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Layer states added to Designer and Publisher plus changes to functionality


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20 hours ago, ronnyb said:

Hello @Ash,

The new States studio has a great feature called Select ↖️ enabling selecting Layers matching the Query's criteria. This exposes a mechanism for saving object selections.

Please consider adding a Save Selection… command to the Select menu (and supporting UI), so we can save a manual selection of objects which cannot be grouped due to hierarchy issues. I don't think it should live in the States studio, but at least initially in the Select menu.

Alternatively, please conside adding a Select command/icon to the Captured States item list, so we can save and select items.

This is a must for complex designs, as grouping does not work when objects are in different groups in the Layer hierarchy. Thanks for your consideration and all you do!

It sounds like you are wanting an option to Save Selections that wouldn't be trigger by a query (manual selection as you said). I think that makes sense. From your post, it was a bit confusing, like you were asking to use Select>Save Selection.. from selections in addition to having those select-able with States > [Queries]

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22 minutes ago, debraspicher said:

It sounds like you are wanting an option to Save Selections that wouldn't be trigger by a query (manual selection as you said). I think that makes sense. From your post, it was a bit confusing, like you were asking to use Select>Save Selection.. from selections in addition to having those select-able with States > [Queries]

I was suggesting either/both as mechanism for saving and recalling object selections, as the underlying functionality (and more) is already available under the hood....

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Yeah think it's a good idea. Potentially we could achieve this by allowing you to add your own custom tags to layers - so you could do a selection and tag everything selected as #Selection1 for example and that could both be exposed as an option in a state query as well as offering the full list of tags you have created in some way via the select menu (e.g. a Select Tag > menu item alongside Select Same and Select Object which lists all the custom tags you have created). You could also then manually tag additional layers as #Selection1 as you see fit.

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Awesome to hear @Ash — that's a great solution within the existing framework! Thanks for your consideration.

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Hi @Ash

I think it's pretty hard-boiled that search is case sensitive in regular text query mode, and I don't think it will ever be a criterion for anyone in layer names. If that's the case, it should be opt-in.

Conversely, I can't get regex to search case insensitive e.g. /Affinity/i or /Affinity/ig 😞

I simply no longer believe that there are any professional graphic designers here. Everything follows suit. Just everything.

 

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On 1/10/2024 at 2:54 PM, loukash said:

Guess which websites are mentioned in https://affinity.help/publisher2/en-US.lproj/pages/Text/find_and_replace.html …? ;) 
Spoiler alert:

  Hide contents

Regular expressions

Regular expressions extend the capabilities and power of the Find and Replace function beyond searching for simple text strings. They are widely used across the word-processing and DTP community, with a multitude of expressions available.

Listing regular expressions and their syntax is beyond the scope of Affinity Publisher Help. Please use Internet resources, such as www.regular-expressions.info and regexone.com, to research and develop your own regular expressions.

 

Wow, some horrible, geeky and text-heavy websites to refer to. We're not in the middle of the third semester of computer science in 1995. These two websites are terrible recommendations, regardless of who they are from.

People out there, do yourself a favour and use e.g. https://regex101.com/ and if you are totally new to regex avoid the lack of pedagogy and communication skills that often characterise the authors of such websites on such complicated topics, ask chatGPT or Bing how to set up regex expressions for your specific needs. It's a great way to LEARN, and chatGPT is very, very patient and will answer questions, evaluate your own expressions or even provide a short course. Save yourselves.

I have to repeat this: We are in the year 2024, not 1994, not 2004.

I simply no longer believe that there are any professional graphic designers here. Everything follows suit. Just everything.

 

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1 hour ago, Bit Arts said:

Hi @Ash

I think it's pretty hard-boiled that search is case sensitive in regular text query mode, and I don't think it will ever be a criterion for anyone in layer names. If that's the case, it should be opt-in.

Conversely, I can't get regex to search case insensitive e.g. /Affinity/i or /Affinity/ig 😞

It's nuanced, but I can change the text (for example, "Sun", "sun") and it won't pick up without clicking in and out of the Panel.

Ex: I set "Layer name is" to "Sun" and click select, show, hide, behaves as normal... change it to "sun"... it still only responds to the first "Sun". If I click in and out of the panel, it finally registers the change.

That was just to test your case-sensitive scenario. It happens of course if I change it to a completely name. As for /i /ig, it looks like flags aren't being utilized to keep it simple.

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9 hours ago, Bit Arts said:

Hi @Ash

I think it's pretty hard-boiled that search is case sensitive in regular text query mode, and I don't think it will ever be a criterion for anyone in layer names. If that's the case, it should be opt-in.

Conversely, I can't get regex to search case insensitive e.g. /Affinity/i or /Affinity/ig 😞

As I mentioned in the other topic where you raised this, you're not using regex syntax. What you have is sed syntax, I think.

