Jump to content
RPJ

Import Serif DrawPlus DPP files directly

Recommended Posts

What should you do with gradient meshes? The answer is very simple. Designer should have supported it. Making a successor to an already great product and then not support everything that product had on board is yet another bad decision.

Don't get me wrong. I like Designer very much - can't wait until it arrives for the Ipad - but I do feel Serif has made some mistakes while designing Designer (and Photo).

Even a separate conversion tool for the xxxxPlus to Affinity applications, with a caveat that not all functionality converts properly would have been better than nothing.

 

Hi Ardjay,

The Affinity suite is being created from scratch. It's not a successor to the Plus line. It's codebase is totally different and takes advantage of new technologies/advances that appeared in the last few years. It was also designed to be cross-platform from the beginning, so all features had to be rewritten again. We have kept both lines on market for some time, but now that Affinity is also available on Windows it doesn't make sense to keep investing on the old line (and codebase) when there's a new one with better performance and much more potential for expansion. It would be a waste of time and development resources (which are both limited).

 

It wasn't an easy decision but was the best to ensure that Serif's remains competitive in the long run and hopefully will also end up being better for our users although it may not look like so during the initial/transition phase. In any case DrawPlus, PagePlus etc will not cease to work because of this. You can still use them to finish any projects you may have pending until you are ready to make the transition (if you want).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi MEB,

I've seen you talking about the fact that the Affinity applications are built from scratch and thus are totally different from the xxxPlus applications. That is of course completely irrelevant.

Yes, you probably coded them from scratch, using another programming language maybe, possibly using different graphical protocols. But that is not the point ... The important thing is how these applications behave. And then all of a sudden they are much more similar to the old applications. Like I said before. Designer and Drawplus both are vector based drawing programs and that thus means they behave very similar. There aren't that many ways to make such programs, even when the underlying code is totally different and even when using different techniques.

Just to see if that was true I took the old "wine glass tutorial" from Drawplus and tried to repeat that it in Designer. And indeed in Designer you can follow that virtually unchanged and get the same result.

 

By the way .... I take back my remark about the conversion-via-PDF loosing my layer groupings. Picking snother PDF version to convert to did the trick.

 

By the way 2 .... any idea when Designer comes to the ipad?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The tools/interfaces may be familiar/similar (the dev teams worked on both the Plus Line and now on Affinity so yes some processes are similar) but that doesn't mean the underlaying code/technologies is not relevant, otherwise we would have launched Affinity on Linux, Android etc. It's not that simple... The point is it doesn't worth the effort as the result wouldn't be much better than exporting to SVG or PDF.

 

Glad to know you are having better results with the conversion.

Regarding Designer, there's not eta yet, sorry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi MEB

 

If direct opening of DP files in AD was not a core objective when starting the project, it is not surprising that it is not easy to make it happen this far down the line. 

 

However, I have never managed to successfully export a DP file so that it opens in AD and is then of much use to me (OK I have a high Klutz quotient, but I am not alone). As it is I have to keep a PC to run DP so I can make disappointing exports and re-do a lot of the work I had already done - and also have a Mac to run AD. And, yes, I have tried using Parallels, and while it works most of the time, it is slow, clunky and keeps needing updates some of which are not cheap.

 

So, in short it may not be worth the effort for you as developers, but for those of us who used DP for years and have shed loads of DPP files, it would be worth a lot. 

 

Nonetheless, I like AD and on the whole would be happy for you guys to continue putting in the features that DP had like trace and others I cannot even remember right now.  


Better Than Nothing - Just

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi RPJ,

It's not worth the effort because the end result wouldn't be much better than what you get now when you export to SVG or PDF. There's no feature parity between the two apps so some things can't be translated directly from one app to the other. In your case it's a little more complicated because you also have changed platforms but if you have a PC you can still use DrawPlus to work with those files and use Affinity Designer when starting new projects. At some point you will stop relying on DrawPlus files so much. I don't want to devalue your points, i totally understand them - i'm also in a similar position but with .xar files (from Xara Designer Pro) not .dpp - and have to export them as PDF or whatever format i think will do a better job translating them - but i still believe that if the benefits of creating an importer were that good the dev team would have created it from the beginning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can tell you from writing the PSD importer/exporter, writing a full-featured round-trip import+export of any third party format is a BIG undertaking.  Since DrawPlus is based on entirely different code to Affinity, it can equally be considered third party as far as Affinity is concerned.

 

Many hours have been put into supporting PSD, which is probably the most widely used third party editable format.  While there may be a large number of DP users, with many of their owns files, the numbers compared to users of PSD are very small.  So, it makes sense us putting all our effort into PSD support.  The returns for writing a full import+export for DP files just don't stack up, especially as we will not be developing DP any further.

 

Also, while Affinity Designer and DrawPlus may have similar features, it doesn't mean in any way that converting the document data from DrawPlus to Affinity would be an easy task.  That assumption is completely wrong.  The two documents formats are completely different internally.  While the basics appear similar, certainly from a front-end point of view, all the additional features such as effects, masking, etc, are totally different internally.  Some DP features may also never make it to DP, and some have been completely reimagined.

