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Jonas Nyström

Designer: Inconsistent object sizing (aspect ratio) for Image and Vector layers

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The fact that Image layers behave completely differently than Vector layers regarding size changes is VERY CONFUSING!

Vector object layer:

  • No control key - Dragging a corner changes the size freely
  • Shift pressed - Dragging a corner changes the size with fixed aspect ratio

Image object layer:

  • No control key - Dragging a corner changes the size with fixed aspect ratio
  • Shift pressed - Dragging a corner changes the size freely

The fact that a grouping an Image layer together with a Vector object makes it behave like a Vector layer doesn't make it less confusing.

Is there a way of changing the preferences for this, to make all layers behave concistently?

Best / Jonas

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Welcome to the Serif Affinity Forums, Jonas. :)

27 minutes ago, Jonas Nyström said:

Is there a way of changing the preferences for this, to make all layers behave concistently?

Yes, there is. There’s a Preferences setting, labelled ‘Move Tool Aspect Constrain’ when the UI language is set to English. The default is for objects with a natural aspect ratio to maintain it without the need to use the Shift key modifier, but you can choose instead to maintain the aspect ratio by default for all objects or for none.


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Affinity Designer 1.7.0.367 • Affinity Photo 1.7.0.367 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.0.135 • Affinity Designer for iPad 1.7.0.9 • iOS 12.3.1 (iPad Air 2)

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Alfred:

"... objects with a natural aspect ratio to maintain it ..."

I'm also very confused by when I must use Shift vs. not, and your explanation makes no sense to me. Don't know if you work for Serif or not ...

Every graphic element has a "natural aspect ratio" regardless of whether it is vector, bitmap, or ... whatever. A vector image that is 1.234783483:1 has that aspect ratio. A bitmap image that is 1024x768 has that aspect ratio. A circle is 1:1. A rectangle whose length is twice its height is 2:1. These are all "natural aspect ratios." Resizing any of them without changing their aspect ratio means that you don't change the ratio as you change the size - regardless of the specific mechanism a tool such as Photo requires to do it. Click to maintain; Shift-click to maintain - either maintains the aspect ratio the image was originally saved with.

Why does Photo require no Shift- sometimes, and require a Shift- sometimes? This is inconsistent.

Every PC-based graphic editor I have ever used - and I've been using computers for about 36 years - has used the standard that not clicking Shift allows the aspect ratio to change while resizing, and clicking Shift restricts a resize operation to maintain the aspect. Why did Serif break this long-standing tradition? Additionally, what pressure can we in the user community bring to bear to convince you that your current way is wrong and that you should change it to match the standard?

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4 hours ago, PLShutterbug said:

Every graphic element has a "natural aspect ratio" regardless of whether it is vector, bitmap, or ... whatever. A vector image that is 1.234783483:1 has that aspect ratio. A bitmap image that is 1024x768 has that aspect ratio. A circle is 1:1. A rectangle whose length is twice its height is 2:1. These are all "natural aspect ratios." Resizing any of them without changing their aspect ratio means that you don't change the ratio as you change the size - regardless of the specific mechanism a tool such as Photo requires to do it. Click to maintain; Shift-click to maintain - either maintains the aspect ratio the image was originally saved with.

An image has a natural aspect ration in that if you stretch only one dimension of the image, you distort its contents.

A rectangle, on the other hand, has no natural aspect ration because if you change only one dimension, it is still a rectangle.

Affinity does not have circles. It has ellipses, and however you stretch an ellipse it is still an ellipse, so there's no "natural" aspect ration there, either.

When an object has a natural ratio (such as the image) then you do not need to use shift. Any dragging will maintain that ratio.

When an object does not have a natural ratio, then you need to use shift to tell Affinity to maintain the ratio that it currently has, if that's your intention.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1903 (18362.145), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.404 and 1.7.1.404 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.1.404 and 1.7.1.404 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.1.404

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Walt,

I predict that you won't like this response. However I ask that you read it not from the perspective of a longtime Affinity user used to its vagaries but from the perspective of a long-time Windows application user used to certain conventions being honored by different software used.

