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Hi guys, well I love the Affinity apps, but I have a tiny little suggestion which I think could help a lot:

 

Add an option to simply make all objects snapping candidates. Let the user decide if it’s getting unwieldy and to switch to the shortlist limitation. Make this enabled by default.

 

I would suspect that a vast number of users would leave this option enabled most of the time, if not always. Only when it truly gets unwieldy with too many snap candidates would they look through the snap options and discover that there is an option to switch down to a shortlist.

 

Also, now actually realising that there is a shortlist, the user would then be mentally primed to find out how it works. This would all but eliminate the very understandable current user thought process of “snapping seems buggy, this app is flaky, how can they not have snapping sorted out in 2016? Back to Illustrator I go.

 

And it's not just a learning curve and app adoption thing. Even though I now know about the candidates shortlist, I would way rather switch it off right now and just effortlessly snap objects together!

 

Cheers,

Jules

 

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Perhaps they fear the app would get too slow with “snap to all”. If users do not want to read the Affinity Designer Help, they should go back to Illustrator. First of all, snapping should be completed. For example “text snapping is still half-baked … We will fix it soon” was in 2014 …  :(

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Perhaps they fear the app would get too slow with “snap to all”. If users do not want to read the Affinity Designer Help, they should go back to Illustrator. First of all, snapping should be completed. For example “text snapping is still half-baked … We will fix it soon” was in 2014 …  :(

 

The developers have already claimed that it was to help users to avoid snapping clutter. If it was a performance issue, a relatively trivial bit of code would accelerate the performance dramatically. Games do this kind of thing all the time, but at a far more complex level and in 3 dimensions.

 

Hehe, my Illustrator remark was a bit of a cheap shot for dramatic effect to try capturing the attention of the devs, but it is not necessarily wrong. They have stated from the outset that they are competing with Adobe's products head-on, at least that's the narrative that I read.

 

And, as stated, it's not just about reading the manual, it's about having a basic desirable option available too. It's simply annoying the way it works now most of the time. Who on this planet enjoys hovering and waiting for a computer to decide to do something over and over again?

 

Maybe if there was an option to make the hover time much faster, that could help. Or even better, something more inventive like being able to click the right button while dragging an object with the left button, to instantly make whatever you're hovering over into a candidate, instead of having to unnecessarily wait like a helpless sap. It really is the little things sometimes, ergonomics are paramount in such an intensively gui oriented app. Since snapping is something you want to do very frequently, it should always be as quick and painless as possible to do.

 

Fair enough about the text snapping thing, I totally agree that snapping should be a solved problem in 2016.

 

Again for balance I have to reiterate that the Affinity apps are very smooth and slick in many respects, but just a handful of little things here and there would help make it even better!

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The developers have already claimed that it was to help users to avoid snapping clutter. …

Of course, we know that. Hehe, the performance remark was a bit of a cheap shot for dramatic effect to try capturing your attention. Holding/pressing a key (or pressing shift lock) to (un)catch snapping candidates quicker would be a good idea, but perhaps they do not want to / cannot make it quicker. Many suggestions (to improve snapping, which is fundamental) in the past have been ignored.

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Hi Oval,

That's not a fair observation. Snapping improvements were not ignored. They are being worked on and we should see considerable improvements coming but this is one of those features that must be carefully balanced and tested. There are many options/settings to work trough (even expanded features to consider). It's also tied to other features beyond the objects themselves like grids, rulers and the document itself which also changed recently with the introduction of artboards. All those things require adjustements too, so no, they were not ignored, they are simply not ready for release yet.

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Sorry, sorry, MEB! Andrea is too often unfair and will definitely stop posting. But from the sight of paying customers it seems unfair to write in 2014 “we will fix it soon” because it is still not fixed now. It was not explained why text snapping is not fixed. Those restrictions are still not described in the Help. Professional Illustrator users have not the time for incomplete features and can only deliver complete work. They cannot sell half-baked illustrations.

 

There is a huge difference between ignoring suggestions (no response from members / staff) and to interpret it as ignoring improvements, MEB.

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For the record, I love the apps. But I do wonder what I have to do to make something be what other objects snap to. Is there something in the interface I'm not seeing? I find my objects snap to some things but often not my most recent objects. Which is weird because most of the time I'm wanting things to snap to new content I'm creating, and not so much old stuff.

 

What if snapping was locked to the ten most recent clicked on objects? That would also mean that if you want to snap to something new, you'd just click on it then click back to the object you're wanting to work with?

 

I'd be really interested to know what is used to decide that. Since I still don't know?

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For the record, I love the apps. But I do wonder what I have to do to make something be what other objects snap to. Is there something in the interface I'm not seeing? I find my objects snap to some things but often not my most recent objects. Which is weird because most of the time I'm wanting things to snap to new content I'm creating, and not so much old stuff.

 

What if snapping was locked to the ten most recent clicked on objects? That would also mean that if you want to snap to something new, you'd just click on it then click back to the object you're wanting to work with?

 

I'd be really interested to know what is used to decide that. Since I still don't know?

 

The current way to select objects as snap candidates is to hover over them. Their outline flashes subtly for a moment when they become selected, but there is also a snap settings option to show all candidates at all times. There is a limited number (6) of candidates possible at once, and new ones flush out old ones.

 

As far as I can tell, it seems there's currently no way to make a group object into a snap candidate as a whole, you can only select leaf objects within group hierarchies.

 

I agree, it would be nice to be able to snap to recently selected or pasted/duplicated objects. Maybe those could even be maintained as an auxiliary shortlist that won't flush objects out of the other list, or something? If it was a group object that was selected/created, maybe just the root of it could be added as the new snap candidate, so the whole thing would be reliably snappable at least in a bounding box sense, instead of all the little leaf objects which would instantly blow out the shortlist leaving a small random assortment as candidates. Or maybe even this: Once a group is a snap candidate, that could mean that ALL the leaf objects inside that group are snappable. Then it's still a manageable shortlist, but the list could effectively be large due to whole groups being in it.

