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This "forced" smoothing appears to be prevalent in most vector apps, Sketchapp has it and so do others, with various other apps jumping through hoops to turn it off, if at all. If Affinity can add the ability to turn smoothing off; completely off, I think a lot of "artists" would probably look at Affinity in a more creative light. The point here is emulation, because drawing a line with all of the artistic nuances the artist is trying to convey will be emulated.

 

With the software effectively attempting to emulate the artists micro-movements there will however be some "interpretive action" between the artists hand and the final result as translated by the software, so, the end result is at best a close approximation of what the artist wanted to convey.

 

It's an exercise in splitting hairs.


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2 hours ago, A_B_C said:

And this “macroscopic” precision is currently missing in Designer. If Paul Klee would have been a digital artist, I believe he would have been indeed disappointed with the default smoothing applied to strokes of the vector pencil. Jimmy Jack’s GIF should prove how drastically the default smoothing is actually kicking in, after the digital pen is lifted from the tablet.

When I try to imagine what app Paul Klee would choose if he was working in the digital medium, I think it would probably be something like Corel Painter, with its ability to mimic the interaction of real pens, brushes, & other drawing tools with paper, canvas & other media. If for some reason he had to choose an Affinity app, I doubt it would be Designer. More likely it would be Photo, possibly the iPad version or the Windows one with a Surface tablet. But I think he would probably still work primarily with physical tools & media because digital ones don't provide the same kind of tactile feedback, & maybe just scan some of that work into an app like Painter to do things otherwise impossible to do in the physical world.

 

If I am not mistaken, Jimmy Jack’s GIF was made using the vector brush tool, not the vector pencil. I think for that tool what is being called "default smoothing" is not smoothing as such but a consequence of the algorithm AD uses to fit what are for most brushes bitmap-based textures onto vector curves. That algorithm definitely needs work but I don't think there is anything as simple as "turning off" the default smoothing -- it is the curve fitting that is at fault.

 

The vector pencil tool (at least for me) does not behave in the same way. There is no smoothing applied after using it, or any on-the-fly curve fitting like with the textured vector brushes. Of course, it does not apply textures when in use but it is possible if inelegant to apply a brush texture afterwards. It also can draw extremely bumpy paths, easiest to do while zoomed in but still possible to do at lower zoom levels.

 

What I am trying to say with all this is that Designer is not, & probably never will be, a good choice for this. It isn't intended for creating that kind of artwork, so complaining that it does not do it very well seems to me a lot like complaining that a screwdriver does not drive nails very well.


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Yes, I think you are right. What appears to be “default smoothing,” is a way of translating the information provided by the input device into a set of vector data. I must confess, however, that I am not entirely sure if there is a big difference between the translation algorithms of the vector brush and the vector pencil. The latter one seems a bit more accurate indeed. Hmm.

 

Considering all, I can nonetheless understand that a digital artist would love to have more control of what has been (perhaps inadequately) called “default smoothing.” In my opinion, this algorithm will need some attention, now that we have the stabilisers. :)

 

(And yes, Klee would probably have used a different drawing program. I would have suggested Procreate at the moment, for I am still strugging a bit with Photo, when it comes to drawing. But maybe he would have also despised “that digital crap” altogether … ;))

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37 minutes ago, firstdefence said:

If Affinity can add the ability to turn smoothing off; completely off, I think a lot of "artists" would probably look at Affinity in a more creative light.

For Affinity Designer's vector-based freehand drawing tools, I am having a lot of trouble imagining how it would work. It could create huge numbers of closely spaced sharp nodes, one at every point where the tiniest detectable change in direction occurred, but I think that would make editing the results a nightmare.

 

I am still on my first cup of coffee so perhaps after a few more I could think of something better, but for now I cannot. Anyone have a better idea about that?


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6 minutes ago, A_B_C said:

Considering all, I can nonetheless understand that a digital artist would love to have more control of what has been (perhaps inadequately) called “default smoothing.” In my opinion, this algorithm will need some attention, now that we have the stabilisers. :)

I completely understand the desire for more control but I do not think that Affinity Designer, even with greatly improved vector brush algorithms, is ever going to give them as much control as they would like.

