Lots of changes and granted wishes since my last update. Check out the list of implemented requests at the bottom of this page. Awesome work! Thank you Hubers!
Please post and share yours too, so the developers may gain insight in most wanted features and novel ideas to improve Photoline.
[edited and amended 15/Oct/2019]
In order of importance (for me personally)
- master pages and improved guides management.
- general GUI improvements across the board.
- 2-8 bit image mode support, like the 1bit image mode, but extended with an indexed colour palette.
- vector brushes with bitmap support
- improved channel handling. This includes prepress related work (duotones, hexachrome, custom plates), as well as alpha channel handling for texture and CG work.
- photo editing improvements (puppet warp, improved photo stacking, focus stacking, content aware move and transformation tools)
Page Layout & project management workflow improvement features
- MASTER PAGES! Essential to have in a layout app. Just this alone would make my daily work in PhotoLine so much easier...
- layer dependent guides or sets of guides which can be individually turned on or off in the guides panel. More complex grids and guide systems are incredibly tough to manage in Photoline, since guides reside statically on their own "layer" that exists outside the layer stack. Ideally guides should be part of the active layer when the guide(s) is(are) created. This way the user can manage different guide systems easily, and decide whether he/she wishes to group the guides into subgroups, and move certain guide groups on top, and others below particular layers.
- NEW simple option to share (a) layer(s) on a range of pages.
- symbols and a symbol library panel that collects reusable objects and elements on a document level. Edits made in a library item cascade throughout the document and its pages. Instances of library items on a page should be detachable from the original. Simple drag and drop to create new library items and drag them in the document.
- NEW "Collections" or similar feature to organize layer states and layer linking. Refer to https://www.pl32.com/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6246
- option to control separate guide systems for master pages
- option to display all the pages in the view, not just one at a time.
- NEW An option in the ruler (right-mouse click) to add custom named units, and base the relative size on the default units. This would allow for any measurement unit to be used in Photoline.
- NEW extended GUI colour controls: allow the user to customize the colours of all major GUI parts and save these settings as a theme.
- document windows in window mode look terrible on Windows. Refer to https://www.pl32.com/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6171 Multiview GUI Improvements Proposal
- open multiple images as tabs. Also see the previous item.
- an option to hide the scroll bars: I personally never use them, and always pan the view with the middle mouse button or spacebar. And ideally these should be restyled according to the user interface background colour chosen in Options. The scrollbars in Windows look very, very ugly and are distracting.
- on-canvas parametric shape controls, instead of the old-fashioned and awkward tool properties controls.
- NEW Visual Presets / thumbnails for new images: allow the user to manage presets in main categories (web, print, video, comics, etc), and for a subcategories (web-->800x600, web-->1140x768, etc). The current new document and new image dialogs would benefit from a visual presets list/presentation instead of that very limited preset list dropdown. I have too many presets to comfortably manage.
- NEW Various List panels: add folders option to organize and manage colours, patterns, textures, shapes, etc. Just like the Actions panel. This would also solve the problem with managing brush/texture/pattern/gradient/colour sets, because the menus in these panels only accommodate up to 6/7 or so recently used sets.
- NEW Various list panel: allow for filtering by type and by name (typing part of colour name, for example).
- NEW Add a script panel to organize and manage scripts similar to actions.
- NEW Remove the "Web" menu. Move the "Web Export" option to "File", and remove the other extremely outdated options. No-one uses image maps anymore, or tiles images in web development. Perhaps retain these two functions and move them in the File-->Functions menu if you actually find someone who still uses these options. Implement a new timeline panel with simple keyframe-based animation (see animation below)
- NEW Indexed image mode with true indexed colour palette support. With the layer option to set the bit depth to 2,3,4,5,6,7, and 8 bit. A rather big wish, I guess... This could be an extended version of the 1bit image mode in PhotoLine.
- create HDR image: allow for as many brackets as we want, and in both 8 and 16 bpc. When processing 16bpc brackets, generate a 32bpc image.
- add focus stacking.
- a content aware move/transformation/scale tool or option.
- the copy brush: it would be very useful at times to have an option to be able to copy ABSOLUTE transparency of the target area, and replacing the transparency of the painted area.
- perspective grid(s) options for the distort tool
- puppet warp type deformation
OpenToonz is now open source, and calls it "plastic tool" - perhaps this code can be re-used in Photoline? https://github.com/opentoonz/opentoonz
- image calculations (Refer to Photoshop)
- additional options to refine a bitmap layer mask (comparable to Photoshop's refine mask option)
- live vector brushes and bitmap brushes along paths. Various options and parameters to control how these are stretched and/or repeated, etc.
- when in Edit Vector Points mode, add a modifier key to reshape straight segments to a curved one in order to avoid having to first convert the straight segment to a curve with the Convert Vector Points tool. This would save a lot of unnecessary clicks.
- move a straight line segment by dragging it (instead of selecting both points).
- option to work on nodes of multiple paths (vector layers) simultaneously. Shift-select two or more vector objects with the edit path tool, and work on the nodes of multiple paths of objects.
- path outline option which displays (highlights) the paths the user is working on. Great for more complex work, and for when elements obscure each-other. In Photoline I solve this by changing the opacity of layers, but it does slow down work.
- quick and easy join/merge nodes functions. (In InkScape: shift-J - Done! InkScape also offers many shortcuts to speed up node editing.)
- easy offset tools for path offsets (preferably live effect)
- paths, nodes, handles, etc. highlighting when hovering before selection. Makes it much easier to select paths when working with more complex artwork. (Photoline already does include highlighting paths for snapping!)
