View Full Version : Simple Ui wish

03-19-2006, 05:05 AM

I took the liberty to make a small adjustment to Messiah UI (in Photoshop) to something that i think would be a better integrated Graph Editor :

http://img49.imageshack.us/img49/6898/messiahgrapheditor20jq.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Since i like to have all my Key and Curves info at "hand" or at sight, i joined the Key info Tab with the Curves settings Tab, i even stole the Scene Keys Flat from the Edit Keyframe Tab into it, since i think itīs a bit more handy to have in there than hunting it down elsewhere where people migh not be aware of how handy this feature really is :applause:

Sure i can simply switch the UI to not use Tabs but still, i prefer something like this, everything at sight at the same time.

Of course that the new info would also be dockable when we move the Graph Window up and down, and it would automatically dock itself when we choosed the DopeSheet.

Well itīs just an idea anyway, some will probably like it, others will probably hate it and like everything as it is now, anyway post your comments :p

03-19-2006, 05:20 AM
i like the idea....if Messiah's UI could become as flexible as Modo's :drool: that would be ideal.
and having stuff like scene keys flat closer to hand would be cool.

03-19-2006, 11:52 AM
I think when develop is eventually released....you'll be able to easily modify that sort of thing.

03-19-2006, 07:31 PM
This would be cool! I hate opening that exta panel and rely more and more on the right-mouse-click-drag trick.

03-20-2006, 08:47 AM
...Well, and now let me drag that graph editor and everything else I whish to to the second monitor and I'm all set. ;)

While we're at the UI, I like the new time slider, but think it is time to improve the transportation buttons to something that better integrates with the rest of the UI and is easier to hit. The symbols are very small and the buttons too... or am I getting old?


03-20-2006, 01:38 PM
Right click in the graphic editor on a key and choosing between linear, TCB or FLAT would be quick and cooler than going to the tab and such.

03-20-2006, 03:01 PM
I think when develop is eventually released....you'll be able to easily modify that sort of thing.
So far I am not aware of develop allowing you to do anything that the current SDK can't? And you can't do anything as far as the UI is concerned with the SDK.

Plugins can only surface in some predetermined areas using predetermined UI-elements and there was never any support to change the general UI at all that I know of.

Is there any deeper knowledge behind you thinking develop will make that possible or is it just hope?


03-20-2006, 04:21 PM
Hoping:) And who knows. We may be able too.

04-10-2006, 02:12 PM
I have not seen this thread! Now I have.... :hmm:
Yeah, I think that would be absolutely beautiful. Not to mention that it would come across far more as the professional it has the heart of. I don't know what's involved in making this come true, but I think, too, it would be a bit of a dream come true. I'm so used to our garage-style-hardcore-"c'mon, just do what ya' need to do, it's all there"-mentality, that I sometimes tend to forget how much such a "make-up" elevation would change the whole tool and how it's perceived. I know, of course, it's far more than just make-up, but that aspect would be most likely more significant in terms of recognition than the actual functionality of it, believe it or not. The funny part is, that we've got pretty much the largest part of the functions covered and all to often it just doesn't come across that way.
Thank you for reminding me of that. I'm sure we will have long discussions about that internally and we'll find out how we can make our way there eventually! If we go there step by step, bare with us and just use it in the meantime, too! I keep saying it, but the more you guys show off what's already possible...etc,etc,etc...you know all that. I want to see the state in which messiah's gui philosophy will have caught up with all the flexibility behind it! :bowdown: ... :scream:

Thanx for the mock-up! Great inspiration! :thumbsup:

04-10-2006, 02:24 PM
Great feedback Taron!

I know you know that, but it really isn't just cosmetics, but streamlining the amount of interface interaction one has to go through for things like keyframing or shading. If you repeat a certain action hundreds of times a day, even little inconveniences start to hurt very fast. (Edit Tab f.i. and switching between Motion and Spline Tabs etc.)

3D is a monster in itself, so anything you don't have to think about is perceived as big help.

Sil3's mockup reminds me of tools like Inferno or other Highend "get the job done fast" apps. Everything you need for a specific task combined in one window.


Cheers :bowdown:

04-10-2006, 02:38 PM
Ha! I think I've said that bit about 'a hundred times a day' in a few of my posts - great to see that yellow marker change - that really was a 1000 per day gripe for me before! On this note, I'd like the selection of keyframe points looked at - I think we've discussed this before Thomas and seem to remember a LW7.5 selection (with messiah's flexible channel concepts) of keyframes in the graph editor would be cool - I haven't looked at it for a while so I'm probably not best placed to comment right now, but when I was last bashing away with animate, I seem to remember that was one of those 100's a day scenarios....

04-10-2006, 07:34 PM
Sil3 got me inspired...


