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Three Things I Don't Like About Affinity Photo 2


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I retired nearly ten years ago after having worked with Photoshop for around 25 years, and I haven't been working since then so I won't have much if anything of value to offer. I nevertheless jumped at the chance to be an Affinity beta tester, as this provides me with the opportunity to communicate a couple of things I don't like about Affinity Photo 2 (I haven't used Publisher or Designer much) when I have reason to believe someone from Affinity is seriously listening. These may be minor nits, but they bother me and may others as well.

(1) The New Document dialog seems regrettably cluttered by the long visible list of options, most of which will not be used by any individual user. It would be neater if they could be tucked away in a popdown, or perhaps not displayed at all as an option.

(2) Having used Photoshop as long as I did, I'm used to the eraser giving me simply white rather than the unsightly gray pattern that I see in Affinity Photo. If Affinity thinks this pattern is a good thing despite the unsightliness, could it at least provide an option for the eraser to be white, as Photoshop's?

(3) I don't like the white screen-fitting background when no document is open. That it is not necessary is demonstrated by the fact that it can be closed with command-w and no harm is done thereby. So why have it in the first place? Another thing demonstrating that it isn't needed is that other programs don't have it. I don't think Affinity Photo should either; or, if again a justification can be presented for it, it could conceivably be made an option.

Thanks.

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Hi @RoyMcCoy and welcome to the forums...

4 hours ago, RoyMcCoy said:

The New Document dialog seems regrettably cluttered by the long visible list of options

I think having the option to collapse the categories would be good, either with a simple double tap on the category name or via a disclosure traingle/chevron. Obviously every user is going to have their own set of default presets they use on a regular basis and I think some are already bemoaning the removal of some of the ISO 216 presets, namely, A2, A1 and A0 but having said that, if there are lots of presets you don't use or don't have a need for you can off course remove them from the list.

Likewise you can set up your own category and position it at the top of the scrolling list and either create new or duplicate existing presets and place them in your custom category, that way when you open a new document you will only see the list of presets that you want and need for your work so there is at least some flexibility here.

4 hours ago, RoyMcCoy said:

Having used Photoshop as long as I did, I'm used to the eraser giving me simply white rather than the unsightly gray pattern that I see in Affinity Photo

I'm assuming you are referring to the checkboard pattern you see when using the erase brush... In Photo, 'Transparent Background' is on by default, you can turn this off under the Document menu or even better by assigning a keyboard shortcut to it. That way you will see a white background when using the erase brush.

4 hours ago, RoyMcCoy said:

I don't like the white screen-fitting background when no document is open. That it is not necessary is demonstrated by the fact that it can be closed with command-w and no harm is done thereby. So why have it in the first place?

I'm not quite sure what you are expecting to see when no document is open, could you elabotate a little? With no document open Cmd W will hide the UI completely (on macOS), are you expecting to just see the toolbar, context menu and palettes along with your desktop when no document is open or have I not understood what you are expecting here?

Affinity Designer 2.3.1.2217 | Affinity Photo 2.3.1.2217 | Affinity Publisher 2.3.1.2217
Affinity Designer Beta 2.4.0.2294 | Affinity Photo Beta 2.4.0.2294 | Affinity Publisher Beta 2.4.0.2294

Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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Ich mag die Oberfläche von Affinity dunkelgrau!
Einige Zeit habe ich mich mich der dummheit von PS herumgeärgert!
Sowas von schlecht gemachtem Programm da war ich immer unzufrieden mit. PS Elements  hatte ich Privat, nur Murks hatte ich damit!
 

I like the Affinity dark gray interface!
For a while I was annoyed by the stupidity of PS!
Such a badly made program I was always dissatisfied with. I had PS Elements privately, I only had botches with them!

Oberfläche mit.jpg

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9 hours ago, RoyMcCoy said:

(2) Having used Photoshop as long as I did, I'm used to the eraser giving me simply white rather than the unsightly gray pattern that I see in Affinity Photo.

For some odd reason, the Wet Edges option seems to be initially enabled by default. Turn it off in the context toolbar. It should stick from then on, unless you select a brush with wet edges for erasing again.

