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musiberti

Wrong layer concept for an layout application

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On 9/4/2018 at 12:58 PM, musiberti said:

The moderator Chris_K replied in another thread "Each page has it's own set of layers. This is intended behaviour".Sorry, this is not a behaviour. This is a terrible mess! I can not believe that Affinity knows so little about the needs of its target audience.

I agree with you, APub should get something like global levels.

But they are not as important as you want us to believe. And your tone of voice is pretty absolutistic. Unfortunately, you are not the only one in this forum who considers his wish to be the most important of all.

We should not throw out the child with the water bath (German proverb). The global levels should only be an additional functionality and not replace the current level concept. In reality, the layers in InDesign can't do much. I am very happy that the layer concept of APub works the same way as in AD and AP. I can do things with APub layers that I can only dream of in InDesign.

Just as you accuse @walt.farrell of not designing long documents (which is probably true), I can assume that you have less to do with creative design. Otherwise you would appreciate the current layer concept in APub more.


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Yes, the current "layers" are really the objects on the page, plus things like group layers to organize them, adjustment layers, etc.

The "layers" of a traditional page layout solution are different in scope and behavior and there is a place for both.

The "global layers" should probably act as containers for the per-page object layers, with the global layers being at the "top" and shared among all pages, with the per-page layers appearing underneath them for the currently active page.

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I go here with @Michail and @fde101 that the current layer system is the right solution from a file design point of view.

Having the same layers in all Affinity apps just feels right.

And as you can see as a preview with "Edit in Photo": when the Photo and Vector Personas kick in this will make sense to everybody.

It's nowhere a mess. Never used InDesign or Quark, but this layer concept in Publisher felt right to me from the beginning.

Disclaimer: I don't understand what "global layers" should do, but since I just finishened a huge book project that I will use as master/template for the follow-ups I'm confident that I won't need that.


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Affinity Photo 1.7.1.404, Affinity Designer 1.7.1.404, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1.404

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11 hours ago, Steps said:

I don't understand what "global layers" should do, but since I just finishened a huge book project that I will use as master/template for the follow-ups I'm confident that I won't need that.

Version management. Language versions. 

Yes, you can do most publishing jobs without layers but there are some jobs that without layers you must do separate file versions which complicates version control a lot.

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21 minutes ago, Fixx said:

Version management. Language versions. 

Yes, you can do most publishing jobs without layers but there are some jobs that without layers you must do separate file versions which complicates version control a lot.

Thanks for summing it up. I just read trough the very long related thread. Serif said it's coming, so I'm fine with that. :-)


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Affinity Photo 1.7.1.404, Affinity Designer 1.7.1.404, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1.404

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To be honest I don't think Global Layers is the right term to use even though I think it might have been my suggestion way back. What we need are user definable layers so users can organise what is viewable/printable at any one time. The existing Layers panel is an object order system which is useful in itself but not really adequate. Anyway I guess that Serif are working on it so fingers crossed.


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Other than the fact that screen/print visibility is not separate, you can already use group layers to accomplish what you are talking about... except that they are not shared across pages/masters.

The key piece that is missing is the ability to create layers that are shared across pages/masters but with content that differs... thus "global" layers in that they are shared throughout the document rather than being "local" to a specific page.

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Have you tried Master Pages aka Symbols? You can toggle the Sync option to customize master objects on individual pages. The big problem, I think, is not having a clear indication whether sync is on or off (you have to check the icon, and even that is a bit low in contrast), and not being able to re-sync attributes. Being able to set some attributes to be desync'ed by default would also help.


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Late-comer to this party, but musiberti you hit the nail on the head with your comment "As a layout artist you see your project as a whole. Not as a collection of single pages."

The way it is now it would be a nightmare to set up larger documents. I often create a "background" layer where background colors, textures and elements can be worked on independently from the rest of the design. Then I can lock it, and work on the main content, keeping the background undisturbed. Sometimes my setups could expand to 3 or 4 layers, just to keep more complex layouts easier to manage.

Or sometimes I have a "shell" that is needed for the proofing process with customers but needs to be turned off when printed. Turning the layer off and on is much easier to do on a document-wide layer.

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If I understand you right, Jeremy, what you are describing, is not necessarily the task of layers, but of (existing) master pages. Document-wide layers are mainly needed for differently designed sets of elements per page, while master pages are needed for uniform sets of elements for more than one page. Please keep in mind, that you can apply more than one master to a layout page.

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No you don't understand. I'm not talking about anything necessarily uniform across all pages, except for the layer itself. Nor is a master page something you can disable or enable.

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2 hours ago, Jeremy Bohn said:

I often create a "background" layer where background colors, textures and elements can be worked on independently from the rest of the design.

Hmm :)

2 hours ago, Jeremy Bohn said:

Or sometimes I have a "shell" that is needed for the proofing process with customers but needs to be turned off when printed. Turning the layer off and on is much easier to do on a document-wide layer.

