Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Amadine – Vector graphics software for Mac (amadine.com)
231 points by delib on May 17, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 91 comments

Although I don’t have much use for vector graphics software, it is _great_ to see people building new native mac apps which take advantage of the unique features of the platform instead of targeting a cross-platform lowest common denominator!

Yes, there's so many great Mac/Apple only applications that beat the pants off of any cross-platform apps, especially stuff built with Electron.

I use some great apps on a daily basis that are Mac or Apple ecosystem only.

Acorn - Image editor

OmniGraffle - Diagramming

OmniFocus - Todo list for GTD

Sketch - UI prototyping

Plus Apple's productivity software, Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. I honestly don't know how people manage with G Suite.

There's also a ton of apps I don't use on a daily basis, and won't bother listing.

It really is awesome to see new native Mac apps. Please keep building them, and I promise to keep buying them. I'm giving Amadine a try today.

OmniOutliner is another great example that I have been using for decades.

Safari is another overlooked example: the fluency of moving between Mac, iPad and phone with a shared history, tab handoff etc is fantastic.

You really can tell when you use their software that Omni has been in the Cocoa business since NeXT. OmniWeb used to ship with the OS, and IIRC OmniPDF did too.

I still love how OmniWeb can do vertical tabs. I wish Safari had an option for it.

I kind of feel like Omni has seen better days. OmniGraffle just doesn't feel like the must have tool like it used to be.

The irony of Figma being better than all of those applications, while having been built with Electron, will not be lost on those who have used it.

I doubt that claim so much. Every Electron application I've ever used is seriously deficient in many ways. First every app has its own set of UI controls, so right there you loose one of the best things about native Mac apps, consistency. Next I've yet to find a single Electron app that doesn't break some core Mac feature such as copy/paste, system wide spellcheck, system wide dictionary, the emoji picker, system wide settings, scrollable area bounce, zoom, tabs, windows, menus, keyboard shortcuts, drag & drop, screenshots, and so on. Third every electron app consumes way to many system resources and almost all are painfully slow. But, hey I'll give Figma a try and report back.

- Empty window stoplight controls (breaks HIG).

- I been waiting over two minutes for it to open a blank document created in the web version...three minutes still blank.

- Had to close and re-open. Still takes a few seconds to load a blank document.

- System wide spellchecker doesn't work.

- System wide dictionary doesn't work.

- Uses CPU time when it should be idle.

- One object on screen and it is already using more memory that any other process on my machines (and that includes Discord).

- It spawned 8 processes!

- Copying an object and pasting into another application doesn't work.

- Doesn't respect copy/paste with style and "Paste and Match Style."

- Doesn't support standard macOS accessibility.

I can probably go on, but honestly I'm not impressed and I'm bored.

Figma definitely stands as an example of what you can do with web technologies. Their webassembly and canvas codebase seems to work out really well for user experience. In comparison I tried Sketch the other day (native) and it was reeeeeeally slow.

Figma is still very much geared towards Mac designers, though. Sure, it works on Windows, but it's very frustrating to use it with a scroll-wheel mouse and a full-size keyboard. Most dropdowns have no scroll bar, if there is a scrollbar it's only 4px wide. They expect you to have a touchpad with inertia scrolling to do anything. The numpad also does nothing, since Macbooks no longer have them (so CTRL-NUM0 CTRL-NUM1 - extremely shortcuts to reset zoom/fit to page - do nothing; you have to use the number keys above the characters).

Going to throw Monodraw on the list.

Is it truly native? I was digging around and found some references to https://www.wxwidgets.org. I thought the GUI looked a little off to be truly native...

Hmm the screenshots on that site look nothing like their UI.

indeed! been a mac user for years but never used the tools provided by apple until i discovered a swift tutorial in the form of a playground recently. so now i am exploring and learning the frameworks and sdks i already have right here on the mac (well of course you have to download gigabytes of xcode).

native mac development has such a potential but i don't see people using or promoting it. i can easily blame apple for that.

my little experience is that it is very hard to find tutorials that are not geared towards iOS. just try and see for yourself... even books. it is tiring and time consuming to find the right article or tutorial for the macos right now.

funny how people go through hoops to get their ipads connected and stream it on youtube, or to get their simulators working while developing on a mac. some of the frameworks they cover could be done natively on the mac!

I'm curious as to what features are unique to the platform?

Metal, Core Image, Autosave, QuickLook, and supports the Touch Bar

Mac user here. Of that list, the only one I don't consider superfluous or an outright bug is Quicklook.

