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jaromor

Affinity Photo generally very unintuitive

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I have realized this few weeks ago: I purchased Photo (and Designer) few years ago yet I use it pretty much never. (One might say I am an ideal customer.)

The reason being I can't do *hit in it. I suspected (and still kinda do) I have way too little patience and I didn't blame the application, thinking "it is for people who use it professionally" instead. But recently I shared this impression with a friend of mine, who has CGI (3d mostly) as a job, and he laughed and said he's the same story: purchased Affinity Photo but couldn't befriend it.

I am not a professional myself. Usually I just need to crop an image, maybe insert a text or slap one part photo over another. Maybe I am not the target user...?
Recently I learned SketchUp in matter of minutes, and I am doing sufficient progress in Blender. While Blender has a very questionable UX and some very inconsistent aspects of work, I was able to make just enough progress simply by looking around the UI to get hooked before I had to go looking-up howtos.

So today I gave Photo a shot again, and I failed again. If any of you Affinity guys care how you are (possibly) losing future customers...

(Note that I don't seek a particular how-to here, that's not my point.)

I have a texture of a wooden cladding, I want to create a bump map from it. So I created a selection of area that I want to use in the resulting bump texture, now I want to preserve the selection somehow so I can bring it back later. I know I could save it into a file and insert it when needed. But there must be a better way

Maybe I can store it as a layer? Layer / Duplicate Selection (Ctrl+J) - OK, this looks promising - click - nothing... No feedback whatsoever.
Was a layer created somewhere? (In that case some kind of a layer manager should reveal itself.)
Am I somehow in a "wrong" mode that prevents doing that? (In that case I shouldn't be allowed to click the item in menu or I should get a warning message.)
OK, I am too stupid for layers.

A channel? Select / Save Selection / As Spare Channel... Okay, maybe we're on to something. Click. NO FEEDBACK AT ALL. Again?
(I couldn't find anything resembling Object from Selection. Also I couldn't figure out how to display the layer manager, there has to be one I guess...?)

At this point I am not sure if the application is bugged somehow or if it is only a matter of bad UX and an impatient non-pro user, but I am already running out of patience. This was supposed to be a 7 min job, 4 of those dedicated to cleaning up the selection/mask.

Another, a minor one, example that just popped in my head: I have an image in clipboard, and when I start Affinity Photo mere Ctrl+V or Shift+Insert should be all the application needs to figure out what I am trying to do. Affinity Photo does nothing, and has me chasing menus instead. Edit? File? OK here it is, but really, Ctrl+V yet the app does not know what I want to do?

Now I am back to looking for an alternative for an alternative to Photoshop, knowing I have Affinity Photo installed but I can't do *hit in it. I am convinced the Personas concept is simply a bad idea, and the app can't even do updates, instead it keeps asking me to download an installation archive. And every time I submit and click the Download button I am praying this update brings the functionality of (optional) updates instead of manual download+installs. But I suspect only the next gen of Affinity will have that, and given my experience with this generation I doubt I will waste the money.

I bet most of the people on these forums will defend the UX, but maybe there are significant numbers of users who give up without even leaving a note.

Cheers

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I can understand your frustration. I think the problem is that lots of experienced Photoshop users arrive expecting AP to just be Affinity Photoshop, it isn't.
There's a lot to like about AP, but it does break some conventions that long term image editors will struggle to adapt to quickly. It also has some frustratingly different 'features'.
The whole personnas idea seems sound to me, just think of it being a tidier version of the standalone windows in Photoshop like ACR, make panorama or Liquify etc. It really comes into it's own when working between all three programs.
I'm also not at all bothered by the update process, just like Adobe used to do and makes keeping old versions much simpler.

This leaves experienced newcomers with the dilemma of whether to just stick with what they know or put the effort into learning new working methods. 
I'd rather hoped that some of these different 'features' would have been dropped to make it more compatible with OS conventions, but that doesn't seem to have happened yet.
Serif will know if their 'different' approach has been sensible when they roll out version 2, just how many people who paid modest amounts for the software will stick with it and upgrade.

 

 

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18 hours ago, jaromor said:

Layer / Duplicate Selection (Ctrl+J) - OK, this looks promising - click - nothing... No feedback whatsoever.

