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Cropping, rulers, and Image size display for Photographers

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Note: This is not a simple request.  There 4 interlocking parts, but I think if implemented, many of the complaints and comments about cropping will go away.  In addition, it will hide the fact that cropping to a specific ratio, then resizing with locked proportions does not work exactly right. 






I am an American so I necessarily use english measurement - I would like this request to have the option of selecting metric units for my friends in more reasonable countries.


As a photographer I, and most others, are frequently faced with the problem of being too far from my subject to get a picture without distracting objects in the frame.  Since I have a high resolution camera, I frequently also have pixels to burn, so my solution is to use a "Digital Zoom" after the fact. 


While the tools in Affinity Photo are wonderful for creating web images where a pixel orientation is the rule of the day, I can not find a way to accomplish a "digital zoom" where the actual pixels in the image are selected then removed from the file in a way that the image is actually reduced to the exact size specified in inches and the file size is also reduced.


I work in inches not pixels because that is how the media I use is measured.  The relation between pixels and inches is not constant.  For some purposes, printing on canvas for example, 200 pixels per inch is a good compromise between speed and presentation quality.  For photo paper I like to use 300 pixels per inch and for banners I can get away with 150 pixels per inch because the viewing distance is in hundreds of feet not inches.  Seldom do I use an image for multiple purposes and when I do I usually need to re-redit the original image so I always keep my originals just as they came from the camera.


All the changes requested below are designed to fit in the existing Affinity frame work.  If you find any request that would affect any existing user then I have made a mistake. Please implement in a way that users that do not need these features do not see a change in operation.


Feature Request:


 There are four interlocking items:


1 - A combination Destructive Crop  and Resize tool

2 - Additional preferences 

3 - Visible image sizes

4 - Rulers in Printing units.


User interface changes( Request - 1 ) 


1 - Add a feature to the existing crop tool by creating a new mode called "Destructive Crop"


2 - Add the letter "D' in front of the Destructive Crop preset. For example a standard 8 inch by 10 inch photograph would be designated D8"x10" Note: I chose the name to differentiate this crop from all the other crop modes which seem to be non destructive.  Of course the undo feature should restore the uncropped image so the action is not actually destructive until the file is saved.


Operation of the new feature( Request -1 )


1 - The user selects the crop tool


2 - A selection rectangle appears completely within the visible image frame the proportion of the previously used preset if any, otherwise, a selection rectangle appears entirely within the image in accordance with the first preset in the list as it does presently. NOTE: The reason for using the previously used proportion is to allow for rapid cropping of multiple images.


3 - The user is allowed to resize or drag the selection rectangle to choose any portion of the image. 


3a - The corner handles will allow a constrained resize of the selection box.  By constrained I mean, the size can change but the proportion can not.


3 -aa - Holding the shift key will allow unconstrained adjustment of the selection box and will change the proportions of the resulting image just as if the user had changed the original preset on the fly. (Note:  The instantaneous size is shown in the dimension box -see request below)


3b- Moving just off the corner of the selection box will change the movement to rotate.  This will allow free rotation of the selection box.


3c - Any other click and drag will result in the sliding the selection box in response to the cursor movement.


4 - Once the user has slid, rotated, and resized the selection box to the desired position, they commit the crop by either 1 -  Pressing Enter, 2 - Pressing Return, 3 -Double clicking inside the selection box, or 4 -Clicking the Apply button


Once the user has applied the crop, the following action will occur.


1 - The portion of the image outside the selection box is removed from the image entirely.  The remaining portion will necessarily be in the correct proportion for the next step.


2 - Using the document resize presets, resize the image to the correct dimension in inches such that a 100 % selection in the print function will result in an image on the paper that is accurate to within one pixel as measured on the printer. (Note: If the user selected an unconstrained resize, use the new image size as calculated from their movement and as shown in the display created in feature request  3.



Additional Preferences( Request - 2 )


Background ( Request - 2 )


To implement the cropping feature and allow for both metric and english as well as other measurements there must by a way to select these items per image and across images.