How is Core Image superfluous or an outright bug?

Toolbars that aren't just tables crammed in from left to right.

(Might've been finally addressed in Win10—dunno, I left that world behind a while ago.)

Given the poor state of Apples PC hardware, I would be weary of investing in the platform as a developer or user.

When pedants attack: Weary = Extremely tired, exhausted. Wary = Fearful or nervous about, having trepidation.

Example: I am weary from investing so much time and effort in Apple's platform. Being so deeply invested, I am wary of further investments until I can diversify.

This is confusing as hell because "wear" sounds the same as "ware" and weary is a real word and will not upset your spellchecker. Of course "weary" sounds different than "wear", with the first sylable rhyming with ear. Thanks English.

Anyhow, misuse of words like this reduces the impact of your communication. I hope this explanation can help you be a bit more effective in expressing yourself.

> Wary = Fearful or nervous about, having trepidation.

'Leery' also means that, which is where I think the confusion comes from.

Oof found the grammar nazi.

What poor state? The hardware is ok, design still top notch despite going downhill, a few components above average (ex SSD), otherwise it’s just stupidly expensive on the high-end.

Don’t all of the recent MacBook Pros and Airs have low relatability scores?

That may factor in to some people’s decisions.

Still a little rough around the edges but these guys get it!

I've been looking for something like this for ages. A simple lightweight vector graphics software with the best parts of illustrator and none of the fluff. Also, completely macOS native. No web app or Electron based crap.

It even has proper group isolation mode, which neither Sketch nor Affinity Designer have implemented after years of users requesting it. This is for me the most important feature in any vectors software since I very rarely use layers. Groups are so much faster.

Hopefully they will keep polishing it, but it looks very promising and for $20 it's a steal.


I bought iDraw (back before AutoCAD bought Indeeo). I bought Affinity Designer. I tried demos for everything else I could get my hands on. I even tried Inkscape.

They all have flashy demos and claim to be great Mac apps (well, except Inkscape). A couple weeks later, I end up regretting my purchase. They just aren't terribly Mac-like, and they have all sorts of little bugs that never seem to get fixed. Being a small company in a huge market, their support suffers. There's 10 little obvious things it's missing that you assume will get added real soon, but it turns out there's actually 1000 things it's missing, and they keep picking other little things. Hell, Affinity Designer is 5 years old and arrowheads are still on their to-do list.

After 20 years of futzing around with Mac graphics apps, Illustrator is still the best vector graphics app I've ever used, and the newcomers aren't even more Mac-like (which seems like it'd be a low bar). Adobe had a 30 year head start. No matter how swanky the new CoreImage APIs are, you're not going to catch Illustrator in a year or two. Their manual is an inch thick (or, it was 20 years ago) and extremely well-written. If you haven't read it, you don't know half of the little usability tricks that they've packed in there. I love to hate on Adobe as much as anyone, and it's definitely not a very Mac-like user experience, but when it comes to making graphics, Illustrator is an absolute beast.

The price of Amadine is a turnoff: $20 is simply nowhere near enough to support the depth of features that a vector graphics app needs. I can tell this is going to be severely underpowered.

I've read about "Javascript fatigue". I have "Mac vector graphics app fatigue". Never again.

I don’t consider any adobe app that I’ve ever use to be Mac-like honestly. For 95% of my usecases, sketch and pixelmator do the job. I’m hoping this program takes care of the 5% gap in features i need for very specific vector drawing.

I don’t use the advanced features of illustrator, partially due to my design style and partially because I’m too lazy to learn them. I’m glad alternatives to Illustrator exist in the market. It’s nice that I don’t have to pay 50$ a month or whatever absurd price adobe charges for cc these days.

> Affinity Designer is 5 years old and arrowheads are still on their to-do list.

Arrowheads are in their beta; you can use them today.

Everything else I agree with, and I’ll add that I miss Freehand.

> I have "Mac vector graphics app fatigue".

Amen. It’s one of those cases where I think “if I had infinite money, I’d build a vector graphics app that works just like I want”. But then I realise that if I had infinite money, I’d have better things to spend my time on.

Any recommendations for an iPad + Pencil vector app? This app has a note that an iOS app is coming soon, wondering if anyone has any existing apps they like.

I enjoy Affinity Designer on my iPad. I use it on Windows desktop for most of my logo designing. For work I use Illustrator, so I'm use to both.

