Anim8or Community

General Category => Ongoing Anim8or Development => Topic started by: Steve on April 08, 2014, 05:48:04 am

Title: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on April 08, 2014, 05:48:04 am
Post your general UI and workflow suggestions here:
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: thecolclough on April 08, 2014, 10:07:57 am
well, since you're asking... i (or others) might have raised a couple of these before, but that was a while back, and this seems like a good time/place to reiterate  :)

Steve: Implemented in 1101: 1) i always work at 25fps with the Limit Playback option turned on.  it'd be nice if there were options to pre-define these as the default settings for new projects, so people don't have to remember to go and change them each time.

Steve: Implemented in 1086: 2) in Object Mode, it'd be really great to have Orientation properties included in the Sphere Editor, Cylinder Editor and Cube Editor dialogues - like what you've done for the Element Editor dialogues in Scene Mode (see mockup in attached picture 'pt2').  these shapes obviously have Orientation properties, and there are ways of manipulating them (the Rotate tool, or menu Edit > Rotate > etc), but the existing tools all work with relative values, and there are times when i'd find it easier to be able to input an absolute value into the Editor.

Steve: Implemented in 1101: 3) i think it would be more intuitive if the menu item Edit > Delete Object was moved to Object > Delete, and if Settings > Object was moved to Object > Settings; same for the equivalent menu items in the other Modes.

Steve: Implemented in 1101: 3-and-a-half) the previous point kinda ties in with one of one of my longest-standing niggles with the current Anim8or workflow/UI, which is the fact that all your Objects pile up in one long chronological list on the Object menu, with no facility to rearrange them into a more meaningful sequence or to group them in any way.  for example, in a project where you have a dozen or so objects to make up the parts of one figure, and another dozen for the next figure, and so on, it'd be very helpful if you could set up some kind of grouping, e.g. what i've shown in the attached picture 'pt3'.  and/or, just being able to re-order the list would be very helpful!  and again, same for the other Modes.

there could a bit of difficulty over what to call these groupings - you can't call them Groups, as that term already has a definition within Object Mode, and i'd be wary of calling them Folders, as that already means something in computing generally.  my current hunch would be 'Collections', although i'm not particularly attached to the term.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: nemyax on April 08, 2014, 12:14:01 pm
May I suggest a rework of modelling transformations?
Consider the following concept:
I apologise if these notes are incoherent, but the ideas in them are not in the least abstract, and they all have real easy-to-demonstrate implementations. I'm prepared to explain each point in detail if you're interested.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on April 09, 2014, 02:21:35 am
thecolclough:

2:
Yes, I should have added orientation to all the dialogs in the Object editor when I added Layers and Mesh Statistics. However I didn't think about it until I had almost finished all the dialog editing and testing and I didn't want to redo it all. But you're right, I really should :) so I'll get it in sometime soon. But it will be a simple orientation without any "relative to" or "enable roll" options. Those are only supported in animation.

3: I want to rearrange these and some other menu commands as well. I haven't because it changed the existing workflow a little. I want to make all the changes as the same time however to avoid having a lot of different versions.

3 1/2: The UI needs similar capabilities for Materials, Scripts, and Parametric Plug-ins, too. This is pretty high on my to-do list.

nemyax : You have some good suggestions. It's a bit much to reply to them all here but when I'm at the point of working on the point editors I'll certainly want to discuss these and some other ideas that I have with you.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: bamman62 on April 10, 2014, 06:11:19 am
I have a few things that I would like to see that I think would be useful. If I suggest something that's already implemented or would be too much trouble with too little benefit, I apologize ahead of time.

-Pan being integrated as a keyboard shortcut.

-Icon subsets would be useful. Instead of going into the build menu to change from a dodecahedron to an icosahedron, perhaps something like right-clicking the icon would bring up all primitive variants that are related to it (in this particular case the platonic solids). This could also be integrated into the edit mode tools to provide variants on some operations if necessary. In particular though, this might be useful for organizing the menu for those of us with an endless amount of primitive plugins.

-Free-form select.

-For many of the input box tools like smooth object, rotate custom, primitive parameters, etc., having a slider in addition to it that automatically updates the model to reflect the outcome before completing the operation would be useful for visualization and save a bit of guess work.

