UI tweaks for *your* workflow?  1-20  21-24

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 From:  twofoot
4053.1 
Hi folks. I was curious what other users were doing with their UI to make Moi easier to work with. I'm sure Michael could also use this information to spot trends or bottlenecks.

Here are my shortcuts:

r-Rebuild
p-PlanarSrf
m-Merge
k-select naked edges script

These seem to be the commands I access most often, hence their hotkey assignments. I also have the UI tools moved to the left side of the screen and shrunk down to size "8". It was nice to have the choice of tool location, especially since I am a lefty. LOL

Cheers,

Chris
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 From:  Frenchy Pilou (PILOU)
4053.2 In reply to 4053.1 
you can also just press Tab and write directly rebuild, joint etc...
With that you keep some simple keys free for other shortcut who are not command (scripts) ;)
---
Pilou
Is beautiful that please without concept!
My Gallery
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 From:  Jason (JCLARK)
4053.3 In reply to 4053.2 
I'm sure I'll be getting flamed for this post... but here goes.

You won't find me digging out html and script code to customize a UI. I can't be bothered. This day and age most of that should be standard in the UI should be accessible clicking a command button or drag and drop, something. Sure for routine based workflow maybe, like modo's toolpipe. A tool mapper to a key is fine too, again this is a UI element not me trying to write scripts.

For a lot of UIs I use I will test against Cinema 4D as a baseline. C4D is very easy to configure and easy to add scripted buttons and such to the UI.

Unfortunately, you won't find me giving praise to the MoI interface because quite simply I don't like it. I understand the choices Michael made and I disagree with them. I don't like that I can't move buttons and UI elements at will or dock panels this way or that way. I find the UI in MoI quite archaic, a throwback to windows 3.11. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I like Rhino either as it's just a cluttered mess and far too many tools that could be just consolidated to fewer commands.

To be blunt the MoI interface is lacking considering the current status of UI design and modification found in C4D, modo and heck even Maya now. If Maya can do it, MoI can do it.

I'd like to see MoI become more context sensitive and develop SMART tools, not more tools. Look at current CAD systems, like Pro/ENGINEER. I can't do a vast amount of surfacing yet the actual tool depth is maybe a dozen tools. The fact that the tools are smart and adapt to the intent is what makes it powerful. I don't want to see MoI go the path of Rhino and trying to remember hundreds of commands.
- Jason
http://www.jasedesign.com http://www.cgpipeline.com
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 From:  Michael Gibson
4053.4 In reply to 4053.3 
Hi Jason, I find your comment confusing, particularly this part:

> I'd like to see MoI become more context sensitive and
> develop SMART tools, not more tools.

This has already been a major focus for MoI, and it's a big reason why MoI's UI is much more streamlined than Rhino's.

There are many commands in MoI that are context sensitive based on what you have selected before you run the command.

Filleting is a big example - the Fillet command does different jobs depending on the context of the current selection when you launch it. This enables 1 command in MoI to do the equivalent of 4 commands in Rhino (in Rhino: Fillet, FilletEdge, FilletSrf, FilletCorners).

So that's already a big focus area in MoI to make commands context sensitive and to get more use out of a smaller number of commands. It's actually a big part of my development strategy - if someone suggests something that makes an existing command more powerful by enabling it to be used in a new way, I put such work at a much higher priority than adding in completely new commands.

So yes, I'm afraid I have to flame you for your post because it is inaccurate, and you're suggesting that I do things that I have already put a big focus on.

UI modification is completely separate thing from context sensitivity. I do plan on doing some work for UI modification in the future, it just has not been a big priority yet. Cinema4D is a pretty poor comparison, because Cinema4D is a program that has a tremendous number of different features in it, something like that is a lot different (and more needing of UI customization) than a more focused and streamlined app like MoI.

I'm afraid you're just way far off...

- Michael
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 From:  Michael Gibson
4053.5 In reply to 4053.3 
Hi Jason, also one thing to note:

> You won't find me digging out html and script code to customize a UI.

The keyboard shortcuts that were mentioned in the start of this thread do not involve editing any HTML code, you can set keyboard shortcuts up by going to the Options dialog , Shortcut keys section.