Either that, or if by "unsightly gray pattern" you mean the transparency checkerboard, then turn it off in Document > Transparent Background

MacBookAir 15": MacOS Ventura > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // MacBookPro 15" mid-2012: MacOS El Capitan > Affinity v1 / MacOS Catalina > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // iPad 8th: iPadOS 16 > Affinity v2

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Thanks to Hangman and loukash for their prompt, informative and helpful responses to my issues.

5 hours ago, Hangman said:

I think having the option to collapse the categories would be good, either with a simple double tap on the category name or via a disclosure traingle/chevron.

And for this supportive one. My current thought is that though dialogs like New Document, Place Document etc. customarily occupy a relatively smaller space in the middle of the screen, there's no logical reason why they shouldn't be larger and contain more information as this Affinity one does. It's probably mostly a matter of  not being used to the larger size, though I still don't want to be continually confronted with a list of options that I never use.

5 hours ago, Hangman said:

Obviously every user is going to have their own set of default presets they use on a regular basis and I think some are already bemoaning the removal of some of the ISO 216 presets, namely, A2, A1 and A0 but having said that, if there are lots of presets you don't use or don't have a need for you can off course remove them from the list.

I have a neurotic resistance to discarding anything I might use, even if the odds are highly against my actually ever using it. So my own preference would be to have the presets out of (constant) sight, but still somewhere for the unlikely event of possibly wanting one of them.

5 hours ago, Hangman said:

Likewise you can set up your own category and position it at the top of the scrolling list and either create new or duplicate existing presets and place them in your custom category, that way when you open a new document you will only see the list of presets that you want and need for your work so there is at least some flexibility here.

I'll probably do something like this, thanks.

5 hours ago, Hangman said:

I'm assuming you are referring to the checkboard pattern you see when using the erase brush... In Photo, 'Transparent Background' is on by default, you can turn this off under the Document menu or even better by assigning a keyboard shortcut to it. That way you will see a white background when using the erase brush.

Thanks. I suppose you mean by assigning a shortcut to turning off Transparent Background. I don't think this should be necessary, and it will be granted that having to do this repeatedly, whether via the menu or a shortcut, will be an undesirable nuisance for anyone who normally wants the eraser to be simply white (or maybe background color). The setting should be persistent, in the Document menu and/or Settings. I can't see any reason for having Transparent Background reset as a default for every new document regardless of the user's preference.

5 hours ago, Hangman said:

I'm not quite sure what you are expecting to see when no document is open, could you elabo[r]ate a little? With no document open Cmd W will hide the UI completely (on macOS), are you expecting to just see the toolbar, context menu and palettes along with your desktop when no document is open or have I not understood what you are expecting here?

To tell you the truth, I didn't notice that the other UI elements were hidden when I hit command-w with no document open. The only thing that concerned me (which kind of makes sense, with no document open and therefore little or nothing to be done with displayed UI elements) was the "white screen-fitting background", which to me was highly unusual and seemingly purposeless. I think I remember one Mac program that did that, way back in the very distant past – maybe MacDraw. I now vaguely remember that Adobe may also have had something like this – I forget what they called it – but as an option that I didn't like and immediately turned off.

So I guess I can say it's a matter of relative indifference to me as to whether the Ui elements are displayed with no document open or not. I just don't want that curious big blotch of white. Does it serve any purpose? All I can think is that the intention might be to hide the desktop or whatever else might be behind Photo. But I'm used to seeing whatever's there, and sometimes I want to. If there's a good reason for the white space, then maybe okay; but then the question is still why other programs don't have it if it's indeed useful and desirable.

 

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Thanks @Red Sands, these comments are helpful.

26 minutes ago, Red Sands said:

The choice between templates like these in Photo will rarely be what I need.

You too. ;)

34 minutes ago, Red Sands said:

The top choice should be custom where it was more obvious to enter size in pixels or whatever, it's very often I know the specific pixel measurements I need that I haven't used too or will need later.

Unless I misunderstand, you can do this. Create a new "Custom" preset category (button at bottom left of list) and drag it to the top. Then create a new preset in this category, say "Scratch" or "New Custom", and select it as the default. Then it should come up as the top choice every time and you can create new presets in the new Custom category as desired. I think it's very funny that I know almost nothing about the program and can still say something like this.

