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DXF or DWG file import in Affinity Designer

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It's definitely edited.

Just need to get this through their head. I do not want to be their backseat driver.... but If I see them making a wrong turn on a one way street, I'm definitely going to say something about it.

What is so mind boggling, is that the actual integration of this is not something that would take more than 1-2 days to implement, and maybe 4-5 days of testing.

I know this because I am very familiar with the OpenDXF/DWG libraries, I have them already compiled into a process that checks my folder now to see if any svg files are saved, and once any svg file hits the folder it automatically has the dxf version of it with the same name next to it. It does an excellent job in automatically converting it to it's exact ratios and dimensions, when opened in AutoCAD its recognized as a native format and all elements are still there with their native shapes and object types and layers and grouping. And it didn't take longer than 1 hour to fully understand the deserialization of the vector format and use the DXF libraries to serialize them back into a perfect DXF format, and create a FS listener to check for files and apply this method to them.

In addition to my donation, I would even offer the development time to do it myself for them, but they do not have a public plugin system nor would they share their closed course code, so that is why I'm just asking nicely for them to do it. It really is a frustrating situation when you are at the mercy  of someone else because you  need to play by their rules, but then their rules are having a negative impact on your lifestyle.

They have a lot of priorities yes, but they do not understand the impact of this particular feature. Like really. If they know the truth, then I have no doubt in my mind that they would actually drop every single thing they are doing and put all their developers on this item and this item only.

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3 hours ago, M44 said:

<snip>

I know this because I am very familiar with the OpenDXF/DWG libraries, 

<snip>

 

Yep, plus one to that mate. I'm familiar enough with the software landscape to agree with you 100%.

This seems like an integration you'd give to an intern to prototype then submit a Pull Request.

 

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They are shooting themselves in the foot, and their clients to. They would sell more copies and have more satisfied customers. They could access a huge market (architects, designers, manufacturers).

Noone asks for Designer to be a CAD software. But only to be able to import CAD data.

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Posted (edited)

Too bad there is no live paint/fill bucket tool as someone on the last page mentioned.

Didn't realize that either. Guess they have a ways to go until architects and designers might be interested. For at least me personally, importing is only half-useful if I can't easily make fills once the drawing is inside. I'm kind of surprised, it strikes me as a pretty basic feature for any vector drawing package.

Edited by pragmatist

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I need to get DXF vector data into AD. I do so using various workarounds involving conversions in one or another app to PDF or SVG.  AD does not do well importing SVG, so PDF is most useful. All of this could be alleviated with direct AD support for DXF. It is  disappointing that a product that seems to do so well in so many areas seems weak on import/export. Anyway, another vote for adding native DXF support.

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On 5/27/2020 at 8:42 AM, debussy said:

They are shooting themselves in the foot, and their clients to. They would sell more copies and have more satisfied customers. They could access a huge market (architects, designers, manufacturers).

Noone asks for Designer to be a CAD software. But only to be able to import CAD data.

Consider the tale of Coreldraw professional version, vs home and student edition.  The "pro" version sells for $20.00 a month.  The "home and student edition" sells for $120.00.  The way they create the home edition is by stripping out all of what they consider "pro" features.  And of course, DXF is one of the things they remove along with everything else that businesses need for making money.  What you get is a pretty capable tool for illustration.  Nothing more.  It costs more than twice what Affinity Designer costs, and Corel still won't give you dxf support.  Will Serif break with tradition and give away great value for next to nothing?  I don't know.  But I would bet that if it ever happens, you'll pay accordingly.  But of course, not paying a lot of money is the main appeal of Affinity Designer.  If it cost as much as the software that actually has all of the features that people are asking for, then people would just continue using those programs rather than waiting and hoping on Serif.

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Does anyone here remember the old Canvas? It used to be a design application that combined image editing, vector editing, and DTP all in one package.

It actually still exists, and the reason why I bring it up is because the current owners/developers redirected their efforts towards CAD users (architects, product designers, etc.). It is mostly still the old Canvas, though: "sprites", and old archaic looking image adjustment windows which look like Photoshop 6 (NOT CS!) clones.

