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Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer are quickly becoming a realistic alternative to other software for many uses. They boast a great arsenal of features comparable to current industry-leading options, and I personally appreciate how they go out of their way to make the user's workflow more streamlined and simple without dumbing features down or restricting the potential for fine-tuning and more advanced control.

 

From a creative/artistic point of view, both software packages succeed at delivering a very solid and stable experience and the interface hardly ever gets in the way of creative flow. That said, I believe there are some minor improvements that could be made to the software in order to help streamline the workflow for artists. This thread serves as a sort of compendium of suggestions and feature requests relating to improving the workflow for artists. If anyone else has any other ideas that you believe belongs in this list, you can add it below.

 

NOTE: To my knowledge, this category of the forum deals only with the desktop software (Windows/Mac), but to avoid confusion, this thread is about the desktop versions only.

 

View Rotation Precision (Designer and Photo)

The view rotation feature is especially helpful for hand-drawn art, especially when using a drawing tablet that cannot be easily repositioned. It seems, however, that the canvas rotation feature is very limited, only offering a set rotation increment of X degrees left and right. Sometimes the jumps can be too big to find a good angle, and other times the user may want to precisely align the view to a line or a guide. The existing rotation controls can be mapped to hotkeys, but there isn't any default way of performing canvas rotation easily.

 

My suggestion would be to add a feature that uses one of the modifier keys to freely rotate the canvas to an arbitrary angle. The canvas could rotate about the center of the current view, and moving the mouse around that central point would control the rotation. This is how I've seen other programs handle canvas rotation, and it works beautifully. An option to non-destructively flip the canvas view vertically or horizontally would also be welcome.

 

Related link(s):

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/49658-view-rotate-is-hard-set/

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/43396-arbitrary-canvas-rotation-angle-without-trackpad/

 

Better Control of Variable Pressure (Designer)

The pressure graph can be used to control the thickness of strokes along their length, which is very useful for fine-tuning the look and feel of a drawing. However, there are some cases where the graph approach is awkward and cumbersome to use, especially when the user is trying to place a thick or thin segment at a very specific place. Since the graph is stretched from the beginning to the end of a stroke, simply moving points in a way that changes the total length of the stroke can ruin a carefully adjusted pressure graph.

 

As others have suggested, I believe variable stroke thickness should be handled on a per-node basis such that the user can (for example) roll the mouse wheel over a point to easily adjust the thickness of the stroke in that location. I don't know if that necessarily warrants an entirely new tool since it could probably be combined with the node tool, but I wouldn't be opposed to it. Another issue worth noting is that strokes drawn using the vector brush tool don't appear to allow variable pressure adjustment; the graph can be opened, but changing it doesn't seem to have any visible effects on the stroke.

 

Related link(s):

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/496-stroke-width/

 

Pixel Tool (Photo)

When using the pixel tool, if you click to place a single pixel, it generally doesn't do anything. The pixel tool seems to work only if the mouse is dragged. It would be much more comfortable to be able to simply click where you want to place a pixel and have it appear. As it stands, using the pixel tool for precision work feels finicky and inconsistent at best.

 

Resetting Sliders (Photo)

I noticed that in Affinity Photo's Develop persona, double-clicking on the sliders in the right toolbar resets them to their original values. This feature is incredibly convenient and sensible, but it seems to be the only place in the program where it works. Double-clicking on other sliders in other personas seems to do nothing. I don't know if they were originally intended to do this everywhere and a glitch broke the functionality, but I personally think it's a great feature and would love to see it expanded to the entire interface.

 

As I said above, if anyone has any other points, please feel free to share! Affinity's software has been enjoyable and rewarding so far, and it approaches the quality and caliber of Adobe's product line without forcing a subscription. I want to see the software improve and flourish, so keep up the good work!

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Related to pixel art in Photo, the lack of an indexed colour mode is severely hampering the options for pixel artists. Then again, I'd never recommend a general image editor for pixel art creation - not with Pro Motion NG on the market. There's just no comparison. Get the right tool for the job.

I'd rather have Affinity Photo focus on improving the photo editing and compositing functionality instead of new pixel art features. I just don't see the point when specialist tools exist - Affinity Photo can't hope to match Pro Motion NG in this respect.

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On 1/31/2018 at 6:07 AM, Medical Officer Bones said:

Then again, I'd never recommend a general image editor for pixel art creation

1

Yeah, I was mostly just using pixel art as an example of how/why one might use the pixel tool. The pixel tool should do its job correctly regardless of the context.

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