InkPad, hands down. Have used since release several years ago. Maintenance adopted by a husband-wife team that use it. And the original developer added a minor feature just for me :)

Vectornator is free and pretty good

WOW! This almost feels as good as Fireworks did back in the day! I'll probably use this for my upcoming web coming. Waaay nicer usability than Affinity (which was way nicer to use than Illustrator already): special path width control points, multiple strokes and inner shadows etc. on same shape...

For someone with a bit of an artistic side, but who also likes to draw "logically" with exact control of the shape but also without introducing 100 new objects in the picture, this seems amazing.

It lacks the "mixing vectors and pixels" part of Affinity Designer which is sort of cool, but the core part, pen and drawing tools seem to be both intuitive and powerful...

Will play with the trial more, if it doesn't crash much and doesn't lack any essential feature for me I'll buy it 100%! Keep up the good work!

OT, but does anyone know of a vector drawing program that allows me draw in a similar that Fusion360 or SolidWorks does with their 2D CAD sketches?

It also needs to export to some standard format to be used for print, so using SolidWorks of Fusion360 isn't really an option, I can't export the vector 1-to-1 onto a pdf and do proper colors with those.

I cannot for the life of me figure out bezier curves to create arc sections with proper radii that blends into another line, and abusing adding and subtracting shapes from each other is a cumbersome process and editing the final shape often requires me to start all over creating that composite shape.

I would like to have more technical and fine-grained control over the way my drawings are made, than what pulling with my cursor on those handles gives me.

It's not exactly what you want but I have made a little software that is a sort of mix between Inkscape and Geogebra in which you can define a lots of shapes geometrically (https://www.ludigraphix.org, recent show HN : https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19942367)

I had some thoughts of writing some software a bit like that, and would be interested and hearing what would be the feature set for a minimal viable product. *

For example, if you could do things like

>I cannot for the life of me figure out bezier curves to create arc sections with proper radii that blends into another line, and abusing adding and subtracting shapes from each other is a cumbersome process and editing the final shape often requires me to start all over creating that composite shape.

and also

>I would like to have more technical and fine-grained control over the way my drawings are made, than what pulling with my cursor on those handles gives me.

But for everything else (color/fills etc.) you would export to other software

>It also needs to export to some standard format to be used for print, so using SolidWorks of Fusion360 isn't really an option, I can't export the vector 1-to-1 onto a pdf and do proper colors with those.

Would that still be a useful product?

* Disclaimer: Way back around 2001/2002, I worked on the Solidworks sketcher, and also before that used to work for D-Cubed Ltd. (SolidWorks and Autodesk Fusion 360 sketchers both implement their unbounded geometry constraints/dimensions using the D-Cubed DCM2 constraint management component licensed from Siemens PLM.) To implement what you want one needs at least some of the features from DCM2. Either implement one's own code, or one licenses from Siemens PLM (expensive) etc. Most licensees for DCM2 were 3D. There was one product that I recall that fits your description - Imagineer from Intergraph - but it got discontinued. I suspect that there is a market for what you describe, but maybe it's somewhat niche.

I would look into illustrator plugins. Namely VectorScribe, CAD tools and xtreampath all have different ways to draw vectors.

Love the sales page and all the illustrations, especially the drawing of the Mustang. I have the same set of performance pack wheels on a shelf in my garage.

It's nice to see more and more of Adobe's lunch getting taken away by indie shops and products.

Wow! Really a great tool.

At the crossroads of Web an Vectorgraphics, I’d love to see a „wysiwyg“ svg editor with the visual interface of a great drawing tool like amandine and at the same time a split window pane like the chrome inspector to modify a resulting svg code and having changes there be immediately visible in the visual interface…

Imagine I’d be amazing to get a hang of svg and as a result be able to build some great stuff for example by hooking up d3js…

Inkscape seems like it matches that description. The code part isn't as nice as Chrome or Firefox, but it's there.

> Developed with precision and attention to what users need

Affinity Designer also promises precision, but when it comes down to it I find it embarrassingly imprecise, buggy, and lacking in basic functionality. It can’t even do an acceptable job of joining two shapes at a point.

I’m cautiously optimistic about Amadine. I’ll give it a spin, and fingers crossed it lives up to its promise!

I just started using Affinity, how does this compare?

I'm also curious. Affinity is compatible with Windows which is a huge advantage. It looks like affinity has more features but is also 30$ more expensive, which is not a big deal considering how powerful it is.

Amadine has a simpler (probably cleaner UI), solid path-editing tools. It doesn't have anything like Affinity's filters or history, but does include one thing I miss from Illustrator: an easy-to-use, straightforward variable-width editing tool.

