PDA

View Full Version : From Scratch: How would you REDO the Layout interface from Scratch?



robertoortiz
01-15-2016, 10:00 PM
I am huge fan of Lw but one of my biggest gripes of the program is how scattershot the interface seems to be.
One idea I would to see explored in future releases is a move towards a more streamlined interface with expandable and collapsible tools.(ALA After Effects)

So tell us, how would you visualize a more streamlined look for Layout?

-R

prometheus
01-16-2016, 01:38 AM
I am huge fan of Lw but one of my biggest gripes of the program is how scattershot the interface seems to be.
One idea I would to see explored in future releases is a move towards a more streamlined interface with expandable and collapsible tools.(ALA After Effects)

So tell us, how would you visualize a more streamlined look for Layout?

-R

it would require image mockups, had plan to do that, but not sure I got the time, but layout would probably have the main features on how it looks intact, just been getting up to blender recently, but I am not fond of the UI, what I do like is the ability to configure it though and see color changes in realtime without closing the software or using a third party UI changer.

anyway, I would try and keep it minimalistic as it is now, but with special UI field to switch between model, layout, sculpting and so on...whatever UI layout scheme that fitīs your type of session for the moment.
thatīs no 1
no 2 would be fully scalable windows.
no 3 docking windows ala photoshop,illustrator, after effects...the rip of windows and closing of windows in blender just make me go insane, donīt go that way.
no 4, expanding of menus and collapsing.

thereīs really nothing more to it, except for allowing the UI to be fully customizable ..in that regards I really like blender UI customizing.
additionally I could perhaps add two-three more things...that would be the option to have icon presented buttons, with text description in a tool shelf, the tool shelf should be something like houdini perhaps..and you can choose to drag whatever
tool you want in to your own special shelf or create libraries of shelfs and preferably a typical default shelf is shipped with the release.

with all this you can have it look pretty much the same as it does now, or switch to a bit more advanced fancy look, but it will in all areas be more flexible, scalable, and customizable..without getting lost in a completly alien UI.

Not sure this is possible in xpanels...probably not? which means they someday needs to take the step to other UI panels, but they should keep the main minimalistic approach to layout and keep the menus where they currently are if possilble, and let the user design itīs own and perhaps better structure on the menus..and share to community later, which then after some time mayl be validated as better throughout the course of time.

Note..you may argue I am not redo thinking from scratch, though I see no reason to go that way of thinking ..better to refine what is not good and do that better and keep things that are good rather than experimenting from scratch.

JohnMarchant
01-16-2016, 02:24 AM
I am huge fan of Lw but one of my biggest gripes of the program is how scattershot the interface seems to be.
One idea I would to see explored in future releases is a move towards a more streamlined interface with expandable and collapsible tools.(ALA After Effects)

So tell us, how would you visualize a more streamlined look for Layout?

-R

Agreed, and also the way some menu's work in Modeler differently to layout. I suppose this is the problem with having essentially 2 programs. I would like to see a standardised way across the program.

kopperdrake
01-16-2016, 03:02 AM
I'm going to hope that Matt is on the case in this department. And from what I've seen of his work in the past pre-LightWave Group, I have faith in his abilities :)

djwaterman
01-16-2016, 04:34 AM
Firstly, I wouldn't be expecting to see any work making modeler more consistent with Layout, wasted effort because Modeler's gonna go. From scratch? This is a fantasy exercise, no ones going to be going back to the drawing board on the UI, it will be slow adaption of what's there. I think something along the lines of that (I think Legato) plugin a user has come up with that snaps different panels into convenient positions when opened up would be good. Layout and Modelers most annoying aspect is that you can wind up with panels opened up all over the place. I hate how if you minimize a layout panel it positions itself right over the the XYZ positions in the Bottom left corner, just having them collapse down into the bottom right corner of the viewport would be an improvement, and if you hover over them they could display what they are, that would be nice to, even better if the panel's name would always remain readable.

On the whole, I quite like the UI as is barring a number of things that can get in the way of productivity, so I would want them to meld certain sections and reduce clutter but not introduce anything flashy. Unless it really made things better.

prometheus
01-16-2016, 05:55 AM
shouldnīt this be enough?...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlYHBbuS7A0

Dan Ritchie
01-19-2016, 10:04 AM
I am huge fan of Lw but one of my biggest gripes of the program is how scattershot the interface seems to be.
One idea I would to see explored in future releases is a move towards a more streamlined interface with expandable and collapsible tools.(ALA After Effects)

So tell us, how would you visualize a more streamlined look for Layout?