There is if you are looking at the Layers panel, which shows the list of layers.

That said, this doesn't duplicate the selection borders, but rather the selected object or the image within the pixel selection - if you are using the Move tool and drag the selected region immediately after performing that command, you are moving the duplicate rather than the original.

 

18 hours ago, jaromor said:

A channel? Select / Save Selection / As Spare Channel... Okay, maybe we're on to something. Click. NO FEEDBACK AT ALL.

Again, there IS feedback if you are looking at the Channels panel which contains a list of channels in the image.

This is actually what you want in this case.  The "Spare Channel" is added at the end of the list in that panel, just below the "Pixel Selection" entry which represents the current pixel selection.

To restore the selection, right-click the "Spare Channel" in the channel list and choose "Load to Pixel Selection".  You can also rename it there for easier reference if you want to keep more than one available.

 

18 hours ago, jaromor said:

I am not sure if the application is bugged somehow or if it is only a matter of bad UX

Neither one.  It is actually fairly well-designed overall (there are a few sticky points but neither of these is among them), but it does require taking the time to learn where things are and how they work.  There are a number of tutorial videos available to help with this: choose "Tutorial" from the "Help" menu to open to the page listing them in your web browser.

In particular, the "Channels: Selections" video demonstrates exactly what you are trying to do:  https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/tutorials/photo/desktop/video/334283412/

 

18 hours ago, jaromor said:

I have an image in clipboard, and when I start Affinity Photo mere Ctrl+V or Shift+Insert should be all the application needs to realize what I am trying to do.

You are trying to paste an image, but into what?  There is nowhere for it to go if you don't have an open document.  This is normal and I believe most applications would behave that way?  Try File -> New From Clipboard.

 

18 hours ago, jaromor said:

I am convinced the Personas concept is simply a bad idea

I'm convinced that they are awesome.  They help to separate large operations into distinct areas of the user interface that help to reduce clutter and allow focus on complex tasks which would otherwise be much more unwieldy if everything were kept together in one place.

 

18 hours ago, jaromor said:

the app can't even do updates, instead it keeps asking me to download an installation archive. And every time I submit and click the Download button I am praying this update brings the functionality of (optional) updates instead of manual download+installs

5 hours ago, Paul_Hol said:

I'm also not at all bothered by the update process, just like Adobe used to do and makes keeping old versions much simpler.

Guessing this must be a Windows thing?

I have the version from the Mac App store, so updates work just like any other app from the store.

Some of the betas use a process which I understand mimics the way the Affinity Store version works on the Mac - with those, it pops up and says there is an update available, and you can click a button and it downloads the update, then stupidly prompts again to install it and restart.

The second prompt is kind of stupid as there is not really another choice (other than cancelling the whole thing), and using the app is blocked anyway until it is completed - the fact that I told it to being the process should be sufficient to have it finish the process as well...  that said, this particular complaint is not really specific to the Affinity products as I see the same pattern repeated across lots of apps on the Mac (which are not obtained from the app store, which handles updates from outside of the app itself).

 

18 hours ago, jaromor said:

I bet most of the people on these forums will defend the UX

The parts that are worth defending, yes.  There are certainly some weak points, but the things you listed are a user training issue rather than any problem with the actual application or its design.

 

18 hours ago, jaromor said:

maybe there are significant numbers of users who give up without even leaving a note.

That is likely to be true of ANY application which is designed primarily for professionals.  I have a bunch of digital audio workstations for working with audio: FL Studio, Tracktion Waveform, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Cubase, Bitwig Studio, Studio One, Reason, Harrison Mixbus, ... - yet the one DAW that just about everyone considers to be the "professional" DAW that everyone should be using for audio work, Pro Tools, is one that I've largely decided I'm not going to bother with.  I tried it and determined that for me, it is a waste of effort to learn, offers nothing that I consider to be of value over the other DAWs, and I don't particularly like some of how the company markets the product and the like...  so I've largely ditched it and decided I'm never going back to it.

This is not because the product is inherently bad, as is evidenced by the vast user base that is picking up on it - but it is not for me.

