New Export Workflow Proposal

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Herbert123
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New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by Herbert123 »

I create and design web graphics, web mockups, mobile GUIs, game GUIs, game graphic, game level mockups in PhotoLine.

PhotoLine is lagging behind quite a bit in regards to asset export workflow, and I keep hitting that wall - it is slow and cumbersome. In comparison, most other design software out there have integrated a modernized asset export workflow.

In a modern asset production workflow for web, game, and mobile, a simple "save for web" dialog no longer suffices. The save layer option in PhotoLine is useful, but it still takes a lot of work and time to create all the assets at various sizes. Nowadays it is normal to have both retina and a normal screen sized version when exporting web graphics - and often the same asset will be used for a mobile version at a different resolution as well.

Therefore, I have made a proposal to yank PhotoLine's asset export workflow into the 21st century:
http://oi67.tinypic.com/1okfol.jpg

(ps: the [e] suffix in the layers indicates that the layer/group has been assigned export settings)

In short, an additional Export panel is added to PhotoLine which allows the user to export various versions of a layer, and export all layers with those custom export options:
export panel.png
Comments are welcome. I realize this might seem overkill for some of you here, but the lack of an automated asset export is really starting to affect my work in PhotoLine. More and more tools are appearing on the market with similar options, and it just takes me way too much time to export assets from my designs and layouts. I now have to do this all manually. The layer export helps a bit, but I still have to resize and format all the assets afterwards. It just takes so much time!

@Martin and Gerard: I sincerely hope this proposal will be taken into consideration :)


PPS: actions are not the answer here either. Also too slow.
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dutchman
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by dutchman »

Hi Herbert,
actions are too slow?
can you send us an action and a template?
Greetz
toni
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Herbert123
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by Herbert123 »

dutchman wrote: Tue 28 Mar 2017 21:01 Hi Herbert,
actions are too slow?
can you send us an action and a template?
Greetz
toni
By "slow" I meant "time-consuming and inefficient to set up in actual use" for this type of work. Times have changed, and other design applications (Photoshop, Affinity, Sketch, Figma, etc.) all have similar options for web/mobile image export, although the implementation varies.

So I am hoping the devs will consider this proposal.
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wmjordan
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by wmjordan »

I vote for this feature.
I am doing similar things like Herbert.
A one-click-export-many function can help save some time.
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dutchman
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by dutchman »

I deal wt the same issue sometimes as webdeveloper.
So I would agree wt the proposed exportfunction wt more options.
I only work wt PL, so I never noticed, that other programs offers these features.
But that's the reason we are here, to make PL better as it already is.
For the Huber's surely possible. :D
bkh
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by bkh »

While I don't usually need to export layers separatelly, this also seems useful to create low resolution versions of images and the like. (So far, I have used shell scripts for this kind of work.) A few thoughts:

• I'd prefer to use scaling presets (which PL doesn't yet have), rather than "4 standard + the last 6 settings", especially because I suppose we can't agree about standard ones. Also, formulas are ambiguous (do they refer to width or height) and one can't set the scaling algorithm. Or, at least add a button for opening the standard scaling dialogue – why use cryptic text when there's a GUI around.

• Actually, instead of (or in addition to) those simple scaling presets, I'd prefer to be able to specify actions (these could be specified via the web export settings, btw, so no need for an extra field here). I'm thinking of different scaling algorithms, sharpening options, converting to a different colour space (or even greyscale), adding frames etc. I don't think that a hard-coded scale command is noticeably faster than playing back the corresponding action.

• It's hard to guess from the GUI what the trim option is for. What happens if you don't trim – do you get the original layer size or the document size? (Could also be incorporated into the web export action, btw.)

• maybe add web export presets and display these presets in the Export panel?

• I think that the export panel needs a more explicit way of setting the export folder, besides cmd-clicking the export icon.

• I'd prefer an "Export all" menu command, going through the export settings panel for the actual export does not seem intuitive to me.

• It would be really useful to have a page export function similar to the layer export feature.

Cheers

Burkhard.
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by mdgunn »

+1 for this feature.
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Herbert123
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by Herbert123 »

bkh wrote: Wed 29 Mar 2017 09:50 • I'd prefer to use scaling presets (which PL doesn't yet have), rather than "4 standard + the last 6 settings", especially because I suppose we can't agree about standard ones. Also, formulas are ambiguous (do they refer to width or height) and one can't set the scaling algorithm. Or, at least add a button for opening the standard scaling dialogue – why use cryptic text when there's a GUI around.
I think configurable scaling presets are a great idea.

The scaling algorithm can be set in the layer properties. But yes, I agree: ideally for each version of an asset a specific scaling algorithm would be configurable.
bkh wrote: Wed 29 Mar 2017 09:50 • Actually, instead of (or in addition to) those simple scaling presets, I'd prefer to be able to specify actions (these could be specified via the web export settings, btw, so no need for an extra field here). I'm thinking of different scaling algorithms, sharpening options, converting to a different colour space (or even greyscale), adding frames etc. I don't think that a hard-coded scale command is noticeably faster than playing back the corresponding action.
In theory the action would be configurable when the web export dialog is opened for each asset. But the web export dialog cannot be used to output to different formats that are common outside png/gif/jpg/webp, so perhaps a new export dialog is required? Not sure.
bkh wrote: Wed 29 Mar 2017 09:50 • It's hard to guess from the GUI what the trim option is for. What happens if you don't trim – do you get the original layer size or the document size? (Could also be incorporated into the web export action, btw.)
That is up for discussion. I would prefer the original layer size, since that can be set by the user independent from the document size. For example, I leave a 1px margin around exported assets for games to avoid certain screen rendering issues.