-R


I'm not a big fan of telescoping menus because they take too much away from muscle memory. Their good points include being easier to layout and program for the developer. They make it easier to add new features without having to hunt cofor a place to put more buttons.

In Howler, my compromise was to use telescoping menus for items that were global to the program, and keep panels for items that were more context specific.

MonroePoteet
01-19-2016, 10:45 AM
One thing I'd really like to see both in Modeler and Layout is floating "work flow" menus that I could populate with the variety of commands / plug-ins I use for a particular work flow. Ideally, I'd be able to 1) create a new Named workflow menu, 2) drag-n-drop buttons / plug-ins from the fixed menus into the workflow menu (WITHOUT them being removed from the fixed menus), 3) rename, edit (add / remove stuff), delete these named workflow menus, and 4) assign hot-keys to bring them up or drop them.

Since they'd be floating, I could position them (or even multiple ones) conveniently and access the tools / plug-ins for a particular job rapidly, then drop that menu when I move on to another piece of work. A critical aspect of these is that they DO NOT remove the tool / plug-in from their original location as set up in Edit => Edit Menu Layout...

mTp

jeric_synergy
01-19-2016, 12:58 PM
I prefer to nick around at the edges of interfaces, going for little workflow improvements. CUMULATIVELY, these add up to a better, smoother experience.

One thing LWG should KILL KILL KILL with fire is every value dialog box: If you can SEE a number, you should be able to alter in IN SITU. Dialog boxes for individual values is a ridiculously antiquated workflow, really a 1980's style of UI that began in Videoscape and somehow has managed to survive into the 21st Century. WTF?

For discrete values, especially integers, the ability to highlight a value, especially if you can get there via keyboard, and increment/decrement via the cursor keys, is very desirable.

I >>WILL<< say that LW's 'mini-sliders' kick the stuffing out of Adobe's little slider below the button-- thanks for that twitchy little thing, Adobe.....NOT. (OTOH, you can use the arrow keys in adobe value fields, so even score there.)

As pointed out above, real-time UI color alteration seems like a no-brainer.

I'm hopeful that the next panels infrastructure will be based on XTML (?) so that, if desired, users could actually re-code whole panels and design entirely new ones to fit their needs. However, I'd like that to be a BY-PRODUCT of the design, not a feature: I don't want the devs spending time on making it possible, I just want it to be possible as part of their own process and for them to LEAVE IT OPEN to users. My fear here is that many users don't use the customization features we already have, and time spent polishing them is essentially time wasted.

And, as always, fully expose everything to the scripting SDK so we can at least have a hope of extending the app to meet our own particular needs.

EDIT: if we wanted to make LW minisliders even better, add function keys to multiply/divide the incrementing value so that we'd have gross/fine control of the numbers.

jwiede
01-19-2016, 01:26 PM
One thing I'd really like to see both in Modeler and Layout is floating "work flow" menus that I could populate with the variety of commands / plug-ins I use for a particular work flow. Ideally, I'd be able to 1) create a new Named workflow menu, 2) drag-n-drop buttons / plug-ins from the fixed menus into the workflow menu (WITHOUT them being removed from the fixed menus), 3) rename, edit (add / remove stuff), delete these named workflow menus, and 4) assign hot-keys to bring them up or drop them.

Since they'd be floating, I could position them (or even multiple ones) conveniently and access the tools / plug-ins for a particular job rapidly, then drop that menu when I move on to another piece of work. A critical aspect of these is that they DO NOT remove the tool / plug-in from their original location as set up in Edit => Edit Menu Layout...

Good point, I agree it makes vastly more sense to focus on tightly-scoped specific improvement requests, that might actually be useful/heard.

I'll recommend and extend this "workflow menu" idea a bit further by suggesting it be done using "pie menus" -- ideally with marking-menu like properties, but I know there's Autodesk patent conflicts in there, so I don't _require_ marking-menu properties if blocked by patent. Pop-up pie menus offer better density and easier/faster selection over conventional "linear" pop-up menus, amply demonstrated in apps like Maya and modo, both of which make extensive use of them as accelerators (to very good advantage, IMO).

