Author Topic: Software Opportunity  (Read 667 times)

The Masked Scrivener

Software Opportunity
« on: January 20, 2021, 03:21:28 AM »
Having access to top-notch software doesn't always have to cost an arm and a leg. I think everyone would agree that Adobe is the industry leader in graphic design software, and they charge like it. Well, a competitor has emerged from jolly old England called Affinity. They have three programs that match Adobe programs:

Photoshop = Affinity Photo - perfect for cover designers and creating adverts
Illustrator = Affinity Designer - custom font art and logos
InDesign = Affinity Publisher - print formatting for your books

Instead of a subscription service, Affinity normally charges a one time purchase price of $50 for each, or $150 for all three. Right now, all three programs are 50% off.

https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/?utm_source=serifemail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=COVID19-V2-Offer&mc=COVID19V2E01

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A message from the Affinity team
As a way to lend support to the creative community during these difficult times, we’re once again offering a 90-day free trial of the Mac and Windows versions of the whole Affinity suite, for anyone who wants to use them (even those who have previously completed a free trial). We’re also bringing back the 50% discount for those who would prefer to buy and keep the apps, including our iPad versions.

I am not affiliated with Affinity, or its parent company Serif. I am a user of their software. I had been using Photoshop, and other Adobe products, for almost 20 years, and I can tell you that Affinity's software are comparable, if not better, IMHO.
 
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Post-Crisis D

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2021, 03:35:26 AM »
I was an Adobe user since around 1991.  I am also in the process of switching from Adobe to Affinity.

I've been doing my daily drawings in Affinity Designer since the beginning of the year to get more familiar with the software.  (Also learning my Wacom tablet at the same time which doubles the, um, fun.  LOL.)

And Affinity Photo is pretty much on par with Photoshop.  Unless you need specific bells & whistles, Affinity Photo can probably do anything you would use Photoshop for.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
 
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Simon Haynes

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2021, 03:54:16 AM »
I'm using Adobe Indesign CS5.5 for all my book covers and Photoshop Elements 9 for all my drawing tasks. Neither are rental software, luckily.

The one thing I'm missing from PE is the ability to open groups inside PSD files. For that, I have to load them into Gimp (free) and make any changes to the file in that software. There's also Krita (free) which is a decent paint package as well.

What would interest me is if this Affinity software can import Indesign files, but the likelihood is small.  I've tried using Inkscape (free) and Scribus (free) but neither quite do what I want.
 

Post-Crisis D

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2021, 04:04:52 AM »
What would interest me is if this Affinity software can import Indesign files, but the likelihood is small.

If you can export the InDesign files as IDML, you should be able to open them in Affinity Publisher.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
 
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The Masked Scrivener

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2021, 04:07:53 AM »
What would interest me is if this Affinity software can import Indesign files, but the likelihood is small.  I've tried using Inkscape (free) and Scribus (free) but neither quite do what I want.

I have not tried it myself, but Affinity says:
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Affinity Publisher can import InDesign files that have been saved in IDML (InDesign Markup Language) format, which is available in InDesign CS4 and later. With earlier versions of InDesign, you can export documents to PDF and then import that format directly into Affinity Publisher.
https://affinity.help/publisher/en-US.lproj/index.html?page=pages/GetStarted/importDocument.html?title=Importing%20documents
 
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Simon Haynes

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2021, 04:08:33 AM »
Okay, installing the trial version now.  I'll give it a quick look but will probably buy the suite at this stage.  I saw something about importing from Indesign files, but I suspect that might be from newer versions - we'll see.

Either way, thanks for sharing. I've been using Indesign 5.5 for years and years now, and I'm always worried Adobe will shut down the servers and stop it working in future.

I got Photoshop Elements 9 with my Wacom tablet back in 2012 or so. It's been a real workhorse but it has its quirks and limitations.

Whatever happens, there is no way I will ever rent software from Adobe - not at their ridiculous Aussie prices.

 

Simon Haynes

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2021, 04:11:55 AM »
For Aussies, it's currently $119 to get all three parts of the Affinity package.  I think that's less than one month rental on Adobe Creative Suite.

Really hoping it all works out. The website, installers, etc are all very slick which gives me hope.
 

Post-Crisis D

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2021, 04:14:17 AM »
Okay, installing the trial version now.  I'll give it a quick look but will probably buy the suite at this stage.  I saw something about importing from Indesign files, but I suspect that might be from newer versions - we'll see.

I think it will work from InDesign CS4 onwards.


Either way, thanks for sharing. I've been using Indesign 5.5 for years and years now, and I'm always worried Adobe will shut down the servers and stop it working in future.

I have InDesign CS6.  Still works.  If they shut down the activation servers, as they did with CS4 and earlier, you would still be able to use the software, but you wouldn't be able to re-activate it when/if needed.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
 

Post-Crisis D

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2021, 04:16:18 AM »
If you're used to Adobe products and their interface(s), there will be a learning curve with Affinity.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2021, 04:25:17 AM »
If you're used to Adobe products and their interface(s), there will be a learning curve with Affinity.

No worries in that regard. I use Blender, and that thing has a learning curve like the steeper side of Everest.
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2021, 04:40:45 AM »
I tried a very, very complicated indesign file (14 pages, many layers, master page with more layers, etc) and it did import although there's a bit of tidying to do. A lot of the text boxes are too small so the text has disappeared, and the master layers (with common elements) appear to have been duplicated and placed at the bottom of the stack on every page.

Nothing I can't fix up, but it's not completely hands-free. That doesn't worry me though, as it's good enough.

