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HenrikM

Affinity Presents - Filling a hole in the market

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There is no good presentation program in the PC/Windows market.
Even a very basic presentation program built on the Affinity Photo/Designer/Publisher platform and licensing model could be a killer app.

I occasionally do presentations, on topics ranging from photography and digital art to management history, agile methodologies, systems thinking, and complexity thinking. I am not the best presenter around, but I am good enough, and well know enough (, in my little corner of the world), to get paid to present.

A couple of years ago I switched from using Macs to using PCs, and I more or less stopped doing presentations, except at work, where I used PowerPoint. Can't hold a candle to Keynote, but I used it because someone else paid for the licence.

Now, I have been asked to do a couple of presentations outside of work, in locations where there may not be a reliable WiFi connection, so I started looking for a decent presentation program that runs on the PC.

I could not find a single one!

First, I'll describe the showstoppers that keeps me from using the PC software I had a look at. Then, I'll write about why I think adding a presentation program to the Affinity suite would be an excellent idea.

Showstoppers:

  • Licensing model: Most presentation software for the PC have a pay/month licensing model. If I was a full-time professional presenter, that might be worth it, but I am not. I expect to use the software 4-8 times per year.
  • Dependency on the Internet: I need to be able to run the presentations locally on my computer. WiFi guest networks are not always available. When they are available, they tend to be unreliable.
  • Quality: Basic things, like doing a cross fade between pictures, tend to suck in opensource programs like LibreOffice. Don't get me started on the cluttered LibreOffice Impress user interface, designed to show off as much functionality as possible, while completely ignoring how presenters think and work.
     

Each one of the three problems above is enough to stop me from using a presentation program. While a bad user interface is painful enough on its own, if the quality of transitions is bad enough, I won't even use a free one.

I believe there are many other people who feel the same way. That creates an opportunity for Serif:

  • The Affinity products use the licensing model I want.
  • Affinity products are designed to work offline, while at the same time taking advantage of online features, like online picture libraries, when Internet connection is available.
  • The quality of Affinity products is already excellent. They take advantage of fast processors, and fast graphics cards.

In addition to solving the showstopper issues, Serif has several other strong advantages if the choose to make a presentation program:

  • Much of the functionality has already been built:
    • Excellent drawing tools
    • Great image processing tools
    • Asset manager
    • Online image libraries
    • Page management

...and so on.

The only things missing are page transitions, simple animation features, and a presentation mode.

 Because of the very tight integration between Affinity products, I believe a presentation program would require a modest investment in terms of time and effort. At the same time, the integration would make it uniquely powerful.

It would be possible to design the program so that it focuses on graphics, not on bullet points, which would be great.

What do you think of the idea?

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I'm not sure we need another of these: https://www.customshow.com/best-powerpoint-alternatives-presentation-programs/

At the bottom we can read:

Quote

There are probably an additional 50 – 80 presentation software tools we missed on this list.

 

EDIT: And I would add that when I need to do a presentation, I usually create a PDF that can be easily opened everywhere, and don't need to read doc to remember how to do this effect or this one. But I certainly miss some important features that pro creating presentations use all the time :)

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2 hours ago, HenrikM said:

The only things missing are page transitions, simple animation features, and a presentation mode.

The developers have made it clear that they have no intention of adding any kind of animation features to the Affinity suite.


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.3.481 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.3.155 • Designer for iPad 1.7.3.1 • iPadOS 13.2.2 (iPad Air 2)

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4 hours ago, Wosven said:

I'm not sure we need another of these: https://www.customshow.com/best-powerpoint-alternatives-presentation-programs/

At the bottom we can read:

 

EDIT: And I would add that when I need to do a presentation, I usually create a PDF that can be easily opened everywhere, and don't need to read doc to remember how to do this effect or this one. But I certainly miss some important features that pro creating presentations use all the time :)

I do not want anyone of those! Except for Keynote, the programs on the list are either crapware presentation programs, or programs that are not presentation programs at all. For example, Camtasia is a very good program, but it is a screen recorder, not a presentation program, Windows Movie Maker is a video editing program, and so on. 

Most of the presentation programs in the list don't work offline. Many of them have pay-until-you-die subscription models. The first program on the list, CustomShow, you can't even buy without talking to a sales person first. LibreOffice Impress can't handle a simple cross fade correctly. Reallusion requires Google Slides to work, and Google Slides presentations loose all pictures when you try to show a presentation while offline, even if the pictures you have linked to are stored locally on the hard drive.

It is because of junk programs such as those on the list, that I believe there is room for a simple, but high quality, presentation program on the market.

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4 hours ago, Alfred said:

The developers have made it clear that they have no intention of adding any kind of animation features to the Affinity suite.

There is no good reason to add animation to the current suite of programs.

