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For my work, I produce large stickers/car vinyls that need the artwork broken up onto separate panels.  I rely on artwork to go across multiples Artboards, so I can export the artboards out as different panels at the correct size I need.  Designer does not allow graphics to overlap onto multiple artboards.  So therefore, I have to stick with Illustrator for the time being.

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Hi Graphics Chris,
Welcome to Affinity Forums :)
Can't you use a regular document (no artboards) with the panels separated/marked by guides and create manual slices (in Export Persona) for each panel which can then be exported with bleed/crop marks each if necessary?

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  • 2 months later...
On 11/27/2019 at 11:55 AM, MEB said:

Hi Graphics Chris,
Welcome to Affinity Forums :)
Can't you use a regular document (no artboards) with the panels separated/marked by guides and create manual slices (in Export Persona) for each panel which can then be exported with bleed/crop marks each if necessary?

That might be an option for Chris' specific use case, but the last time I checked Designer wouldn't produce PDF pages with bleeds from slices, only from artboards. Will that option be added in 1.8?

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Anyway, guys, this happened: the 1.8 branch will somewhat solve this issue, even in multi-artboard documents, and allow you to export objects spanning two or even more artboards.

The “fix” is not ideal, as you'll still have to manually fiddle with your layer ordering and give up the ability of changing to a different active layer just by directly clicking  on the canvas an object from another layer (as having the “Edit all layers” toggle turned off basically forces you to manually switch the active layer by selecting it in the Layers panel), but it may very well get the job done and, if it gets some further improvements (such as the ability to directly switch layers on the canvas by, say, pressing a modifier key while clicking an object, as suggested in the linked thread), it may end up being almost as practical as using good ol' Ai:

As you may guess, I still have my reservations over Serif's Layers panel nesting behaviour, but this model at least finally allows us to have their pie and eat our cake, too.

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On 3/23/2019 at 9:03 AM, Lumination said:

I know it's about died, but this topic should not be dropped. Having heard such good things about Affinity Photo, I figured I could nab both Photo and Designer to make my life easier and escape Adobe's clutches.

Imagine my shock and dismay when I go to open my first .AI as a test in Designer to find that the majority of the data in the file is gone due to being outside the artboard. The only way to save this information, that I've found, is to expand the artboard in Illustrator and then open it in Designer. I understand this is an issue that likely can never be fixed due to the importing process, but the true issue is what follows.

Using an expanded artboard, once opened in Desginer, trying to edit the artboard smaller again makes everything outside of it completely invisible and essentially useless.

In an INCREDIBLY roundabout method, I can make my old .AIs pretty close to how they are presented originally in Illustrator by:
1) Opening the file in Illustrator and expanding the artbook to fully include all symbols, images, and relevant data.
2) Open this file in Designer and then make the entire area an artboard there.
3) Drag all previously hidden content outside of this new artboard.
4) Resize the artboard back to the desired size.
5) Pray that nothing was somehow lost in the shuffle.

Depending on the size and intricacy of a file, this could be anywhere from a several minute to hour or longer endeavor, all while being forced to use the program I was trying to avoid just to make the program I want to use…… usable!

Please look into your artboard handling more. This is horribly frustrating.

this is a HUGE handicap and is currently the primary thing standing in the way of me being able to transition 100% to affinity designer... PLEASE FIX YOUR ARTBOARD HANDLING.  I'm not trying to say the way you're doing it is better or worse than Adobe's way of doing it but the fact is, Adobe had a strangle hold on the industry long before you came and their way of handling the artboard is how many people's files are currently structured... we have valuable objects outside of our illustrator artboards but we still need access to these elements when opening the files later.  If this isn't resolved, we'll be doomed to keep illustrator on hand while trying to use affinity designer and really... that's a fight you'll lose, if it's more convenient to keep using illustrator then we'll slowly stop using affinity designer.  I have a huge library of .ai files that are incredibly handicapped by opening them in affinity designer due to the loss of data outside of original artboard area.

 

Edited by Mack2D2
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Hi Mack2D2,
Welcome to Affinity Forums :)
The problem is objects placed outside the artboards in Illustrator are not included in the PDF stream which is the only data we are able to access in the Ai file. The rest is proprietary. So there isn't much we do can to improve things here unfortunately.

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Elements that exceed the artboard are not visible on bleeds. Lack of control of what appears on the bleeds means artifacts on print artwork edges when machine-cut in the printhouse.

Also, most likely a bug: I'm currently doing a looping design using symbols (via this thread) and the symbols turn on and off non-deterministically when I place them outside of the artboard, aligned to the artboard's edges.