 
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Al Stevens

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Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2021, 04:45:56 AM »
I use InDesign CS2 for typesetting. I tried Scribus and found it intolerably slow and buggy with novel-length book files. I used to use Photoshop CS2 for cover design, but it stopped working on my Windows 7 machine. Its user interface fonts are too small on my Surface Pro, so I switched to GIMP for covers. None of what I'm using now for writing and formatting (OpenOffice, GIMP, Indesign CS2. Paint.net) costs anything, so I see no reason to switch.

I did pay for my drawing program. It's called Leonardo and is still in development. It's perfect for drawing on the Surface Pro. I did all the sketches for my last two books on Leo as well as the political cartoons I draw for the entertainment of my online followers.
     
 

Post-Crisis D

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2021, 04:51:40 AM »
If you're used to Adobe products and their interface(s), there will be a learning curve with Affinity.

No worries in that regard. I use Blender, and that thing has a learning curve like the steeper side of Everest.

Then you shouldn't have a problem.  grint  I tried Blender around 2007 or 2008 and it was like nope.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2021, 05:01:12 AM »
Just when I got moderately competent at Blender they announced a completely (and I mean ground up completely) redesigned UI.  Yes, the new UI is better but arghhhhh.

 

Post-Crisis D

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2021, 09:25:08 AM »
Just when I got moderately competent at Blender they announced a completely (and I mean ground up completely) redesigned UI.  Yes, the new UI is better but arghhhhh.

I seem to recall that being said/done way back when too.  I had tried it and said nope.  Then people were telling me, yeah, they redid it, whole new UI, it's more like the commercial alternatives, easier to use, etc. and then I tried it again and nope.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2021, 03:14:30 PM »
Managed to sort a few things out in Publisher.

I can't find a way (yet) to define a layer as non-printing, which is essential for my barcode box.

Looking for quick page-scroll as well (shift + roll middle mouse in Indesign).
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 03:21:02 PM by Simon Haynes »
 

Matthew

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2021, 05:07:42 PM »
I can't find a way (yet) to define a layer as non-printing, which is essential for my barcode box.
Unfortunately, the only way to have a layer non-printing is to toggle its visibility off before exporting a file. If you have a complicated setup with many elements you don't want printed, this is a pain to remember.

Also I haven't yet tried laying out a book for print with Publisher. Let me know if you do for any of your books Simon, curious how it is.
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2021, 06:23:08 PM »
I use yWriter to create my PDF files for printing. I only use publishing software for the covers.

Still experimenting.

Alas, it doesn't remember the export path per document (which Indesign does) - a huge time saver lost.
 

PJ Post

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2021, 01:50:03 AM »
Like Simon said, Blender has a new, and way better interface now. It's still a nightmare to learn (Everest lite?), but better than the last time I tried. Fortunately, there's tons of YouTube tutorials.

Affinity Photo is pretty powerful, stable and insanely cheap, even before the current sale. It's definitely the real deal. I prefer Photoshop, but that could be more about familiarity than anything else. They both have endless sub-menus. It's not so much a learning curve with Affinity as it is a scavenge hunt.

Depending on your needs, a nice inexpensive drawing/painting alternative is Clip Studio Paint. It's like old Photoshop - a lot. Fiona Staples uses it. She's the illustrator who does Saga.

 
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PJ Post

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2021, 01:55:36 AM »
Also learning my Wacom tablet...

 :tup3b

I graduated to a small Cintiq a couple years ago - love it.

 

Simon Haynes

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2021, 06:06:42 AM »
If anyone is looking for a free drawing program, don't forget Krita.

https://krita.org/en/features/highlights/

 
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Simon Haynes

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2021, 03:35:12 PM »
Regarding the 'non-printing layers', I went to to Affinity's forums to seek an answer.  Found a workable solution here:

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/65338-objects-to-no-print/page/2/

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If you put the "content not for print" on a Master Page (or in a Text Frame inherited from a Master Page) then you can simply set the visibility of the objects in the Master Page off, and they're hidden in all the document spreads that inherited from that Master. And since you can have multiple Masters, you could put all this content on a separate Master (or set of Masters) to keep it separate from the normal content and more easily managed.


Having separate Master pages also solves my issue where I had some Master layers that needed to go above page layers, and some which needed to go below.  I just create multiple Master pages (Upper, Lower, Logos, Non-Printing) and apply them all to my document pages.


 

Post-Crisis D

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2021, 01:49:40 PM »
If anyone is looking for a free drawing program, don't forget Krita.

https://krita.org/en/features/highlights/

I'll second that.  I haven't done a lot with it yet, mainly because I'm focused on learning Affinity Designer, but it seems like it can do a lot.

On Designer, I did finally break down and look up how to copy fills from one object to another.  In Illustrator, I can just use the eye dropper tool but Designer's eye dropper tool only copies a solid color.  But, I learned you can copy and object then to add the same fill to another object, select that other object and paste style rather than just paste.  Should have looked that up weeks ago.  LOL.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Software Opportunity
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2021, 02:30:31 PM »
In Affinity Publisher I found out you can copy layer effects by simply copying an object (ctrl+c) and then using shift+alt+v on another selected object to paste the effect.

One problem I'm having with Publisher is that linked objects keep resizing and moving when I update them. I'm making hardback covers at the moment, and instead of maintaining 2 completely different files for 10 books I've split the layers into separate files. So, I have the background image with the cover art, and then three files containing the text & logos from the front cover, the spine, and the back cover. These can then be 'placed' onto a different sized background to generate the paperback and hardback covers, which have different size and spacing requirements.

It works, but when I re-export any of those files, everything moves which wrecks the whole document. I'm going to try pasting directly instead of using frames, and that might work. I also had to turn off auto-update of linked content, because half the linked stuff would just disappear. (I've tried linking afphoto files, afpub files and pngs. It's not the file type.)