But first, please don't confuse the word "ratio," which is a proportion of length to width, with "ration," which is a portion size typically less than a full measure. We are talking about ratios here, not rations.

Second, you are missing the point. Photo (and presumably other Serif products) works inconsistently. Sometimes when I change the size of something without using Shift as I do so, Photo distorts the aspect ratio compared with its original ratio; sometimes it doesn't. No other application I have ever used has behaved this way; on the contrary, the seemingly universal convention is:

  • If you want to maintain the aspect ratio of whatever you are resizing, you must press and hold the Shift key while changing its size.
  • If you want the aspect ratio to change while you are resizing, don't press and hold Shift.

So right out of the gate, Serif is going against decades of convention.

Your arguments about rectangles and circles likewise don't hold either. I know that a square is a rectangle with four equal side lengths, and I know that if I change the width of a rectangle without changing its height it remains a rectangle. I also know that a circle is simply an ellipse with a constant radius. However, if I start with a bitmap image or a rectangle or a square rectangle or an ellipse or a circular ellipse - or a hexagon or a star or a curve or an irregular curve or a pointmap or ... basically any other graphic element - of a given aspect ratio, and I want to change its size, I could not possibly care less whether someone has arbitrarily said that any of these things have a "natural aspect ratio." Either I want to maintain the original aspect ratio or I don't, and the application I use should work with ANY of these objects in a consistent manner, and (in my opinion) it really should follow the age-old convention that if I want to maintain that aspect ratio, use Shift; if not, then don't.

Let's bring in the snark factor a bit here and let me ask: has Serif published a list of those elements it defines as having a "natural aspect ratio" so I can know, when I begin to resize something, whether I must use Shift or not to maintain that ratio? In a quick look through their latest help guide (for 1.7.1.404), a search for the term "natural aspect ratio" brings up a single article: "isometric and axonometric grids." Searching on "resize" brings up a number of topics, including "Changing Image Size" but this topic does not cover "natural aspect ratios" nor does it mention the use of Shift or not. Right now, if I want to resize something I don't know whether or not I must use the Shift key to maintain its ratio or not, and the application does not always provide help. Further, I've noticed that for some operations, resizing the same element seems sometimes to require Shift to maintain its aspect ratio but sometimes it doesn't. This is frustrating to me and I'm sure it is frustrating to others as well.

I realize also that Serif was closed in the UK when I wrote my comment on Friday, so they have not had a chance to respond. The two responses so far seem to have come from users, not Serif employees, so I will wait for Serif to respond so I can have a definitive answer.

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6 minutes ago, PLShutterbug said:

Either I want to maintain the original aspect ratio or I don't, and the application I use should work with ANY of these objects in a consistent manner, and (in my opinion) it really should follow the age-old convention that if I want to maintain that aspect ratio, use Shift; if not, then don't.

In that case, choose the Preferences setting which dictates that it works that way.


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer 1.7.0.367 • Affinity Photo 1.7.0.367 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.0.135 • Affinity Designer for iPad 1.7.0.9 • iOS 12.3.1 (iPad Air 2)

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3 hours ago, Alfred said:

In that case, choose the Preferences setting which dictates that it works that way.

Thanks for mentioning that. I frequently forget that setting exists.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1903 (18362.145), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.404 and 1.7.1.404 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.1.404 and 1.7.1.404 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.1.404

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5 hours ago, PLShutterbug said:

I will try it. I wish there were explanations for each of the choices.

But, change the behavior in preferences and go on with your Affinity using... There’s no more than Walt and Alfred told you...

 

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On 6/23/2019 at 5:43 PM, PLShutterbug said:

I will try it. I wish there were explanations for each of the choices.

It isn't an explanation as such but you can check the Status bar at the bottom of the workspace window to see if a corner drag needs a modifier key to constrain the aspect ratio or not. It is context sensitive so not only do its contents change depending on where the pointer is in the workspace, it also takes into account the setting of that preference.

In general, paying attention to what the Status bar shows can be very helpful in learning how the app works ... & for oldsters like me whose memory is not what it once was, also a good way to 're-remember' what already has been learned. :(


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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