Working on a steampunk design for a helicopter, I have struggled the last few days to get a look that will translate to plywood. The devil really is in the detail. My plywood laser-cut toys are plain and unadorned but steampunk is not about clean lines.
I spent a while this morning drawing this window in the style of an old diving helmet, here as a .png file (WordPress won’t allow vector files, if anyone wants a copy let me know and I will send).
Affinity Designer is perfectly adequate for 2D drawing like this.
Printing documents that are larger than A4 can be a pain. I find Windows to be way behind the mac in this respect, and most of the cheaper apps don’t have printer dialogue boxes that can handle this.
So third party apps would seem to be the way, but are there any? I tried Wrapcandy Poster – it crashed repeatedly; Easy Poster Printer£2.09 from Microsoft Store but it is a weak and feeble thing which does not print to the correct size. Gimp is supposed to be able to handle poster but it is difficult to work through, I couldn’t get a result.
Then, having wasted about 40 sheets of A4, (even printing both sides) I discovered that Acrobat Reader now has poster print ability. Not the best print dialogue box but it worked and produced an 18 sheet print that was the correct size. So two cheers for Adobe, who I have little time for, generally.
Affinity Designer, Photo and Publisher all lack the ability to print posters, which is a glaring omission.
I am writing this using the ‘classic’ WordPress editor, which has a column on the left of the screen showing all the areas I can work in, and a column on the right showing the things I can do before publishing. It all works well and I don’t have to search around for features.
The latest ‘improved’ editor has something called ‘blocks’, whose container must be clicked on to become accessible. There is no longer a left column and the Publish area is reduced and lacking Categories and Tags which were previously visible and are now hidden.
I (and I should think many others) will be using the classic editor for as long as it is available. See WP Tweaks, for example, and the negative comments from experienced users.
I have been using Affinity Designer (AD) to make instruction sheets for my plywood construction toys – a process which often seems more painstaking than designing the things themselves.
These are vector files – raster files become huge and slow – and were originally created in Illustrator using the 3D function. But they original won’t open in AD because it wasn’t saved with an associated .pdf, AD can’t make sense of it.
So I took the 3D raster (.jpeg) and traced it using Inkscape then had a vector file I could edit in AD. Whew.
The lack of a trace function in AD is a serious oversight on the part of Serif Eu.
My files are laser cut, currently by Basically Wooden in east Devon and to be accepted by the cutter software they should be in .dxf – drawing exchange format, the most commonly used in Computer Aided Design (CAD), in AutoCad and AutoDesk. These file types are used for CNC routers, plasma cutting, laser cutting, engraving and waterjet cutting, &c. So for a vector drawing program to be useful it should be able to save in this form, unfortunately Affinity Designer cannot do so. Once again Inkscape comes to the rescue, it can accept vectors from AD and save them in .dxf.
But this comes at a cost: file sizes are changed, checks and adjustments must be made and all this adds time and complexity. So I feel Serif Eu. need to get .dxf format added asap if they want to take on the big players. I’m looking forward to an upgrade.