One thing I didn't like about Sil's approach was the way it was growing into the work space. I tried to solve this using the F2, F3 and F4 as successively opening fields. Its something you have to accept in the "messiah mindset" so it feels intuitive to put things you always use under F2, the things you use less under F3, and the seldom setting things under F4. The latter two are also things you close up when animating... hence, real-estate.

For the transform, copy and distort panels I resorted to Thomas' suggestion of a pop-up window. It seems a waste to have these omni present, but when you activate them they shouldn't cover your key editor. As a window, you can drag them to where you can see what you need to. Maybe its best to have it to the left of the object selector, though.

Laying it out really forces you to think about what you use and where you want it. Cool exercize!

04-10-2006, 07:51 PM
Althou mine might seem like is taking a lot of space, it still has everything right at sight, besides i see them as dockable so u can always collapse one or both if u wish, i didnt take the time to add the Modifiers into it (Strech animation blablabla) but i will ;)

Your idea of the Channels right on the Graph with a Shift Select is F****** briliant IMO :buttrock:

04-10-2006, 08:18 PM
Your idea of the Channels right on the Graph with a Shift Select is F****** briliant IMO :buttrock:
Doesn't mean I'll give up on my quest for shft-toggle channel activation though :scream:

04-10-2006, 08:47 PM
Sorry David - I think Sil3s approach looks much cleaner and clearer - and if you have a horizontal equivalent to F1, F2 and F3 that allows to show or hide the panels, I would vote strongly for this "Animation Powerhouse" idea. :thumbsup:
Shortcuts for Windows/Tabs are mucho importante IMO - I think even the current Spline/Motion Tabs could profit from the Animator being able to switch between them with the left hand on the keyboard instead of reaching with the mouse...

With Sils layout, you could have the item list fully hidden in animate, while still being able to work. Split the world view with "W" in two - one for the camera and one for another view for selection etc. and it should be very comfortable.
Being able to have something like a synoptic view in that second window would also be great. (My favourite Example: http://www.mrsolo.com/mrs_edgard.html)
While Armatures are cool, often such a schematic thing is way easier to grab, since it is independent from the current view.

I simply don't know how possible detachable windows are for messiah. That would allow for everybody to create his own layout. I very much like the new AfterEffects 7 approach.

Maybe we should do some transport-key mockups too....


04-10-2006, 09:21 PM
I prefer Sil3's layout to Dobermunks, but I like his idea if having the keyframe editing tools available below the graph editor. Maybe the ' curve ' and ' angles ' popups could be moved further left in Sil3's example to make room for the ' keyframe editing ' popup from Dobermunk's example, with the actual options appearing in the space left to the right in Sil3's example :) Having the channel buttonss to the left of the graph is a great idea.

As long as pmG didn't make the UI ' LW styled ' with lots of those annoying floating panels everywhere ( they have tested my patience many a time over the past 10+ years due to not being rich enough to afford 2 monitors :p ), I'll be happy. As already suggested, dockable panels would be the best of both worlds.

04-11-2006, 03:18 AM
Guys guys guys... why dont u do mokups as well, pick up mine (i wont be upset) and Dober one also (hope he doesnt mind) and join/cut do whatever u guys think is the BEST, a picture shows more than a thousand words so, pick up PS and start Pasting and Cutting those UIīs mokups, its to benefit us all, so dont by shy :)

04-11-2006, 05:52 AM
I don't use tabs, I keep motion and spline open at the same time. Constantly switching tabs is just too annoying. I don't think I'd want the spline/motion options below the graph editor like that, it just takes up too much space, especially when you switch to the dopesheet. I think hiding the motion/spline options every time I switch to the dopesheet would get tedious after a while.

I like dobermunks idea though, having the keyframe editing/edit sphere options available without having to go to the edit tab.

I guess it's probably too much to hope for a highly configurable Modo-esque interface?

04-11-2006, 08:34 AM
No need to be sorry. I'm with Sil - if everyone lays it out the way it would suit them in photoshop, then we might get something that suits everyone in messiah.

Everyone works differently, and I always have the item list at F2 when animating. (The group filter is wonderful). So I can multi-select (this issue (http://www.stickman.de/content/temp/messiah_wishList/animImm_select_Bug.jpg)makes it tough to do in the window) items as I need or switch etc. Also good when in dope mode. Hence - my approach.

04-11-2006, 10:07 AM
hmmm here's my thought,

I basically like the UI the way it is. Call me crazy. There's a couple of things, like toggling scene keys flat that I'd like to be able to click quickly durring playback, but most of the stuff in the other panels, I just don't care about very often. There's a few things that just don't exist which I want, like tagging dope master keys with colors, and temporarily disabling keyframes durring playback.