Combining pie menu semantics with user-customizable "workflow menus" per Monroe's description sounds very useful and efficient. Since LW has no existing dependency on pie menus, they can easily be given over as a fully user-customizable domain (perhaps with "default" LW setup for basic workflows?). Further, seems quite feasible for them to be hung off a user-selectable "double-click menu" (replacing the existing semantic, at user's choice) or other user-selected keystroke and/or mouse+modifier combination.

Something like a personal-workflow-tailored, user-customizable pie menu system could really do a lot to mitigate many UX/workflow issues currently present in LW (esp. in Modeler), yet wouldn't be that difficult to implement even within the existing UI engine.

MonroePoteet
01-19-2016, 04:45 PM
For me, I would consider the pie menu topology to be secondary, and substantially so, to the ability to quickly and easily organize buttons or other controls in a floating menu to adapt to my workflow. I can already create a poor substitute for custom floating menus using JScript and the Interface facilities (XPanel, etc.), but it's really cumbersome and painful, so I don't usually do so. They aren't persistent, so I have to invoke them, press the desired tool button, and the Interface drops, and repeat ad nauseum.

I *think* that the current LW UI architecture for Modeler and Layout could be modified relatively simply to provide the floating workflow menus I suggest (with the drag-n-drop capability being a little trickier), while I think implementing the pie menu topology would be an architectural "curb". As the old saying goes (pp): "Perfection is the enemy of Good Enough".

As always, just my opinion.

mTp

P.S. as a practical alternative to the drag-n-drop, there could be a special keyboard shortcut to press while pushing a menu item to add it to the currently "open" floating menu.

jeric_synergy
01-19-2016, 06:10 PM
I'd like a pie, because no place on the screen is closer than the point currently under the cursor. Also, pie menus are the gateway drug to gestural interfaces.

One thing I'd like is for the UI to become less "binary", or more "soft": currently things are either VISIBLE or not, and mostly I'm thinking of alerts in the status line. I'd like for alerts to HAPPEN (and currently it's rather hit and miss), but then to slowly fade away over time, as the user continues. So, there's still time to notice that the alert happened (they're often not critical), but as time goes by and the user continues to work, they become less and less intrusive.

Actually, I don't literally mean "time" here, but "# of user tasks" standing in for time.

And a nice history stack would work well with that too.

Surrealist.
01-19-2016, 11:50 PM
What I'd like to see is energy put to good use in this direction. Starting a random thread with disjointed opinions and examples, while interesting discussion, is kind of a waste of time from a practical standpoint.

What I'd like to see is LW 3D group open up a more formal and organized input platform. I can point to the Autodesk "Ideas For Maya" as a good example of how this can be orginized:

http://mayafeedback.autodesk.com/forums/160514-ideas-for-maya-forum

A FAQ is here:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/429083/UserVoice_Help/FAQ_mayaIdeas.htm

This is not a plug for Autodesk, or even a claim that it is working for them or used properly. Frankly I would have no way to know. So we can skip the off-shoot AD bashing and off topic discussion, can we not?

And simply look at this as an example of what can (and should be) done, in my opinion if we are to have some input and have it actually acted on.

I have a list of things I'd like to see changed I find annoying. Small simple UI things that are doable.

But I don't see the point of wasting time in a thread, and have it all lost in the shuffle.

Designing an interface from scratch? Interesting discussion, but not going to happen as a result of one.;)

Zerowaitstate
01-20-2016, 07:30 AM
I am huge fan of Lw but one of my biggest gripes of the program is how scattershot the interface seems to be.
One idea I would to see explored in future releases is a move towards a more streamlined interface with expandable and collapsible tools.(ALA After Effects)

So tell us, how would you visualize a more streamlined look for Layout?

-R

If i was doing it from scratch, i would have the app run from HMD.

All object would be to scale and you would have granular control over all aspect of the model and time line.

numbers entered by voice (Any HMD worth a pinch of salt will have built in MIC
menu navigate by hand control and analog trigger for scroll or select
sliders moved by analog trigger or rotation of hand control
scale with Pinch and zoom


I would use a combination of voice and hand controllers to bring my vision in to a reality, i would have a portal that either feeds a web cam (for checking notes of brings a selected window from my OS to read design notes etc.

/Dream on