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Why is artboard creation buried under an unrelated tool?

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Hi all.

 

Can someone enlighten us as to why artboards are hidden under the so-called Move tool?  There is absolutely no way I would guess that I needed to dig through a secondary menu on a selection tool to alter my document's structure.  I would expect to find this function under the Layer or Edit menu.

 

Not only is this implementation obscure, but it defies the expected sequence of events: Opt to make a new artboard, specify its properties in a dialog, and then confirm.  Instead, we have an entire "artboard" tool that hangs around and presents a toolbar with those properties instead.  Maybe I'm not familiar with how people typically use artboards: Are they really pressing "Insert artboard" over and over in a rapid-fire fashion, to create lots of identical artboards?  Because that's the only use case where this toolbar seems to make sense.

 

And once you're done making an artboard, you're left without a selection tool... until you go back to the palette and switch out of "artboard tool mode" and go back to the selection (misnamed "Move") tool.  Every time.  Which of the following is more common:

 

1. Creating an artboard and then going back to work with another tool?

2. Creating lots of artboards in a row (which don't depend on selected objects)?

 

If the answer is 1, the current design makes no sense.

 

On a tangential point:  The "hand" tool is called "Move" in every other application in which I've seen it, on any platform.  The "arrow" tool is Select (because that is its primary function), in every other application.  And they work the same as they do here.  Is this a language issue?

 

Thanks for any insight!

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I have to agree about the artboard tool hiding behind the move tool. It took me way too long to figure it out at first (and I design user interfaces for a living!).

 

I think the problem is that the other two tools that have floating palettes, smart shapes and text, each contain very clearly related functionality, while the move tool and the artboard tool are much more tangentially related. It's far less obvious what to expect from long-clicking on the move tool than it is from the smart shapes or text tools.

 

If the goal is to keep the number of tools in the toolbar below a certain number, I'd definitely move the rounded rectangle tool into a floating palette behind the rectangle tool before I'd hide the artboard tool. It really should be a top-level tool.

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It is possible to customise the toolbar to remove the combined Move Tool & Artboard Tool and have separate icons. This can be done by going to View > Customise Tools ...

 

post-19-0-16101300-1448974108_thumb.jpeg

 

 

 

 

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The question is: Why is it a "tool" in the first place?  A tool is something you're working away with, making objects of a certain type or adjusting them.  An artboard is part of the document's structure.  Are you really sitting there churning out one artboard after another, with no intervening activity?

 

One of the fundamental problems in Designer is misuse of the toolbar and tool palette.  For example, if you draw a rectangle and then select the Text tool, you might want to set the color of the text you're about to create.  So you go to the toolbar (where the text properties now appear) and pick the text color.  NOPE: The color of the rectangle just changed!

 

I reported this bug, and it was shrugged off as, "That's because the rectangle was still selected."  But that doesn't make sense: The toolbar belonged to the text tool, not rectangles or anything else.  It was full of things that can't apply to a rectangle.  What if I pressed the Italic button?  Would the rectangle become slanted?

 

In another example, we have gradient fills.   I notice that the Fill dialog remains unfixed as well.  People were asking how in the world do we control the angle of a gradient fill.  The Fill panel shows a bunch of other properties, but the gradient angle is perplexingly absent.  Turns out you have to find and select a secondary "fill" tool in the tool palette, into which some missing controls have been dumped.  Why?  We just set up the fill using an entire fill-properties panel; why would we then guess that there's another "fill tool" lurking somewhere in the application?  Fill is a property of an object, not something you're going to churn out over and over.  

 

It would be easier to take this apparent disorganization if there were a stated and valid rationale for these decisions.  But I haven't seen any.

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I don't agree with the behaviour you expect; I find logical to modify the attributes of the object selected, no matter the tool you're using.

On the other hand, I must agree with the tool/panel issue. If there's a panel to perform a task, that panel must show everything related to it, with no need to look for an additional tool; that's confusing, difficult to learn, and annoying. I don't like the artboard tool also. An artboard panel should be much more interesting, and a simple 'create artboard' option in the layer menu, much easier to find. If someone likes the tool, its great that it exist, but currently we all need to have that tool in the palette, and adding more and more tools to the palette is not desirable.

The eyedropper does not help in this disorganization. By instinct, I look for actions that need click, point, drag, etc in the tool palette... but eyedropper is in a panel. Not the first place I will look for it.

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Forgive me I've only been using AD demo for five minutes. I came here looking for info on multiple artboards. I see you're referring to 'document settings'. What's wrong with 'command+shift+p'? It's lightening fast, I guessed it seeing as illustrator is 'command+alt+p. Seems natural to me.

Regarding your other issue. Press 'm' draw rectangle, press 'esc' to deselect your new rect, press 't' for type tool. Again totally standard and natural behaviour imo. 
I'm in love already to be honest. 

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Just as a follow up to my last response -  (I can't edit as it hasn't been approved yet - new member)

I've since purchased AD and am running the beta and see what you mean. A fluid way is to alt+drag an existing artboard and then enter specs via the transform panel. This is how I usually work so another tick for Affinity Designer from me! 
 

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I have to agree with the criticisms of the new Artboard tool. It's use is counterintuitive and over complicated for what should be a simple routine. I was looking forward too this addition, but am unlikely to use it.

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I also feel the same way, here is what I posted in a different thread:

 

When using the "Insert Artboard" button in the context menu you are given the option to create an artboard with the same dimensions as the "document" which is really just an artboard as well, just the initial one. Should naming be changed so "document" means the entire affinity designer file, and "artboard" means each board that allows for placement of layers and elements?

 

I was thinking that the task flow can be: when nothing is selected (same as when the "Document Setup" button appears in the context menu), a button labeled "Artboards" appears as well and where clicking on this button brings up a menu similar to the "Document Setup" menu that allows users to enter the number of artboards we want to create, their sizes, and how we want to place them (using a grid of rows and columns) I've attached a file (New Artboard Implementation.png) to better demonstrate what I mean in this last part.

 

I also feel that in the layers panel something more should be done UI wise to denote that an artboard is different and higher level than a layer, maybe the triangle pointer icon enclosed in a circle should be exclusive to artboards and the previous triangle icon be used for layers like in the last version of AD?

 

post-18886-0-52658700-1450105657_thumb.png

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I have to agree with @jpespinal about the artboard "tool" would better be placed at the menu right next to preferences like his diagram suggests and should have a menu that opens up. That feels more natural, and actually that's what I had expected when I first heard artboards are here in Affinity Designer 1.4. I'd also love to still see that button in the sidebar menu area, but NOT under the move tool, that's super confusing, and I didn't even know it was there till I watched a video on your Vimeo channel showing exporting artboards. Hoping to see these fixes soon, otherwise I enjoy the artboards feature and really appreciate all the improvements that continue to be made.

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