I think some things to consider are a) frequency b) simplicity and c) real estate.
How often do I really need/want to click something?
Do I need to be clicking it anyway?
Monitors are way wider than they are tall. Losing 16 pixels on the side, I don't notice much. 16 vertical pixels (I'm looking at you, big jaundiced slider) takes away space I could be using for looking at my animation. This is an even bigger deal if you're at 1280x1024 or less.

Looking at the interface, there's a whole lot of unused space there now. I don't really need the bottom item selector to be 700 pixels wide, do I? Just having a toggle for something is fine, if all the sexy options are somewhere else. I probably don't need 20 sexy options that often.

btw, I hate the Blender UI. Maybe I am crazy... ;)

04-11-2006, 01:04 PM
Great Ideas!

I think I never ever used the dropdown item list for the last 5 or 6 years. For me, it could vanish completely - for involved scenes, I couldn't imagine a more cumbersome way to access things ;)

The Flat Item List is fantastic, Maybe a different way of showing hierarchies could be established that doesn't take much space, like a kind of colorcoding in the background?
Or using the lines between the objects in different lengths to hint at their hierarchic depth?

The thing I like about the Sil3 design is, that you can keep your mouse in a similar area for all the keying. He has used the current layout basically and just moved it below the world view, but I'm sure one could create a much narrower layout while keeping the overview.
So with starting anew and concentrating on what is needed and less on what's already there, I'm sure you could reduce the height by half.

- The command line at the bottom could be optional?
- The slider Area could be combined with the frame-ruler area - no need to have it twice.
- The introduction of timeline markers would also go to that new Slider/Ruler/Marker area. ;)
- The In- and Out point fields could be integrated into that Ruler too (left and right)
- The current frame field could vanish if you could double click the number on the Time Slider to enter a value. This could also be an alternative option for the In/Out sliders.
- A better design for the transport buttons could integrate them better.
- Make preview belongs in here too with an options button that brings up a flying preferences window. The play tab could vanish in the long run IMO.

It would be interesting to learn, which Buttons are never used by anyone...
For me, the whole Edit: Row of buttons could be replaced by shortcuts ;)
Well I'm in spring cleaning mode :cool:

When my current jobs are done, I feel like photoshopping too :)

Very interesting thread indeed!


Edit: Yes, Blender could take a huge market share off the commercial tools if the UI would be more standardized... 3D is complicated enough - learning a completely new interaction model is too cumbersome for most people...

04-12-2006, 05:30 AM
The flat item list looks great.

You could also use single character indents to offset the position in the hierarchy, rather than the current multi character indents. Maybe use something Like:


There likely wouldnt be THAT much screen real estate used up then, most lists look like they would only be a few characters deep. (currently, there like what? a couple of dozen characters deep with the current ui?)

Maybe a key + right mouse click combo could let you change a rows color. Or a block that has default indent color values, and lets you reset them (like - = a color, -- = color number two, --- = color number three, etc.)

04-12-2006, 08:15 AM
The Flat Item List is fantastic, Maybe a different way of showing hierarchies could be established that doesn't take much space, like a kind of colorcoding in the background? Or using the lines between the objects in different lengths to hint at their hierarchic depth?
yes! but even just flat is enough. I imagine you only switch to this when you are animating and have already got a group filter activated... so - main thing is to see the items in F2.

The slider Area could be combined with the frame-ruler area - no need to have it twice. The introduction of timeline markers would also go to that new Slider/Ruler/Marker area.
Errr, meaning that my mini-dope keys disappear under my slider? Please, no. I use those things a lot. Fantastic feature.

Edit: Yes, Blender could take a huge market share off the commercial tools if the UI would be more standardized...
I keep thinking the same every time I open zBrush ;)

04-12-2006, 08:37 AM
You mean the dope master? That in fact is fantastic and definitely needs to remain, but the slider could sit on the ruler on top itself.
I just find it odd that we have this huge area just for the Slider Handle with neither a ruler nor anything else going on.

About the FlatList: Even single space indents can drive stuff off screen fast - so I'm with David in this.


04-12-2006, 09:05 AM
I'd rather see this slider space used by markers (ie set a group or scene marker, etc). Having those dope master keys up top and the slider bar at the bottom is (imo) visually like two parenthesis for my work.

Thomas - a brief OT:
I've tried to duplicate the dope master in XSI to no avail. You know how the curve editor and the dope sheet never line up? When I did finally get them to line up, it only functioned for one object, not multiple selections. (Freaky, eh.) Have you got this to work? Mail me private if this is too off for this thread.

04-12-2006, 09:15 AM
Sorry, I'm the wrong guy for this question - I never even tried that ;-)

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