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Form Z Palette System


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I have never managed to utilize the New FZ9 Palette system.  I thought the reason was that I was using a Wacom tablet.  So, I bought a logitec mouse.  I am still having problems , some examples of issues that drive me nuts.

1) Using the scroll wheel in the Project window.  I like to do this as it makes navigating around the project a lot faster.  But when you use the scroll function to move the palette windows up and down it sometimes interferes with the project window.  Especially around the top of the palette window.

2) I never know where to place the cursor in the palettes so that I can scroll from say lights back up to the material palette via the layers palette.  Going over the layers palette in some of my projects is like driving through Kansas (its a long haul).  

3) If you want to reorganize inside a palette and wish to drag say one layer from the bottom of the layer palette to the top, the layer window does not scroll but it works from top to bottom.

Grouping the Palettes works to a degree but does not eliminate the problem.  I tried placing all palettes on a 2nd monitor which was fine for awhile but the workspaces get corrupted and stop working after awhile.  I have tried archiving workspaces and reloading but it takes a lot of energy to keep them working.

My proposal is that maybe ADS could create some videos showing how they see folks using FZ?  But doing demos with really large files that have upwards of 4000  objects, 80 Layers 50 finishes, 20 views etc.

I really feel like I cannot get my head around FZ9 in terms of making it work for me.  When I started with Blender, I was horrified at its interface but boy does it flow well when you are using it.  

I thought I would just mention my frustrations, as I am curious as to whether it is just me . . .

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I agree with your observations. See the attach how I use my layout.

By the way, I like the Maxwell Render layout how it is controlled. No surprises where to place menu's. rock solid layout.

FormZ LG HDR 5K 5120x2160.png

Edited by Hugo
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In an other post, I suggested the option to have 3 columns left or right of the working area to store menu's.

My setup is a Macbook Pro M1 max connected to a LG HDR 5K 5120x2160 screen, with MacOs 12.3.1 and FormZ

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Thanks Hugo for sharing your layout.

I think your layout makes a lot of sense.  It would be nice if ADS made it so that if one created two rows of palettes, they would lock together (same like in Adobe Photo).  But maybe they do and I just dont know how to do it?

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What exactly you don’t know how to do?

To get the layout with 2 columns? This is not organised by ADS. You should make the main layout smaller, then pull out the Layer or menu and place it just next to the main layout on the desktop. 

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The palettes give no end of grief. I save multiple copies to allow for them corrupting.
New palettes created show in the menu but are only a pixels in size and are impossible to add tools to and are not able to be deleted so I have many useless palettes in my dropdown menu.
No amount of preference deletions solves it either.
Dragging the layers, materials, objects palettes to reorder is pretty hit and miss too. 
There are quite a few solutions posted but none have worked for me.

Would be great to have this solved.


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same observations here. while i see some improvement in the main window containing switchable palettes, the general palette - workspace system is unreliable and always has been, at least since version 7. as i am working with a 2 screen setup, the secondary screen layout just containing floating palettes and tools has been the biggest issue. in version 9.2.x, unfortunately saved workspaces don't just set up the screen correctly when reset or imported from saved ones. the only way i found out to fix screen layouts gone bad, is to keep a zipped backup the /Users/username/Library/Preferences/autodessys/formZ 9.0 pro/Workspaces folder and replace that after a corruption. i would prefer to save my screen layout when quitting the application - to get the same workspace again on which i was working with the project, but since this destroys the setup many times, i keep it locked (don't save between sessions in workspace manager) for  now.

aother  major problem is that sometimes the top bar of palettes is not grabbable anymore because for some reason formz moved it over the top border of the secondary screen. in this case, if you don't have a backup, it's time to rebuild the whole palette layout... see screenshot below. it would be helpful if we could grab palettes on all sides to move them around the screen.

a third problem area is that not all palettes can be resized, generating gaps in the screen layout. a distracting interface patchwork is the result.

