Universal Manipulator  1-20  21-30

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 From:  bwtr (BRIAN)
770.1 
Probably covering old ground, but the Universal Mnipulator is becoming a very common tool in many/most apps.

Would it create difficulty to have in MoI?

(The MoI rotate tools drive me around the bend (intentional pun!)
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 From:  Michael Gibson
770.2 In reply to 770.1 
Hi Brian, it's definitely an area I want to explore in the future.

But actually yes there is some difficulty involved.

One problem is that universal manipulator style stuff is really designed to work for sculpting type manipulations of points while working in the 3D view.

If you imagine that 3D manipulator being applied to only curves inside of a 2D view, like the top view, then it seems really pretty weird. There are no 2D illustration applications that use a manipulator like that, with a cluster of controls appearing right smack in the middle of the 2D shapes being manipulated.

So the 3D manipulator like you show is somewhat of a mis-match for MoI, since 2D curve drawing is a big focus in MoI, actually more than 3D point sculpting.

To begin with, I'll probably be focusing on providing more of a 2D style editing frame, that would show up around the outside of the selected planar objects. This would provide a way for quickly rotating and scaling 2D shapes. I haven't quite figured out what to do for 3D shapes yet, but I'll probably try for some kind of outside frame there too...

You can get a preview of what I think this frame will look like by inserting a background image using View / Image in the current version. While you are inside of that command the images are editable and they have this type of frame around them, with scaling working by dragging the frame corner points, and rotation working by dragging on the rotation handle. You can also click on the rotation handle (instead of drag on it) to pull up a 3-axis rotation widget.

There are still many details to work out for how this would apply to objects though, but that should give you an idea of the direction that I'm thinking of right now.

- Michael
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 From:  bwtr (BRIAN)
770.3 In reply to 770.2 
Yes. Something like the Photoshop "Transform" approach would be ideal as a way I guess.

(ALL those PShop transform options?!!!!!)
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 From:  Michael Gibson
770.4 In reply to 770.3 
> (ALL those PShop transform options?!!!!!)

Well, I figure rotation and scaling would be a pretty good start... :)

- Michael
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 From:  WillBellJr
770.5 In reply to 770.4 
Initially Michael, I was agreeing with your concerns about "3d manipulators" not quite being the same in MOI as in other 3D "poly apps" but then I fired up XSI and drew some curves in the ortho views - the 3d manipulators (scale, rotate) etc., don't seem any more strange when working with 2d curves or full 3d objects?

For example, I can scale a curve from the top view either horizontally or vertically. If I go to the front view and try to scale the curve nothing happens (as expected) since all the points lie flat on a plane.

However if some points are above or below the majority, I'd imagine they'd just be scaled "up/down" to match the other points - just trying this now, yep, the higher points pull down equal to the other or if I keep going, they move below the other line of points.

Being that MOI curves are in 3D space, I don't feel MOI having a 3D manipulator is any harder than any other 3D app that supports curves (XSI, Amapi, Hexagon, Cinema 4D etc.)

Am I missing something unique to MOI? (Again, XSI has NURBS curves, so does Lightwave w/LWCAD installed)???

Most of the newer 3D widgets have the planar adjustments (as shown in Brian's screen cap - the squares just after the arrows) - I can see those being handy when working with curve points, having the freedom to move in 2 directions be still being planar on the 3rd.

I dunno, I remember this being discussed before, but again after working with curves in XSI and C4D, I'm not sure why having a 3D manipulator would be (conceptually?) difficult in MOI?

Being able to rotate curves or a set of points from the front / side views is something I do often, being able to do it immediately without a running a command would be a time saver IMO - granted, translation is already there sans the widget...

I feel it would be a nice additional feature unique to MOI.
-Will
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 From:  Michael Gibson
770.6 In reply to 770.5 
Hi Will, I was testing the manipulator in Cinema4D 10, maybe the one in XSI is different?

The one in C4D definitely feels pretty weird when used only in 2d. For example here is a curve in the top view, with the scale manipulator on.



To scale with it, I have to grab a point somewhere that seems rather arbitrarily on the _interior_ of the curve. I have never seen any 2D illustration program scale objects in this manner, it is just weird to have to grab such an arbitrary inside point to initiate the scaling.

After scaling, it looks like this:



This also feels weird that the manipulator did not change after the scale, it doesn't feel like it is connected very much to the object.

