Affinity Blog Posts
Affinity Designer has a lot of great keyboard shortcuts as part of the standard installation. What's nice is that you can pretty much set your own shortcut to whatever works for you.
When I was using Photoshop, a long time ago, I got in the habit of using Shift Command D to place images. So for a while, I replaced the Affinity Designer section for "Place Images" with the Shift Command D.
Place Image Tool
Recently I have learned that the "Place Image Tool" offers the same flexibility to inserting images using the "Place" menu which is located under the File menu.
There's no short-cut assigned to the "Place Image Tool." The letter 'i' is assigned to the Color Picker, which I hardly use. It didn't make sense to have a short-cut to something that I don't use.
Last week, I decided to change the shortcut 'i' for the "Place Image Tool." The keyboard shortcut has come in handy so many times.
Remember the Place Image Options
The one thing I have to keep in mind is all the options when placing an image:
|Drag||To place your image. (This is what I should do.)|
|Click||To place your image at default size. (This is usually what I do.)|
|Control||to preview the image before dragging|
|Command||To place center about the starting point|
|Shift||To drag without keeping the aspect ratoi|
|Option||To ignore snapping (if its on)|
This is a good reminder to evaluate all the different keyboard shortcuts in Affinity Designer. Are there any that could be changed to make your life easier?
You can see all the keyboard shortcuts by going under Preferences and selecting Keyboard Shortcuts.
Affinity Designer includes a lot of great keyboard shortcuts. These shortcuts make things so much easier.
The tools menu has a lot of great shortcuts enabled by default. For fun, I put in the shortcut letters (abcfghimnpvyz) in an anagram generator to see if some words might come out to help remember some of the letters.
The biggest word to come out was: Champing
Here's what "Champing" represents:
|I||Color Picker Tool|
Most Popular Keys
These are the four most popular toolbar shortcut keys that I need to learn and start using. Learning these will save me a lot of time.
These are the most common tools I use:
|B||Vector Brush Tool||Drawing|
|H||View Tool||Move the canvas around.|
|T||Text Tool||Type some text.|
|V||Move||Move Objects around the canvas|
The initals BHTV is Beverly HIlls Television. That won't help remember the shortcuts, but it is interesting.
Convert to Curve or Rasterize?
Why You Would Converting to Curve?
Converting a vector object to Curve allows you to manipulate the object even more.
You can change individual letters in a text so they appear in different colors or styles.
This is a very common action, so much so that Affinity Designer has made it easy to do the conversion.
When the object is selected:
- Click on the "Convert to Curve" in the toolbar.
- In the Layers menu select the "Convert to Curves" menu option.
- Right Click on the object and select "Convert to Curve"
- Use they keyboard shortcut: Command Return
After the object is changed you should see the "(Curve)" in the object Layer row.
Why You Would Rasterize an Object?
Rasterizing is when you want to convert an object into a Pixel object.
This is usually done when you import an image and want to do some changes to it. When you rasterize an image, anything outside of the canvas will get chopped off.
You placed an image in a document and you want to remove anything not on the canvas.
Affinity Designer Brushes
In Affinity Designer there are two types of brush controls. When you're using the Designer Persona you have a very limited set of brush options. However, when you're in Pixel Persona you have a lot more options.
See that you have more options in the Pixel Persona
Five Things I Learned
Only Pixel brushes are available in the Pixel Persona. So if you installed brushes and don't see them in Affinity Designer it's probably because you're not in the right persona.
The Pixel Persona gives you a lot more controls with Flow and scatter, something that isn't available in the Designer Persona.
Click the "Duplicate" button when making changes so that you can access the settings whenever you want.
After using the brush make sure to rasterize the layer.
If you are using Affinity Designer brush a lot you may want to get a Wacom tablet so that you can add pressure effect to the brushes - giving a more realistic look.
Quickly Export Artboard Sections
Affinity Designer's ArtBoard feature makes it easy to work on different size images at the same time. I can work on an image for Desktop users at the same time as Mobile users.
Exporting ArtBoard can be tricky as for the longest time I exported each ArtBoard via the Export option. There is a better way.
The secret to properly exporting an ArtBoard is to use the export persona. You can export the individual ArtBoard as their names with a click of a button.
Tips and Tricks
If your using templates, you should define the default ArtBoard preset in the template. Simply edit the template and set the compression in each ArtBoard in the Export Persona.
Affinity Designer does not support variables. So you can’t set up an ArtBoard template and have a different Layer Slice name every time you open it.
The name of the slice is the name of the output image.
Use the "Export Slices" button (see Green Box in the graphic) at the bottom of the slices tab to export all the ArtBoards at once. This is your one click and done.
