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[ADe] Affinity Designer, what about 2.0?

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Pre scriptum: have a big trouble to attach images right, sorry (help if you can)

Pre pre scriptum: English is not my native language, so sorry for grammar and other mistakes.

 

Intro

 

I’m professional designer almost for 14 years and i have used and tried a lot of tools for my work for this period and

now my workflow include AD and Sketch. I’m even switch platform for with 2 apps. And now for one year of experience

with AD I want to note my feelings and suggestions how I want to see the future of application that i have make a bet on.

 

Main idea - I wan’t to save a time and attention in my work flow.

 

(Disclaimer : all of suggestions visualise are draft, don't be too hard on them. I've just explain the congseptions

 

Let me start from bad things.

 
A lot of windows - bad
 
AD make a bet for a windows interface and i think it’s bad. Because, I think, you make it with careful eye on Photoshop
and Illustrator, which didn’t have change they products almost from start. And they make it in order to please old users,
and don’t think about new.

 

You just think about this fact - AD have 23 (!) working windows (Actually 24: 1.5.3 added another one). I don’t say i’m use all 23 at once, but 10 windows

I'm using  all the time. Tabs don’t solve the problem -  I’m just wasting my time switching between them. It’s annoying!

If functionality will grow (and I think it’s just a reality) we soon will be buried under windows. That is what happening

with Illustrator right now: over 30 (!) windows and it number is grows with any new installed plugin.

 

post-18728-0-50128400-1479248657_thumb.png
 
 
 
Solution

 

1. One panel that show property of current object or selection:

Nothing selected - properties of selected tool (pointers, primitives, text and on and on)

Object selected - object properties depends on object type (primitive, curve, text, group)

 

You realise this mechanism for the pointers, primitives , but ignore it for the objects? Why?

The main idea for this - I need to see information and properties only for selected object.

If i selected primitive  it’s obvious - i don’t want to see information about text, curves, symbols, etc.

 

The products that fine solve it problem is Freehand MX (yeah it’s old, but they are first,

property panel made my first 6 years in business), 

 

post-18728-0-22663400-1479248672_thumb.png
 
 
Fireworks (almost good),
 
post-18728-0-85230100-1479248689_thumb.png
 
 
 Xara (if only they have good curve editing).

Sketch App - almost good

 
post-18728-0-34360900-1479248701_thumb.png
 
Paint Code 3 -  probably the best solution for 2D editors
 
  post-18728-0-42880200-1479248715_thumb.png
 
 
And the best solution - Cinema 4D (product that have huge functionality and abilities can be controled almost just from one panel).
But it's bit out of margin of 2D editor.
 
 
 
 
My variation draft (please don’t stuck on details, catch the principles)
 
post-18728-0-94014700-1479248728_thumb.png
 
 

 

 

2. Particularly move ability to change properties live, right on object. Why not? Such things that

uses in work flow all the time we can move right on object. Fills and strokes colors, stroke width, fill type. 

post-18728-0-98089500-1479248743_thumb.png

 

Bit noisy? Ok what about toggle with a hotkey and it appears right under cursor?

 

 

Layer oriented - bad

 

If you look at usual Photoshop users work flow you’ll see one fact - they spend half of time for work

with layer panel: organise layers, search (!!!) needed layer, working with adjustments and effects on them.

It’s waste so huge time, that users even forgot what they working with objects on canvas. 

 

 

post-18728-0-30415700-1479248759_thumb.png

 

By the way, did you tried to rearrange layers using layer panel? I did and it was torture:

- if you wanna rearrange two objects that to far from each other to see them in panel,

i need to have special knowledge that layer must be places exact in left upper (or lower)

corner of panel to start it scrolling, and it scrolls so unpredictable, that i was drop a tear.

- have you ever tried to select two or more layer adjustments? I did and it was stunning when

I can't, because the last selected was just off and nothing else

problems are countless

Down with layer editing!

