Photoshop toolbar

Discussion in 'Artists' started by lblb, Feb 3, 2012.

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  1. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    That's good to hear, and I'll take for advice and go over the annotations again. It's hard to find typos after a while, as your eyes stop seeing them when your been working with something for a whole. So, it's good to have new eyes on the video!

    Btw, I'm having a hard time figuring out the current relationship between the Lasso and Transform tools, and how Ctrl + D fits in. Can you go over it again? Right now, I hit Lasso, use it, hit Transform, use it, hit it again to enact the transformation, and then..... ??? I guess I thi I it should revert to Lasso, and I I hit another Tool the Lasso should be deselected. But I'm not sure if that's how is working. It would be helpful to understand how you've designed it to be used.
     
  2. lblb

    lblb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Hey,

    The Transform button button now works (I think) like the one in the bottom left pod:
    - If an area is selected, hit the Transform button then do your transformation.
    - If at this point you push the Transform button again, it confirms the transformation, but stays in transform mode.
    - If you push the Lasso button instead of pushing the Transform button again, then this confirms the transformation and switches to the Selection tool.
    - Throughout all of this there is no moment where the area is deselected.

    The lasso also works, I think, like the Selection button works on the bottom left pod:
    - Use it to select an area, and just select somewhere else to select another area.
    - At this point, or after any transformation above, the area is still selected. If you select a drawing tool, the lasso is indeed turned off, but the area is still selected so that you can only use the drawing tool in that area.

    The only change (I think) I've introduced is the Ctrl+D button:
    - Normally, if you select a region using the Selection button on the bottom left pod, you can select any area. If you then hit the Selection tool again, it does nothing.
    - So I've just added the Ctrl+D button that allows you to deselect the selected area (so you don't have to go use the Layers Quick-strike button).
    - So at any point when an area is selected, you can just hit the Ctrl+D button to deselect it instead of having to go on the Layers hover icon.

    Does that make any sense? Just tell me if you'd like any behavior changed in there or if you think there is a better way to do any of this and I'll see what I can do.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  3. lblb

    lblb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Alright, here is something that may not be very useful...

    By adapting a code that I found on the AutoHotkey forum, I found a way to interrogate the pen pressure on the tablet. The original code just shows a tooltip that gives the pen pressure in real time, and I played very briefly with it and saw that we could potentially have buttons on a toolbar that would have commands like "when the pressure is below x, do this" and "when it's above x, do that".
    I'm not sure I can think of anything useful to do with this (and I really haven't played with the code much, so maybe it won't actually work!) but I just thought I'd throw that out there. It could get tricky as different tablets have different pressure levels (my ep121 has 256) but that's someth8ing that could be adjusted through options. I guess that could make more sense for buttons where you need to hold the pen on the screen like undo/redo, where if you increase the pressure it would, for example, repeat faster?

    Edit:
    Obviously, my ep121 doesn't have 1024 pressure levels, it really has 256.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  4. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Wow, that's a fascinating idea and really bizarre and original. ::googly eyes:: It __sounds__ intriguing, but I'm not sure of a proper application.

    I was thinking you could somehow use it for zoom or resize or something. I think your idea about Undo's is interesting and the easiest idea to explore-- that's because the pressure curve only goes in one direction. We'd just be altering the increase or decrease of speed through the pressure reading. That sort of thing. But, for example, if you wanted to activate Resize and put your pen tip to the screen, you might be able to try something more sophisticated-- light pressure= shrinks, press hard= enlarge. That sort of idea, where you have to gradients. You could even still activate it through the upper pen button if you wanted to, as well as the Main Toolbar. I wondered if there was some way to set it up to change Settings, for example, but I couldn't create something useful off the top of my head. I thought about stuff like zoom in Artrage, but the issue is you usually Hover-Drag to get it to work in Artrage, so that won't work through pressure reading.

    BTW, did we shelve the idea of button-specific tooltips in Artrage? That still sounds simple but useful to me. It would also integrate well with what Artrage currently offers.


    On the note of general UI in the Artrage toolbars--

    I think the Artrage Small UI is damn near perfect. I'm going to go over a few last bumps in the road, but frankly I love this setup in general.

