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abarkalo

what stops me from using Photo - suggestions for improvement

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Hi Affinity,
 
As a member of the Affinity converted with Designer and Publisher, I have used Affinity software for my digital agency and there are presentations of mine in the exec offices of some global automakers. This work used to be done with InDesign but I switched over to Designer two years ago and used multipage artboards to work on my projects. When Publisher Beta came out I was on cloud nine, and then when StudioLink came out I really needed psychotherapy to cure my OCD with Publisher. Such an amazing, groundbreaking workflow.
 
I also took a very deep dive on Photo, the latest store version and also the beta. I have a collection of thousands of Photoshop files and many of them opened up flawlessly. I also love the refined UI. And now rotating brushes are amazing! I seriously don’t know why Photoshop hasn’t done that yet, but consider that it took them many years to enable CMD-Z. You guys had live preview first but they soon adopted that, so it is clear they are watching what you are doing. I would like to come over 100% to Affinity but I have several issues that prevent me from doing so. Also, I do realize that this is a monumental task - Photoshop really is Adobe’s flagship, more so than any of their products. It was easy to switch over to Designer from Illustrator, really easy even with features missing (perspective warp please! - although doing that in StudioLink). Right now I am adept enough at Photo as and use it within a StudioLink context but not standalone and here’s what’s preventing me:
 
Smart Objects. Before I begin, I know Adobe is never going to let you in on Smart Objects. PSD documents that include them will open up with these layers rasterized. But let’s consider that your embedded documents are pretty much there. I can add a Photo or Designer file to Photo or Designer or Publisher and I can edit the document just as I would a smart object, and see live updating on the master document - which is ahead of Photoshop in that regard.  Also if it’s a Designer file in Photo I can edit in Designer without leaving Publisher or Photo.) In Photoshop you can only edit a vector with Illustrator). Then with the embedded document I can add a few live filters such as Distort>Perspective - which is a favorite in working in a mockup scenario. As a live filter I can go back and change the settings. I can also add some live blurs and a few other things.  Sadly, the other Distort live filters don’t work as they have no effect on the embedded object. If you apply a non-live filter then the embedded document rasterizes, and then this gets destructive especially when placing a vector in a Photo document. I don’t mind converting my Photoshop PSB files (smart object files) to PSD then placing as embedded documents.  This way I can have my entire core design and logo files standardized as Affinity vector and raster files, but the inability to do pinching and liquifying and other types of warping and shading stops me from doing this.  Also there is no way to take a group of layers in Photo and convert easily to an embedded document. I really love how this works in Photoshop. It’s essential to my work, and this is the main thing keeps me on Photoshop. Hopefully Affinity can continue development here.
 
Brushes. While I was praising brushes in Photo there is one simply itsy bitsy thing that is absolutely essential to my work. I need the brushes labeled with their actual names, as they are done in Photoshop. Photoshop has brush flyout panels - if you extend the panels. I have over two thousand brushes and it’s just too difficult to know what’s what in Photo.  Even if there are groups, I can’t tell what the individual brushes are if there are two many.  I can hover over the brush and then see if I’ve selected the correct one - this works well if you have a few brushes but not if you have so so many.
 
LUTs. I love the live presets on LUTs. But honestly it is a chore to import them as presets.  Also it takes too long to load the adjust layer presets. Photoshop allows you to add all the LUT files to the programs preset folder. Restart photoshop and they are all there.
 
Pattern fills. Oh pattern fills. I keep reading in the forum that this is a badly needed feature and so I am throwing myself into this group. Yes I can work around this and have done so… but why? It’s so easy in Photoshop and I have a library of so many .pat files that I would love to use in Photo, just as I have converted my brushes, color files (with online converters) and gradients.
 
Blend Options. I love your layer blend options UI - really easier to use than Photoshop.  But shouldn’t it be part of Layer Effects?  I want to add color fills for instance and select the blend options right then and there, so I can see what I’m doing as I can in Photoshop.
 
Feathered masks. If I want to feather a mask in Photoshop I simply go to the mask properties and then adjust the feathering. In Photo I can’t feather a mask that’s been applied to an adjustment effect directly. I have to move the mask to a layer above, then apply a live filter, and then move the mask and its filter under the adjustment effect.  I have to do these things all the time and this seems oddly cumbersome.
 
 

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Fully agreed on the part about Embedded Documents. That should be an R click option when you have selected one or a bunch of groups and/or layers in the Layers panel that then get converted into a single Embedded Document. While it is good that we can make them right now, it is just way too many steps to make them with the current iteration.