Suggestion to add pre-visualization of elements outside of the artboard on toggle (for example the \ key, mentioned before - clip to canvas visibility).

Process of working with a clipping mask to toggle artboard visibility in Illustrator worked well, currently with Designer it causes issues.

 

I'm not sceptical to the feature itself, it seems useful, although requiring a completely different workflow. The way I see it is that artboards in Designer are something different than in Illustrator, and are more of a print preparation thing rather then design tools. Considering that this thread exists, could we perhaps get a workflow demonstration video that covers the expected use of artboards in context of the issues people posted here?

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On 3/24/2020 at 3:45 PM, MEB said:

Hi Mack2D2,
Welcome to Affinity Forums :)
The problem is objects placed outside the artboards in Illustrator are not included in the PDF stream which is the only data we are able to access in the Ai file. The rest is proprietary. So there isn't much we do can to improve things here unfortunately.

MEB, could you please clarify: From what I can see, the problem is unrelated to importing an AI file only. When creating a new file in Affinity Designer, and dragging objects from the artboard to the black area surrounding it, then the objects disappear. While still selected, an object's bounding boxes is still visible. But the *object* itself is not visible, and once I deselect, it's essentially lost in 'space'.

I have purchased AD & AP and I'm still in the process of converting from Illustrator. The issues keep piling up, reading in forums that there are no fixes. My workflow depends on having objects outside of the artboard. Also, I make repeating patterns, which is also facilitated by seeing beyond the artboard boundaries as all edges are being overlapped by artwork. So disappointing and discouraging.

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3 hours ago, Fruitbasket said:

MEB, could you please clarify: From what I can see, the problem is unrelated to importing an AI file only. When creating a new file in Affinity Designer, and dragging objects from the artboard to the black area surrounding it, then the objects disappear. While still selected, an object's bounding boxes is still visible. But the *object* itself is not visible, and once I deselect, it's essentially lost in 'space'.

That sounds like a different situation than @MEB was describing. He really was talking about importing AI documents where the AI document has items that are outside the artboards.

For documents you create In AD, you have a choice of having an Artboard or not (in which case you have a Canvas).

  • If you have a Canvas, and you drag an item off of it, its visibility is controlled by the current status of View > View Mode > Clip to Canvas.
  • However, if you have an Artboard, objects that you drag completely outside of an artboard will always be visible. Objects that you drag partly outside an artboard will be partly visible.

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On 6/2/2020 at 9:30 PM, walt.farrell said:

That sounds like a different situation than @MEB was describing. He really was talking about importing AI documents where the AI document has items that are outside the artboards.

For documents you create In AD, you have a choice of having an Artboard or not (in which case you have a Canvas).

  • If you have a Canvas, and you drag an item off of it, its visibility is controlled by the current status of View > View Mode > Clip to Canvas.
  • However, if you have an Artboard, objects that you drag completely outside of an artboard will always be visible. Objects that you drag partly outside an artboard will be partly visible.

Thank you so much, Walt, that's it! 👍

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Hello, it's 2020 and still not working as expected. 

We want Artboard not to clip at any kind the objects

• We don't want to drag out complete the object in order to see it.

• I work with more than one Artboard and this feature is a must have!

I work with textiles design and I have to see where is being clipped in the artboard, I want to see the whole object partially inside and out side the artboard. 

I Can't believe this is dragging for 5 years already.

I'm still paying adobe because we can't let go of some simple features like this one. 

 

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This must MUST be fixed going forward...

I don't know about anyone else, but the way I work is I like to experiment, try different things and move objects around. I use the space outside of the artboard as a "workbench" I develop graphics there, I put things aside to think on and I experiment in this space... I'm fairly certain that most creatives would also work in this way.

Not being able to see the "experiments" and other things I've played with outside of the artboard is a real killer for me and i honestly believe most other creatives would feel the same.   


*EDIT

Apologies 😂
I see there is a view option to work around this, yippee!

Edited by ra.skill
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I'm using an artboard and can place totally visible objects on it. I you drag an object partially onto the art board, then the part that is beyond the edge of the artboard becomes invisible.

I don't have a problem with that because what I want is to have a "background area" that I can put objects/images on and then drag then on and off the page in order to experiment with different designs.

artboard test3.afdesign

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On 10/2/2020 at 9:00 PM, MikeK36 said:

I'm using an artboard and can place totally visible objects on it. I you drag an object partially onto the art board, then the part that is beyond the edge of the artboard becomes invisible.

