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Selection brush size when zooming


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Please add an option to the selection brush (in Affinity Photo or AD/APb pixel personas) to keep the brush size fixed in terms of screen size when zooming in or out.

Motivation: when using the selection brush I often find myself zooming in to work around delicate areas. This is almost always accompanied by manually decreasing the brush size proportionately. (Then the process is repeated in reverse.)

Perhaps this could be extended to regular pixel/vector brushes, similar to Blender's sculpt brushes.

image.png.80a2d5a0f7015b6b2b1efddaee4e92d5.png

(Blender also has a circle select mode which is fixed relative to the screen.)

I know Blender is a different type of software, but it's the only example of a feature like this that I know of.

♥️Affinity; macOS 12; ⌨️🖱; recreational user since 2014.

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An interesting suggestion.
How would you expect to be able to control whether the brush size was ‘linked’ to the zoom versus the size remaining the same regardless of zoom (as currently happens)?

Note: I don’t think this could be carried over to Vector Brushes as it would probably contradict some of the brush settings, e.g. brush width, size variance, etc.

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The Context Toolbar seems like a reasonable place to control this feature but I would suggest that an icon-based toggle button would use less space, useful for people with smaller screens.

I have some follow-up questions:

  1. When this functionality is switched ON, which brush size should the software display? The original size or the current, modified, size?
  2. When the user switches the functionality OFF, should the brush remain at its last size or revert to its original size?
  3. If the user has the functionality switched ON and resizes the brush, either absolutely via a drop-down/field or relatively via the “[“ “]” shortcuts, should the brush be resized according to its current size or its original size?
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Thanks for your discerning inquiry!

I think there would always be a single source of truth for the brush size, which would be either in document pixels or screen pixels, depending on which works best for the developers. The text box would always show document pixels like it does now. Then if you enabled it, nothing would happen until you zoomed in or out, and you'd see the brush size automatically change proportional to the change in zoom level.

Likewise, when you turned it off, nothing would immediately happen. It would just keep the brush size fixed relative to the document, and the cursor brush outline would scale when zoomed, as is the case today.

So to answer all three of your questions, toggling the option on or off would preserve the current size, and the app would not keep track of two different settings. (This is how it works in Blender, by the way.)

How does that sound to you?

A small toggle button would be good. Not sure about the icon but a zoom lens kind of makes sense to me.

image.gif.2b9fa26f7f57fbdc0868163ad19d2ff6.gif

♥️Affinity; macOS 12; ⌨️🖱; recreational user since 2014.

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It’s an interesting idea so I think it deserves to have some thought put into it.

What you say sounds quite reasonable to me, assuming that I have understood you correctly.

Just to try and be clear about how I think it might work...

Scenario 1:

  • User sets the brush size to 64px.
  • User sets the functionality ON.
  • User sets the zoom to be 200%.
  • Software resizes the brush to 32px (or whatever the maths works out to be).
  • User sets the zoom back to 100%.
  • Software sets the brush size back to 64px (or whatever the maths works out to be).

Scenario 2:

  • User sets the brush size to 64px.
  • User sets the functionality ON.
  • User sets the zoom to be 200%.
  • Software resizes the brush to 32px (or whatever the maths works out to be).
  • User sets the functionality OFF.
  • Software leaves the brush size at 32px (until the user changes it and that change is irrespective of the original brush size).

Scenario 3:

  • User sets the brush size to 64px.
  • User sets the functionality ON.
  • User sets the zoom to be 200%.
  • Software resizes the brush to 32px (or whatever the maths works out to be).
  • User sets the brush size to be 40px via the Context Toolbar drop-down/field.
  • Software sets the brush size to 40px (exactly what the user set it to be irrespective of the original brush size).

Scenario 4:

  • User sets the brush size to 64px.
  • User sets the functionality ON.
  • User sets the zoom to be 200%.
  • Software resizes the brush to 32px (or whatever the maths works out to be).
  • User increases/decreases the brush size via the keyboard shortcuts.
  • Software increases/decreases the brush size in relation to the current size of the brush rather than the original brush size.

Essentially, the original brush size is ‘lost’ once the functionality has been enabled.

Does this sound about right?

I still think some thought may need to be put into how this would cope with the shared brush settings, and whether anything unexpected could happen if the user leaves the functionality ON when they go to do other things, but I think it all sounds pretty reasonable so far.

As you said in your original post, it sounds like it could be very useful for doing detailed work.

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Yes, you understood it precisely!

I would add another scenario, an extension of Scenario 4, just to illustrate what happens when the user zooms out again.

Scenario 5:

  • User sets the brush size to 64px.
  • User sets the functionality ON.
  • User sets the zoom to be 200%.
  • Software resizes the brush to 32px (or whatever the maths works out to be).
  • User sets the brush size to be 40px via the Context Toolbar drop-down/field.
  • Software sets the brush size to 40px (exactly what the user set it to be irrespective of the original brush size).
  • User sets the zoom to be 100%.
  • Software resizes the brush to 80px (or whatever the maths works out to be).

Thanks for hashing out the minute details of this feature with me.

Also, to address your earlier point, with this model I think there would be no problem if it was added to other brush-based tools as well, because it'd be no different than manually resizing the brush. In other words, it's a "stateless" feature. Nothing extra is stored. The only thing that is stored is the current size and your existing brush presets, which aren't touched by this feature. (And of course the toggle state itself is stored like other tool settings.)

Unless you meant that changing the brush size on its own doesn't make sense or is unusual for some reason, for vector brushes? I don't know, I'm not really an artist myself, more of a mock-up / programmer art / sketch user, as you can maybe tell from the difference between your profile picture and mine. 😅 Personally, I'd probably only use this with the selection brush tool.

Thanks for your supportive words.

♥️Affinity; macOS 12; ⌨️🖱; recreational user since 2014.

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It’s nice to read a request where the person requesting it has thought about what they are requesting.
I contrast this request with many others which are essentially: “I can’t believe that this software won’t allow me, in some unstated way, to achieve the vague idea that popped into my head a few minutes ago.” or, “Just give me a button which reads my mind.”

I think your Scenario 5 looks fine to me although I have no say in what might be implemented, if anything.

This sort of functionality looks like it could be useful for most pixel-based brush work – detailing with the Paint Brush, for example – but I don’t think it will work with the Vector Brushes as the software has to take the vector they are based upon into account when they are drawn. In other words, the vector brush layers are drawn according to the settings for the stroke which apply to the whole curve itself rather than being dependent upon what the user if doing at the time; if that makes sense.

I can see this being a very useful addition to the software if it, or something like it, is implemented. Fingers crossed...

Note: I’m not an artist myself; I’m just an enthusiastic ‘dabbler’ when it comes to this sort of thing.

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Thanks for the video.
That’s pretty much how I would expect the functionality to work, for pixel brushes anyway.

I don’t know how Xara Designer treats its shapes/layers (I’ve never used it) but, from your video, it seems to allow differently-formatted vectors within a single layer, something which the Affinity applications can’t do (as far as I know).

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  • 3 months later...

+ 1

By the way, this is the brush size behavior in Lightroom where brushes are used only to create masks. It is very helpful to get the brush size adjusted when zooming and thus always maintaining its visual size (relative to the screen size). Consider that you zoom-in in purpose to work more detailed, then you need a smaller brush size to make the zoom view useful at all.

macOS 10.14.6, MacBookPro Retina 15" + Eizo 27"

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