- introduce custom channels in the channels panel. Currently custom channels are loaded up as a layer in the layer panel, which is rather inconvenient. The way how tiffs with custom channels are currently handled in Photoline is merely a reminder of how useful it would be to keep custom channels separated from the regular layers.
Gimp's channel panel works quite well in this respect. Look for inspiration there.
- saving selections to a custom channel.
- custom channels for duotone, tritone, hexachrome, special inks, etc.
- essential: saving an alpha channel in a tiff. Loading a tiff with alpha channel is possible, but saving is still problematic.
Text & Typography
- extended open type support. With many typefaces letter variants are now included (such as proportional old style number variants). These cannot be selected or worked with in Photoline. Likewise, ligature control is limited: with headlines ligatures are avoided, but there does not seem to be an option to turn off ligatures at the text/character level.
- improved management of font families and their members for font selection. For example, I have Myriad Pro installed, which consists of 24 members. In Photoline it is often quite confusing to select a particular member. Some are part of the list, others can be reached through a combination of clicks in the text tool settings.
- font selection: typing the first letters of a font name filters the list. Example: type "M" and only font names starting with "M" will populate the visibile list.
- glyph or symbol /option/dropdown to easily select a specific character for insertion. This is related to the extended open type support.
- any other typography related design app on the market separates a) kerning, and b) tracking. Kerning and tracking are two very different things in typography, and equally important to have. PL only offers kerning, and the inclusion of tracking would be extremely helpful for type related work in Photoline.
- text flow tools: visible treads which display the linking between text boxes.
- transform tools: allow for 9-slice scaling of objects/layers.
- a non-destructive live object array cloning tool or layer. Allow for different symmetry schemes, and shift, scale, rotation, blur & opacity, color, etc. This would also be great for cloning bitmap layers.
- function to split layer effects into individual layers for further processing and export. Currently PL offers no function to achieve this. "Convert Layer Effects to Layers"
- PDF: allow specific selected layers to be exported as PDF layers. Handy for translations, maps, and so on.
- additional texture noise generators. Currently Noise, turbulence, and fractal is available. Voronoi, Worley, Cellular, and others would be great additions to push the capabilities of the procedural textures.
- NEW Update icons to reflect their function better
- NEW Add a main timeline scrubber to play all animations simultaneously in the main view. The view and the main timeline scrubber should be synchronized, just like in every other animation capable software. Remove the scrubber at the bottom of the preview.
- NEW Expose the keyframe functionality by introducing nice keyframe indicators which can be dragged, copied, and deleted in the tracks. Expose these keyframes for all tracks, not just the selected track.The current timeline keyframes are tiny and almost invisible, as well as very hard to select.
- NEW Remove the preview, and use the main view to play the full animation (this already works for each independent track).
- NEW Alternatively (low hanging fruit): place the preview at the top of the timeline, or separate the two in two separately movable and scalable windows.
- NEW Make frame-by-frame animation possible. Perhaps a new track type?
- include onion skinning.
This part of PhotoLine needs a drastic overhaul in terms of capabilities as well as the overall GUI. It would be too much work however, I think, and a lost battle to attempt to compete with dedicated digital painting software such as Krita and ClipStudio Paint. Besides, these work very well together with PhotoLine. It would be preferable to focus on improving the already quite decent vector tools instead (vector brushes with bitmap support would be an incredible artistic improvement!).
- integrate stamp tool in the regular painting tools by allowing the stamps to become part of the brushes panel
Fullfilled wishes and requests
[*] DONE! allow handles to be (multi-)selected, and behaviour should be the same as selecting nodes/anchor points.
[*] DONE! create panorama photo from as many partials/photo stack.
[*] DONE! autosave function
[*] DONE! export options per layer & layer group (see File and Export)
[*] DONE! a way to set the export options on a per layer and layer group basis while working (preferably with a preview option). This would include options to set the export format, the settings for each export format, and an option to export multiple version of the same layer/layer group at different sizes. Also an option to set the resample method.
[*] DONE! apply depth maps (z-maps): in 3d applications depth maps can be calculated. When these are imported in Photoline (for example, as part of an EXR) these are unsupported. Ideally Photoline could utilize the 3d information in a depth map to apply effects, clouds, etc. depending on the depth and adjust the strength of the effect.
[*] DONE! option to keep the transformations of patterns, textures, and gradients of an object, and replace with another pattern/texture/gradient without resetting those transformations.
[*] DONE! Page spreads. And custom spreads. Spreads should be visible in the page pane, and be displayed side be side in the view. Export to PDF as spreads.
[*] DONE!option for automated assets export similar to Photoshop generator.
[*] DONE!when multiple nodes are selected on a curve, an optional transform cage appears, allowing for quick transformations of groups of selected nodes (including rotation). With shift and ctrl modifier keys a real workflow enhancer. Also works with multiple selected objects' nodes (see next point). And the transformation origin can be set as well. Awesome tool.
[*] DONE!Photoline does not seem to offer an option to snap vector nodes to other vector nodes of the same path. Another reason why I often switch to InkScape. It does work with other vector layers' nodes, but the nodes of those remain invisible, and it becomes trial and error to figure out where they snap. See previous point.
[*] DONE!Boolean operations that remain live and editable (non-destructive!)
[*] DONE!G'MIC support
[*] DONE!option to increase or decrease the size of the vector anchor points and handles points in the preferences.