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Gestural Zoom And Pan

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I'm a long time Microsoft Expression Design user which probably makes me one of a kind and the last of my race!  :) Even worse I am an even longer-time mac user so have to keep a Windows VM around to do my editing in.


Q: Why on earth would a Mac-using Graphics ? UI designer be using such an obscure graphics package?
A: Gestural Zoom And Pan

In MS Design you don't have explicit pan & zoom tools, you pan using the space key and zoom using the mouse-wheel. Once you get used to this it is very hard to go back. Even better is this lovely piece of research by Bret Victor:




It goes one step further and is really intuitive once you've tried it.


I would find it hard to give up my mouse zoom TBH and I'd probably also want the panning seen in Bret's demo to be on the space key, not the command key but if I could have this level of movement around my document I would finally be able to consider jumping ship.

Please try the demo at worry dream! I'd love to see you try something like this.


Also - MS gives MS Design away for free these days and I recommend you look at it  as it is still a really good editor - simple / focussed - I'm sure you could find some inspiration in it (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36180). I use it to create all my SVG images these days (I export to XAML and then translate them to SVG using a script). It's a slightly clunky workflow but it has a level of accuracy  have yet to see elsewhere.




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Using my wireless trackpad on my desktop iMac, I can use the "default" 2-finger gesture to pan and pinch-to-zoom gestures. Haven't used a mouse since getting the Wireless Trackpad and don't see going back to a mouse any time this century. ;)


Nice thing about the trackpad gestures, is that they work even when editing text, which a key-based solution just can't do as the spacebar has to be for adding spaces to text.

Mac OS X Catinlina, 2014 iMac, 3.5 Ghz Intel Core i7, Huion Kamvas Pro 22 Graphic Tablet, 16GB RAM, MacOS10.12 || Magic keyboard w/numeric keypad, wireless trackpad, Kengsington Edge Trackball || Flux Capacitor in a secure location


I encourage kids to go ahead and play on my lawn. I mean, how else can I make sure the death-traps work?

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My only problem with having the gestures on the trackpad only is that I have both a mouse and a trackpad so I would have to take my hands off the mouse to use the trackpad (and I'd drop any object I was moving). The beauty of using the mouse scroll wheel is that you can scroll mid edit, while you are moving something - an object, a line-point etc. Having pan on the spacebar invalidates it's use during text editing which is a shame so I'd ideally like a secondary button that had no effect during text editing - maybe Control could step on or a modifier could be applied to space. I could, however, see myself happily switching to the trackpad during a text edit for this reason.

I *do* find moving back to any editor I used heavily before I embraced zoom & pan feels like going back to the dark ages. I've tried Fireworks, Ai and Photoshop and they all drive me mad (even though Photoshop has some support for it).

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I love the pinch zoom feature. I also use  the cmd and -+ to zoom too the only thing I would like to me consistent is for the keyboard shortcut version to work like the pinch zoom version. What I mean is if you place your mouse on a certain point that becomes the focus of the zoom.

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