Maybe the Affinity products are not for you, but if you struggle with things this basic and are not willing to take the time to review the documentation and tutorials, then there really isn't a product at this level of capability that you are likely to come to terms with, so you are seriously limiting yourself far to early in the process.

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10 hours ago, Paul_Hol said:

I can understand your frustration. I think the problem is that lots of experienced Photoshop users arrive expecting AP to just be Affinity Photoshop, it isn't.

 

 

Hello Paul

I have pretty much zero experience with Photoshop (Illustrator tiny bit)

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4 hours ago, fde101 said:

There is if you are looking at the Layers panel, which shows the list of layers.

I see no such thing in the UI. Before you go and tell me, they need to be turned on - I am 100% certain that's the answer, but I shouldn't be expected to chase such things in the menus.

(And then I checked in Layer and View and saw no "Layer manager" or "Channel" whatever...)

image.png.26b1cef24342d428d06f70020fdb3fcc.png

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Again, there IS feedback if you are looking at the Channels panel which contains a list of channels in the image.

Again, I see no such thing in the UI.

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You are trying to paste an image, but into what?  

You know the answer. I know the answer. Why doesn't the app know the answer? This is not a "machine learning" answer. (Also that is merely an annoyance, i.e. a room for enhancement.)

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There is nowhere for it to go if you don't have an open document.

Imagine you're the app... "Hm, there's no open document and this guy is triyng to paste an image. Maybe I should create a document for him? Nah. My job is not to make things easier for users, right?"

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This is normal and I believe most applications would behave that way. Try File -> New From Clipboard.

Again, I know how to do it, which I mentioned in the post. The point of my post was not to ask how to do it (which I explicitely expressed too), neither was my point to convince someone those things aren't possible in the app. I was trying to point out the app is unintuitive. (Of course, you can dismiss such opinion by saying I am too impatient or stupid, happens with Blender users too when you point out the sorry state of Blender's snapping modes.)

The app shouldn't force me to do obvious stuff, it shouldn't expect me to "crack the code."

"You need to work harder" is not the answer.

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Maybe the Affinity products are not for you,

This is a valid response. If I was a professional, if this was my field, maybe I would have to chew through few tutorials and maybe I would end up loving the app.

But maybe you could consider the anecdotal evidence of my friend I mentioned. He is actually a pro. He tried Photo and Designer as well, and went back to Adobe again. (Not my case.)

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but if you struggle with things this basic and are not willing to take the time to review the documentation and tutorials,

No, I am definitely not willing to do that, not within first one-two hours. I managed with apps like Krita, GIMP, Corel Draw, Rhino, 3ds, AutoCAD, Illustrator, and Blender recently. (Not including all the apps I use for coding.) I never needed a manual for the most basic stuff.

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then there really isn't a product at this level of capability that you are likely to come to terms with, so you are seriously limiting yourself far to early in the process.

Yes, I will look around elsewhere, but I believe it is better to give a feedback. It is only natural it will get dismissed or "debunked" by most of the current users, but maybe the devs will pick up at least the lowest hanging fruit.

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6 minutes ago, jaromor said:

Again, I see no such thing in the UI.

Both the Layers panel and the Channels panel are visible by default in Affinity Photo.  If you don't see them then you hid them or took some other action which caused them to be hidden.

You can show them again using the options under View -> Studio (Layers and Channels respectively).

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1 hour ago, jaromor said:

No, I am definitely not willing to do that, not within first one-two hours. I managed with apps like Krita, GIMP, Corel Draw, Rhino, 3ds, AutoCAD, Illustrator, and Blender recently. (Not including all the apps I use for coding.) I never needed a manual for the most basic stuff.

If you worked with Krita, Gimp, Corel Draw before, than you ought to be aware of default panels like layers and channels. These are generally the first things that I look for in any image editor. They should be, as @fde101 states, visible by default, but for some reason they were turned off in your Affinity Photo workspace. Turn them back on like @fde101 suggests, and things will become more familiar.

 

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You should skip reading this if you lack patience with old guys reminiscing, talking history and philosophy, and describing the Principle of the Compelling Reason as it applies to software.

=========
INTUITION

Intuition is no more than experience and familiarity. I give Affinity developers the benefit of the doubt and assume they had a system in mind when they designed APhoto. I suspect that APhoto is very intuitive to those developers.