I don't have a problem with that because what I want is to have a "background area" that I can put objects/images on and then drag then on and off the page in order to experiment with different designs.

artboard test3.afdesign 387.45 kB · 0 downloads

I've tired that and woks just fine. But would be a lot easier to have a key shortcut that you could press and show objects outside of the drawing area without having to move layers outside of the artboards in the layer panel.

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7 hours ago, Carlos NZ said:

Makes sense to hide things outside of the artboards, but you should absolutely have an option to show objects outside of them. AD layer system is a bit weird actually, and the idea to have pages and layers under the same panel seems wrong to me.  

Hi Carlos,
Nice to see another Kiwi on here ;-)

There is a view option for showing/hiding objects that are off the artboard.

View / View Mode / Clip To Canvas

or use the backslash key "\" as a shortcut, works pretty well actually.  

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6 minutes ago, ra.skill said:

There is a view option for showing/hiding objects that are off the artboard.

View / View Mode / Clip To Canvas

That option is specific to the canvas: it doesn’t work for artboards. If you’re using artboards and you want to be able to toggle the visibility of some objects, you can put them on their own artboards and show/hide those artboards as desired.

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Adding to the users asking Serif to fix this. I have not seen the roadmap (just searched, oh wait, you can't see it... bad sign) 

I think the complaints going unheard may be due to the fact that it is hard to describe what's going on. EVERYTIME  someone comes here from a search, the explanation of what a canvas and artboard are has to be repeated. Often people trying to be helpful respond "Click clip to canvas" EVERYTIME SOMEONE ELSE has to repeat "That's only for documents without an artboard" It takes a second to sink in after the support people chime in that this is by design.

If this was not a problem, it would not be hard to describe. 

This should really be changed. 

I know I'm supposed to say "In Illustrator... " but the artboards ARE pages on canvas. As a user I don't need to know that they are actually references to pointers to memory locations or whatever programmers need to worry about.

It is exactly the same as file icons and folder icons and windows in an OS. Users "open" a folder icon and "look inside" the folder through a window, BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO REASON TO BELIEVE THERE IS ANYTHING BUT THE OBJECTS! 

My workaround, for which I am supremely grumpy, is to place rectangles at the very top of the layer stack that I will finally use to create artboards like "make cropmarks" in the software I formerly used (wink). I know this will require troubleshooting, and I haven't fully understood the whole "slices" situation, but I'm sure this doesn't solve that.

Fix it! Yes, I'm that angry user. I don't know if I'll bother with 2.0 unless this is fixed. Should we have to wait until then?

I wondered what part of Affinity's Adobe killer apps would start to become bad, I think they could be more responsive when they were smaller. I'm not laying blame on them become Adobe, just thinking about what happens when they have a solid product that is "good enough" and basic things are not taken care of. 

Communication! If it seems broken and there is no word or evidence to the contrary, it's broken. Sometimes I think it would make more sense to just tell us that we are edge cases rather than not responding.

I like Affinity software. I hope they win. I will complain about this until it's fixed or I'm told it won't be fixed.

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13 hours ago, gabrielsiml said:

It is exactly the same as file icons and folder icons and windows in an OS.

Bad analogy: if you move an icon so that it is partly inside an partly outside a window in the operating system, does it not get clipped?

 

I suspect the reason the objects get clipped is to avoid confusion if there are two artboards particularly close together and the object would appear to overlap them.  In this case someone might be confused when the object does not get printed/exported as part of the "other" artboard, and the software might have difficulty in determining which artboard such an object was meant to belong to, so by limiting the display of the object to only one of them, it is making it clear which artboard the object is part of.

I would argue that it should instead be clipped at the boundary of the other artboard in this case, so that anything outside of the artboard it belongs to would be visible up to the point of potential confusion, but I am again just guessing that this is why it was implemented this way.

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On 10/30/2020 at 8:59 AM, fde101 said:

Bad analogy: if you move an icon so that it is partly inside an partly outside a window in the operating system, does it not get clipped?

 

I suspect the reason the objects get clipped is to avoid confusion if there are two artboards particularly close together and the object would appear to overlap them.  In this case someone might be confused when the object does not get printed/exported as part of the "other" artboard, and the software might have difficulty in determining which artboard such an object was meant to belong to, so by limiting the display of the object to only one of them, it is making it clear which artboard the object is part of.

I would argue that it should instead be clipped at the boundary of the other artboard in this case, so that anything outside of the artboard it belongs to would be visible up to the point of potential confusion, but I am again just guessing that this is why it was implemented this way.