Checklist Functionality in Affinity Designer
There is no checklist functionality in Affinity Designer or Affinity Photo. While you can create bullet lists, you can't create checklists.
At least not out of the box, but there is an easy way to change that.
You simply use custom paragraph styles with the "Emoji & Symbols" functionality. Here's how to get it done.
Steps the create your Custom Checklist
The best way to understand how to do this is to watch it in action.
Things To Note
To create a checkbox, you should create a new paragraph style called CheckBox.
Add a Billet list, and then change the text.
You can get the Checkbox from the "Emoji & Symbols" dialog box. Its in the Bullets/Stars section. (You can search for Ballot Box)
Expand the default "Emoji & Symbols" box by clicking on the icon in the top right corner.
Don't forget to click Ok once done.
You will need to create the style for every new document.
If you use templates, if you create the style in the master template, it will be available in every new iteration.
Remember the shortcut to open up the "Emoji & Symbols" dialog: Control - Command - Space.
This is a sample design of all the cool things you can do with the checklist in Affinity Designer and the symbols in the "Emoji & Symbols" section.
Make Your Own Asset Panel
The Asset panel in Affinity Designer is a great way to store common graphic files. It's a great way to reuse common everyday objects.
You can expand your collection by downloading some prebuilt Asset libraries online. Here are some places that have Affinity Designer Assets:
- Download Clouds and Skies for background Posts
- Download isolated Objects - perfect for when you need a fill a space up.
- FreeiesBug.com has a lot of great design resources to download.
Creating Your Own
In the above graphic, you can see how I moved the images in the AI file into my own Asset collection. Now I have access to the balloon graphics whenever I want.
Key Tips and Tricks
Create a new Asset Category. This can be done by going to the panel preferences. That's located at the top right of the panel. This will help you be more organize and you can easily remove it at a later date.
When you're doing this from AI or EPS files, make sure to GROUP the items before dragging and dropping it to the Asset Panel. Keyboard Shortcut: Command G
I usually lock the layers first before doing any selection. This prevents you from accidentally moving objects in the file during your selection.
I then switch to the "Outline view mode." Keyboard Shortcut: Command Y. This way I can see the lines that I want to use.
After you select the items, use Command G to group them. Then move the objects to the Assets panel
Affinity Designer Calendar Asset
Affinity Designer is a great tool to create graphics. It easy too use and has a lot of capabilities.
Affinity Designer Assets is a group of graphics that you can reuse anytime you want. Think of it as a personal library file for any function or style when you need it.
There are some sites that offer templates and Assets. One good place is the Affinity Resources in the Affinity forums. You can get a lot of great brushes and templates.
Business Planner Asset
Recently, I was looking for a Quarterly Calendar, and couldn't find one. So I thought I create a Affinity Designer Asset that contains months for Q3 and Q4 in 2019. It's handy to have if you're doing any planning.
Here's the output of all the months:
The nice thing is that you can resize these to fit any design you want. In addition, you can color the days or weeks to highlight certain events. In short, its a very handy template to use.
Affinity Photo Dust and Scratches
One of the cool features that I like in Affinity Photo is the 'Dust and Scratches' filter. This has been a time saver in touching up some old photos that were scanned in.
I am putting together a slide show of old pictures for a 50th birthday party. Many of the old photos from the 1960s and 1970s weren't stored right and as results have little specs on them. They aren't really noticeable until you look at the photo after scanning them in.
After I touch up the photo and use Auto White Balance and Auto Levels, I then apply the 'Set and Scratches' feature.
Basically the Dust and Scratches adds a bit of a blur to the photo. It's a quick way to clear up the white dots, but it can make the photo look different, which is why it's important to only apply a small radius.
Not in Pixelmator
Last year, while working on a different photo project, I used Pixelmator's Repair Tool to clean up photos with the scratch. It worked great, but there were a few photos where there were a lot of small dust. I ended up skipping a lot of the smaller dust because it wasn't worth the time or effort.
Available in Photoshop Elements
The features isn't exclusive to Affinity Photo, you can easily remove Dust and Scratches in Photoshop Elements - and I assume Photoshop too.
Photoshop Element adds a zoom in feature which makes it a bit easier to see what happens if you have large radius.
Today I Learned
My advice is to apply a very small Dust and Scratches radius, just enough so that a lot of the smaller white dots are gone. Then use the 'Inpainting Brush Tool' to get some of the bigger dust and scratches.
Also it's a good idea to make a copy of the photo that you are retouching. Technology is always changing. There might be an easier way to clean up the photo, and you don't want to have to rescan the original photo to take advantage of the technology.
Memes in Affinity Designer
If your looking to create MEME in Affinity Designer or Affinity Photo here's some useful information.