55 minutes ago, Red Sands said:

Anyway, @RoyMcCoy, it is possible to mark certain presets as favorites and filter the view like this:

Yes, I'm starting to pick up on this, thanks. I wish I could default to the Favorites view (Affinity please note), but this doesn't seem to be presently possible. What I can do, however, is not see the New Document dialog at all, which I just now discovered is possible by unselecting Show on Startup at the lower left of the window. Most of the time I'm opening new documents from the clipboard these days (⌥⇧⌃N), so none of these New Document dialog matters will matter much to me now that I've discovered how to avoid it entirely.

Since I'm on the subject, though, I'll comment on something that seems to be a kind of a bug. For some reason Photo seems to be reverting to the Web > FHD 1080p preset even after I've set the default to Print > Letter or (your new) Custom > Scratch. I have no idea why it's done this; I don't think I ever selected FHD 1080p in the first place, and I can't imagine any reason to give it precedence.

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6 hours ago, RoyMcCoy said:

Thanks. I suppose you mean by assigning a shortcut to turning off Transparent Background. I don't think this should be necessary, and it will be granted that having to do this repeatedly, whether via the menu or a shortcut, will be an undesirable nuisance for anyone who normally wants the eraser to be simply white (or maybe background color). The setting should be persistent, in the Document menu and/or Settings. I can't see any reason for having Transparent Background reset as a default for every new document regardless of the user's preference.

If creating a New Document then you can set whether Transparent Background is enabled or disabled in the Colour tab of the New Document Panel and that will remain persistent, however it always defaults to On when dragging an image directly into Photo or when processing a RAW image.

It would perhaps make sense to have a Preference where On or Off can be set as the default as I'm sure if it was Off by default there would be users who feel it should be On, a preference would satisfy all users.

Affinity Designer 2.3.1.2217 | Affinity Photo 2.3.1.2217 | Affinity Publisher 2.3.1.2217
Affinity Designer Beta 2.4.0.2294 | Affinity Photo Beta 2.4.0.2294 | Affinity Publisher Beta 2.4.0.2294

Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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Ich denke es darf auf keinen Fall wie Photoshop sein.
Affinity ist ein eigenständiges Programm was niemals so werden darf wie das teuere PS von Adobe!
Wer bereit ist zum lernen der kommt mit Photo und Designer von Affinity sehr gut zurecht.

Was ich mir wünschen würde ist eine eigenständige App für die RAW Entwicklung und Katalogisierung der Bilder!

I don't think it should be like Photoshop in any way.
Affinity is an independent program which should never be like Adobe's expensive PS!
Those who are willing to learn will get along very well with Photo and Designer from Affinity.

What I would wish for is a standalone app for RAW processing and cataloging of the images

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  • 8 months later...
On 2/25/2023 at 2:56 AM, Hangman said:

I'm not quite sure what you are expecting to see when no document is open, could you elabotate a little? With no document open Cmd W will hide the UI completely (on macOS), are you expecting to just see the toolbar, context menu and palettes along with your desktop when no document is open or have I not understood what you are expecting here?

This issue of the white background is still current for me. In a nutshell, it remains an annoyance that more or less every time I close a document window, I have to hit cmd-w a second time to make the damn white background disappear. I don't want it and it serves no purpose that I can even imagine. Is this hard to understand? I want to close the document I was doing something with, but not the program. With the program not in the foreground and momentarily not being used, why would I want its big blotch of white filling up my screen? And why should I have to hit cmd-w a second time to get rid of it, especially when I never wanted it in the first place? I write this in the hope of change. If it's already been changed and there's now an option not to have the white background, somebody please inform me, thanks.

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47 minutes ago, RoyMcCoy said:

In a nutshell, it remains an annoyance that more or less every time I close a document window, I have to hit cmd-w a second time to make the damn white background disappear.

Try using Command + H to hide the application and its annoying white window. So Command + W then Command + H.

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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Thanks Old Bruce, but then it's a matter of cmd-w cmd-h rather than cmd-w cmd-w, which is hardly an improvement. Nor does it make any difference, since the second cmd-w hides the toolbar, context menu and palettes the same as cmd-h. Is there anyone from Affinity here who might want to defend the white window against at least two users who don't want and are annoyed by it?