But it is totally targeted towards technical manuals, specs, diagrams, etc. output. It will import just about any CAD format.

For fun, I downloaded the trial version, and I am amazed at how little has changed under the hood in regards to the basic usability of the program - it feels extremely old-fashioned in places (the sprites! OMG I remember using those in the nineties!). The core functionality doesn't seem to have changed much, but a LOT of CAD/GEO stuff got bolted on top of it since last I used it. The GUI, however, is pretty much exactly as I remember it from over two decades ago.

To be entirely honest, it feels a bit like a failed experiment. It has animation documents, but incredibly primitive animation options. It offers master pages, but it seems only one (1) master page per document is available. It is pretty much everything I expected from a CAD community targeted application, and would immediately turn off graphic designers because of its GUI.

Anyway, I think it wouldn't hurt if a couple of CAD formats were supported by Affinity. Although to attract CAD/GEO people away more functionality and precision ought to be added. Merely import of DWG and DXF isn't going to cut it. Learn from CanvasX, and improve on it, because if such an old-fashioned design app is able to grab a fair chunk of that market.... There is definitely a market out there for a newcomer.

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10 minutes ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

Does anyone here remember the old Canvas? It used to be a design application that combined image editing, vector editing, and DTP all in one package.

It actually still exists, and the reason why I bring it up is because the current owners/developers redirected their efforts towards CAD users (architects, product designers, etc.). It is mostly still the old Canvas, though: "sprites", and old archaic looking image adjustment windows which look like Photoshop 6 (NOT CS!) clones.

But it is totally targeted towards technical manuals, specs, diagrams, etc. output. It will import just about any CAD format.

For fun, I downloaded the trial version, and I am amazed at how little has changed under the hood in regards to the basic usability of the program - it feels extremely old-fashioned in places (the sprites! OMG I remember using those in the nineties!). The core functionality doesn't seem to have changed much, but a LOT of CAD/GEO stuff got bolted on top of it since last I used it. The GUI, however, is pretty much exactly as I remember it from over two decades ago.

To be entirely honest, it feels a bit like a failed experiment. It has animation documents, but incredibly primitive animation options. It offers master pages, but it seems only one (1) master page per document is available. It is pretty much everything I expected from a CAD community targeted application, and would immediately turn off graphic designers because of its GUI.

Anyway, I think it wouldn't hurt if a couple of CAD formats were supported by Affinity. Although to attract CAD/GEO people away more functionality and precision ought to be added. Merely import of DWG and DXF isn't going to cut it. Learn from CanvasX, and improve on it, because if such an old-fashioned design app is able to grab a fair chunk of that market.... There is definitely a market out there for a newcomer.

Yeah, used to be unique like 2 decades ago before Fireworks shows up.
But there's no more perpetual license for Canvas(I guess?)
So I don't think much people will be interested in it...

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I tend to have a look at Canvas every couple of years or so.  I can remember looking at Canvas probably more than 10 years ago and think that it looked archaic.  But I guess they have their audience just like Corel and Adobe because it is pretty expensive.

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Well I wouldn't mind to buy an Affinity Designer "Pro" Version, with dxf/dwg import. Even if it would cost 100 Euros extra (which is double the price the entire software costs without discount)

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12 hours ago, Kuttyjoe said:

I tend to have a look at Canvas every couple of years or so.  I can remember looking at Canvas probably more than 10 years ago and think that it looked archaic.  But I guess they have their audience just like Corel and Adobe because it is pretty expensive.

And it probably works and delivers. Quite popular parameter among professionals. 🙂


"You don't have to answer almost every new post!" 🙄

- Sinclair Goodwin

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14 hours ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

Does anyone here remember the old Canvas?

Yes, it fell by the wayside a couple of times and then I lost track of it.


MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) Mac OS 10.12.6 || Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 10.14.6

Affinity Designer 1.8.3 | Affinity Photo 1.8.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.8.3 | Affinity Designer Beta 1.8.4.2 | Affinity Photo Beta 1.8.4.183 | Affinity Publisher Beta 1.8.4.663

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I have been a  Serif Drawplus and Page plus user for many year... both are capable of importing DWG/DXF files

So I dont undertand why they are not included in the Affinity line. The only reason I can think of is that they might  have used some

library that was available for windows only. 

