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I'm trying to understand the essence of Affinity.


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33 minutes ago, Joschi said:

For example, if Affinity opens up to third-party providers who develop plug-ins, then such a roadmap

I would expect that if/when Serif decides to open up Affinity to third-party providers that they would start by contacting some of the well-known providewrs privately and offering a cooperative working arrangement to get their products integrated in some way into the Affinity suite.

That is not something I would expect to see taking place publicly, nor mentioned in a public roadmap. And if Serif were to undertake cooperative arrangements like that I would further expect that some details of what is coming in the near-term would be disclosed to the providers who agree to work with them.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
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    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.3

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If the features you want are not on your proposed public roadmap, is that what you are going to do... bitch about it?

Of course not! Bitching is a waste of time (this I agree with you on this!) 

Here is what I would do instead:
If a feature I want is not on a roadmap, then I would look for an alternative on the market that can offer me exactly this feature that I need for my work in order to be able to do my job (be it as a complimentary tool to affinity or other apps)!

That's how I've always done it, precisely because such a roadmap helped me save time and calculate what I can use in the meantime to counteract these bottlenecks.

Yes, there will always be people who complain, but there are many sensible people who think ahead of time and take this as an opportunity to look for solutions until the problem is solved. If you only look at people who complain, then I understand why you might not like a public roadmap. Or, you can look instead at people who will not complain, find solutions and will compliment the team as soon as a new feature has been added to the software :)

I don't look at people who complain.
I look for transparency, communication and solutions that help me.
As soon as Affinity introduces new features that I don't need, but that other people think are great (and need), then I'm happy for those people, too :)
 

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17 minutes ago, iuli said:

As an iPad-only user, I think that so far there’s very few vector apps coming close to Affinity Designer, hence there’s little competition to Serif on mobile (yet).

Paradoxically maybe (because it’s completely free), the only app that’s keeping up with Serif development on iPad is Vectornator, which has already improved auto-trace features, an auto-closed curve function, artboards and many new functions that are taking shape through numerous updates. They have stability through rich backers and they claim they want to make the definitive vector software for free. (The project was started by a teenager student who didn’t have enough money to afford a vector software for studies, or so the story goes).

For me personally Affinity Designer is irreplaceable because of its interface, which I absolutely love. Vectornator as a “pure” graphic software has everything a professional designer needs and then some, I think, but doesn’t have a user-friendly interface, and that alone is enough to keep me away from it. Also they could any time go subscription-based, despite their pledge to the contrary, something I know it will ‘never’ happen with Affinity software.

So I don’t know what the essence of Affinity is, but vector-graphic wise I almost have everything I need at my disposal with Affinity Designer. I wish the app would not go to 200GB over night for no reason, sure. I’d love to just import swatches, which Affinity for iPad lacks. Or to have better saving functions, and other things. But none of them are essential to me. 

Serif is a small team and has its own philosophy and marketing model, which I believe it works. They already have tons of original features, which alone justify a purchase. Their forums are filled (mostly) with kind people (many of them professionals) and chances are that you’re going to get help, work arounds and even your working projects fixed, quicker than you would ever expect.

OK, sorry for my rambling. All the best.

Don't be sorry :) A lot of what you say is true :) I did not know about the story behind vectornator. That is interesting to know.
As I said in the beginning: I love all the Affinity Apps.
And you are right. The Team behind Serif is small, compared to companies like Adobe or Corel. And so far it has worked out very well for them.
I just think Affinity should start opening themselves up as a company. As soon as a company has reached a certain number of customers, it's time to set new ambitions and goals so that the company can continue to exist in the long term.

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@Joschi Huge thumbs up for such a well described thoughts and ideas, as well as the way you're talking. I quite don't understand why some people just right away start to "bite" those who just politely expressed their concerns and thoughts. 

I just wanted to say, that I agree with the main topic of your post - Communication

It would be nice to see at least a bit more communication between Serif and their Customer base.

As an example, I would point our Elementor.com. I am one of the early adopters of their software, which pioneered in their category (visual web design and development tool for Wordpress websites). Their level of communication on social platforms, their forums, customer service etc. is just spectacular. Very friendly, opened and encouraging. Makes creators feel like part of one big team/family  :) . But I have to admit, it's something I pay almost 100$ every year for, so I don't know if that's the essence. Maybe we can't get both. I'm not an expert in this field :).

