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JGD

Issues when importing vectors into Glyphs.app: Missing nodes; Affinity Designer exports incompatible .EPS files, screws up scaling factor when exporting into .SVG

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Hi all!

I am writing you not as the usually nitpicky and potential Affinity-fanboy-who-lives-off-of-Publisher (I do currently live off of InDesign, so it would be only a matter of time, but things just may take a bit of a turn in my career path soon-ish), but as a prospective full-blown professional type designer and current type design teacher with some serious grievances to air; as you may guess, I recommend Affinity apps for most graphic design related tasks, and even though I vehemently tell all my students to familiarize themselves with type design packages (namely Glyphs.app, FontLab, RoboFont, etc.) and start drawing inside them right away, they are all more familiarised with all-purpose vector drawing packages when they begin studying type design, so, for those who may wish to go that route, I also make a point of explaining to them how to properly size their curves/paths in points, in order to correctly import them into Glyphs.app further on.

Now, this usually works fine when using Adobe Illustrator, but when doing so with curves/paths drawn in Affinity Designer, some less-than-optimal results occur, as you can see from the enclosed screenshots. The result will always be the same (on both apps, mind you), either if I paste the curves/paths directly or if I export them into .EPS and import them into Glyphs (actually, Glyphs won't even let me try the latter – and gives me the enclosed error message, whereas .EPS content generated from Illustrator, whether pasted directly from the clipboard or dragged into Glyphs, will work just fine). If I export it from Affinity Designer into .SVG I will be able to import it into Glyphs.app without any missing nodes, but the scale will be way off, thus making the whole process needlessly complicated.

I happen to be acquainted with Mr. Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer, from the Austrian type design studio Schriftlabor and the Glyphs.app development team, and I can put you guys in contact with him in order to work on fixing this issue.

As for the recently released FontLab VI, I don't own it so I can't get into the compatibility with it for the moment in any authoritative fashion whatsoever. I did give their very feature-complete and stable public beta a go, however, and it seemed the interoperability was even more broken, so maybe you should chime in with Mr. Adam Twardoch from FontLab Inc. on that issue as well (though I'm guessing that FontLab's even more advanced curve/path drawing tools and its focus on über-pros – their app is expensive as hell, after all –, combined with their still less-than-elegant usage of – ugh – Qt, may mean that they don't care much about those interoperability niceties and would rather force their users to always draw inside of FontLab from the get-go).

As it stands, Affinity Designer in standalone form (I have yet to test InkScape as a bridging app, but… I'd rather not, as it's even more cumbersome than AI) is completely unfit for type design purposes with Glyphs.app and, as such, I can't recommend it to my students at all, which is a pity because the price bracket and the target audience of both packages seem to be very similar. Do you have any insight as to what may be going wrong here (a non-standard/reverse-engineered or even standard and well-documented .EPS and .SVG implementation, just a bit gone wrong, perhaps?) and could you provide us with a tentative ETA for its resolution?

 

Now, for some explanation on what each of these screenshots mean…

Here we have the original outlines, all nice and dandy, without duplicate nodes or anything:

1915292144_OriginalpathsinAffinityDesigner.thumb.png.c7fad58b2e33cdd49276c64079e52aab.png

And here we have the result of copying said outlines and pasting them directly to Glyphs.app and, as you can see, the scale is indeed correct but we're missing one node:

17512614_PastedpathsinGlyphscopiedfromAffinityDesigner.thumb.png.fe7c574f730abd0b9dc05a720206b591.png

Now, if we try to export a file into .EPS using Affinity and import it into Glyphs.app, we get this error message:

673192045_Errormessagewhenimporting.EPSfilegeneratedwithDesignerintoGlyphs_app.png.e63e4105c460dcaaac9d4f1265068ad3.png

Surely we'll get better results if we try using Adobe Illustrator, right? By opening the .EPS file in AI and saving it back, also in .EPS format but with a different name, and importing it into Glyphs, here's what we get, and indeed the results are better, as we get the correct scaling and all the nodes (plus some extraneous ones on the same place where Affinity Designer defined the first/main/closing nodes to be):

247718412_PastedpathsinGlyphscopiedfromAdobeIllustrator.thumb.png.7d2342a8918b87d297d5aec4e31231db.png

For the sake of it, let's try saving both .EPS files, in their respective apps, into .SVG format instead and import them back into Glyphs.app… The result on the right was from the file generated in Affinity Designer, and the one on the left from the file generated in AI and, as you can see, AD got the scale way off but finally all the right nodes, whereas AI gave us the same result:

564183753_ImportedpathsintoGlyphsfromSVGfile.thumb.png.ee196391bce4f8741949d552368803a0.png

Interestingly, if we copy the paths from the .SVG file generated in AI from the .EPS file exported in Affinity Designer and paste them directly from AI into Glyphs.app, we get the best results yet:

783143137_PastedpathsinGlyphscopiedfromAdobeIllustrator(afterconversiontoSVG).thumb.png.c44234d36e194c259e2ce28e1c667504.png

 

So, all things considered, it seems the best course of action is to export the artwork in Affinity Designer into .EPS format (and not directly into .SVG, because, as I've just found out and pointed out in the thread title, Affinity Designer seems to mess up with the scaling factor when exporting into .SVG), then opening it on Adobe Illustrator, then saving it into .SVG format and, only then, directly copying it and pasting it into Glyphs.app. It's an effective but extremely convoluted process, which forces you to use AI anyway and kind of defeats the whole purpose of switching to Affinity Designer… :\

For your reference and… forensics, I guess, I am also enclosing the files used in the course of this test:

p (generated with Illustrator from the EPS generated with Affinity).svg

p (generated with Illustrator from the EPS generated with Affinity).eps

p (generated with Affinity).svg

p (generated with Affinity).eps

test.glyphs

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Hey JGD,

According to this post on the Glyphs forum, there may already be a fix for this:
https://forum.glyphsapp.com/t/problem-with-copy-paste-from-affinity-designer/9290/2

Although looking at the dates, there hasn't been a new build of Glyphs since this was reported as fixed by the Glyphs developer.

It might be worth contacting them to see what is going on.

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AI by default uses PDF as the clipboard content. Perhaps that's why it copies/pastes into Glyphs better. As well, maybe because AI is point based as units no matter what the interface says/is set to, maybe that has an effect (and PDF is point based too). Dunno.

Out of curiosity, have you tried both the For Export & For Print EPS presets? The former does not use Relative coordinates and the latter does. As well, have you tried shutting off embed meta data or tried using the minimum size check box (all under the More button?

I would try but I don't have a Mac and so cannot try these things in Glyphs.

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