If I want to use the Affinity software, then I need only learn the habits of mind and patterns of thought that the Affinity designers used to develop APhoto. If their habits of mind are different from what I'm accustomed to, then that's my opportunity to learn new ways of thinking about photo editing. 

==================================
PRINCIPLE OF THE COMPELLING REASON

Decades ago, when I was supporting hundreds of PC users in a large organization, I formulated my Principle of the Compelling Reason. It goes like this:
   No one switches from familiar software to unfamiliar software without a compelling reason. 

I learned this Principle when looking for a "better" word processor. I started with GML/Script on an IBM mainframe. Then PCs with floppy disks arrived so I learned PC-Write. Then PCs with hard drives came along and our physical document on diskette became an abstract magnetic entity on a hard disk. Computers changed from being useful appliances like typewriters to being systems that needed to be managed. Handling documents became more abstract. Some people had problems adapting. Many young persons today might not appreciate that leap. They have grown up "intuitively" understanding PCs with hard drives (or maybe they just think they understand them). Eventually I was forced onto WordPerfect because PC-Write fell behind after desktop laser printers became common.

That's where my "compelling reason" came in. I loathed WordPerfect. It was a throwback to the mainframe days of document markup languages. A document was viewed as a continuous stream of characters with embedded control codes that caused certain things to happen when the data stream was sent to the screen or printer. I hated WordPerfect's "reveal codes."

A friend suggested Word for Windows. It was stunning. This was an entirely different way of looking at word processing. It was object oriented. Sentences and paragraphs were not data streams but objects with properties. This seemed to me the way that word processing "ought" to be done. I should not have to insert codes into my document to instruct the computer what to do. Instead, I should simply describe the desired end result and the computer should figure out how to do it. This may all seem obvious and intutitive today. It was not so at that time. Indeed, it took geniuses to develop these ideas.

To begin thinking like the designers of Word, I forced myself to use it for my next large writing project. It took a month of hard work and the help of a couple of excellent books about Word. By the end of that month, I was proficient with Word. "Suddenly" it was the "intuitive" way to do word processing. I enthusiastically promoted Word. Alas, many did not have a compelling reason to switch from WordPerfect, which had taken them considerable effort to learn. Some prided themselves on their knowledge of the codes revealed.

Great battles ensued at my university concerning the "right" software for word processing. The software wars were vicious, as were the platform wars. Whole colleges were at war with the computing center and with each other. Those in power sought to control what software we used on our desktops. The battles went on for years as different people with different agendas moved in and out of positions of power, but that's another story.

==================
DISCOVERING APHOTO

All this is background for my discovery of APhoto 3-1/2 years ago. I'd been using Photoshop Elements for nearly 15 years, reading many books on photo editing and restoration during that time. I had tried and even purchased a couple of competing products, but found them lacking. 

One day I upgraded to a new version of PSE only to find that they had removed a feature I used regularly. I read that the developers didn't want to bother upgrading the code for that feature to 64-bit. Whatever the reason, here was my compelling reason to investigate the competition.

After reading about APhoto, I thought this is the way it "ought" to be. During all my years using PSE, I do not recall ever reading about non-destructive photo editing. Yet that was the emphasis with APhoto.

Now, after 3-1/2 years of using APhoto and watching many dozens if not hundreds of tutorials, I'm reasonably proficient at using the software for my amateur purposes. I've developed the habits of mind and patterns of thought that allow APhoto to be intuitive for me.

That's not to say I don't have complaints about APhoto. I've voiced some of them in these forums. But I have no complaint about APhoto being non-intuitive. If I find something that seems weird, I examine my habits of mind and patterns of thought, adjusting them as necessary to understand the software tool I've chosen to use.


Affinity Photo 1.9.1.979, Affinity Publisher 1.9.1.979, Windows 10 Pro x64 version 20H2, 
Dell XPS 8930, 16 GB Ram,  Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070

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On 2/26/2021 at 10:17 PM, jaromor said:

I bet most of the people on these forums will defend the UX, but maybe there are significant numbers of users who give up without even leaving a note.

