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I'm a veteran Illustrator user who recently purchased AD.  I am now comparing "Stroke" features between the two apps.  Here are my questions:

 

1) Sketch a rectangle and give it an opaque color, then sketch a second rectangle above it and give your second rectangle X% Opacity.  Now tick / Enable "Stroke" in the Effects.  Slowly move the Radius to the right and you will then suddenly see your X% Opacity become complete Opaque.  Why?

 

2) In Illustrator I can put a Stroke on a rectangle and then make that stroke to be Centered or Inside or Outside.  But AD is very different.  When I sketch a rectangle in AD and then when I add a "Line" to it, I am presented with a large number of options, but the ability to move that Line to the Outside or Inside is mysteriously absent.  So I was thinking to myself, well, maybe the developers of AD want me to use the "Stroke" Effect instead.  And truly, when I apply a Stroke, I have the 3 options available (Center, Inside, Outside).  But the disadvantage to using Stroke is that the corners are always curved.  Why is that?

 

3) Stroke does not seem to be a replacement for Line.  Try this.  Sketch a rectangle but set Fill and Line to NONE.  Now tick/Enable Stroke and expand the Radius.  Nothing appears on screen at all!  But as soon as I give it a fill color, then the Stroke magically appears.  It seems a bit strange.  If Line would give me the option to have Center or Inside or Outside, this wouldn't matter as I could then use Line instead.

 

4) Illustrator empowers me to add multiple strokes to the same object, and when I set those strokes behind the fill, I can then do some pretty interesting things. I cannot seem to find a way to do this in AD.

 

5) It seems that AD only allows me to add a gradient to a Stroke but not to a Line.  This is unfortunate because I cannot seem to create a Stroke WITHOUT rounded corners.

 

6) Illustrator CC has some powerful new Corner features for Strokes.  For example, I can sketch a rectangle and then give it a 5pt stroke and then I can grab any one of the 4 round tabs and drag inward to give all 4 corners the same roundness.  Furthermore, I can use Illustrator's Direct Selection tool to draw a selection rec around only on of the corners, which will enable me to round that one corner independently of the others.  How can I accomplish the same in AD?

 

7) Dashed lines and Arrowheads are very common in my work but such features appear to be absent in the current version of AD?

 

8) In Illustrator, I can sketch a line or Stroke a box and then have "Width Profile" that I can choose in the Stroke panel.  This can be very useful at times.  For example, in Illustrator, if I sketch a line that is 26pt thickness and then give it Width Profile 4, the 26pt thickness decreases linearly to zero, giving it the shape of a spike.  Can such be done in AD?

 

9) Another tool I always use in Illustrator when dealing with Strokes and Objects is the CUT tool.  I can't seem to find it in AD.  How do I sketch a rectangle and then cut pieces out of it?

 

Sorry for all the questions, but Strokes and Corners and Cutting are the biggest part of what I do in Illustrator, and such is what I intend to do in AD as well.

 

Thanks.

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1.) Is a bug, thanks for letting us know.

 

4.) Multiple strokes is on the cards - but we need to find a nice way to implement the UI - most other efforts I have seen are not good enough, imo.

 

5.) You *can* do gradients on lines! When using the gradient tool, select "Line" context from the context toolbar.

 

6.) We have a corner tool already written - ran out of time to test it properly, so it didn't make the release. Our Rounded Rectangle shape already allows you to set corner radii and types interactively.

 

8.) Our "pressure profile" flyout, on the Line panel achieves this. We're considering adding a "Width Tool" too - so the width can be set more interactively on the canvas.

 

9.) Use the boolean operations buttons on the top toolbar to achieve this - or alternatively, alt-click the boolean op buttons to create a live Compound object (basically non-destructive boolean ops).

 

I think the main thing here is that, because our lines do not support inside / outside etc. yet, people are using the Stroke effect as a replacement. Stroke is a very different beast - it's a raster effect. When people ask about line inside, etc. our response should be "Sorry, we overlooked it - we're adding it now", not "Use the stroke effect instead".

 

Lines inside / outside is high on our to-do list - we hope to have it available for beta test, then release, as soon as possible.

 

Thanks,

 

AndyS

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Stroke is a very different beast - it's a raster effect.

 

That is impossible to intuitively determine from your existing UI.  

Try this:

 

1. New document set to 300dpi.

2. Sketch a rectangle.

3. Give it a Stroke.

4.  Thicken the stroke until you can see it.

5.  Zoom in to 1000%.  The rounded corners of that stroke appear perfectly smooth like a vector.  If a fixed bitmap (raster), you would expect it to get blocky / jagged after you zoomed close to the 300dpi resolution.

 

Now repeat the above for the Outer Shadow "Raster" effect.  When you zoom in, the shadow never looks blocky.

