The talented folks over at Serif released the Affinity Publisher beta today! They’ve been teasing it for a year or more so there are a lot of very excited design nerds today and I’m one of them. The current release is for Mac and Window but they’ve already begun work on an iPad version!
I currently use Pages on iPad for most of my layout work. If someone specifies InDesign then I’ll use that on the Mac. I’ve already installed Publisher and have a test file going. Currently it’s unable to open or export InDesign files but that may be coming in the future.
There will come a time when I stop offering InDesign files as an option. I’m not sure when that will be but the sooner the better. As much as I like using Pages I expect I’ll enjoy Publisher on the iPad even more and will likely shift much of my layout work over to it when available.
In June of 2015 Affinity Designer for Mac caused a splash when it was released. I’d never heard of it but was anxious to try something that might allow me to replace Illustrator. I spent a couple weeks with the trial and decided pretty quickly that I would be purchasing it. During that time I created a series of space-themed posters and shared them is a couple of blog posts: post one and post two.
Of course, Designer is primarily for creating vector-based art. But just as Affinity Photo on Mac is very capable of doing vector work so too is the iPad version. I thought it would be fun to revisit with a new space exploration themed image again using a Carl Sagan Quote.
The quote in its entirety:
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” – Carl Sagan
Affinity Photo on iPad
I’ve been using the Affinity apps, Photo and Designer, on my Mac for the past couple of years and thanks to them I’ve largely left Adobe behind. In fact, I only use Adobe for InDesign projects and for Illustrator’s trace functionality. It’s rare that I open up either Illustrator or Photoshop and I look forward to the day that I don’t need to have them installed. The Affinity apps are, in my experience, true replacements for those two Adobe apps.
As I’ve transitioned more if my work to iPad I’ve been waiting and hoping for the Affinity apps to make the jump. Monday at the WWDC event it was announced (via an on stage demonstration) that Affinity Photo was now available for iPad. I purchased it immediately and after a few hours of trying it out I can say I am very satisfied. I should note that I’m using it on an iPad Air 2, not a Pro, and that performance is excellent. I’ve already used the app to do work for two clients and expect to do a lot more. This is a full version comparable to the Mac version rather than something only a small subset of features. It is a fantastic experience. I can’t wait to give it a go on the new 12.9″ Pro next week!
By way of comparison, I’d previously been trying to use Pixelmator on iPad and while it occasionally proved useful for bitmap-based work it was never as powerful as I needed and so I often ended up back at the Mac using Affinity Photo or Affinity Designer. With Affinity Photo installed I will likely remove Pixelmator altogether. There really is no comparison. Now I’ll be able to that much more work on iPad. The only difficulty that I expect to encounter is in the area of available fonts but that’s a shortcoming of iOS not this app. In such cases I’ll save a copy to my Mac towards the end of the project and finish it off with the Mac Affinity apps.
Once Serif releases Affinity Designer for vector focused work I’ll have a nearly complete iPad toolkit for graphic design. I expect I will, from that point on, only return to the Mac for InDesign and for projects that require additional, Mac-only fonts. I also expect that one day Apple will allow for an easy way to add fonts as we see fit.
This is exactly the kinds of app needed to help move the iPad toward being a fully Pro tool for those of us that do this kind of work and who choose an iPad as our primary device. I can say, without a doubt, Affinity Photo will be one of my most used iPad apps.
In 2011 I was hired to redesign the website of a local pick-your-own blueberry farm. Six years later it was time to get that site moved over to a mobile friendly design. It was and still is a fairly simple design but it now a responsive design which displays very nicely on mobile devices.
I don't just love tiny houses, I live and work in one. It suits me very well because I don't own much stuff and what I do keep around serves a function. Not much clutter in my world. My small space has served me very well and I don't see that changing for any reason. A couple months ago a local fellow started a new tiny buildings business and asked me to do a website and other marketing materials. Of course I was excited to see a new Fredericktown business and one that was going to be building tiny houses made it all the more interesting to me.
In the short time they've been around they've already built several buildings including a couple of cabins and garden sheds. Midwest Tiny Houses and Sheds will be building for local clients but are planning to build and deliver their buildings to clients in the St. Louis area and Cape Girardeau too. Basically they'll be focusing (initially) on St. Louis and Southeast Missouri.