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Posted (edited)

Yep, we need this imported asap to fully go to the affinity package! We are designers and use a lasercutter. Client give us dwg or dxf and we need to export as dxf for the laser cutter software.
We now use illustrator cs2 (2005 software!!!!!) to import the files, then we copy everything and paste it in affinity to do stuff with it. Afterwards, we copy it back again to illustrator to export everything lol...
(luckely copy pasting works fine between software, everything stays the same).

The idea alone is just ridiculous lol. The market potential with adding this is just insane; packaging designers, CAD designers, architects, ...
They can't implement it or are in a way legally forced to not implement it or something like that. No way that they can do it, but just postpone it. That's just not possible.

Edited by Cara50cl

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On 6/7/2020 at 7:50 PM, Medical Officer Bones said:

Does anyone here remember the old Canvas?…It actually still exists…it is totally targeted towards technical manuals, specs, diagrams, etc. output. It will import just about any CAD format.

I've used Canvas since it was a Macintosh Desk Accessory. Its primary differentiator had nothing to do with 'CAD', but that it combined raster and vector editing at the object level, as opposed to treating them as separate 'layers' like Silicon Graphics SuperPaint. Canvas is and always has been a general-purpose illustration and design program, squarely in the same category as FreeHand, Illustrator, Draw, and all the others.

Quote

…and would immediately turn off graphic designers because of its GUI.

Deneba's marketing just never acted 'ashamed' of its being suitable for technical-commercial illustration, as if that's some kind of red-headed stepchild, like most other vendors in this category do. It later turned that into its 'niche' marketing theme. But the program is not really as niche as its marketing suggests.

Canvas's interface  style is 'dated' much in the same way that Inkscape's is: merely in regards to the fadish blacked-out everything that has become the defacto standard these days, which I'm convinced just spins off from the aesthetics of the video game generation. That's a fad which itself has become cliche and dated, and I'll be more than happy to see it fade away. (It's as bad practice to do serious graphics work in dark environments as it ever was.) But just as in Inkscape, that has nothing to do with functionality.

The more significantly 'dated' aspect of Canvas's interface is organizational metaphor. For example, 'Inks' and 'Pens' are arguably more metaphorically intuitive than 'Swatches' and 'Strokes,' but not to those now long accustomed to Illustrator and all the brands that incessantly mimic it.

Quote

…Learn from CanvasX, and improve on it…

Affinity is doing just that, in principle. Canvas's marketing has long touted its…um…affinity for technical illustration. But, for example, browse its feature set and show me what's actually there expressly supportive of axonometric drawing.

But here's the deal regarding Canvas:

I rejoiced upon hearing that venerable Canvas had finally escaped the stifling clutches of ACD. I immediately thereafter abandoned it altogether when its new management foisted the Adobe-esque rental-only licensing scheme. So here is an over 30-year advocate of Canvas who will never pay another cent toward its continuance.

No, Affinity Designer does not yet have a DXF import filter. But I'm confident it will, simply on the basis that it clearly does not eschew technical-commercial drawing discipline. It's just a matter of priority.

You want to talk about Canvas? Has anyone here tried Corel Technical Designer? (A program I do still pay for because it so far does not force-feed that money-for-nothing marketing scam)? Do you realize that Affinity's axonometric grid feature is much like that program's (slightly earlier) similar feature, at a cost of about 8% as much? So no, Serif is not afraid of providing for tech-ish commercial illustration.

It's not helping 'the cause' to continually trot out the 'CAD word.' I dare say most users of mainstream vector drawing programs have never done any drafting, and are turned-off by (if not downright fearful of) any mention of it.

Why do we need DXF? It mostly boils down to this: Generally speaking, CAD programs don't export flattened drawings of their models as Bezier curves. They export curves as dumbed-down, penup-pendown-moveto faceted polylines in an increasingly archaic format called DXF that effectively undoes the supposed resolution independence of vector-based paths in the first place. It's needed for the sake of commercial illustration, not for the sake of CAD. That's what users with little-to-no CAD experience need to understand.

