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Hi there, 

Sorry for the super noobish question but I can't figure this simple thing out. I'm just trying to lock the handle length of a point. 

I've searched around and tried every mod key but I can't get it to work. 

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Can someone point me in the right direction with that?

Thanks

Pete

 

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Unfortunately, there is no way to lock the length of a control handle, only the direction.  :(

 

(The only length-related option: you can snap handles to be symmetrical to the on-curve control node. Hold down the Shift key and adjust the length of a handle until you see two small indicators appear on each side.)

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Is there a use case for needing to lock the length?  Locking direction is important for maintaining direction of the opposite handle in smoothed points (in typography, for example), but if you change the direction it affects the curve in ways that often requires additional simultaneous adjustment of the length.

 

The short of it is that there are only so many modifier keys available to us, so there needs to be a common use case in order to justify taking that modifier combination.


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Is there a use case for needing to lock the length?  Locking direction is important for maintaining direction of the opposite handle in smoothed points (in typography, for example), but if you change the direction it affects the curve in ways that often requires additional simultaneous adjustment of the length.

 

The short of it is that there are only so many modifier keys available to us, so there needs to be a common use case in order to justify taking that modifier combination.

 

I often spend quite a lot of time getting nodes adjusted to right where I want them, and accidentally nudge them, or a line segment while continuing to work on other adjacent areas of the shape. Either locking a handle, or the whole node would save me some time. Not crucial, just beneficial.


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The question was about the use case for locking the length of a control handle as a counter to locking the direction, not the entire node.

 

Arguably, a per-node lock would benefit some people, but we've not had a request for that until now (as far as I know).


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Hi Ben,

Sorry for the delay! I usually use that kind of thing just to make sure both sides of the handle are symmetrical.

I feel it's strange that no one has asked for it, but maybe it is an unusual request??

 

Thanks,

Pete

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As MEB says, there are methods for achieving most use cases for control of handles.  You can snap handle directions to make them collinear, or right angles, or snap a handle along the line between two adjacent nodes - for this you will need to turn on handle snapping (on the context toolbar).  Again, as MEB says, you can constrain direction using Shift, then allowing snapping to snap the handle length to match its partner.

 

There might be other rare use cases that people can identify, but I've tried to ensure that most of the common/important ones are served as some combination of modifier keys and snapping.


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Hi guys,

 

Ahh I see how that snapping works now.

It seems like control and command don't have any affect so you might have a few modifiers spare there if you ever planned to add the feature. 

 

Thanks for checking that out, 

Pete

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They do.

 

Ctrl - re-smoothes a cusped node.  For smoothed nodes it has no effect, but for a cusped node it will resmooth, keeping the length of the other handle.

 

Cmd - is used in Pen tool to access the Node tool functions.  So, it is reserved for that.  We can't then use it for a function in the Node tool, as it would conflict with the Pen tool.


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(Sorry, Ben, for being an annoyance … but would it be possible to add a modifier or snapping option for re-aligning the Bézier handles vertically or horizontally after they have been drawn elsewhere? You know, like in glyph design … I hardly can live without that option …  :()

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Yes, I need to do something for this.  It probably won't be a modifier though, since we've run out - it will just be part of snapping, and will align to your grid axis (which will be horizontal and vertical for standard grids).

 

Saying that, I will experiment with it working with Shift to see if it works with what we currently do with constraining.


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Hmm … I see that we have run out of modifiers. But what about that? When you click a Bézier handle with the Option key down, it will disappear. Would it make sense to implement something similar for the Shift key? But with the difference that both handles will snap back to the horizontal or vertical position, according to which one is closer?  :unsure:

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That's one option.  I'll try a few ways and see.  I'm not overly fond of the click option because you can't predict the result, and if it's not the result you want you'll have to re-edit the handle and try clicking it again.


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Ctrl - re-smoothes a cusped node.  For smoothed nodes it has no effect, but for a cusped node it will resmooth, keeping the length of the other handle.

I must be misunderstanding what this means or using the wrong tool or something. If I click on a node with the Node tool, holding down the Ctrl key adds a minus sign to the Node tool pointer but it disappears if I put the pointer over a selected node or one of its handles. Control-clicking on a handle does nothing; elsewhere it is the same as clicking with no modifier key held down.

 

I assume here cusp means a sharp node with two handles but it does not seem to matter what kind of node I click on or how many handles it has.

 

Can someone give me a clue about how this should work?


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Try it on the handles - not the node.  If you have a cusped node, moving one of its handles when pressing Ctrl will cause it to become smoothed.

 

It should be stated on the hint line if you mouse over a handle.


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Thanks Ben. For some reason I thought just contol-clicking, without moving the handle, was supposed to snap it to smoothing with the other handle.


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ok - the solution is that you will be able to hold shift to constrain and that will allow you to constrain to the original direction of the handle or one of the axis directions (including intermediates).

 

I've modified the Node tool a little to allow for this functionality.  It will work with most combinations when you start with both a smooth and cusped node.  There will be one exception - using Drag+Ctrl+Shift on a cusped node will constrain to the direction of the other handle and will smooth the node.

 

I've also added another modifier for smooth nodes - Ctrl - which will enable you to preserve the ratio of the two handle lengths (i.e., the other handle length will change in proportion as well as changing its direction).

 

One more - I've added a Ctrl+Click for cusp nodes and their handles. If you click the node, it will smooth it (in the same way as the "Convert node type button" does).  If you click the handle it will smooth the node, and move the clicked handle in line with the other, maintaining the length of the handle and leaving the other handle unchanged.


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I've modified the Node tool a little to allow for this functionality.  It will work with most combinations when you start with both a smooth and cusped node.  There will be one exception - using Drag+Ctrl+Shift on a cusped node will constrain to the direction of the other handle and will smooth the node.

 

I sincerely hope that Windows users will soon have a good substitute for the 'right-click+left-click' that we currently have to use where Mac users use the Ctrl key. Drag+R-click+L-click+Shift sounds like a bit of a nightmare!


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I sincerely hope that Windows users will soon have a good substitute for the 'right-click+left-click' that we currently have to use where Mac users use the Ctrl key. Drag+R-click+L-click+Shift sounds like a bit of a nightmare!

 

 

I always hated that about Macs, having to be a contortionist to use modifiers. I remember some bizarre combinations, and the trips to the physiotherapist ;)

 

I started off with an Acorn RISC PC and they make proper use of a three button mouse, don't know about you but I have more than one finger. So much more productive! Simple things like left clicking to move the window up and down, right click to move left and right. Lots of good stuff. Sigh! Going all misty.

 

Using a Mac seemed like trying to type with one hand tied behind my back. I had to use them for 20 plus years but never liked them. 


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@toltec - you can use a 5 button mouse with a Mac.  I do.

 

One advantage of a Mac over a PC with our software is the extra modifier key you get on the keyboard.  Some of our tools have been geared up to make the best use of 4 modifiers, and those keys are nice and close together so complement mouse actions well.


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One advantage of a Mac over a PC with our software is the extra modifier key you get on the keyboard.  Some of our tools have been geared up to make the best use of 4 modifiers, and those keys are nice and close together so complement mouse actions well.

I have not touched a Windows keyboard (or a Windows PC) for many years, but I always assumed the Windows key could be used  as a general purpose modifier key, much like the Mac's Command key. Is this not true?


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I believe it can.  The Windows guys suggested they could add it as an option (we currently use the right mouse button for the fourth modifier).  It would override standard Windows behaviour while in Affinity though, which some people are used to.


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