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A bit of a biff with... Additional master pages


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To be able to put multiple additional masters on a publication page is pure genius. (Look in Help for: 'To apply an additional master page to a publication page' in 'Applying master pages' article). This superbly useful feature has saved days of my time by now.

Example: Put 10 instances of individual packaging master pages on a huge publication page next to each other, see it all at the same time, and then place graphic variables into master frames is gobsmacking. Moreover, using Data merge layout on that huge publication page and seeing the content move synchroniously and being populated automatically with nutritional data and other packaging related content using Data merge it is pure magic.

Now, that 'but' part...

Problem 1: User layout is not preserved

  • context: Add several individual master pages to a huge publication page. Position them next to each other. Edit individual master spread dimensions. Click 'no' to 'Target pages differ in size to the master. Would you like to resize them to match?' And...
  • problem: Ugh. Back on huge publication page your nice distribution of individual master pages is gone. Individual masters are moved to center. Stacked over each other. Must be moved back by hand. Locking individual master pages on the huge page does not work either.
  • expected behaviour: Individual master pages placed on a huge publication page observe Transform X,Y position and Anchor Points as defined in huge publication page's Transform panel. That is why user defined them. Ignoring user's work is never cool.

Zero/origin for dimensioning master page's spread is center. But, once placed on a publication page, individual master X and Y position and Transform Anchor Point can be defined. Why are they not observed and layout preserved?

Problem 2: User column guides' settings are not preserved

  • context: Define column guides on your huge publication page. They will help you layout additional multiple individual master pages. Alt-drag individual master page onto your huge publication page. And...
  • problem: Where are my huge publication page's column guides? Deleted. Shucks. You have to make them again and they will work fine until one attempts applying additional master page. Why were column guides deleted in the first place?
  • expected behaviour: Noli tangere ... column guides... meos! Leave my column guides alone. Deleting user data is never cool. Now, if huge publication page was applied e.g. huge master page with column guides, those master column guides would have been preserved.

Are these issues a result of a bug or a feature?

An example with instructions is attached...

 

Additional masters issues.afpub

Alex

Mac Mini M1, mac OS Monterey

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I would have made a Master Page the same size as the Actual Page in order to avoid this. I honestly do not understand what you are wanting to have happen with mismatched page/spread sizes.

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) Mac OS 10.12.6 || Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 11.7

Affinity Designer 1.10.5 | Affinity Photo 1.10.5 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.5 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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Yeah, I'm not sure you are using Master Pages in the way they are intended. It seems like a better option would be to make separate files. A file for the individual pages could then be placed/linked into the "huge" layout page.

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I am using it because it is there 😃. But, above all, it is a very convenient way to work, really. When working on 10 ice-cream packages (vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, stracciatella, etc.) all 10 packages are displayed in front of me. Seeing the whole series at once helps me in achieving design consistency overall, spotting gnarly layout spots. If any master adjustments are made, the effect is visible at the same time. No page scrolling. Add to that a layer of Data Merge Layout and it becomes ... amazing. Masters provide editable structure, data merge variables... Export via Designer slices for print, for preview...

@prophet splitting each ice-cream in it's file (or per page) is a valid way to go, but it implies file hopping when adjusting master. Using assets is also not an option. InDesign allows multiple pages per spread, which can be used for ice-cream packaging series scenario.

@Old Bruce, regarding expectations when using mismatching spread sizes between master and publication page:

Since a master (layer set) once applied on a publication page can be:

  • positioned (X,Y), rotated, scaled, skewed on a publication page using conventional Transform methods, like any other object.
  • assigned an Anchor point, like any other object,
  • renamed, scaled, hidden and locked as any other object,

I would expect it to behave like any other object. User operations should be preserved. Just like position, scale (in relation to anchor point) etc. are preserved when we are working with symbols or placed graphic. Imagine this case:

1) One master is applied across pages, but positioned differently on each page (gray). Corrections made to objects within the master propagate across pages but do not disturb positioning and rotation. This is entirely doable and works beautifully.

image.png.0ca36beb00a254bdde5df2811f7ba165.png

2) Now, let's add one more master to this publication's pages (reddish). This works beautifully, too. One can even flow text between masters on one page.

image.png.0b8326b75401544b37dc6b8c50554858.png

3) Master is changed, a detail was added that requires a slight spread size adjustment (green). Now, this happens. The content is moved to the center of the publication page. Some user work is lost (and Undo does not work):

image.png.7cfb14490256d0192f15768076bc05d1.png

4) I feel the above should not happen. Instead I would expect this:

image.png.fbd510e74557511019e5771c102d89ae.png

I am aware anchor points are not object-level persistant.

