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Real vector brush

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Hear hear! It's been demonstrated that a lot of nice things can be done with the brushes in Designer, but calling them "vector" brushes just because the raster images they contain follow a spline path, is entirely misleading.

Actual vector brushes (in which the brush's base artwork is vector paths) enable you to do an entire world of more powerful things:



For example, A single "Pattern Brush" in AI can be built to enable creation of a mechanically correct hex bolt of any length and diameter. As always, Illustrator's implementation could be easily exceeded in power and versatility, and that's what I want to see in Affinity Designer. Hopefully, that's what the eventual goal is (perhaps after sorting out the problems associated with the present sub-par expanded stroke results).

But it is disconcerting that the current brushes are called "vector" brushes. That doesn't suggest that what you (and I) would call "real" vector brushes are on the unpublished road map.

This is also why I am so very disappointed in the merely "me, too" treatment of arrowheads. I am convinced that a truly innovative implementation of what I call path stokes and path ends that could be combined into user-defined path styles could yield both a much more powerful "arrowheads" feature and a vector-brush feature more powerful, versatile, intuitive, and elegant than Adobe's treatment.

It would be a true game-changer even for long-time AI users who have never really discovered the kind of brush-based applications I'm talking about, just because Adobe's treatment is too "standalone" as opposed to being truly integrated with its own preexisting features of the program.

That is what I see as the core of potential advantages over Illustrator: The fact that it is a decades-old stack of newer features merely "bundled with" a bunch of outdated basic features. I see that opportunity diminish whenever I see a feature implemented in a mere "me, too" fashion, as is arrowheads.


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Real vector brushes would be useful for such as zig zag or stitching effects.
Raster brushes are blurry.

Illustrator has many vector effects on the outline of shape besides vector brushes.
Real vector brushes can be used as an alternative.


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The funny thing is, I was begging Adobe to implement the level of image based brushes that were in Serif DrawPlus.  Adobe implemented a very basic level of image brushes a few years back that is practically unusable and they've never revisited it.  I keep DrawPlus around just for the image brushes.  Both image and true vector brushes have advantages, but one big disadvantage of the true vector brush is that they can be so complicated that they are too slow to use.  If I convert one of those to an image based brush for use in DrawPlus, it is able to work smoothly.  Affinity Designer of course also has a lot of catching up to do to match the brushes in DrawPlus but that's not even on a roadmap so I don't expect that to happen.  For now, the best image brush game in town is sadly in two discontinued programs!  DrawPlus and Microsoft's Expression Design.

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On 8/8/2019 at 12:52 PM, ashf said:

Affinity's vector brush is actually a raster brush stroke with a curve, pseudo vector brush.

Yes, I found it misleading that they call them vector brushes. When I watched tutorials on creating them I then realized it was not at all what it claims to be. Disappointing.

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2 hours ago, Boldlinedesign said:

Is this worth purchasing a legacy copy of Drawplus for? (Also for the envelope vector warp option that does not yet exist in AD?)
Can we make true vector brushes in AD? Can they be imported from DrawPLus?

I don't think so.  I would have to guess that the reason that these things didn't make it into Affinity Designer was because the quality of those features was so poor that they didn't want to use them until they were made better.  I can tell you for sure that the true vector brushes in DrawPlus were quite buggy.  All of the brushes had some particular problems.  Drawing slowly would create a line with a zillion jaggy anchor points.  Movements such as "sketching" quickly, is almost certain to cause a serious glitch with a brush stroke which will freeze the whole program.  And the true vector brush in particular had an additional problem where if you created a simple line, then zoomed in or out to some random level, the stroke would visually appear as if it's filled with a color.  For example, if you drew a half circle, just the brush stroke, no fill, then zoom in/out, suddenly, you'd be seeing a fill in that shape. So these were very terrible quality tools.  Additionally, DrawPlus had a very terrible vector tracing feature.  None of the controls yielded any kind of predictable or repeatable result where as in something like Illustrator, you can pretty much get a good result with no tweaking at all sometimes.  And lastly, the envelope warp tool was also just not good enough.  For example, you can't constrain the movement of points directly vertical or horizontal therefore you can't really make a perfectly symmetrical envelope.  I was really inadequate.  I'm very familiar with these things because I actually still use DrawPlus all the time because even though those things are woefully broken or inadequate, there are still some redeeming quality about that program.  The brush system is still better than that in Affinity Designer.

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  • 7 months later...
On 8/8/2019 at 12:52 PM, ashf said:

I would like Sreif to bring back "real" vector brush from DrawPlus to Affinity.
Affinity's vector brush is actually a raster brush stroke with a curve, pseudo vector brush.
Why this has been changed when Affinity was developed?

And, if the “vector” brushes are just raster anyway... Why do we have to have separate brush categories for the Designer and Pixel personas. Why can’t I use all my brushes across both personas???

The division seems like needless and inconvenient quibbling.

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3 hours ago, Cealcrest said:

And, if the “vector” brushes are just raster anyway... Why do we have to have separate brush categories for the Designer and Pixel personas. Why can’t I use all my brushes across both personas???

The division seems like needless and inconvenient quibbling.

Well, the brushes in the raster persona are different than in the vector persona.  In the vector persona the brushes are raster, but they flow along a vector path which allows you to change the characteristics of the brush stroke after you've drawn it in ways that aren't possible in the raster persona, such as actually changing the brush stroke to a different brush type after the fact.  But I agree that purely vector brushes would be great, if Serif could get it right.

The one thing I would say about the type of brushes in AD/DrawPlus vs purely vector brushes is that the raster brush with vector path is much more efficient.  So if you were to take an Illustrator brush set and convert it to a brush for Affinity Designer, you could draw far more brush strokes before performance begins to degrade.  For that reason, I converted a lot of my Illustrator brushes for use in DrawPlus.

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Hi ashf

For real vector brushes. Maybe take a look at Xara graphics designer e.g. Magix
graphics designer ?  But sorry only for PC.

Magix (Xara) graphics Designer is a nice compainon to Affinity Designer.
Xara has both, real vector brushes and vector-bitmap brushes smiliar to Affinity Designer
and a few other features that Affinity Designer users would like to have in Affinity Designer.

Here a Post from me about a few features of Xara,
but sorry it works only on PC:
a few of Xaras features

For Mac and IOS i can recommend "Graphic"
On IOS "Graphic" works very well and very sensitive
with the Apple Pencil an has nice Features like step wise
copy, rotation, scaling and also an vector eraser.
For 10 Euros there is nothing to complain about.

Here is a Link to the Graphic Website



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4 hours ago, 2ddpainter said:

"Graphics" has a real Vector Brush too.

If they had a free demo version I might grab that just to be sure, but since I'm not seeing that and it doesn't really appear to be worth the admittedly small price they are asking for it (at least not for me), what exactly are you interpreting "vector brush" to mean?

From what little information I can gather from the web site, it looks like the only options for brushes are various tweaks on a circular/oval type shape.  Affinity Designer can do that too.

What is being requested here is something more like this: 


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Hi, I was just experimenting with Designer/iPad with the Apple Pencil2 to reuse it in my Designer/Desktop logo design. I just realised the so-called "vector"-brush is no real vector brush!

I'm in the transition from my old creative suite to the affinity apps, and I must say I'm very surprised, that many features are still only raster-based.

...like these brushes or the live-perspective filter. Or some shadow-effects, which are unnecessarily rasterising unaffected parts of vector elements, if exported to pdf.


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/17/2020 at 10:00 AM, ashf said:

According to Serif staff MEB said, it seems that the vector brush will be improved in future release.


There is a lot of future ahead of us.

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