Personas, Tools, and Toolbars

Affinity Designer V2 is a vector art drawing and illustration program and throughout this series of blogs, I intend to compare using this program on an iPad vs. a computer.

I should make clear that I do not own a computer anymore and this is my pet project to help me understand the interface on the iPad better. I plan to progress through Affinity’s Workbook for Designer (which is meant 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 toolbars. I will be making my drawings and providing screenshots when relevant and I hope this helps me to understand the program better.

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

The Move Tool

Pencil drawing of what the move tool looks like in affinity designer v2 for iPad
Move Tool

The move tool is the type of ubiquitous tool that most people don’t even realize how much they need or use 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, regardless of whether you are using a Mac/PC or the iPad version of the software.

On the Mac/PC version of the program, there is a shortcut (V). If you have a Bluetooth keyboard or the smart keyboard attached to 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 a 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. However, on the iPad, there is no icon or tool when moving around the document because you use two fingers to move and pan around in the visible area.

The iPad version of Affinity Designer V2 is taking advantage of the gesture-based navigation used by most iPad apps. Because of this you do not have or need to use the keyboard shortcuts available on the mac/pc versions.

Zoom Tool

pencil drawing of the Zoom Tool icon on affinity designer v2 for ipad
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 used from any persona. This is what the icon looks like on the iPad version of designer and if you click on the drop-down menu there are some quick resizing options.

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 the iPad but again it can be done no matter the persona with a pinch of two fingers.

Grids and Guides

Pencil drawing of the icon that opens the grids and guides settings in affinity designer v2
Grids & Guides

With Grids & Guides, you can turn on or off a selection of pre-determined options: Preview Mode, Bleed, Margins, Guides, Grid, Column Guides, Spelling, and Clip to Canvas that can just be turned on or off. There are also Guide settings and Grid settings that open more options for adjusting and finetuning those features.

Snapping Tool

Pencil sketch of the snapping tool icon in affinity designer v2
snapping tool

This is what the snapping tool will look like in version 2. When it is enabled, your objects will snap into places by degrees or on set planes. You can turn it on or off, and there are extended settings for it in the dropdown menu.

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 bars 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 the iPad.

Designer Persona

Pencil sketch of the affinity designer v2 logo for iPad made using Linea sketch

This is the active persona if you are working with vector design and graphics. With vector graphics, you’re able to adjust edit, and tweak things without losing future print quality. The vector file sizes are also usually a lot smaller than raster graphics. I love using vector graphics in Affinity Designer because it allows for raster effects far more efficiently than other apps I have used on iPad.

Pixel Persona

Drawing of the pixel personal icon in affinity designer v2

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

Drawing of the export persona icon in affinity designer v2

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

Few last points.

When working with different tools a context toolbar will pop up along the top of the screen near the personas and menu options. This toolbar allows for relevant adjustments with the tool you are currently using.

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. By tapping on or near that triangle with your pencil or finger you open up the other options available to that tool.

You also have undo and redo buttons available to you if you would like but for a quicker option, you can tap with two fingers to undo or tap with three fingers to, redo. By default these undo and redo buttons are not turned on in Version 2 but it is something you can turn on in the settings if you like me to have the undo and redo options available just in case.

Illustration of the virtual Command, Shift, Option, and Control keys that are on the screen in Affinity Designer V2

Finally, in Affinity Designer V2 there is a virtual Command, Shift, Option, and Control key called a command controller. It is always available on the screen as far as I can tell and personally, I do not use it much because I usually have a Bluetooth keyboard paired.

This should cover everything with the personas, tools, and toolbars. Hopefully, I am not forgetting anything.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read 🖤. Till next time, Happy Designing 🖤!

COPYRIGHT ©️ Carolyn Sehgal

All Photography, Design works, Art works, and Illustrations are property of Carolyn Sehgal, Carolyn Sehgal Art, carolynsehgal.com and/or a client (hereinafter “the owner(s)”). Redistributing, copying, or using any material posted on this website without the permission of the owner(s) and/or without crediting the owner(s) is strictly prohibited. (All client work created by the site’s Author/Artist is posted for portfolio purposes, with permission of the respective owner).

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