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I recently bought a Surface Pro with the intent of using it for design work. I know that Serif recently released Affinity Designer on the Windows Store, but I still had an extra machine on my license, and the only way to obtain the Windows Store version was to buy it all over again. So I just downloaded the PC version from Serif's site and plugged my code in.

I've been trying and trying and I can't quite adapt to Designer on a touchscreen, like I did easily with Clip Studio Paint's Surface interface. If there are any undo/redo, zoom, etc gestures, I can't find them. I can't tell if there are settings within Designer I can't find that will make for an easier Tablet Mode experience, or if I've yet to properly optimize my device itself for art/design work (I hear people talk about using plug-ins that make the Surface Pen's button deploy a radial menu, but I've had no luck finding anything specific). Or did I mess up downloading (and applying my license to) the version downloaded from the website; is it only the Windows Store version that's touchscreen-friendly?

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23 minutes ago, dackquiri said:

I recently bought a Surface Pro with the intent of using it for design work. I know that Serif recently released Affinity Designer on the Windows Store, but I still had an extra machine on my license, and the only way to obtain the Windows Store version was to buy it all over again. So I just downloaded the PC version from Serif's site and plugged my code in.

I've been trying and trying and I can't quite adapt to Designer on a touchscreen, like I did easily with Clip Studio Paint's Surface interface. If there are any undo/redo, zoom, etc gestures, I can't find them. I can't tell if there are settings within Designer I can't find that will make for an easier Tablet Mode experience, or if I've yet to properly optimize my device itself for art/design work (I hear people talk about using plug-ins that make the Surface Pen's button deploy a radial menu, but I've had no luck finding anything specific). Or did I mess up downloading (and applying my license to) the version downloaded from the website; is it only the Windows Store version that's touchscreen-friendly?

AFAIK Affinity Designer Desktop is not designed to work for touch like using gestures and all that, but I might be wrong. To look at my myself I like that it's not touched based, because I work with a Wacom tablet and the first thing I do is turn touch stuff on a tablet off if it has that. But that might be just my personal taste.

There is an ipad version of Designer though, which obviously is made especially for iPad. I'm not sure, but maybe that software got the zoom and all gestures you're after?

 

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The Affinity applications on Windows have support for the Microsoft Surface Dial, if you own one. 

Other than that they have no specific support for Surface running in tablet mode.

-- 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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  • 1 year later...

This is an ongoing request from Surface Pro users, the UI of Affinity apps are not made for the tablet mode. Year after year there has been a request for some change, but no, Affinity/Serif does not listen, probably because they have no interest in us Surface Pro users (or any other Win Tablet users). I have my third generation of Surface tablet/computer. I can have the keyboard as attached, but then I lose the closeness to the screen as the tablet mode is meant to be. The Dial is just for desktop work, not when you are in some other place. There is an app "Radial Menu" that helps me using Affinity on Surface, still it is not the very best solution. There must be a quick way of adding some UI elements to get things better working in Affinity, like the ClipStudio has. Or Leonardo! Or Adobe Fresco! Or the oldtimer Sketchbook..!

Serif has to get working on satisfying us Surface users or Affinity users will turn back to the Adobe ecosystem. I bought Fresco yesterday to try out the full version, but that is not for my desktop, Fresco is touch screen tablets only. That is limiting. Still, it is great on the Surface tablet. No keyboard attached. 

Please Serif! Do something! I am tired of waiting...

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40 minutes ago, Henry Stahle said:

Please Serif! Do something! 

I agree. It's frustrating. As a professional I bought a Surface to do graphical work with a graphical pen as it is made for that, but it's just impossible to use Affinity products without a keyboard. I even needed to buy a seperate bluetooth keyboard just because when using a Surface in tablet-mode the keyboard cannot be used and Affinity can't without.

Like you I have the strong feeling for a long time Affinity is not taking professionals working on Windows seriously neither, even though last 20 to longer years it's no longer only Mac that's ruling the graphical/web industry and a lot of companies use Windows for a long time now. The time that everything was only Mac for graphical work was in the 80s and 90s. We're in 2020 now.

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2 hours ago, wigglepixel said:

I agree. It's frustrating. As a professional I bought a Surface to do graphical work with a graphical pen as it is made for that, but it's just impossible to use Affinity products without a keyboard. I even needed to buy a seperate bluetooth keyboard just because when using a Surface in tablet-mode the keyboard cannot be used and Affinity can't without.

It's not just Windows. A lot of these companies just don't seem to care much about touch-centric mobile devices in general. Serif is just one of a small handful to take the iPad seriously enough to release a set of full featured apps for it. Everyone else, like Adobe and co.? If they bother to make anything at all, the end result will be a half-featured concession that pales in comparison to its desktop counterpart.