Feature request( Request - 2 )


In a preferences panel, in the new image panel, and in the resize document panel allow the selection of:


1 - Preferred units (MM, Inches, etc.)  Default - Pixels


2 - Specified pixels per inch for this document - Default - 72



Note: The following new preferences are settable in the preferences panel only


3 - Ruler units (inches, CM, Pixels etc)   Default  - Pixels


4 - Ruler divisions e.g. 1,2,4,8,10,16 , 21.  :Note: I Chose these numbers to allow for english 1/4, 1/8/ 1/16 English and 10 metric   Default - 21 (To match existing)


Operation of the new feature ( Request - 2 )


With this information it is possible to determine and maintain the size of the document in inches for display and adjusting the rulers in the following request.




Visible Image Sizes ( Request - 3 )




To implement the Destructive Crop there will need to be several new states added to the image itself in addition to the image size in pixels already maintained.   Once these are implemented there must be a way to display these values to the user.


Feature request( Request - 3 )


Adjust the primary user interface to include one additional field. 


1 - The field should be visible in all personas and at all times so my suggested location is at the very bottom edge of the user interface to the left of what is now the instruction area and aligned with the lower left side of the image frame. The field should be surrounded by a box with a dropdown widget.


2 - The field should be powered by a drop down that will offer at least 2 options

2a - Image size in pixels

2b - Image size in inches



Operation of the new feature( Request - 3 )


This field will allow the user to tell at a glance the size of the finished image and in the case of Unconstrained cropping see the size of image they are creating on the fly.



Re-originable rulers in multiple dimensional units( Request - 4 )


Background( Request - 4 )


Many photographs arrive at my desk taken with anything from an old flip phone to my newest professional camera.  These are in many sizes and shapes, yet I am supposed to quickly determine if I can reasonably print a bill board from this image, not knowing if it came from a Rolleiflex or a flip phone.  This is complicated by the fact that the customer only wants to print a tiny portion of the image.


Feature request ( Request - 4 )


Allow the rulers across the top and the left edge of the image to be displayed in inches or other units.  Then allow the origin of the rulers to be aligned with any part of the image.



Operation of the new feature( Request - 4 )


1 - Using the information added to the image as requested above, change the rulers operation to display rulers in the dimension specified in the preferences panel.


2 - Use the ruler division preferences to subdivide the rulers on the page.  This will allow the rulers to make sense to Americans in inches and fractions, old American engineers in inches and tenths, or the rest of the world in metric, while maintaining the pixels measurement for modern web designers. 


3  - When the user clicks and drags either ruler, a phantom ruler line will move off the ruler line with the cursor, either vertical or horizontal or both.  The user will position the ruler to their desired location and release the mouse.  The ruler will reorient the origin to the release point with numbers to the left or above negative and those to the right or below positive. Note: To select both rulers click to left and above the ruler junction.


4 - When the user double clicks in the ruler junction to the left and above the rulers the rulers will be re-origined to the upper right corner of the workspace.




Thank you for considering my  request.  I will by happy to respond to any request for more information or clarification.  I love your program and I will find a way to get my work done with it.  These changes would make my job easier, and faster. From reading the comments on the Internet, I suspect there are many others that would like these new features as well.  


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Add vote. Pretty sure Photoshop has this where if you're cropping to 6"x4" you can specify 300DPI and end up with a cropped image at 1800 x 1200 where the image is automatically resampled once you've defined the region to crop to.


Plus of course the crop tool should remember the crop settings so if you're editing a bunch of photos you don't have to select the crop settings each time as you currently do now with Affinity Photo. Even the previous PhotoPlus X series remembered the crop settings.

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3KDiwi - 


Thank you for adding that the crop tool should remember the previous mode.  I got the remember the selection part, but forgot the mode also needed to be remembered.  The correct action is for every crop to be the same as the last until the user changes it.  That seem to be the way most people work.


Also - sorry for the edit.  I got trigger happy and accidentally posted before I finished the details.  I hope you and many other would like this change.

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I've been begging for a Destructive Crop since I bought APhoto.  An inches ruler with user-selected increments would be so nice.  A Resize that remembered the last used settings would be fantastic.  Let's hope that at least some if not all of your suggestions will be implemented.  

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Earlier I wrote: "While the tools in Affinity Photo are wonderful for creating web images where a pixel orientation is the rule of the day, I can not find a way to accomplish a "digital zoom" where the actual pixels in the image are selected then removed from the file in a way that the image is actually reduced to the exact size specified in inches and the file size is also reduced."


That statement is no longer true.  While not elegant, there is a way to accomplish almost this result,  There are too many steps, but there is one way to get a destructive crop to the exact size and you get inches rulers in the bargain using Affinity Photo Version 1.5.1 on a Macintosh with macOS Sierra version 10.12.2.


Here are the steps:


1 - Load an image in the normal workspace


2 - Select the Photo Persona


3 - Select the crop tool


4 - Select one of the three original ratios 1:1, 5:7, or 8:10,  Using the Custom ratio does not work properly : Note, the Units are fixed at pixels, but that is not important all you want is the ratio


5 - Enter the size of your picture in the two fields. A10x8 photograph should be entered as 10 and 8.  These will show up as pixels, but that is ok, you only care about the ratio at this point.  The thing that confounded me was what to do with sizes like 11inches x 8.5 Inches. My son suggested sliding the decimal point one place to the right.  Thus 11 becomes 110 and 8.5 becomes 85 in the pixel field. I will use this size (11" x 8.5")  as my example.


​You now have  properly proportioned selection box that can be resized in proportion and moved at will.  If you position the cursor just off  a corner, you can rotate the image under the box until it is in the proper position.


Note: If you wish to save this custom size for later use, Choose Add Preset from the Mode menu.  Choose a name that you can remember. I add a CD designation at the end.  Here is a good place to note that the list entries are maintained in the order entered so you may want to create a set of presets all at once so they are in order instead of all jumbled up.


When you have saved the preset and are happy with the selection,


7 - Apply the crop by either 1 - Pressing return, 2 - Double Clicking in the crop area, or 3 - Clicking the Apply button.


You have non-destructively created the correct shape image of only the information you wanted.


8 - From the top menu select Document - Resize Document...


9 - In the pop-up window select the units of inches (Or whatever you prefer )


10 - Enter the first dimension in the first size box. In the example I used 11.


11 - Press the return or tab key and notice the second number changes to the proper dimension plus or minus one pixel. In my example the field reads 8.495 which is close enough for me.


12 - Select the DPI you wish to obtain.  Note it will scale up or down.  Down always works but you lose information, up a small amount usually works, but up a lot may look really bad so experiment to see what you like.  The same goes for the selection of resample method.  I usually use the default bilinear, but for some images the one of the other methods may create a more pleasing result.


13 - Check the resample box


14 - Click the Resize button


You have now created an exact inch dimensioned image.  You can verify this by changing the units field just above the image to inches and check the ruler.  Note:  The rulers origins are at the corner of the picture so you must slide the picture to align with the edge of the window to check the exact number. 


So far what you have created is a non-destructive exact inch sized image. If you wish to continue and create a destructive crop you need one additional step:


15 - From the top menu select File - Export...


You should note the correct pixel size of the image and should not change the numbers.  If you happen to have incorrect numbers, go back and check your work.  You have made a blunder somewhere.  This has now worked many times for me (Except when I fumble fingered the typing)


Follow the prompts to export the image.  When the export is complete you will note the file size has changed (assuming you chose the same file type as the original). In the sample I did while writing this, I up-sampled the image from 640 KB JPG image from and old camera to a 4.6 MB JPG image that printed fairly well at 8.5 x 11.  I will note that when up-sampling like this I frequently add a unsharp mask Radius 1.5 px Factor 1.5 Threshold 0 to clean up the edges just before I export.


I hope others find this and can make their own correct sized images for printing.


Unfortunately I suspect the will take some of the pressure off the developers to produce the easy method I requested.  At least they know they do not need to write a ton of code to make it work,  just adjust the user interface to allow this to happen in one step.


By the way - a note to the developers.  I am VERY pleased with the program.  There are a few rough spots, but overall  I am glad to have left my previous software and will be using Affinity exclusively from here forward.  I purchased a copy for all my computers already.  Thanks for a really great product.

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