-Changing the color of GUI components could be useful, for personal preference or otherwise. In my case, a lot of the reference images I use tend to have white backgrounds, so being able to change my selected point/edge color to something that blends in less would save a bit of hassle in the long run. Along with that, things like scaling windows could be useful as well when dealing with multiple views.

-Steve: Implemented in 1086: Transparency as a part of the reference image parameters. That, or being able to have objects always draw in front of a reference image.

-Rotate faces obeying the x,y,z restrictions like the point rotate would be useful when working with extrusions.

I don't feel that any of these should be too high on the priority list, but they are some things that I feel would benefit the program without over-complicating it.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on April 18, 2014, 11:15:53 pm
thecolclough: Build 1086 has the Orientation in all the Object Editor dialogs.

bamman62: Build 1086 supports Transparent Reference Images both as an overall transparency level (alpha < 1.0) and transparency in the image (i.e. .GIF files with transparency).
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: thecolclough on April 19, 2014, 10:35:56 am
thecolclough: Build 1086 has the Orientation in all the Object Editor dialogs.
most excellent!  thanks, steve :)
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Raxx on April 21, 2014, 06:30:02 am
I'm going to go ahead and mention it here since it's related to the UI. If you just press and release the alt key without doing anything, it moves the focus into the top menu bar. Most times this wouldn't be a problem, but it does cause a delay in making the arc rotate tool activate again if you press alt, and middle click can't be used in the workspace until you click in with one of the other mouse buttons.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on April 21, 2014, 04:43:13 pm
Windows uses the Alt key for menus - Anim8or is overloading the functionality.

The menu changes to underline the Alt-X short cuts when you press Alt. If you press it again the menu will change back to normal. This happens in Anim8or as in other apps. The delay that you see when you press Alt the second time is the delay for the Alt key to start repeating; pressing the key the second time, while Windows is focused on the menu, causes Windows to remove the underlines and revert to normal behavior. Since Windows has the focus set on the menu Anim8or does not see that you pressed Alt. As you keep the key pressed windows starts repeating Alt and the first repeated character is finally sent to Anim8or.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Raxx on April 21, 2014, 05:45:08 pm
I figured it was more a Windows thing, but I was wondering if there's any way to force-ignore it so that it doesn't disrupt the workflow, or to remove the delay and allow middle-clicking to bring focus back? From my observations in other programs that use Alt for view rotation:

I know I've been comparing with other programs a lot, but it's a good way to judge whether a shared feature would work a certain way or not.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: thecolclough on April 21, 2014, 06:50:46 pm
just a little thing: some programs (e.g. GIMP) use ctrl+shift+A as a Select None command, which can be quite useful at times.  any chance of that being implemented in Anim8or too?
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on April 22, 2014, 08:37:01 pm
How about Esc for Select None? It's currently used only for the "Stop" button in the Scene player but the space key stops and starts via the "Pause" button, and having the ESC deselect everything in Scene mode when the player isn't running seems like it would work.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: thecolclough on April 22, 2014, 08:50:56 pm
ESC would work, i suppose.  i suggested ctrl+shift+A because Select None is closely related to Select All, so it makes sense from a semantic point of view to use a command related to ctrl+A - but i'd be happy enough with either option.  :)
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on April 22, 2014, 11:31:07 pm
yes, I can see that, too. But 3-key shortcuts can be a little awkward, plus the ESC key is just sitting there, really bored, waiting forever to for someone to use it ... :)
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on April 23, 2014, 01:01:19 am
Silly me! The SPACE bar is already a shortcut for Deselect All except when an animation is playing when it is a pause/run toggle.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on April 23, 2014, 01:09:00 am
raxx: I've been looking for a way to intercept the Alt key when the menu has the focus. I've tried using WM_SETFOCUS, WM_KILLFOCUS, WM_SYSKEYDOWN and WM_SYSKEYUP messages but haven't found a way yet.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Raxx on April 23, 2014, 04:40:55 pm
Ok, I don't think it's too big of a deal (not to lose time over anyway). It's just that oftentimes when I'm in "the zone" modeling, I arc rotate a lot, and sometimes I press Alt but change my mind before following through with the view rotation. This disruption of "the zone" is my primary concern, since I take 3D modeling seriously when I get into it.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on April 23, 2014, 06:19:57 pm
SetWindowsHookEx() is the key - I should have this working cleanly once I've learned a bit more.  I Feel The Power!  I CAN CONTROL THE WORLD!
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: thecolclough on April 23, 2014, 07:06:18 pm
I Feel The Power!  I CAN CONTROL THE WORLD!
well, you were already pretty much the greatest programmer on earth, so i guess it was only a matter of time before this happened... still, if your political manifesto is as neatly coded as your animation software, then the world is in good hands!  :D
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on April 23, 2014, 10:24:38 pm
A quick note then I have to run - I've uploaded build 1088 dated April 23, 2014: http://www.anim8or.com/download/preview/files/animcl1088.zip (http://www.anim8or.com/download/preview/files/animcl1088.zip)  It fixes the Alt problem (but you can't use Alt to access the menu anymore) and a bunch of other minor things. I'll post more details when I get a chance.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Claude on April 24, 2014, 03:13:09 am
It fixes the Alt problem (but you can't use Alt to access the menu anymore)
But F10 is still available.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on April 24, 2014, 04:34:30 am
Cool, I didn't know that F10 did that!
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: kakachiex on April 29, 2014, 06:26:26 pm
hello Steve i have and idea to improve animor interface and make it more user friendly and attractive to use, of course if you share my same vision i'm in the position o help making new icons, and design the interface mockup my suggestion is to integrate in to anim8or a nice and visual library that already include 3d widget, icons and a lot of nice goodies so will be up to you to decide what part of the library can be useful for animor here are some example of what anim8or will be with this:
- here is link to source code is free to use:
http://www.gamepipeline.org/
- here is link to some application develop with this those library:
http://www.quelsolaar.com/bubbled/index.html



Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on May 01, 2014, 05:45:23 am
Thanks for the links, kakachiex. I'll take a look at this.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: kakachiex on May 02, 2014, 04:41:20 pm
you'r welcome i hope this can be helpful for you'r development
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: justiceiro on May 02, 2014, 05:03:28 pm
I learned while using another 3D modeling program that the best way to create things like robots and assure that everything will fit is using  the "connections" from the main body as a base for the other parts.
In anim8or, if you make a robot arm as a objetc and starting editing, there is no way to see how they will look like in the final body without changing for the figure/scene/sequence view. In the same way, you can do no litle adjusment on objects without changing to the object mode.

My suggestion is to have a option to enter in the object mode without losing sigth of everything in the figure/scene view. Of course only the object selected would be the one editable, but even a simple wireframe for the others object in a gray tone would help to don't lose the sigth of the bigger picture. Of course, this feature would be optional. I suggest you could select the object on the figure and then activate this as a "Object submode".

Other suggestion i'm not so sure about, but i remenbering having some issues with UV textures, since i could not even see the actual texture while rotating that yellow square. If i could only see the actual texture in that square(with some low level of oppacity of course) would be much easier to adjust the position of everything, i think. the bigger problem for me is having to adjust ligths and do a render before seeing how the textures would look like.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on September 03, 2014, 11:11:10 pm
thecolclough: Check out build 1101 :-)
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: nemyax on September 12, 2014, 09:52:31 am
Dollying the viewport camera (RMB-drag outside the navigation circle) shifts the camera's centre of interest. The program forces you to zoom in on things by changing the FOV, but that isn't always desirable. For example, you might want to view your model through a 35mm lens at all times.
Can this behaviour be changed so that the camera's centre of interest stays put when you dolly, just as with zooming?
Also, can you make the Frame Selected command work for component selections?
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: cooldude234 on September 13, 2014, 08:35:24 pm
Dollying the viewport camera (RMB-drag outside the navigation circle) shifts the camera's centre of interest. The program forces you to zoom in on things by changing the FOV, but that isn't always desirable. For example, you might want to view your model through a 35mm lens at all times.
Can this behaviour be changed so that the camera's centre of interest stays put when you dolly, just as with zooming?
Also, can you make the Frame Selected command work for component selections?

NOO! Please don't change it! I hate it when 3D modelers do that!
...!
What could work though is if you held down something like Ctr while right clicking outside of the nav circle (or have an option to toggle between one or the other, or a little bit of both (toggle between using Ctr to dolly, or Ctr to dolly without moving center of focus)).
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: nemyax on September 13, 2014, 08:42:21 pm
I hate it when 3D modelers do that!
Why? What's the disadvantage that you find in this?
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: cooldude234 on September 14, 2014, 12:59:12 am
I hate it when 3D modelers do that!
Why? What's the disadvantage that you find in this?

