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New 3DCoat UI/UX Design - time for a fresh start.


SonK
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Posted (edited)

Long time no post :ph34r:. Since I am no 3DCoat expert(recently bought a new license), I love some constructive feedback on new 3DCoat UI design proposal, even though I like using 3DCoat a lot, I think the UI/UX needs a refresh(a fresh start). I am trying to merge all the rooms into a single UI where you can access all the data from a single Outliner(not sure if this is possible from a UI perspective or a programmer perspective(looks at Andrew)). Currently I am working on the sculpt layout, you can access all the different tools from the Tool tab, with the switches on the bottom row. What sculpt brush parameters are the most important, what parameters are a must have? Currently, there's not a lot of room to add additional parameters on the shelf, I am trying to solve that now(maybe with a switch or a subtab :dash2: )

 

edit: I am using Affinity Designer for the UI design, attach is the zip file containing the Affinity Designer file.

edit2: Switched the font type to Roboto. You can download it here: https://www.dafont.com/roboto.font?text=File

3DCoat_2023_08.jpg

3DCoat_2023_07.zip

Edited by SonK
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Hello

Overall i like the design base.

I am not sure about the decision to fragment the components without unifying their functions (aka Photoshop UX).

 

Take Brush engine Panels like example. All panels separated by components here and there.

. Brushes
. Strokes
. Brush options
. Top bar
. Conditions-Limiter
. Strips
. Stencils
. Smart Materials
. Presets

 

I think mimic Krita UX could be the solution. Only one panel:

In the real world, when painting or drawing, you don’t just use one tool. You use pencils, erasers, paintbrushes, different types of paint, inks, crayons, etc. All these have different ways of making marks.

In a digital program like Krita you have something similar. We call this a brush engine. And much like how cars have different engines that give different feels when driving, or how pencils make distinctly different marks than roller ball pens, different brush engines have totally different feels.

The brush engines have a lot of different settings as well. So, you can save those settings into presets.

 

Tour of the brush settings drop-down

../_images/Krita_5_0_Brush_Settings_Layout.svg

 

And another popup for fine control:

On-Canvas Brush Editor
Krita’s brush editor is, as you may know, on the F5 key. However, sometimes you just want to modify a single parameter quickly. Perhaps even in canvas-only mode. The on canvas brush editor or brush HUD allows you to do this. It’s accessible from the pop-up palette, by ticking the lower-right arrow button.

../_images/On_canvas_brush_editor.png

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I actually think the current UI is good enough.
There are some drawbacks though.

The speed of switching rooms is slower than before.
Then I think the option spacing is poorly done, making it difficult to distinguish between the main and secondary relationships.

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looks good, definitely agree on trying to keep things as streamlined and efficient as possible sicne currently there's no space to have everything you need easily available without completely eating all your work area (maybe throw in the ability to make hotkayable custom popup menus the way you can in zbrush).

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Posted (edited)

@Carlosan I really like Krita brush engine, I might include it for the 2D painting aspect of 3DCoat proposal. 

 

Small update on the UI. See attach screenshot:

- The black arrows correspond  to their respective position on the topshelf buttons(toggle button).

- You can collapse any shelf item by clicking on it. You uncollapse click on the shelf icon again.

- You can delete any topshelf item by hovering your mouse over it and pressing delete.

- You add more item to the topshelf using the Add(plus icon).

- You can see the collapse icons for Primitive(A) and Light(B) at A2 and B2 respectively.

- Extra parameters for the Brush Settings can off screen, you can tell if you have extra hidden parameter if you see the blue gradient(blue arrow). You can scroll the mouse wheel to scroll left to right to see the extra parameter. You can also use the slider icon to scroll(pink arrow). Also you can click&hold on any empty space(green circle) to scroll left or right by using the mouse.

- You can arrange the topshelf by click & drag horizontally.

 

I think Andrew mention they could have a lot of parameters for brushes, this was the best way I could solve the problem. Everything in 3DCoat seems disjointed , I'm trying to unify the UI/UX. BTW feel free to use the Affinity Design file for your own 3DCoat UI/UX design. Icons are still WIP, I'll polish them in the future.

Ideally if you are sculpting, you can probably collapse the Transform and Selection items and use hotkeys for them instead, this will give more space for Brush and Brush Settings(no need to scroll to see extra parameters).

 

edit: I've attached the current Affinity Design file.

edit2: Uploaded newer version of the Affinity Design file. 

 

 

3DCoat_2023_09.jpg

 

 

 

4K.jpg

3DCoat_2023_09.afdesign

Edited by SonK
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@SonK  My suggestion is not about brush engine, but design concepts.

We have

Functions

-| Variables

--| Modifiers

What I am trying to explain is that for me all the variables and modifiers of each function must be included in the same panel that allows the creation of presets that include all those characteristics.

and all that must be amalgamated in collections or groups.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Carlosan said:

Any chance to look any screen at 1920x1080 ?