 

In short, whatever people think, we will never be writing an importer of DP files for Affinity.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not recall ever having said that a conversion would be an easy task. But please don't use the "it's a completely different program so it is technically not going to work 100% of the cases" as an argument. I am in IT myself as programmer, designer and now IT architect. I know that technically you can build **anything**.

 

If Serif would have said it was too much effort in terms of money and resources, that would be a fair argument. But the way Designer is coded (and how its own file format is different) is by itself not an argument.

 

If you only look at it technically the answer to the question "can you build a DPP converter?" Is very simple: yes you can.

 

I'm pretty sure that if Serif had been market leader it would have built such a converter/importer.

 

Anyway ... it is as it is. Let me end on a positive note ... the Affinity products are fantastic. Lack of a converter is not a show stopper for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am in IT myself as programmer, designer and now IT architect. I know that technically you can build **anything**.

Anything? Really?!? So for example are you saying that you know that someone could build an app that runs locally on Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, & other operating systems that supports any & all features of any other app that any one of them can support, with or without offloading anything to remote server farms for processing? And that this super app could be built now with provisions to handle any technology developed in the future?

 

I think perhaps you might be just a wee tiny bit over optimistic about what is technically possible, given the current state of the programming arts & computer science.


Affinity Photo 1.7.2, Affinity Designer 1.7.2, Affinity Publisher 1.7.2; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.2.153 & Affinity Designer 1.7.2.6 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Ardjay

 

Strangely, I'm also a programmer, and have been doing it for 30 years.   ;)

 

While you can build *anything*, choices made when designing a system will affect the ways in which it can be altered or adjusted later on.  We made very fundamental choices when designing the document model in Affinity. It is intentionally very different to conventional documents models, and nothing like DP.  As a result, certain features in DP would be impossible to recreate to give a 1 to 1 conversion.  There are also some features of DP that we will never recreate.

 

Just because a feature is presented a certain way to the user via UI, doesn't mean that it is comparable in terms of how it has been implemented to other apps.

 

The same is true for our conversion from PSD as it would be DP - there are certain patterns in the structure of the document model that just *cannot* be recreated in Affinity, and visa-versa.  Algorithmically, it is *impossible* to recreate the per-pixel results of compositing all the layers, without changing our document model to exactly match the format we are importing. This is due to the ordering of how masks, transparency/alpha and blend modes are applied, how we calculate gradients, and the internal methods for compositing. Then there are the algorithms used for layer effects and adjustments, and whether calculations are made in vector/logical or pixel space.

 

The bottom line of that is that you cannot build *anything* - you can only build what is possible within the framework you have.  All frameworks are limiting by their nature - choices affect both flexibility, scalability and performance.  If you started from scratch, then yes - you can build whatever you want. But in order to offer perfect import, you'd pretty much have to replicate all the methods 100% used for the source material/application.  Might as well just stick with the original application.

 

It's the same argument we make with people who are expecting Affinity to offer them a perfect (cheap) replacement to Photoshop.  If you need all the features of Photoshop, while 100% matching what Photoshop does, then you need Photoshop.  Don't expect import/export to provide 100% feature compatibility in Affinity.  The undertaking to promise that would be just absurd.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The bottom line of that is that you cannot build *anything* - you can only build what is possible within the framework you have."

 

The solution for that is obvious: just build a super-mega-hyper-advanced universal framework that you can build anything on. Sure, no one has ever come remotely close to that in all of human history; it probably would take more time & resources than will ever be available to anyone anywhere on this planet to create; & it is unlikely it could run on anything less powerful than a Google server farm, but all that is irrelevant !!!  :rolleyes:  :P  :lol:


Affinity Photo 1.7.2, Affinity Designer 1.7.2, Affinity Publisher 1.7.2; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.2.153 & Affinity Designer 1.7.2.6 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... but all that is irrelevant !!!  :rolleyes:  :P  :lol:

 

GettyImages-526298433-56a1444c3df78cf772


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.2.471 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.2.153 • Designer for iPad 1.7.2.6 • iOS 12.4.1 (iPad Air 2)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sticking to what I said before, but with a little extra explanation ....

 

Given enough time, resources, skills and money, yes: you can build anything. Because it is always one of the mentioned points that stops us from doing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given enough time, resources, skills and money, yes: you can build anything. Because it is always one of the mentioned points that stops us from doing it.

But even given all of that (which of course never happens in the real world), what you build may be obsolete & unsupported by the time you finish building it. So there is another practical requirement you need to consider: you either need complete control of the technological resources your build depends on or the skills and money to build it quickly, while that technology is still available.


Affinity Photo 1.7.2, Affinity Designer 1.7.2, Affinity Publisher 1.7.2; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.2.153 & Affinity Designer 1.7.2.6 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ultimately, building any kind of importer for DrawPlus files would be a diminishing return as more people generate their new content in Affinity.  The reliance on old documents will become less.  As stated, we are not going to develop DrawPlus further, so it will become a legacy format.

 

For the number of old DrawPlus documents out there, the owners have the choice of continuing to use DrawPlus, or to follow one of the suggested routes to export then import into Affinity.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×