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Gradients

 

Very confusing area and not intuitive

 

I solved a number of things eventually, but it is not intuitive, have I missed any other tricks?

 

 

Saving Gradients

 

You appear to have to save with the move tool active (not the gradient tool) or you will save a solid block of just one of the colours in the gradient.

 

 

Thumbnail size

Defaults to small – and the likely effect is all but impossible to see. I finally found where to adjust this and I suggest the default size should be large and possibly have one more even larger size.

 

 

Thumbnail spacing

 

Gradients and user gradients thumbnails also run together with no space between – which makes it even harder to evaluate what their effect will be just by looking at them. 

 

 

Colour Picker not intuitive

 

In PS I often match the gradient to the photo by colour picking several colours from the photo.  However with Affinity I can’t seem to do this because two of the colour pickers don’t seem to respond.

 

 

Colour picked not displayed immediately

 

When I pick a colour using the colour picker from the side bar, the colour chosen does not display anywhere and it is not until I go into the gradient, do I see what colour has been chosen,

 

 

Affinity appears to need:

 

Spacing between gradients & user gradients – let user define gap.

Names are meaningless – let user turn off in studio settings.

Save should be available from the gradient tool not the move tool.

Colour pickers need to actually work – AND intuitively. Neither colour picker displayed here seems to work.

       Display the colour picked immediately and somewhere that is on display all the time – suggest on the side bar like PS.

Offer an icon like PS that can flick between Black and White and a picked colour as follows.

 

In this example, green is chosen, but white is easily available by clicking on it and black is obtained by clicking on the smaller black square and the black & white can be swapped by clicking on the double arrowhead.

Background layer

PS protects the background layer unless it has been reclassified.  However Affinity is quite happy to plaster a gradient over the background layer (even when locked) and sooner or later a file is going to be saved before I realise that the original image has been destroyed.

 

Nothing should touch the background layer (especially when it is locked). Is this a bug or have I missed something?

AF1.jpg

AF2.png

Edited by Don - NZ
Added comment about gradients over locked background
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In Affinity, "Background" is just a default name assigned to raster image files (JPEGs, PNGs, etc.) when opened in the app. It has no special significance -- you can name any layer anything you want, have multiple layers named "Background" anywhere in the layer stack in the Layers panel, etc.

The lock's only function is to prevent selecting a layer on the canvas, but you can still select a locked layer in the Layers panel.

The Gradient Tool targets whatever object is selected in the Layer panel. If that is a pixel layer, it will apply the gradient to that layer, replacing its existing pixels (if it has any) with those of the gradient. For that type of layer, once you finish applying the gradient & click on another tool or select another layer, the gradient becomes a permanent part of that layer, just like it does when using the Paint Brush Tool on a pixel layer.

For vector shape layers (like curves, rectangles, cogs, stars, etc.) the gradient is applied to its fill or stroke & remains editable.

The color stops & midpoints of the gradient the Gradient Tool creates can be adjusted in the small dropdown on the Context toolbar, but they can also be adjusted directly on the object on the canvas. Making the adjustments on the object is the only way to adjust its dimensional parameters. It is also a good way to adjust closely spaced stops & midpoints because you can zoom in on the object as much as you want. On the canvas, clicking anywhere on the gradient's path will add a new stop -- the cursor will change to a hollow arrowhead with a plus sign below it to indicate that. Likewise, the cursor changes to arrow shapes to indicate when a stop or midpoint can be moved by dragging it.

The color of any stop can be set by clicking on it to select it & setting it in the Color or Swatches panel, which gives you access to document or application palettes.

Affinity Photo 1.9.3, Affinity Designer 1.9.3, Affinity Publisher 1.9.3;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.92.236 & Affinity Designer 1.9.2 (showing 1.9.9) for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 14.4 (18D52)

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8 hours ago, R C-R said:

In Affinity, "Background" is just a default name assigned to raster image files (JPEGs, PNGs, etc.) when opened in the app. It has no special significance -- you can name any layer anything you want, have multiple layers named "Background" anywhere in the layer stack in the Layers panel, etc.

The lock's only function is to prevent selecting a layer on the canvas, but you can still select a locked layer in the Layers panel.

The Gradient Tool targets whatever object is selected in the Layer panel. If that is a pixel layer, it will apply the gradient to that layer, replacing its existing pixels (if it has any) with those of the gradient. For that type of layer, once you finish applying the gradient & click on another tool or select another layer, the gradient becomes a permanent part of that layer, just like it does when using the Paint Brush Tool on a pixel layer.