 

To compare, open Illustrator, sketch a box and do Effect > Drop Shadow.  Zoom in and it becomes blocky in accordance with your Document Raster Effects settings.  It's very intuitive.  You are never confused about what is a Vector and what is a Raster.  No need for the user to read a manual or "just remember that Effects are Rasters."  If AD is targeted at becoming a full Adobe Illustrator replacement app someday (and I for one see it as the only app out there for the Mac which has that potential), then adding a more intuitive display of what is Raster vs. Vector is an important consideration.

 

Thanks.

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JDW,

You want Affinity Designer renders the effects blocky so we can distinguish between them and vectors and because Illustrator does it too...

Why can't an app dynamically draw/render high quality effects at different zoom levels on screen if the output is not compromised? Do you really have to know which is which? Does it matter? If you need to check out how a particular effect will be rendered (rasterized) you can change the View Mode to Pixels.

 

How one can expect innovative tools/software if we stick to old concepts and continue to mimic them continuously?

 

 

 

I think the main thing here is that, because our lines do not support inside / outside etc. yet, people are using the Stroke effect as a replacement. Stroke is a very different beast - it's a raster effect. When people ask about line inside, etc. our response should be "Sorry, we overlooked it - we're adding it now", not "Use the stroke effect instead".

 

 

AndyS

 

Andy,

I've suggested that a few times as a temp alternative, but I see how it can cause problems. I always try to give a solution, or help based on the features available now, but this may be misunderstood as a definite solution or software limitation when it's just a question of time (or lack of) to implement it. Will take more care.

 

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How one can expect innovative tools/software if we stick to old concepts and continue to mimic them continuously?

 

Do we not still use Mice? Do we not still use Icons and Windows? My Mac 128k had these in 1984, yet I still use those "old concepts" today. "If it ain't broke..."

 

One must also consider that the more similar AD is to Illustrator (without crossing into their intellectual property, of course) the more likely Illustrator Pros like myself will be drawn like flies to AD. And with a wider user base comes a better app down the line.

 

There are already many similarities to Illlutrator even now. For example I was pleasantly surprised to see just how many keyboard shortcuts are identical to Illutrator. Had we followed the "let's ditch old concepts" path, those shortcuts very well might be totally different, introducing an unecessary learning curve for veteran Illustrator users.

 

With that said, thank you for the tip about View > View Mode > Pixels. That mimics Illustrator. However, when set to Vector, the Raster effects are perfectly smooth, which means you need to remember which View Mode you're in so you never lose sight of what is truly vector and what is raster.

 

I am not trying to say anything negative against AD if left as it is. If I thought AD wasn't good enough to buy, I would not have bought it. I am just "talking out loud" as an Iilustrator veteran and AD newbie. I have much to learn and explore in AD. Thanks in advance for your patience with me.

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You're generalising my quote and have taken it out of context. Keyboard shortcuts are equal because some Illustrator users like you requested them during the beta and other similarities probably come from there too, to make the transition easier. Anyway Illustrator (and other software) does several things right and there's no reason to make it different if it's not for the better. However in this particular case - and that's what i'm talking about in my previous post - what advantage do you take from rendering rasterized effects blocky if you can render them smooth without compromising the output? It's just for the sake of knowing which one is which? For what? That's what i'm questioning. There's no point in rendering them worse on screen if there's no prejudice in the output.

Unless i'm missing something here, making them render differently just gives an illusion of control, there's no other compromises.

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How is there NOT prejudice in the output? By definition vector art will be outputted at the maximum resolution of the printing device, but raster art will only render as well as its fixed resolution allows. Output a vector and a 300ppi raster in a 1200 ppi printer and the vector will get printed at 1200ppi while the raster will be printed at 300ppi and the raster will be comparatively be more jagged when the hard copy is scrutinized.

 

If you still don't follow what I mean, or if I am still misunderstanding you, then allow me to be clarity to the both of us with this one question:

 

What is Illustrator doing inferior to AD in terms of how Illustrator displays rasters? (You seem to prefer AD over Illustrator in this regard, but can you please explain why?)

 

Thanks.

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Yes,

 

I use the term "raster" because the effects are generated by post-processing the rasterised vectors - however, this rasterisation is done at whatever zoom level you are at, expressed as DPI - so you will not see degradation as you zoom in - there is theoretically no DPI limit to our FX rendering.

 

If you were to print an effect at 600dpi, 1200dpi or 100000dpi, it would still look as sharp as vector objects.

 

AndyS

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Perhaps the confusion comes because AI users are used to the term "Stroke" for vector outlines, while AD uses the term "Line" for vector outlines? What if AD standardized terms so "Stroke" is for vectors and "Line" is used for raster outlines?

 

Just an idea...


