☠ Back from the Dead: Gravit Designer 3.3
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:
- Option “Don’t show anymore at startup.” To bring the welcome screen back, use Help → Show welcome screen.
- Press Esc or Enter to close the welcome screen and create a new document with an infinite Canvas. Clicking outside also does the trick.
- New “Open Recent” tab to quickly access your recently edited files.
- Windows: Gravit Designer can now be closed/minimized right from the welcome screen in the top-right corner.
- macOS: Accessing the menu bar also closes the welcome screen.
- Templates now have a “Large preview” switch so that it’s easier to see what you get.
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:
- Lets you choose the installation directory,
- correctly adds Gravit Designer to the start menu,
- is the same for Windows 7 and 10,
- gives you the correct naming of the application in the taskbar.
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
- Panning on the Canvas with the middle-mouse-button.
- Horizontal scrolling with Shift and the mouse-wheel.
- Delete layers with both the the Del and Backspace key.
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 Help → Language → Português 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.”
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.”
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.
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
- The show state of the Layers panel and Inspector is remembered and with it, everything from “Show”, “Snap to” and the Settings is synced across all versions.
- Guidelines are enabled the moment the rulers are shown to prevent confusion. Furthermore, they can now be moved independently of the element’s position or groups.
- When importing files, the real file name is shown instead of “Untitled.” This also goes for the file tab. Also, the loading indicator represents the loading progress more accurately.
- Both the Swatches colors and “Make Exportable” are scrollable.
- Changed the default theme to “Dark.”
- Extended the “Help” menu so that it‘s even easier to contact us and get support. Also, added a new “Show welcome screen” option as a quick way to see the version number.
- Multiple elements can be flipped at once.
- The threshold to resize the Layers panel has been increased.
- Holding Alt while clicking on a Swatch color selects all elements with a similar color and makes them blink for a while.
- Optimized the selection box in the Transform tool when altering elements and enabled the rotation point to be included into “smart duplicate,” allowing things like that for example.
- Updated the included Web Fonts so that they are in sync with Google Fonts again. Some fonts may still miss due to incompatibilities with character sets.
- Knife tool cuts shapes in perfect half again and lets you cut paths properly.
- Reduced rendering artifacts.
- Master pages: Margins (and other values) are synced correctly, and they don’t get lost when reordering pages.
- Copying and saving don’t reset the height of text layers anymore.
- Fixed various display problems in Firefox.
- Anchoring now works appropriately for clipped shapes.
- Entering Play mode on macOS doesn’t freeze Gravit Designer anymore.
- Massive bugfixes for symbols. Also, the length of their name isn’t limited anymore and it can contain special characters.
- Closing paths with the Pen tool acts more predictable, no matter if closing from the start or end point.
- The center point of radial gradients can be adapted appropriately.
- The dpi resolution is also set correctly for PNGs.
- Massive fixes to effects on Windows 7.
- Fixed a few issues for compound shapes (“Merge”).
- Text layers attached to a path are correctly exported to SVG and PDF. Furthermore, they aren’t cut off anymore.
- Resizing or moving compound paths doesn’t screw up the axis of applied gradients anymore.
- Confirmation emails are correctly sent when signing up or resetting the password.
- Pan tool works when the Inspector panel is hidden.
- The overlay effect also shows the gradient axis when applied to a group.
- Fixed that lines can be anchored vertically, too.
- “Make exportable” works correctly even with same-named elements.
- Fixed creating a new page and undoing it.
- “Paste Inside Selection” works correctly when copying elements outside of Gravit Designer. This only goes for the desktop apps, in the web app we just have restricted access to the system clipboard.
- The text color is correctly updated when an effect is applied.
- Fixed the color picker in HSB mode, which was basically unusable.
- File → Export → PNG exports correctly independent of screen density or specific system settings.
- Correct preview image (instead of broken image) when exporting at higher dpi sizes.
- Fixed multiple issues with Modify → Path → Expand/Shrink.
- Proper display of font list in Chinese version.
- Fixed some issues in PDF and Sketch import.
- “Open recent” also works for folders in the Gravit Cloud.
- Fixed that Vectorize Border only works for elements with borders and leaves other elements untouched.
- Stars can be created properly in a perfectly horizontal position.
- Bezigon tool also snaps vertically.
- “Retina Display” isn’t checked by default anymore when using a high-res display.
- Setting the “Corner” for polygons works correctly.
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.