For case insensitive regular expression searching (though I haven't tried it for states): (?i)Affinity would be the equivalent of your sed expression.

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34 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

As I mentioned in the other topic where you raised this, you're not using regex syntax. What you have is sed syntax, I think.

For case insensitive regular expression searching (though I haven't tried it for states): (?i)Affinity would be the equivalent of your sed expression.

You are right that I should have used inline, which can also be set globally or locally. But I have no idea what is supported. Both methods are quite common, but neither works in this beta. I believe the best course of action now is to wait for Serif to fix the current bugs in a new beta, and to clearly and concisely announce which regex support has been implemented, especially if there are any differences that customers should be aware of.

But lets follow up on this in the bug thread. 🙂

I simply no longer believe that there are any professional graphic designers here. Everything follows suit. Just everything.

 

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EDIT: Reported here: https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/197138-layer-states-usability-feedback-for-layer-name-or-regex-interface/

Here's some loose UI inspiration from Visual Studio Code, which I personally use from time to time to tidy up CSS. But VS Code has gone on to become a successful editor, so it's got a lot going for it.

Here I have enabled regex, but unlike regex' default, Microsoft has turned the default upside down, so you have to ENABLE case sensitive search (Aa), which I have mentioned is probably an exception requirement.

The icons mean

  • (Aa) Search case sensitive
  • (ab underlined) Match whole word
  • (.*) Use regular expressions

Notice how compact and easy to use Microsoft has made a search bar and easy access to regex built into an incredibly small space, including red feedback.

image.png.e678eeca88ab89501b652281738af9c2.png

As I understand it, /i-like parameters for the entire expression are suitable for buttons like the ones above next to the search string. Advantages: users do not need to know or remember the specific syntax of regex. They can simply check a checkbox to activate or deactivate a particular search function. It makes the function accessible to a broader audience, including those who may not be technically proficient. It should also reduce the risk of errors in entering regex expressions, which can be complex and error-prone for inexperienced users.

I simply no longer believe that there are any professional graphic designers here. Everything follows suit. Just everything.

 

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3 hours ago, debraspicher said:

The feedback when objects are selected/manipulated is at least needed.

Exactly. Feedback is generally a mandatory element of any user interface and in this panel (or in the status bar) I would expect some feedback like "2 objects hidden", "Nothing selected", "No match for query" or whatever makes sense.

In this example, I didn't know if something was happening because of a syntax error, my search string not matching anything, etc., and so I began to wonder if the algorithm was silently failing. Normally, you'd just be completely oblivious to what's happening and get frustrated.

I simply no longer believe that there are any professional graphic designers here. Everything follows suit. Just everything.

 

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EDIT: Reported here where it belongs: https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/197137-layer-states-usability-and-accessibility-selecthideshow-icons/

image.png.4475a0e6a496fa52902696e9d1d8a26f.png

The low contrast ratio plus the unfathomably small size of these three small icons makes them inaccessible, i.e. not visible enough for the elderly or people with visual impairments. They must appear to be dot-sized on high-resolution screens. The Select icon is particularly small.

It is also unhelpful and wrong that icons/buttons that can be used are so grey that they appear as functions that cannot currently be used because Serif wants them to appear white when clicked. See here from Photoshop how the default is for usable and non-usable functions:

image.png.1acf33bf85a148eb58fef69eee9a9619.png

When you hover these buttons in Photoshop they are highligthed with a darker background instead:

image.png.ad6eb181da4f4044f2c25d0533e95c90.png 

I assume that the varying and incorrect font sizes and the problems with parts of the letters being cut off at the bottom are on the Serif to do list.

I simply no longer believe that there are any professional graphic designers here. Everything follows suit. Just everything.

 

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On 1/12/2024 at 12:20 AM, ronnyb said:

Hello @Ash,

The new States studio has a great feature called Select ↖️ enabling selecting Layers matching the Query's criteria. This exposes a mechanism for saving object selections.

Please consider adding a Save Selection… command to the Select menu (and supporting UI), so we can save a manual selection of objects which cannot be grouped due to hierarchy issues. I don't think it should live in the States studio, but at least initially in the Select menu.

Alternatively, please consider adding a Select command/icon to the Captured States item list, so we can save and select items.

This is a must for complex designs, as grouping does not work when objects are in different groups in the Layer hierarchy. Thanks for your consideration and all you do!

Yes, that would be amazing. Just tried it myself and having my current selection of layers saved would simplify a lot of things. 

Speaking of selecting, I hope in the future that there will be batch renaming beyond just renaming a single layer. Would make it easier to utilise the new Select feature by using names.

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3 hours ago, Frozen Death Knight said:

Yes, that would be amazing. Just tried it myself and having my current selection of layers saved would simplify a lot of things. 

