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Vanish

CSV Data Merge / Export

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One of my tasks requires quickly regenerating a set of images (sometimes hundreds) based on a template. This is currently accomplished either with Adobe Indesign or Adobe Photoshop with Data Merge. I set up a CSV with columns which are attached to layers within the document. There are three options:

 

1.) Set the Text content of a Layer

2.) Set the Visibility of a Layer On/Off

3.) Set the contents of a Layer to a File

 

Once you have the layers attached to columns and the CSV imported, you can preview each row, set the display to a specific row and export one/all images based on the data in each row.

 

I could identify several more options that I would love to have (set the fill color of a layer) but the minimum needed would be Visibility and Text. Unfortunately, I cannot abandon the Adobe products until I have another way to accomplish this merging of data. I have not found any alternative software to accomplish this merging, so I am willing to bet there is a market for it. Inkscape has a plugin that nearly does it, but it is not implemented well and does not work with all shapes.

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If you have an example PSD file, we can take a look.


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Its obvious this request is not attractive to many folks using Affinity Designer, but I'd love to at least be able to open my data merge PSD's in Affinity Designer so I can manually work with them. Thanks for your hard work on this program.

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Hello Vanish,

It may be a niche request, but that doesn't mean we will do nothing about it. I believe we can at least try to parse the files correctly. 

 

Last month (December) was quite busy with a new beta release (Designer) and the work being done on Affinity Photo (a little delayed). With Christmas and, New Year celebrations / holidays some things got postponed. Just hold on a little more. I'm sure Ben will pick this again as soon as he returns to work.

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I'm back from Christmas break.  Will take a look when I get chance.  I can't say now how much of this we will support though.  This is a niche Photoshop feature, and we have a lot of other features on the roadmap that need to be done first.


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

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Hey folks, I now completely understand is is a niche feature ( I didn't realize it was at the time :D ) and I will be supporting Publisher when it arrives. Consider that part of my request null.

 

Today I grabbed the latest release as I saw it contained updates for importing files, hoping my issue would be resolved.

 

Unfortunately, I still cannot open any of my PSD files containing data merge information. Dang! Maybe next time.

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I used this feature in InDesign all the time on my old job laying out catalogs. We would get spreadsheets for new products and accessories from the pricing department as .xls files (and, later, .csv files) and would have to incorporate the entries into the layouts in tables. We still use it on my current job for map entries and other intermittent things. Hopefully, Data Merge (or whatever it will be called) will be one of the key things that makes it into the first version of APub.

 

If you'd be able to apply styles to placeholders, so much the better.

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If it helps, Scribus DOES have this feature implemented by way of a Python script called "Scribus Generator." I mention this because--until Publisher arrives--I'm using Scribus in conjunction with Designer (as they both work with littleCMS for Color Management) for my multipage publication development.

 

The original page on Scribus Generator is here:

 

http://www.ekkehardwill.de/sg/

 

and the GIthub page for it is here (it has since had newer features added to it; the Github page houses the newest incarnation):

 

https://github.com/berteh/ScribusGenerator

 

Hopefully this helps the community and the Devs.

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I cannot fully shift to this product without data merge like photoshop data merge feature. This feature helped graphic artist creates id and calling cards. Consider how many artists out there using this feature in photoshop and indesign or illustrator.

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I concur with Janwinard’s comment. I’ve been designing and teaching design for many years. Data merging is an extremely powerful and efficient way of managing dynamically changing content. The absence of this feature has been the primary reason I’ve kept from carrying my instruction over from Adobe to Affinity. I see Affinity in many ways potentially giving Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator a run for their money. That is to say with single or one off designs. However, Adobe’s Pipeline and Data nerge features are still a dealbreaker for me.

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yes, nice feature...but more important: find and replace, actions, plugins, scripting. (each of those could also be used in some way for variable data).

If all that you want is to fill in names into a placeholder and export/save your artwork automatically, you could give Apple's Automator a try. Works fine for me.

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On 8/20/2018 at 12:09 PM, Tom P. said:

yes, nice feature...but more important: find and replace, actions, plugins, scripting. (each of those could also be used in some way for variable data).

If all that you want is to fill in names into a placeholder and export/save your artwork automatically, you could give Apple's Automator a try. Works fine for me.

With DM for InDesign, you can insert images from cvs along with text fields. I've tried several scripts to accomplish this. None I found, accomplished what I could do in InDesign near as well. Though, I do understand that everyone has different use cases.

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InDesign's merge really isn't a good model to copy. It really isn't even as good as Word's is.

While a bit more involved, Em Software's merge for QuarkXPress and InDesign is vastly more capable. Which is why I plunk down the money for it.

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Here to raise my voice as well. Datasets from csv is highly required in part of my tasks.

I'm making lower thirds for a live event these days (we're talking about 80 graphics with names, song titles or activity etc). I've previously done lower thirds for sports events where we've had up to 300 graphics that'd be presented over the course of two days. CSV, export dataset as image files.. Highly required. OH! And TGA.. because the ATEM video mixer takes TGA with alpha.. :24_stuck_out_tongue:

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