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  1. #1
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    Question Feather Tool Slider

    Question / Request for dev. team about Feather Tool Slider.

    I was surprised when I found in last build of LX a Feather tool that resemble Windows version tool ( except actual 2 clicks instead of one ).

    I just start to work for a new tutorial about creation of Ice cubes, using diferent techniques ( Bitmap Fill - Bitmap mode vs. Fractal Mode ). Not just a tutorial but a round discussion about what is needed and when - in a work with such kind of objects. 2 main goals.To show what we can do now with LX, and to share a bit from my experiance.

    There few examples wich contain only 3-4 shapes with feather effect, and few.. unrecommended examples wich can contain more than 25.

    Now into the subject : I feel verry good ( in term of workstyle ) and confortable when I work on LX with the old feather slider ( it was visible ). Just point and slide. Nothing more, nothing less.

    That's what I need. Nothing more. I was thinking about this like a good, useable progress in Xara UI, not as way to solve a lack in wxWidgets Gnome UI components. For me is better on this way than in windows version way.

    I presume the dev. team work now to reduce these remaining 2 clicks to one -> Click-And-Slide or Click-And-Drag as in Windows version of Xara.

    Now the node point and the question ( asumming these 2 click's from now are resolved ) : why Click-and-Drag-to-slide instead just Click-and-Slide as it was before ??

    From a personal point of view I can't understand why a good progress in UI is cut down. I know U know that Every grafician like to do as fewer clicks as he can, to obtain as much effect as is possible. So in a non-technical design, for a purely artistic work, let say.. for a poster that need image composition, to have direct visual acces ( as in quality view ) to slider position is much better than to check some could numbers ( ). Because on this case your work is direct connected : Eye<->Canvas. More abstract than logical, but to control your work from a single view is better ( in my vision .

    My request here is just to think about and if is possible, to put Feather Tool slider into a visible place, maybe on Standard bar ( next to Feather list box ), maybe on main contextual control bar ( then will come up only when is needed, and this way maybe this paradigm can be solved.. ).

    However, I can use now the Feather bar - I put him along Standar bar and I use his slider instead of Feather Tool Slider.

    Else.. will be a pain to work with actual Feather Tool slider where I have to change feather for ..25 shapes or more.

    Thanks for atention and.. keep the rhytm

    I atached a screenshoot from.. line of fire.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by SorinN; 25 July 2006 at 03:54 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Feather Tool Slider

    Hi Sorin,

    The Dev Archive on http://www.xaraxtreme.org/maillists/...v/threads.html are discussing the Feather Tool and how they are still working on how it will work.

    The entries about the Popup Slider.
    Last edited by Soquili; 25 July 2006 at 05:16 PM.
    Soquili
    a.k.a. Bill Taylor
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Feather Tool Slider

    I agree with Sorin. I've never liked the New feather slider in Xtreme. Why is it suddenly changed to a drop down slider? It's one extra, uncessary, step.

    Whilst on the subject of UI I used to like the Blend tools increase/decrease step arrows that used to be in either Artworks or CorelXara but no longer exists, instead the value has to be typed in.
    Egg

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Feather Tool Slider

    I have to agree. I like the way the Feather Tool was in Xara X and X. The way it is in Xtreme makes it awkward to use.
    Soquili
    a.k.a. Bill Taylor
    Bill is no longer with us. He died on 10 Dec 2012. We remember him always.
    My TG Album
    Last XaReg update
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Feather Tool Slider

    Quote Originally Posted by SorinN
    Question / Request for dev. team about Feather Tool Slider.
    I presume the dev. team work now to reduce these remaining 2 clicks to one -> Click-And-Slide or Click-And-Drag as in Windows version of Xara.
    Have a look at
    http://www.xaraxtreme.org/developers...o_control.html
    for how it will eventually work.

    Right now (in the unstable build) we are just supporting the "windows" mode - click and release, then click & drag to slide. Confusingly, Xtreme on Windows currently uses the "Mac" mode - click and drag to slide). As per the spec, we plan to support both. But not in the next stable release (0.7) unless we start feeding Mart amphetamines.