 

Solution

 

  1. Object oriented. In fact i have to open layer panel only then i want to unhide object (N.B. may be
    we can separate hided object from visible? ) or organise them before export, in other time this
    panel useless. It means: i see object on canvas - i can select it and edit. Object arrangement
    must be instant between overlapping objects, even they stand far in layer hierarchy. Because
    it’s obvious - I want to change arrangement  of selected layer if only it overlapping (or being
    overlapped by) some other layer. If layer don’t touch each other in this moment - they
    arrangement is not interesting me. (for example : I didn’t know about Freehand or Flash layer
    panel for a long time, it’s almost useless there, but arrangement wasn’t steal a time, and I was
    concentrated on canvas, not on some layers.

    post-18728-0-23523500-1479248772_thumb.png
     
  2. That sent us to previous problem/solution and move all effects and adjustments to an object property.
    You don’t have to show all available effects and adjustments in special window. Make them applicable.
     Best solutions - Fireworks, Sketch and Cinema 4D.

Poor control over curves.

 

You trying catch up for the Sketchup making «symbols», but you forgot the thing where you was good at first place - curve editing. 

 

  1. I want total control over my curves, because it’s 30 % of workflow time. So, follow tools, I think, «must be».
  • Knife (oohh will kill for a good knife)
  • Points alignment (we align objects, why we can’t align points between themselves or objects?)
  • Welding points (it’s necessary right after Boolean operations at least)
  • Fast group of points selection ( for example relative to origin point of object: from left, from right,below and under it)
  • Life expand and shrink stroke
  • Free point movement over the curve (without deform path)

 

Lack of third party plugins

 

You got to face it - you can’t do all of your road map quickly(all we remember how long it takes to get updates 1.5 and 1.4).

And you can’t spread your time for «unserious» experiments. So why you ignore power of community? Let your fans improve

your project. Crowdsourcing is powerful: even Adobe do it from Photoshop 3.0. Give users flexible API or something, and see

how your project will grow exponentially.

 

 

 
Ok, stop criticism for now. Let me suggest something really new for 2D editors, that can change workflow of illustrators.
 
Killer Features

 

 Something completely new. The new level of vector editing : parametric object drawing.

It saves a lot of time, give us new inspirations and abilities. 

 

Cloners

 

The lot of time in object editing we waste on cloning and rearrange for similar (or not so similar)objects.

Now you have 2 generic tools to work with it : duplicate (yak!) and align. And it’s a long time to work with, before you get right result.

 

My suggest - new object type Cloner. You’ve just put objects in it and adjust they principle of cloning!

We can easily rearrange objects in any moment (because it’s object) and realise instance when we need.

Adding some randomness is giving us new principle of canvas editing, just imagine what kind of textures,

backgrounds, ornaments, will be appears faster then you imagine before! Tables, layouts creation is the matter of seconds now.

 

 

 

post-18728-0-26818900-1479248785_thumb.png
post-18728-0-87412800-1479248800_thumb.png
post-18728-0-88397900-1479248807_thumb.png
Examples of using cloner
 
 
post-18728-0-27199200-1479248816_thumb.png
 
post-18728-0-83666000-1479248823_thumb.png
post-18728-0-68891700-1479248830_thumb.png
 
Simulations

 

Physical simulations engines  is not problem right now about last 6 years. Box 2D is a standard right now.

So why illustrators can’t use it’s abilities for they needs? 

My suggest - new object - Simulator.  Main idea - put my objects that i want to place in more realistic arrange.

We create Simulator, put objects inside and gives them roles : ColliderS, Rigid bodies, Emitters,  Attractors.

Proceed simulations and realise objects instances when we need. Tadaaa! We have fast and realistic draw in the minutes!