Example of a typical MEME
If you have Affinity Designer or Photo you already have a powerful tool to create MEMEs.
The ideal Font font to use is Impact, with some black border. The font size varies on the length of the text.
To make life easier, download the Memes Asset that I created.
Download Memes Assets for Affinity Designer.
Ideal MEME size
The ideal MEME size is 604 by 506, depending on the graphic and the source. But it can be any size that you want. I created this useful graphic to help you create a typical Meme:
There's a template in the Memes Asset too. I'll update the Asset as I think of other things that seem appropriate.
Have fun making cool Memes.
OmniGraphic Margin Functionality
When you export a graphic in OmniGraphic, you can optionally add a margin to the image. This adds a small transparent margin around the image. This is useful if you include the graphic in an email and would like a small margin so the text doesn't cram up to the image.
Web Developers can always add a style class so that image floats on the page, but you don't always have that control in some applications.
OmniGraffle Export Dialog box
What about Affinity?
In Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo there is no option in the Export Persona or File->Export mode.
You can easily achieve this functionality in Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo. You simply create a style to add a transparent border around your object.
Create a Outer Shadow Effect:
You won't see anything when you apply this to an object, but when you switch to the Export Persona, you will see an extra border around the image. This is to show you that the extra space that you added.
In Export Persona mode there is an indicator that there's more to the image than meets the eye.
Created a couple of Styles with different radius to make it easier when you want different size margins around your image.
Affinity Designer Calendar Template
I was putting together some calendar design in Affinity Designer for project planning. I couldn't find an easy way to create a grid calendar. I checked various Affinity Designer template sites and didn't see any 2017 Calendars that allowed customizations.
So, I decided to use some of the functionality in OmniGraffle Professional and design March and April 2017. I then imported the table into Affinity Designer and added some styles and grouping:
If you have Affinity Designer, feel free to download my template file and customize it for any type of planning that you want to do.
Stitching Panoramas in Affinity Photo
One of the really nice things I like about Affinity Photo is how easy it to create Panoramas from a set of photos.
Take a look at a couple of photos that were generated from Affinity Photo:
Spaceship Earth at night
Patriot's Parade in Copley Square.
The first thing to learn about making awesome Panoramic Photos is taking the proper photos. If you don't have a good selection, then your results won't be good.
Four things that I have learned:
- Make sure to take enough pictures that you want to use.
- Have a good overlap between shots
- Keep your camera steady with the horizon.
- Keep the light balance the same between shots.
- Avoid having moving objects such as cars and people in the shots.
Using Panoramic Functionality in Affinity Photo
It's super simple to generate Panoramic pictures:
Figure out which photos that you want to use in your Panoramic. I find it easier to create a folder on the desktop and put the photos that I want to use in there.
- Open up Affinity Photo
- Select “New Panorama..." from the file menu
- Click 'Add' and navigate to the Desktop and select all the photos that you want to use.
- Render the image by clicking on 'Stitch Panorama'
- Do a quick check and make sure the finish product looks good in the preview.
- Click on the Crop icon, and in the top toolbar look for 'Crop to Opaque.' (It's on the far right of the toolbar.) This will give you the best crop for your image.
- Use the Inpainting Brush to fix any gaps.
If you find that your cropping large areas of your photo, you need to learn the fundamental of taking good panoramic photos: keeping the horizon the same in all your shots.
Affinity Photo recommends to use a tripod to take panoramas, but that's not always easy to do. Once you learn how easy to create Panoramas in Affinity Photo you'll be thinking twice when taking pictures on your next vacation.
Why not just use iPhone Pano?
The key reason of using Affinity Photo over the built in Pano on the iPhone is that you have a lot more flexibility. You can modify the pictures before stitching them together, fix the horizon and much more.
Better Arrows in Affinity Designer
Affinity Designer doesn't include any line arrows by default. So, I created some using the arrow functionality in Skitch.
These are all curves types, which means that you easily adjust the shape and the colors. They should look good regardless of the image size. The only problem that I encountered is how Affinity Designer displays the preview of the two arrows that are point to the right a bit weird:
The arrows are there and correct. If you know a better way to make it look good in the Asset panel, let me know!
Download the Better Arrows Asset to install it in your Affinity Designer environment.
Affinity Designer Stamps
I created 9 different Stamp graphics to use with Affinity Designer. Whenever you need to Approve/Reject something you simply drag the graphic from the Asset panel to your image. These are 100% vector objects so you can resize, change the color and alignment to make it look good.
8 Easy Stamps included
- QA Approve
Let me know if there any other stamp type that you would like to see. I’ll update the collection based on suggestions by the Internet community.