Both Photo and Designer I think need a more advanced Brushes panel overall. The brush groups can't right now be sorted, so all your newly imported brush packs will stay at the very bottom of the pile. I also think that the Brushes panel could need a rework to look more like the Assets panel, since that panel has pretty much all the features I would expect out of a modern Brush panel with both categories and subcategories, including the ability to show the names of your assets.

Also add the ability to sort the main categories as well in the Assets panel while we're on that topic, and then copy the entire panel functionality to the Brushes panel.

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I completely agree (and can't add likes nor thanks anymore since I've reached my daily quota :2_grimacing:)...

nomore.jpg.ede527a1958a6328ef91e44fe67bef9a.jpg

Except for adding missing basic features in Designer (select by..., warping, envelope disort, global layers system...) I really believe that Serif would benefit from employing an UX expert.

One little example - modifiers.
Texts keep aspect ratio on mouse resize, while other objects need Shift modifiers.
Once you group texts together, you have to also use a Shift modifier to keep the aspect ratio while resizing. And that's just one of the examples of ux inconsitencies in Affinity...

Also, clicking... There's a bit too much clicking everywhere around Affinity apps. Plenty of stuff could be easily done via keyboard, but you just can't (ie inability to move a crop selection via keyboard arrows... It moves currently selected layer instead! You just have to use the mouse to refine the crop selection.)

Atm, Affinity products are imo not suitable for any power users since they're slowing them down a bit too much :33_unamused:

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9 hours ago, CLC said:

Texts keep aspect ratio on mouse resize, while other objects need Shift modifiers.

Image layers keep ratios by default, too.  This makes sense: images and text you normally don't want to distort, so the more likely option is the default, but do you really want to be forced to hold down a modifier to maintain the aspect ratio of a rectangle when you try to resize it?

A group can contain multiple objects of varied kinds, so it is kind of 50/50 on which behavior it should default to...

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13 hours ago, fde101 said:

Image layers keep ratios by default, too.  This makes sense: images and text you normally don't want to distort, so the more likely option is the default, but do you really want to be forced to hold down a modifier to maintain the aspect ratio of a rectangle when you try to resize it?

A group can contain multiple objects of varied kinds, so it is kind of 50/50 on which behavior it should default to...

You didn't get my point. Resizing without any modifiers sometimes resize stuff keeping aspect ratio, while elsewhere within the same app doesn't. Depends contextually on an object you want to resize.
That's deffinitely an inconsistency.

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23 hours ago, CLC said:

One little example - modifiers.
Texts keep aspect ratio on mouse resize, while other objects need Shift modifiers.
Once you group texts together, you have to also use a Shift modifier to keep the aspect ratio while resizing. And that's just one of the examples of ux inconsitencies in Affinity.

But you can change this behaviour in the app preferences, can’t you? :)

Constrain.png.983445b85a8522e5fbaba255254af694.png

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23 minutes ago, A_B_C said:

But you can change this behaviour in the app preferences, can’t you? :)

Constrain.png.983445b85a8522e5fbaba255254af694.png

I didn't notice, thank you @A_B_C
It's
Anyway, it still doesn't change anything about ux inconsistency in its default behavior.

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5 hours ago, CLC said:

That's deffinitely an inconsistency.

That depends on your perspective.  If I am resizing a rectangle I am more likely to want to resize without it being constrained.  If I am resizing an image I am more likely to want it to resize with the constraint.  It is actually quite consistent in that it defaults to the behavior I am more likely to want to use for the type of object I have selected.  This is a professional application, and this "inconsistency" adds convenience and helps to reduce how often I would need to use a modifier to get the behavior I am more likely to be looking for.

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1 hour ago, fde101 said:

That depends on your perspective.  If I am resizing a rectangle I am more likely to want to resize without it being constrained.  If I am resizing an image I am more likely to want it to resize with the constraint.  It is actually quite consistent in that it defaults to the behavior I am more likely to want to use for the type of object I have selected.  This is a professional application, and this "inconsistency" adds convenience and helps to reduce how often I would need to use a modifier to get the behavior I am more likely to be looking for.

I believe that all tools and modifiers shoud behave the same way.
That's what's called consistency.

1 hour ago, fde101 said:

This is a professional application, and this "inconsistency" adds convenience and helps to reduce how often I would need to use a modifier to get the behavior I am more likely to be looking for. 

