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Consistant Transform Constraint UX

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(not a feature, a simple change)



I LOVED that affinity assumes you don't want to screw with typography during transforms, so that shift isn't required to constrain  XY during transform.


But then it blows that by being inconsistent on shape or curve transforms, which does my head in.


This would be a simple change to make consistent across the board, and I can't see any good reason to not.


Thanks again for this great app. 



one planet, one chance

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The reason not to is ease of use. Shapes and curves don't have a natural aspect ratio in the same way that images and text do, so it's much rarer to want to preserve their aspect ratio, to the point where having to hold down shift for resizes would be annoying.


We understand the argument for consistency, but this case we feel it goes against ease of use.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I highly agree with Tim, I frequently have a few images that I have input to work from in projects and I am constantly finding that I have accidentally blown the aspect ratio of one or the other because my muscle memory says press shift to constrain the ratio.  I really feel that one rule makes for easier "ease of use" then an "if it's Tuesday then" scenario.


Now if there were an obvious way to see if it's constrained or not, then maybe.  Possibly change the bounding box color.

iMac (27-inch, Late 2009) with macOS Sierra

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Although I have muscle memory from 20 years of abuse from Adobe (he, he...) I agree with Dave Harris. Maybe there's a checkbox for the Arrow tool's options, perhaps a Constraint checkbox for "Natural object scaling" or something like that, which distinguishes between type and objects...

2021 16” Macbook Pro w/ M1 Max 10c cpu /24c gpu, 32 GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Ventura 13.1

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  • 1 year later...

+1 for consistency!

I agree with Tim on this; that's why I'm here making a post on this (plus that I have too much free time, and enjoy AD too much ;) projecting my ideas of the perfect piece of software on it)


What's to be noted is that until today I couldn't tell where shift was needed and where not; I just had this constant feeling that shift doesn't work properly. Until coming here, I thought that consistency was broken in more places beyond the type tool, and that I'd never be able to understand when it works (or not). But what's more, is that the unease of this non-predictable behavior was lurking in the subconscious for 2-3 months, before finally reaching the surface and causing a conscious thought "ok, something is broken, I need to report that".


As soon as it became conscious, I searched the forum, and found that the issue pertains only to the type tool, and that there is some reasoning behind this decision. Still, for a few months it was a cause of unconscious stress. Of course, I'm not saying that I couldn't sleep at night :P I'm merely making a friendly remark based on the little UX design experience I have:

Consistency is important, it makes the user feel the program behaves as expected; when this feeling of predictability is not there it causes stress and frustration and detracts from the user experience.


In retrospection, after all this discussion, I doubt any of us participating in this discussion will have issues with it again: It's become a rather conscious thing now :P  The team's decision certainly makes sense, but I still think the team should consider a more consistent approach.


How I would go about it:

Personally I'd make constraint aspect the default across all tools: You'd need to press shift to transform freely (unlock the constraint). I'm stating three reasons that IMO support that:

1) While in theory curves have no inherent "aspect ratio" as @Dave Harris states, in practice they often do: it's the aspect ratio that you decided for the shape the moment you put it on canvas. In other words, if I interactively drew a rectangle as a square using the WYSIWYG rectange tool, it's more probable that I wanted it to be a square than not; The same applies to a freehand curve - eg. a spiral. If I make it prolonged, maybe it's because I wanted to emulate perspective. If I make it circular, it's probably because I wanted it circular. If instead of a WYSIWYG, I was creating a shape by entering numeric parameters or by pasting  template basic shapes on the canvas, it would be safe to assume that free transformation would probably be the next step. But in our case, I think it's not.

2) If I want to quickly transform something without adhering to the aspect ratio, I can already use the top/bottom and left/right handles of the bounding box, without resorting to pressing the shift key. Why not have the corner handles default behavior a bit different?

3) Personally (though I suppose other people have different work styles), I don't think I ever "freely" transform something on both axes. I either want it wider/narrower, or taller/shorter so I go directly to the respective handles (top/bottom,left/right) for added control.


And now that I dumped my thoughts for the day, I'll get back to work ;-)



PS. I wouldn't want to give the impression that I don't like what the team does for AD: Far from that, they are just amazing and they certainly know best! Even the fact that the forum has space for us to express our ideas and be in direct contact with the team, is a beautiful privilege that I am very happy for! If I get too passionate, is because I feel like I'm becoming an Affinity fanboy! :rolleyes: Thank you guys!

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