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1 hour ago, RoyMcCoy said:

This issue of the white background is still current for me

I never have a white background like you're describing. Can you provide a screenshot showing the complete application window with that white background after you've Closed the active documents?

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    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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4 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

I never have a white background like you're describing. Can you provide a screenshot showing the complete application window with that white background after you've Closed the active documents?

This is interesting. I hope you can provide a key to how to avoid the white background.

white_window.png

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I think it's some combination of Background Gray Level, UI Brightness, UI Contrast, and possibly just a monitor whose brightness level is set too high.

Or, you could try the Dark setting for UI Style (which will have different issues, at least).

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    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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14 minutes ago, prophet said:

Looks like this setting…

Thanks, but I adjusted my settings to match those shown in your screenshot and still had the white. None of those sliders seems to change it except Text Contrast, which will turn the background to solid black and then it's hard to make it white again (not that I want it white, or black, or any shade of gray – I don't want it at all).

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21 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

I think it's some combination of Background Gray Level, UI Brightness, UI Contrast, and possibly just a monitor whose brightness level is set too high.

Or, you could try the Dark setting for UI Style (which will have different issues, at least).

Thanks, but it's not the monitor brightness level, which makes no essential difference. Neither do the sliders, except Text Contrast as I said to prophet. If I put it on the Dark setting it just makes the background black rather than white, which still undesiredly covers everything else.

I open three files, hit cmd-w three times and am looking at the white background. If – Mac users! – can open three files, hit cmd-w three (not four) times and then see the desktop, I'd like to see it. If they can do it then I should be able to also.

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18 minutes ago, RoyMcCoy said:

Thanks, but I adjusted my settings to match those shown in your screenshot and still had the white.

Those settings gave me white, but have to restart between changes. But that doesn't really help with your desire, which is to not have to look at the empty "workspace" when no document is open.

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9 minutes ago, RoyMcCoy said:

which still undesiredly covers everything else.

If your problem is that the UI covers everything else, that's just the way V2 is. Separated Mode was removed.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    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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4 hours ago, prophet said:

Those settings gave me white, but have to restart between changes. But that doesn't really help with your desire, which is to not have to look at the empty "workspace" when no document is open.

That's right, and I continue to see no sense in it at all. But it's okay now – see my reply to Walt.

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4 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

If your problem is that the UI covers everything else, that's just the way V2 is. Separated Mode was removed.

My problem was that particularly the seemingly pointless "workspace" (?) covers everything behind it, but it's okay now that I've given up on any other solution and figured out a workaround using the Keyboard Maestro Mac accessory. I nearly always launch or switch to Affinity Photo (as to most apps) using a macro, which up to now was quite simple:

Triggered by any of the following:
        The Hot Key ⌃⌥⌘F12 is pressed
Will execute the following actions:
        Activate Affinity Photo 2

I added the following to this today:

Pause Until All Conditions Met
        Application “Affinity Photo 2” is at the front

        If All Conditions Met
        Menu with name “Save As...” is not enabled
        Execute the Following Actions:
        Type the ⌘W Keystroke
    
In other words, if no document is open KM immediately dismisses the UI, which I get back whenever I open a doc or create a new one. At this moment I'm thinking I'll disable the added steps, however, since the background doesn't bother me when I launch the program and want to do something with it. The problem was rather as I described, when I closed the last document window and still had that dumb white space looking at me and serving only as a nuisance and a hindrance. I took care of this, the actual problem, with a completely new macro launched in Photo by cmd-w, the standard command for closing a window:

Triggered by any of the following:
        The Hot Key ⌘W is pressed
Will execute the following actions:
        Select Menu Item in Affinity Photo 2
        Select: File ⇢ Close
        

        Pause for 1.0 Seconds [unfortunately necessary but no big deal]
        

        If All Conditions Met
        Menu with name “Save As...” is not enabled
        Execute the Following Actions:
        Type the ⌘W Keystroke
    
picking up the if/then command from the first macro.

So now, when I close the last document window, the unwanted white space goes away on its own. Hallelujah. Thanks to all for the help.

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