Affinity Blog Posts
Tables in Affinity Designer via Omnigraffle
In particular, the ability to create beautiful tables. Affinity Designer doesn't have any ability to create tables. However, it's easy to create tables using OnmiGraffle, and then Copy/Paste into Affinity Designer as individual objects.
Not All Apps Work the Same
I tried copy/paste tables from Apple Pages and Microsoft Word. The tables don't copy in as full objects.
The table cells are broken into different layers making it really hard to do any customizations in Affinity Designer.
OmniGraffle isn't free. In order to create tables, you need the Pro Version of OmniGraffle. The Pro version costs $249.99 or $12.24 / month subscription.
Obviously that's a pretty expensive piece of software to use just to create tables. There's a lot of cool things that you can do with OmniGraffle and Affinity Designer.
On Wednesdays, in the month of March, I'll give you some examples of more ways to use the two applications.
In OmniGraffle, you have to create the base object first, then convert it to a table.
- Using the Shape tool, create a rectangle that will represent the first cell.
- Type in Shift-Command-T short cut to convert the shape to a table. You'll see some additional black line appear in the shape.
- Using the select tool, select the black lines to add new columns or rows.
- Add text, change color, even make the stroke different.
- Once your done, using the select tool, select the table and type in Command-C to copy the table to the Clipboard.
In Affinity Designer:
- Create a new document and paste the clipboard content.
- Type in Command G to group the pasted content - this makes it easier to manipulate the content of the table in Affinity Designer.
- Now make the changes that you want.
This week I decided to create some neat Affinity Designer Assets.
Download the Affinity Asset.
These are step indicators. Which are useful when you want to point out which items should be clicked or acted on first. These are all Curve base designs with changeable text.
Unlike other graphic programs, these don't increment as you apply them. You do have to go into each asset and indicate the correct step number.
You can change the colors and create a new asset subcategory that matches your style.
Installing the Asset
After you download the file, double click on it to uncompress it. Then in Affinity Designer, go under the Assets and click on the three lines. Click on Import Assets.
Evenly Space Objects
There may be times when you want objects to be evenly spaced. For example, you may want three boxes to be exactly 20 pixels apart.
Affinity Designer makes doing this task as easy as possible.
Steps to Evenly Space Objects
Simple steps to nicely space a group of objects:
- Select a group of objects that you want to evenly space.
- Click on the alignment icon in the tool bar.
- Click on the last icon in the Align Horizontally or Align Vertically.
- If you want to manually distribute, uncheck the "Auto Distribute"
- Enter in the value that you want to see between the objects.
I would recommend playing around with this dialog box - just so you know how things work.
Using Emoji in Affinity Designer
Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo don't support Emojis. Which means that if you try to add an Emoji or Symbol from the Edit menu all you see is a square. I don't know why Affinity hasn't supported this - maybe in version 2?
You can get around this limitations by using the Emoji images on the emojipedia.org website. Simply search for the emoji or symbol that your looking for and then drag and drop it into your document.
While this isn't the best solution, it does offer an advantage - the ability to select the emoji that works for your design.
Create an Emoji Assets Collection
I took about 10-minutes to build my own Emoji Asset Collection. I basically went through all the popular Emoji that I thought I would use.
Basically, I dragged and drop the images from emojipedia and then move the image to a dedicated Asset panel.
White Balance in Affinity Designer
White Balance is available in both applications.
White Balance fixes issues with the color of a photo - particularly if the photo was taken with bad lighting.
Apply White Balance
In Affinity Designer, White Balance is applied to a particular object in a layer.
- Select the Layer that you want to apply the White Balance.
- Select the Layer Menu
- Select the "New Adjustment" and then select the White Balance.
Best to Use the Picker
I would highly recommend using the "Picker" to identify the pixel in the photo that should be white.
Simply click on the "Picker" and then select the part of the image that should be white.
You can play around with the "White Balance" and "Tint" sliders to get some interesting color effects on your photo.
Swatches are a way easily pick a color that you would like to use as an object color or as a font color. It’s a great way to switch between colors and maintain a consistent look and feel.
Affinity Designer supports the ability to import Swatches. You can import any standard. Swatch file to use in Affinity or in the system.
Build Your Library
Since you can import any library, why not import some generic colors. It might give you some colors that you may not have thought about.
Here are a couple of swatches to download and import:
One of the popular paint companies in the world has made available their entire paint catalog in a single swatch file.
Download the ColorSnap Photoshop CS2 & Later swatch file.
Make sure the file you download has an ASE extension - that's what Affinity Designer supports.
Dunn Edwards Paint
Dunn-Edwards has been the leading paint manufacturer in the Southwestern United States since 1925.
They have made their entire color palette available in Adobe Illustrator format - which works perfectly well in Affinity Designer.
Visit the Illustrator Swatches page on to download the swatches.
Note: There are a lot more colors in the Dunn Edwards Pallete than in the Sherwin-Williams.
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.