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View Full Version : Replicating marking menus in Lightwave



meatycheesyboy
01-12-2011, 07:52 PM
Yesterday I began thinking about ways to speed up workflow in Lightwave and immediately thought it would be cool to have something similar to Maya's hotbox.

After thinking about it for a while I came up with a method to somewhat replicate the functionality in Lightwave by combining two programs: AutoHotKey and Circle Dock.

http://img832.imageshack.us/img832/8899/42919703.jpg

Here is a link to a video I recorded that shows my efforts in action:

http://screencast.com/t/suJa4cn6Sgz4

LW_Will
01-12-2011, 08:38 PM
Don't really like the HUD from our friends at Autodesk. It feels a bit too clunky.

However, there are SHIFT-CTRL LMB commands in LW... try those. ;-)

Intuition
01-12-2011, 08:51 PM
I use maya everyday. I loooooove the marking menus. The big hotbox is clunky but has its merits in many situations. If I have to get to anything in maya that takes more then two mouse moves to get to I just make another marking menu.

I also think that any app that utilizes them has a much better workflow.

modo has pie menus which I was told could may be made context sensitive the same way maya's menus are in the modo beta forums. To be continued. ;D

When you are creating your marking menu, try to think in terms of selection context like maya does.

If you have nothing selected then the primitive creation is available. If you have an object selected then have object based tools available (not applicable in modeler.. this mode is in maya because its a unified environment model/animation/render saving time with the menu).

Still you could do context sensitive modeling tools like maya. If you have faces selected then only face modifying tools would show up in the marking menu... if you have edges then only edge tools will show up... verts selected.. vert tools. etc etc.

This workflow method kills. So many functions in maya are sped up beyond any other app due to this process. Now this is really helpful since maya has so many things that it does.

Modeler on the other hand does one thing... modeling. This is not really a bad thing since it can focus all of its hot keys on modeling functions and is lighting quick in the right hands. Still, all apps will go the way of maya's context sensive idea even if they don't utilize the marking menu style workflow.

Eventually you are going to want your app to give you tools and actions that are only relative to your selection. This single workflow idea makes my time in maya less like work and more like a stream of consciousness.

Anyways, I am interested in what you come up with. Keep it coming.

meatycheesyboy
01-12-2011, 08:55 PM
Sorry Intuition, I think you may have misunderstood. I did not create anything here, I am surely no programmer. I found a way to cobble multiple free and open source apps together to create my menus as shown in my video here: http://screencast.com/t/suJa4cn6Sgz4

The main graphical compnent, a program called Circle Dock, is open source though so maybe if a programmer out there sees this it will give him/her some ideas and it can be augmented to better serve us Wavers.

Dexter2999
01-12-2011, 09:59 PM
Yeah, I can't say that I am a fan of these in general. They are certainly trendy though.
So, if you are going to use this method a couple of suggestions.

1) Add menu items to the dock for "Back" and "Top" much like if you were laying out a DVD menu option.

2) Keyboard shortcuts are much faster for many options.But should you apply the unused keyboard shortcuts to functions that you use that don't have keyboard shortcuts (or have one but it is physically awkward) and use this method to augment the set of commands that should be literaly at your finger tips with keyboard shortcuts.

I'm sure with CORE stuff like this will certainly come into play.

Matt
01-13-2011, 12:14 AM
I had a look at this quite a while ago, I agree with the comments that the Maya 'Hot Box' is far too complex for a 'quick' menu (it also looks ugly as sin) I'd prefer something more like this:

Chris S. (Fez)
01-13-2011, 12:20 AM
I had a look at this quite a while ago, I agree with the comments that the Maya 'Hot Box' is far too complex for a 'quick' menu (it also looks ugly as sin) I'd prefer something more like this:

Nice.

Castius
01-13-2011, 01:48 AM
There are times when Maya's marking menus don't work very well. But there is an important aspect to them that must be mentioned. That is not always apparent to anyone that does to use Maya a lot.

They don't need to be fully loaded to use them. You can gesture and release your mouse before the menu has finished loading. So if you get to watch a seasoned Maya use work you make see them flick the mouse. And not even know what they are doing. This is similar to watching zbrush users. But marking menus give a beginner a chance to grow with Maya. Rather than just confuse them from the start.

Intuition
01-13-2011, 01:50 AM
I had a look at this quite a while ago, I agree with the comments that the Maya 'Hot Box' is far too complex for a 'quick' menu (it also looks ugly as sin) I'd prefer something more like this:

Haha, nice one Matt!

Is that LWvx2 a sneak peak at another great Core skin?

Also, have to mention. The Maya marking menu is not the same as the hotbox. It is much more compact. Though I find myself using the hotbox for a couple a things here and there I mainly use the marking menus. Both default and custom made.

Andrewstopheles
01-13-2011, 06:10 AM
I had a look at this quite a while ago, I agree with the comments that the Maya 'Hot Box' is far too complex for a 'quick' menu (it also looks ugly as sin) I'd prefer something more like this:

Which app are you using there, Matt? Is that Lightwave 10 with a skin, or is it a sneak peek at what you guys are working on with CORE?

meatycheesyboy
01-13-2011, 08:57 AM
I had a look at this quite a while ago, I agree with the comments that the Maya 'Hot Box' is far too complex for a 'quick' menu (it also looks ugly as sin) I'd prefer something more like this:

Matt, is that a functioning menu or just a mockup?