They usually do - but there is no UX in Photo. No user experience designer. Just a chaotic interface with very little focus on workflows. If at all. But while some bugs are ironed out all the usability issues are not, year after year after year. And that in itself is proof that Serif will never reach true professionals. And that they probably do not intend to.


  • "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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I sympathise with many of the comments about intuitiveness of Affinity Photo. My path was Acorn (Draw vector and Impression DTP) then Windows with Paint Shop Pro then Serif Photoplus and DrawPlus.

Affinity Publisher is the most intuitive of the trio for me, closely followed by Designer. When it comes to Photo I do far more referring back to support to re-remind me what I was supposed to have done.

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Maybe a bit OT, but at the moment I'm trying to learn how to use a bit of software called Scrivener. I know someone who uses it regularly and they think it is really useful. I spent half an hour or so playing around with it and couldn't get the hang of it. It does look like it could be useful for me, if I could just get my head around it. Now my problem is, should I just give up, should I put some effort into trying to learn how to use it, or should I find a user forum for it and tell people who are already using it what a load of rubbish it is, because I don't understand it?

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11 hours ago, Granddaddy said:

I learned this Principle when looking for a "better" word processor. I started with GML/Script on an IBM mainframe.

A friend suggested Word for Windows. It was stunning.

Great battles ensued at my university concerning the "right" software for word processing. 

Stories about the early development of word processing software really aren't helpful now. Those days were limited by the big changes that were concurrent with operating software development.
We now have mature OSs that don't make major changes to the possibilities of software design, so products stick to generally understood principles, workflows and user interface conventions for everyone's benefit.
AP was launched into a very mature market for image editing where conventions have been well established for two decades or more.

11 hours ago, Granddaddy said:

After reading about APhoto, I thought this is the way it "ought" to be. During all my years using PSE, I do not recall ever reading about non-destructive photo editing. Yet that was the emphasis with APhoto.

Let's start by pointing out that Affinity Photo is most definitely NOT non-destructive. If you want examples of non-destructive photo editing go and look at Capture One, Lightroom or any of the other raw conversion programs that use sidecar files or proper catalogues.
If you arrive at a 'professional' product from a novice application like Elements, you're bound to have to spend some time learning the new advanced features previously unavailable. If the way they've been implemented is different to most other similarly pitched products the novice won't know and will just assume that's the way it's done. They'll only discover there are more 'standard' approaches if they then try other software.
If Serif really want to capture a bigger slice of the experienced user market they'll need to listen carefully to where the product is proving too different for those users to bother learning.

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2 hours ago, Paul_Hol said:

mature OSs

Tell that to the vendors that keep releasing patches every few months.

 

2 hours ago, Paul_Hol said:

products stick to generally understood principles, workflows and user interface conventions

In doing so, they limit themselves greatly.  There is always room to challenge established conventions in hope of discovering something new.

Final Cut Pro X has demonstrated that quite handily with its so-called "magnetic timeline" - people complained at first because of how different it is from what they were accustomed to, but by now there are more than a few editors who don't want to use anything else.

 

2 hours ago, Paul_Hol said:

too different for those users to bother learning

If those users are too set in their ways to try something new than they are effectively stuck with what they already have.

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Just now, fde101 said:

Tell that to the vendors that keep releasing patches every few months.

There's a big fundamental difference between minor patches and updates and the sort of major changes in the early days of personal computing. Anyone who used Windows 95 would find version 10 pretty familiar and easy to work on. Similarly on Macs. OSs are mature now. Maturity in software allows better productivity because less time is wasted in learning.

3 minutes ago, fde101 said:

If those users are too set in their ways to try something new than they deserve to be stuck with what they already have.

If they were totally set in their ways they wouldn't bother trying anything new.
The point here is that change is only a good thing if there's benefit attached. Just doing things differently isn't helpful.

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10 hours ago, Paul_Hol said:

We now have mature OSs that don't make major changes to the possibilities of software design, so products stick to generally understood principles, workflows and user interface conventions for everyone's benefit.