None of this is really an issue when using the manipulator when working on a section of selected vertices in the 3D view, it works great there.


Rotation brings up this huge thing right in the middle of the curve:



Again, I've never seen a 2D illustration app that handles rotation by placing a giant control right smack in the middle of your design...

Are the manipulators in XSI significantly different from this?

It definitely will be a nice feature to be able to rotate or scale without starting up a command - a manipulator frame that goes around the outside of the selected objects will allow for that as well, but not feel as weird when used with 2D shapes only...

- Michael

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 From:  jbshorty
770.7 
i think if manipulators are considered for Moi, a good place to look would be Modo 301. The manipulators will now be able to do 2- point rotations, 2-point scaling, etc which would be quite suitable for a CAD program...

jonah
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 From:  Michael Gibson
770.8 In reply to 770.7 
Hi Jonah, do you know of any online screenshots of the new Modo 301 manipulators? I have not seen what those look like yet.

Alias Studio also added a 2-point style rotation + scaling widget not too long ago. I'm interested in that, but probably as an alternative mode you could switch between, with a more classic 2D style corner point frame being the default.

- Michael
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 From:  WillBellJr
770.9 In reply to 770.6 
Hi Michael, thanks for the consideration and testing - okay I've tried C4D as well...

Now, I'm not sure if I did anything wrong initially but yes, after creating a curve in the top view, I then switched to the scale tool - typically what you'd expect is for the manipulator to pop up in the CENTER of the bounding box of the object.

In this case, it was as if I was in the axis manipulator mode; I was moving around the manipulator?? Switching back to object mode, I was able to scale the object as expected.

Moving on to point mode and switching to the move manipulator, it was acting normally; each point I selected, the move widget centered on the selected point - this is what you typically expect; if you select a point, that's your manipulator center, if you select the whole curve, the manipulator moves to the center of the complete object - this is pretty much standard for all 3d wares.

Also the manipulator doesn't change shape to match the object's new size, the >bounding box does< (at least I don't remember any of my apps having the manipulator change its shape??)

Where the candy comes in is with additional tools to move the manipulator around to set the object center - C4D has the object axis tool, Silo and XSI has keyboard shortcuts to switch to a mode for moving around the selected object's manipulator.

I'm not sure why you're considering the operations of strictly 2D applications when MOI is a 3D one - my guess is you're mainly after the feel of a 2D app (eg Illustrator) when using (drawing with) MOI.

I don't believe having a 3d manipulator ruins the drawing feeling when creating curves. The manipulator is typically used when editing the curve after its creation.

I see in C4D that yes, when you're creating curves, each point that is placed down, has a movement manipulator on it.

I was initially going to say that yes, that is a pain to have in the way but going back just now (I'm playing around in C4D as I type this) it is quite handy having that 3D manip when creating the curve because as I switched back to 4-view mode, I was able to position those points in the Z axis as they were created...

In XSI, there's only the points - the manipulator isn't shown until you start an edit/tweak session, which is what I think would be great for MOI.

Another thing with C4D's manipulators, I'll venture to say they're more of an eye sore than with other apps; of course that's subjective and perhaps with some adjustment of the size and transparency they're not as offensive?

I think it's safe to say we all understand you want MOI's UI to be elegant - we all do, I believe there should be a way for you to come up with an elegant manipulator, that's perhaps different than the majority. I know you were mostly thinking of the frame that you've mentioned.

I just don't see any problems with using 3D manipulators in other 3d apps when drawing curves which is the focus here other than subjective manipulator sizing / shape issues?

There was a whole thread on the Silo board dealing with the manipulators; the shapes, the screen space rotation ring; some felt less was more, some like rings, others hated them; some wanted to be able to create the manipulator in photoshop and have it installable into the application (sort of a nice idea IMO, how do you tag the different axes hotspots so the program knows which way to manipulate? Magic colors (Red/Green/Blue?) at each manipulation point?)

Again this falls back to your vision - but I was reading your post to Brian, pretty much agreeing with you but then I said to myself waiduhminute as remembered how I was learning XSI and C4D's curve tools and was using the manipulators to edit the curves in those applications...

Trying them again, I just don't see any issues being able to rotate & and scale curves in the 2d or 3d views using a manipulator.