As another Affinity user, I don't see features that would make me switch.

I've been wanting to learn Illustrator in order to create a children's book but never got around to it. Will give this a demo.

Sorry, no, Figma way better https://www.figma.com

And probably way slower. Figma is awesome but most of these complicated vectors would stall figma to unpleasant experience.

Also vector drawing in figma is super basic.

Mac native app is released.

Some people: "applause for native instead of bloated Electron crap".

Also some people: "wtf why only Mac?"

Am curious why some vector rendering products (Amadine, OmniGraffle, Paper 53 etc) end up being Mac / iOS only? Are there some APIs that are Mac only? Why would devs who take an effort to write such a substantial app not ifdef away the rendering bits to make the app work on Windows.

Because Mac applications are more than just rendering APIs, its about the windows, menus, controls, and a complete cohesive UI that works like all the user's other applications. As a Mac user I'll always pick a Mac only app over any cross-platform app.

The second reason is that Mac users pay for software. You can sustain a business as an independent software vendor by targeting only Mac users. Linux users tend to want all free & open source software. Windows users tend to steal apps. A disproportionate number of Windows users I know are happy to steal all their commercial software—I'm not just talking about students and economically disadvantaged people, I'm talking about 6-figure salary software developers.

By building a cross-platform app you will decrease the amount of paying Mac users while increasing the number of Windows users willing to steal from you. The amount of work required to support Windows and all the missed Mac sales may not be worth the effort.

Cocoa provides exceptionally good graphics APIs that make it surprisingly fast and easy to churn out powerful graphic editing apps. Nothing else quite compares. The closest would probably be Skia or Cairo, neither of which is as easy to work with or does as much out of the box.

Well, if it's Mac-native, it's likely made using ObjC or Swift with Cocoa. Porting this to Win32 would be a very substantial amount of work -- right of the top, you wouldn't be able to use Swift -- and that's work that's likely not worth it if 90%+ of your customer base are Mac users.

The entire UI is OS-specific. If this was a matter of #ifdefs, we wouldn't have 50 page weekly discussions on the merits of various cross-platform technologies.

Ive been surprised because in codebases I have worked on, you usually have an abstract rendering api at the bottom with multiple implementations for each platform. Ive been curious why you couldnt abstract out things like window creation, layout, rendering and implement the abstract api for multiple platforms.

The very concept of "a window" is pretty different across platforms.

MacOS is the only one with a concept of proxy icons. It has a distinction between the key and main window. There's a responder chain for event handling. Toolbars have a built-in editor. There's QuickLook for easy previewing of sub-files. There are standard popovers, which can be torn off.

On the Windows side, I'm sure they've got their own set of unique features and constraints that the Mac doesn't have. (The Ribbon and keyboard navigation come to mind.) Same with Linux.

Lacking a feature often means you need to design the UI different elsewhere. Without proxy icons, you might need to add a menu item to mimic that functionality, for example. These things domino into each other. There's a reason that good Mac apps and good Windows apps don't tend to look identical.

English and German are fairly similar, as languages go, but you can't just do a word-for-word replacement of English and get a good German paragraph, or vice versa. Not infrequently, you need to re-arrange everything to make it work. The pieces you have to work with are just different.

2D/3D graphics APIs (if that's what you're referring to) aren't like this. For the most part, they're all playing with the same basic pieces. When my Mac traded OpenGL for Metal, I barely noticed, even as a developer writing graphics code. When my Mac switched from Carbon to Cocoa, everybody needed to rewrite almost everything.

Completely agree with everything you said but the curiosity that drove my initial question still stands. To be specific do you think Sketch / OmniGraffle are unimplementable on Windows? Why would the creators of those apps after achieving such success on OSX, be unwilling/unable to address the windows market. I am convinced there are good rational reasons for this, I was hoping that someone from one of those companies could comment on this. [It is possible that in their target demographic everyone uses OSX, but is that the case?]

If the app is a native Cocoa application, it’s been written in Obj-C or Swift. Cross-platform apps and frameworks are usually written in C++ with a UI implemented in a common framework like Qt.

To port the application to Windows, you’d lose a lot of the Mac-specific features, or have to do a substantial amount of work implementing platform-specific UIs.

Sure, and we can abstract away a mother's touch with some special "cross-person" gloves that anyone can wear to pat the baby. The little end user can hardly tell the difference!

