Astropad and Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is a versatile, all-in-one program that has tools to work with and create both vector and raster images. Starting on a sharp poster design, or making quick photo edits are all possible without opening another program. In this quick, step-by-step guide, we’ll help you organize an efficient workspace for using Affinity Designer with Astropad Studio.

Rearranging workspace and tool panels

For Affinity Designer, by default the tool panel is set to appear on the left side and other panels (e.g., Color, Layers, and Brushes) appear on the right side. These panels can be grouped together, or viewed and moved individually anywhere on screen.

Affinity Designer default workspace

Your tools can easily be organized all to one side, or scattered around your canvas area.

Affinity Designer panels set to left

If you want more control over your workspace in Affinity Designer, go to Window and select Separated Mode. This enables all of your panels to be free-floating, including the menus at the top and tools panel, increasing your canvas space versatility and accessibility.

Affinity Designer panels rearranged while in Separated Mode. Astropad Studio shortcuts sidebar set left

Any type of panel arrangement works with Astropad Studio, since the sidebar can be placed to the left or right side of the iPad screen, or hidden by tapping the Astro-red ring button.

Shortcuts in Affinity Designer

Astropad Studio’s shortcuts are preset to default, so you will need to change them to accommodate Affinity Designer. In Astropad Studio’s Workspace sidebar, towards the bottom, tap Edit Shortcuts. You can fully edit and rename shortcuts for the sidebar. When you’re done, tap Workspace to see all your newly added shortcut commands.

Also note, in Affinity Designer different Personas (Draw Persona, Pixel Persona, Export Persona) may have shortcuts that don’t work in another Persona.

Astropad Studio’s Edit Shortcuts menu

Recommended shortcuts for Astropad’s sidebar:

  • B  :  Brush Tool
  • P  :  Pen Tool
  • M  : Ellipse Tool
  • A :  Node Tool
  • V  : Move Tool
  • Option Command N : New Layer
  • Command ]  :  Layer Up
  • Command [  : Layer Down

Suggested Magic Gestures:

  • Hover
  • Eraser
  • Shift
  • Undo
  • Redo

Touch panning and zooming gesture

Astropad’s touch gestures, panning and zoom, are supported in Affinity Designer. Using two fingers, pinch to zoom, and place together to pan on your iPad. This way, you won’t need to keep the scrollbars in view when you set up your ideal workspace.

How to set pen pressure

To utilize pen pressure in Affinity Designer, some settings will need to be adjusted. Select the More button, right next to Opacity, to open individual brush settings.

Enable Pressure in Brush settings

Enable the Pressure option, and also change the size variance to give a range for the change in pressure. Also in the top menu, there is a Controller option; set this to Pressure.

Pressure selected in Controller option

Using Astropad Standard

If you’re using Astropad Standard with Affinity Designer, here’s a few things to note with shortcuts :

  • Undo (Command Z) and Redo (Shift Command Z) will need to be changed in the Shortcuts sidebar.
  • Also, the shortcut for Eraser (E) is only usable in the Pixel Persona.

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