Up to the V2.1 release, Affinity desktop apps have used either on-page controls or a dedicated Transform panel to rotate, reposition and resize objects.
Introducing Move Data Entry
In the Affinity V2.2 release, a new transform feature for desktop apps called Move Data Entry lets you not only move (offset) and rotate objects via a Move / Duplicate dialog, but additionally duplicate objects out to a configurable number of copies. Any selected object can be affected by pressing the Enter key.
The feature offers a live on-page preview of the expected rotation, transform and duplicates before committing your transform via the dialog. Adjust any setting and the preview updates accordingly.
Typically, shapes can be duplicated to create repeating sequences of shapes vertically (shown), horizontally and/or at any angle.
For complete or semi-complete ring patterns, the object’s Transform Origin can be repositioned so the duplicated shapes will orbit around the new origin’s position. The Transform Origin option is located on the Move Tool’s context toolbar.
Is this power duplicating?
Affinity apps still support the Power Duplicate feature, using cmd+J (Mac) or ctrl+J (Windows) after duplicating and repositioning the initial object, but there are big advantages when using Move Data Entry, i.e.
- You avoid having to duplicate objects one-by-one, especially when many duplicates are required.
- You set the number of duplicates in advance of creation, to potentially many hundreds of copies.
- The preview lets you experiment with settings without having to commit to them until you’re ready.
- You don’t need to perform potentially laborious undo operations.
- Previous transform settings can optionally be remembered.
Curves and straight lines can be duplicated as well as shapes. When unfilled, curves can create very pleasing overlapping wave-like patterns. Here are a few examples that show this off well.
Alternatively, if you choose to apply a fill to a curve you can create interesting overlapping effects on duplication, especially if you are using blend modes on curves.
Using symbols when rotating and transforming
Symbols are a core feature in Affinity Designer, especially when creating mockups across different artboards. Objects can be symbolised so that any subsequent changes to them can be synchronised across every instance of the object instantaneously.
When using symbols and Move Data Entry, you can edit transformed symbolised objects at any point as long as the object is made a symbol before using Move Data Entry. This offers unlimited design variation and powerful design control.
Working with groups
So far the suggestion is that you can only duplicate individual objects. In reality, you can transform any group of objects using any transform operation including Move Data Entry.
Using symbols mentioned above you could also consider symbolising just specific objects in your group prior to duplicating so you can rework just those objects independently of others.
How Move Data Entry works
The Move Data Entry feature is available in any Affinity desktop app when you press the Enter key when one or more objects are selected. The dialog displayed offers self-explanatory options but the key is to try combinations of settings.
In conclusion, I hope you’ve enjoyed the article. Have fun with this feature, especially using rotation and duplicate copies around a repositioned transform origin.
To give you some inspiration, the example below shows some of the transforms discussed as a part of a more complete project.