-Will
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 From:  jbshorty
770.10 In reply to 770.8 
Here is an image of the 2-point rotate gizmo. It has a movable "pivot" and also has a rotating handle that can snap to any type of geometry. In a similar way, the scale manipulator has an extra movable scaling handle. that one actually stretches the mainpulator when you set the handles. Then when you move the scaling handle, the manip will scale along with the object. There is a very large video on Lux's website which can be downloaded in 2 parts. They're about 700Mb each. And i'm not sure which part contains the manipulator preview...


The video in question is just under the picture of Brad Peebler standing in front of a Modo logo...
http://www.luxology.com/whatismodo/301/

jonah

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 From:  Michael Gibson
770.11 In reply to 770.9 
> I'm not sure why you're considering the operations of strictly 2D
> applications when MOI is a 3D one - my guess is you're mainly
> after the feel of a 2D app (eg Illustrator) when using (drawing with) MOI.

Hi Will, yes that's basically it.

I do have a kind of general idea/goal of adding more 2D type design features to MoI in the future as well. Not just the feel, but also actual 2D features as well like fills and brush stroke options, etc... Of course it will be quite a while before this fully comes to fruition, but if I can make stuff behave "2D friendly" along the way it would help to get there.

Basically if you maximize the top view and just draw and manipulate curves in that x/y world plane, I would like it if you felt like you were in just a 2D environment during those operations.

Manipulators appearing right in the middle of shapes really kind of breaks up that feeling, at least to me.

I mean you wouldn't expect Illustrator or Photoshop to put a scaling widget right exactly in the middle of a selected shape instead of around the outside, right?

- Michael
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 From:  WillBellJr
770.12 In reply to 770.11 
Noap, (well not while drawing) that's why I was interested in the manipulators for subsequent curve editing, not during drawing and creation...

Of course I was the one also trying to get those realtime curve booleans similar to LWCAD so I'll admit, my desires for curve creation and editing are somewhat aggressive...

-Will

PS - Your plans for the future sound really cool - can't wait to see your fruition of them!
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 From:  bwtr (BRIAN)
770.13 In reply to 770.12 
The manipulator I showed in the first post is used my several apps and, I would suggest, far preferable to others in style/visability.

Hexagon gives choices for various manipulators as well as the Universal one and, especially, a ghosting function which removes Michaels objection of the manipulator allways being visible.

I feel quite lost without the universal manipulator because it is in the three other apps I use regularly.
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 From:  3dvisuals dude (ODWYERVISUALS)
770.14 
Hi folks,

I just wanted to be sure to voice my opinion on this widget manipulator idea for MOI before it runs a chance of becoming a defacto standard in M.O.I..

I have been 3D modeling with Caligari trueSpace for many years now and Caligari invented the use of 3D Manipulator Widgets in 3D space many years ago. Caligari considers this approach "elegant" and "intuitive," but many if not most trueSpace users certainly do not.

I can honestly say though after all these years of using such widgets in numerous incarnations that my initial reaction to manipulator widgets in 3D modeling has never changed... I still hate them. All they do is severely distract me in my workflow and sometimes are nothing more than an absolute nuisance for me during complex modeling.

All I ask is that if you guys really want such a thing in M.O.I., ~please~ make it "an option," not a mandatory feature.

Thanks,

- 3dvisuals dude
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 From:  jbshorty
770.15 In reply to 770.13 
I agree Hexagon's gizmos are really near-perfect. Their only flaw is the lack of 2-point rotation and scaling. Without this, a manipulator does not fit into a CAD environment...

Michael, the Modo snapping gizmo preview starts at around 34:00 into Part 1 of the preview video...

3D - I'm with you. I much prefer the command driven style of transforming an object. But gizmos have their place too...

jonah
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 From:  WillBellJr
770.16 In reply to 770.15 
Well to clarify my point on this, I'm not so much asking for a manipulator, but asking for a way to be able to scale & rotate in MOI without launching a command - we already have immediate movement by selecting and object and dragging it,

I'd like to see that extended for >simple< scales and rotations...

When I run the move command, it's because I want to move one point to exactly another point (typically with the assistance of snaps). For the majority, I'm just dragging and moving the objects around.

However whenever I want to perform a simple scale or rotate, I have to go though a command process, pick two points etc., all I'm looking for is a way in MOI to just size a cube or sphere without the formal process.

