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Some thoughts about editing curves and nodes with Affinity Designer

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Good day!

 

Having played around with Affinity Designer the whole afternoon creating curves and shapes, I would like to share some thougths.

- It often happens to me that I add a node accidentally, because it just takes a single click. I would prefer a double click instead of a single click for adding a node, which is something I do far less often than trying to select a curve or a node or dragging the path.

- When deleting a node, the curve is distorted significantly. It would be great if you could apply an algorithm that tries to adjust the neighboring nodes such that the shape is preserved as much as possible without the deleted node. (I know that this is not possible exactly mathematically, but when adding a node and then deleting it again, I would expect to get back almost the same curve.) I often simplify curves by deleting nodes, for example when drawing with the pencil tool and the curve is a bit shaky and has too many nodes. But deleting the superfluous nodes does not produce a smoother curve, rather it ends up more like a series of nearly straight lines. Or I try to place a new node along the curve in a better location and then delete its neighbour (effectively moving a node along the path). As it is now, this always requires me to restore the path to its previous shape.

- In the help I read this: "The curve will automatically reshape because of the deleted node, but you can retain the curve's original geometry by pressing Alt+Delete key instead."
This does not work on my Version (1.5.3 on Windows, Swiss German Keyboard Layout). Alt+Delete does not do anything. In my opinion, the current behaviour (automatically reshape) is not useful. Make a shape preserving node deletion the default. Then Alt-Delete could be used for something else, for example to create a straight-line segment.

- While talking about keyboard shortcuts: There are some keyboard short cuts that do not work for me. I have a Swiss German Layout. For example, the [ and ] keys do not work. On my Keyboard, I need to type them with the AltGr key, which is the same as Alt+Ctl. This gets confused with Keyboard shortcuts like Ctl+Alt+[ which I cannot press at all. When trying to redefinine a function to [ and ] in the shortcut editor, it is recognized as AltGr-ü and AltGr-¨, which is insofar correct as it is the typed key combination, but it does not work. Keys defined this way show no reaction. (Letters and numbers do work, though)

- The "Smooth curve" function sometimes produces unpleasant results. For example, I draw a circle and convert it to a path. This gives me a perfectly smooth path with 4 nodes. After clicking "Smooth curve" I get a path with 12 nodes. While I admit that it is still smooth, it goes as against my experience that the smoothest paths I create are usually those with the fewest nodes. Also, when drawing a line with the pencil tool which seems a bit shaky, "Smooth curve" will just add more nodes!

- A "Simplify curve" function might be more useful. Successively reducing the node count while trying to keep the overall shape as much as possible. Either apply it on the whole curve or a selection of adjacent nodes.

- When designing free form curves, a good strategy is to place the majority of nodes so that their handles extend vertically or horizontally. (This trick I learned from typographers https://theagsc.com/blog/tutorials/so-whats-the-big-deal-with-horizontal-vertical-bezier-handles-anyway/ ) It would be great if there was a way to restrict the handles to these directions. In the help I learned that by pressing Shift, the directions are constrained to multiples of 45°, but it seems this only works when laying out the curve with the pen tool. When editing it with the Node tool, pressing shift just fixes the handle direction (which is also useful).

Nevertheless, I really like the program!

 

Best regards,

Andreas
 

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Andreas, welcome to the Affinity forum.

 

FYI the second and third issue you need to use and an option (alt) backspace to delete a node for it to try to maintain the curve.  As you said it can't do it exactly but it makes a better attempt.

 

On the first issue I disagree, a double click would add a lot of unnecessary clicks for normal work.  The number of nodes accidentally added will be extremely few when muscle memory is working.

 

I believe the smooth curve issue is being worked on.

 

I fully agree on the last two suggestions.

 

Mike


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

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Hello Mike,

 

Your comments made me try again, and now I got it: Neither Alt-Delete nor Alt-Backspace work, but Ctrl-Alt-Backspace does!

 

Either the help is wrong, or there is an issue with Windows keyboards or foreign keyboard layouts.

 

So my second issue is irrelevant.

 

Andreas

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Andreas, welcome to the Affinity forum.

 

FYI the second and third issue you need to use and an option (alt) backspace to delete a node for it to try to maintain the curve.  [...]

 

Hm... that doesn't work here on 1.5.3.69.


Andrew
-
Win10 x64 AMD Threadripper 1950x, 64GB, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD + 2TB, dual GTX 1080ti
Dual Monitor Dell Ultra HD 4k P2715Q 27-Inch

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Alt+Delete works on my MacBook Pro OSX El Capitan

Ver 10.11.6

Mac MacBook Pro 15 in.  OS X 10.9.5, Mid 2012 456.77 GB Affinity Design and Photo.

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Thank you, aho

 

it worked.


Andrew
-
Win10 x64 AMD Threadripper 1950x, 64GB, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD + 2TB, dual GTX 1080ti
Dual Monitor Dell Ultra HD 4k P2715Q 27-Inch

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verysame,  can you try Ctrl+Alt+Backspace?

This worked for me. I discovered it by accident.

Yes control + alt+ delete works also on Mac.


Mac MacBook Pro 15 in.  OS X 10.9.5, Mid 2012 456.77 GB Affinity Design and Photo.

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...Ctrl-Alt-Backspace works!

 

Great find - so glad to have this functionality (on Windows where the 'real' keypress doesn't work), albeit with a rather awkward shortcut!


Win10 Home x64   |   AMD Ryzen 7 2700X @ 3.7GHz   |   16 GB RAM   |   1TB SSD   |   nVidia GTX 1660   |   Huion 1060 Plus

How I make GIFs >>> ScreenToGIF (Windows only, Open Source, Portable, ~600kB)

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