December 25, 2023 at 4:55 pm #6239PharanParticipant
I was a TVPaint user a long time ago, and used Photoshop, Painter, Illustrator, SAI, Aseprite, Spine.
More recently, I commonly use CSP, and less often, Blender and Unity.
It’s been a while since I used Animation Paper so I completely forgot how it works.
Here’s what happened:
- I saw a part of the drawing I wanted to fix by nudging/moving some part.
- “I just need to lasso it and move it.”
- I pressed L. It switched to the Lasso tool.
- I dragged a freehand shape around my area. Shortly after starting, I realized the cursor icon was centered inside the lasso shape. (It makes it kinda distractingly unnerving to use because I feel like I’m peering through a tiny hole while making my selection. And the center dot is less visible when you’re moving your pen/mouse.) Photoshop adds a tiny cursor next to the lasso icon. CSP uses the free end of the rope icon to indicate where the cursor is. SAI doesn’t have a special lasso cursor, so it uses a tiny arrow to show where the cursor is.
- After releasing the tap, the transform handle box appeared. So I move that. Wait, why are there now two of my selection?
- I spend some time doing it again, using a variety of other controls I thought might work. Right clicking, Holding right click, using CTRL. Pressing Enter. Trying to see if the lasso icon has a context menu or options.
- I finally go to the top menu and see there’s a separate Cutter tool. Then I remembered, oh that’s how AP does it.
- I use the cutter. I see I made a mistake with my selection so I press ESC, And the contents of the selection disappears completely. Esc means go back/cancel/undo, not delete. Pressing Del doesn’t even delete.
- At this point, I was like: This can’t be right.
Specifically for the lasso, I have this idea:
Combine the lasso and cutter into one tool.
Since AP’s UI vocabulary includes on-canvas draggable controls,
After the mouse up/pen up (defining the shape of the selection), the resulting on-screen control should show some kind of button or widget for the less common operation. ie, I’ll make the selection first and decide later if I only want to move the selected part, or start a copying/stamping operation.
This would also mean you only need an extra button if you wanted to surface the option to delete to the user. (as an alternative to pressing Escape or reaching for the delete key to delete)
For the no-aiming/keyboard option, in other programs, you would hold a modifier like Alt while dragging to duplicate your selection instead of just moving it.
The current scheme also seems to have the downside of not letting you add to or edit or even SEE your selection, in case you made a mistake selecting. You only see the mistake after you’ve tried dragging. Then you press Esc…..
Animation Paper has a ton of these “we do things differently around here” interface quirks and it always adds that much friction every time I try to pick it up again and the differences are far larger compared to all the other programs I’ve had to switch between. But I tell myself these inconveniences are forgivable if it genuinely results in an innovative improvement over what’s common/standard, because the differences aren’t free in terms of what the user needs to pay in time and mental resources to learn or switch between. If it’s worth it, I know people would happily say “This other program should do it the way Animation Paper does it! It just makes sense!” If it’s not worth it, people just end up not using it.
TVPaint had a ton of these too and some of them I think were really what sets it apart as the thing that pros use for animating because it’s super quick and fun to use, but it still also had a fair share of difference that I just couldn’t agree with because they were just different without a corresponding improvement. Sometimes some programs follow the wrong standard, like when CSP does some things the way Photoshop does despite better interfaces existing. So I get it. Sometimes it’s not obvious.
So I wondered: What justifies 1. this deviation from the standard digital image editor definition of “lasso”? 2. separating them into two tools?
What assumptions has the AP team decided on about the user? That they don’t use other applications? That AP will be their primary application? That they came from other popular animation programs rather than drawing applications? That it’s mostly PAP users? That they’re primarily old-school animators who need the vocabulary of physical tools rather than digital tools of the past couple of decades?December 25, 2023 at 5:26 pm #6243NielsKeymaster
Thanks lot for this diligent post of yours, Pharan. It deserves that I really dive deep into it and do some proper thinking. 😉 I really get your points and I think I agree. I want to do things so they work most efficiently for the user, but that includes not “inventing” alternative ways without really good justification. Let me think about it all. I will love to respond to all your questions at the end of your comment… I’ll get back to you when I have better time to think about it… 😉
NielsDecember 25, 2023 at 6:13 pm #6244PharanParticipant
Oh yeah, absolutely. We should definitely be taking a break right now. 😴
I figured I would save the experience feedback immediately while I still remember what happened.
Thanks for the speedy response! I appreciate all the hard work put into the application so far!
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