Might be tough since I am designing this for 4K monitor resolution. I will work on a 1920 X 1080 version later on.

Edited by SonK
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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Carlosan said:

@SonK  My suggestion is not about brush engine, but design concepts.

We have

Functions

-| Variables

--| Modifiers

What I am trying to explain is that for me all the variables and modifiers of each function must be included in the same panel that allows the creation of presets that include all those characteristics.

and all that must be amalgamated in collections or groups.

Definitely a tough concept for me to  understand, can you do a mockup in a vector/raster program so I can somewhat understand the intend? I am a very visual person, so it would help alot!

 

I heard Godot(the game engine), can be used to design functional UI, I might look into using it later on. 

Edited by SonK
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It would be good to rethink how hierarchies were created, that for me is the main problem.

Let's think Sculpt Tool brushes as an example:

It would be necessary to separate the local information that corresponds to each tool and the information that corresponds to global values of the tools.

Steady stroke / radius/ focal shift, falloff, depth, smoothing are global values. Keep it on upper location is ok.

On plane, double sided, buildup, extrude direction... all local values need to be into only ONE panel, adding Brush options, brushes, stencil, strips...

- All local commands related to Brush creation settings > must be into one panel: are presets. Could be default ones or created by user.

- All general commands related to Brush selection and how to use > must be always visible. E-panel, radius, depth...

------------------------------------------------

About mockup: NP, on my way. I can try Godot, was a great idea.

Thanks for your work !

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, sastahai44 said:

I am not sure about the decision to fragment the components without unifying their functions (aka Photoshop UX).

I haven't used Photoshop since the dawn of time. So can you expand on how it does things right or wrong? Is there a youtube video you recommend on this subject?

No freelance work today, So I just got started on the Outliner. But I want to change some important aspect. Workspace are a thing they mainly control the hotkeys for specific "workspace" So if you have it set to Sculpt workspace, pressing Tab can do something totally different from a Modeling workspace - this allows for custom hotkeys per workspace.  Also changing Workspace changes the Shelfs. The Shelf is totally customizable, you can add any many tabs as you want, add or remove any tools within each tab, buttons , etc (more on that later), this should address  @Carlosan desire to have specific things(global vs. local) in the Brush setting on the top shelf. Carlosan, I like the proposal you linked, I'll take it into considering in the near future :thank_you: The Shelf is the perfect place for custom script and plugins.

 

The Outliner is just a first pass, you can see it mimics Blender outliner but it's different in some ways. Clicking on a Object, will show all its data,shader , modifier, paint layer on the Property tab. The Property tab default is to show only Selected property, but can be switched to show all scene property.

 

I have Subdivision surface, Multiresolution, and Voxel as modifier in the mockup you can stack them(not shown yet), rearrange them, etc. Curves will be a object type, no need for a separate Curve Tree(which is in the current version). 

 

Pie Menus will be a thing in this proposal I just haven't gotten to designing them, likewise with RMB context menus, "hotbox" not literally, etc. There should be a built in Pie Menu editor, one that allows you to create custom menus, how they interact, how many spokes, etc then save it as a preset(assign that preset to a hotkey).

On a side note, I want to learn abit more about Qt Design Studio, since it does allow for design to create fully interactive UI/UX. I have it installed,I'll will dig deeper into it once I get this UI done.

For C++ programmers, using Unreal Slate would be a great choice for UI coding, sadly I am not a programmer. Unreal Editor 5 was made with Slate.

 

Edit: Workspaces can also have different navigations style, if desired. So you should be able to mimic your favorite software. For example if I am mostly doing polygonal/SubD modeling I prefer to use Maya style navigation, for sculpting I prefer Zbrush style navigation(especially with a tablet).

 

 

 

 

3DCoat_2023_011.jpg

3DCoat_2023_011.afdesign

Edited by SonK
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@SonK Sorry but... Andrew has told you and confirmed that the Outliner is possible ? That 3DCoat will have a list that will organize all the data blocks and metadata ?

If yes, how do you think to blend paint layers, sculpt layers... or sculpt, retopo & paint meshes ? Now 3DC will work with only one mesh type ?

And about outliner organization: are you thinking to add groups or collections to organize ?

Thanks !

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Carlosan said:

@SonK Sorry but... Andrew has told you and confirmed that the Outliner is possible ? That 3DCoat will have a list that will organize all the data blocks and metadata ?

If yes, how do you think to blend paint layers, sculpt layers... or sculpt, retopo & paint meshes ? Now 3DC will work with only one mesh type ?

And about outliner organization: are you thinking to add groups or collections to organize ?

Thanks !

That is a good question for Andrew, maybe if Andrew is watching he can confirm this? I assume it's possible because it's possible in many 3d applications like Blender, the design/coding has to account for it of course. Collections like Blender?  It's already in the UI design with the Folder icon. Groups like Modo might require a new tab, "Groups Tab".

