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felixfaire

"Script" / "Code" Persona

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I was directed to this forum by the affinity twitter after sharing the inspiring work of @_baku89 in building procedural vector drawing tools with scripts (see below).

example video

interactive web demo

I have seen a couple of "script"-esque feature requests abound general automation but none on building actual drawing tools. The number of designers that can code seems to be increasing exponentially thanks to the ease of javascript and creative coding frameworks such as processing.org and paper.js etc. No one in the vector drawing space seems to be taking advantage of this (ie affinity or adobe). Being able to script the affinity drawing API with little functions such as in baku's "pentool" (above) to create new shapes and tools would create a rich developer ecosystem and explode affinity designer's feature set into things Adobe illustrator simply cannot do (rather than just doing everything illustrator does but better).

This feature might take the form of a "Code" persona or "Code brush" tool that allows people to write or download short scripts to modify or create procedural content. Having a fully featured and public vector drawing api (such as the html canvas / svg etc) would allow users to build tools for other users (like copy-pasteable plugins) and i imagine lots of responses to current feature requests such as blendshapes etc would simply become "someones made an af script for that".

I understand this is a non trivial / long term feature, however there is a whole (growing) industry of creative coders (myself included) that I can see rushing towards this type of tool and helping develop exciting new drawing tools for other designers that cannot code (yet). This would literally be a game changer in vector drawing apps and someone will do it eventually. I just really hope Affinity Designer does it first.

 

Ps. If you allow "Persona's" to be developed as native affinity plugins you might find that someone will do most of the legwork for you.. 

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I really like the idea of being able to design via 'script', with apps such as DrawBot, OmniGraffle and Glyphs all providing designers this functionality in varying degrees today. It's also worth looking at 'visual scripting' tools such as Patternodes, Unity Shader Graph and QuartzComposer which provide much the same functionality in a more visual interface (not everybody likes working directly in text/code). Also see this thread on 'parametric tools'.

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On perhaps a less ambitious scale, I'd specifically  like to see some kind of built-in API (reasonably approachable for most users) for creating one's own Shape objects, with live adjustable parameter handles. I can, for example, easily imagine creating a plethora of "extruded" objects (things like threaded holes and fasteners come immediately to mind), so that one such Shape can create similar objects of any size, diameter, and orientation.

Typical vector brush and blend features enable the user to define custom artwork and then "step" it along a spine path. But such features universally assume "flat on the page" design rather than actual illustration. (Remember illustration? This is an illustration program.)

Imagine how much more powerful it would be if such features provided for at least two base artwork "tiles" (each of which could contain either simple art or other adjustable Shape objects). Imagine further that this "Shape Lab" environment allowed the user to attach and program adjustment handles. So a handle is added and coded such that dragging it scales one "tile" by the cosine of the distance dragged while the other "tile" scales by the sine of the distance. The resulting tactile effect would be that dragging the handle "tilts" the object relative to the page.

JET

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