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designerUK

Keyboard shortcuts, dark mode & graphs.

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Hi

 

Just downloaded the beta. Don't know if these comments have already been made.

 

I've only played with the tool that I find a bane in Illustrator - the pen tool and it looks to be an improvement on Illustrators! Well done. Nice big anchors and direction handles to pick up easily - hurrah!!!

 

Some initial feedback:

  • Keyboard shortcuts 1 Being able to customise the app with my own is a real boon - I don't do it a lot, but have a few which are a so useful.
  • Keyboard shortcuts 2 I use the tool shortcuts all the time to change from general pointer to node selector and back again in Illustrator; or to the general pointer from any other tool.
  • Dark mode I can't see which tool is selected. The dark block behind on a dark screen is too subtle. Admittedly this might be because I'm on a laptop and the tilt of the screen may be a reason. I don't work with my apps in 'dark mode' for this reason.
  • Graphs Illustrator has a crude (I'm being unkind), but sufficient graphing tool. Much of my use of illustrator is to produce information visuals so it is a feature I could not be without. Great for translating numbers into something visual quickly - I bang in a graph, place a copy on the paste board, 'expand/ungroup' the orignal and go from there.

I've only given it a few minutes, looks interesting, I'll have a play with it again.

 

Hope this is helpful.

 

------------

 

Edit: I know I always get, to me, a strange reaction when I try to explain how important keyboard shortcuts are. The mac keyboard is designed differently to the PC. I have worked briefly for a newspaper which switched to PC's while I was there. I found myself getting into contortions when trying to use shortcuts on the PC keyboard and wondered what was the matter with me. If you study the two keyboards, lay your thumb on the cmd key (mac) and then let your hand rest on the keyboard, you'll find your fingers naturally fall on the most used shortcuts. Try this on the PC keyboard, put your thumb on the Ctrl key and your hands end up off the keyboard entirely. This is why experienced mac users have keyboard shortcuts built into and essential to their workflow. I was always stumped why PC users seemed so mouse bound until this experience. If you're used to designing software for PC's it might be a real culture change for you. Here endeth my thesis :-)

Edited by designerUK

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Hi Damson,

 

User-definable shortcut keys are on the way, but probably won't be ready for release. Other than that, you should find that Designer has a full range of shortcut keys - just hover over any tool to see a tooltip that tells you the tool's name and its shortcut key. The shortcuts should (happily) map onto what you're used to from Illustrator/PhotoShop. We haven't forgotten the importance of shortcuts - productivity is one of our key values...

 

With regards to your issue of not being able to clearly see the selected tool, you can brighten the dark grey of the application by going to the Preferences dialog, choosing User Interface and then adjusting the UI Gamma slider. Hopefully that should help you :)

 

I don't think Designer will see the addition of graphs any time soon, my initial reaction is that they are more likely to appear in Publisher first.

 

Thanks,

Matt

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Any danger of a toggle shortcut Matt (if it doesn't exist already)?  Think that might be what was meant on Keyboard Shortcuts 2?  So toggles between select and whatever the last tool you were using - particularly useful toggling between Select and Node.  Space bar always worked well in DP ;)


Macbook Pro Retina

 

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Hi

Yes Ash, a toggle would be cool. I hadn't seen the tooltips, sometimes I'm a bit slow on the uptake (my excuse is my focus is intense and elsewhere :-P).  Move Tool = v and Node tool = A. This is where I customise and go for proximity of keys (reflecting proximity of tools) so I've Illustrator set-up with a and tilde ~. Everyone's logic and brain is different here which is why customisable keys are so good for workflow - like tuning the app into how ones own brain works.

 

Graphs - if they're somewhere in the suite of apps then job done (caveat: so long as they can be expanded and worked on as though they're raw vector artwork if you follow, please dear god, not a PowerPoint version of graphing, I'm a designer for goodness sake I want to manipulate graphics without any boundaries - who's this software aimed at? ) :-) To me graphs are illustrations therefore they should be in an illustration app, but hey it's cool. Beware of word processor thinking. I suggest inputting the phrase "infographics" into a search engine and then looking at the images result - Illustrator or InDesign?