You'd think that that the graphic design world would be all over these touch and pen machines, but no. The old standards still work well for them, and the majority of their customers don't complain too much, so they're in no hurry to rock the boat.

All you can really do is find stop-gap measures, like Tablet Pro or something similar, which is far from ideal, but better than nothing.

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4 hours ago, Renzatic said:

Serif is just one of a small handful to take the iPad seriously enough to release a set of full featured apps for it.

Actually, the iPad versions of the Affinity apps support significantly fewer features compared to the desktop ones. They are also more difficult to use unless paired with a keyboard.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V23.0 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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Sure the iPad Apps Are sort of difficult to use, if you are used to the desktop version. The UI is different, and you have to remember and use the gestures to master the workflow.

What always amazes me is that nearly all functions are available in the iPad version as well, often just a little bit hidden. And the power of especially complex photo editing like using live filters on such a little tablet is extraordinary.

Especially when compared to the iPad „solution“ by the main competitor (although they at gaining ground) ...

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5 hours ago, R C-R said:

Actually, the iPad versions of the Affinity apps support significantly fewer features compared to the desktop ones. They are also more difficult to use unless paired with a keyboard.

Huh. I thought they were about equivalent to each other.

Though I could see about it being slower. While touch does have its advantages, especially with a stylus, having to navigate through an app by moving your hand around a 10 or 12 inch screen is a lot slower than having almost all your shortcut keys right at your fingertips.

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The touch interface has its ups and down. As I said above, without using the special gestures (that you have to remember, which is sort of difficult if not using the program frequently) the iPad version is not very friendly to the user.

What surprises me is power and speed - especially compared to my MacBook Pro with a dedicated GPU, plenty of RAM and a fan to blow away the heat that comes with heavy computing. The iPad is tiny and silent while doing similar tasks. Well, maybe it is just Intel that makes the world a hotter place ...

IMHO the Windows Surface devices are no Match - starting with the fact that they run a desktop OS that was adapted to the small form factor and touch interface. Which is not the same as an OS and an app that was developed from scratch for touch and pencil use.

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1 hour ago, Renzatic said:

Huh. I thought they were about equivalent to each other.

The feature sets are somewhat equivalent but one big workflow difference is that on the desktop versions you can have many different Studio panels open at the same time (like Layers, Transform, Colors, Brushes, Swatches, History, Navigator, etc.), either in tab groups or floating (detached), but on the iPad you can have at most only one open at a time. This is primarily because since it is a touch interface studio items cannot be placed much closer than a finger width to each other to avoid making it extremely difficult to select the desired item.

For similar reasons, the context toolbar appears at the bottom of the iPad display, & has a limited number of items visible at a time, sized large enough to make them easy to tap & drag to adjust or to tap to open a larger panel with more controls. So for example tapping the AP "More" item when the Paint Brush Tool is active opens a full screen size panel that completely covers the canvas. Likewise, the Help system is only accessible from the Home screen, which means you cannot view any of its topics while a document file is open like you can in the desktop versions.

Because AP has so many tools in the Photo persona, in the iPad version this has been split into separate Photo & Selection personas. There are other UI differences mandated by the finger width spacing issue but the bottom line is if you are using an iPad version without a real keyboard (where there are very nearly the same keyboard shortcut options available as in the desktop apps), you are going to spend a lot of time opening & closing things to access their features that can be done much more quickly with a mouse & pointer UI.

As for speed & responsiveness, the integrated Apple "A" series chips that power the iPads, particularly the ones in the more recent pro models with a T2 coprocessor, are quite capable of doing a lot more 'heavyweight' computing & rendering than comparable Intel chipsets running at the same clock speeds while consuming substantially less electrical power. A big part of this is because Apple designed both the OS & the hardware it runs on, they can & have built in both high & low power computational units optimized for different processes that are automatically turned on & off as needed.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V23.0 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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I am  a Surface Pro lover. Every Affinity Suite app runs well on my Win 10 little computer. But! and that is a big BUT! (not BUTT), is the not so good UI for a tablet design. One beloved UI design on Surface Pro is Leonardo (beta) that is a very simple painting and sketching program. He (the single developer) has this very god solution to a true touchscreen UI. Down at the bottom of the toolbar there is a toggle on/off button for shortcuts. That means I can work without a keyboard. Every other tool can be used without keyboard shortcuts, the alternative in a tool can be used by pressing the alt or ctrl key (or other keys). So smart!

Even the RadialMenu solution is a one mans work, and that works good too, as well as TabletPro. 

The difference to RadialMenu and TabletPro to tha Leaonardo solution is that Leaonardo's does hardly take up space on screen, while the others do

This Leonardo thing would not take so much effort from the Affinity team to deliver!? Or..?

onoff.jpg

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