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raptor

Better lock/unlock workflow, GUI skinning and other suggestions

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Hi, first off, thanks a lot for developing these great applications. Finally someone is serious about highend 2D graphics and competing with Adobe (and software-as-subscription paradigm).


 


When the Win beta was released I quickly gave it a quick test drive in a virtual machine (I am still on Vista). So I am not qualified to asses for example the performance etc. Anyway here are some of my observations/feedback:


 


What could be improved:


 


1, There is no way to directly (in a viewport) select a certain locked object in order to unlock/edit it. You have to unlock everything. Huge disadvantage of unlocking everything is that the memory of what was locked is not retained. You will have to find and lock all the previously locked objects again which can be extremely tedious task.


The alternative is finding the locked object in the layer palette, but if you have lots of objects (some of them locked) it becomes a nightmare. You cannot even find out the name of the locked object in the viewport (there is no indicator when you hover over it or click on it). Also there is no indicator in the viewport that the object is locked (other than that it is non-selectable).


 


My suggestions:


 


- A modifier key + click would allow you to select even locked objects (for example Shift +middle click).


In addition to that an icon indicating a lock would appear near the object and allow you to unlock the object.


 


- Or there could also be "unlock everything temporarily" button like Xara has (or something similar). It unlocks everything but will remember what was locked. You can manipulate objects etc. and when you click the button again it will lock the previously locked objects. With this tool you can easily find your locked object in a layer palette (to unlock it etc.)


 


 


I made a simple example to demonstrate the problem and how other software deals with it - as an inspiration:


 


The problem - you need to select the greenish-yellow triangle (which is locked) and you cannot afford to unlock all objects (otherwise you will lose the memory of what was locked/unlocked). So you have to search for the object in the layer palette. Good luck if you have lots of objects in the scene. This is how Illustrator (CS6 and maybe CC) and Affinity Designer works (problem demonstrated in Xara):


no_viewport_sel_xara.gif

 


Xara's "All objects/layers editable" aka "unlock temporarily everything" to the rescue. Now you can directly select the object and edit it. You can easily locate the object using "find" button. When you are done, lock the previously locked objects again using the same button:


temp_unlock-all_xara.gif

 


This gif shows how you can quite easily find and unlock a locked object (greenish-yellow triangle) using "All objects/layers editable" workflow. The state of other objects in the scene (locked/unlocked) remains unaffected. And you don't have to look for a needle in a haystack either:


temp_unlock-all_xara2.gif

 


 


2, The UI is too dark for me. Light version would be welcome (I know you are working on it ... I just wanted to let you know my opinion)Please consider adding as much customization options to the GUI as possible - even complete custom GUI skinning. Then everyone will be happy. I for one don't like the new "flat UI" trend (not that Designer has completely flat UI but it could be a little bit more "plastic"). I will expand on that later...


 


I will post more suggestions (and praise) later... Best of luck with this project! I am looking forward to the released version.


 


(Excuse my English)


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For what it's worth, I agree on both points.

 

Being unable to select locked objects is one of those examples of needing to set the goals for a new-from-the-ground-up vector drawing program rather higher than just emulating Adobe Illustrator (arguably the worst drawing program interface out there).

 

Simply see historic FreeHand for the better treatment of this. One never had to dig through the Layers palette in FreeHand to find a particular object to unlock, because you could simply select it and unlock it. But it's not just about locating the particular object(s) you want to unlock. Consider:

 

Decades late (as were many Illustrator features), Adobe finally got around to providing some means by which to designate the "anchor object" which does not move when performing alignments and distributions. First, Illustrator just made it the last object selected. So the status of the "anchor object" was effectively invisible to the user.

 

That, of course, generated years of user complaints. So it was modified just a few versions ago to add a thicker selection outline around the "anchor object." All this unnecessary rigmarole just because you can't simply select a locked object and unlock it.

 

All the (literally decades long) while, FreeHand users simply temporarily locked any object to serve as the "anchor object" and performed the alignment or distribution, without any need for any other convoluted interface element or "hidden" feature.

 

The dark interface is a fad which can't end too soon for me. Besides the obvious contribution to basic eye strain, throughout my professional graphics career, I've been taught that it is very bad practice to surround your work-in-progress with darkness, because human vision is context-adaptive, and working against a dark background or (even worse) working in dim light, tends to make everything in the artwork look brighter and more saturated than it will appear in the final output.

 

If a software insists on this annoying "trendy" dark interface nonsense, it should at least provide for the user to lighten it to the medium neutral gray which is proper for all-day graphics work in the first place.

 

These, of course, should probably be discussed in the Feature Request or Discussion forums, because the stated current goal of the Beta is parity with the MacOS version.

 

JET

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