 

 

post-18728-0-89926800-1479248839_thumb.png

post-18728-0-02227200-1479248852_thumb.png

post-18728-0-97100300-1479248863_thumb.png

post-18728-0-53758900-1479248875_thumb.png
 
In conclusion - that my wishes, I'm not offensive demanding it. I hope Affinity will be in progress and only time will show us are you on way with users or not.
 

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Great post. I would like to comment some.

 

Windows – personally I do not have a problem with these. I usually open the panels I need and keep rest hidden. Here sure saved panel setups would help as I tend to have just certain setups repeatedly. On the other hand inspector panel might be useful.

 

Layers – in Illustrator I generally not use layers, only when I have to edit separate sets which may have been copied from each other. Layers do not have any special meaning in vector editing, it is totally different from PS where layers are very important. Layers in AD are essentially just a list of objects. I think it is not really necessary to play with layers in AD.

 

Curves – certainly some work to be done but for my purposes curves control is already good.

 

Plugins – sure would like to have Hot Door and Astute Graphics plugins.

 

Cloners – (y) At least enhancements to superduplicating features are needed.

 

Simulations – why not :-)

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I agree that 3D applications are, in terms of refinement and control, more advanced then most 2D drawing apps.

 

It appears to me that Your proposals are not taking away complexity, but rather remixing it as to suit Your needs ;)

 

Many "windows", or let's call them palettes: agree to some extent. Especially the C4D approach is good, because common properties (Location, visibility) are all in the same place, and additional tabs appear for specialised objects. However the total amount of what You call a "window" is not going to become less, "windows" rather will appear or disappear based on selection.

 

Layers: I have no problem with them. An outliner window listing all objects, ideally with a search and filter functions, is necessary for complex compositions. Hidden, transparent and helper objects are notoriously hard to locate visually, hence an approach by name suits me perfectly fine.

 

Current control over curves is OK for me. Weld and unweld functions are there, even if not perfect ;) . More control is welcome.

 

Parametric objects are there (stars, donuts, triangles...). Parameters are changeable even after boolean operations. This may be not a full fledged modifier stack as in 3ds max or Houdini, but it's already very useful.

 

Simulation... Sure some folks gonna make use of that.

 

I trust that the developers will balance well functionality with complexity. My vote goes towards simple, robust and universal tools at the core, excellent exchange tools (for playing nice in a production pipeline) and a plugin API for those with specialised or exotic neeeds. I'd rather see the suite complete with Designer, Photo and Publisher running on three platforms (Mac, Windows and iOS) before asking for a built-in simulation engine. Guess we all have different priorities :)

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I agree that 3D applications are, in terms of refinement and control, more advanced then most 2D drawing apps.

 

It appears to me that Your proposals are not taking away complexity, but rather remixing it as to suit Your needs ;)

 

Many "windows", or let's call them palettes: agree to some extent. Especially the C4D approach is good, because common properties (Location, visibility) are all in the same place, and additional tabs appear for specialised objects. However the total amount of what You call a "window" is not going to become less, "windows" rather will appear or disappear based on selection.

 

Layers: I have no problem with them. An outliner window listing all objects, ideally with a search and filter functions, is necessary for complex compositions. Hidden, transparent and helper objects are notoriously hard to locate visually, hence an approach by name suits me perfectly fine.

 

Current control over curves is OK for me. Weld and unweld functions are there, even if not perfect ;) . More control is welcome.

 

Parametric objects are there (stars, donuts, triangles...). Parameters are changeable even after boolean operations. This may be not a full fledged modifier stack as in 3ds max or Houdini, but it's already very useful.

 

Simulation... Sure some folks gonna make use of that.

