Personas, Tools, and Toolbars

Affinity Designer is a vector art drawing and illustration program and throughout this series of blogs, I intend to compare using this program on iPad vs. a computer.

I should make clear that I do not own a computer anymore and this is my own personal pet project to help me understand the interface on iPad better. I plan to progress through affinity’s workbook for designer (which is mean for use with mac or pc) working on the projects on my iPad and sharing my own experiences and workarounds that will help me and hopefully anyone who stumbles upon this blog.

All this said; let’s break down a quick overview of the different personas tools and tool bars. I will be making my own drawings and providing screenshots when relevant and I hope this helps me to understand the program better.

First lets start with the tools that never change no matter what persona you happen to be working in.

The Move Tool

The move tool is the type of ubiquitous tool that most people don’t even realize how much they need it or use it until it is unavailable to them. This tool is available in every persona for this reason and is always represented as a cursor arrow.

This is what the cursor typically will look like; however it is black with a white outline on the mac and pc version. On the iPad version the icon is white but with both versions this is what it looks like.

On the Mac/PC version of the program there is a short cut (V). If you have a bluetooth keyboard or the smart keyboard attached on the iPad then you can tap the V key and the tool will automatically switch to the move tool; however it only works when there is a keyboard attached to the iPad. When the move tool is selected in the different personas you will be able to select the object you want to move; and then you can move, resize and manipulate the objects accordingly with either your finger or  pencil.

The View Tool

This is pretty standard tool that moves the visible portion of the image and/or art in the portion of the screen where the document is visible. This can be done no matter what persona you are working in.

This is what the icon looks like when working on the Mac or PC. On the iPad, however there is no icon when moving and panning on the iPad you use 2 fingers to move and pan around in the visible document area.

The iPad version of Affinity Designer is taking advantage of the gesture based navigation used by most iPad apps and because of this you don’t have or need to use the keyboard shortcuts available to the mac/pc versions. keyboard shortcut: H ; Hot Key Panning: Spacebar.

Zoom Tool

The zoom tool is relatively self explanatory and is used to zoom in and out on sections of the document; and can be done from any persona

This is what the icon looks like when working on the Mac or PC. On the iPad, however there is no icon for the zoom tool; on the iPad you use pinch to zoom in and out on the document.

As with the View tool Affinity is taking advantage of the gesture based navigation and the pinch to zoom that is available in most iPad apps. The keyboard shortcut (Z) is not available on iPad but again it can be done no matter the persona with a pinch of two fingers.

The Different Personas

The personas each have different advantages depending on what you are trying to achieve with your drawing. All three have unique toolbars and menu bar that will alter depending on which persona is active at the time. These are located along the top of the screen if your using a Mac or PC but will be located along the left and the right with iPad.

Draw Persona

This is the active persona if you are working with vector design and graphics.

Pixel Persona

When this is the active persona you will be working with raster images and pixels; you cannot edit sizing as efficiently when working in the pixel persona so be sure you are starting your work in a size that is sufficient for your final output because when sizing up or down after the fact never works out the way you want it to in my personal opinion.

Export persona

This is used when you want to export or save only specific sections or graphics from the image.

Few last points.

When working with different tools a context tool bar will pop up in the bottom center of the screen on iPad. This toolbar allows for relevant adjustments pertaining to the tool your currently working with.

Grouped tools will be indicated by a small whitish-grey triangle in the bottom corner and this indicates that a tool has more options to it other than what can be seen on the screen.

Lastly you can us the undo and redo buttons if you would like but for a quicker option you can tap with two fingers to undo or tap with three fingers to redo.

Thank you

Thank you very much for reading all the way to the end. I plan to do my best to keep working my way through this regularly so please plan to check back. My next post will be detailing the Draw persona more throughly.

I appreciate all you wonderful people who take the time to read my musings and self teachings.

Thank you all and Happy Designing; till next time 💚