Mate, a professional app is never this buggy. I still say it's a public paid beta version of a semi-professional toolset, actually.
With so many bugs around the whole Affinity Suite, you can't really depend on it, since in a professional workflow, you don't have time to constantly check what went wrong or use dozens of workarounds. Seen the Expand Stroke (in Designer) output in smaller sizes. Is that professional? It goes that way for many versions now.

The app must do what it's supposed to do. Always.
Without compromises.

Otherwise you can't talk about an professional app. In this case, it's just a marketing babble.

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4 minutes ago, CLC said:

I believe that all tools and modifiers shoud behave the same way.
That's what's called consistency.

That's my point: they do behave the same way by default.

They all default to the most commonly useful behavior, and require a modifier for the less commonly useful behavior.

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3 minutes ago, fde101 said:

That's my point: they do behave the same way by default.

They all default to the most commonly useful behavior, and require a modifier for the less commonly useful behavior.

Yes, this inconsistent behaviour is default :2_grimacing:

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7 minutes ago, CLC said:

inconsistent behaviour is default

I'll take the allegedly "inconsistent" default behavior over your supposedly "consistent" behavior any day of the week.

It reduces the amount of effort to getting good results, and that is more important for a professional application than the relatively short addition to the learning curve.

 

What you are describing is only superficially consistent: it is useless in this context.  It creates more work for the user.  Thus your theoretical "consistency" creates an inconsistent amount of work in order to achieve the desired end effect.  The existing default behavior provides greater practical consistency in that it evens out the amount of effort involved.

 

Two different perspectives.  You are looking for a more consistent learning curve for people who are not as serious about actually using the program.  I am looking for a more consistent level of usability for people who are actually trying to get work done with the program.

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Getting back on topic...

 

On 7/15/2019 at 3:17 PM, abarkalo said:

Pattern fills. Oh pattern fills. I keep reading in the forum that this is a badly needed feature and so I am throwing myself into this group.

Just to be clear, raster pattern fills already exist.  It is vector pattern fills that people are still asking for.

 

On 7/15/2019 at 3:17 PM, abarkalo said:

Sadly, the other Distort live filters don’t work as they have no effect on the embedded object.

This sounds like a bug that should be fixed.

 

On 7/15/2019 at 3:17 PM, abarkalo said:

there is no way to take a group of layers in Photo and convert easily to an embedded document

It would be nice to have this feature added, along with an option to "expand" an embedded document in place, replacing it with a group of the contained objects.

 

On 7/15/2019 at 3:17 PM, abarkalo said:

But shouldn’t it be part of Layer Effects?

No, layer effects have an effect on the layer itself, but the blend options control how the layer is combined with other layers.  They are two different things.

 

On 7/15/2019 at 3:17 PM, abarkalo said:

I can’t feather a mask that’s been applied to an adjustment effect directly. I have to move the mask to a layer above, then apply a live filter, and then move the mask and its filter under the adjustment effect

Mask layers in Photo do seem to have a rather strange set of limitations that shouldn't be necessary.  I agree that there is a lot of room for improvement here.

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On 7/16/2019 at 8:25 AM, CLC said:

I completely agree (and can't add likes nor thanks anymore since I've reached my daily quota :2_grimacing:)...

It seems to be a rolling daily (i.e. 24-hour) quota. If you try again an hour or two after you get that message, you'll usually find that it works again.


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Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.1.404 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.1.143 • Designer for iPad 1.7.1.1 • iOS 12.4 (iPad Air 2)

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I agree with @fde101 that the default constraint controls aren't really an inconsistency, since there is a logic to them based on what type of object it is. They are not for everyone of course, so it is good that you have the power to change it. Advanced users will always customize their software to fit their workflow when able to.

Somewhat related. For years I always changed ctrl+alt+Z to ctrl+Z in Photoshop because I thought it was a more sensical command, so when Adobe changed it to ctrl+Z by default it would have made no difference to me (if I still used Photoshop a lot that is), but it annoyed a bunch of other users nonetheless. The takeaway from this is that it is impossible to make everyone happy about the default controls, and it is just as well to do it yourself if you have that opportunity.

Speaking of opportunity, the day Serif allows me to customize every single modifier control for every tool in their entire software lineup I will be extremely happy. I want all L click+R click commands scorched from the face of the earth. Or at least on my own computer. XD

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18 minutes ago, Frozen Death Knight said:

I want all L click+R click commands scorched from the face of the earth. Or at least on my own computer. XD

I take it from this that you are a Windows user...  we have an extra modifier key on the Mac so we don't need those.  Just a thought...