I guess that's what you wanted to express here. 

Have a nice day.

#peace

 

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3 hours ago, Joschi said:

Here is what I would do instead:
If a feature I want is not on a roadmap, then I would look for an alternative on the market that can offer me exactly this feature that I need for my work in order to be able to do my job (be it as a complimentary tool to affinity or other apps)!

 

Here is what I do:

If a feature I need is not in the application I don't buy that application.

A map is not the terrain. In other words if a feature I need is on the roadmap it is not in the application, and may not be placed in the application in my lifetime. But it will be on the roadmap long after I am gone. 

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 12.7.2 
Affinity Designer 2.3.1 | Affinity Photo 2.3.1 | Affinity Publisher 2.3.1 | Beta versions as they appear.

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

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45 minutes ago, Old Bruce said:

Here is what I do:

If a feature I need is not in the application I don't buy that application.

A map is not the terrain. In other words if a feature I need is on the roadmap it is not in the application, and may not be placed in the application in my lifetime. But it will be on the roadmap long after I am gone. 

Serif didn't provide a roadmap, but rather a list of things they said/wrote would make it into the version 1.x version (i.e., prior to version 2) without comment as to the order or timing of said list. That isn't an actual roadmap.

I mostly agree with the OP, at least as regards having a roadmap. Much of the grief Serif experienced was brought onto themselves. Much of that grief could have been abated by providing a well-thought out written plan as to what, when and why of the items they desired to include in v.1.x...an actual and defensible plan. That is a roadmap.

How Serif sometimes responded to the relatively few people who complained was equally important. Sometimes it was equally acerbic as the complainers. Darn near whiny. Instead of stepping back, rethinking the list and rectifying, addressing, the why people were upset and rewriting the list as a roadmap would have been a reasonable response. Instead, Serif picked up the marbles and went home. And, in a sense, have been cloistered ever since.

Serif's marketing is also partly to blame. The marketing is, well, to put it politely, more ambitious than they have been able to keep up with. The marketing, to me, sounds more like wishful thinking than closer to the reality "on the ground."

All that said, Serif is the captain of their own fate. It is "right and good" for Serif to do as they please without directly "taking on board" my or anyone else's view on the matter. Because, as has been mentioned in this thread and countless statements by others and certain Serif staff: Only purchase Affinity software if it works in the here and now for your purposes. If a user wants to take that further, they have every opportunity to review the list of features, enhancements and/or fixes that accompany every beta release.

Mike

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10 hours ago, carl123 said:

 

In a democratic society the normal way would be the "one man person one vote system" where every registered user of the software could state their top 3 requirements for the next version and once all the votes are in, a priority list would become evident

But Serif is not a democracy, it is a business. Only they know what talent pool/resources they have, how difficult a particular function would be to implement, how long it would take, how much money they have coming in and going out each month, their ROI for a particular new feature, where all the various coffee machines are located in the building etc etc etc

I am also a business and aware what some of my customers would like me to do/implement but realistically I can only so much for them so I have to pick and choose which ones and when. Fortunately, I only have one coffee machine and I know exactly where it is.

It is also a business that is 100x smaller than the huge Adobe Corporation and people forget/don't know this. I think that under these circumstances they have done extraordinarily well to produce these three competitive cross platform software applications.

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13 hours ago, LondonSquirrel said:
  • Photos is a joke app - if it didn't have an Apple logo it would get 1 or 2 out of 5 stars on the App store.
  • Motion is very good for the money.
  • There has been barely any development on FCP for years - it has completely plateaued. All it gets is some occasional new file formats.

Your point about a public roadmap has been argued about for ages. The A,B,C features would descend very quickly into who shouts loudest. 

It is a wholly dumbed down software app for quick fixes for social media. My own view is that Apple should have continued to develop both iPhoto and Aperture instead (they have always had the money to do this). These days, if you want to do any form of more involved photo manipulation/editing, you now have to go third party apps.

