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Control Polygon Mode — Nudging and Snapping


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Hi everybody,

 

I have been wondering for a while how we could improve the options of the Pen Tool to allow for a little more precision and ease of editing in some instances. When you create glyph shapes, for example, you will have to work minutely on your curves, and therefore most font editors will allow you to use nudging and snapping for each of the four Bézier Control Points (BCPs) that standardly define a segment of a cubic Bézier curve. (Not to speak of other vector drawing apps.)

 

I must say it is really fun to work with the Pen Tool, but there are just a few missing features that would make, in my opinion, a more than welcome addition to this tool. In a way, most of these missing features have to do with the asymmetry between anchor points (on-curve BCPs) and handles (off-curve BCPs) with respect to nudging and snapping. In my opinion, we should be able to nudge and snap handles in just the same way we can do with anchor points. I know, the current implementation is somehow based on this asymmetry, and it is difficult to add nudging capabilities for handles (off-curve BCPs), when there is no persistent active state for a handle (off-curve BCP). Currently, you cannot select (highlight) a handle in order to make it available for nudging.

 

I have the impression that the developers are a bit reluctant to sacrifice the simplicity of the current Pen Tool implementation in order to care for nudging and snapping. So I have been wondering for a while how we could save this simplicity, while adding some useful options that would simplify precision work. And here is an idea that came to my mind. What about a new global mode (Control Polygon Mode) that would enable “equal treatment” of all BCPs with respect to nudging and snapping? There could be a button on the main toolbar to enter this mode, and the mode itself could be indicated on the canvas by drawing out the entire control polygon, once a point is clicked. Entering this mode would imply that all BCPs, anchor points and handles alike, would now be available for nudging and snapping. Furthermore, there could be an option of selecting and nudging a line segment of the control polygon, thereby changing several control points at once. Also point transformations could be performed in this mode. Sure, there would have to be some visual clue about which points are linked (in the case of smooth connections), but I have the impression that these problems could be overcome.

 

I don’t know what you think of this idea, but I have the impression that it could solve some problems with missing modifiers, persistent active states, and so on. Maybe you will have even better ideas … so I’d be happy to hear what you think …

 

Thanks, Alex :)

 

 

Control-Polygon-Mode.png.4af392282346ce7d3ac425a1ed76a37a.png

 

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We'll need to have a discussion in the team....

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Thank you, Ben! It would be wonderful to see not only improvements in this area, but a really smart solution that would make Designer stand out in the field. I am sure you can do this, since there are already so many good ideas that have been implemented. As I indicated, I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the simplicity of the (improved, v1.7) Pen Tool, so maybe a new editing mode could be a solution … :)

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