Still toiling over another model/toy boat. Laser cutting is a great way to make things and the precision available constantly tempts me to make more complex designs. But complex is not necessarily the way to go, when what I am looking for is play value, simple clean lines and ease of assembly.
This (detail) drawing in Affinity Designer is getting quite complicated, hopefully the final design will reflect the ideas above, rather than any underlying complexity. I had a trip down memory lane trying to measure the length of an arc. Finding π on the keyboard was not as straightforward as it should be – Alt 227 won’t work for me, I don’t know why.
Many years ago my father taught me to use a fretsaw and then a treadle fretsaw; I was so proud to make cut-out models and shapes, happy to spend cool evenings in our tiny kitchen sawing, sanding and gluing with a hot, smelly glue pot and a sticky brush. Dad made lots of wooden toys – forts, garages, vehicles &c., often working from plans in Hobbies magazine. He invariably gave them away. I think he would have loved the laser cutter.
I recently bought Affinity Photo, a graphics app that costs just £50 and will accept many Photoshop plug-ins. As with most software this means a learning period during which novel combinations of swear words can be heard echoing from Miller Towers. But thankfully this has been minimal with Affinity Photo, which is well designed, pretty intuitive, has all the tools and power I require and can do almost everything Photoshop does and some things better. I’m a quite experienced user of this sort of software having been publishing stuff since the BBC Micro days of the 1980s, on several hardware platforms (including the beloved Amiga 500 and the 1200). Affinity has emerged from the old Serif (parent) company and seems to have a similar fair-price philosophy.
So having tried it for a few weeks along with a freebie, the beta version of Affinity Publisher (a desk top publishing app) and been pretty pleased with the results I decided to dig into the usually hermetically sealed wallet and bought the third of the trilogy of apps, Affinity Designer.
The motivation for all this is financial, to get away from the rapacious Adobe and their over-priced products. Adobe have a near-monopoly in UK art schools and elsewhere, as well as with designers, photographers and artists, and a few years ago they began exploiting that to the max. They did this with subscription pricing which forces customers to pay them forever, and pay them plenty.
Serif have spotted an opportunity and produced three fixed price products which will do everything most users want, for less than one years payment to Adobe! Adobe are not the only ones at this racket, Microsoft exploit their monopoly with out any check even though other products, such as the free Open Office, perform just as well for most users. But it seems that the big companies and their lure of cheap software – cheap for the school – has got the educational institutions in a fierce grip somewhere below the waist. Time that grip was broken.
Affinity Designer is a vector drawing app and seems to have some cross-over functions into the raster graphic area. Like the other apps it is available for Windows, Mac and the iPad. I have a Win10 Surface Pro which I use with as a tablet and docked as a desktop, so I will be testing these apps with a pen as well as mouse/keyboard. Plenty of blurb on the Affinity site about Designer, but it is the things that are missing – there’s always something – which will be most revealing I expect. I will write more fully when I have tried it out.