- Michael
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 From:  BurrMan
4053.6 In reply to 4053.5 
Did he mention any application that is under $1000.00????? most closer to $5000.00!


" Hey, check out this new application..... It doesnt do anything yet, but you can drag buttons around and dock pallettes all over the place just like in my other app thats been around for years!!! SWEET!!!! I think I'll buy it....."
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 From:  Michael Gibson
4053.7 In reply to 4053.6 
Hi Burr, yeah that's something else to keep in mind as well.

Cinema4D is currently in Release number 12.

MoI is currently in release number 2.

I agree that it sure would be cool that MoI in release 2 would have all the same amount of functionality as some other app in version 12, but I mean come on, let's try to be at least a tiny bit realistic please.

It takes time to develop things like a good UI modification system. Being a single person working on MoI means that I have to make some tough decisions on prioritizing things - and some things like UI modification just do not have as high of a priority as other issues like having an initial UI design that is easy to use and streamlined.

As time goes on I do expect to have all kinds of other stuff added into MoI, including UI modification.

Currently if easy UI modification (like arranging palettes and moving buttons around) is the highest priority for someone, then MoI is not the right tool for you, come back in some future version when I have had time to work on that particular area.

- Michael
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 From:  eric (ERICCLOUGH)
4053.8 In reply to 4053.7 
Hi Michael ...
My two bits.
I love the UI ... it is slick and simple to use. Sure, I know you have some improvements you want to make over time but please don't lose it's essential character.
I am doing more and more of my architectural drafting with MoI now ... By using templates where 'layers' and 'styles are coordinated and color coded I can move back and forth as necessary until I get to the dimensioning stage and then I have to use another product. But MoI is simply a cleaner system and a greater pleasure to use.
Cheers,
eric
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 From:  Michael Gibson
4053.9 In reply to 4053.8 
Hi eric - don't worry, keeping MoI's quick fluid workflow intact is a major goal for future versions.

I am intent on being careful when adding in new functions so that they fit in well.

- Michael
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 From:  NightCabbage
4053.10 
Yes, I also feel that MoI is pretty well streamlined - with smart tools (and a good number of them).

Michael has added more tools that work in clever ways - often a single button on the GUI will actually have several functions it can perform, based on what you're doing and how you tell it to work.

I haven't seen a single other 3d program yet that is as good as far as the GUI is concerned.

Also, to answer the first question, I have made a lot of shortcuts I use often! :)

\\=Mirror
C=script: /* select all curves */ moi.geometryDatabase.getObjects().getCurves().setProperty( 'selected', true );
Ctrl+A=script:moi.geometryDatabase.selectAll();
Ctrl+G=script:moi.drawingAids.gridSnap = !moi.drawingAids.gridSnap;
Ctrl+R=script:moi.view.resetAll();
E=Extend
F12=script: /* render to clipboard */ var v = moi.ui.getActiveViewport(); if ( v != null ) { moi.view.lineWidth = 4; v.renderToClipboard( 2560, 2560 ); moi.view.lineWidth = 1; }
F4=script:moi.ui.mainWindow.viewpanel.mode = 'Split';
F5=script:moi.ui.mainWindow.viewpanel.mode = '3D';
F6=script:moi.ui.mainWindow.viewpanel.mode = 'Top';
F7=script:moi.ui.mainWindow.viewpanel.mode = 'Front';
F8=script:moi.ui.mainWindow.viewpanel.mode = 'Right';
G=script: /* Toggle grid and axis lines */ moi.grid.display = !moi.grid.display; moi.grid.showXYAxes = moi.grid.display;
H=script:moi.geometryDatabase.hide();
I=Line
J=Join
K=Separate
L=script: /* select loop */ moi.geometryDatabase.selectLoop();
M=Move
N=Network
O=MarkOpenCurveStart
P=ShowPoints
T=Trim
V=script: /* Toggle view controls */ moi.view.showViewControls = !moi.view.showViewControls;
Z=script: /* select last change */ var a = moi.command.lastCommandRevisionStart; var b = moi.command.lastCommandRevisionEnd; var objects = moi.geometryDatabase.getObjects(); for ( var i = 0; i < objects.length; ++i ) { var obj = objects.item(i); if ( obj.databaseRevision> a && obj.databaseRevision <= b ) obj.selected = true; }
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 From:  Jason (JCLARK)
4053.11 In reply to 4053.4 
I think some of what I wrote is being taken out of context.