 

With regards to UI Gamma slider - nope, not enough I'm afraid (though I am working outside right now [bobs inside to darkened room - nope, still not obvious] :-) Difficult to beat a lighter UI for readability/accessibility - Adobe apps offer both dark and light mode.

 

"We've just had a chat, and we think we've got a plan!" <- this is awesome. If only all app designers did this. I'm getting a bit excited about the future here. (I'm going to try recreating an illustration I did in Illustrator - nothing like real world work for testing if somethings worth the investment of switching).

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You guys need to be really clear who the 'suite' you're intending to create is aimed at. This is far from simple. I say this because it's important the apps have a universal logic to them. It can be the affinity logic, that's fine. A big gripe designers voice about Adobe is the seeming randomness of how similar things are displayed or accessed across the apps (This includes keyboard shortcuts). Now to be fair to Adobe they acquired some of the apps from Macromedia so had the legacy of their logic to deal with. You've got a cleaner canvas?

 

Point is: (PhotoShop + InDesign everyday) + (Illustrator every other day) = most print designers? In my world this is how it is.

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Hi,

 

I think this is one area where we will certainly have an advantage - our range of products have been developed at the same time, by the same people. Whilst you have obviously not seen the Affinity Photo or Publisher applications yet, rest assured they are consistent in terms of UI, workflow and paradigm. Affinity Photo will enter beta as soon as Designer is released (if I don't spend all my time with this vector stuff and actually get back to pushing pixels around, as is my whim).

 

Adobe have often acquired companies and iterated their existing applications. While this certainly saves time, it can lead to inconsistency.

 

Although it may be obvious, it's worth pointing out that the Affinity range is not a port of any existing Windows code Serif have written. It is a ground up, every-line-of-code rewrite of everything - based on years of experience of doing things wrong and right. All products in the range will interoperate in a way which must be seen to be believed and should provide a best-in-class cross-discipline experience.

 

Thanks,

 

AndyS

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Can we at least have the Spacebar+Command key shortcut for zoom before launch? That one I feel is the one feature slowing me down. That and that I have a ton of editable PDF files from AI that I can't open yet.

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Hey

 

TheD3vilHimself - cmd + spacebar brings up Spotlight on the Mac (file system search for those that don't know. Don't know if this has changed in Mavericks - I'd be surprised). It does this regardless of the application you're active in by default. No idea if you're on a Mac or what version (sorry if it's in your bio). As such I beleive it's a reserved keyboard combination a bit like cmd + tab, tabs through open application icons.

 

Andy - I'll admit I had assumed this software would be a port from Windows versions. I'm heartened that it's not and it would be good to get this message out (it's not been obvious to me, perhaps I'm blind). Unfortunately a lot of graphic designers have a very jaundiced view of Windows and anything Microsoft.

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designerUK,

 

I think this is something we have failed to communicate properly so far - Ash (our MD) does a much better job of it and talks quite candidly here http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/photo-editing/1400759/serif-explains-how-its-taking-on-adobe-creative-cloud

 

As a technology platform for building creative applications, Affinity is a seismic shift - we just hope we can present it all in a way which will appeal to the professional designer..

 

AndyS

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Command+Space is the universal sticky for zooming in adobe apps, so most professionals I know who use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator or even InDesign remap spotlight on the mac to some other combination like Command+\ as you can remap that. I'm not saying it HAS to be Command+Space, but if the keys could be reconfigured it would be a plus for people coming from anything from Corel to Illustrator. On the topic of keys, if you've ever used Softimage, there were "sticky keys" which were a way to only temporarily change your tool to whatever keyboard key shortcut you were switching to for as long as said key remained pressed. I know the concept might be difficult to grasp, but say you were working with the move tool and temporarily wanted to edit a path node, then you'd keep pressing the A key and once  you did your changes the moment you released that key it would revert back to the move tool. 

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Oh yes, I'm with you now. Of course! I read "zoom before launch" as launching the app.. and Andy's "as soon as I learn" threw me too.