I hate having to rotate the camera to move it forward to then rotate it back, it seems counter-intuitive.
Also having multiple buttons for different camera movement modes tend to slow the progress down a lot. I like how anim8or has it all in one interface (the navigation circle). With that way you can move the camera in any direction without having to make any redundant and pointless clicks.

Also changing the way you navigate the camera now would probably mess with a lot of other things. I think it would be easier to just add to it rather to change it fundamentally.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: nemyax on September 14, 2014, 04:32:05 am
I hate having to rotate the camera to move it forward to then rotate it back, it seems counter-intuitive.
Sure does. I wasn't suggesting that.
You are referring to camera panning (moving up, down, left and rightóRMB inside the circle); in this case, the point of interest should certainly follow the camera, as you rightly state.
And I was talking about dollying (moving the camera forward and backwardóRMB outside the circle); here, the point of interest shouldn't change.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: cooldude234 on September 14, 2014, 07:04:21 pm
You are referring to camera panning
I was referring to all types of camera movement. Mainly because in other 3D modelers I tend to have to rotate the camera 90 degrees to pan it towards the object to rotate -90 degrees just so I can have the cameras center focused on something other than the object. I'm trying to remember how I did in carrara I think I had to deselect the object in order to move the camera's center because when you select an object in carrara it would make that object the center so when you rotate the camera you rotate around that object (ANNOYING!). I really don't want anim8or to go this route because I find it REALLY USEFUL to rotate around a point that I choose rather than what the software arbitrarily chose to pivot around.

EDIT:
And I was talking about dollying (moving the camera forward and backwardóRMB outside the circle); here, the point of interest shouldn't change.
But you see I think it should, considering it gives you much more control over where the camera rotates (specially when working with large objects, I want to move the camera so I could rotate around a specific part of the model). E.g. I have a model of a city, I wan't to work on a particular building; so I would wan't to move the camera to rotate around that building, not the center of the city.
It's quite rather annoying with other modelers when you can't do that and you're forced to work at the center point causing you to rotate the camera into weird positions just so you can edit a portion of a model.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: nemyax on September 14, 2014, 07:38:42 pm
in other 3D modelers I tend to have to rotate the camera 90 degrees to pan it towards the object to rotate -90 degrees
No 3D modeller I've used makes you rotate to pan. You just pan, and that's it. 'Tis a strange story you are telling.

E.g. I have a model of a city, I wan't to work on a particular building; so I would wan't to move the camera to rotate around that building, not the center of the city.
That's precisely what I'm asking for. Once you've focused on the building, the focus should stay on the building, no matter how much you dolly in and out.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: kreator on September 14, 2014, 09:53:33 pm
Quote
Cooldude: I'm trying to remember how I did in carrara I think I had to deselect the object in order to move the camera's center because when you select an object in carrara it would make that object the center so when you rotate the camera you rotate around that object (ANNOYING!).

You don`t use the Conical/Isometric/or spherical cameras in Carrara and move them about once you have any  set. Thats why you have the Directors camera you should use that instead.

I would prefer the carrara camera setup as opposed to Anim8ors
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: cooldude234 on September 15, 2014, 12:16:37 am
You don`t use the Conical/Isometric/or spherical cameras in Carrara and move them about once you have any  set. Thats why you have the Directors camera you should use that instead.
I am using the directors camera in Carrara, but its the same controls for render camera's if I remember correctly.

I would prefer the carrara camera setup as opposed to Anim8ors
NOOOOO! Carrara's camera UI is most certainly not the worst. But compared to anim8or's it is horrid!
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: nemyax on October 07, 2014, 10:19:10 am
Steve
Can you weigh in with your view of the dollying issue?
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Trevor on October 07, 2014, 10:38:20 am
If anyone wants my opinion on views in an8 I think they are fine as is. I like the little green circle, it took me a long time to find it usefull but now I can't live without it.

Prahaps Z movement could be made a little more sensative instead of having to go top to bottom of the screen a gazillion times to move in or out a small amount in high or even normal magnification.

Everyone is talking about the focal point, its the little green axis.
I suppose you could have like in scene mode where the camera can follow a tagged object, so instead of having to move, turn, move, turn you could snap to object and then just move.
hmm... that actually sounds good.