    First, now that I understand how much more sophisticated your new setup is for the Selection and Transformation tools (as well as the fact that it mimics Artrage and what it does), I'm on for that. I wish there was a more elegant iconic solution than Ctrl + D though-- I was wondering if you could even do something like the Lasso tool, but with a red slash through it or some such thing. Or maybe a kind of "marching ants" selection kind of thing instead? Just something that was different that let you know you were supposed to click it again if you wanted the selections to go away. I dunno. I just didn't know what Ctrl + D did, and it was not intuitive for me to deselect all. Something to ponder.

    Second, I think the default Tools layout should be a selection of tools that clearly goes together. Right now, for example, we have the Paint Tube, but the Watercolor Brush. I might actually take the Watercolor Brush out as the main "brush" and put the Oil Brush in instead. The rest is a fine setup IMO.

    I don't know if you noticed in my demo video, btw, but I started calling it the Tools Bar, instead of the Tools subtoolbar, which was just too ridiculous to say. I'm wondering if we should change its name in the general Toolbar Options windows? I think Tools Bar is fine, as long as the Main Toolbar is always referred to as that. I understand that Tools Bar and toolbar are way too similar, and so I've just been always very specific in my language in the videos.... Still, I see the issue. This was just the best option i could come up with. Opinions?

    Thirdly, in the Toolbar Options window-- all works fine, but the Toolbar Settings window is not on top of the Main Toolbar itself. Only for that tab does the main AHK toolbar accidentally take precedence and go on top of it. Would be nice to fix it and have the Toolbar Options Window be back on top. Additionally, there's a large space between #4 and #5 on that same tab that should be removed to make the setup the same as the other #s. Finally, if I click the blue highlighted link in the Artrage Toolbar Options window to help me alter the settings for the Undo/Redo (#4), it does not take me to the Toolbar Buttons Settings tab, but rather to the Large Layout Customization tab. Oh, and there needs to be some sort of informational flyout tooltip for #3 on the Artrage Options tab-- it would be very nice to atleast have some info letting an observant person know that the different layouts are specific and independent in terms of their customizable Tools Bar layout. That Tools Bar specific "memory-capability" is not currently made clear.

    BTW, I'm glad you liked the "Quick-strike Buttons" label. !! LOL. I came up with that on the fly, and thought it sounded good enough to put in the video. :p

    Now, having said all that about the small UI, I think the large Artrage UI... I dunno. I think it's a failed experiment.

    I think our agreed upon opinion that Large vs. Small should really have more to do with screen res and less to do with 1 vs. 2 buttons is true. I want full functionality and stream-lined appearance between the two versions. That means, to me, that I guess I'd like to have the two UI's look the same, but just have one be small and one be large, thus providing options for different res screens, different eye and hand coordination needs, etc. So, in short, I'd make the large UI layout be the same as the small UI layout. Just bigger. I don't know what kind of PITA that is, but that's my two cents. One additional thing it would do is that there would need a minor change in the Tools Bar customization tab, as there would be one more tool button available in the large UI.

    I think that's it for now on Artrage. If we can hammer out these changes, I think I'm ready to share this part of the project publically.


    Re: Sai-

    I think Sai also needs one last push as well though, btw-- mostly to figure out the removal of the zoom % box and to see if we can get the Large and Small UI's to be the same as well. I guess it would be nice if the Hover Icons would bite perfectly as well, but I know that's largely a hypothetical wish. They're already much much better than they used to be. My vote would be to finish this Artrage stuff and get it out of the nest and shared.... Perhaps do your "disable" trick from our PM conversation re: the other toolbars that Artrage users aren't going to care about (and which aren't totally done anyways yet). Then we could veer back to Sai and wrap it up as well. I don't think it'd take that long, really. Maybe 1-2 weeks? It's basically refinement.

    Then, once Artrage is done and being shared, and Sai is "done" and being shared... then I think I'd be ready to play with things like SBP or PS more. I've got ideas for SBP, and I think thatcomicsguy might have some ideas for PS once he sees what we can do in Artrage and Sai. So, perhaps good improvements for those other programs will grow out of finishing up what we think we can do with the current two projects.