I worked on the Layers and Outliner some more today. Layers tab has smaller fonts and skinner, I want to see if it looks better than the other font size/style. Since the outliner is pretty much done, I should focus on finishing up the Sculpt workspace with my ideal suggested layouts, then move onto the Paint workspace.

 

edit: I just watched the "one mesh type" video, It's not possible to have 1 mesh type since voxel are it's own  data, but the goal is to let you work with polygons, subdivision surface and voxel within the UI proposal - I am still working thru that aspect right now, with the outliner and property page. Maybe it's not possible to conform all 3 types to just 2 tabs(outliner and property), maybe voxel do require a voxel outliner of its own. 

edit2: My current setup has the voxel mode as a modifier, the property page will display a voxel tree with all the buttons to increase, decrease voxel, the ability to switch to surface/voxel mode, etc. Though this can lead to other unwanted workflow issue..... hmmm. If you have suggestions, I am all ears. 

 

 

Layers_Outliner.jpg

Edited by SonK
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Carlosan said:

hmmm... I am thinking to use DIA or FREEMIND to make a diagram showing all internal connections of datablocks.

Trying to keep all that info on mind generate an spaghetti of chaos and confusion.

You are right, my mind is full of spaghetti chaos right now! :dash2:. Just thinking out loud. In 3DCoat, the sculpting tools weather it's in surface mode or voxel mode, is very destructive. For normal sculpting brushes like draw, inflate, etc that's perfectly fine, but for things like booleans, deformers it would be nice if we can have them available as separate modifier, so you can reorder them and combine them in different ways. This is why I have the Vox mesh as a modifier, so you can use it in the modifier stack along with other deforms. This is also why Multiresolution will be a modifier also. How they will interact together is still in the air at the moment, I am working thru that. 

 

Being able to work like the current destructive sculpting/modeling is of course a choice, you should be allow to work that way if you want. Same with traditional modeling, it can be destructive or use a modifier stack. 

Edited by SonK
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@SonK Regarding your imagined changes and based on your designs (which are really very good), I think it would be convenient that you talk first with Andrew about what you would like to change and what the engine allows to change.


For example, my dream is to be able to have floating windows outside the main display (like SPainter) but not double window like Maya: work table (visualization) and tool table. And that both can be customized according to each task (I imagine as different layouts). But I don't know if the engine allows to do it.

image.jpeg

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Carlosan said:

@SonK Regarding your imagined changes and based on your designs (which are really very good), I think it would be convenient that you talk first with Andrew about what you would like to change and what the engine allows to change.


For example, my dream is to be able to have floating windows outside the main display (like SPainter) but not double window like Maya: work table (visualization) and tool table. And that both can be customized according to each task (I imagine as different layouts). But I don't know if the engine allows to do it.

image.jpeg

I have substance painter, it seems you can have floating windows outside the main window, You can do this in Affinity Design too. Can you explain why you want this feature? Or you want just want floating windows for all the tabs? I don't see why this won't be possible in this proposal or any proposal. 

edit: I think it would be useful for floating tabs/window if you have 2 monitors?

 

Andrew is pretty busy man, I could try to contact him regarding this proposal, however I wanted to create something that's new, which might require a complete rewrite of 3DCoat, so what the current engine allows is of no concern to me. I am also okay with him just using the proposal GUI to make the current version of 3DCoat look better.  8)

 

Edit: I worked on Voxel modifier, will work on Sculpt Layer next. I would like to add "Sculptri Pro" feature too.

3DCoat_2023_013.jpg

3DCoat_2023_013.afdesign

Edited by SonK
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On 8/5/2022 at 10:47 PM, SonK said:

Many years ago when 3DBrush (they later change the name to 3DCoat with the advice of their lawyers, not to conflict with Zbrush) was still in early alpha, I recommend Andrew change the UI to the concept of "rooms" he took it too literal,
what I wanted him to do was just have different layout but have access to the same data with a single outliner (scene graph), maybe the latter wasn't possible from a programmer perspective?
or he didn't have a vision or UI for such scope of work.
Source...

... but have access to the same data... 

This is where all the spaghetti started.

Unlike all the programs we are used to, which are mesh centric: the major hierarchy is the model and from there modifications are added, 3DC is room centric where the major hierarchy is the Room that has different tools for each task.

This design was good when the way of working was linear, and separating the tasks by rooms allowed a better optimization of the computer resources.

As the rooms do not allow the addition of tools from other rooms, this design currently has limitations when you need to make modifications at some step of the task.

Paint+ tweak+uv use one type of mesh, retopo+modeling another and paint+sculpt (surface or voxel) are separate entities with certain interchangeable characteristics.

3DC solved this by creating bridges that allow interconnecting the different room-meshes, but for the user not used to this workflow the procedure is cumbersome.

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