> I'd like to see MoI become more context sensitive and
> develop SMART tools, not more tools.

This is a general statement. Rhino adds lots of functionality but at the expense of more commands. Not always, but a lot of the time. I like how the fillet operation works, and that's a given and forgive me for not citing specifics.

Regarding contextivity (not a real word), I think there is improvement as we covered in another thread where base on objects I pick that I can issue commands without mousing over to another menu. Similar to other 'right click' command menus, or hotboxes etc there are ways to have a command control where the mouse is.

I don't think my comparison of C4D is wrong, and did I not mention modo? modo started as a modeler but it had modular windows and toolbars from day one. As far as inexpensive software with configurable UIs you could look at 3D Coat, SILO, and possibly others.

I will look at the shortcut key, due to my ignorance I didn't spend a lot of time to review it.
- Jason
http://www.jasedesign.com http://www.cgpipeline.com
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 From:  Michael Gibson
4053.12 In reply to 4053.11 
Hi Jason,

> I like how the fillet operation works, and that's a given
> and forgive me for not citing specifics.

Well, it's far more pervasive than just Fillet, there are a whole lot of other similar things in MoI, where multiple Rhino commands have been combined into one MoI command which is context sensitive based on the current selection.

This is generally enabled by MoI's ability to select sub-objects in an easy way before you are running any command. This is a key design flaw in Rhino that I worked hard to improve in MoI.

You see, when I designed Rhino, I did not include any way to select sub-objects when you were outside of a command. Instead I relied on each command setting up an object picker with the particular object filter that it wanted, and then the selection of the sub-objects happened inside of the command.

That seemed like a good design at the time, because it allowed each command to be more simple and more focused on a particular task. Simple and focused seems like a good thing, right? Well, in certain ways it is, but it has a bad side effect of requiring a much larger set of commands to cover things. So that's why for example with Fillet Rhino has a bunch of individual commands that do different varieties of filleting on different kinds of objects.

What I did not foresee so well or really worry about so much was that having a general policy of having a lot of commands leads to an overwhelming mass of them in the UI that creates complexity and makes things harder to find and to use. In some ways that's actually OK for Rhino because it is kind of more focused on a more technical user base, but it's really bad for beginners.

It was a major goal right from the beginning with MoI to solve this problem, that's why context sensitivity based on selection is such a fundamental principle in MoI's overall design.

So for example in MoI the Fillet command covers the tasks that in Rhino require 4 commands: FilletEdge, FilletSrf, Fillet, FilletCorners. And even aside from that MoI's command also allows you to select faces within a solid to fillet which will target all the edges of those faces, sometimes that is a convenient way to target edges.

Similarly:

The Separate command in MoI does the jobs of both Explode and ExtractSrf in Rhino, because in MoI you can pre-select just some faces to separate to do the same as ExtractSrf.

MoI's Trim command covers the stuff from both Rhino's "Split" and "Trim" commands, because MoI's command has an option for whether to keep all pieces as in Rhino's split or whether to pick some pieces to discard as in Rhino's Trim. The difference between Split and Trim in Rhino is particularly bad because due to emulating AutoCAD's workflow you pick things in the reverse order when you do Trim in Rhino as opposed to Split - instead of picking the object you want to trim you instead pick the cutting objects and then run Trim and pick the object you want to trim after that. Then Split in Rhino is more conventional and you pick the object you are splitting first and then cutters in the next step. But this opposite workflow between Trim and Split in Rhino is frequently confusing to people learning Rhino for the first time. MoI is designed to be much more consistent with the picking order throughout it. The good aspect of Rhino's Trim command is that it works well for people who are coming in to Rhino who already have an extensive AutoCAD background. Actually many of Rhino's odd things are set up to make it friendly to AutoCAD users.

In Rhino there are separate commands for booleaning solids or curves or a solid with a curve. MoI's boolean commands are context sensitive and can be used with either solids or curves or a combination of solids cut with curves all with the same commands used.

