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Layers a little confusing


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For the benefit of anyone newly joining this discussion, layers exclusively being at the document level is not going to happen.

Document-wide "global" layers in some form will almost certainly be added eventually, but we don't know when yet.

The three applications in the Affinity suite (Designer, Photo and Publisher) share a common file format, and prior to Publisher they did not support multi-page documents.

The current layer concept is an extension of the layers that were already present in Designer and Photo before Publisher came about.  These layers are perfect for those applications and to disregard them would make those applications far less useful, so for compatibility reasons they will obviously remain present in Publisher.

What I could see happening is an option in preferences that simply keeps the layers collapsed underneath the top level and does not automatically expand them to show layers as they are created or selected (I think this might actually be there already?)  and with global layers being introduced I would certainly hope that newly-added page-level layers would be organized underneath them consistently so this would mimic the way they currently behave in InDesign, for example, which also allows you to expand the document-level layers to see the individual objects on the page.

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On 10/21/2019 at 11:39 AM, fde101 said:

For the benefit of anyone newly joining this discussion, layers exclusively being at the document level is not going to happen.

Document-wide "global" layers in some form will almost certainly be added eventually, but we don't know when yet.

The three applications in the Affinity suite (Designer, Photo and Publisher) share a common file format, and prior to Publisher they did not support multi-page documents.

The current layer concept is an extension of the layers that were already present in Designer and Photo before Publisher came about.  These layers are perfect for those applications and to disregard them would make those applications far less useful, so for compatibility reasons they will obviously remain present in Publisher.

What I could see happening is an option in preferences that simply keeps the layers collapsed underneath the top level and does not automatically expand them to show layers as they are created or selected (I think this might actually be there already?)  and with global layers being introduced I would certainly hope that newly-added page-level layers would be organized underneath them consistently so this would mimic the way they currently behave in InDesign, for example, which also allows you to expand the document-level layers to see the individual objects on the page.

This is a huge disappointment. I agree that innovation is a desirable thing. But, as other pointed out, basic features like global layers, used for ages in other DP apps, should be taken seriously into consideration. I really regret investing my money in Publisher. I guess I'm stuck with Indesign after all. Really sad.

And that is not the only gripe I have with Publisher. I won't go into all of them. The layers issue is big enough for me. But the styles sheets and color palettes are also problematic and confusing. Or at least over complicated.

I didn't start with DP yesterday. I work on this before computers were used in art departments, for crying out loud. And have been using DP since the early nineties. So, I kind of know a couple of things about what is expected from a desktop publishing app. I see the logic behind the single document concept that Serif took. But that just don't work for everything.

Best of luck.

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13 minutes ago, mbuchichio said:

as other pointed out, basic features like global layers, used for ages in other DP apps, should be taken seriously into consideration

Whoa, go back and read again: the Serif team has all but confirmed that they do intend to implement "global layers" as we have taken to calling them in some future version of Publisher.

What I was responding to was the notion that someone seemed to be suggesting that it ONLY have global layers, and that is what will not happen - the program will ultimately need to support BOTH types in some manner.

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I agree with much of what you said mbuchichio. But I don't regret buying Publisher since we've been promised some improvements in certain areas like layers, before version 2 arrives. So I wouldn't count Publisher out just yet. I currently just use it for little projects at home. I would never use it in a professional environment like the kind of work I do at a print shop.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 year later...
22 minutes ago, Jeremy Bohn said:

Yes this is very frustrating, especially since they told us in this forum that "global layers" or something would be coming before version 2.

Can you point to that statement? I never saw one like that.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.3

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First of all, I am a professional Adobe Indesign user in a huge design agency, so I work with Adobe Indesign daily for 9 hours straight for huge companies. It's fair to say I know Adobe Indesign very well, although I am always low-key concerning knowledge. In my opinion I always consider the fact that I learn every day new things is part of the road of experience. I hardly ever claim to be an expert,  i'm even offended when others say that to me, because that's when you prove you're not. :) But that is just me, I always at times consider myself a newbie, which is not true obviously, but that's just the way I am.

Having said that, I have bought Affinity Publisher purely for my own joy, to see what "the underdog" does to challenge Adobe in general. It's very good that it is like this, because Adobe Indesign is far from perfect, and is not always that easy for newbies to start with. I teach Adobe Indesign at night school, and that's why I know that the software itself it not always that "user-friendly", if you don't know what it's doing. My first impression is that the software looks good, many functions are straight to the point and although the working method is a bit different, it's very good and I'm eager to learn how Affinity does things to get the job done.

Concerning the layer thing, I do understand the confusion it offers for people like me. I find it strange that the software creates a layer for each object you place on a page. Although some say it makes it more easier for people to identify the objects, it's from my perspective, a bit overkill. It makes the layer panel a bit messy imho. So after reading the comments in this thread, I do understand why some users have difficulties with this approach. It is purely because Indesign does it the other way for long-time Desktop Publishers like me. I have 20+ years of experience, started with QuarkXPress way back in 1999. Never used PageMaker, but i have heard from others it was a bit crappy, but I have no opinion on that part due to no experience with that software. In Affinity Publisher, same confusion popped up regarding the "Text styles" panel. Although it combines all styles, paragraph and character styles,  related to text in one single panel, it is at first hand a bit confusing but, again, I do understand why other users find it more user-friendly.

This is perhaps not really thread related, but another thing I have noticed is, when you want to format text to a "bold" or an "italic" is that you have the same kind off buttons you find in a Microsoft Word. Many Desktop Publisher or Designers, dislike MS Word. ;) Purely from a typographic perspective, this is a sin, because you electronically format/violate your text instead of using the correct design font for a bold. Like for regular text you used e.g. "Din Pro Regular" and for a bold you use "Din Pro Bold". This is how professionals do it. But that is a different story. 

So in my opinion, at first hand, I find the software a solid mix between Pro-user and Hobby-user. Which is NOT a bad thing to be honest, it's just the way the software is build to reach as many users as possible with different backgrounds.

I'm curious to find more about the possibilities the software has to offer, just for my own satisfaction, although I know that companies like the one where I work, will probably never make the switch because our workflows have been build with special plugins for Indesign for years (like EasyCatalog, for advanced data merge). We work with complex files and not every collegue is curious to figure out different approaches in non-Adobe-software.

Edited by McJohn1980
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