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When using the brush tool in Affinity apps I always get very odd brush size increments when using the square bracket ( [ ] ) keys to change the brush size. 


If I use a 10px brush and use "]" to size it up one increment, it doesn't go to the expected 15px, but rather to 11,5 px. :42_confused:
And then, if I press the "[" key to size the brush back down to 10px from 11,5px, it randomly ends up at 9,8px (?).
Pressing "]" three times from 9px results in 9px, 10,4px, 11,9px, and 13,7px, instead of the expected 9px, 10px, 15px, and 20px values.
I find this a bit strange, as I feel that decimal pixel values for brush sizes make little to no difference, and it's just generally odd that using the square brackets to change brush sizes doesn't just use rounded increments - I hate mentioning Photoshop as a reference example, but if if ain't broke...


For instance, using the brackets between the values 1px and 10px should only change the brush size in increments of 1px (1,2,3,4,5px...), anything between 10px and 50px should change in increments of 5px (10, 15, 20, 25, 30px...), anything between 50px and 100px should change in increments of 10px (50, 60, 70, 80, 90px...), anything between 100px and 200px should change in increments of 25px (100, 125, 150, 200px), then 50px, and anything above 300px should change in increments of 100px every time you press the square bracket(s). 

Is there a significance to these weird, decimal pixel increment values?
If so, is there a way to change it back to something more normal/user friendly?

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Hey ChristiduToit,

Brush sizes increment by 15% each time (and will round up) so if you start with a 100px brush, you will jump to 115px and then the next jump will be 132.3px (actually 132.25 but remember I said it rounds up). 

The reason you end up on 9.8px is that 15% of 11.5 is 1.72. You then have 11.5 - 1.72 = 9.78 (rounds up to 9.8px). I hope this makes sense!

I'm not sure why we chose 15% but I can find out if you're interested! 

I do believe that the pixel brush should increment in whole pixels only so this may slightly change somewhat in the future but it will still be 15% increments. 

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This sounds so much like a preference in the making...


From one perspective, using percentages for this makes a lot of sense and is fairly straightforward compared to using some kind of stepping function.  For vector work you *might* get away with this much of the time.


From another, however, the use of fractional pixel sizes for a raster brush is indeed rather strange, and simply trying to round this is kind of sloppy...


Assume for a moment that you round up when increasing the brush size and down when decreasing.  Starting from a 1px brush you wind up with:


1 * 1.15 = 1.15 -> 2

2 * 1.15 = 2.3 -> 3

3 * 1.15 = 3.45 -> 4

4 * 1.15 = 4.6 -> 5

5 * 1.15 = 5.75 -> 6

6 * 1.15 = 6.9 -> 7

7 * 1.15 = 8.05 -> 9

9 * 1.15 = 10.35 -> 11

11 * 1.15 = 12.65 -> 13



continuing with that pattern: 15, 18, 21, 25, 29, 34, 40, 47, 55, 64, ...



If we then match this going downward by always rounding down, then starting with a brush size of 309 (which is reached by the above pattern after a while), you get:


309 * 0.85 = 262.65 -> 262

262 * 0.85 = 222.7 -> 222

222 * 0.85 = 188.7 -> 188


and continuing: 159, 135, 114, 96, 81, 68, 57, 48, 40, ...



Note that the pattern coming downward does not match the numbers from the pattern going up.  That means that implementing such a scheme will lead to brush sizes that cannot be returned to by "going the other way".


NOTE: 40 -> 47 -> 55, but 55 -> 46 -> 39


Simple rounding won't work with the smaller sizes because 1 * 1.15 = 1.15 which would round back down to 1 and the size would never change.

Simple rounding on the way down won't work either (2 * 0.85 = 1.7 -> 2).



I would be ok with the pattern of jumps if it were consistent in both directions, but the fact that going up a size and going down a size don't match is something I find rather...  not to be liked?

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@fde101 Wow, that's quite an elaborate analysis, haha. But you're totally right. It doesn't really matter which pattern is used, the increments should remain consistent when sizing up and sizing back down, and with no decimal spaces for pixel brushes. 

