similar things but faster and more efficient.

 

Having said that, I do prefer seeing the backlog of bugs fixed first, if the team is not big enough to do bugfix and new feature tracks at the same time. I am optimistic, but I don't see the mentioned features implemented and bugfree before 2017 Q3, if they will have it in the first place.

 

 

PS: knife/scissors, I think I saw that mentioned in the roadmap, so that might be coming earlier
PPS: artboards, I think I saw someone saying how you can make one, by opening an image, and then deleting the image, leaving you with an empty artboard (haven't tried it though)

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