 

That is not because I think the developers are incapable of or not interested in improving the algorithms -- they have said that they are & I do not doubt that they will eventually. It is instead because I think conventional vector-based tools like Designer & many other apps provide are a poor fit for this. Conventional raster-based tools are a somewhat better fit, & the kind of hybrid approach like Painter provides is better still, but even combined with high function touch sensitive input devices nothing digital I know of provides even close to the level of control that working with real physical tools & media provides. Quite possibly, it will be years or even decades before anything digital typical users can afford approaches that level of control.


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47 minutes ago, R C-R said:

For Affinity Designer's vector-based freehand drawing tools, I am having a lot of trouble imagining how it would work. It could create huge numbers of closely spaced sharp nodes, one at every point where the tiniest detectable change in direction occurred, but I think that would make editing the results a nightmare.

 

I am still on my first cup of coffee so perhaps after a few more I could think of something better, but for now I cannot. Anyone have a better idea about that?

I think creating unsmoothed vector lines kind of goes against the grain, vector has its own style and within that remit ever artist creates a vectorised artwork, much like rasterised art has its own style. I don't think the two are interchangeable. Like you say it would be a node nightmare, with sharp and curved nodes overlapping because of their close proximity, in any case for that not to happen there would have to be some smoothing and now we are back to square one.

 

If you want a jagged look use raster, else use vector. 

 


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26 minutes ago, owenr said:

@J a n and others merely wish to have finer control over the software's smoothing of freehand input than is currently available in AD.

How specifically do you think this should be implemented? How many nodes should it create & what should the UI expose to the user to determine when to add one? How complex should that UI be? Basically, what is the "goldilocks" solution here that the greatest number of users would like & use?

 

I am not the only one who seems to think vector-based tools are poorly suited for this, or that it may be curve fitting rather than smoothing that is the real issue that needs work. Maybe it is just me but it still sounds too much like criticizing a screwdriver because it is not well suited to driving nails.


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29 minutes ago, owenr said:

You are definitely mistaken to think that the Vector Brush smooths the user's input and the Pencil doesn't. The user's input when using either tool is smoothed in exactly the same way.

Please read what I wrote more carefully. I did not claim that the vector Pencil Tool does not 'smooth' the user input but that there is no on-the-fly curve fitting like with the Vector Brush Tool. I admit that I was wrong to say that there is no smoothing applied after using it, but what I meant was it is quite possible to never see that depending on the width of the stroke & the zoom level. That is of course equally true for the Vector Brush Tool.

 

Be that as it may, I still think that the Affinity approach (making the amount of smoothing, curve fitting, or whatever you want to call it) dependent on the zoom level makes a lot of sense, considerably more than any method that can create a lot of closely spaced nodes that can't be seen clearly without zooming in, potentially creating what @firstdefence called the "node nightmare," as well as adding unnecessary complexity to the UI or without due regard for what most users would actually like or use.

 

More generally, I do not buy into the idea that because some other app does something in a particular way the Affinity ones should as well, or that they should try to match any other app feature by feature. If they don't do what some users want then I think they would be better off using an app that does. No app will ever provide everything every user wants; the ones that aim for that become bloated monsters with UI's so complicated that doing even simple things takes longer & is more difficult than it needs to be.

 

I do not ask for you or anyone else to agree with me about any of this. It is just my opinion.


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17 minutes ago, R C-R said:

the ones that aim for that become bloated monsters with UI's so complicated that doing even simple things takes longer & is more difficult than it needs to be.

I agree with this, I think Photoshop is a bit like that, especially with the addition of 3D. People might use Photoshop but they will use a small amount of its abilities for their work, It should really be called Photovectorrasterart3Dshop. I think Illustrator has faired better in bloated monster respect, I always wanted CorelDraw to come back to Mac and I think it was a big mistake by Corel to move to windows exclusively.

 

I'm sure the Affinity Pixies will work hard to un-smooth the lines if such a request is put forward, I mean what harm could it do? but I'd take out some node collision insurance first ;)


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Well I'm glad this debate has been settled, the Vector brush and pencil get a node slider in the next beta release maybe called a Roughener, Unsmoother, Naturaliser, Crinkler, Add Nodes, The Wiggler or The Nodeinator. B|

 

I think @owenr should put his handbag down & @R C-R agree to disagree, then kiss and go and have make up sex lol!