This is as well doable with a master page, which can be temporarily „unassigned“.

Nevertheless: These use cases are not the main application areas for layers.

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13 minutes ago, Jeremy Bohn said:

No you don't understand.

It would be more kind, if you tell exactly what you mean. To say „No, you don’t understand“ is a little bit too simple.

15 minutes ago, Jeremy Bohn said:

Nor is a master page something you can disable or enable.

Really?

 

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@mac_heibu

I understand the utility of Document-wide Layers to be the organization of alternate logical groupings of content or layout elements that can be toggled on or off across the entire document (e.g., toggling off an English text layer, and toggling on a French text layer; or toggling off a blue themed background treatment, and toggling on a green themed background treatment).

In the case of alternate languages for a document, the texts would be placed on their respective document-wide layers in the body of the document.

In the case of alternate background theme treatments, a set of master pages would be set up for typical page layouts within the publication (TOC, Chapter Title, etc.), but the alternate color theme treatments for the set of master pages would be set up on their respective document-wide layers (e.g., Blue Theme layer, Green Theme layer). 

Do you see it differently? 

If so, how so?

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@Jeremy Bohn

I do not really understand why the discussion continues even after MEBs official statement on the first page that global layers will come.

We will get both eventually: Master pages and global layers.

After reading all of the discussion about that I understand need for both. So Serif did.

They will certainly come up with a good idea how the current layer system can stay the same (and it really should) and global layers come in addition.


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Affinity Photo 1.7.1.404, Affinity Designer 1.7.1.404, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1.404

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Without global layers there is no way I could switch to Publisher. And that's only one of the issues, but definitely a major one !
Imagine laying out a magazine that way, Hello ?!! LoL

I guess it is very hard for them to implement considering that if I understand well they want their 3 applications to be able to juggle the same files. As long as I have to use InDesign I will likely remain in the Adobe Ecosystem. For now I have only played with the Affinity Apps but not used them professionally. I'm sure they sold a lot.. but does that mean buyers are converts ? I sill see all this as potential in a bit of a pipe dream way.

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It seems that Serif is trying to reinvent the wheel here.

Page montaging is old as DTP itself and to sell the product to people who work in the DTP industry for ages, you should allow them to keep their workflow.
Speed is the key here. In Affinity products, I'm forced to click and click way more than in any other product, it's honestly quite painful.

To me, it feels that Photo is the most developed product from the line atm, yet working with it it's still way more time consuming than using any competitors software.

If it was me, I would rename current "Layers" studio panels to "Objects" and create new, real, user controlled and defined layer panel.
Or would break the current layer palette in two tabs, first as it is, second one totally under users control.

I completely agree that the global layers model is the selling point here.

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On 1/16/2019 at 6:09 AM, Steps said:

I do not really understand why the discussion continues even after MEBs official statement on the first page that global layers will come.

It's a forum where people share ideas and discuss topics, isn't it? Here you go.

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It strikes me that with the current implementation of master pages we are 90% of the way there.

If you create an empty master page for each "global layer" that you want in the project and apply that master to the relevant pages, then to manipulate the content of that layer, you simply need to place it in "Edit Detached" mode...  by placing objects underneath that master page within the individual document pages the masters would effectively function as "global layers" - the UI isn't convenient right now, but the basic functionality is there anyway.

So this feature might not be quite so far off...

 

EDIT: there is also the need for shared visibility control, of course...

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6 hours ago, CLC said:

If it was me, I would rename current "Layers" studio panels to "Objects" and create new, real, user controlled and defined layer panel.
Or would break the current layer palette in two tabs, first as it is, second one totally under users control.

Glad that Serif is looking into this, and I agree that right now, Layers is actually Objects. It's very similar to how Illustrator works, except that each Illustrator object in the Layers panel is a subset of a layer and is only visible if you expand the layer by clicking the disclosure triangle. Everything has to be on a layer, and if you make or paste in a new object, it goes onto the currently selected Layer. As it is right now, I can move my Publisher objects on to layers but it's a pain and if I'm not paying attention, objects can either end up on or off a layer.

It's not the only feature I've found that I feel is incorrectly and misleadingly named. I still think in Photo that the Perspective feature should be named Skew, and a proper Perspective feature should be added.

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Interesting how the DTP crowd is the most vocal about global layers. For an in-depth discussion on this issue, which also affects Affinity Designer (but in Publisher it is, I'll give it to you, even more galling), check out this thread and, if you feel you have a contribution to make, do chime in.

True, document-level, global layers – and objects – over which the end-user has complete control, regardless of pages or artboards – and what Serif developers thing should be their container-like behaviour regarding objects and layers, which is, indeed, wrong on so many levels –, must come at some point across the entire Affinity range.

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