    I can definitely say though that, for Artrage atleast, I have 5-10 people already who are interested in testing out the toolbar, and have spoken to me directly about it. I've actually had a person do the same for Sai as well, btw, but I've not pushed it as hard. I need to get on Facebook a bit, and I need to put some stuff on deviantart, but I've not done so yet for either program....

    Bit by bit, ya know? :) The truth is these video tutorials I'm doing for Artrage watercolors are taking up a great deal of my free time, and I've been having a hard time balancing things appropriately. I suspect I'll be done with them in a few weeks, as well as this Artrage toolbar, and then things will quiet down and I focus on additional new ideas with more clarity and focus.

    edit--
    Ah, you saw that bit about 1024 levels. !! :p I wondered if you'd catch that!
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  5. lblb

    lblb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Cool about the ArtRage stuff. I’ll try to work on that as soon as I can. Unfortunately (at least for this project... personally it’s actually very fortunate!), the semester starts next week so the next two weeks are going to be pretty crazy busy.

    It’s getting late, so I’m going to go bullets points on you:
    - Agreed about the Large AR setup: something needs to be done!
    - As you mention, I think we did find out that the big/small thing has more to do with screen space than with the type of pens. Even more so considering the people who contacted you.
    - So for the AR large setup, both the Move and Menu buttons would also be 50x50 pixels?
    - Can you remind me what we had in mind with the “button-specific tooltips in Artrage”? Again, it’s getting late...
    - I’ll see what I can do with the Toolbar Settings tab not staying on top, but that’s on purpose: the dummy Firefox toolbar to adjust the transparency has to be on top. It goes behind (i.e. it is not visible) if the Toolbar Settings tab is also on top. I’ll have to try a few things.


    Ok, you don’t have much time, I don’t have much time... so it’s a perfect opportunity to go for something time-wasting! I didn’t have time to work on the toolbar tonight except for 15 minutes where I tried the pressure stuff and it actually worked very quickly! Not sure it’s ever going to be useful, but I’m just curious to explore the idea (and to see if it works on other tablets).
    So when you have time to waste, you can try the following:
    - Download the zip file below.
    - Replace the following files with the ones in the zip file (keep the originals around, as you’ll probably want to get rid of the new ones after the tests):
    - Toolbar.ahk goes in the Files folder
    - The other one goes here:
    \Files\Misc\ArtRage_Options\ArtRage_Toolbar_Parameters\ArtRage_Toolbar_Parameters.ahk​
    - Start the toolbar and ArtRage
    - Draw about ten thousand lines on the canvas.
    - Try the Undo and Redo buttons on the Large AR toolbar. They are set to the normal repeat rate at low pen pressure, and much faster at high pen pressure.
    - Also, the color picker (I didn’t have time or care for changing the icon!), should be undo at low pen pressure and redo at high pen pressure.

    Does any of this work? For me, it all works pretty well except (for some reason) it doesn’t work the first time I press either of the buttons. It’s like the pressure thing is not initiated correctly (I could work on that someday if we feel it can be useful). But after that, it works just as expected almost every time (almost). Also, I haven't tried to optimize anything so you may notice that at the end of the really fast undo/redos, the ctrl key sometimes stays held down for a second or so. Still trying to think how we could exploit something like this... not obvious!

    Alright, enough time wasted!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  6. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Ok, so

    for Artrage-
    -yes, Move and Menu would also be 50. We'd basically just size up the entire small UI.
    -re: Tooltips- we thought it would be a good/functional idea to have Tooltips there were specific to all the buttons in the layout, like Artrage does. This way you could hover over the button and know what you were looking at. There would need to be a minor delay, of course, so you wouldn't have tool tips coming up everywhere, but the idea would be you could hover over something to get some simple info easily. It's not top top top of my list or anything, but it seemed like a good idea.
    -ah, I hadn't recognized that the "faux" Firefox setup for changing the opacity setting was actually a sort of real one being called up. That complicates the situation a bit more. I'll let you hammer that one out, or decide to leave alone.


    for the pressure-based input-
    -works for me, and is very cool!
    -the one major issue I had for Undo and Redo was that the speed became too great at high pressure, and actually started going too far back in my history. So, I think there would need to be some sort of a) gentler lower angle pressure curve or b) a gentle cap on the speed, that's lower than what we currently have, but other than that, I think it's a very functional and very cool thing. I've never seen anything like it before. I guess it would mean you couldn't use the UI unless you had a pressure sensitive tablet though.
    -the Color Picker alteration worked too, but took a bit of getting used to. It's pretty neat though! I didn't have any problems with needing to tap first, personally-- though I needed to make sure that I had last been using Artrage, and had tapped and used the canvas first (basically, I had to be painting first to then have it work smoothly with the Color Picker). I had issues with something like Undo/Redo because you can easily go too far back. It would be interesting to see how it might work with using these parameter for zoom or resize though.