However, a presentation program would be another matter. For a presentation, a simple animation feature would make sense.

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53 minutes ago, HenrikM said:

There is no good reason to add animation to the current suite of programs.

However, a presentation program would be another matter. For a presentation, a simple animation feature would make sense.

All the indications are that Serif is now working exclusively on their Affinity suite, so any presentation app would be part of that suite. If that is the case, the same constraints would apply.


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.3.481 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.3.155 • Designer for iPad 1.7.3.1 • iPadOS 13.2.2 (iPad Air 2)

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1 hour ago, Alfred said:

All the indications are that Serif is now working exclusively on their Affinity suite, so any presentation app would be part of that suite. If that is the case, the same constraints would apply.

I did suggest that Affinity Presents would be part of the Affinity suite. I listed several reasons for why this would be a good idea in my original posting.
 
Even so, creating a new app would require time, and quite a bit of work, and that would slow down development of the applications they already have, so whether it is a good idea, depends on how good the business case is. I believe there could be a good business case, but that is for the people at Serif to decide.

If they add a new application, any new application, it would not have the same constraints as the existing applications. If it had, it would not be able to do anything new.

Photo, Designer, and Publisher have a partially overlapping set of constraints, but it is not the same set for all applications. A new application in the suite would also have a set of constraints that are partially new, and partially overlap.

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10 hours ago, HenrikM said:

Showstoppers:

  • Licensing model: Most presentation software for the PC have a pay/month licensing model. If I was a full-time professional presenter, that might be worth it, but I am not. I expect to use the software 4-8 times per year.
  • Dependency on the Internet: I need to be able to run the presentations locally on my computer. WiFi guest networks are not always available. When they are available, they tend to be unreliable.
  • Quality: Basic things, like doing a cross fade between pictures, tend to suck in opensource programs like LibreOffice. Don't get me started on the cluttered LibreOffice Impress user interface, designed to show off as much functionality as possible, while completely ignoring how presenters think and work.

Hi HenrikM. Have you tried Softmaker Office (Presentations)?

https://www.softmaker.com/en/softmaker-office-presentations

- The licence can be bought in a one time purchase.
- It's not dependant on the Internet. It runs on your computer.
- The quality is pretty good (performance, compatibility with MS Office, etc.). I use it and I have no complains till now.

Also, there is a free version (FreeOffice) with some limitations but it let you try its features before buy the complete version.

Edit: The price of the complete version is very affordable too.

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1 hour ago, HenrikM said:

If they add a new application, any new application, it would not have the same constraints as the existing applications. If it had, it would not be able to do anything new.

 Photo, Designer, and Publisher have a partially overlapping set of constraints, but it is not the same set for all applications. A new application in the suite would also have a set of constraints that are partially new, and partially overlap.

I was referring specifically to the constraint of excluding animation features.


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.3.481 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.3.155 • Designer for iPad 1.7.3.1 • iPadOS 13.2.2 (iPad Air 2)

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2 hours ago, elmonopascual said:

Hi HenrikM. Have you tried Softmaker Office (Presentations)?

https://www.softmaker.com/en/softmaker-office-presentations

- The licence can be bought in a one time purchase.
- It's not dependant on the Internet. It runs on your computer.
- The quality is pretty good (performance, compatibility with MS Office, etc.). I use it and I have no complains till now.

Also, there is a free version (FreeOffice) with some limitations but it let you try its features before buy the complete version.

Edit: The price of the complete version is very affordable too.

Thank you for the tip.

I downloaded SoftMaker and tried it out.

When I tried to do a fade between two slides, the screen first faded to black, then went from black to the second picture. That is a bug, plain and simple. A cross fade must not have a fade to black in the middle.

I also tried a dissolve, and the picture dissolved into rather large pixels. Very far from the smooth transition you get with Keynote.

The other transitions were a mixed bag. Some looked pretty good.

However, the abominable cross fade is a showstopper. Cross Fade is the transition I use for nearly all slides in a presentation, and the reason for that is simple: It is the only one that does not look jarring when you watch a presentation.

I have paying audiences. I will not show them anything that looks clunky or ugly (except when on purpose, of course).

There are a couple of other problems too, like the software locking up if it cannot access a license server, which it tries to access at random intervals. That means if the company that makes SoftMaker goes out of business, the software will eventually lock up and become useless. It also means the software can suddenly lock up while you are about to do a presentation, if it decides to check for a license server, and cannot access the Internet.

So, I am afraid this is not the presentation software I need or want.

It looks to me like PowerPoint, despite its many flaws, is the only thing that comes close to a professional presentation program running on Windows. For now, that is probably the way I have to go.

If Serif did a presentation program, as long as it has a working cross fade, I'd ditch PowerPoint in a second.