Trev
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: nemyax on October 07, 2014, 10:45:59 am
I suppose you could have like in scene mode where the camera can follow a tagged object, so instead of having to move, turn, move, turn you could snap to object and then just move.
hmm... that actually sounds good.
Some programs have the option of automatically using the current selection as the focal point, and some (Animation:Master) even enforce this. That's one way to approach it.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on October 07, 2014, 02:46:20 pm
Trevor The camera can follow any object, point towards any object, aim the same way, etc. by setting it's parent, orientation, etc. in it's properties dialog.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: cooldude234 on October 08, 2014, 04:57:43 am
Trevor The camera can follow any object, point towards any object, aim the same way, etc. by setting it's parent, orientation, etc. in it's properties dialog.
Which camera are you talking about? The scene camera or the workspace camera? Cause where talking about the workspace one, but correct me if I am wrong; I didn't think the workspace camera had an options menu.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: cooldude234 on October 08, 2014, 05:05:58 am
Oh and Steve, while working on higher res monitors I have found that it is really hard to create a straight line freehand'edly. I used to use the pixels hard edge to determine how straight a line was. Then it hit me when I was working with some other software (again fireworks 8 lol). In fireworks 8 if you hold shift while placing a line it locks into the 8 common directions (up, down, left, right, 45 degrees, 135 deg. etc.). So I though why can't anim8or do this as well.
So I guess a suggestion from me is when holding shift with either a placement or movement tool, it locks said task to the 8 directions.
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: johnar on October 08, 2014, 10:32:04 am
 Hi guys.
 Just wanted to chime in on this little camera discussion. Looking thru, i see that the original question was.
Quote
Dollying the viewport camera (RMB-drag outside the navigation circle) shifts the camera's centre of interest. The program forces you to zoom in on things by changing the FOV, but that isn't always desirable. For example, you might want to view your model through a 35mm lens at all times.
Can this behaviour be changed so that the camera's centre of interest stays put when you dolly, just as with zooming?

 Have you tried using targets. ( in the manual--scene mode--camera--targets.)
 If you create a target, Place the target where you want the camera to stay focused, then set 'camera to face target', it will stay centered on the target while paning around and/or dollying in and out.
 Or, sorry if i have missed the gist of the discussion. (http://s13.postimg.org/668ay1knn/blush1gry.gif)
imho, the cameras in Anim8or are set up very well.(http://s6.postimg.org/p4cqdev8d/grysmile.gif)
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: nemyax on October 08, 2014, 10:37:29 am
johnar
This is about object mode, not scene mode (as cooldude234 mentioned earlier).
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: johnar on October 08, 2014, 10:43:31 am
 Ahhhh. So you're talking about the 'Šrc-rotate' tool. (which isn't actually a camera).
 Now i see. (http://s24.postimg.org/cn9xhqr5t/SSG03_G.gif)
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: Steve on October 08, 2014, 01:36:23 pm
cooldude234:
... In fireworks 8 if you hold shift while placing a line it locks into the 8 common directions (up, down, left, right, 45 degrees, 135 deg. etc.). ...

Did you see that build 1112 added a "Snap to Right Angles" option in the Options->Grid dialog for splines and adding points in the Point editor?
Title: Re: General UI and Workflow Suggestions
Post by: cooldude234 on October 09, 2014, 04:37:41 am
cooldude234:
... In fireworks 8 if you hold shift while placing a line it locks into the 8 common directions (up, down, left, right, 45 degrees, 135 deg. etc.). ...

Did you see that build 1112 added a "Snap to Right Angles" option in the Options->Grid dialog for splines and adding points in the Point editor?

Just tested it out now; there are two things I have to say about it.
One, it only snaps to the right angles (no 45 degrees, only 4 directions not 8).
Two I have to enable grid lock to place the line, then disable the grid lock to place a line like normal. The issue here is it just takes way too long when in practice.
I want to be able to place a straight line one second, and then an arbitrary one (as if there was no grid) the next second.
Going back to fireworks 8, when you use the shift key it only draws a straight line if that key is pressed. Meaning if I release it I draw like normal (it doesn't toggle, if the key is down it's enabled, if it's up it's disabled). I believe this is technically called the ruler mode in fireworks.