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Formz wishlist part 1


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This Is a long one I am afraid and I realise may be too late for the next version but longterm hopefully some of this may be considered …




A new startup option for preferences:


1, if I start the application by double clicking on a saved file I go straight into that file and work (same also for drag and drop method).

2, If I start by double clicking the application icon I go to a dialogue that lets me browse to an existing file for opening or else create a new project. There is a create new project button with option for layout project and for choosing working units and preference file. Navigate to save location, choose new project type, optionally choose working units and preferences and the click the create new button. File is created and opened ready for work.


So sort of like the preference for New Project but without dumping me in a new unsaved file first.



UI polish:

FormZ does not look good on a 4K - res monitor. Some dialogs are poorly laid out (and at normal HD res as well- but just exacerbated at the higher resolution). For example at the default dialog and palette font size the numerical accuracy section of the Project Settings dialog has overlapping radio buttons - now I can change these font sizes in prefs but I have never succeeded in coming up with something that works.


There is a ton of space in these dialogs to space things out properly without recourse to the horrible font size method.


Other problems:


Project Settings Dimensions tab with cut off padlock icon in the terminator section. In the text section of the same tab the size and font field do not align and are at different vertical spacings than the rest of the fields.


On Tool Options - Pick dialog the frame option menu and text does not align and these in turn do not align with the allow drag and allow copy options


I could go on and on here but really the interface spit and polish for what is quite an expensive piece of software is poor. It doesn’t feel loved.



UI speed:

Although I have no complaints about the modelling performance, I cannot say the same about the surrounding interface in general. It all works but feels as if I am wading through treacle.




Hitting the Plus icon on the layers palette to create a new layer. Why the slight delay? It should be created instantly and this only gets worse if you want to create a few layers at once and you find the application has failed to keep up and you have to go back and hit the pus a few more times and force yourself to slow down. 


For some options the application seems to be adding unnecessary steps - In preferences I have “Clicking In The Empty Space Of A List Creates A New Entry” switched on and while this works eventually I first have to wait for a tool tip to appear and then click again and sometimes this is not recognised (I’d say about 75% of the time) so another click, another wait for the tooltip and then third time lucky


Activating Layers and other items is just off the pace and what should be instantaneous has a slight lag to it.



UI Layout:

Rather than “Keep Lists Tightly Spaced” in preferences I would rather have a slider to let me decide.


If I turn on Vertical Separators then I would like to grab these and adjust the horizontal spacing.


I find that is is not icon size or font size that is the problem but spacing and if this could be adjusted would let me have the exact list palette layout to suit.



List Palettes Synchronisation:

As well as the highlight option for showing what is picked I would also like the palettes to be kept in synch and always showing the picked item - so in graphics an object is selected and is highlighted in the Object List Palette. If the object is part of a hierarchical group then the group is auto opened to the correct level and the object is highlighted. At the same time the same happens in the Layer List Palette.


If the selected object is part of a selection set then this is also shown as highlighted in the Selection Sets List Palette - just as highlight though if it is a subset or superset of the included, the tick toggle is only shown when just the included elements are selected.



List Palette search:

The name section at the top of the Palettes is a searchable field that can filter out according to input - enter 1 and all levels that include a 1 are shown only - 01 11,  15, 21 etc


Enter car* in the objects palette and only those objects named car01 car02 etc are shown.


The palette synchronisation would also kick in so that if these car* levels are filtered for the object palette then only the corresponding layers are shown in the Layers List etc



List Palette Ordering:

Sort order options - a-z, z-a, groups first, groups last, temporarily without enclosing groups, last created -the search and ordering for when the models get a little bit more complicated and hierarchical.



List Palette groups:

Alt-Click on the Palette plus icon creates a group instead of an item.



List palette autosizing and filtering:

List palettes are autosized to just show up to the last item created and no more - when new items are added the list scrolls to just show the preference amount (say 10 items for argument) - this is similar to the current behaviour if you manually resize a palette but jus adds that touch of automation.


If items selected and highlighted do not easily fall within the 10 items length then the list is filtered to just show the selected items (similar to the list palette search mention previously)



Item naming:

Option for naming to be as last - for instance object 1 is renamed to engine01 then the  subsequent objects are engine02 etc.  Same for all items- views, object layers etc.


