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I3D
07-21-2003, 02:30 AM
ok these are my thoughts on UI options, After seeing Matt's scheme and workflow suggestion it seemed to me more investigation is needed, after all Matt's design seems almost identical to Macromedia products. No offense is antended towords Matt, He's effort are great but i would like it if he considered more option before going that route. especially if needed having a loot towords other 3D apps and see how they work. Macromedia workflow is great by the size of what it's apllications do, but not LW where you need allot more flexibility and ultimate control when customizing the workflow. and my personnal openion, I really do hate Macromedia designs, they are very restrictive and nagging most of them time, and force you to work in a systematical way.

Anyway here my thoughts on the subject and feel free to comment on them.

I've been using LW for years now along with almost all major 3D apps out there. So my opinion will be greatly influenced by this. but thought these years of using these programs a person tends to have a simple view on how a UI should look like and operate. I'm not going to start naming any 3D app here because this is not about competition (I'll try not to any way ) And to make it clear from the start I want you all to know that even those Appz offer great deal of flexibility in the UI design they still have their short comings like any other app in the market.

That being said I'll start listing some of the ideas to be adapted in LW and might have a good thing to do.

1- Non Panel windows & built in panel windows
looking at how LW operates I should say that having a simple windows to host all the parameter of an item (depending on state and item) with a simple key stroke (e.g. p, m, or n etc) is very intuitive. but in the long run it becomes annoying I'm afraid, especially if your working for 14 hours or more. So the logical step would be to incorporate these windows within the view panel. Just like I can change from Perspective to any ortho view, why not have other options like Motion Graph, Mixer, Parameter window and basically any window that shows at pop window? of course this needs the view panel window to have a functionality to expand in either direction, Vertical or horizontal. but this should be done in a very simple mouse button or a combination of keys. like clicking the Left mouse (or pressing 0 in key pad, thank you Newtek) expands the to full screen, we already have that, but why not have two more option to expand to Vertical (in case of having the surface editor or parameter window) or horizontal for graph and mixer, scene editor. these could be Middle mouse button and may be a right mouse button. You should really see the benefit of this workflow, imagine having the ability to view both the Viper window, Surface Editor and camera view, or front view all at once WITHOUT cluttering the workspace or having non model panels obscuring things all the time. hey even 1600x1200 isn't enough these days

2- Desktop manager, I know we have a predefined choices of ortho view arrangement, but what if I have the option to arrange my desktop as I see fit, and I need access to that. simply have a selection menu at top that lists all the saved layouts of the UI for you to choose from. So if I have a layout for Texturing and another for Dope Sheet for blocking animation, and another one for Graph window with perspective view only. and a third one for mixer with graph and dope sheet. then it would be simple to switch between these layouts at will and depending on the stage I'm in. it's takes allot of hassle to rearrange your workflow, Yeah you can keep them all open but why distract your self.

3- Splitting views. ok this I'm sure will be a tough one but you guys rock and I'm sure you can pull it off if you want to. up until now the only way to split windows is not there, unless you consider the predefined choices a solution, but consider this for a second. lets say I have the perspective window at full screen. if click alt-[ for example I will split the window vertically. now if I have my mouse over the left area then I can hit Alt-] and it splits horizontally, now if I bring my mouse over the upper left view I can split it vertically if I want and so forth. what if I want to close a get rid of a window, simply bring your mouse over it and press Alt-/. of course you'll have the option to do that from a right-click pop up window.

4- connecting view, ok this will be hard to explain, but consider the following. imagine if I have a four view split. and I have to combination of view, the top two ones are regular Viper and surface editor. the bottom ones have also a viper and say HV window. I can connect the bottom ones with a number or a letter and the top ones with a letter. so if I change one of the upper window to light view only the upper windows will change to reflect that. so I'll have Viper for Volume Light and Light window. sweet ha?

ok so far so good, I'm not shot yet I'll continue

5- Tearing of panes. I'm working on a window arrangement and I have the perspective view that I like, I can make a copy of it and also I can tear it apart and have it floating

6- Easy access to last command. ok LW UI can get extremely cluttered some times, that because people don't like to hunt for a command every time they use it, for instance in modeler if I use like the clone Array allot, I would let it stand out in it's on. that's why the buttons are scattered around because people don't want to go inside menus every time, but imagine this. If I have a like a Clone Menu that hosts all the clone tools in modeler with the choice of adding more. lets say I tend to use Array from this menu allot. I have two options, Have a Hot key for that, and believe me all my hotkey are taken, there can't be enough any way. of I can simple click with the middle mouse button on the Clone menu and it automatically remembers my last choose and execute it for me.

Ok I'm going to shut up now before I get shot or something but to say one last thing, LW is a great app and like it more than any other application I use even with it's shortcomings, but it would great and I do look forward to that day when I can do what ever I want with the UI. I am aware of the challenges Newtek face when considering such things and I'm aware of the huge of time it takes to implement something like this, but believe me it's worth the try for future version, yes I'll stick around even if I'm the only one left.

Anyways, thank allot again guys for sharing your thoughts and thanks for reading this far.

Cheers

I3D