 
"When you find a standard user then you can define a standard user interface." - Old saying
 
Maturity, whether of technology or markets, is a tenuous concept at best, as can be seen from the following:
 
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"But what...is it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market." -- Business Week, August 2, 1968

"There will never be a bigger plane built." -- A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people

In the late 1980s, when all were amazed at a desktop computer with a 20 MB hard drive, visionaries at my university told me that magnetic disk storage was a mature technology that could not advance further. Optical disks were surely the future of information storage and retrieval. They were pushing the library to create networks of CD-ROMs for accessing information databases. Fortunately we were able to stop that hysteria.

Thomas Edison thought that books were a mature technology that had run its course. 
"Maybe I'm wrong, but I should say that in 10 years textbooks as the principal method of teaching will be as obsolete as the horse and carriage are now. I believe that in the next 10 years visual education -- the imparting of exact information through the motion picture camera -- will be a matter of course in all of our schools....Books are clumsy methods of instruction at best, and even the words of explanation in them have to be explained."

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts." -- Richard Feynman

 


Affinity Photo 1.9.1.979, Affinity Publisher 1.9.1.979, Windows 10 Pro x64 version 20H2, 
Dell XPS 8930, 16 GB Ram,  Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070

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On 3/1/2021 at 4:26 PM, Granddaddy said:

Now, after 3-1/2 years of using APhoto and watching many dozens if not hundreds of tutorials, I'm reasonably proficient at using the software for my amateur purposes. I've developed the habits of mind and patterns of thought that allow APhoto to be intuitive for me.

@Granddaddy, I enjoyed the tour of your software journey over the decades. I completely get your point and how it relates to intuition, patterns of thought, software UI, and Affinity Photo in particular.

While we may differ in our conclusions about WordPerfect (I actually LOVED and still miss that piece of software), I completely agree with your overall conclusion about why we choose the software that we do.

One of the things that led me to Affinity Photo was the obvious and common disagreement with Adobe about their software rental scheme. When they announced it in 2013 I was immediately on the hunt for an alternative since even then the writing was already on the wall about the day they would kill off support for CS6 products. I landed softly but eagerly once I discovered Affinity Photo.

I immediately liked the way it works. It was familiar enough and similar enough for an experienced Photohop user, but offered a path to learn new tools and new ways of working with image editing. And YES, it does offer non-destructive editing via the Live Filter tools in particular.

Also like yourself, I do wish there were a few things different about its UI or its tools, but the advantages I’ve experienced by far outweigh any issues I’ve experienced or any lack. Usually, if I’m experiencing a real difficulty with this software, I find that I need to go about things slightly differently than I might have approached the task in Photoshop. But that was one of the points of my getting on board in the first place. I didn’t want this software to be some sort of Affinityshop. I want the developers to blaze their own path.

It’s unfortunate that you’ve had a few insulting replies to your comments here. But I wanted you to know that what you contributed adds value to the discussion here, both for the experienced as well as for those that are interested in learning and using the software. Keep on reminiscing! 🙂 

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Hi Paul_Hol

Click Studio> view> Layer ...  Channel . and more..

On the right take the bar you have on the right and pull it to the left direction

 

 

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I agree there are some areas where Affinity is a little unintuitive - some of these I unfortunately get to use rather often and it's not an issue with lack of familiarity anymore. I admit some of it has to do with two decades of Adobe experience and muscle memory though.

Mainly just wanted to say: don't screw with the update process! :D Software that doesn't auto-update nor tries to run a zillion update watcher and cloud-BS processes, nor pops up notifications and whatnot and (important on the Mac) neither requires the user to run latest&greatest OS all the time - it's software heaven to me. No subscriptions either. This part has to stay, no compromises! :)

 

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Affinity Photo could be  more intuitive for sure .   I bet Serif developers understand  that their user base is mostly those former  Photoshop users seeking for an alternative   and   it could  be some easy path for them.       Maybe just a comparison video explaining workflow differences  and why they decided to make it different.   Some logic.   Advantages.   What we should expect  to find in the interface and what shouldn't.

That the part software developers  usually  do not care about.   it's not in the feature's schedule.     So I suggest to hire someone from gamedev .  There are UX people there  because nobody would pay for a game if it's an undecipherable puzzle.  And don't try to explain  buyers there they have to read  thick heavy manual first.