Other option is for name to be as enclosing group.



Item logical placement:

Option for objects/items to be automatically created in groups - much the same as an object being created on a selected level, if a group is selected then the object is created in that group (and named after-see above)


Other option is create by last - if a group was just created but not selected then the object is also created in the group.



Selection Sets:

Different topological levels to be able to be added to selection sets. Main reason for asking is when playing around with painting surfaces it would be handy to save a set of faces to revisit.



Clipping Plane Groups

Handy for larger architectural models - just showing a room within the volume say. Of course you can do this by just making the separate clipping planes and then activating them one by one, but grouping them to control activation is quicker and keeps the palette smaller on projects with a fair few clipping planes.



Clipping Plane cross section colour.

Option added to the Tool Options - Pick Attributes tab for the object(s) cross section to be displayed be either Clipping Plane individually or by Clipping Plane Group (see above). So then obviously needs these colouring options to be added to clipping planes - so instead of one clipping colour being on the whole object the colour is on the clipping plane so separate colours could be set for vertical and horizontal clips across the same object.



Object visibility controllable by Views rather than Scenes

A much quicker workflow than having to go the whole hog with scenes. Any object or layer or group’s visibility is automatically saved with the creation of a view. A control visibility toggle in the view parameters dialog would then control whether it was applied or not.


So when the view is created all the current state of the other lists is saved. If later on and after the visibility of the lists items has been changed the view could then be applied without overwriting the current visibility by switching off the vis toggle else if it is left on the old saved vis overwrites the newer.




A change to the way scenes are created and updated. I have never really got used to scenes - I do not like that once created they are so easily changeable (even if the padlock icon is on and toggles are switched off in the Scene Options dialog) maybe I am missing something but I cannot get scenes to work consistently.


My Proposal:

When it is created a scene grabs everything and every setting and they are added to the scene. Once created you must go into an explicit edit mode to update the scene. Just having the scene selected or activated and then changing other items will not update the scene - the scene is just deactivated and the change to the item updates the view graphics. Should you wish to then update the scene to show the current graphics then double click to go into Scene Options and there would be a couple of ways - a) an update all settings button          or         B) all the item parameters have check boxes that can be updated individually - so you could just update the view parameters for instance. Clicking the individual edit buttons opens up the items option dialog - so for instance for the view the Views Parameters dialog would open up and give access to settings such as the object visibility as mentioned above.


Because you are updating the parameters you could have scenes that not only control activation and/or visibility but also other parameters listed in these dialogs - again once the scene has been activated and the scene options dialog closed then any subsequent changes to any items would update the graphics window but deactivate the scene - the user then decides whether to update the scene or not at their leisure.


Of course this is nice and clean if you are just changing single items- swapping views or activating a clipping group - but for objects there may be multiple items to change - so there would need to be an interface to grab all the changes or just individuals. 


So I am thinking of things like multiple material attachments , different mapping, different attributes and even multiple size parameters - all in saved scenes. 


Is this the way it is meant to work?


Again maybe I am missing something but I have never got scenes to work for me. Hope what I said is clear enough



Multiple Active Views

That is not having to click to activate a view. So start drawing in one window and finish in another without having to activate the view.

I am talking here of multi-view windows as the process of opening up separate windows does in fact have the functionality I am after - you can just pass the cursor from one window to another and input will work - so snapping is active across windows.

But with multi view the snapping is not active until you activate the view - I am asking for the separate windows functionality to be the same for a multi view (or else add tiling commands and options to open multiple windows and do away with the multi view.)


Also Multi view is another area of the program that seems to generate lots of crashes.



Synch Zoom

With multiple windows open and synch zoom on then zooming in on one part of the model in one view zooms all other views to show a similar portion -but just from a different view. Fit all would have the option to fit all to all open views - so a synch zoom and fit all open views toggles added to Zoom Options.




The help files are really not very good - I struggle to find information that is pertinent and in depth in the help, it is not very searchable and information seems to be missing - for instance I can find about 10 pages or so of information about scenes listed but not one of these actually mentions the scenes and how they work and what they are for? Perhaps I am just getting old and not noticing.



Part 2 to follow with some Tool options and changes to the graphics input.














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