Alex

Mac Mini M1, mac OS Monterey

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Case 2 would be something like the ice-cream packaging series workflow mentioned above where this:

image.png.bb71744f958801d537a0b6c37dabb1b5.png

...once a slight master spread adjustment is made, turns into this:

image.png.4057e9d1f0fee45187800a17896e3efe.png

While I am expecting something like below, instead... Akin to what I would get with any placed page or graphics.

image.png.fd1f4c4c5ca171b2f3b9a09938752585.png

 

Alex

Mac Mini M1, mac OS Monterey

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I would guess I would use Designer and Symbols for this sort of work. As for the column guides I think they work as a one set per publication, so if you have a small Master Page, having no column guides, being applied to an Actual Page...

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) Mac OS 10.12.6 || Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 11.7

Affinity Designer 1.10.5 | Affinity Photo 1.10.5 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.5 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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7 minutes ago, Old Bruce said:

I would guess I would use Designer and Symbols for this sort of work.

As would I if I had to.

It is a novel approach you've discovered, but using Master Pages as de facto symbols is, again, not really what they are built for.

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Thanks @Old Bruce and @prophet for your replies. Symbols are reasonable path to consider, but symbols have two-way synchronization which includes content. In effect, prohibiting customization of each symbol AND retaining master layout control. Once broken, synchronization will not be active anymore. Assets are not good either, they have no synchronization.

On the other hand, adding additional master pages (as described in Help documentation) allows for customization of content (image frames, text frames with styles, etc.) while keeping the layout. Masters are synchronized one-way. I.e. modifying master page objects will change the publication page objects but not the other way around. And it will not replace content user placed on the publication side. This use case makes it quite different from symbols.

To put this in ice-cream packaging series scenario: Adding multiple individual masters to one publication page allows for placing a different image to each of the image frames for each master applied onto a huge publication page (e.g. place a Chocolate image in 'main-image' frame, then Vanilla cream image to 'main-image' frame next to it, and so on... ) AND having a continuous ability to e.g. widen 'main-image' frame in master page and see that all of the frames have been widened accordingly with discrete images! That (I believe) is powerful.

Alex

Mac Mini M1, mac OS Monterey

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Hi Aleksandar,

The master pages being aligned to the centre of your spread is unfortunately by design as is the columns disappearing you can see one of our developers discussing the latter here: https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/76006-column-guides-sometime-go-invisible-or-are-deletedchanged-when-using-multiple-master-pages/&do=findComment&comment=420023

I would recommend making a feature request regarding the master pages being aligned to centre issue but really symbols rather than master pages seem best for this.

Thanks
C

Please tag me using @ in your reply so I can be sure to respond ASAP.

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Hi @Callum and thank you for replying.

Please take a look at the attached file... And try to do some of the actions suggested inside if you can.

I believe you will quickly see that, compared to symbols, using additional masters in a publication page is another thing entirely. Here, User modifies the content freely, per instance, while keeping the layout from Master.

additional masters.afpub

Alex

Mac Mini M1, mac OS Monterey

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A fun experiment.

In Publisher, I can use the Designer persona to create a symbol and, using the "sync" toggle appropriately, it will do just about everything shown in @Aleksandar Kovač's example: rotation, scaling, changing color, changing text.

However, I run into trouble with images in Picture Frames. It seems the "Lock Children" toggle goes haywire across symbol instances. I can lock children in one symbol to change the frame dimensions, but that will still scale content in the other symbol. And even weirder, the lock will keep the children in place when scaling the frame, but if I rotate the frame, the content doesn't lock in either symbol. Even the one I am currently editing! I also experience some updating delays and weird box/content handle offsetting issues when manipulating Picture Frame within the symbol.

Anyway, the OP point is well taken insofar as they have found a novel way to use Master Pages and the current symbol implementation does not quite offer the same ability. I'd say pitch this as a Feature request of some kind and see what comes of it.

Edit: scratch that rotation bit. It seems even a normal Picture Frame with Lock Children ticked will still rotate the content. Is that a bug?

Edit 2: Just swapped using a Picture Frame for a Curve and it works fine. I should always trust my first instinct which is to avoid Picture Frames entirely. They just don't make sense to me.

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Thank you @prophet for taking your time to try this approach.

I have been testing more. There is an elegant and trivial workaround for preserving layout on the Publication page when using additional masters. Simply put: do not resize Master page. 🤔 😂

As long as Master page is not resized, one can move about objects on it as much as desired. Master layout will be preserved on Publication page. Objects can even be positioned outside the Master page. And still everything will be displayed, editable, snap-able... In case one feels queasy about objects positioned outside the Master page, one can make an oversized Master page that will comfily contain all future resizing. Just make sure that, when adding this master as an additional Master, to click 'No' to publication page resizing query.

With this workaround, additional masters are quite a sturdy and snappy tool. And, I believe, in some scenarios, superior to assets and symbols.

 

Alex

Mac Mini M1, mac OS Monterey

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