MoI's Offset command handles both Offset (for curves) and OffsetSrf in Rhino.

MoI's Edit > Planar command handles creating a plane using the selected curves, or also capping planar holes in a selected surface object, combining both Rhino's PlanarSrf and EndCap commands together.

MoI's Extrude command handles Rhino's ExtrudeCrv, ExtrudeCrvAlongCrv, ExtrudeSrf, and ExtrudeSrfAlongCrv commands inside of it, because you in MoI you just select a curve (or an edge if you want) or a surface and then run Extrude you don't have to run a different command for different object types. Then the "along curve" part is an option within Extrude.

MoI's Sweep command handles the equivalent of Rhino's Sweep1 and Sweep2 commands - in MoI you pick the profiles first, and then you run the sweep command, then you pick either 1 or 2 rails and it decides to do a 1-rail or 2-rail sweep depending on how many rails you picked.

MoI's Blend command handles both Blend (for curves) and BlendSrf in Rhino.

 

So this kind of context sensitivity based on the selection and getting more work done out of a smaller number of commands is a fundamental and essential part of MoI's design. It's what enables a more streamlined UI and is a major factor in MoI's improved ease of use.


> Regarding contextivity (not a real word), I think there is
> improvement as we covered in another thread where base
> on objects I pick that I can issue commands without mousing
> over to another menu. Similar to other 'right click' command
> menus, or hotboxes etc there are ways to have a command
> control where the mouse is.

So the only thing that "context sensitivty" means to you is popping something up in your face right at your mouse point?

All the careful design work that I did to enable making so many commands context sensitive to the selection and combine more work out of a smaller number of commands means nothing to you? Or have you just completely not looked into MoI enough to even know much about it?


> I don't think my comparison of C4D is wrong, and
> did I not mention modo? modo started as a modeler
> but it had modular windows and toolbars from day one.

Modo also incorporated a lot of rendering functions from day 1 and so included quite a lot of different functions within it.

The ability to re-arrange the UI is much more important when the software just has a whole lot of stuff within it. Also it's not exactly a great thing for beginners when a company focuses on making the UI customizable but does not do a good job on making the default initial UI work well. In MoI the focus is much more on making the initial UI work well at first, and some easier UI modification stuff will come in the future. Advanced users can actually modify the UI already to an extreme degree by editing the HTML UI files.


> I will look at the shortcut key, due to my ignorance I
> didn't spend a lot of time to review it.

The help file is a great place to find some information, here is the help file section on shortcut keys:
http://moi3d.com/2.0/docs/moi_command_reference11.htm#shortcutkeys


Also, previously you wrote:

> If Maya can do it, MoI can do it.

Do you really believe this? Maybe you could try to be a bit more realistic - keep in mind that Autodesk is a large company that has a bunch of people working on its products. Meanwhile MoI is done all by myself and I do everything including replying to kind of ridiculous posts on the forum comparing my software to Windows 3.11 and stuff like that. So because my time is so limited I have to be more careful about what I focus on.

If MoI right now had a less refined UI but had more capabilities for easy drag/drop customization, that would just not be as valuable to as many people as a better default UI is.

It would be kind of cool if you would make just a slight effort to look at using MoI first before making silly criticisms. Why are you so obsessed with UI modification above everything else?

- Michael

EDITED: 17 Feb 2011 by MICHAEL GIBSON

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 From:  Basic Slave (CREATIVECONTROL)
4053.13 
You're on the right track Michael, keep it up. MoI can't be all things to everybody. C4D has an terrible interface in so many ways so to comparing it to that, I'd choose MoI every time. Maya's interface, although it's complex has a lot of drawbacks too.

I agree with keeping the interface simple and fast. I think at some point (low priority) it would be nice to have a graphic keyboard representation in preferences where you could drag commands onto keys graphically and interactively to quickly set up keyboard shortcuts.

But I think real functionality takes priority over this. Now maybe the thread can go back to cool tricks people have used in their workflows?

