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5 things you need to know about Affinity 2.1

Affinity 2.1 introduces some highly requested new features, plus hundreds of usability improvements to Affinity’s most-loved tools. Here are five things (and more!) you need to know about the first free update for V2.

1. You can ‘balance’ dashed lines

If you use dashed lines in your work, in Affinity 2.1, you can now set dashed lines to be ‘balanced’, meaning the pattern is automatically rescaled between any cusps in a curve. This gives a more desirable result for things such as the corners of a box, or the start and end of a stroke—and it will save you heaps of time. You can toggle this handy function on and off from the Stroke Panel in all three apps. Let’s take a look at how it works:

Discover how to apply dashed lines, arrowheads and more to vector objects with the Stroke Panel.

2. Vector shapes can be filled in a single click

Vector Flood Fill is an all-new tool we’ve added to Affinity Designer (desktop and iPad), which allows you to fill areas created by intersecting objects and curves with a single click—which is a huge time-saver.

The behaviour is similar to what you may be used to with a pixel-based flood fill, but, in this case, you get true vector results.

There are so many options and applications for this tool, which Matt walks through in this tutorial:

Quickly fill vector areas and shapes with solid colours, gradients and bitmap patterns using the Vector Flood Fill Tool.

3. You can add running headers in Publisher

If you create longer publications such as books or magazines, running headers provide a simple way to include the name of the current topic or chapter in the header or footer of your page. The way it works is by copying text formatted with a particular paragraph or character style on a page into a special running header field.

The really useful element of this feature is that if there isn’t a new title anywhere on a page, the header will automatically ‘run’ from the previous page and will continue to do so until a new title is found, as you can see in this video:

Discover how to create and manipulate running header fields, referencing a range of different text styles, as well as how to manage multiple instances of the same style on a single page or spread.

4. Creating mock-ups is much easier in Designer

When working with mock-ups, it is better to use explicit raster transform filters than distort or warp vector layers, which is why we’ve added both the Perspective and Mesh Warp live filters from Affinity Photo into the Pixel Persona of Affinity Designer (Mac, Windows and iPad).

These filters are completely non-destructive and particularly useful for distorting images and embedded documents you want to incorporate within your design.

To help you enhance your mock-up work, James walks through some workflow examples for both the Perspective and Mesh Warp filters in this video.

Discover how to enhance your mock-up designs by using non-destructive Perspective and Mesh Warp transformations.

5. The Crop Tool in Photo has been improved

A number of improvements have been made to Affinity Photo’s Crop Tool (desktop and iPad) including the ability to:

  • Crop to an active pixel selection
  • Maintain zoom level after a crop (instead of automatically zooming to fit)
  • Remember the last ratio crop, making it much easier to apply the same crop to a number of images
  • Resize a crop by dragging anywhere on the bounding box edges, rather than having to drag from a handle
  • Reset the current crop with Esc
  • Hold Shift in unconstrained mode to constrain the current aspect ratio and ⌘ Command (Ctrl on Windows) to resize around the centre.

You can discover the variety of functionality that Affinity Photo’s Crop Tool offers by watching this video:

Discover the variety of functionality that Affinity Photo’s Crop Tool offers for cropping, straightening and resizing your images.

And that’s not all!

There are so many things to talk about in Affinity 2.1 that we couldn’t stick to just five! Along with the ability to show/hide special characters in Affinity Designer and Photo—another user-requested feature—there’s plenty more handy stuff like:

Auto-clean for the Paint Mixer Brush in Photo

A new option is now available in the context toolbar of the Paint Mixer Brush to auto-clean the brush after every stroke, should you wish. This ensures the current colour isn’t muddied by the previous one—just like when you clean the paint off a real brush.

The Style Picker Tool is now available for iPad

The Style Picker Tool, which was added to the desktop versions of Designer, Photo and Publisher 2.0, is now available in the iPad versions. This tool allows you to quickly copy the style of any object or text in your document to other objects, and can be found nested within the Colour Picker Tool.

Check out this handy tutorial to see how it works:

Learn how to use the Style Picker—which can copy and paste object attributes quickly—on the iPad version of Designer.

The Brush Panel has been enhanced

A lot of customer feedback has been incorporated into the Brush Panel in Designer and Photo (desktop and iPad). Improvements include:

  • The current raster brush is always highlighted (in blue) and will now denote if it has been edited (by highlighting red).

  • If you change brush tools (e.g., between paint brush and eraser), which have different brushes assigned, the panel will automatically scroll/switch categories to always show the current brush. This is something which can be optionally switched off (‘Auto-Scroll’ in the panel’s burger menu).

  • If you have changed any of the temporary properties of a brush, you can choose to update your brush preset to use that setting (from right click menu on desktop, or left swipe menu on iPad).

If a brush has been edited, it will highlight in red.

Vector warp nodes are now snappable

When editing a vector warp in Affinity Designer (desktop and iPad), any nodes in your mesh will now snap based on your general snapping preferences (when snapping is turned on). As with nearly all operations in Affinity, you can temporarily toggle snapping off while dragging a node by holding Alt / ⌥ Option.

The iPad versions have received a bunch of usability enhancements

For a better workflow and user experience, we’ve made it easier to access frequently used tools and functions on iPad.

  • Lock/Unlock, Rename Layer and Change Compound Type have been added to the left swipe menu in Layers, making them readily accessible.

  • The Edit menu has been redesigned to make it more functional and readable, and we’ve brought back the icons for isometric work (in Designer) and insertion target options we had in V1.

  • iPadOS Photos app integration has been added and will automatically take advantage of any new features the Photos app adds in the future.

iPadOS Photos app integration has been added in Affinity 2.1.
  • Select Object modifiers which previously were only available in the desktop versions of Affinity, are now available on iPad. You can either use the Command Controller or a connected keyboard to access these modifiers.

  • Affinity for iPad now has rulers! You can toggle them on from the View / Preview mode drop-down. These new rulers have all the functionality of the desktop versions.

  • When using Apple Pencil, you can now configure ‘double-tap’ on your pencil to open the quick menu.

  • A new option in Live Documents—‘Show in Files’—allows you to easily find the source of any documents you have open which have previously been saved to Files.

Watch more tutorials

You’ll find a fantastic range of tutorials designed to help you get the most out of Affinity V2 over on our official YouTube channel. We upload new videos regularly—not just when there’s an update—so make sure you subscribe to stay up-to-date with the latest tutorials.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Find out more about our 2.1 updates

For a full list of new features and improvements, visit the Affinity website:

Not got Affinity V2 yet?

If you’re a new customer, or wishing to upgrade from V1 to V2, check out our purchase options or sign up for a 30-day free trial.