I do agree that key assignments would be nice to have for a bunch of things that are not in the menus.

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, fde101 said:

I take it from this that you are a Windows user...  we have an extra modifier key on the Mac so we don't need those.  Just a thought...

I do agree that key assignments would be nice to have for a bunch of things that are not in the menus.

Indeed I am! I believe we had this conversation in the past too. Déjà vu! :D

You guys are lucky then. Because of certain commands in Affinity I have to write specific shortcuts for my Wacom tablet to work with maximum efficiency without the need of my keyboard. To change brush size I have to press alt, then R click on my tablet pen with one of its side buttons, and finally press and drag the pen on the tablet canvas. In Photoshop I can just press alt and then hold down the same R click button to change brush size without even touching the tablet surface. Way more convenient and also less buggy. Sometimes the shortcut command doesn't work as it should in Affinity, and you get some strange interactions where the brush is locked and can't draw, and the only way to fix it is pressing R click again. It makes no sense, but that's how it is.

Edited by Frozen Death Knight
Déjà vu!

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1 minute ago, Frozen Death Knight said:

Dejá vu! :D

<pedantry>

Déjà vu!

</pedantry>

I’d love to see an alternative to that RMB+LMB monstrosity. The construction of the touchpad area on my Windoze laptop is such that it’s physically impossible for me to press the two buttons simultaneously.


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Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.1.404 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.1.143 • Designer for iPad 1.7.1.1 • iOS 12.4 (iPad Air 2)

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1 minute ago, Alfred said:

<pedantry>

Déjà vu!

</pedantry>

I’d love to see an alternative to that RMB+LMB monstrosity. The construction of the touchpad area on my Windoze laptop is such that it’s physically impossible for me to press the two buttons simultaneously. 

I have to agree. I would LOVE to have an alternative (key modifier) for adding to selection in Photo since the RMB+LMB is so anti-ux I can barely use it.

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10 minutes ago, Alfred said:

<pedantry>

Déjà vu!

</pedantry>

I’d love to see an alternative to that RMB+LMB monstrosity. The construction of the touchpad area on my Windoze laptop is such that it’s physically impossible for me to press the two buttons simultaneously.

My Swedish keyboard has a hard time writing those letters. Have to copy and paste to fix. T_T

Yeah. Even with my Cintiq tablet I am having a hard time finding a good spot for those commands. The model I use only has 9 buttons where 3 are just for ctrl, shift, and alt, with no scroll to make use of the brush size keyboard shortcuts. You really shouldn't need to create specific modifier commands outside of ctrl, shift, and alt on a tablet, especially since not all tablets have pens with side buttons.

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17 minutes ago, Frozen Death Knight said:

My Swedish keyboard has a hard time writing those letters.

Try https://french.typeit.org :)


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Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.1.404 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.1.143 • Designer for iPad 1.7.1.1 • iOS 12.4 (iPad Air 2)

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7 hours ago, fde101 said:

No, layer effects have an effect on the layer itself, but the blend options control how the layer is combined with other layers.  They are two different things.

In Photoshop I can apply an effect or fill and then change the blending option and then the blend range (Blend If). If I want to add a color fill and then change the blend range and then uncheck the color fill I am able to specifically target highlights or shadows. I tried doing this in Photo but wasn't able to. This might seem like a specialized thing I do but it's part of my daily workflow.

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1 hour ago, abarkalo said:

In Photoshop I can apply an effect or fill and then change the blending option and then the blend range (Blend If). If I want to add a color fill and then change the blend range and then uncheck the color fill I am able to specifically target highlights or shadows. I tried doing this in Photo but wasn't able to. This might seem like a specialized thing I do but it's part of my daily workflow.

Did you press the cogwheel in the Layers panel next to Lock/Unlock? Personally I find the blending options in Affinity to be more advanced than Photoshop, since you can work with nodes and curves instead of just two sliders.

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1 hour ago, Frozen Death Knight said:

Did you press the cogwheel in the Layers panel next to Lock/Unlock? Personally I find the blending options in Affinity to be more advanced than Photoshop, since you can work with nodes and curves instead of just two sliders.

Yes I use that cogwheel all the time. Agree with you that a curves-type blend modality is more powerful that sliders, in which you have to press option to feather (hate that part of Photoshop).  But still that blending feature is separated from the rest of the layer effects and I use both modalities in unison in Photoshop. I have tried duplicating my workflow in Photoshop and yes there are other (more complex ways) around it but I like simplicity.

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