Brian's suggestion brought back up those desires - typically they're implemented by manipulator widgets. I not sure what Michael could invent to allow scaling and rotation (in all 3 axes) without some kind of GUI to assist similar to simple moves?


Since Michael stated he wanted to follow the Illustrator style, if you look at Illustrator, at no time does it require a formal process to rotate or scale (or move) its objects.

Running Illustration CS3 now, I've drawn a simple rectangle. Select the rectangle with the object tool and I get a 8-handle bounding box surrounding the rectangle - I can grab the little squares to quickly resize the rectangle, I can move the rectangle by clicking within the bounding box and move it around or by placing my cursor near a corner rectange, I get a cursor that indicates that rotation is possible by dragging left or right.

I'd love to see even that in MOI - of course in the front or side views, you'd need to also be able to rotate, scale and move in the Z direction...

That's actually all I'm asking for when I requested a widget - the commands are great for precise rotations, scales and moves, but sometimes you just want to click-drag your adjustment and continue on - widgets need not apply if you can figga out how to do it!

-Will
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 From:  Michael Gibson
770.17 In reply to 770.16 
Don't forget to check out the current frame that shows up when you insert a background image with View / Image - like I mentioned currently this is closest to what I am thinking of doing first, so any feedback on that would be helpful too.

Here's what it looks like in MoI when you insert an image:



You can see the 5 ghosted handles that frame the image. If you move over one of them, it will solidify and highlight. You can click and drag on one of the corner grips to scale, and click and drag on the rotate grip to rotate.

Additionally, if you click and release (instead of drag) on the rotate grip, a 3 axis rotate ball will appear:



At that point you can click and drag on any of those circles to perform a rotation around that axis. If you click off of a circle it will dismiss that larger rotation widget.

My current idea is to get this basic type of frame (probably with some additional tuneups, but the same basic idea) working on planar curves or surfaces.

I'm not sure yet how to extend it to work with 3D objects instead of only planar objects. But I think that just having it only for planar objects at first would still be very useful, so I'm thinking of taking that step first.

- Michael

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 From:  Jesse
770.18 In reply to 770.16 
Hi Will,

I'm glad you're not asking for a manipulator in MoI. :-) I'm not too keen on the idea of fiddling around with one of those gyroscope looking things....and besides, they get in the way of what you're lookin' at!

I wonder if a general objective to maintain precise dimensional accuracy is the reason you don't see the Illustrator type of transform tools in a lot of CAD programs? Rhino4 now has the cage editor and soft move which works as you envision I guess if you do a lot of sculptural modeling work and want to do it in Rhino, they come in handy.

Since MoI is easy enough to use as a 3D drawing board to quickly work up design variations before nailing down precise dimensions, the inclusion of 2d drawing tools makes sense.
Michael is probably already planning something like this (only better), but one of the 2D ArtCAM tools that I really like is called an envelope distortion tool..it's useful for making banners.

Jesse

jdkjewelry3d.blogspot.com
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 From:  Jesse
770.19 In reply to 770.17 
Hey Michael,

I wasn't referring to your ghosted scale and rotate tool when I was talking about a gyroscope..your tool is about as unobtrusive as can be!
Is there anything behind the scenes in MoI that could be programmed to call up a 3D bounding box? In the interim, before you develop a more advanced 3D manipulation tool,
a bounding box selected with it's captured object could be scaled or rotated without too much difficulty and then deleted when you're done with it. The construction lines can already be used for this, but for an odd shaped object, a bounding box would give you a better handle on it.

Jesse
jdkjewelry3d.blogspot.com
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 From:  Michael Gibson
770.20 In reply to 770.19 
Hi Jesse, yup "unobtrusiveness" is a big design goal in that ghosted frame. The gyroscope doesn't show up unless you click and release on that one initial rotate grip, so it doesn't whap you in the face until you explicitly call it up. Again, you can see this in action in the current MoI build when inserting images.

> Is there anything behind the scenes in MoI that could be programmed to call up a 3D bounding box?

You mean just to be able to snap to the corners with the regular current rotate command?

Somehow I would like to extend that current 2D frame into 3D, one possibility for that is putting 8 corners for scaling, but I'm worried that putting those plus rotation grips hanging out in the middle of an object will lose the "unobtrusive" factor. I'm thinking maybe about possibly only showing one face of a 3D box at a time, with some way to switch between the faces, that would reduce the clutter by quite a bit.

- Michael
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