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Issue with selections - adding, subtracting, inverting

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Here's a suggestion on how to improve the way existing object selections are expanded/reduced, especially when you want to select amidst many overlapping object.

As an example, for illustrating the issue, I chose an 8x8 grid of boxes. Say I want to select objects in the corners like so:



To get this, of course you could simply select 4 times with the marquee around what you need like so...


However, there would be a simpler and faster way: select all...


... then subtract what you don't need. First, the middle columns...


... for which you would of course hold SHIFT when drawing the selection marquee.

Then the middle rows...


.. wait! That's not working... SHIFT obviously INVERTS the selection! That's not good!


Here's the wish: there should be different modifier keys to reliably ADD, SUBTRACT and INVERT the selection when using the Move Tool marquee!

This example is simple, but imagine a forest of overlapping lines, and you want to predictably select and/or deselect with the marquee. This can become a nightmare when you only have the option to INVERT the selection. Lines can become re-selected etc.

Adobe Illustrator always had the same issue, and I hate their selection mechanism for that! Had this case recently in our architectural office, editing building facade graphics. A time consuming hassle...


My proposal would be:

SHIFT always ADDS to the selection,

CTRL always SUBTRACTS from the selection (seems to be unused at the moment in the Move Tool),

CTRL-SHIFT always INVERTS the selection.

Together with the option "Select objects when intersects with selection marquee" (which by the way should be invoked with a simpler shortcut that LMB-RMB-drag!), selection mechanics would be super clean and logical!

It's kind of standard in numerous CAD applications I use (Rhino, 3d Max, ...) - always made total sense.

(Windows user here)



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Yes, please. I have no clue why this has so little activity? This is needed very, very much. If you get some artwork that had all been flattened (i.e. layers and groups removed), picking out the things you need can be really nasty.

On 8/14/2019 at 2:34 PM, Tupaia said:

CTRL always SUBTRACTS from the selection (seems to be unused at the moment in the Move Tool)

I personally would opt for Alt for subtraction (also, drag+Ctrl(Cmd) currently selects objects directly within groups, which is handy on its own) and also another mode, Ctrl(Cmd)+Alt for intersection – which would not select anything additional, unlike inversion.

📣 Go,  Affinity, go! 📣


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At least someone who gets the point... 😃
Thing is: people usually don't miss what they don't know. Or in other words, we tend to stick what we are used to.

SHIFT inverts the selection? Aww, allright, always did... Could it be any different? If there's a situation where this does not get me what I want, I used to click around until I have it selected... so what...
Believe me, guys, the moment you are used to clean selection add/subtract, you won't want to miss it anymore.

A more general comment:
I work both in architecture and as an illustrator. Both fields intermix in many ways, of course. My first and foremost weapon of choice is Rhino. Boy, do they do things like this right! You can 'fly' with that program, if you get what I mean. Reason is that they did their interaction basics right, where it counts - selection / being able to have a mixed selection on component and object level at the same time / snapping /easy command invoking (shortcuts, aliases, icons) / modelling logic / modelling axis / great mix of 2D and 3D / precision / a certain 'dryness' and 'directness' about working in the viewport (ok, I'm drifting...)
Anyway, the way they implemented the concept of 'window' and 'crossing' selection (like AD's surround select thing), combined with reliable selection subtract (CTRL) and add (SHIFT) is close to ideal. It's supposed to work like this. Anywhere.
Many Autodesk programs do it the same way. 3ds Max, AutoCAD, Revit...

What do these CAD programs have to do with illustration? A lot actually. Affinity could learn from them (and vice versa)! I don't understand why the moment it gets 'artsy', software tends to get 'sloppy' in a way, in it's user interaction. Same with Adobe Illustrator, or CorelDraw.
Please, developers, think also outside of your box (if you don't already) and take highly developed programs like Rhino etc. as an example for things like selections. (same goes the other way around - Rhino isn't perfect, too, of course, in areas where AD shines).


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