Cheers! - Thanks for the great work Michael
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 From:  Jason (JCLARK)
4053.14 In reply to 4053.12 
I had a reply, accidentally hit my mouse and lost it and then it gave me time to contemplate my reply and if it was worth it.

So instead, no I decided instead to say that I apologize I've offended you. It appears my comments and suggestions regarding the UI have really ruffled the feathers and reading your words you have a very definitive focus and intent on how you've set your course with the MoI UI and its customization thereof.

Because you find my suggestions silly and ridiculous (even though I have years of experience testing and using a variety of UI) I'll defer let things be as they may. For the record, I just finished using MoI for a complete reverse design from photos, sure it doesn't make me a MoI power user but I feel I do know the software.

I don't like using forums to relay comments due to the brevity nature in writing on forums (who can afford to write and read essays). My fault, for cutting to the chase and allowing some assumptions regarding existing workflow to not be recognized fully. So I will make this my last post.

MoI is a nice cute app and suffers few technical problems, a measure of quality for sure. My congratulations on making a solid working app that doesn't leave a user frustrated with instability. May you have continued success with it.

A good day to all.
- Jason
http://www.jasedesign.com http://www.cgpipeline.com
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 From:  Michael Gibson
4053.15 In reply to 4053.13 
Hi Len,

> But I think real functionality takes priority over this.

Yeah, that's the main thing - it was hard for me to justify sinking a bunch of time into some of these areas such as key assignment by drag/drop or stuff like that, when compared to sinking time into stuff like modeling improvements.

That stuff is just more like eye candy and just weighs less in core value than things like program stability, export mesh quality, etc...

I do expect to get some time in v3 to improve some of those things though.

- Michael
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 From:  BurrMan
4053.16 In reply to 4053.14 
Seems like a "every once in awhile" repeat post.. Someone claims to be a UI designer with years of experience while criticizing MoI for not being like "Maya"!!! Hahahaha... Then parts with the "Its a cute app" post...

Kindof feels like the guy that slaps you in the face, then tells you "You'll never be anything in life!" syndrome. The life coach that has to prove his point at the expense of your overall well being by trying to break down any self confidence and pride!!

EDITED: 18 Feb 2011 by BURRMAN

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 From:  Michael Gibson
4053.17 In reply to 4053.14 
Hi Jason - thank you for that and I also apologize for what I said as well.

For the record, I actually agree with your suggestions and it would not have really bothered me very much if you would have maybe phrased them a little differently. The part that I found objectionable was not really the suggestion itself but rather the comparison to Windows 3.1.

I do want to include the kind of stuff that you were asking about in the future.

One thing that tends to be frustrating for me is when someone basically says - "hey, some other company that happens to have 10 to 30 developers working on their software (along with marketing and sales people, webmasters, people in support, etc...) has feature X so that means you should have it too and also by the way if you don't have it then your software is completely useless and I will just totally overlook all of the areas where there was a lot of time and attention spent in your software."

When you're developing software with limited resources (and they don't get any more limited than a one-man operation) it's vitally important to prioritize things. So for example when you're setting up a keyboard shortcut in MoI for the Extrude command you have to actually type in the command name "Extrude" in the command box. It would definitely be nicer to pick or drag/drop the name from some list of commands that you could browse, there is no doubt about that. But it has been hard for me to prioritize making that particular area really slick in the earlier MoI versions because it's a one-shot one time setup thing and the inconvenience of it will be over really quickly. It just does not have enough impact for it to have gotten time devoted to it in the early MoI versions. If I delayed shipping MoI until it had a super slick shortcut key editor (among other things), it just simply would not exist, it would have died in development by taking too long.

As time goes on I fully expect for these flawed areas of MoI to get attention and to get polished up.

Thanks,
- Michael
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 From:  BurrMan
4053.18 In reply to 4053.17 
Instead of the 6 legged pod tutorial, maybe this could be part of MoI's reference?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjXTOlsE8k0
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 From:  Michael Gibson
4053.19 In reply to 4053.18 
Hi Burr, I do love that video, maybe I need to make a Turbo-Entabulator command in MoI...

- Michael
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 From:  Don (DON_CHEKE)
4053.20 In reply to 4053.18 
Hi Burr, What language was that guy speaking? :-)
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