Sunday, 6 January 2008

most annoying "features" in cgi apps

i tried to keep this blog positive and just write about the good features of apps and that other apps should incorporate them into theirs.

BUT

when working with apps day and unfortunately also nights you just end up swaring at a few very annoying things in various apps

so here is the list of frustration:

HOUDINI:
i am using houdini for 3 weeks now and i LOVE it
there are however some really annoying "features" that dont fit the otherwise very good user interface experience:

- there is this yellow box that pops up when you write code to help you against typing errors or show what you can do with the letters you have already written
its generally a great tool BUT it often locks the input so you cant type anymore. and it works very differently in different aereas of the app
- the editors and coding windows need a total rewrite (you can feel my frustration)
edit expression editor (alt+e in a channel) does not support the yellow box - it shows up and tells you what you can write but it again often locks input and worst of all it does not allow you to select stuff from that box
- the edit operator type properties scripts editor when you are using the python hom model
this editor is just a pain to code in
copy paste works very weiredly if at all
the yellow box gets into your way way to often
no code highlighting or coloring
no proper debugging
it would be cool to be able to drag and drop channels from the preferences pane
it would be cool to have tabs where you can copy and paste code inbetween and say this or that code tab is active when i call the script

since houdini is really good for techy stuff it would be cool if Sfx would improove coding usabilty

Maya:
- some stuff wont undo while other things do - if you make a connection with the conneciton editor it will not be undoable.
-Hiding menues via ctrl+m and shift+m is great
they stay accessible through the space bar menue (pressing space bar)
but not in the script editor (-horray)
- does not memorize the open file setup - so if i want to set the open menue up in a way that i see the files in chronological order i always have to click twice (why doesnt it memorize that from the 50 times i did that before)
also a recent folders list like in xsi would help greatly to decrease amount of clicking.
- maya looses the selections when you save the file
thats particularly annoying when you have a complex selection
eg select certain bodyparts for export and you want to save first because the exporter sometimes crashes maya
- skinweighting - man thats so annoying in maya
change the bone/deformer: you can up and down the deformers if you click in the tool options box and hit up and down arrow key
but if you then paint in the viewport (change focus to viewport) the arrow up and down actually goes up and down the object hirarchy
so you always have to click in the tool options again
representation of the weight: black and white very hard to read small numbers - its close to impossible to see something like a 5% weight - would be good to have more colors instead of just grayscale
add/replace/subtract/smooth are all different buttons in the tool options so you always have to go into the tool options and change it - would be good to have it on mousebuttons or ctrl shift or something
FCheck
its an awesome tool but one thing is TOTALLY screwed up
in OSX you can export a playblast as a movie file (really handy when you want to save it) in windows you cant
in windows you can draw on top of the playblast with the left mouse button in OSX you cant
now these are in my opinion two equally essential features but they are unique to either osX or Win

XSI:
- translation is keyed in parent worldspace
so if you rotate the controller which is parented to another one then your translation will be handled in parent worldspace so in the f courve editor the keys do not make a lot of sense
- no hirarchical bone view on skinning

- with S as nav tool its really easy to unintentionally safe the file when you for example smooth skinwheits with CTRL and you smooth - navigate - smooth - navigate - bamm you press ctrl and s at the same time for a split second and you overwrite the file
- standard settings for animators pretty much useless
maybe thats me coming from maya
but it takes me an hour to set up xsi from the standard settings for things like graph editor to work in a useful way
- either i am stupid or the schematic view is a piece of shit
- xsi always changes the screenlayout when you want editors to be in special windows - why doesnt it just stay a 4 view layout
- the focus change is really annoying (happens very often using a wacom) you want to delete something in an editor and wham you delete the whole object because the coursor changed the focus (especially in writing scops and expressions)