    Ok, enough play time. Talk to you soon.
     
  7. lblb

    lblb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Oh cool that the pressure stuff also works on your system. I don't understand a lot of the details of how the code works (that's way too advanced for me), but it basically interrogates the normal Windows file wintab32.dll and spits out the current pen pressure value. Then you can just use AHK to code in that you want to do different things when the pressure corresponds to different values. The downside is that it has to be constantly monitoring the pressure, so it means this can only be used (well, for now I don't see any way around it) with functions that are repeated over and over (like undo/redo, maybe zoom, resize, etc).
    When I have time, I'll try to test it a bit more (that is actually not a very high priority, I prefer finishing the AR setup first) and investigate the behaviors you and I have observed. I think I got it right, but for these kind of dll calls, it's important to make sure that the dll is released and that the allocated memory is freed once you're done other wise it may slow down the computer.

    All in all, I'm actually pretty stunned that it works, even if it may have very limited applications (if at all).

    How many pressure levels do your tablet and Cintiq have? The pressure stuff may behave differently if the number of pressure levels changes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  8. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    I seem to be having some issues in 2.10 with my normal Artrage Color Picker-- not the contextual one that we bring up with the toolbar. Basically, I find the normal one very "sticky" while I'm running the toolbar. I'm often not getting any response from the Color Picker. I'll do a few taps, move it around a bit, and then, maybe, it'll unlock and I'm good to go. I can't seem to get it to consistently respond though, and I've not been able to find a "trigger". But if I close the toolbar, boom, the whole thing is very smooth again. Have you tested this at all? I've been using the contextual picker for so long, I'd stopped paying attention to the "main" one, but now that I'm trying it out, I'm having issues.

    edit--
    Well, some testing does seem to imply that the issue is with the Artrage Small toolbar for some reason. I started using the Large one, and didn't have any issue. Went back to the Small one and I had it intermittently again. I almost feel like it has something to do with the pressure being applied???? As if, on Artrage Small, if I press lightly it won't register on the Color Picker, but if I do the same pressure on the Large one then all is well..... I don't know, that might not be true. But I have noticed that if its not responding, I can then lift my pen up and reapply it to the screen, move it around again, and it will start talking to the Color Picker.

    I can't quite nail it down, but something's definitely not working for me.
     
  9. lblb

    lblb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Are you talking about the Color Picker that you select in the bottom left pod?

    I've tried all I could and it behaves very normaqlly for me at all times. I'll do more tests and look at the code (maybe I'm just not seeing it because my computer is a bit more powerful than yours?) but for the moment all I can offer is:
    - does it still act that way after a reboot?
    - do you see anything unusual in your memory usage/performance when the small AR toolbar is on?

    By the way, I hope to be able to work on this this week-end but for now I have had no time at all to do anything useful this week.
     
  10. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    I am talking about the color picker on the bottom right. I rebooted, which didn't solve the problem. I ran task manager-- AHK's not the problem either. However, I tried a different tool and that fixed things. That makes me believe my computer is struggling a bit with the watercolor tool at large sizes (200% +). Duh! What a surprise! I could have told you that. If I do a big stroke at a big size, and then go to pick a color, I get lag, and the color picker becomes unresponsive for a bit. Once the stroke has moved along in its computation (it doesn't have to finish, just reach a certain unknown point part way through) the process improves and I can pick a color. It's actually the same whether I use the bottom-right color picker or the AHK toolbar contextual color picker. It's across the board too, whether I use the AHK toolbar or not. Sigh.

    It seems to get worse when I use camstudio, so I'm not surprised. I'm pretty sure it's just a computational issue. Sorry for bugging you. !!
     
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