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7 hours ago, Snapseed said:

... My own view is that Apple should have continued to develop both iPhoto and Aperture instead (they have always had the money to do this).

Apple's ways are sometimes unfathomable, too. - The former guy behind Apple's Photo Apps group (Nik Bhatt) afterwards founded Gentleman Coders and developed Raw Power as a sort of Aperture replacement.

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Publisher 1.10.8 ◆ OSX El Capitan
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19 hours ago, Joschi said:

Of course not! Bitching is a waste of time (this I agree with you on this!) 

Here is what I would do instead:
If a feature I want is not on a roadmap, then I would look for an alternative on the market that can offer me exactly this feature that I need for my work in order to be able to do my job (be it as a complimentary tool to affinity or other apps)!

That's how I've always done it, precisely because such a roadmap helped me save time and calculate what I can use in the meantime to counteract these bottlenecks.

Yes, there will always be people who complain, but there are many sensible people who think ahead of time and take this as an opportunity to look for solutions until the problem is solved. If you only look at people who complain, then I understand why you might not like a public roadmap. Or, you can look instead at people who will not complain, find solutions and will compliment the team as soon as a new feature has been added to the software :)

I don't look at people who complain.
I look for transparency, communication and solutions that help me.
As soon as Affinity introduces new features that I don't need, but that other people think are great (and need), then I'm happy for those people, too :)
 

It seems that people get very entitled when it comes to software, like they are owed complete transparency from the software company. Is the expected anywhere else? Am I at my mechanic wanting to know where they are heading and how it will make my life better? Or at McDonalds wanting to know and have direct input on the next burger? 

I would question why you would ever buy software that does not do what you want it to do on release. If what I need is not there then I won't buy the software. It is a pretty simple thing. So many things can change for a company in this business and things can turn on a dime which would have the users who took the roadmap as a promise even more upset if direction was changed and they did not continue on with their road map. The software is a tool, it lets me make a living, pay for my house, car, motorcycle, food and everything else. I would never buy a drill that could only use 1 kind of drill bit with expectations that they would soon be able to use other bits. I would wait till it does what I need or buy the one that does. 

 

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9 minutes ago, wonderings said:

It seems that people get very entitled when it comes to software, like they are owed complete transparency from the software company. Is the expected anywhere else? Am I at my mechanic wanting to know where they are heading and how it will make my life better? Or at McDonalds wanting to know and have direct input on the next burger? 

I would question why you would ever buy software that does not do what you want it to do on release. If what I need is not there then I won't buy the software. It is a pretty simple thing. So many things can change for a company in this business and things can turn on a dime which would have the users who took the roadmap as a promise even more upset if direction was changed and they did not continue on with their road map. The software is a tool, it lets me make a living, pay for my house, car, motorcycle, food and everything else. I would never buy a drill that could only use 1 kind of drill bit with expectations that they would soon be able to use other bits. I would wait till it does what I need or buy the one that does. 

 

It seems to me that some people here have the idea, that professional studios or freelancers basically only use programs that have all the features they need.
But that's not how it works in reality.

Fact is: There is no program that can handle all the tasks you need to complete your jobs.

Then you go with the strategy of buying as many programs (or services) that cover the necessary needs that are needed for the job. So several programs, but only as many as you really need (the cost-benefit factors must be taken into account, too).

Now, if you have several options to choose from: Let's assume option A on the one hand, with a program that is available for a one-time purchase and covers 80% of all functions that you need for work. And on the other side, option B, with a program that has to be subscribed monthly for a high price, but covers 90% of all functions.

Now you have to calculate how to compensate for the remaining needs. Let's assume again that for both options there is a provider on the market that offers the remaining functions via a plug-in or standalone software and is compatible with both options.
Which option do you choose? Of course, the option that can offer the best cost-benefit factor in the long run.

If people here now claim: "I only buy a program that covers all my features that I need",
then I wonder if they use any programs at all on a professional basis.

There is no software that can do everything.

But that's what my post was about:
The question of Affinity's long-term planning and direction.


If someone asks: "Why make a fuss about it? If a program has what you need, then buy it, if not don't buy it!", then it shows that this person has never heard of long-term planning and calculation.

