☠ Back from the Dead: Gravit Designer 3.3

Christian Krammer
Mar 19, 2018 · 13 min read

Some considered us dead (not true), some considered us sold (kinda true), but regardless of any rumors, we are back for good with a brand new version of Gravit Designer. This update is all about critical bugfixes and bringing some long-requested features from the community to our application. Talking to our users is still our highest good in improving Gravit Designer, and we made sure to listen carefully. Although we concentrated on optimizations and “under-the-hood” changes, you will also find some unexpected additions in this release. You can download Gravit Designer 3.3 on our website, use it online or update directly in the respective app stores (it may take up to 48h until the update is available there).

To clarify some critical points, let’s start with a good ol’ FAQ. It’s essential for us to be as transparent as possible here.

So, what took you so long?

Over three months without any update is a very long time, but developing a free app is a difficult task to undertake. This tense situation led to a reduced crew lately, but we are still very proud what we achieved in the last months. Improvement is already in sight with some significant changes on the horizon for Gravit Designer, which directly leads to the next question.

Are you even serious about Gravit Designer? How’s the future?

The future is very bright for our lil’ application. With the help of a well-known company in the design-business we will be able to beef up Gravit Designer in all respects. Our prime goal is to keep Gravit free, but the bigger it gets, the more resources it devours. With some critical areas needing improvement (bugs, performance) and significant features on our list we are hard at work to decide where we want to head with Gravit Designer. Right, on to the next question …

Where the hell is EPS import?

Gotcha, almost! EPS import was a beast to develop, so we thought at some point “why not make it a paid Pro feature?” But then we reconsidered, tried harder. As we are good ol’ friends here, let me tell you a secret: At the end of the day, money still rules the world, so there will definitely be areas in Gravit Designer in the foreseeable future, or areas surrounding Gravit Designer, that are subject to a charge. You can expect an announcement soon. “Free” is still our prime goal, but “paid” in any form is a requirement. Hard facts, indeed. But for now, enjoy EPS import. 🙂 Just use File → Open file… to get started.

With these questions out of the way, let’s talk about Gravit Designer 3.3 and all the features that await you.

Improvements to the welcome screen

The first thing you see when entering Gravit Designer is the welcome screen. While it’s a fine opportunity for many users to explore the options of Gravit Designer, for others it’s a pain in the butt that they continuously need to dismiss it. We listened to the feedback from our users and implemented many improvements to the start screen:

Enhanced Windows installer and Portable version

Let’ be honest: The old Windows installer was awful. It was nice to look at, but wildly impractical. All the more we are proud to introduce our brand new installer. It presents these advantages:

We improved not only the installer but also the portable version, which consists of just a single GravitDesigner.exe file now, ready to start from anywhere.

Long-requested features from the community

Portuguese translation

Você fala português? Probably, because our largest user group is speaking Portuguese. We saw this as an opportunity to make Gravit Designer accessible to an even broader audience and translated the entire interface to Portuguese. But that’s just the beginning: We already have plans to offer translated versions for Spanish, German, Indic, French, Indonesian, Russian and Italian in the future.

To switch to the Portuguese version, select HelpLanguagePortuguês in the menu bar.

Ability to change your user data

We already had https://cloud.gravit.io/profile before, but it was quite limited. In the new iteration, you can change your password, update your profile picture or delete the entire user account (which we hope you will never actually employ …) — all from the same page. To access your profile right from Gravit Designer, click on your profile picture in the top-right and select “Settings.”

Beta version

Software development isn’t easy. You are sitting there, developing an application for weeks, testing it in all conscience, but then, when the big day of release comes, it seems that all of your users just have a single goal: Pick your software to pieces and find as many inconsistencies and problems as possible. Welcome to our world! Jokes apart, we are grateful for each and every bug that gets detected by our users and enables us to get Gravit Designer down pat.

An essential step in this direction is our new beta version, accessible at https://designer-beta.gravit.io. You can also switch permanently in the Settings (Edit Settings Enable Beta version). Please note, that this only works in the web app. Whenever you are using Gravit Designer now, you are in the Beta version, apparent from the green badge on the welcome screen. A new (but hidden) section in our forum lets you report bugs or give feedback.

We aim to release a new Beta as soon as we have fixed critical bugs, to see if we really caught everything (mistakes happen) or to pre-please new features, so that you can try them out and give feedback.

A word of caution, though: Beta versions aren’t meant for production work, they may contain bugs, and we can’t guarantee the compatibility to older versions.

New “Edit” option (and Enter to go into Edit mode)

Entering the edit mode of text layers on the Canvas can be quite hard, especially when zoomed out. To ease the pain, we added an “Edit Selection” option to the context-menu (right-click). An even easier method is to press Enter on the keyboard — and, when you are ready, hit Esc. This not only works for text layers but all other kinds of elements, like rectangles, paths or images. In this case, the same action is triggered as if you switched to the Subselect tool. To go back to the initial Pointer tool, press Esc.