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Perhaps the confusion comes because AI users are used to the term "Stroke" for vector outlines, while AD uses the term "Line" for vector outlines? What if AD standardized terms so "Stroke" is for vectors and "Line" is used for raster outlines?

 

Just an idea...

 

We are considering using the term Stroke and Outline to try and clear things up. Do you think that would help?

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Personally i think that adding another term to define the same entity will add even more confusion. A stroke is a stroke no matter if it's vector or pixel based. What the user must learn / understand here is that Affinity provides two different types of tools/contexts: vector and pixel based tools. The terminology used to define their entities is applied equally to both, but in a pixel based context that means a pixel stroke, on a vector based context it means a vector stroke.

If we call line or outline to a pixel based stroke then what will we call to a pixel based fill? Will we use the same term as its vector counterpart in this case?

There's no consistency in this approach.

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It doesn't matter so much to me anymore as per AndyS's info:

 

If you were to print an effect at 600dpi, 1200dpi or 100000dpi, it would still look as sharp as vector objects.

 

 

In other words, "Rasters" in AD aren't really Rasters at all insofar as they (as per AndyS, anyway) print like Vectors.

 

In my book of definitions, a classic RASTER is a FIXED-DPI BITMAP.  As such, AndyS's explanation describes a VECTOR more than it does a Raster.  As a result, if one wishes to call one Vector "ABC" and another Vector "XYZ," who cares?

 

Now if someone wishes to argue that AD "Effects" are indeed NOT Vectors, then one would need to argue against what AndyS said previously.

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To avoid complete and utter confusion on my part, I prefer to view this Raster-vs-Vector talk in terms of what I can draw and how that drawn object will look "at any size, regardless of printer resolution."  And in that way of thinking, any object (effects or no) which I draw in AD which prints perfectly smooth all the time, regardless of printer, and regardless of how big I resize it, is in my mind "essentially a Vector."  (If you act like a Vector, stink like a Vector, eat like a Vector, you must be a Vector, even if that label may technically be incorrect.)


 


But you seem to be saying that once I draw a rectangle in AD and then apply a Stroke EFFECT (which everyone is calling "Raster"), even though AndyS said it would print perfect even at 10kdpi (which is amazing), you are saying, "Well, it only will print beautifully at 10kDPI if your AD document was set to 10kdpi."  Is that right?  In that case, we would have to set our AD documents to 10kdpi ("DPI" field in the "Dimensions" section in the New Document dialog)?


 


Saying it yet another way, if I draw a rectangle and apply a Stroke Effect to it, then export that as, say, an SVG, that Stroke Effect's resolution would be fixed to whatever the DPI setting is of the AD document?  Or would the Stroke Effect be stripped away when exported as an SVG because SVG is a Vector format?


 


With Illustrator, I don't have this confusion, even in cases where I apply a Drop Shadow EFFECT to a Vector because I know how the Document Raster Effects Settings work in Illustrator.  But since I am new to AD, and hope AD can ultimately be a replacement for Illustrator, I am still trying to get my head around this talk of Lines vs Strokes (Effect Rasters vs Vectors).  Again, your kind patience, understanding, and hand-holding is appreciated.


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4.) Multiple strokes is on the cards - but we need to find a nice way to implement the UI - most other efforts I have seen are not good enough, imo.

 

5.) You *can* do gradients on lines! When using the gradient tool, select "Line" context from the context toolbar.

 

 

Sweet, and Sweet!

 

I am glad that you confirm that feature X or Y is on the way. I sure am enjoying the ride until then...

 

:D


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Playing devil's advocate here: What's the purpose of the Stroke effect if (when) lines can do all the same things? Especially once you nailed multiple outlines.

Can this effect then not be removed to clear things up?

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The Stroke effect (hopefully renamed to Outline soon) can be used on images an not just vectors. So if I have an image with partial alpha I can still put an outline on it.

 

We also need it for compatibility with Photoshop documents.

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4.) Multiple strokes is on the cards - but we need to find a nice way to implement the UI - most other efforts I have seen are not good enough, imo.

 
I would simply add it to the layers stack, as a drop down...

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4.) Multiple strokes is on the cards - but we need to find a nice way to implement the UI - most other efforts I have seen are not good enough, imo.

 
I would simply add it to the layers stack, as a drop down...

 

 

Can you draw a picture?

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8.) Our "pressure profile" flyout, on the Line panel achieves this. We're considering adding a "Width Tool" too - so the width can be set more interactively on the canvas.

 

 

I tried that, but couldn't find a way to make a line fat at one end and skinny at the other. I'm looking for a way to simulate a brush gradually lifting off the canvas: the line retains a certain thickness for a specified length, then, from that specified point, gradually becomes thinner until it reaches the next specified width (or just thins out to zero -- essentially a point).

 

Is there a way to do that?

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