@Chris B Thank you for clarifying!
15% does seem a bit odd (I still feel using ascending increments of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, etc is a more practical for pixel/raster work), but it's not a train smash, rather just something to get used to. 
As I mentioned in my reply to fde101's comment, I think it would just be nice if there was a way to keep consistency when sizing up and/or down. When I use the brackets to size up and then down again it would be far nicer if I ended up with the same value as what I started with. I believe most apps (in fact, pretty much all design/art/photo editing apps) work in this way, and I guess there's a good reason why - it works well. :)

Perhaps, like fde101 said, this could be a good thing to consider adding to the Preferences, where you can pick what sizing unit you use (mm, pt, px, percentage, etc) as well as the increment value for sizing up and down. 

Again, not a train smash, but it would be a nice touch, and would also make new users feel a lot more at home as it would be similar the other apps they use, or have used in before Affinity. 


Side note:
I've recommended Affinity to a lot of my illustration and design friends, and some love it, but I've noticed that the ones who couldn't get accustomed to using it usually listed the subtle differences as their primary reason. Small things that are often taken for granted in other apps, like the odd decimal brush increments; not being able to hold Shift for the freehand selection tool to add to the selection; the freehand selection tool resetting the settings (New, Add, Subtract, Intersect) every time you use the tool; not being able to select a custom cursor for you brush (like a single pixel dot, or crosshair only for precision painting); not being able to left click on the artboard to toggle the brushes panel, the hold and release shortcut to quickly switch between tools (eg. Brush Tool and Eraser), etc. Humans are creatures of habit, so the more at home you can make them feel when using the apps the more likely they are to stick around. Definitely not criticising Affinity in any way (Affinity is my number 1 tool, I love the apps!), but just some food for thought.

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15 hours ago, ChristiduToit said:

15% does seem a bit odd (I still feel using ascending increments of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, etc is a more practical for pixel/raster work), but it's not a train smash, rather just something to get used to. 

I have queried it but I think whole pixels would be better—especially for the Pixel Brush Tool. I've checked PS and they do 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 60, 70 etc. 

I'll go over your side notes as a few of them piqued my interest. 

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On 9/5/2019 at 10:34 AM, Chris B said:

I have queried it but I think whole pixels would be better—especially for the Pixel Brush Tool. I've checked PS and they do 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 60, 70 etc. 

I'll go over your side notes as a few of them piqued my interest. 

Awesome, glad to hear it!

*Another tool that I often hear people talk about is a dedicated Rotation tool, so that you can easily rotate the image/canvas while you work/draw/paint instead of having to add in a custom keyboard shortcut.

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  • 6 months later...

I also would very much like this to be redesign so that increments are always by 1px with small brushes (1-20px range maybe) then it can be by 5px for bigger ones.
The inablity to go back to the original size of the brush right now (using increase/decrease size brush shurtcuts) is one of the most frustrating things in AP for me.

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@Rafal @Chris B
I 100% agree. The pixel increments are WAY more intuitive, precise, and easy to work with than the percentage system that Affinity currently uses. They already have the brush modifier keyboard shortcut (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jro8dF3tZXI) for the more obscure brush sizes, so it would be nice to keep things precise when using the keyboard/square brackets to resize.

There's a reason why pretty much ALL other apps handle their brush sizes this way - because it works best! :) 

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We have made fixes/improvements to this area (Pixel Brush Tool (and possibly Raster Brush Tool) should increment in steps not percent) of the program in the latest customer beta. If you would like to try these changes the beta software is available in the forum posts listed below.

For now the Pixel brush has been improved to increment in single pixel steps

The latest beta builds are downloadable from links at the top of each of these beta forum posts.

These betas install parallel, next to the release version (they do not overwrite your release) and so the fixes can be tried in the beta without affecting your normal workflow in the release version.

Once these programs have been through a full beta process the change will be released in a future free 1.8.1/1.8.2 update/patch to all customers.

Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility lies in being superior to your previous self."  W. L. Sheldon


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@Patrick Connor
Awesome, thanks Patrick.
Sadly, the raster brush tool is really where this would be best. :)
Decimal pixel values for raster brushes don't really make sense (and make the bracket sizing shortcut pretty useless), and, as I mentioned before, no other app that I'm aware of handle brush size increments in the way that Affinity apps do. I love Affinity apps and use them daily, but I will say that other apps don't handle it this way for a good reason - it works, and has worked for many many years (if it ain't broke, you know). 
It's what designers, photo editors and digital painters have become accustomed to over the years, so it's a bit disorientating when an app doesn't work this way.

I did test the beta, and everything's all good. I do think that the size increments can increase the bigger the brush is.
For lack of a better example, I mean pretty much exactly the same as Photoshop handles the brush sizing.

Regarding the brushes themselves, I'm still experiencing some odd brush behaviour. 
Slight latency/lag at the beginning of my strokes, and some odd unwanted thin tapers at the beginning of my strokes too when using my drawing tablet. 

It got me thinking. Is Affinity designed specifically for retina displays?
I'm using an HD display, and the drawing tablet pen input just feels quite off when drawing/painting. 
It feels almost half as accurate as it should be (and I'm starting to think it's because I don't have a retina display on my computer or tablet), and I've posted about this numerous times.
Could this be causing the brush/tablet inaccuracy issues?

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Stumbled upon this issue myself. The 15% increment is indeed a really weird decision.

1. I can't switch quickly between 2-3 different brush sizes. If I start with a 64px brush and I go a couple steps up, I'm unable to get back to 64px no matter what I try. It goes 64 -> 73.6 -> 84.6 -> 71.9 -> 61.2
2. Why is there a 57.3px size for a raster brush? It would make a lot more sense to round these values to whole numbers.
3. 1px increment for the Pixel Tool is too small when using larger brushes. This issue is very noticeable when you want to use the [ ] shortcuts to quickly switch between a couple different brush sizes.

IMHO the best way to handle this, is to have a predefined range of brush sizes to go through, smaller steps for smaller values, larger steps for larger values.


There is another issue with the Liquify Persona:
Regular Photo Persona brush size slider is exponential, it goes 0-100 for the first half of the slider, and then up to 4k for the second half of the slider. This makes it really convenient when working with smaller brushes.

In Liquify Persona, brush size slider is linear, with smaller brush sizes being almost inaccessible due to not only being a small % of 4k, but also due to snapping points on the slider at 32, 64, 128, etc. I haven't been using Liquify Persona much, but is it that common to use 2k - 4k brushes for liquify effects? I never wok with images larger than 4k (rarely 4k), so a 2k - 4k brush seems excessive to me. The performance when using large brushes is also horrible. I was wondering if it would make more sense to use an exponential slider for Liquify Persona as well?


P.S. Similarly to brush sizes, current "CTRL + Scroll" zoom increments also make no sense since you always end up at some weird 147.4% zoom values. A predefined range or just absolute step values would be so much better.

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@Devil_Inside @Chris B
I'm 100% on board with that!

In the Tools section of the Preferences you can just add an option to either use percentage or pixel values to change brush sizes, then everyone can choose what they prefer. It will make it a lot more accommodating to people switching from other software to Affinity. Everybody wins!

Being innovative and/or different is great and can open a lot of doors, but right now Adobe dominates this market and has for many many (many) years. Most people are coming from Adobe, and have a background in using Adobe - they know the software, and most actually really still like Photoshop, it's just super pricey. From a marketing and realistic point of view, most people that are coming to Affinity (Photo) right now are, somewhat sadly, just looking for a subscription-free alternative to Adobe (Photoshop), rather than something that operates a lot differently. A lot of people don't want to learn the ins and outs all over again (it can be challenging and takes ages), so if you set things up in a way that's familiar to them by default, they're more likely to stick around. Professionals might be doing this for a living and don't have the time to dedicate to learning a new and complex piece of software. They just need to switch  seamlessly and be able to keep chipping away at client work without stopping to figure things out first. This is not only referring to the brush sizing, but really in general. I reckon innovating on the bigger tools is great because they make new things possible, but for all the small things (brushes, shortcuts, tool settings, etc), try and keep them as similar as possible so that newcomers can just hit the ground running. Just my two cents. :) 

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