    I don't know if there are people saying they prefer the previous LX slider (like on the 0.6 stable build) - the reason this is going is partly to make the UI the same as Xtreme on Windows, but mostly because it occupies two much space and does not allow you to set the feather numerically.

    Mmmm... I hadn't realized we'd left the feather bar in there with the old control. That wasn't deliberate. However, if it still works I see no harm leaving like that as an alternate solution until click and drag on the "proper" feather control works.

    Alex
    Last edited by abligh; 25 July 2006 at 07:32 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Feather Tool Slider

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the response and the link. However I'm still confused.

    Firstly let me say that I'm an Xtreme user, just adding my 2 cents to the LX forum. I've never liked nor understood the 'new' feathering slider.

    Firstly a UI should be consistant. Throughout the various reincarnations of XaraX slider bars have appeared within the tool bars as exactly that; a slider bar. In every tool other than the Feathering tool (in the Xtreme release) they still do. (View Quality, Freehand Smoothing, Smoothing, Transparency, Shadow Blur & Shadow Transparency, Bevel Contrast and Contour Width.

    Why has (and should) the Feathering tool be treated differently. According to your link the only reason I can assertain is a vague mention of 'space being at a premium'

    This type of input has proven to be hugely more productive than simple numeric controls.
    XaraX has had BOTH inputs available for years. The Transparency tool has both Numeric & Slider controls on screen at the same time & either are editable, as do the shadow tools & most others.

    Why has the Feathering tool been altered to behave in a non (Xara) standard way. Why do we need this (Windows or Mac) alternative.


    but mostly because it occupies two much space and does not allow you to set the feather numerically.
    'occupies two much space ' ..... The feathering bar doesn't do this particularly or more than other sliders. Besides, now most users are using resolutions above 800 x 600 this problem is becoming less of an issue, not more.
    Egg

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Feather Tool Slider

    Well I'll leave the "why" questions to people better placed to comment on UI design (perhaps Charles will as I know he put a lot of thought into it) and just correct a few "whats".

    Quote Originally Posted by Egg Bramhill
    Why has the Feathering tool been altered to behave in a non (Xara) standard way. Why do we need this (Windows or Mac) alternative.
    The current design spec is to make it work like Xara Xtreme. Xtreme's popup slider (confusingly) currently operates the Mac way. Xara have had complaints about that in that people want the slider to pop up on one click, like windows combo boxes do. So on LX it will do both (as in both at the same time, not a configuration option, just like with a combo box you can either click to bring it up, and click again on the option, or click and drag the mouse down to the option).

    If you don't like the pop-up slider at all, there's no particular problem leaving the transparency non-popup-slider in as a control that isn't on the "standard bar" by default (well, I can't immediately think of a problem anyway) - as people have discovered, the "feather bar" works this way. When bar contents are configurable on Xara LX (they aren't right now), you could simply replace on control with the other.

    Personally though, I think the main problem with the popup slider at the moment is the click, release, THEN adjust the slider. It takes too long. When it's back to the Xtreme way of doing things, I think that will be 99% of the problems solved.

    My other problem with the current interface AND the Xtreme interface is by looking at the control, you have no idea it does feathering. Perhaps we should put a little feather inside the text box. So now you know my pet hate.

    Alex
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Feather Tool Slider

    Hi again Alex,

    Thanks for your reply. I've got no argument with what your saying about the "Whats", my argument still rests with the "Whys".

    Why can't all sliders automatically have on screen sliders AND input boxes?

    Why have a totally different UI for the Feathering Slider than any other tool?

    What's the advantages of pop-up sliders? Screen space ???? Seriously ???

    So as you say, perhaps it's up to Charles & the Xara team to explain this one in more detail. I only hope it's not " to get Xtreme to function more in line with other software!"
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Egg

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  9. #9

    Default Re: Feather Tool Slider

    OK, deep breath, here's why we made the change to a pop-up slider in Xara Xtreme:
    - A LOT of old users found the old slider control difficult. It was very small and way too fiddly.
    - It had a range of 0 to 50 and was logarithmic as well, so at the low end you could create fractional pixel feathers. This was almost impossible to use, because a single pixel jump on the slider resulted in large jumps in the feather value.