I found another dock program that can somewhat replicate what Matt is showing in his screenshot called RadiS. Of course it is ugly as sin but unlike the first video I posted, instead of diving down into folders, it branches off of them. Here's a short video showing it in video action when combined with AutoHotKey.

http://screencast.com/t/h6YoPCDLx

Similar to CircleDock, RadiS is open source so it could be extended to fit LWers needs a bit better if a programmer was willing.



Haha, nice one Matt!
Also, have to mention. The Maya marking menu is not the same as the hotbox.

I realized that after I wrote the title of the thread, I really shouldn't have said marking menu, I should have said hotbox.

meatycheesyboy
01-13-2011, 09:02 AM
Here are links to the different tools I've used to hobble these together in case someone would like to experiment and take this farther.

AutoHotKey
http://www.autohotkey.com/

RadiS
http://sourceforge.net/projects/radis/

Circle Dock
http://sourceforge.net/projects/circledock/

and for good measure, another circular dock I found that is far less extensible but is the prettiest of the bunch :)

Radian
http://sourceforge.net/projects/radian/

wesleycorgi
01-13-2011, 09:03 AM
Is that LWvx2 a sneak peak at another great Core skin?


Yes, that looks pretty sweet. I'm surprised to see a sneak peak out here in the "open." (unless it's just a mockup)

Dexter2999
01-13-2011, 09:27 AM
So, we talked about this (I think a little over a year ago). The actual "marking menus" are very probably locked down by AD patents.

Even so, I am sure there is "wiggle room" for Newtek to support Wacom strokes to support menu commands. Basic strokes and keystroke combination's could easily yield 100+ (in the case of my example 111) commands from a Wacom pen without navigating a menu per se.

The idea being that if no tool is selected and the pen stroke commences on an empty part of the scene, then the stroke correlates to a command on one of the stroke "trees".

This is just an example I threw together. I am sure there is a better layout for some commands. And since the menu activation is contingent upon no tool being active, I'm not sure how to incorporate a "Drop tool" command. (Perhaps the Eraser of the Wacom?)

In any case, I'm sure that some speed is to be had even if the average user only used the basic "+" of each tree and the modifier keys with the other basic strokes. That is still like 47 commands.

Admittedly this is completely lacking in any sort of "eye candy" and has no "sex appeal" to it.

Dexter2999
01-13-2011, 09:29 AM
Yes, that looks pretty sweet. I'm surprised to see a sneak peak out here in the "open." (unless it's just a mockup)

Mockup. Lightwave X was Matt's project a while back. He did some beautiful work showing how gorgeous LW could be.

Dexter2999
01-13-2011, 10:41 AM
I've looked at this again. My mock up should probably delete the ALT modified commands. As the ALT command is used in window navigation. So that would make it around 83 commands?

JeffrySG
01-13-2011, 10:48 AM
I had a look at this quite a while ago, I agree with the comments that the Maya 'Hot Box' is far too complex for a 'quick' menu (it also looks ugly as sin) I'd prefer something more like this:

Damn I'm happy you're working at NT now! Good things will come to us! Good things will come!

meatycheesyboy
01-13-2011, 03:34 PM
So, we talked about this (I think a little over a year ago). The actual "marking menus" are very probably locked down by AD patents.

Opera has been using mouse gesture which are similar to marking menus for years and years so I think that even if AD has patents, there is wiggle room for different implementations as you mention.

Lightwolf
01-13-2011, 04:37 PM
I still like the idea of offering the numeric keypad as an alternative method of navigation in menus like (which only works with up to 9 items, but that's per hierarchy and could be nested, "5" going one step back).


7 8 9
\|/
4-5-6
/|\
1 2 3

The downside is that it doesn't work with keyboards that don't have one.
If it's a desktop - tough, buy one. For a laptop it's trickier. But it is meant as an alternative anyhow.

The advantage is that muscle memory would kick in after some time (just like dialing a phone number often or entering a PIN code).

Cheers,
Mike

Lewis
01-15-2011, 10:54 AM
fastest way is to learn shortcuts - then everything it's only ONE click away ;).

But having pie menus might be helpful in CORE - yes and Matts mockup is far better than anything what I've seen in Maya - i also don't like 1+ sec pause which is happening with RMB click in Maya when you are reaching to menus. Don't know is there an option to make it react faster but i know it was too slow for me to wait that much - i change 2-3 modes already while waiting for Maya to offer me context sensitive options :D..

Dexter2999
01-15-2011, 11:35 AM
fastest way is to learn shortcuts - then everything it's only ONE click away ;).

Agreed.


But I wish there were another answer to keyboard shortcuts that would allow me to use my tablet as a sole input. It's just awkward using the tablet then reaching around to hit a keyboard shortcut.