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10 hours ago, firstdefence said:

 

I think @owenr should put his handbag down & @R C-R agree to disagree

i think so too because:

the-pretenders-thin-line-between-love-and-hate-sire-2-s.jpg.f81d387573d7bf5855312358d84d7611.jpg

O.o


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13 hours ago, owenr said:

I see a compulsively contrary egotist who would deny everyone everything that he personally does not value.

Yes, that's me! It is why I wrote, "I do not ask for you or anyone else to agree with me about any of this." All part of my evil plan to control the world.

Farns.gif.bee081d1f216ad8cabe7b6f18390e826.gif


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To throw in my say here, I have to agree with the confessed evil man that I prefer the strokes of the freehand tools to remain smooth. Sure, programs like Inkscape may have the option to adjust it, but it does defeat the purpose of vector drawing. One of the major reasons for vector drawing is for smoother quality. Why not just use the pixel tools for this? If you were to have no smoothness at all, imagine how difficult it would be to adjust the lines if necessary. You would get dozens of nodes.

 

I will say, however, you can add a jagged brush preset to accomplish something similar to the examples, and then you can change the brush width without it interfering with the stroke's nodes.

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 11.35.53 AM.png


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8 hours ago, R C-R said:

Yes, that's me! It is why I wrote, "I do not ask for you or anyone else to agree with me about any of this." All part of my evil plan to control the world.

Farns.gif.bee081d1f216ad8cabe7b6f18390e826.gif

I knew it I bet you have a super fluffy pussycat too don't you, and an oversized computer chair.


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4 hours ago, firstdefence said:

I knew it I bet you have a super fluffy pussycat too don't you, and an oversized computer chair.

 

There is also a mini him.


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8 hours ago, Bri-Toon said:

 

There is also a mini him.

as in r c-r ;) 

 

I like R C-R, good insight and makes me think.


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Personal preferences is one thing. Industry standard is another. One should think (hope) that standards are based on general good practice, common sense and practical logic.

I expect from professional apps to have FULL control over what I’m doing. I guess it”s fine if a tool is trying to help people draw even lines if their hands are too shaky – but this is function should be optional.

It’s like autocorrect while typing. You can turn it off in settings. However helpful it might be - people would be pretty pissed if they couldn’t turn it off.

it's the case of computer trying to think too much for the user. 

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I can see that this topic has been litigated to death already, but I was hoping to add my perspective.

I've just picked up Affinity Designer because it's a great Illustrator replacement for my work use cases—namely, finishing scientific plots and building posters and graphics. But I've also started getting into  fantasy map making with my Surface, and I'd love to be able to draw coastlines in Affinity Designer Unfortunately, the smoothing on the vector pencil tool makes it very difficult to draw coastlines that look believable; they just smooth out way too much. The raster paintbrush is much better, but I'd love to be able to retain the vertices. I could zoom in to do detail work, but it wouldn't be the same; it's much slower and requires a much more deliberate process (I prefer to just let my hand wander a bit after roughing out the continents).

I love Affinity either way, but the option to turn the smoothing down further (closer to what Inkscape and Illustrator allow) would be very appreciated!

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Posted (edited)

Hi, I'm a new (and enthusiastic) user. I made a similar post and was redirected here, and after reading, i feel the discussion is hyperfocusing too much on the idea of "rough/messy vs smooth/perfect" which barely scratches the surface of why forced smoothing can present problems for an illustrator or designer. 

rensa, in the reply above this one, said something much closer to what i was planning on saying in here. Smoothing can impact precision. Maps are a perfect example. There are plenty other examples too. I was trying to draw little tiny rectangles and they were being transformed into round blobs. I suppose i could zoom way in for every tiny jagged or "rough" detail, but it doesn't take a big imagination to picture how tedious and unintuitive that could become when drawing a rather complex image. 

Choosing vector over raster isnt always just an aesthetic choice. You can make ultra smooth bitmap drawings (or paintings) if you want. Its also a scalability issue. You might have a rather detailed and "bumpy" design (such as a map, or a cityscape with lots of little angular bits) that you want to be able to make scalable for various uses. 

Now, i fully accept that it just might not be technically feasible to implement this feature yet, which is fine, but this conversation is about more than "messy vs clean" (altho wanting a more natural representation of an artist's brush strokes and contours within a scalable vector image is also very valid and important) 

Edited by jonatello
Typo

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