The reason Serif took this route was, I believe, because they always wanted to cater to the iPadOS crowd, where you'll have a single artboard onscreen (I'm not sure if that's how Affinity apps behave on that platform, as my iPad is too old for me to test them, but even if that isn't the case by design and you can zoom out and rearrange them just like in desktop Affinity apps and Ai, 90% of the time you will work zoomed in because even the bigger iPads Pro are tiny when compared with, say, a 27'' iMac like the one I work with).

As for Ai, guess what, it's the other way around, and you don't see people complaining about it. Sure, you will have to use clipping masks to prevent that from happening, but doing the opposite, i.e. having objects spanning multiple artboards, InDesign/APub-style, is MUCH easier by design.

I've said it before, and I will say it again: this all comes down to a philosophical decision from Serif's developer team regarding workflows. Their “container-like” model makes no sense from a WYSIWYG approach to classical, hand-made artistic workflows… In the real world, if you want to crop your artwork, you have to do it BY HAND, by folding, cutting, erasing, masking, whatever. And anyone with a background in fine arts, life drawing, illustration, yadda yadda, made with real, physical media and supplies, will look at artboards as SHEETS OF PAPER on a desk, atop which stuff can be laid, and not as abstract containers in a database, which have a life of their own and crop stuff automatically.

I warned the Serif dev team about many users potentially becoming unhappy with this model in the long run, and it took them years to even add the option of toggling automatic clipping of objects into artboard boundaries, and only partially at that, with some less than stellar consequences. The only way you can prevent artboards from sucking objects in is by creating one or multiple layers, and disable “Edit All Layers”.

It almost works like Ai, except… you can't quickly switch from one layer to another and select an object from a different layer, or even make a selection of different objects across different layers, without having to go to that ghastly, do-it-all, jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none Layers+Artboards panel. Also, it's not like you could create a super-layer to work around that, as clicking that automatically selects all objects inside all sub-layers.

If I didn't do so already for that last, super-layer idea (maybe I did, but my memory fails me, so please bear with me), I could and should do a video demonstrating just that and its frustrating limitations but, as I've also said several times before, I'm now doing a PhD to become a Design teacher.

I'm not fooling around, and was not joking either when I said my teachers, supervisors, fellow workshop tutors, classmates, students, etc., no longer pay much attention to Affinity Designer (or not as much as they did after the initial hype). I sincerely hope Serif polishes this thing up for v. 2 of the suite, because if Adobe gets their act together (or *gasp* backtracks on their subscription-only model!), they are either toast, or will forever be relegated to third place at best, no matter how much Apple propped Affinity up to keep their long-term frenemy on their toes (something oh-so-convenient considering their upcoming ISA transition, which tends to shake up the market and can be very dangerous to proprietary platforms like the Mac). Ehhh.

Oh, but I'm putting my money where my mouth is… As much as I love and respect Affinity apps – which, mind you, I will always buy, as I feel I have an obligation towards my students to stay informed and know what's out there in the market, and the price of admission is low enough for me not to balk at it – and Serif's lofty goals – again, I know I'm extremely harsh, but I am indeed rooting for them; it's just that I'm not a “yes-man” for anyone, and when I see BS and bad design/UX/etc. I will speak up –, I'm very likely taking some of my upcoming research scholarship allowance and putting it towards a Creative Cloud student subscription, as I will indeed need a graphic design suite for my project at some point (even if it's just to make some diagrams, and edit my final thesis manuscript in InCopy and typeset it in InDesign) and don't have time to deal with these shenanigans or retrain my muscle memory for the next 3-5 years of my life. #sorrynotsorry

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As an addendum, to all Serif developers, after doing a quick test in the latest Beta and seeing that this would indeed work:

For the love of all that is good and sacred, if you're not giving us a quick but undiscoverable and potentially confusing – but definitely very much usable – fix such as the one I proposed (I'll refresh your memory: using a modifier key+mouse/trackpad click to ad hoc override that single-layer focus for selection operations, either to switch to a different layer altogether or to select objects across different layers by adding Shift to it), and the only viable way to work in that mode will indeed be having to constantly drag the cursor all the way to the Studio and click the “Edit All Layers” toggle button in any project complex enough, at least PLEASE give us a – preferably customisable – keyboard shortcut for it. PLEASE. And if you're weary of setting a precedent, well, just leave it blank but give us the option to pick one.

Do not underestimate how much extraneous cursor drag + click operations add up in wasted time and make using a piece of software feel more like a frustrating chore and less like an almost fun activity (even lowly web developers across the world know this, and you seem to underestimate it… In my interactions with you, it sometimes feels as if you eventually and begrudgingly address some general grievances without actually understanding what they were really all about in the first place, which, in the infamous and maybe apocryphal words of Comrade Dyatlov, is “not great, not terrible”). It's the least that you could do for v.1.x, without bothering anyone or introducing too much complexity.