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Hi HenrikM. If you feel the application is not what you need its Ok.

I think the transition you want is not called fade but blend (or something like that: in my language (spanish) it appears as "mezcla"). I attach you a video so you can see how it looks.

Maybe that transition is not present in the free version.

Regarding to the license server, I disconnected for a while and worked with the application and I had not problems.

In the forum they say the Internet Connection is required to activate the software, and it just shouldn't do it again unless you change your hardware.

By the way: the company is producing this kind of software since 1987.

 

But again, you should work with a software you feel well. I hope you can find it.

 

Greets!

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11 minutes ago, elmonopascual said:

Hi HenrikM. If you feel the application is not what you need its Ok.

I think the transition you want is not called fade but blend (or something like that: in my language (spanish) it appears as "mezcla"). I attach you a video so you can see how it looks.

Maybe that transition is not present in the free version.

Regarding to the license server, I disconnected for a while and worked with the application and I had not problems.

In the forum they say the Internet Connection is required to activate the software, and it just shouldn't do it again unless you change your hardware.

By the way: the company is producing this kind of software since 1987.

 

But again, you should work with a software you feel well. I hope you can find it.

 

Thanks for the video.

I downloaded the 30 day trial version of the program, and I do not think there was a Blend transition in it.

The transition looks good, but all things considered, I'll go with PowerPoint this time around, despite its flaws.
 

The information I got about the license server was from the text in the licence agreement. The hardware configuration of my computer changes several times a week, because I connect different devices depending on what I do. The changes I make probably do not trigger a search for the licence server, but then again, they just might.

With PowerPoint, at least I know what I'll get: A presentation program with a paradigm so bad it contributed to two spaceshuttle crashes.

Most of the other programs I have looked at try to emulate the program that made the spaceshuttles crash as closely as possible. One would think there would be room for better products in the market.

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finding this a hard to use vehicle after few months so if it's me i'll bite the bullet and go back to photoshop where at least the icons are visible and a good size.....ideas to help ? classes on line etc.. i'll try rather than waste more time  then blow it out

Edited by philipt101

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I have seen some good presentations made with Prezi. It seems to be quite sound software. Not for Mac unfortunately.

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On 9/5/2019 at 11:27 PM, philipt101 said:

finding this a hard to use vehicle after few months so if it's me i'll bite the bullet and go back to photoshop where at least the icons are visible and a good size.....ideas to help ? classes on line etc.. i'll try rather than waste more time  then blow it out

I am afraid you are in the wrong thread, but yes, there is a lot of material on how to use Affinity Photo:

  • Serif has videos on Youtube that are very good. Plenty of material made by others too.
  • There are books available. Check out the Serif home page, or just the splash screen of your application.
  • The online Help is actually helpful. Try it and see.

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On 9/7/2019 at 10:06 AM, Fixx said:

I have seen some good presentations made with Prezi. It seems to be quite sound software. Not for Mac unfortunately.

Prezi is a good presentation program. Unfortunately, their pay-until-you-die ransomware subscription model eliminates Prezi as a contender no matter how powerful the software is.

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Have you looked at Keynote (free, app on macOS/iOS/iPadOS, web on iCloud.com with your Apple ID login)? I read through the thread and it's not clear how explicit the offline+Windows requirement is.


https://bmb.photos | https://vocallength.com | https://khonsuapp.com Focus: The unexpected, the abstract, the extreme on screen, paper, & other physical outputTools: macOS (Primary: Mojave, MBP2018), Canon (Primary: 5D3), iPhone (Primary: X), Epson

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On 8/31/2019 at 8:34 AM, Wosven said:

I'm not sure we need another of these: https://www.customshow.com/best-powerpoint-alternatives-presentation-programs/

At the bottom we can read:

 

EDIT: And I would add that when I need to do a presentation, I usually create a PDF that can be easily opened everywhere, and don't need to read doc to remember how to do this effect or this one. But I certainly miss some important features that pro creating presentations use all the time :)

Tell that to Jetbrains. They have an IDE for every top programming language. They don't say "We're not sure we need another of these". And if they don't make an IDE for "x" language, it's because another existing IDE already supports that language.

Affinity needs Presentation and Animation solftware and it will be complete. Or they can merge those to and giving us a Presentation & Animation software with 2 personas: Presentation, Animation.

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39 minutes ago, angelhdz12 said:

Affinity needs Presentation and Animation solftware and it will be complete.

Tell that to the people wanting an Affinity Video editor, or an Affinity Website Creator, or ...


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.502 Beta

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On 9/28/2019 at 7:20 PM, walt.farrell said:

Tell that to the people wanting an Affinity Video editor, or an Affinity Website Creator, or ...

Are you making fun of us? Can't tell...