 

I use cmd+spacebar and cmd+spacebar+alt for zooming in/out of artwork all the time, so much so I don't even think about it - hence not connecting with it described in the written word I suppose. (Andy does this description of what it does help?) The neat thing about it is that you can either click somewhere on your artwork/pasteboard and this becomes the centre of the zoomed in view - or you can drag select an area to zoom into (the most useful).

 

I've never remapped the OS cmd+spacebar for spotlight though I use cmd+spacebar all the time for zooming in. The reason why I've not remapped it is because it depends which key you put down first as to how the Mac OS reacts. cmd down first followed by spacebar = spotlight. Spacebar down first followed by cmd  = Adobes zoom in/out tool. It's pretty awesome when you think about it and yes, with a little conscious training, the brain gets it and I rarely, if ever, bring up Spotlight when I want the zoom tool now. So much so I'd forgotten how much I fell over it at first.

 

The second "working with the move tool and temporarily wanted to edit a path node" is the alt key, though what you describe sounds like it applied to all tools. Neat. It'd be too much for me to remember all the tool shortcuts though.

 

Edit: Just been playing with the alt key on the various tools in Adobe Illustrator... um interesting, learn something new everyday. Perhaps someone else can explain it. I think it's temporarily changing to another tool in the group the initial tool is in... though I need to play more to figure.

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I had to try this for myself too, haha.

 

I see whats going on. The space bar is the hand tool, and cmd is a modifier that switches out to the zoom tool. 

 

I can see how this would be useful if you have a click wheel mouse or don't use the Navigator pallet...

 

I personally never needed to use the space key or modifier this way since the hand tool is useless if you have a magic mouse (or apple trackpad), both can 360 degree scroll around your document without the hand tool. This being the case, the Z key is all you need to switch to the zoom tool, scrolling around the document would just be done on your mouse.

 

Curious to see how many apple users don't use apple input devices, anyone have 2 cents?

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Oh I had to respond to this ;-) I don't own a mouse - only ever use the trackpad. Find mice a menace now. When I encounter other designers, either in agencies or jobbing like me, they're usually desktop and always apple mouse. I do know an agency owner who's bought a trackpad for her desktop machine (I've one for my mini).

 

I find I use the hand tool all the time becuase it's a bit more accurate - size of trackpad to screen? But then I've adjusted the trackpad under the OS preferences Universal Access - ticked "Dragging without Drag Lock". Was the turning point. There's an article somewhere on t'internet something like "the best single thing you can do to make your trackpad usable..." (can't find it now) and too right too. Apples trackpad is great with this ticked - without, it's meh.

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Designing with a trackpad?!

 

SORCERY! hahaha... i was expecting people coming back at that one with Wacom tablet or Logitech 8 button hyper mouse 1000 (just made that up, but it sounds expensive).

 

In my decade in the biz I've seen only one designer who used a trackpad. Trackpads just don't seem ergonomically setup for design, especially not for illustration. Compared to a mouse, they are very imprecise, node editing and clicking all those tiny 5 pixel wide points on a trackpad sounds like a nightmare.

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That said wouldn't scrolling with the 2 finger 360 degree scroll action on the trackpad be easier than a modifier for the hand tool?

 

I get at that point there wouldn't be an easy key for the zoom tool, but wouldn't a CMD modifier to the default scrolling action to allow the 2 finger drag to zoom the document just be an easier fix? 

 

Everyone has a device that can 360 degree scroll anymore, why not improve upon that instead of improving legacy tools that were created in the 90's when mice had no scrolling or zooming ability?  

 

Anyway, i can't really argue too much, i have some old habits that are rough to break and i've been asking for fixes to them all over this forum... Sooo i should probably just zip it at this point LOL!

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It would be interesting if you would look at SketchBook Pro and see how they use their zoom/move/rotate tool. It's all under the space bar. Makes it very easy. Just hold down the Space Bar and a circular icon with zoom/move/rotate appear on the screen. You can move it over the area you would like to zoom into and click and drag to zoom in or out.

Attached is an example. Holding the space bar down, the cursor becomes the zoom/move/rotate.