This is not how the business world works.
If someone rejects a program because it doesn't have a certain feature, but meets all the other requirements, he is not thinking economically and logically. Because there is no such thing as a program that covers everything. But that is exactly why the question of enterprise customers to software companies regarding long-term planning and development phase is important. Do you seriously believe that companies can change their entire pipeline from one month to the next (just because a cheaper alternative suddenly has a feature that could be useful for work)? There are always long-term contracts and licenses negotiated.

Not everyone uses Affinity as a hobby or for occasional jobs. Others would like to use it as a long-term professional tool in the future. And there's a lot more to it than just asking: Does it have all the features I need, or not?

For some people it might work, who only act on the principle of only buying something, that can meet all their requirements.
However, there are many others here who think the same way I do, and don't consider that a realistic and healthy attitude. If you invest a lot of time and money in programs and processes, you also want to know whether it is economically worthwhile to rely on them in the long term. And communication is important because it can give customers security when companies communicate their long-term plans to their customers.

It's not about arguing about which features need to be done first or are more important. It's about showing the customers that you have a plan and that the customers can understand those plans and feel like they are being guided through the process.

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10 minutes ago, iuli said:

Roadmaps SHOULD definitely act as a promise.

So... Serif publishes a roadmap with A, B, C, and D features.

The feature you want most is not on that roadmap. What then? In the forums there will be people saying that A and B are not important (meaning not important to them). Other people will say A and B are absolutely essential. And so on.

I've read this thread thoroughly (and several others along the same lines previously). 

When @MikeW wrote 'rethinking the list and rectifying', he means changing the roadmap. And how would that be decided? Please don't answer - that too has been discussed over and over, without resolution.

While I might like to know what is coming down the road from Serif (and when), it doesn't do me much good now. I cannot use that future functionality today. 

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4 minutes ago, LondonSquirrel said:

So... Serif publishes a roadmap with A, B, C, and D features.

The feature you want most is not on that roadmap. What then? In the forums there will be people saying that A and B are not important (meaning not important to them). Other people will say A and B are absolutely essential. And so on.

I've read this thread thoroughly (and several others along the same lines previously). 

When @MikeW wrote 'rethinking the list and rectifying', he means changing the roadmap. And how would that be decided? Please don't answer - that too has been discussed over and over, without resolution.

Why are you too focused on people who might or will complain (for sure)? Your only argument is: "People have complained in the past, and we have discussed it many times over, therefore a public roadmap is useless!" -> This is a weak argument in my eyes!

Of course a Roadmap is not a wish concert. Why Do you care, if someone's feature request is not on a roadmap (especially someone, who wants a public roadmap)? You are automatically assuming, that people will react like kids if they do not get what they want! You think it's impossible to find out what should be on the roadmap, if customers are involved. Well, look at all the other companies who have public roadmaps (and those customers are involved in the process)! There are many customers who can be understanding. Of course it's not easy to find out, what exactly has a higher priority! But it's doable, if we can create an environment where such things can be discussed in a friendly and constructive manner. After all, there are ways how to keep this negative energy to a minimum level. Other companies do that, in which certain specifications are given before you can publish your opinion or feature request. Or that users first have to prove their knowledge of programs through useful contributions in the community before they are allowed to participate in the public roadmap discussion.

There are many ways to manage the negativity in a discussion to an absolute minimum.

26 minutes ago, LondonSquirrel said:

While I might like to know what is coming down the road from Serif (and when), it doesn't do me much good now. I cannot use that future functionality today. 

On the contrary! This information can help you look for other complementary alternatives to compensate for the tools you don't have in your main Software. Especially if the software can meet all other requirements, then you have the security that what you need is there and you don't run the risk of overstretching yourself financially.

Just imagine, if you have not only invested in Affinity Apps, but also other apps that a part of your workflow, then of course you are interested in maintaining compatibility between your programs.

If you don't have any information about the public roadmap now (and what has been publicly discussed between the developers and customers) and it turns out that new features have been added, but the code behind the features has been changed so that compatibility or working with your other programs is no longer guaranteed, then you'll look like an idiot afterwards, because you couldn't prepare for it in a timely manner.