I've had a first hand look at the construction and it's solid and well crafted. These are beautiful buildings that will last many years. Looking forward to seeing them thrive.
When I'm not creating something for a client chances are pretty good that I'm reading about astronomy, physics, space exploration or some related area of science. I've often used those interests as the ingredients in a variety of a for-fun graphic design projects. If you follow NASA at all you probably know that this past July we put the Juno spacecraft into orbit around Jupiter. On August 27 NASA announced that Juno completed it's first extended orbit around the planet and has begun the next orbit. There will be 35 more in total. In celebration of the mission I put together a Juno infographic:
I continue to enjoy Affinity Designer. In fact, after three months of use I far prefer it (as well as Affinity Photo) to Illustrator or Photoshop. As of this moment my plan is to only use the Adobe apps if a client/project requires it. These new Affinity apps by Serif are fantastic and did I mention they are not rented via subscription but available for purchase the old-fashioned way? Buttery smooth, fully featured and a pleasure to use.
In my downtime this summer I’ve continued working on my series of space exploration-themed posters which I’ve made available on Red Bubble.
Marathon Valley Overlook
This view from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows part of “Marathon Valley,” a destination on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, as seen from an overlook north of the valley. The scene spans from east, at left, to southeast. It combines four images of the rover’s panoramic camera on March 13, 2015, during the 3,958th Martian day of Opportunity’s work on Mars.
Marathon Valley was selected as a science destination because observations by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter yielded evidence of clay minerals, a clue to ancient wet environments. Opportunity has been exploring the Meridiani Planum region of Mars since January 2004.
“For me, the most ironic token of [the first human moon landing] is the plaque signed by President Richard M. Nixon that Apollo 11 took to the moon. It reads, ‘We came in peace for all Mankind.’ As the United States was dropping seven and a half megatons of conventional explosives on small nations in Southeast Asia, we congratulated ourselves on our humanity. We would harm no one on a lifeless rock. That plaque is there still, attached to the base of the Apollo 11 lunar module on the airless desolation of the Sea of Tranquility. If no one disturbs it, it will still be readable a million years from now.” -Carl Sagan
My trial run with Affinity Design continues, this time with a series of space exploration posters featuring Carl Sagan quotes.
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan
“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” – Carl Sagan
“Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.” – Carl Sagan
Before I go any further, let me say this isn’t much of a review or even a mini-review. Just my initial impressions.
I’m a regular user of Adobe CC but not a big fan of the subscription model. When I recently learned of Affinity Designer and the upcoming Affinity Photo I figured it was worth checking out. The reviews for AD thus far are very high and having used it for a couple of projects I can see why. The Permaculture-themed poster below started as just a quickie to test out some of the basic tools I’ve come to expect from Illustrator and I’m happy to report that AD was a pleasure to use. Everything from the pen tool to text to text on a curve were easy and buttery smooth. As with Illustrator, layers are easy enough to use to group elements for editing and locking. On a couple of test designs I tried a few of the other basics such as shape building and editing as well as applying gradients and various styles, all worked just as one would expect.
What’s missing? Right off, there is no workspace outside of the defined document margins which is something I definitely miss. Illustrator and InDesign both allow for the storing of elements outside of the defined art board or document margins.
Also, no export for web. Perhaps I missed it but I certainly didn’t see it and I’ve looked a couple times. I know that I can set a document up as having an intended use for the web but that’s not what I’m after. I want to be able to set up for print and also be able to export or save for web. Found it! Right in front of me but called “Export Persona”. The only option I don’t see is the option to resize the dimensions at time of export.
I’m guessing that I’ll find other features missing that I’m used to having but as of this moment I intend to switch to AD for any design work that I would have previously used Illustrator for.
A pretty fantastic post about the typography of Alien.
My third post about typography in sci-fi has been gestating for a while now. Indeed, it’s been slowly taking shape – you might say it’s been forming itself inside of me – for really quite some time. I’m delighted to say that it is now ready to burst forth from my allegorical chest, and to spatter allegorical typographic blood all over your allegorical faces. Welcome to Typeset In The Future: The Alien Edition.