For vector shape layers (like curves, rectangles, cogs, stars, etc.) the gradient is applied to its fill or stroke & remains editable.

The color stops & midpoints of the gradient the Gradient Tool creates can be adjusted in the small dropdown on the Context toolbar, but they can also be adjusted directly on the object on the canvas. Making the adjustments on the object is the only way to adjust its dimensional parameters. It is also a good way to adjust closely spaced stops & midpoints because you can zoom in on the object as much as you want. On the canvas, clicking anywhere on the gradient's path will add a new stop -- the cursor will change to a hollow arrowhead with a plus sign below it to indicate that. Likewise, the cursor changes to arrow shapes to indicate when a stop or midpoint can be moved by dragging it.

The color of any stop can be set by clicking on it to select it & setting it in the Color or Swatches panel, which gives you access to document or application palettes.

TRC-R Thanks for the heads-up - I will play around with this some more tomorrow.

I have since noticed the little icon offering an easy switch between transparency and a defaulted black - with another colour available from the colour picker tool.  The icon only appears when colour or swatches studios are active and I was probably looking for it when these were not active. Duh! I still think that same icon should:

  • Have a permanent little black option and a white option, each equivalent in size to the transparent dot option - Doing so would allow you to quickly switch between black, white, transparent and a custom colour. Better than PS.
  • Be on display somewhere all the time.
  • be able to activate the colour picker directly from this area -  instead of going over to the far left of the screen to pick up the colour picker tool.
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1 hour ago, Don - NZ said:

I have since noticed the little icon offering an easy switch between transparency and a defaulted black - with another colour available from the colour picker tool.  The icon only appears when colour or swatches studios are active and I was probably looking for it when these were not active.

If you set the Tools panel to use 2 or more columns (View menu > Customize Tools...) at the bottom of the panel you get a 'mini' version of the Color panel that is always visible in the Tools panel. When the Gradient tool is active, this only shows one color well displaying the color of the selected color stop. However, like in the Color panel, if you double click on a well there, a separate Color Chooser window opens.

Wherever there are two overlapping color wells, they display the primary & secondary, foreground & background, or the stroke & fill colors, depending on context.

In Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts > Miscellaneous you can set custom keyboard shortcuts for (among other things) setting fill to none, to 50% grey, or to black & white; & to swap line & fill. Some of these already have default shortcuts assigned to them. For these shortcuts, 'fill' may be equivalent to the foreground color & 'line' to the background color, depending on context.

Like the other Studio panels & the Tools panel, the Color & Swatches panels can be standalone ('floating') or docked on the sides of the workspace window. Studio panels can be combined into tabbed panel groups, either docked or floating. A Studio panel or panel group can be collapsed to just the name header by double-clicking on it -- very useful for floating ones that otherwise would obscure too much of the workspace. A single click on the header opens it up again.

In short, the UI can be customized in numerous ways, some better suited to large monitor screens than others.

Affinity Photo 1.9.3, Affinity Designer 1.9.3, Affinity Publisher 1.9.3;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.92.236 & Affinity Designer 1.9.2 (showing 1.9.9) for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 14.4 (18D52)

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6 hours ago, R C-R said:

If you set the Tools panel to use 2 or more columns (View menu > Customize Tools...) at the bottom of the panel you get a 'mini' version of the Color panel that is always visible in the Tools panel. When the Gradient tool is active, this only shows one color well displaying the color of the selected color stop. However, like in the Color panel, if you double click on a well there, a separate Color Chooser window opens.

Wherever there are two overlapping color wells, they display the primary & secondary, foreground & background, or the stroke & fill colors, depending on context.

In Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts > Miscellaneous you can set custom keyboard shortcuts for (among other things) setting fill to none, to 50% grey, or to black & white; & to swap line & fill. Some of these already have default shortcuts assigned to them. For these shortcuts, 'fill' may be equivalent to the foreground color & 'line' to the background color, depending on context.

Like the other Studio panels & the Tools panel, the Color & Swatches panels can be standalone ('floating') or docked on the sides of the workspace window. Studio panels can be combined into tabbed panel groups, either docked or floating. A Studio panel or panel group can be collapsed to just the name header by double-clicking on it -- very useful for floating ones that otherwise would obscure too much of the workspace. A single click on the header opens it up again.

In short, the UI can be customized in numerous ways, some better suited to large monitor screens than others.

Thanks RC-R

The two column trick, the double click to bring up the colour chooser and the preference>keyboard shortcut were all useful new information. I have set alt+B to reset the colour panel to B&W. IMO, that shortcut, combined with the hard-coded transparency option puts this tool ahead of PS. :-)

 

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