At that point at the latest, you will have wished for a public roadmap (because a lot of time and money was lost).

It still seems to me that you do not want to understand the advantages and benefits of a public roadmap. You're too busy worrying that the negative comments will ruin everything.

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1 hour ago, LondonSquirrel said:

...

When @MikeW wrote 'rethinking the list and rectifying', he means changing the roadmap. And how would that be decided? Please don't answer - that too has been discussed over and over, without resolution. ...

No, sorry for not being clear.

What I was attempting to write was nothing more than Serif itself wrote about in the "roadmap" thread. That is, when people complained that the list wasn't being followed in the order it was written, Serif staff explained "feature X" needed done first before "feature B." Ordering the list would have alleviated/eliminated that pain-point. When people complained that it was taking a long time to get to "feature G," having some sort of timing expectation for list items would have alleviated/eliminated that pain-point.

Feature Y, if not even on the list, will always cause some people to complain that it should have been included. That too can be dealt with by having greater transparency with how items are included/excluded from being added. As mentioned before, consulting with professionals who are doing work in other applications before planning, during development, and after features are included would have been a good thing. For an instance, how many professionals would have been onboard with how ADesigner/APub handles color management? I know of precisely zero professionals that think the way Serif is handling color management is a good thing. Do you?

No list/roadmap ever makes everyone happy. How user expectations/desires are dealt with does matter.

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43 minutes ago, MikeW said:

Do you?

For colour management and other oddities the 'Serif way'? I agree with what you are saying. I find some things done the Serif way to be odd.

But what you are again getting round to with the 'public roadmap' is not a roadmap at all. You yourself refer to 'consulting with professionals'. What you want is a discussion between Serif and (somehow chosen/elected/self-elected) 'professionals' from the Serif user base. And these select group of 'professionals' acting like some priesthood above the great unwashed and unknowing masses would decide what is right for everyone else. What happens if you are not in this priesthood, and another professional has different ideas to you about colour management?

I think you have fallen into a fallacy here. Some people when saying 'users' are making an appeal to the masses, because what they really mean is 'me'. They do not speak for all users. We can see the differences in numerous threads about how one person's 'users' does not equal another person's 'users', thus negating the whole idea that users speak with one voice or have one view. Your fallacy comes about with your call for 'consulting with professionals'. It's a narrower version of 'users'. Professionals do not all speak with one voice.

Let's take your colour management example a bit further. Let's say that Serif consults with some 'professionals' and they have a particular view about how this should be implemented. What happens if it does not conform to your wishes? 

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2 minutes ago, LondonSquirrel said:

For colour management and other oddities the 'Serif way'? I agree with what you are saying. I find some things done the Serif way to be odd.

But what you are again getting round to with the 'public roadmap' is not a roadmap at all. You yourself refer to 'consulting with professionals'. What you want is a discussion between Serif and (somehow chosen/elected/self-elected) 'professionals' from the Serif user base. And these select group of 'professionals' acting like some priesthood above the great unwashed and unknowing masses would decide what is right for everyone else. What happens if you are not in this priesthood, and another professional has different ideas to you about colour management?

I think you have fallen into a fallacy here. Some people when saying 'users' are making an appeal to the masses, because what they really mean is 'me'. They do not speak for all users. We can see the differences in numerous threads about how one person's 'users' does not equal another person's 'users', thus negating the whole idea that users speak with one voice or have one view. Your fallacy comes about with your call for 'consulting with professionals'. It's a narrower version of 'users'. Professionals do not all speak with one voice.

Let's take your colour management example a bit further. Let's say that Serif consults with some 'professionals' and they have a particular view about how this should be implemented. What happens if it does not conform to your wishes? 

You agree re color management (being "odd"), yet later write that consulting with "professionals" could/may result in, what? A worse implementation?

Corel went through several iterations revamping how color was handled over about 4 versions. They consulted with several/many professionals during that time. This process resulted in a fairly robust implementation. While I believe Corel could have taken it further, the results are good. Oh, I wasn't consulted.

What would be the opposite? Believing all knowledge is in-house? We have the proof of this being, well, poorly implemented.