I guess I am pretty picky about the ergonomics of workflow.
I don't like reaching around for the keyboard. It just makes me feel like the tablet is in the way...so I put it down and go back to the keyboard and trackball/mouse.
I also don't like taking my hands off the "home" keys much*. Reaching across for a keyboard shortcut seems only slightly less disruptive than having to take my hand off the mouse. So the idea of mapping more commands to the right side like Mike suggests, brings a look to my face like you shoved something from the sewer under my nose.

*To keep my hands on the home row as much as possible, I found I use the "drop tool" command much more than the "display options". So, I remapped the "drop tool" to the "d" key and the "display options" to the ALT-d.
Anyone else remap default keys to improve their workflow? If so, please share. I'd be interested to examine the mindset of others in regards to workflow.

Lewis
01-15-2011, 11:41 AM
Anyone else remap default keys to improve their workflow? If so, please share. I'd be interested to examine the mindset of others in regards to workflow.

I've remapped lot of them also and i have 8 buttons mouse which is all mapped to LWModeler tools as Drop tool, deselect all, shading modes....

Lightwolf
01-15-2011, 11:44 AM
But I wish there were another answer to keyboard shortcuts that would allow me to use my tablet as a sole input. It's just awkward using the tablet then reaching around to hit a keyboard shortcut.
CAD tablets used to have an area designated for menus (and probably still do) - which were printed out.
Nowadays one would probably design those with some kind of display to make them context sensitive. Mind you, It'd still be clicky (faster than a mouse though) and still space limited either way.


So the idea of mapping more commands to the right side like Mike suggests, brings a look to my face like you shoved something from the sewer under my nose.
Interestingly enough I'm a big tablet user as well (even for - or should I say especially? - when coding).
But, I'm a lefty. So the num pad is the most natural place to me to put shortcuts that shouldn't require me to change how I hold my stylus (which I never put away even when typing with that hand).
Mind you, those could easily be remapped, it's just that the num pad is the most natural choice in terms of keyboard layout.

Edit: I don't really remap keys, but I do add shortcuts for some items that don't have any, i.e. ctrl-F9 for the render globals (which I think is a no-brainer -> control render), pg-up to minimize/maximize the current viewport etc...

Cheers,
Mike

Dexter2999
01-15-2011, 11:52 AM
But, I'm a lefty.

See, that makes perfect sense.

By the way, I have posted this I think three other times over the years. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a set up of shortcuts that were shared among the community, a Left Handed Preset? Maybe a PDF cheat sheet to accompany it?

I'm not a lefty but seems an disproportionate number of my friends are so this stuff does come to mind.

Lightwolf
01-15-2011, 12:04 PM
I'm not a lefty but seems an disproportionate number of my friends are so this stuff does come to mind.
Apparently it's not uncommon in the "creative" industries... certainly a higher percentage than the natural 10% or so...

Cheers,
Mike

meatycheesyboy
01-15-2011, 12:59 PM
But I wish there were another answer to keyboard shortcuts that would allow me to use my tablet as a sole input. It's just awkward using the tablet then reaching around to hit a keyboard shortcut.

Although the idea of combining the dock and AutoHotKey has not proved to be a popular one in this thread I am glad it is spurring some discussion and I did find another dock that has an interesting idea for solving the tablet/keyboard problem. I've made a video here:

http://screencast.com/t/9qi5XPd0U6

Dexter2999
01-15-2011, 01:09 PM
Well, according to Wikipedia (so take it for what it is worth) gesture input sort of tapered off because people wanted visual confirmation. Which is what you are proposing.

So, my opinions are clearly the minority in wanting the interface to be invisible.

Matt
01-16-2011, 02:37 AM
Sorry guys, should have made it clear, it's a mockup from the vX2 days, however, HUD displays and customisable menus like this are something I definately would love to do in CORE.

Allowing the artist to work in context, in the viewport makes for a more immersive and speedy application, rather than constantly going to menus etc.

COBRASoft
01-16-2011, 05:10 AM
Dexter: I remember the days about the menu system and shortcuts :).

Back then, I talked about the way Visual Studio handles this 'problem'. They use a combo of shortcuts (mostly 2 keystrokes) to have the more complex things. E.g. CTRL+K & CTRL+C to comment a line, CTRL+K & CTRL+U to uncomment a line. A similar thing could be done in CORE. The most used tools could be mapped to single shortcuts, the less used ones to double shortcuts.

'Circle' menus look nice and can be fast, but not as fast as shortcuts IMO.

OnlineRender
01-16-2011, 05:29 AM
'Circle' menus look nice and can be fast, but not as fast as shortcuts IMO.

That's a good point just because it looks nice and easy to navigate , it still dosn't take away from the factor the ctrl+key is much quicker , me and dodgy spoke about this a few months ago , but it was viewport control rather than key navigation . think Max viewport control .

Something like this would be great , but I would also suggest looking at the way Zbrush handles lightbox navigation " I like that style ".

somepeople think it's clunky ,I feel it saves time and mouse movement , nothing worse than pulling your mouse and getting nowhere :rock:http://images.autodesk.com/adsk/images/3dsmax_navigationtools_viewvideo.gif