Another occasion, where this feature might come in handy, are masks (“Clip”). Before, it was difficult to edit the masking element without going to the Layers Panel; now you can just press Enter or select “Edit Selection.”

Improved precision

Gravit Designer has a wide range of units to choose from. Be it pixels for digital work or millimeters or inches for print work. By nature, each of it needs a different level of precision. Something we optimized now. For inches, four decimal places are shown, for centimeters three, for picas and millimeters two, and for pixels and points one.

If you don’t like standard solutions, you can also set your own precision in the Settings now (Edit Settings Rounding) after flipping the switch. You have the freedom to define up to six decimal places. Setting it to “0” for pixels for example ensures that you always get whole numbers.

Better vector-point-snapping

Drawing vectors in any form is the bread-and-butter job of Gravit Designer, so we made sure to optimize the hell out of snapping here. Foremost, when modifying the nodes of a shape, they snap to all types of nodes now — we even highlight the node that will be snapped to. When aligning nodes to other shapes, we just snap to straight nodes, though, to prevent having too many snapping points in complex designs.

Temporary switch from the Pen to the Subselect tool (and other tools)

When working with the Pen tool it’s often necessary to manipulate nodes that you already placed, but switching to the Subselect tool can be too tedious. That’s why you can hold D on the keyboard now to temporarily switch to the Subselect tool. With this, you are able to move nodes, change their type or adapt entire segments, all while still being in the Pen tool. Just let go of D and you are back there — even the path will be continued. This temporary switch also works for other tools that have keyboard shortcuts like the Rectangle (R) or Bezigon tool (B), and — vice versa — from the Subselect to the Pen tool. Lastly, if you keep the shortcut of a shape tool pressed (ellipse with E for example), you can draw multiple of them in succession.

Unified resizing behavior of borders, corners, and clipped shapes

Having a reliable resizing behavior is critical for a good design tool — something, we struggled a bit with in the past. Depending on the method you chose to resize a layer — on the Canvas or in the Inspector, grouped or ungrouped — Gravit acted differently. These days are gone: If “Autoscale Borders” or “Autoscale Corners” is checked for a layer, you can rely on a reasonable behavior. While it is ideal to let borders and corners resize with the element for illustrations or icons, switching these settings off comes in handy when working on responsive layouts.

For even more conformity, we enhanced the Transform tool with a new settings button — containing the mentioned options — , which makes sure that all borders or corners in the selected object either get resized or not, no matter of their individual settings.

But that’s not all: When resizing a clipped (masked) group, you can decide if the clipped layers are resized with the mask (“Autoscale Clipped Shapes” checked) or the masking element alone is resized (checked) — which is again essential for responsive UI design.

Improvements to line endings

Arrows (or line endings in general) come in handy in different design situations, whether it’s for flow diagrams, infographics or as decorative elements. To help you in these areas, we brought a significant improvement and some fixes to line endings in Gravit Designer (available from the “Advanced stroke settings” icon). As for the improvement, we have a slider now, which lets you precisely define the position of the arrow, be it at the beginning or end of a line, or anything in between.

Regarding fixes, the infamous “Paste” function works again to add custom endings to a line (just copy any element and click on the clipboard icon), the rendering was improved, and line endings properly work together with round ends now.

Performance, performance, performance!

Last but not least, the one we’re especially proud of. We not only managed to improve the loading times of complex designs but also of the application itself. Furthermore, working with pages is much faster now, and we also brought some enhancements to certain design situations. But we haven’t even begun yet: Performance will be a major topic for us with the next releases of Gravit Designer. “Stay tuned,” as they say.

Other notable improvements

Remarkable bugfixes

For me, as the product owner of Gravit Designer, this release is a special occasion, as I had the pleasure to accompany it from start to finish. I’m very proud of my team and what we achieved in the last weeks and months. I hope you enjoy Gravit Designer 3.3 as much as we enjoyed developing it. Please share feedback in the comments or hit us up in the channels listed below.

Be sure to download Gravit Designer 3.3 from our website or update directly in the respective app stores (it may take up to 48h until the update is available there). Of course, you can also use it online.

Gravit Designer

The official blog of Gravit Designer, the design software…

Gravit Designer

The official blog of Gravit Designer, the design software made for everyone. Get it now on https://designer.io

Christian Krammer

Written by

Product manager of Gravit Designer. A cross-platform design tool for the 21st century empowering everyone to design. https://designer.io

Gravit Designer

The official blog of Gravit Designer, the design software made for everyone. Get it now on https://designer.io

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