Speaking of selecting, I hope in the future that there will be batch renaming beyond just renaming a single layer. Would make it easier to utilise the new Select feature by using names.

And Swatches also. Swatches are painful right now to rename. Right Click > Rename; Move cursor to box usually in the center of the screen. Type in value...

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Perhaps this is somewhere mentioned:

1) Allow to define Application or Book wide States, right now States are limited to a single Document. My (old) documents are structured very similar, so I could use States for all of them without importing States or defining them anew.

2) If States are going to be Application wide too, sorting States into Categories would be handy.

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I'm loving this feature. Simply because I can have my layers all up in one State, but when I need to work on an Illustration heavy background, I can very quickly unload all those Layers and make a quick adjustments...

I used to have to either Link the document in and work on a separate tab or group the "top" layers. Now I can access those mid design layers a little faster straight away since they can stay in the root.

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There appears to be a screen redraw issue when using Layer States with Symbols which results in the individual Symbol Layers having to be toggled off and on before they will display properly again...

Note: This is irrespective of whether Hardware Acceleration is on or off...

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5 hours ago, Hangman said:

There appears to be a screen redraw issue when using Layer States with Symbols which results in the individual Symbol Layers having to be toggled off and on before they will display properly again...

Note: This is irrespective of whether Hardware Acceleration is on or off...

Could you please share that file? My tests were performed on a rather complex file with itense use of symbols, but I don't recall seeing such behavior. I'll look for that behavior, but a good first step for me would be to verify that your issue also occurs on my config! Thanks.

I simply no longer believe that there are any professional graphic designers here. Everything follows suit. Just everything.

 

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12 minutes ago, Bit Arts said:

Could you please share that file? My tests were performed on a rather complex file with itense use of symbols, but I don't recall seeing such behavior. I'll look for that behavior, but a good first step for me would be to verify that your issue also occurs on my config! Thanks.

Of course, no problem at all, it's just a simple test file I threw together to see how well Symbols behave with various Layer States...

Another trigger is to create a set of Layer State Criteria, using 'And show / Hide others' and with the state set to 'Show' delete the Query and then toggle the hidden layers from the Query for the first instance of the Symbol back on in the Layers Panel... The expectation is that this is reflected in the other instances of the Symbol but, for me at least, I'm seeing the screen redraw issue...

I'd certainly be very interested to know if you see the same or not...

 

Sample File

Layer States and Symbols.zip

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Thanks, wifes asleep, the perfect timing for preparing tomorrows meetings. So this procrastination is very welcome. 😄

First of all, personal note, the recursive nature of hide/show others is something I reported in a post above. I would like to disable it when there is a query match so only the root item is affected.

Secondly, yes I do see similar behavior in your documents. It goes deeper than states I believe as I can see similar artifacts and redraw issues just when zooming in and out with my mouse wheel. I think I have seen similar behavior now and then in 2.x  but not often enought to report it. Your example is pretty bad though and perhaps great help0 for Serif. But I hope they are aware of this issue.

I'm on macOS 14 latest update, M1 (and these settings works perfectly otherwise)

image.png.5fdf45997a3a61d4aefcbf8c4f8c7947.png

I simply no longer believe that there are any professional graphic designers here. Everything follows suit. Just everything.

 

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10 minutes ago, Bit Arts said:

First of all, personal note, the recursive nature of hide/show others is something I reported in a post above. I would like to disable it when there is a query match so only the root item is affected.

I have to say I didn't read back through the more recent posts in this particular thread, I just happened to come across this issue today and added it to the feature thread, so apologies for missing your earlier post relating to the same issue...

10 minutes ago, Bit Arts said:

Secondly, yes I do see similar behavior in your documents. It goes deeper than states I believe as I can see similar artifacts and redraw issues just when zooming in and out with my mouse wheel.

This is shown in the original screen recording as well, i.e., zooming in and out with the mouse but, as you say, hopefully, combined reports are sufficient for Serif to investigate further and log this as a bug... :)

I'm on Monterey 12.6.8 so it's clearly not a Sonoma-specific issue...

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The redraw issue has been there for years. It's not just related to this function... at least in my experience... zooming in and out to correct for it has become Affinity canon.

I also have been using States with a Symbols-heavy file and I haven't always had this issue, but then again I may just be used to ignoring the glitchy behavior, because again it's become ingrained to zoom around when making changes. I can remember, briefly however, at least a couple of times a Symbol heavy background may have disappeared from the document or not loaded correctly... these symbols were quite small, so not a lot to redraw. Yours having nested data might make it a touch more hyperactive...

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7 minutes ago, debraspicher said:

zooming in and out to correct for it has become Affinity canon.

For you does that 'fix' the screen redraw issue completely... For me it doesn't, hence the question but either way, something that needs to be looked at ideally... :)

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