As a matter of fact, this is such an important feature, because it changes the entire MODE of operation of AD, that it should also be featured somewhere in the Layer menu (and not on a sub-menu, but at the top level, for that matter; maybe right above or under the Show/Hide and Lock/Unlock groups). I get that adding an entire section to your Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts system just to enable customizable shortcuts for Studio panel buttons would be a PITA at this point, and it's something I would only expect for a v.2 or even v.3 release of the suite, but that alternative would just be sensible UX, enhance feature discoverability and solve a lot of issues in one fell swoop.

And yes, I know that all items in the Layer menu only affect the currently selected object(s) but, to be fair, you also have a completely redundant (and at times useless) “Find in Layers Panel” item in there; the behaviour triggered by it is also automatically triggered the moment you select an individual object on the document, and if you have more than one object selected it becomes inactive… Chuck it away, use the spot it currently occupies for a perfectly standard “Edit All Layers” checkmark toggle and the menu doesn't even have to grow in size. Boom, problem solved!

Still feel uncomfortable with that option? Well, put it under Select, as it affects – duh – object selection, or under View, a menu also featuring items such “Lock Guides”, which definitely affects direct interactions with elements and not just their visibility; and in a roundabout way, since the “Edit All Layers” model is also all about visibility, maybe you could and should put it in View > View Mode, right under “Clip to Canvas”, as that's the feature it is most closely related to in real-world usage.

Look, please figure it out, that's just what I'm saying. As always, you are this close to a perfectly workable – if not 100% elegant – solution, and yet soooo far, so I hope you don't take this as anything but a little, constructive nudge. About the only thing I can't be faulted for is not dishing out enough sensible solutions for the problems I come across.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/15/2015 at 11:57 AM, MEB said:

Hi velarde,

Oh, you meant objects crossing the boundaries of the artboards... that's by design. That's how they will be exported anyway.

If you drag them totally outside the artboard they should become visible again.

5 years later... This is still actually a problem. It's not wrong to hide the parts of objects crossing the boundaries of artboards WHEN THE USER WANTS TO. It should be switchable. And it would be VERY VERY USEFUL  to have guides that span multiple artboards and are visible in the... pasteboard, is that your name for it? Drawing table? Background? Anyway, having the artboards force a crop inside the program, while I'm working, can really get in the way. 

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Another addendum: the other day, on an Affinity Designer user group on Facebook, yet another user posed THE SAME QUESTION:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/affinity.designer/permalink/2894383684174789

In this case, she was a textile/fashion designer, who wanted to lay some patterns spanning across several printed sheets, as you can see from the image she offered as an example and reproduced below. We had, again, to explain all of this to her, and the users' suggestions for workarounds were all over the place.

126622952_10102813667430049_192380466811915880_o.jpg.8bd1df4729382d4a68601c1875bcef91.jpg

Unsurprisingly, I was the only one who could somewhat elaborate on the advantages and limitations of each one of them, as well as on the sad reality that none will match – at least for the time being – Ai's bog-standard, no-frills, WYSIWYG UX in this camp.

The. Artboard. Model. Is. Broken. I warned Serif devs that professional designers would run into this issue and, sure enough, time and time again they do. How many of those will just cave in and pay up for CC, I wonder?

Yes, I know there are better, specially-tailored (ha! See what I did there?) tools for industries like that one (quite literally so; a PhD colleague of mine is a textile/fashion designer who happens to be an expert in patterns, and I know for a fact she did use specialised, ultra expensive software for that in the last company she worked at, not a run-of-the-mill vector editor), but should Serif be passing up on the chance of selling workable tools for students and freelancers across all industries? Wouldn't avoiding their departure or, worse even, negative word-of-mouth be worth slapping a checkbox somewhere to fix this mess once and for all?

I'm sorry if this bothers any of you, but anytime another one pops up, I'll be posting it here on this thread (or create a new one if this one's closed), because if there's one thing I know is that hiding your head in the sand does you no good in the long run. Don't forget: for every user that actively complains about this, there is potentially an entire class of similar cases who may just be silently calling it quits.

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When I’m working out variations on designs for clients, guides spanning artboards would help me keep my artwork aligned without having to duplicate the contents of an artboard and then alter them. 
While we’re talking about artboards, the combination layers/artboards panel quickly gets cumbersome when I have three or more artboards in the works, as happens when I’m designing a media campaign. A separate palette for artboards might help clean things up and make the work go faster.

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