 

I trust that the developers will balance well functionality with complexity. My vote goes towards simple, robust and universal tools at the core, excellent exchange tools (for playing nice in a production pipeline) and a plugin API for those with specialised or exotic neeeds. I'd rather see the suite complete with Designer, Photo and Publisher running on three platforms (Mac, Windows and iOS) before asking for a built-in simulation engine. Guess we all have different priorities :)

 

 

Windows: It's not about simplify or you conformity ("ok, i'm not really like it, but I can go with that"). I'm talking about way of interface evolution. Today we challenge to responsive interface design, the mac platform by it self is obligate to do it. We don't have to learn hard to get in expert system (which AD is), we are - artists, designers. We are about creative, not about to be expert in Photoshop or Illustrator, because it instruments. instruments don't make you designer - instruments are for help to create. Why Sketch app community grow fast? Why every week I certainly will read another article - " The reason why our company migrate to Sketch from Photoshop and Illustrator". 

 

Layers: Just like before - layers it's "simulacra" - invented by Adobe. They don't have to be centre of artist workflow. Ph and AD give to much attention and abilities to them. Our workflow must be like on paper - inside canvas.

 

Parametric: I think you didn't get, its not about primitives, its about complex objects arrangement. And it's just new type of object, not another window :)

 

Simulations: can i imagine? :)

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Freehand 10 is still in use here on my windows10 x64, next to inkscape, cause of its workflow.

Adobe never used the great potential of freehand for his products  :)

One of weak side of Freehand it has lose .png export and primitive colour wheel. If only Macromedia has a time to make it right :)

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Great post!

I love the approach.

I come from Maya and Cinema4d a lot of the tools you suggested are already there, so I think the 2d world needs to catch up.

 

I use AD mostly to draw vector files to be laser cutted on various materials.

 

Windows and Layers generally for me are not annoying.

Curves.

I totally dig the idea of having more control over the curves, also, I'd like a way to modify a tangent and have the other tangent to mirror the behaviour of the first. So, whichever tangent I modify, they'll always be mirrored.

Improved welding tools would be great, too (the ability to paint on n vertices and have them welded, like ai). Another useful thing could be merging: I pick 10 vertices and I want to merge them to a single one to their center.

Plugins

This would be awesome. Give us the APIs, give us JS and Python as choices, and you will se how many plugins start to grow in a very short time.

This could also open the way to all artists working with coding (I'm not an artist but I love working with code for creating generative works).

Cloners

Oooh, I need this so bad.

In Maya I can draw with curves and have them mirrored as I modify them. So I can draw half of a face seen from front and visualise all the face (right half, left half) as I draw.

This would really be a killer feature, since you could create lots of different patterns by mirroring not just left and right of the current canvas, but also top and bottom.

Parametric

Pure awesomeness. But probably too much for AD. I use Fusion360 often and it's one of its features that I appreciate most.

Maybe having some constraints would help (EG: set the minimum distance between to curves or to points, so that when you move one you move also the other).

Simulation

Cool, but not on top of my list.

 


Owner of a laser cutting business && lover of generative design   |   http://vvzen.it

 

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One of weak side of Freehand it has lose .png export and primitive colour wheel. If only Macromedia has a time to make it right :)

 

Sure. Png export sucks in Freehand. Also transparencies. I tried Gravit, but its only online and that sucks too for me. I look forward to the future of AF designer. Im pretty sure it will be my new Freehand alternative :)

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Cloning objects and layers is awesome. Competing software has it, and it allows for mirroring, cloning layer masks for re-use throughout the project (and the layer masks can be based on a clone of the original image), vector clones can be transformed and adjusted with live adjustment layers and effects... The workflow is brilliant. And real-time updates of the clones when the original is edited is truly useful as well.

 

Once you get used to this, it is hard to work in Photo - it really limits the workflow. At least Affinity does offer symbols - but it is not quite the same.

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Cloners

Oooh, I need this so bad.

In Maya I can draw with curves and have them mirrored as I modify them. So I can draw half of a face seen from front and visualise all the face (right half, left half) as I draw.

This would really be a killer feature, since you could create lots of different patterns by mirroring not just left and right of the current canvas, but also top and bottom.

 

You can do that with symbols. Please see How to Draw a Mandala: Affinity Designer Tutorial (YouTube) for examples of this.


