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Is the Crop Tool really needed in Draw Persona?

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Seems to me that if you added the ability to control a mask's transforms without impacting it's content's transform, you'd have the same functionality as the Crop Tool is to the Draw Persona, with one huge advantage:


There'd no longer be the conflicting conventions of Masking being represented as happening above a Layer (and the layer coming through the mask) 




Cropping (as it is now) being presented as something happening "beneath" the layer, when it's actually operating much like a mask in that it's sitting above and preventing content outside of itself from being seen.


So how to do this with Masking?


It looks like the [alt/option] key is going unused when editing the transforms of a Mask (Size, Scale, Rotation) ... except for position, in which case it is being used, for duplicate functionality.


Almost a perfect solution, but not quite.


Perhaps... I have the solution!


Right now, [command + drag] is also doing duplication of an object.


Leave that, and give up the [alt + drag] to mask editing independent of content and the problem is 100% solved.


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Hello deeds,

You can already control masks transforms (both vector and bitmap) without affecting its content's transform. And yes, in this case they perform similarly as the crop function. The only limitation we have here currently is that we can't transform the object without the affecting the masks. Some times this is desirable, sometimes it isn't. One possible solution is to click on the object thumbnail to transform it without affecting the masks (or whatever we attach to the object).

Selecting the object layer (not the thumbnail) will apply the transforms to both the objects and the masks (as it's working now). This is also consistent with the way we select masks and clipping objects in the layers panel for editing.


I don't agree that cropping is being presented as something "beneath" the layer. You only have that perception if the part of the object being cropped is flat - for example a rectangle filled with a solid color and without stroke - because you don't have any reference that tells you if the cropping shape is above or below it. As soon as you add a stroke to the object, it will become obvious that the crop is at the top - you can move it and look at the object being cropped as if you were looking through a window - the crop is clearly on the first plan, exactly the same perception you have if you move a mask over an object. I don't see any conflict there.


The Crop tool is a quicker way to apply a crop at an object level (in Affinity Designer) without having to mess with masks.



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I've just realised something.


What I was doing is called "CLIPPING" in the lexicon of AD, not masking.


Your docs are pretty atrocious on this front, too. 


To Clip Objects:

  1. On the page, position the object to be clipped so it overlaps the object which will perform the clipping.
  2. In the Layers panel, drag the object to be clipped on top of the object which is to perform the clipping.

The clipped object is nested within the clipping object in the Layers panel. The clipped object has become a child of the clipping object.




This should point out that it's required to drag the object onto the NAME of the layer, not the thumbnail of the layer, and that dragging onto the thumbnail of a layer does masking, not clipping.


All in all, I think all three, cropping, clipping and masking could be simplified into one paradigm that serves all purposes. 


Either it's a transform linked mask (this is clipping), or it's a freely transformable mask, that which both cropping and masking are.

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The help bit you posted is focused in explaining how to use clipping in Affinity.

If you go to the mask section on the help you will find that its also focused just on the topic at hand and points to the thumbnail of the layer specifically. I agree that we could also add a small sidenote/warning to make the difference more obvious. 


I don't agree this could be simplified in one "paradigm" as the similarity between the names and functions will lead to even more confusion.


Also it's not called linked mask but clipping mask.

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I'm talking about a future world, in which there's only masking, hence my editing to get it right in terms of lexicon.


A transform linked mask acts like a parent to its children, which it both masks and transforms in accordance with any and all transforms applied to the mask.


A freeform mask simply masks its children, never impacting their transforms when moved, rotated, scaled, skewed, replaced, etc.


The process of discernment between the two is as simple as an icon in the Layer panel and one in the HUD.


Switching between them should be as simply as a shortcut, or clicking the link/unlink icon in the HUD or Layer Manager.

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There's is no direct connection between transformations and masks. I don't understand why are you linking them. Both are independent features and can be controlled individually one from each other. This maximises the granularity/flexibility you have when you are working with objects.


The only thing we must ensure is that the user can access them independently, which is not currently happening with masks or clipping because transformations applied to the parents are being forced on to the children. We can select children's individually but currently we can't select the parents individually. Thus my suggestion to make them selectable through their thumbnails.

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