 But it's not  something specific  to Affinity soft.   Hey. it's all so called pro software.    A convenient art software is an oxymoron, like dry water .         You first should train an ability to think as a software engineer, a special  kind of reasoning.    Art guys  usually think differently  and that's is why it puzzles them so much and why we waste a half of our life to learn things that do zero help to actual art we are doing.   

I recall how much time I mostly wasted trying to learn 3d max particle flow to  just scatter grass and pebbles  around  and  how quick and  simple as 2x2  it is in recent Blender's  geometry node editor.  So there are a few rare exclusions from the rule.   

Affinity Photo  is IMO  much better than  many other 2d soft in that regard.    Try  Adobe Substance Designer for comparison. It uses  just a few basic image manipulation principles , like loops of vector displacement and distance but gosh  they managed  to do so undecipherable mess from it  it never stops to amaze me. 

 

ps.  Affuinity Photo  IMO  has a few  of very essential UX advantages over Photoshop   imo.      IMo they should advertise it loudly instead of users  finding them accidentally years after.

few of them:

1. vector mask  shows compacted gizmo around visible part only vs PS showing it around hidden pixels 

2. 16 and 32 bit images   works swiftly like a breeze  with embedded docs updating  immediately  vs non stop waiting torture in PSH

3. image distortion filters works on 16 bit grayscale patterns

4. embedded docs  after re-linking keeps one dimension intact at least

5. single channel preview keeps to show that single channel after adding new something to a stack  vs PSH switching back to RGB

6. Levels  adjustment layer work for alpha only

7.  You can make a huge stack of layers for evry layer mask  with "mask to bellow" and "release"    vs undecipherable mess of groups clipping in PSH

and so on and on.   

8. Macro panel have quick record/clean  buttons.   Love it so much and hate PSh action panel profoundly.

9. inpainting working on alpha channel too  

11. resource manager

12.exclude from snapping

Yeah . I miss layer compositions  and AI select from Photoshop  and a few other things .  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, Ulysses said:

It’s unfortunate that you’ve had a few insulting replies to your comments here. But I wanted you to know that what you contributed adds value to the discussion here, both for the experienced as well as for those that are interested in learning and using the software. Keep on reminiscing!

Thank you for your kind remarks.

Long, long ago, when I was a child, we chanted a little rhyme about names never hurting. We grew up all the better for it. I gather kids don't sing it much these days.

As for APhoto, I had my say, everyone else is welcome to theirs. Smart people read these forums and can discern what is of value and disregard the rest. After a while you learn who to pay attention to and who to ignore.


Affinity Photo 1.9.1.979, Affinity Publisher 1.9.1.979, Windows 10 Pro x64 version 20H2, 
Dell XPS 8930, 16 GB Ram,  Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070

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Well, I want to like AP and there's enough complaining on the internet these days, but I gotta agree with the original post.
I'm a long time amateur, and used AP for maybe 80 hours since last spring. I've read the book and watched videos, and still I'm regularly frustrated with very basic tasks.

Just to show the Experts what occasional users are struggling with:

I want to draw a smiley then copy&paste it somewhere. 60 seconds?
(upgrading to 1.9 on my 2nd machine, that doesn't count)

 

Start AP, create new document, hit B, paint. Done?

 

... Nothing happens. Why? Once more, troubleshooting starts.

1. I remember the tools cycle by default. 'B' selected the wrong tool.
   -> it really shouldn't cycle unless I hit it two or more times in a row?
2. I select the brush from the toolbar
   Oops, that wasn't the paint brush. That was the identical brush icon with the tiny semi-transparent selection circle.
   -> some things in AP are really too subtle and difficult to see (for me).
      (and don't get me started on the shades of blue in the layer panel)
3. Paint again... nothing happens
   Activate and Check the colors panel
   -> I think the color is so important, it should always be visible on paint. Maybe on the status or tool settings bar.
   Check the layers panel. Ah, there is no layer. Add a pixel layer.
   -> pixel layer on new doc should be added by default?
4. I think it's time to turn on the assistant again. Where is it?
   Help... search 'Assistant'. Finds
   "Assistant Manager:  Controls rasterization behaviour".
   This doesn't sound like Clippy the newbie guide? Back to the view menu.
   -> I appreciate the documentation, it is very well written in it's own way.
      It just never helps me help with solving stupid problems.
   -> I would keep the Assistant on if it wasn't for the distracting popups.
      Would be nice if it 'popped up' in the status bar instead.
   -> I would LOVE it if the assistant just advised. Don't grab the steering wheel, don't add the layer, just say in the status bar
      "You cannot paint because there is no layer" or "because the selected layer is not a pixel layer"
5. I can now paint but the line is too thin. Why are there no settings on top?
   Might be caused by the update. Check View > Studio... > .... nope.
   Nuclear option: "Reset Studio". Still no tool settings, why? Ah, it's "Show context toolbar"
   -> "Show tool settings" would be more intuitive. I'm not looking for "context", and this is not a toolbar, it has no tools in it?