I respectfully disagree. A contrary viewpoint which I happen to share is the following - As a software developer you build productivity multipliers for your users. Users spend non trivial amounts of time, money and energy building skills to master a tool you build. Users use these skills to earn a livelihood and sometimes due to a change in employer / life situation find themselves in a position where they do not have control over the OS that they need to be productive in. I think empathy with your user dictates that you try to maximize the combinations in which they can put their skills to productive use. Taking ideological positions on fit/finish/aesthetics is questionable if your user has to spend time relearning some other tool because you refused to port your software. The port might not be as pixel perfect but if it helps a user carry over their skills into a new job / earn more money then I will sleep well at night knowing I stood by users.

I think a 'user-centric' angle is one of the good ways to think about this but presenting one possible set of user priorities as some sort of high-minded moral imperative and a different one as 'questionable ideology' does not do your argument any favours.

There's a long-running subculture in MacOS (and once Nextstep and now iOS) software development that I'll call 'app craftsmanship'. At its best it produces high-quality, slick apps that usefully leverage the platform's strengths and build dedicated (and typically paying) user bases. So when someone puts out a new Mac or iOS and makes a fuss about how it's fully native and supports the Face Bar™, they're signaling to potential users 'Hey! I'm about to do some App Craftsmanship here, people' and hoping deciated users will flock to them, credit cards in hand. They're not selling to the people who are going to be irritated the app doesn't run on Ubuntu Maimed Mastodon. And that's not a moral failing, it's just market targeting.

Now that you point it out, I realize that I should have edited the parts about questionable ideology out. It was needlessly argumentative and distracts from the point I was trying to make.

In that case you just end up with different kinds of user priorities and developers choosing to deploy their finite resources to address some of them. Not much mystery or sleep disruption left in it then.

Some alternatives to spending resources on porting your application are adding more features, providing better support, or making the application work even better on your chosen platform. Doing that and letting the small portion of users forced away from your platform learn a new tool is probably well spent resources.

After all, there are good Windows- and Linux specific applications as well, and for most fields learning a new tool for doing things you understand isn’t that hard.

Lazy development with race to the bottom.

Your example is how I used to develop portable native software as well.

Much of the substance depends on OS-provided convenience APIs that, if you use certain aspects thereof, can’t be replicated on Windows without developing them from scratch.

Anyone know if there are differences between the App Store version and the standalone purchase? I like to buy from the App Store when it's available, but sometimes apps have to gimp certain features to deal with sandboxing, etc.

Usually if there's a difference the site will list it. I can't think of any sandboxing limitations off the top of my head that would affect a vector graphics program.

Can it draw curves with arrow heads? If so, I'm ditching Affinity Designer...

Oh yes, please someone answer this. I have used adobe illustrator for 15 years - then affinity designer for a few more years. I just want vector graphics with arrows without enormous subscription fees - damnit!

Pretty sure inkscape can do this?

Don't know if it can.. However inkscape is HORRIBLE across the board when compared to commercial apps like affinity designer and illustrator.

The $50 one time cost for affinity designer is essentially free, when factoring in its improvements over inkscape.

Arrowheads are included in v1.7, it's in beta but freely available. The current general release is v1.6.5, I think this beta will turn into a general release in July. Hope this helps...

It seems so. Just tried it quickly. Can't scale the arrowhead independently of the line though, like you can in Illustrator.

How does this compare to Autodesk Graphic? (I haven't looked at Affinity; I'm not one of the cool kids; I'd be interested in hearing if that's way better than Graphic as well).

This is really well done, and very powerful, wow! The attention to details, and the nice UI, so neat, and smooth. Thanks, bought it!

Off topic, but I'm curious who did the skateboarder illustration. It matches an aesthetic that I have a need for.

It's in their instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BsqFlu-lKYf/


I've wanted something as good as Inkscape, but native on OSX, this looks interesting

I’m not the least bit artistic but this looks really nice and approachable.

I'm curious about what the name means...anyone know?

It sounds like a chemical to me, probably because there are many other compounds with a -dine suffix, e.g.:



A remix of the tag line: "imagine and design", perhaps?

Either way, it'll have little overlap with unrelated stuff when you type it into a search engine, which is not unimportant.

Any plans to bring it to other platforms, possibly Linux?

Pixelmator has a vector graphics mode Command-Shift-V

Would that finally replace Fireworks in my hearth?

Ugg why are people still making Mac only software. It is so easy these days to target the Unix operating systems together with roughly the same codebase.

Not for high-quality software with a GUI.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact