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[Feedback] A List of Annoyances From a New User

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My name is Reda Lazri, I’m a freelance designer from Algeria. I specialize in UI/Web design and branding, with a minor focus in print design. I’ve been using Inkscape since I started vector drawing many years ago, and continued to do so though my switches to Linux and then MacOS along with Sketch for UI design, but recently I decided that it’s time for me to move on to something better than Inkscape since it was lagging on the Mac so I purchased Affinity Designer after using the trial version for some time.
 
Even though I think that I have made the correct choice by moving most of my work to Affinity Designer now, I thought I’d share a list of the most annoying aspects about it, coming from non-Adobe software. Of course, this goes without saying that I like a lot of its unique features.
 
The Interface
 
I wish there was a light mode for when I’m not in the mood. Waiting for 1.6. ;)
 
The Studio
 
The most annoying thing for me in this aspect was the inability to collapse the right panes into icons to save space and declutter the workspace, especially since I work from a 13” Macbook without an external monitor. :\
 
The Keyboard Shortcuts
 
One major annoyance was the default shortcuts that are so similar to Photoshop and yet do not make much sense (why can the Node Tool be selected by both V and A while the Artboard tool doesn’t have a proper shortcut?,) I was really hoping that AD would have had shortcut profiles and included a PS preset while providing better, memorable shortcuts. I think Sketch nails this with (O)val, (V)ector, (L)ine, ®ectangle, (S)lice, (A)rtboard by default. 
 
There is also the “Return-to-convert-text-to curves-without-noticing” I wasted a lot of time doing Ctrl-Z for this one. And I just wish the shortcut to duplicate objects was Cmd-D like everything else. 
 
Also, there are no shortcuts for geometric operations (add, divide, subtract…), which is weird since they’re the most used in vector drawing.
 
Artboards
 
Multiple Artboards can't be selected and moved around, and they are treated like normal objects when they’re duplicated. The duplicated Artboard should be created next to the original not on top of it.
 
Guides (Limitation)
 
I miss the guides from Inkscape, you can even rotate them. AD really lacks in this area.
 
The color pane(s)
 
I’m spoiled by the way Inkscape does it as well as the quick Ctrl-C picker in Sketch. AD really lags behind with its weird way of working:

  • I can’t quickly set a fill or a stroke without toggling them first
  • Using the picker doesn’t assign the color, but instead keeps in a circle next to it and I have to click on it again.
  • There is no HEX values UNLESS I select “RGB Hex Sliders”, what if I want HSL instead? :|
  • There is opacity slider when I click on the Fill/Stroke.
  • There are no Swatches, noise, Hex when I use the ‘Color’ pane on the right.

The ‘Save’ Dialog (Bug)
 
If you try to close a document without saving it asks you to save; if you do, you’ll have to click ‘close’ again.
 
Text (Limitation?)
 
A created line of text can’t be converted to a text frame, or can it?
 
Strokes (Bug)
 
Joining two lines increases the width of their stroke!
 
 
Will there be PART 2?
 
Probably, this is just a list I made after using AD for three projects, I think there is a lot to be discovered. Please let me know what you think and whether you have suggestions to minimize the annoyance.

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You can collapse tab groups in the Studio panel by double-clicking on the label of any one of them in the group. This works the same for free floating panels & panel groups.

 

The Color panel allows you to use RGB, RGB Hex, CMYK, & HSL sliders. This is selectable from the 'hamburger' menu in the corner or the panel, similar to the options in other panels. The Opacity & Noise sliders are toggled by clicking on the color circle next to the name of the current one. The Swatches & Color panels are independent of each other & can be shown or hidden using the Studio submenu in the View menu. They can be free floating, have their own area in the Studio (left or right), or combined with other panels in tab groups.

 

AD now has a Color Picker tool in addition to the eyedropper picker that appears in every place color can be chosen. Art text can't be directly converted to Frame text or visa versa but you can copy the text in one, delete it, & paste it into another. Takes maybe 2 seconds once you try it a few times.

 

You can assign keyboard shortcuts to the geometric operations. In AD, select "Draw" from the first popup, & "Layer" from the second. Scroll down & you will see the options for them listed in the same order as in the Layers menu -- this is true for all menus (File, Edit, Text, etc.), which should help find any menu item you want to assign or change a shortcut to or for. Most, but not all, keyboard shortcuts can be set to whatever you want. Note that many of the defaults are the same as Photoshop, including (at least in older versions) CMD-D for deselect & CMD-J for duplicate.

 

It can & usually does take some time to discover & get used to how AD works. Just guessing, but maybe half of users new to it (including me when I first started using it) have similar frustrations to those you have mentioned but most of them become second nature once you use the app for a while.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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Hello Reda,

 

Modifying studio panels is somewhat awkward. I agree, it would be better to just have a disappear button, instead of going to the studio menu, and deselecting various panels. But it does work. 

 

Keyboard shortcuts. Its like a language. Each app will have its own, and they may not be very similar. I know its a pain. Like "B" for bucket, or "F" for flood", or Photoshop "K". What? It is annoying. I doubt it will ever go away. 

 

I'm not sure what is happening when you report joining 2 lines increases their stroke. When I join pen or pencil strokes, their point size stays the same.

 

A single group of "artistic text" can just be cut or copied, and pasted into a text box. Or vice versa.

 

You can quickly assign a fill and stroke by defining a style.

 

etc.

 

AD does have limitations, just like Photoshop didn't have grids or guides for eight years. I worked thru that, btw. But many of the probs can be resolved by learning how a program does different things to achieve the same end.

 

FWIW, I tried Inscape back when it was Sodipodi. Nice that it was free, because it was also almost un-useable. Much better now, but still slow w. a less than an obvious layout.


iMac 27" Retina, c. 2015: OS X 10.11.5: 3.3 GHz I c-5: 32 Gb,  AMD Radeon R9 M290 2048 Mb

iPad 12.9" Retina, iOS 10, 512 Gb, Apple pencil

Huion WH1409 tablet

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There is also the “Return-to-convert-text-to curves-without-noticing” I wasted a lot of time doing Ctrl-Z for this one. 

 

Ahhh! I can totally feel you! I keep pressing Cmd+Enter to exit the text editing mode and by the time I discover my error, I have to rewrite the whole text!

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Ahhh! I can totally feel you! I keep pressing Cmd+Enter to exit the text editing mode and by the time I discover my error, I have to rewrite the whole text!

You can disable the convert to curves keyboard shortcut or change it to something else in Keyboard preferences, but it is a global change -- it affects everything, not just text.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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Thank you @R C-R! I thought it were possible, but never changed the shortcut - I still hope that one day I'll get used to the AD way of doing things ;-)

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