 

post-49-0-34399500-1406389873_thumb.jpg


Gregg

OS X Version 10.14.6 iMac 27" 3.2 GHz i5- 32 GB  Huion Kamvas Pro 20

iPad Pro 12.9" IOS 13

AD = OS IOS, AP = OS IOS

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Input Devices (TonyO):

I'm sure these guys at Serif are not blind to the Touch Revolution. A quick squint at Magic Trackpads on Amazon shows 200+ positive reviews so someone's using them - not just lil ol' me - might not be designers, though I find that difficult to believe. With the advent of touch devices, trackpad take-up will only increase, they are the future - trust me on this, so Affinity apps need to be good-to-go with trackpads in order to be future proof. As a trackpad early adopter perhaps this will be my contribution to the beta if I can give the time.

 

Zoom In/Out Keyboard shortcut (& General principle/philosophy):

Affinity apps need to be direct, fast in use.. bang it out, next job if it's really aimed at the professional. Adobe's keyboard zoom in/out is direct, fast, precise and not bias to specific input devices, so why not adopt it? It's not broken and it is one of the things that is universal across the Adobe applications commonly used together during a (print) designers working day.

 

For professional designers who are currently heavily invested (skills & knowledge) in how Adobe do things, they'd instantly feel at home in Affinity apps if the basics are similar - no "Jeez I can't even zoom in/out!!" reaction. Designers will be quick to see a wall of re-learning to do and no good reason for it; them, their staff  and there's no sending staff for 'training days' or buying-in training like the big guys do. 90% of UK design industry has < 10 designers and most of them = 1-4. (Source: Design Council). This does indeed reflect my experience. I've no reason to think it'll be any different in other parts of the world. The point is: designers will switch to Affinity mid work stream on 'live' jobs with deadlines to meet so the amount they have to re-learn is a big issue for them. Beware of under estimating this. This'll be why the inertia in the target market will quite possibly seem like concrete. It's livelihoods though and Design Agency reputations at stake - they're very precious over reputations in my experience.

 

I'm not advocating the Affinity team blindly copy Adobe - they've a real fine line to tread here - innovate but don't alienate.

 

I think the Affinity team understand this, what I don't know is how focussed on it they are and whether they'll drift as a result of this forum consultation process.

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Just to drive this home (not that it maybe needs it)

 

1. Click/tap/keyboard input to call up zoom widget > 2. click/tap drag it where I want it > 3. click/tap drag to zoom in/out

 

vs

 

1. Keyboard input + click/tap-drag

 

Get it?

 

Edit: Think I bet GRScott to it as I don't think he's had the chance to see this post.

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Or, use one key (space bar) to bring up three different functions (zoom/move/rotate tool). Less keys to search for. That's what makes SketchBook Pro so popular. It's ease of use. 


Gregg

OS X Version 10.14.6 iMac 27" 3.2 GHz i5- 32 GB  Huion Kamvas Pro 20

iPad Pro 12.9" IOS 13

AD = OS IOS, AP = OS IOS

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I doubt the heavily invested adobe users are the target audience of new design programs. Adobe purists always toy with new apps but never fully integrate them into their workflow. 

 

I would say a more likely target audience is the windows to mac switchers who don't exclusively use adobe products who are more likely to buy and use a program like this as their primary app of choice. The CorelDraw, DrawPlus, Xara, Freehand users (from the pre-adobe acquisition days) are more likely candidates for an app like this, and believe me there are a lot of us. 

 

If a mac user likes the way adobe illustrator works, then they will likely just use illustrator. The real target audience here is the JADED Adobe user. The ones who HAVE TO use illustrator on mac because there aren't any vector apps that work like our old windows-only favorites.

 

That being said, using adobe's functions as a template won't make for a good competitor. Its appealing to the vast number of users who dislike illustrators implementation that will really make Affinity a worthy adversary to the adobe empire...  

 

All that being said, i get your argument for that specific space key/modifier drag zoom function. I can see how it's useful and agree it should be added.  :)

 

And respect to the trackpad. Definitely not trying to make any enemies, haha. Forums would be boring if everyone agreed on everything.   B)

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