1. Dedicated isometric tools
With the new Isometric panel, objects are now automatically transformed onto your chosen isometric plane as you draw. Work directly on a perspective plane, or choose to fit existing objects to a plane with a single action. When used with snapping, any shape, text or image added to your design will fit your grid with precision. The panel will also fit 2D objects to your active plane, allow planar switching, and rotate or flip objects on the same plane. Nifty.
Ok, so it shouldn’t have taken to version 1.7 to get this in, but hey—better late than never. In version 1.7 you can now add scalable arrowheads and tails of different styles to your pen or pencil strokes.
3. Multi Stroke and Fill
The new Appearance panel means now any object can now possess more than one stroke and fill. Plus you can layer strokes and fills and apply various blend modes, fills and stroke widths for maximum control over your strokes and object edges.
4. Pen Tool enhancements
The new Rubber Band mode lets you feel how your stroke will look before placing your next point. And other great improvements to the Pen Tool include the ability to create polycurves from multiple drawn curves with Add to Curves. Better control handle snapping offers finer control over your curve’s geometry at any given node and you can now snap control handles to grid, geometry and angles. Andy shows these improvements off in his tutorial video Advanced curves 1: Bézier drawing in detail.
5. Sculpt mode for the Pencil Tool
Sculpt mode is now available for the Pencil Tool in the desktop versions of Affinity Designer. When enabled, any selected pencil stroke can be reshaped or continued. See Charlotte’s video on the Pencil Tool for a more detailed overview of this feature below.
6. New Node Tool controls
Select multiple nodes using a drawing-based approach under a polygon or lassoed area. Using the new Transform Mode, the position of selected nodes will intelligently move in relation to the scaling and rotation of their containing node selection box. For alignment, any selection of nodes will respond to one of many alignment operations as if they were vector objects.
7. Point Transform Tool
With the introduction of the new Point Transform Tool, you can now scale and rotate objects from any node—snapping to any other geometry in your project.
8. Awesome new design aids
Transform separately mode
An incredible time saver when wanting to resize or rotate multiple objects, for example in a grid, without changing their position.
Complete complex alignment tasks by dragging these intuitive visual tools. Increase your positioning options by switching on a selected object’s alignment handles and aligning its edges and centres to placed objects.
Huge grid improvements
Origin, scale and angle can all now be adjusted on document, as well as a new Cube grid setup mode.
As well as ruler guides you can now switch on column guides from which you can use shaded or outlined columns and rows as design aids. Use for webpage or print layout mock-ups. Snapping text frames and images to these guides gives precise positioning.
Custom presets for document, shapes and grids
Make custom changes to any of the new document presets and save them under your own named preset for later use. Similarly, modified shapes and customised layout grids can be saved for reuse.
9. Best-in-class layer organisation
Choose different size options for layer thumbnails, whether thumbnails are on solid or checkerboard background and also now you can use colour tag layers to keep things organised.
10. Alternate futures
This feature is so cool. You know when you’re doing client work and they keep asking for changes? This is how you can keep all versions of your artwork in one document. Go back in your undo history and branch to create a new future whilst keeping your old edits available. Create multiple branches for different outcomes and quickly switch between them. Watch Matt put this to the test in the video below.
11. And that’s not all…
We haven’t managed to fit in this article about how Affinity Designer 1.7 has pen and dial support for Surface devices, HDR / EDR monitor support, the many PSD import and export improvements, and how the Pixel persona now supports sub-brushes and symmetry (up to 32-way). (Ed—Though we have explored sub-brushes and symmetry in our article 10 things we love about about Affinity Photo 1.7).
Affinity Designer is currently 20% off in our store (for a limited time only). You can also try it out for 10 days for free.
Andy and Charlotte have added a raft of useful video tutorials to help you get the most out of Affinity Designer 1.7. These are all now available in our new learn section on affinity.serif.com.