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View Full Version : Simplifying the LW interface how would you do it? (Copying After Effects?, Maybe Mess



robertoortiz
06-14-2014, 09:32 AM
One of the most common complains I get from 3d Artists on my staff is how CONVOLUTED the Layout interface is.
The complain loudly on the hot mess of windows they have to open just to get to certain attributes.

For these animators Maya and After Effects are their weapons of choice.


My proposal is that the Lightwave interface should copy the Adobe After Effects interface. I am posting an image of the interface here..


So tell us, what do you guys think would be a good approach to simplify
the LW interface?

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-R

zapper1998
06-14-2014, 09:42 AM
[ No.. for me thats my opinion ]

Lw has the simplist GUI there is, I wish most other apps where the same as LW...
I use the hot keys more than anything..
I usually have the Tool Bar hidden 95% of the time..

they should have a couple GUI's to choose from.. that would be cool,

Ryan Roye
06-14-2014, 09:43 AM
One of the most common complains I get from 3d Artists on my staff is how CONVOLUTED the Layout interface is.
The complain loudly on the hot mess of windows they have to open just to get to certain attributes.

They need to learn about hotkeys, mouse menus, and assign tools then. The only time animators should be opening *any* windows is when they need to access the graph editor. The scene editor should only be needed occasionally.

In my Common Scenarios for Character Animators (http://www.liberty3d.com/2014/04/common-scenarios-for-character-animators/) training content and just about everything else I publish on the topic of animation, it is largely absent of any windows or dialogues... this is because I too hate working through windows and it should be known that no one has to deal with that in Lightwave; the software is flexible enough to allow workflows that don't involve those terrible interruptions.

This isn't to say that I'm totally satisfied with LW's interface, there are a lot of areas that DO need substantial improvement... they just aren't showstoppers granted the user knows the toolset.

Some things I'd like to see improved:

- Integrate assign tools into the UI, make its operation more visible to the user (highlight the target item somehow)

- Prevent the lower left field areas from stealing focus from the rest of LW. This frustrates new users and annoys veteran users.

- Make any dropdown lists searchable. I know for certain this one is already on the dev's radar.

- Make customizing the user interface easier. They took steps in this direction in version 11, but I want to see things like being able to add plugins via drag-dropping, and making the UI for menu customization a bit more user friendly.

prometheus
06-14-2014, 09:50 AM
well...this has been all over the place in several threads, I prefer the lightwave style, but as mentioned..by all means introduce docking panels ala adobe...both after effects style or photoshop/illustrator docking type of window panels...I think they need
to implement fully scalable window as the very first thing to do though. After that, introduce expandable/collapsable sections within the panels, and then finally make the windows dockable to any other windowpanel.

We just recently got some interesting UI enhancement with some docking of panels, but from third party and sort of hacking it, Hopefully it will be rewritten more properly during lw12 cycle from the LW team itself.
I do hope they in such case manage to keep the UI lookin almost the same inspite of making these changes if they decide to do so.

Herés the hack to implement some docking features...
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?140889-Lightwave-ui

Michael

prometheus
06-14-2014, 09:55 AM
They need to learn about hotkeys, mouse menus, and assign tools then. The only time animators should be opening *any* windows is when they need to access the graph editor. The scene editor should only be needed occasionally.

.

I donīt quite agree with that, I donīt think itīs a good approach to neglect construction a good ui with panel docking expanding and collapsing panels when you work around with tweakings and then go around with a full list of shortcuts for every panel.
Of course itīs good to know your panel shortcuts...and after some learning that might work well...but shouldnīt be an excuse to not implement better ui, It can become messy in brain you work with several programs.

robertoortiz
06-14-2014, 09:57 AM
Well the thing is that once I tell my people that they have to memorize "a dance of keys" to get something simple done, I do start to wonder on how intivitive the LW interface is in the first place.
Keep in mind that some of my people are decent Maya animators, and some are really good in Adobe toll sets , specially After Effects.
What dawned on me seeing the LW Layout interface through their eyes, is that it really looks like a hot mess.
And there is no GOOD REASON why it should be.
We are not asking replacing ANYTHING, we are just asking for some more Intuitive order.