 

Alright well, I really should snap into bed for the night.  :P

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@Oval

I'm just going to ask one question - how many years have the developers of Illustrator had to develop their tools?  And how big is their team?

 

Snapping improvements are coming, and there will be iterations of improvements as and when they can be made.  We are having to balance the workload of feature improvements, new features and fixes for existing issues.  We also have a long term plan, and any changes we are making need to also respect that.  We don't want to introduce features that don't work or don't scale with our future features.

 

Snapping especially is a delicate balance.

 

@jclounge

I spent over 12 years working as a game developer, and I can tell you that a lot of what you see is smoke and mirrors, often with a large amount of tolerance. You are also confusing "snapping" with "collision".  Real time collision systems will tend towards a best result, but constrained by strict time limits and iterations.  Also, collision is usually performed on heavily simplified convex geometry that has been processed ahead of time.

In an application like this, we don't have the luxury of spending hours performing this type of simplification on the contents of the document.  Also, it would not be appropriate since in this situation precision is often preferred over real-time speed. No one would thank us if we had a 0.1mm error in snapping in order to maintain a 60fps refresh rate.  So, there is a question of balancing precision against time for more involved snapping demands.

 

The reason for the snapping candidate system is largely driven by usability, not performance.  A complex document provides far too many snapping targets, and quickly aggressive snapping can become a hinderance.  Aligning to bounding box edges, for example, would provide too many false hits if you had a large collection of closely placed objects, and quickly become irritating. The maths involved in aligning bounding boxes is trivial.  The usability side is a different matter.

We are looking at the mechanism of the candidate selection, and improvements will be made.


SerifLabs team - Affinity Developer
  • Software engineer  -  Photographer  -  Guitarist  -  Philosopher
  • iMac 27" Retina 5K (Late 2015), 4.0GHz i7, AMD Radeon R9 M395
  • MacBook (Early 2015), 1.3GHz Core M, Intel HD 5300
  • iPad Pro 10.5", 256GB

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Thanks, Ben! Yes, quality is better than quantity. Dave Harris posted [17 October 2014]: Text snapping is still half-baked, frankly. At the moment, if you move the rectangle it will snap to the baseline of the first line of text, but if you move the text, its baseline won't snap to the rectangle. We will fix it soon.

 

He did not change his informations, did he? People begin to lose confidence when a “soon” means “1.4 years or more”.

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Snapping especially is a delicate balance.

 

@Ben, yes I can appreciate that. The more I think about it, the more it seems difficult to find a good balance even in theory, let alone in practice I'm sure. The candidate system you've got is pretty good and quite clever, and it's great that you're refining it. I'm just throwing some ideas out there in the hope that it might be useful. So here's just two more ideas, and then I'm out I promise:

 

1: Just looking at Inkscape for a moment, it doesn't seem to even allow snapping to infinitely extended box edges like Affinity does, so the majority of the clutter problem is eliminated that way. Maybe something a bit like that could be a "simple" mode: Where all objects are snappable, but they will only snap when up close. Where "close" could be defined as something like within 1X or 2X the size of the object. It wouldn't be overly inelegant to add as a setting either, boiling down to something like one toggle between two snap candidate modes, "short-list" or "proximity", and one proximity limit value.

 

Maybe if that's no good because it loses the guideline-style snapping to objects at a distance, then here's another idea:

 

2: What if all objects are snappable, but could be explicitly flagged as extending their box lines to infinity for snapping against, and by default only their finite non-extended box edges are snappable. Then the clutter issue is decreased by default, but there's still an option to be able to line objects up at distant parts of the canvas.

 

With the point about games, I understand that this is not exactly the same thing, but also think that there are relevant similarities. I was just agreeing with you by disagreeing with Oval that performance is likely the issue.

 

Anyway, I think you're doing great work, and this is just my (possibly naive and misguided) thoughts to add to the mix.  :)

 

Cheers, Jules

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Thanks, Ben! Yes, quality is better than quantity. Dave Harris posted [17 October 2014]: Text snapping is still half-baked, frankly. At the moment, if you move the rectangle it will snap to the baseline of the first line of text, but if you move the text, its baseline won't snap to the rectangle. We will fix it soon.

 

He did not change his informations, did he? People begin to lose confidence when a “soon” means “1.4 years or more”.

 

No, he didn't.

 

Snapping was completely overhauled a while ago to accommodate custom grids and axis.  At that time some features got pushed back (such as gaps and spans) until they work with the new system.  There were other features I had written that needed a lot of tweaking before they could be deemed to meet the required quality.

 

Snapping to text has always needed addressing in a special way - much because we need to find  solution that doesn't become too busy, while still allowing the user to achieve obvious snaps easily.

 

I am looking at snapping right now, and will try improve as much of this as possible for the next Beta.


SerifLabs team - Affinity Developer
  • Software engineer  -  Photographer  -  Guitarist  -  Philosopher
  • iMac 27" Retina 5K (Late 2015), 4.0GHz i7, AMD Radeon R9 M395
  • MacBook (Early 2015), 1.3GHz Core M, Intel HD 5300
  • iPad Pro 10.5", 256GB

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While we're at improvements in the snapping department, I would also love to be able to extend a line at any angle. This was recently added to AI and it's working great. Just like in SketchUp, which is a dope app.**

 

**On that note, I can't recommend SketchUp's brilliant solutions enough (see the video!). It's these innovative drawing methods that caused an explosion and massive adoption in the CAD world. Winks meaningly.

 

[edit: removed some nonsense]


—ALx

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