The format itself is pretty lame. But for a decent mainstream general-use vector drawing program to work with it efficiently, other features are needed. You need a good flood fill feature. You need a really good join and smooth feature, hopefully (since this is the 21st century, after all) with at least some shape recognition capability. (Want to know how many times I've had to tediously 'inform' the drawing that those holes in the frame rails are closed ellipses?)

So my hope, as always, is that delays for features in Affinity really do stem from its developers' desire to do something better than standard-fare, and their understanding that well-implemented features are not standalone, but need to integrate well with the rest of the feature set. That's how an elegant program becomes more than just the sum of its individual features. Doing that requires systematic priority.

JET

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9 hours ago, Cara50cl said:

Yep, we need this imported asap to fully go to the affinity package! We are designers and use a lasercutter. Client give us dwg or dxf and we need to export as dxf for the laser cutter software.
We now use illustrator cs2 (2005 software!!!!!) to import the files, then we copy everything and paste it in affinity to do stuff with it. Afterwards, we copy it back again to illustrator to export everything lol...
(luckely copy pasting works fine between software, everything stays the same).

The idea alone is just ridiculous lol. The market potential with adding this is just insane; packaging designers, CAD designers, architects, ...
They can't implement it or are in a way legally forced to not implement it or something like that. No way that they can do it, but just postpone it. That's just not possible.

Yes, it's definitely clear that this is a political decision, not a logical one indeed. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, this solution can be embedded in a couple of hours, but let's give 400% padding and say a couple of days.. 

I offered money, I offered to actually code it for them and I'm offering my time and investment into this. I'm just trying to think of anything to give to persuade them against this nasty political decision for whatever reason. 

I can agree that my monetary offer is distasteful, but I'm really just trying to get their attention and motivate them and I just can't think of anything else. 

How can this be literally ignored this entire time? I'm questioning the legitimacy of this entire forum section if this is how its being handled, why do we even have it at all? Do they really care this much less about our sincere and genuine needs? I mean, come on now, we're not asking for a dark theme or spinning rims, we're asking for a mission critical update. 

I'm exhausted from all this begging, I think it's time I just move on. 

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Posted (edited)

Well M44, I agree with you and all others frustrated about DXF support. ...and at the total lack of any decent response to so many paying customers. I'd still like Affinity to get their heads arround DXF, but their lack of action might now indicate to others that there is a market to design a product to take on this market, just like Affinity did to Adobe. Come on Affinity - you can do it! ...and trully make your product world (and Corel) beating!!!

Edited by NoneOther

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I really hope to see this one day but as has been mentioned, probably not until a later (2.x) version.

I can only hope at that time they will try to make some real accommodations for designers/architects. Paint bucket fill tool is a big one. But also, Illustrator does .dwg so poorly that there is so much obvious room for improvement. Having to do things like export 2007 .dwg files, which usually only barely open, and are invisible on opening, or scale weirdly, etc.

Imagine if someone was actually catering to that crowd...if it wasn't just a begrudging file format addition but actually worked out a tool set aimed at designers. One day! I'll pass on 1.x until then.

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+5 votes for dxf/dwg import/export from me and my colleagues ...

Serif is producing really awesome and great software - we all love using it!

But - I really don't get it

Five (!) years ago Serif 'considered' adding support ... and different forums all over the web are full of discussions and requests for years now about this subject -

On 3/23/2015 at 6:54 PM, MEB said:

We are considering adding support for these kind of files in the future.

Like someone else wrote before, I am definitely willing to pay or donate or whatever for this extra feature. - 

Please ! - 'Just' do it!

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, David.P said:

a drawing program that supports vector based hatch fills

I just saw that apparently, Photoline can do it:

Quote

Fill function can now optionally create a vector fill

I only can't seem to find how to do it in Photoline -- and I am not yet unlocked in the forum over there as a user 😐

Can somebody maybe point me in the right direction?

Edit: found it in Photoline's fill palette  

Edited by David.P

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