Finished. Took me ~1200 seconds (+5 minutes angry cigarette break) instead of the estimated 60.

I could go on, but I think I made my point.
It doesn't have to be either 'Powerful for Pros' or 'Intuitively usable for mildly skilled amateurs'.
There are many things I like about AP, it's just too many things where you have to learn (and remember!!) little details that shouldn't be a problem in the first place.

 

Update: challenge, quick! Where's the paint brush?

apToolbar.png

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1 hour ago, cajhin said:

Finished. Took me ~1200 seconds (+5 minutes angry cigarette break) instead of the estimated 60.

I could go on, but I think I made my point.
It doesn't have to be either 'Powerful for Pros' or 'Intuitively usable for mildly skilled amateurs'.
There are many things I like about AP, it's just too many things where you have to learn (and remember!!) little details that shouldn't be a problem in the first place.

Defining exactly what is intuitive and what isn't can be a highly variable target. This is why I turn the single word "intuitive" into the phrase "intuitive for me."

I've found that intuition as it applies to graphics software technique and UI is defined by at least a couple of different things:

  1. longtime experience with a different tool. Therefore, for a task on new software to be "intuitive" the new software and tools need to have the operation and methodology of the former software.
  2. cues from the software that lead you where you will likely want to go. Striking a balance between ease, visibility, and workflow cues is not an easy thing—especially when the audience is so varied in their needs.

For my work as a professional photographer and designer, I've found the Affinity tools to be very intuitive for me. Many of the most common operations I perform on a daily or weekly basis tend to be quicker overall than when I was using Adobe Photoshop and other Adobe tools. Sure, Adobe has MORE tools and features. But I find that I simply enjoy the way I get things done in Affinity Photo much more readily than I did before. The tools general (but not always) work the way my brain works, to the degree that I've sometimes forgotten how to accomplish a particular task in Photoshop. Or I've forgotten about the differences between Affinity Photo and Adobe Photoshop. 

Applying the word "intuitive" to software is a moving target. I don't doubt that Affinity photo is definitely NOT intuitive for everyone. But that's to be expected. However, you also can't expect that others "see" the same problems with it that you do. The software is simply connecting with them differently and as intended.

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@Ulysses: you make a very good point that intuition depends on the audience.
I don't propose to dumb anything down for us amateurs, when that impacts the pros (and I find some pleasure in being able to use pro tools).

My fuzzy point was that some things are needlessly difficult, and could be improved for me, without bothering you.

Some examples are:
- "Selection brush" icon is basically a brush (with a speck of grey). Make it visibly a 'selection', with a smaller brush?
- Show more hints in the status bar, optionally
- make highlights more pronounced / visible at a glance
- wording. "Static method parameters" would be intuitive to me as a developer, but for everyone else better call it "tool settings".
  "Context toolbar" is suboptimal. It's not a toolbar, it is the settings for one tool on the toolbar.
- cycling tools: it is a general issue with state toggles that you need to be aware of the current state. I (and you?) could select tools with more confidence if b is Brush, bb is Color Brush and bbb is Pixel Tool

I think anyone who uses a tool 8+ hours a week loses the "hobbyist viewpoint" very quickly; including all Affinity staff.

That's why I spent the time writing this.

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31 minutes ago, cajhin said:

That's why I spent the time writing this.

Thanks for elaborating on your take with all of this. I enjoy the discussion. :) 

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