    I personally found the control very difficult to use for precise work, and ended up typing numbers in instead. Far from ideal. So the old control was not satisfactory. It had to be fixed.

    The only solution that made any sense was to increase the slider size to make it longer to provide a higher resolution control. We couldn't do this and still keep the UI within the bounds of 800 pixel screen, and anyway having full size sliders is not something that should be on the top bar really. Ugly UI (and the 800 limit is partly a real limit for some users, but it's more a principle UI thing - our UI is always less cluttered and simpler than the competitors and we want to simplify it further.) Ideally we'd have a 256 pixel slider to give maximum precision, but there's just no way we can add that to the top bar. So Egg it is a space and clutter issue.

    Now consider all the places where we could have sliders - they'd be useful all over the place. To put full size sliders, like the transparency controls would be utterly impossible.

    So the obvious solution AND that used by other industry standard products was to have a pop-up slider. This takes less space in the default UI, and you can have a slider any size you wanted.

    Perfect solution. You now have a simpler, cleaner UI, and you can get a high resolution control that provides far more precise and accurate control over the feather value - while still being interactive, real time. We can make the slider 256 pixels long and have instant selection of any value between 0 and 255. That's really great.

    But the important point must be that the control is as easy to use as the old one - it must require no more clicks than the old control - as that would be a step backwards. That's what's called the Mac-like UI - they do not select items (e,g, menus) by doing a click, move, click again. Their superior UI is that they perform a single click-move-release to select things.

    Sorin is dead right - unnecessary clicks are bad news.

    Microsoft was very smart on earlier Windows. They provide both a Mac compatible and traditional Windows way of selecting things. You can select menus by either doing it the traditional Windows way: click, move click again, OR you could do it the Mac way, click-move-release way. Very cunning. Best of both worlds.

    So given on the old UI you could adjust the feather with a single click-drag-release, that required we provide a Mac-like UI for the pop-up slider. Which is the way it works on Xara Xtreme.

    So the Xtreme UI is better all round. I simply cannot understand anyone who says otherwise. It's NOT one extra step as Egg says. You now get high-res slider and no extra clicks.

    Linux
    On Linux we found a problem. They had no concept of a pop-up slider control. Yet all modern graphics applications, across the industry, now use them. They are a great way of entering values. So we had to find someone to implement a pop-up slider, ideally in such a fashion that is covered all our requirements and anyone else creating UI. Thus the very detailed spec for what's required.

    (And BTW this UI work is being donated to the wxWidgets open source project so all Linux apps can take advantage of it)

    So on Xara LX we've just started to implement this pop-up slider. It's unfinished. The present implementation only does the Windows-like selection and so is a step backwards, as Sorin says, but it will soon support both models so those used to the Mac way, or the Windows way, will find it works their way. So it will be that you can click-drag-release, i.e. a single step way of altering the value.

    Future
    The criticism that we're have inconsistent UI now with different types of slider is fair. And that's why we plan to move to using the new pop-up slider across most of the UI, and adding them into all sorts of places where we have no slider at present. We will not replace the large sliders on Infobars, where we don't have to though. Those have room so do not need to be replaced.

    But consider having a pop-up interactive slider on the blend control, so you could have a dynamic live control of the number of steps on the blend. No need to type numbers in any more. No trial and error. Now that would be seriously cool and that really is the Xara way of doing things. And it's not just the blend tool that could be dramatically improved with a control like this.

    So this pop-up slider is a taste of what's to come.

    And this is an illustration of the effort and depth of planning that goes into what seems a utterly simple, trivial little control in Xara.
    IP

  10. #10

    Default Re: Feather Tool Slider

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Moir
    But consider having a pop-up interactive slider on the blend control, so you could have a dynamic live control of the number of steps on the blend. No need to type numbers in any more. No trial and error. Now that would be seriously cool and that really is the Xara way of doing things. And it's not just the blend tool that could be dramatically improved with a control like this.
    It would be useful to have this on line-width too.

    Alex
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