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.1.404 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.1.143 • Designer for iPad 1.7.1.1 • iOS 12.4 (iPad Air 2)

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Cloners

Hey, this cloners feature is the one I missed the most, especially  the along the path cloner. Started already to write some short user stories by myself to add it as feature request. This would ease some techniques a lot where you have to struggle now with the Power Duplicate feature (it's better than simple Copy&Paste plus moving objects, but still a bigger step away from being really "powerful"). Plus this feature has big potential for further enhancements. You could even start with a small subset of the functionality you describe to give a big benefit to the user and then add the rest step by step. Plus there are already objects and mechanisms you can use for this. Symbols objects appears to have been made for this. So I would fully support this feature request.

 

Layers

IMHO this is more a personal style question. In AD you dont have to have any layers at all, just leave them and you have your pure object view. I use layers to group objects and like the small thumbs. Easy the get the right layer then, I would really miss it, if it's gone...

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Totally agree on the Sketch like property panel as a long time Fireworks user.

Though the layers doesn't bore me.

 

It's totally true :) Other indi projects walk that way - Gravit.io and Vectr for example.

 

 

You don't want to move to Nottingham, do you? :D :D

 

If it's some kind of joke? Can't understand it, sorry 

 

And How about another one feature - Volume saving transform. Application - proper dynamic drawing and pre-animation.

post-18728-0-06725100-1480933033_thumb.png

 

And i know It's may be little early, but free transform tool would be good to :) I thought it's "must be" in any editor

СохранитьСохранить

post-18728-0-06725100-1480933033_thumb.png

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We used to have a 'Object Inspector' panel in DrawPlus and have had it many, many years - it's definitely a valuable thing and I expect that we'll come out with a new, improved version for Affinity Designer in time...

 

Thank you for all the other ideas and suggestions, I'm certainly reading them with interest! :)

Matt

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We used to have a 'Object Inspector' panel in DrawPlus and have had it many, many years - it's definitely a valuable thing and I expect that we'll come out with a new, improved version for Affinity Designer in time...

 

Thank you for all the other ideas and suggestions, I'm certainly reading them with interest! :)

Matt

Happy to hear such things :)

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I love most of these ideas.

 

Windows: I would also like to see a more "modern-Mac-like" object inspector.

Layers: would appreciate a more friendly panel for these 

Curves: would appreciate more tools, especially knife

Clones: yes, please

Simulation: hmm, still need to be convinced

 

I'd also like to add a Viewer app on iOS/Android and Prototyping support, to create interactive protypes of art boards and symbols linked together. See Principle, Marvel, Flinto for examples. This would be a killer feature for a lot of designers of today.

 

If it's some kind of joke? Can't understand it, sorry 

He means do you want to move to Nottingham and work for Serif on Affinity ;)

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I love most of these ideas.

 

Windows: I would also like to see a more "modern-Mac-like" object inspector.

Layers: would appreciate a more friendly panel for these 

Curves: would appreciate more tools, especially knife

Clones: yes, please

Simulation: hmm, still need to be convinced

 

I'd also like to add a Viewer app on iOS/Android and Prototyping support, to create interactive protypes of art boards and symbols linked together. See Principle, Marvel, Flinto for examples. This would be a killer feature for a lot of designers of today.

 

 

He means do you want to move to Nottingham and work for Serif on Affinity ;)

Oh, didn't notice that fact, that Serif is based in Nottingham. :) 

All of my thoughts is about ideal instrument. 

I think Serif don't have to integrate prototyping tool into AD. I think it need to be separate but with one click export. Or Persona-alike mode. 

Symbols is a step in this way, but now it looks loose and helpless. All that tricks we have see with symbols is looks like mispredicted side-effect. And they definitely can't be part of natural workflow.

I think Serif need to give us some API or SDK to boost modernisation, something like DOM-objects in FIreworks. 

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