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I'll echo the Palette and UI concerns...  But to be fair,  it has gotten better from v7 to v8 and now v9.  Is it as good as we would all like?  Nope.  But it has improved, none the less.  Maybe a full universal app is coming with FormZ 10?  This would help all platforms of users get the same experience.  I'm optimistic.

I'm also a multi monitor user with 3 - 24" 1920x1200 monitors.  I've been using this setup for many years and I feel it offers me the best multi tasking experience, and it's very efficient for me when working quickly through projects.  I think this is why, like many of you others, I have trouble with the palettes system on multi screens.  It just wasn't designed to do that.  My palettes never stay where I put them unless they are on the main screen, and even then, it's somewhat unpredictable.  The new Inspector palette is by far the worst culprit for me and I very much miss the old v8 of that.  I'd love to spread FormZ out to part of my right side monitor, but every time I do, my FormZ preferences gets corrupted.  So I just keep everything FormZ on my main middle screen with the exception of the VRay Frame Buffer (VFB), which floats around depending on my project.  This works well for me and hasn't been unstable so I keep the workspaces "Save between sessions" unchecked.

Markus-  just a heads up, if you leave your Material Parameters palette open all the time, you may have issues.  It's not designed to stay open all the time, and sometimes when you do an action like deleting a material from the material list, then the material parameters palette will freeze, forcing a FormZ restart to keep working.  It also slows down FormZ because it is trying to constantly update every time you click on something.  The same with the Inspector palette, so best to keep that closed or minimized.  Just sharing some first hand experience here.  Keep it closed and you may find FormZ working better...

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I set up a two monitor workspace that seems to be working fine in general. 

Minimal customization of the default workspace is my recommendation.  My workspace can be rebuilt from scratch in about 10 minutes if need be.  I haven't had to do that in a while now.  I have had to reset using my saved workspace on a somewhat regular basis (not every day, but more often than desired).  


Main complaints are:

Palettes can "disappear" into the top bar very easily.  I can detach them, but they can only float over the modeling window.

It is hard to rearrange things on the top bar to reduce blank space.  See below - a lot of unused grey area.

I miss that in v8 the palette dock was not fixed on the right side.  The new right side palette dock has drastically reduced the modeling window space.

I miss the scroll bar from the Palette Dock quite a bit.  Scrolling the v9 dock is quite a chore.

In full screen mode I wish I could select specific palettes to remain on screen.  For example, when presenting in full screen on a laptop to a client I can't keep any palettes open to control views or turn off/on layers.  It's either keep all palettes on or quit full screen to show/hide palettes for every change required during the presentation.

I would love to be able to do walk throughs without the yellow feet of target box on for client presentation or screen recording walk throughs.  Only as an option that can be toggled on/off as the feet and target are helpful for navigation.  In the Zoom era I do a lot of walk throughs.


I have Layers, Materials, Material Parameters, Tool Options + Inspector on one monitor.  Removing these allows me to keep scrolling to a minimum in the Palette Dock.   I have a few floating palettes I use a lot at the top of the modeling window.  


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  • 9 months later...

Recently, after trying formZ with Sidecar on macOS Ventura with an iPad, I started working with two screens for the first time. For many years, I worked mobile, but now I work at home on a Mac mini M1 with a 27" monitor, so it makes sense. I decided to buy a 16" (2560x1600, 16:10) external monitor, and after some more tests, I personalized a second workspace. Overall, I don't have issues with my interface customizations, and this new workspace works well so far. Although there are glitches, as we know, they are minor in my case.

As an unbreakable rule, when I start formZ, I must do it with mirrored screens. Then, I can switch to extended screens and between workspaces if I want. If I pause my work for a while and the 16" screen turns off to save energy, when I turn it back on to continue, the workspace gets a little out of sync, but I can recover it, and it's not a big deal.

I share a couple of videos to show how my new setup works.

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