HOW DARE WE wanting a complete suite of programs to be finally free from the enslaving subscription-based competitor... HOW DARE WE!

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3 hours ago, angelhdz12 said:

Are you making fun of us?

Just pointing out that your idea of "complete" and someone else's idea of "complete" are not the same.

 


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.502 Beta

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BTW, it has been a while since Adobe Persuasion was available. I remember we had a licence then..

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On 9/28/2019 at 3:39 PM, angelhdz12 said:

Affinity needs Presentation and Animation software and it will be complete. Or they can merge those to and giving us a Presentation & Animation software with 2 personas: Presentation, Animation.

The market already is saturated with both free and commercial production level animation software. Take your pick: Toonboom, TVPaint, OpenToonz, 3d animation software (Blender, Modo, Max, Maya, Lightwave), CelAction2D, Moho Pro, Flipbook, Spine, DragonBones, Krita, ClipStudio Paint EX, Animate CC, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention visual effects software which also includes very accomplished 2d (and 3d) animation features (Nuke, Fusion, HitFilm, etc.).

So just pick one of the above, and import your work. I don't think Serif is going to attempt to compete in this market with a dedicated animation tool.

That said, a simple Krita-like animation timeline would be nice to have in Affinity.

 

6 hours ago, Fixx said:

BTW, it has been a while since Adobe Persuasion was available. I remember we had a license then..

Funny, the first time when I read this sentence I read "Adobe Perversion". :-) I never knew about that software, btw.

In regards to presentation software: I create a lot of presentations/slides for my work, and I've completely given up on superfluous eye candy like transitions and animations years and years ago. I create my slides in design layout software, and export a simple PDF. Audiences are distracted and bored at the same time when faced with yet another PowerPoint-like slide collection. Nowadays I focus on the content and the content structure instead of useless slide animations and effects unless I have to show a complex topic or subject which requires animation to clarify the content. In that case I fire up a movie file.

Otherwise I just stick with simple static slides which have a good clear readability and visual hierarchy. People grow bored quickly staring at that same old cross fade or wipe-in for the umpteenth time. Good presentation technique works FAR better than someone rattling off yet another boringly animated presentation slide. The less slides to bring the message across, the better.

"Oh look, it's one of those presentations where the heading and text bullet points fly in sequentially from whichever direction" responses should be avoided. Have the audience focus on the presenter and the presented content, and avoid pointless animated effects. Avoid inserting graphics and images "just because" - there should be a valid reason. Stop brain-dumping all over your slides. Elucidate and engage and interact with your audience. Stupid pointless animation effects will just bore the audience. Clarify, use great typography, visual structure and presentation structure instead of relying on visual animated effects which no-one in your audience appreciates or cares about anyhow.

If I do need to create something eye-catching, I create it in an animation and/or visual effects package with sound and so on. But that would become a running presentation for a booth at a convention, or something. Or a museum kiosk. In these cases I have control over the hardware used as well. And in such cases I avoid traditional presentation software like the plague and opt for different solutions.

sso often have I seen presenters get into technical trouble because PowerPoint wouldn't run right, or slow, or the hardware was completely outdated and software wouldn't support their latest greatest presentation files. Or they would bring their own snazzy Mac notebook with Keynote, and forget about that RGB/HDMI regular connector.

PDF always works no matter the OS, and I bring my own portable version of PDFExchange Editor, as well as export simple PNG files just in case when presenting in locations where I haven't presented before.

If you are heck-bent on introducing slide transitions, why not export to a PDF, and assign page transitions with a PDF tool like PDFExchange Editor? Works fine.

 

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I also went to use PDFs only for presentations. Even if I use a PowerPoint master I export a PDF.

First of all for compatibiliy and long term archival.

But second I don't need or use those animstions. It's kind of not serious to use that gimmicks.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1903). Intel Core i7-9700K @ 3.60GHz, 32 GB memory, NVidia RTX 2080
Affinity Photo 1.7.2.471, Affinity Designer 1.7.2.471, Affinity Publisher 1.7.2.471

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On 10/14/2019 at 7:51 PM, Steps said:

I also went to use PDFs only for presentations. Even if I use a PowerPoint master I export a PDF.

First of all for compatibiliy and long term archival.

But second I don't need or use those animstions. It's kind of not serious to use that gimmicks.

For a lot of things, a PDF would be sufficient.

On the other hand, it would not work for me.

My photography presentations are, for the most part, technically simple. I use a simple cross-fade most of the time. There are 2-3 exceptions in most presentations though, when I need a bit more than PDF can provide.

Also, when I make presentations about systems and complexity thinking, I often need to show how things change over time, and then, animation tools are really handy. PDF would not do at all.

So, it depends on what you want to accomplish.

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