I have done some research and the industry is moving towards more intuitive interfaces that are more friendly toward the artistic types that are more familiar with the Adobe tool sets than ANY 3d app.
It makes sense, considering the high number of seats this would sell, and both Adobe and Maxon know this.
And the last time i checked Maxon was cleaning our clocks.

jeric_synergy
06-14-2014, 11:31 AM
The area that I'm guilty of not utilizing is the Mouse Menus. In part because of the incredibly rubbish defaults, but that's no excuse, I could always roll my own. When I DO remember to use them, I always think, AGAIN, "damn, these are convenient."

This is purely a training issue, and it's tough because THE MOUSE MENUS ARE INVISIBLE. Invisible="easy to forget". I don't think there's a solution, since their invisibility is part of their power. (!!!) And to tell you the truth, the whole CTRL+SHIFT is awkward. Still, for me this is a very neglected and totally worthy feature.

The rubbishness of their defaults basically stems from the crazy redundancy in the hierarchy: whoever layed them out apparently didn't embrace the concept of "convenience" and "speed". And IMO the Studio Presets are just as terrible as the defaults.

The Panels are a hot mess, and there's zilch we can do about THEM, but the Menus and Mouse Menus are fully under our control, and can be made as efficient as possible, and as logical as we deem fit. For Roberto, I suggest that his team take a hard look at what can be done there.

As to the general question of UI, certainly AE and C4D both make far better use of color than LW has-- in fact, LW has gone BACKWARDS on that front, the UI used to be far more colorful, although the rationale was a bit arcane (to me at least): one color was things that happened IMMEDIATELY, another was ....something....

(OTOH, my color choices were always roundly mocked on the beta boards, so someone, preferably Matt, should be in charge of that.)(Hey, "garish" works for me.)

Oldcode
06-14-2014, 01:11 PM
There's one small thing I'd like to see, but maybe I'm missing it.

I'd like a simple field that you can enter in that frame you want. All the other 3D software packages I use have a field where if you need to got to frame 47, you click on the field and type 47. I've never been able to find anything like that in Lightwave and I've looked. Hard to find when you don't even know what something like that would be called by a specific company.

The only way to get to a specific frame is use the mouse and get as close as you can, but you are sometimes a few frames off and you have to use other buttons to get there.

How about a simple current frame box so you can get there from here?

jeric_synergy
06-14-2014, 01:39 PM
ctrl-F gives you a dialog to get to a specific frame.

THAT one is hardcoded into my hand, so much so I can never remember the one used in AE.

And it's been there forever.

+++++
Hmmm, I'm #awayFromLW, but it may just be F. Sometimes I'll make shortcuts be ^F,F,SHIFT+F, and ALT+F just so that I never 'miss'. Sometimes.

BTW, I'm not sure how hard you looked, since "lightwave shortcuts" gave several valid hits, and "lightwave goto frame" got better ones.

Ryan Roye
06-14-2014, 01:40 PM
I'd like a simple field that you can enter in that frame you want.

at least in LW 11+ there is a function called "go to frame", which brings up a dialogue box that asks you for the frame number.

jeric_synergy
06-14-2014, 01:45 PM
Much older than that. I think it may ALWAYS have been there, but a quick Google proves it's been there since at least. 7.5

Oldcode
06-14-2014, 01:59 PM
Thanks guys,

But when I hit crtl-F, I get the Lens Flare Options panel.

Even if that worked, the point of my post is in Poser, Real Flow, Bryce, Ray Dream Studios, and other software I have, you don't have to hit Ctrl-Alt-Shift anything. There is a field right there in the main screen, usually near the play/pause controls, that tells you what frame you're on and lets you enter in the frame you want.

If Newtek is listening, that would be really helpful.

spherical
06-14-2014, 02:00 PM
For me, current Photoshop/Illustrator docking panels are part way there. InDesign CS2 docked panels were way better. Current style is only reducible down to square icons in a vertical strip. Good, but ID CS2 made that strip a thin ribbon; taking 1/4 the space of the icon strip (about 12px) and having vertical text labels. Just like the current icon strip, click a label, the panel opens to your desired width, click it again, it closes. Click another label with a panel open and it closes while opening the new panel. Most efficient use of screen real estate with no loss of useability. Then, they went to icons or icons with text, which takes almost as much space as having the panels themselves open. Icons are OK, once you learn them, but with vertical text there's less space taken up and nothing to remember.

spherical
06-14-2014, 02:05 PM
The area that I'm guilty of not utilizing is the Mouse Menus. In part because of the incredibly rubbish defaults, but that's no excuse, I could always roll my own. When I DO remember to use them, I always think, AGAIN, "damn, these are convenient."