I do not believe I would have been the right person, with the exception of from a user's needs perspective. But I do not believe I mean "me" in the sense you are ascribing to me. I could care less if Serif ever contacted me. I have zero delusions of the grandeur you are ascribing to myself. It's a strawman argument you are making.

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Oh, re color management. The present manner of color management is worse than "odd." It's pretty unusable from a single-source, many output intents perspective. Which is why this isn't done that way in ID/QXP, etc. (Which, being a layout person is really where my care/concern lies.)

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1 minute ago, LondonSquirrel said:

So about 4 times they got it wrong?

Oh, geez. You're just being argumentative for its own sake. It took that long to make all the underlying fundamental changes and full implementation.

Just how long would it take Serif to rectify its color management? How many versions/iterations would be required? Fundamental changes do not, cannot, happen over night. Everything from display to output would be affected.

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2 hours ago, iuli said:

@wonderings

“It seems that people get very entitled when it comes to software”

People are getting “entitled” by giving feedback in a sub-forum called “Feedback for the Affinity Suite of Products”? That’s not a very rich argument, in my opinion.

“would have the users who took the roadmap as a promise even more upset”

With all due respects, but I think that’s not the best argument either. I also think that’s why these companies do public roadmaps in the first place — to connect with their user base, to identify essential features for future release and to deliver them (on time). 

Roadmaps SHOULD definitely act as a promise. That’s their reason to exist. Take Procreate roadmaps as an example, which I use since the very beginning (we were drawing with fingers then). If they said they have something planned (usually based on users’ input), they’ll make it available. That’s why Savage evolved a rudimentary app into the artistic industry standard. Why would you even put a feature on a roadmap if you’re not certain you will deliver it as planned?

“If what I need is not there then I won't buy the software”

I don’t think  this is Serif’s official stance. People should buy Affinity software even if it lacks one or another feature, which will come sometimes in the future, and for which are (probably) good workarounds already. I think their stance is completely different, even opposite: they are advertising their products as photoshop/illustrator/indesign replacements —

https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/

 from their official site, Affinity Designer is advertise as being “best in class for creating concept art, print projects, logos, icons, UI designs”, so of course people after purchasing will have high expectations. Best in class, that’s a big promise, and definitely is among the very best. But they lack true vector brushes, for instance, and instead we have to use raster brushes applied to vector curves, which are virtually useless for those of us working with vectors for laser-cutting (but which are fabulous for vector illustration).

Are we going to have true vectors in Affinity Designer? Of course we will, I have no doubts about it. I  bought the software regardless of not having true vector brushes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want true vector brushes in the future. I have to rely of other software to do the job done — the lack of it is not going to stop me from purchasing Affinity Designer 2.0 either.

Kind regards!

The entitlement comes from the request over and over for transparency in how the company operates. It has answered this question before and constantly people think they should be able to see everything the company is working on. This is very different then feedback for how the software works, suggestions for improvements, glitches, etc. The descriptive line for the feedback sections is "Discussions about features that you think will make Affinity even better. Any suggestions about the software go in these forums" Now maybe I interpret it differently then you, I do not read that as requests or suggestions for how the company operates and interacts with the user base.

I think any company should be free to alter their road map and not have people screaming at them because they changed course. This is of course a reason against road maps as a road map is viewed as promises. Who knows what they come up with when working on these things that may cause problems or have them put it on the back burner till some other things get sorted first. 

Very Best is subjective and everyone does it. The 5 pizza places in my town all say they are the best in town. Some here will say Affinity is best and can happily replace Adobe with it, personally I could not and prefer Adobe presently. You can try out a demo, and try those basic things. I do not jump to new software anymore, Adobe is great value for the money so not something I have to deal with but when I switched our company over from Quark to Indesign I did some serious testing of the most basic required functions in the new software before jumping ship, and even then we ran both in tandem as moved over to Indesign. I would operate the same way if we switched over to Serif, I would expect people to work almost exclusively in the Affinity apps, only going to Adobe if something could not be done or to convert files. This forces the user to get comfortable with a new system and also maintains the safety net of having what you know works already if you get stuck on something in the new software. You learn pretty quick the pros and cons of both sides of the fence. 

 

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