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scamper

Anti-aliasing: don’t treat guides like art

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Simply put, it’s great to anti-alias artwork, but please don’t anti-alias UI elements such as selections, handles, and guides.

I’ve attached an illustration that shows why anti-aliasing selection guides can lead to difficulty when it comes to precision alignment. Affinity Designer anti-aliases everything equally (with the sole exception of ruler guides), so handles and shape edges end up looking blurry. As a result, you have to zoom in to make sure things are where you think they are. In contrast, Illustrator (Photoshop, too) always renders guides and handles to the pixel, and aggressively snaps things into place, so you can always see (and feel) exactly where everything is.

I think pictures speak louder than words, so let me know if the attached image doesn’t make my case.

(Note that I’m not talking about styled borders or strokes. I’m talking about the blue “active selection” indicators. You never want those to be anti-aliased, for the same reason you don’t want the ticks on rulers to be anti-aliased. They should be rendered at screen resolution, to the pixel grid of your working view.)

post-998-0-12574600-1412373141_thumb.png

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Interesting but just because those lines in Illustrator look aligned doesn't mean they actual are. The object could be 0.5 away but because they draw the bounding box pixel aligned you might think it is. Pros and cons I guess. The thing I do agree with though is when you are dragging your object the handles shouldn't be shown at all.

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Interesting but just because those lines in Illustrator look aligned doesn't mean they actual are. The object could be 0.5 away but because they draw the bounding box pixel aligned you might think it is. Pros and cons I guess. The thing I do agree with though is when you are dragging your object the handles shouldn't be shown at all.

This always drove me really mad about Illustrator, things look aligned, and sometimes even there are snapping guides in place, just to zoom in and found objects are fractions of points apart. Really annoying.

I think that as with most UI things, this definitely should be optional.

Though I prefer the UI elements not anti-aliased.

 

Cheers!

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That Illustrator is notoriously clumsy and almost always not truly aligned where it purports to be aligned probably doesn't moot the point that @scamper is making - that guides shouldn't be anti-aliased so they represent accuracy as best as can be done with pixels on a screen.

 

I'll add one more reason to not anti-alias guides and selection brackets - to make them visually different to the artwork.

 

On their size: I know it's about making them selectable, but the HUD elements (for lack of a better term to describe selection brackets, pick up, rotation elements etc) are generally a bit "big" and "overweight" in Affinity Designer, which gives an instant feeling of inaccuracy, regardless of the fact that this is an exacting app when it comes to points, pixels and position.

 

That they're dynamically aware of the user's intentions and fudge the position from which they're selectable and operable means that you can make them small, tight and visually exacting without sacrificing usability.

 

$0.02 spent.

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