This is purely a training issue, and it's tough because THE MOUSE MENUS ARE INVISIBLE. Invisible="easy to forget". I don't think there's a solution, since their invisibility is part of their power. (!!!) And to tell you the truth, the whole CTRL+SHIFT is awkward. Still, for me this is a very neglected and totally worthy feature.

For I don't know how many years and how many versions (a lot), I never knew that there were cursor menus! I still forget that they're there.

spherical
06-14-2014, 02:09 PM
As to the general question of UI, certainly AE and C4D both make far better use of color than LW has-- in fact, LW has gone BACKWARDS on that front, the UI used to be far more colorful, although the rationale was a bit arcane (to me at least): one color was things that happened IMMEDIATELY, another was ....something....

(OTOH, my color choices were always roundly mocked on the beta boards, so someone, preferably Matt, should be in charge of that.)(Hey, "garish" works for me.)

Yeah, I got mocked recently, too. More color works for me and offers intuitive use of the interface. I still like the minimalist approach but, especially for the artist in this engineer's body, a colorful interface is just more pleasant to work in and can be made to be more easily readable, too.

jeric_synergy
06-14-2014, 02:14 PM
Oldcode, try "f" , not "^F". Apparently I disremember it.
+++++++
#backAtLW
Yep, it's plain ol' "f". My memory is in my hand, not my head.
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Amusing to me is, I've remapped "^f" and "alt+f" to "Flocking" and "Flock Calculate", respectively. 'Cuz I just don't use Lens Flares all that much.

prometheus
06-14-2014, 04:03 PM
Yeah, I got mocked recently, too. More color works for me and offers intuitive use of the interface. I still like the minimalist approach but, especially for the artist in this engineer's body, a colorful interface is just more pleasant to work in and can be made to be more easily readable, too.

I donīt know about more colorful UI, I kind of understand the approach of having it more neutral in contrast to more emphasize the actual scene colors/image, and not let the UI distract you from that, on the other hand I kind of like some colorful UI too, but depends on what color and what saturation they have etc ..and what function that menu or button has.
I think I liked the way the lw 7 interface looked with itīs gradient greenish button with the highlighted yellow/white text, think that might have been the best of them all.
the next step was more cleaner perhaps and more toned down to teh lw 9 pastel buttons sort of, I recall when they introduced the more neutral grey UI..and showed it a our solidworks designer, he prefered the lw 9 before lw 10 as the first impression goes, then again he wasnīt the one to work with lightwave..I was.

I have a problem with some of the disposed colors and text, I donīt like that the menu category group text ..like modify,rotate,transform in layout for example is the same or lower in whiteness and contrast as the very commands underneath them.
Categories is the first place you should look for before going in to the commands, otherwise we could skip the naming of it all, so those main groups should be more contrasted or bolder/bigger in fonts than underlying commands.
There are also so many places no in values with text entry that is looking to much the same with itīs white contrast that you sort of get to much of it.

Michael

will2014
06-15-2014, 04:20 AM
I've only been using light wave for 6 months and besides the evident problems it has its quiet easy to use and once I got used to the layout and hotkeys I became quiet quick at the basics

Hail
06-15-2014, 04:48 AM
Thanks guys,

But when I hit crtl-F, I get the Lens Flare Options panel.

Even if that worked, the point of my post is in Poser, Real Flow, Bryce, Ray Dream Studios, and other software I have, you don't have to hit Ctrl-Alt-Shift anything. There is a field right there in the main screen, usually near the play/pause controls, that tells you what frame you're on and lets you enter in the frame you want.

If Newtek is listening, that would be really helpful.

"F" gives you a dialogue box for that

Oldcode
06-15-2014, 06:10 AM
Thanks Hail, that did it!

I still think it should be on the main screen without having to hit anything, but having that is a big help.

jeric_synergy
06-15-2014, 08:57 AM
The hotkey is actually FASTER, because you don't have to move the mouse at all.

You might want to review your strategies for finding LW functions: after all....
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