Starting with Affinity Photo and Designer, these two apps have been updated to version 1.7 as you undoubtedly know by now.
The updates have a lot in common and bring a much improved and certainly faster RAW processing engine. On my iMac 5K Retina mid-2017, they load my Sony Alpha 700 images much faster than before. The update also comes with a new demosaicing algorithm that is a bit more accurate in rendering the colours and sharpness of my old camera’s files. It should also be more effective at reducing noise and hot pixel removal, but I haven’t tested that yet.
Another new feature is that you now get access to a wider colour space in Affinity Photo (great for HDR). The brush engine was rewritten as well and all-new multi-brushes were added. My personal favourite is the new symmetry mode that works with up to 32 “divisions”.
Batch processing has been improved, a new assets panel is available for quick drag and drop of commonly used elements, and the layers panel has had a complete overhaul and is more efficient than the previous one.
Affinity Designer got new isometric controls that allow you to work directly on any isometric plane – or fit existing elements to a plane with a single click. I tried it out briefly and it’s great to see your designs adapt magically to a different plane.
For those of you who are really digital artists, vector shapes can now possess an unlimited number of strokes and fills, with complete freedom to interleave different attributes and control how they are blended together.
And arrowheads have been added to the stroke panel too, which is a feature even I use on occasion and which I found lacking in previous versions.
There are also improvements to almost all vector tools, including lasso selection of nodes, the pencil tool adding a sculpt mode, a new point transform tool as well as huge improvements to guides, grids and snapping.
Typinator 8 offers a new statistics mode, where you can see the usage counts for abbreviations and sets, and how long ago an abbreviation has been used most recently. You can also sort your snippets by these values, to see which abbreviations you are using frequently and which ones you may have forgot about.
Another new feature of Typinator 8 are Magic Keys. You can now use the modifier keys Shift, Control, Option, and Command in abbreviations as if they were real characters. This allows you to use them as special trigger characters. You might wonder why, but that soon becomes clear when you have a lot of snippets that you want to give the same abbreviation – that is a surefire way of introducing shortcut conflicts. This offers an elegant way to avoid those conflicts.
A user interface enhancement is the new “mini menu bar” right above the expansion field. Here you can find all markers and editing functions in one central place. A nice side-effect of this improvement is that the expansion field is now wider and you have more space to enter your expansions.
New is the integration with Ergonis’ award-winning PopChar. With PopChar 8.2 or newer installed, you can now use Typinator to search for and insert arbitrary Unicode characters by their name or Unicode number. In combination with a hotkey for Typinator’s quick search, this is a great way to type arbitrary Unicode characters without taking your hands off the keyboard. And with KeyCue installed, you can further increase efficiency by recalling abbreviation sets through that Ergonis app, saving you a trip to Typinator’s Quick Search.
CalDigit Connect 10G
CalDigit just released a new high-performance Thunderbolt 3 10Gb Ethernet Adapter that connects to any Thunderbolt 3 Mac or Windows laptop. For users looking to connect their latest Thunderbolt 3 computers to a server or Local Area Network, the Connect 10G brings performance up to 10Gb/s and connects over distances of 100 meters.
This makes the Connect 10G ideal for shared storage environments. For video users working with 4K video in a shared editing environment, the Connect 10G will allow your Mac or PC workstations to join a shared storage environment. The Connect 10G also features Wake-on-LAN that allows you to wake up your computer remotely to access your files and no external power is required to use the Connect 10G. It draws power straight from the Thunderbolt 3 port.
The device features AVB over Ethernet, so the adapter follows a set of IEEE standards that ensure that audio and video are transferred in realtime over the Ethernet port without any delay.
Finally, CalDigit says that if you already have an existing Cat 5e or Cat 6 twisted-pair copper cabling network setup that cannot exceed 1Gbps over 100M, the Connect 10G’s NBASE-T technology allows you to achieve data transfer rates that exceed 1Gbps without having to replace your existing Cat 5e and Cat 6 twisted-pair copper cabling network.
At around 18:00 BST, Serif, the developers of Affinity Photo and Designer, are going to be revealing Affinity Publisher, a long awaited competitor for Adobe InDesign (and, up to a point, QuarkXPress).
There’s a live event you can tune into.