But this can, of course, be better solved with an action that is tied to an exported asset.
bkh wrote: Wed 29 Mar 2017 09:50 • maybe add web export presets and display these presets in the Export panel?
Clicking the edit settings button to the far right opens the web export. But yes, thinking about this it would be preferable to have a named list of web export presets that can be quickly selected instead.
bkh wrote: Wed 29 Mar 2017 09:50 • I think that the export panel needs a more explicit way of setting the export folder, besides cmd-clicking the export icon.
Yes, I agree.
bkh wrote: Wed 29 Mar 2017 09:50 • I'd prefer an "Export all" menu command, going through the export settings panel for the actual export does not seem intuitive to me.
Sure, could be added somewhere in the menu. But I would like to have the same option available in this panel as well.
bkh wrote: Wed 29 Mar 2017 09:50 • It would be really useful to have a page export function similar to the layer export feature.
Didn't think of that, but a definite "yes" - would be truly useful.

All in all, I think this export should be as flexible as possible. Integrating actions is great, but not at the expense of efficiency: the export assets panel should allow the user to quickly set up layer export settings without much fuss.
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Herbert123
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by Herbert123 »

dutchman wrote: Wed 29 Mar 2017 08:40 I deal wt the same issue sometimes as webdeveloper.
So I would agree wt the proposed exportfunction wt more options.
I only work wt PL, so I never noticed, that other programs offers these features.
But that's the reason we are here, to make PL better as it already is.
For the Huber's surely possible. :D
Yes, I believe modernizing some of PhotoLine's exporting workflows is essential, and it will only benefit existing users and possibly draw in new users.

If PhotoLine had supported scripting with GUI access (custom scripted panels) I would have done it myself a long time ago.
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wmjordan
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by wmjordan »

Herbert123 wrote: Wed 29 Mar 2017 18:55
dutchman wrote: Wed 29 Mar 2017 08:40 I deal wt the same issue sometimes as webdeveloper.
So I would agree wt the proposed exportfunction wt more options.
I only work wt PL, so I never noticed, that other programs offers these features.
But that's the reason we are here, to make PL better as it already is.
For the Huber's surely possible. :D
Yes, I believe modernizing some of PhotoLine's exporting workflows is essential, and it will only benefit existing users and possibly draw in new users.

If PhotoLine had supported scripting with GUI access (custom scripted panels) I would have done it myself a long time ago.
I agree with that.
Maybe it is even possible to share some PL scripts within the user community.
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photoken
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by photoken »

-1
I have never needed this, do not need it now, and will never need it.

I'd rather see enhancements to the photo editing tools, vector drawing capabilities, and a real History panel. In other words, fun stuff! :D
Ken
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Just take everything out on Highway 61.
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Herbert123
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by Herbert123 »

photoken wrote: Sat 01 Apr 2017 20:10 -1
I have never needed this, do not need it now, and will never need it.

I'd rather see enhancements to the photo editing tools, vector drawing capabilities, and a real History panel. In other words, fun stuff! :D
While I agree with you that other improvements to vector drawing tools and photo editing tools would be very welcome too, PhotoLine is in its current version quite far behind other image editors and design applications that have offered these (automated) workflow options for quite some time now. Which includes Affinity and Adobe, for example. Workflows in web and mobile (and games) development have evolved, and I notice that only PhotoLine in my toolset seems somewhat stuck in this regard.

Implementing this should not take that much effort, I think - all the core functionality is already present in PhotoLine. Just needs to be streamlined in one workflow.

Yes, I would love improvements to other tools as well, but in my personal workflow PhotoLine is rather awkward when it comes to exporting for web and mobile. It is my main peeve with the software now. Anyway, it is up to the Hubers, of course.
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by Eurgail »

I think you shouldn't fight for it. :-)
You are both right: For me (and i guess other non-webdesigners) it's like ken said generaly not necessary, but Herbert is also absolutely right, that more and more design apps (as far as i know, only Adobe and Affinity have this right now!?) have this functionality, so it is needed to come sooner or later.
And when this will happen, the developers decide anyway... :-)
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by photoken »

Eurgail wrote: Sun 02 Apr 2017 17:47 I think you shouldn't fight for it. :-)
Naahh, 123 and I aren't fighting about this -- we're each just describing how we use PL, which can be quite different in some cases. :D

When we do "fight" about a concept, you'll know it: the arguments rage for several days. And I'm glad they do because those discussions generate much light and very little heat. For me, those forceful exchanges and questioning have made me really think about what I was proposing, and that's a Good Thing. :D
Ken
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Just take everything out on Highway 61.
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Re: New Export Workflow Proposal

Post by Eurgail »

photoken wrote: Sun 02 Apr 2017 22:56 Naahh, 123 and I aren't fighting about this
Absolutely. You didn't and you shouldn't. :)