Tool Styles are counterintuitive; other problems using Width as an example

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vertexbbq
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Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:07 am

Tool Styles are counterintuitive; other problems using Width as an example

Postby vertexbbq » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:33 am

Two issues but are interconnected. I will summarize here and then elaborate below.

1. How tool styles are counter-intuitive to every other paint program
2. Problems with panels using the Width box as an example

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Regarding tool styles, If I draw a new line, I have 2 choices as to how to set the width and colors for that line
1. from the last selected line I created
2. setting a "default style" in preferences

But why do I have to draw a line and then set it's color and width? Or why do I have to click on an old line to set the colors for a new line?

This is the opposite of every drawing program I have ever used. In Photoshop, one picks the brush style and colors and then draws, not the other way around. So I find myself drawing a line, then fixing the width and color needlessly, and repeating this because this behavior ad nauseam. Inkscape's way constantly confuses me, as I am unsure when I draw what exactly the result will be. I constantly find myself forgetting what the color and width will be because I modified something like a box before switching back to the pencil.

I'd also point out that setting a shape totally nullifies the width parameter and thus creates more confusion for me

Setting a shape for drawing will always set the width to 0. Thus, I can not inherit the last width from a previous object, which means I have to set the width for shaped lines every single time using the special width node. Also, the Stroke Style panel becomes useless.

And even more crazy is that I must always draw in black if using a shaped pen and then set the color afterwards. Where is the consistency in this?

In all, FAR more time is spent than if I was just able to set the width and color before drawing.


**************************************

And when trying to interact with the Width box there are more usability problems
1. Hitting Enter or Escape does not focus the canvas
2. The up/down buttons don't focus the canvas after being pressed
3. The up/down buttons don't display updates until the mouse button is released

In many other programs, typing into a textbox (Width in this case) and hitting enter or escape will confirm or cancel the value and then refocus the canvas (drawing area). In Inkscape, I type in a width and hit enter, but the focus stays in the width field

So what commonly happens is I'll hit enter, and then press "S" because I want to change to the select tool, but instead an "S" gets typed into the Width textbox. So frustrating. Or I will click on the canvas and try to move something only to find that I have to click a second time to actually select that object

And in most programs, clicking the up/down buttons would keep the focus on the canvas. Instead Inkscape focuses the Width textbox, creating the following scenario.

I change the Width using the up/down buttons, and then I'll hit "S" for select tool. Instead I will type "S" into the textbox, even though I never explicitly clicked inside the textbox. Thus, I am forced to click somewhere on the canvas to focus it, and am unable to switch tools until I do so.

Lastly, if I click hold on an up/down button, the value will not be updated until I release the mouse button. Again, this is contrary to every other program I have used. The updated value should be displayed in realtime. Instead I am forced to guess as I hold down the button, or to just type the value in manually. Afterwards I must somehow get the focus back to the object I was working on, typically by doing far more clicking than should be required.


**************************

My suggestions are as follows

1. A toolbar across the top for setting Fill Color, Outline Color, Width, Shape before drawing
2. Remove inheriting style from last object, instead set these values before drawing
3. Remove setting default style in preferences, instead add tool presets (to the toolbar listed at #1)
4. Allow setting width/color for shaped styles beforehand
5. Altering anything in a panel should immediately refocus the canvas
6. Display updates to a value being modified using the up/down buttons in realtime (up/down arrows)


All of this in hopes that painting or drawing, in my case with a tablet, becomes easier and more intuitive. Thanks

Moini
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Re: Tool Styles are counterintuitive; other problems using Width as an example

Postby Moini » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:20 am

Actually, you can set the fill and stroke color before you draw (at least, in a limited way) already. Watch the indicator in the top right:

Image

I know that this is not the same as what you're asking for, as you cannot set patterns, or stroke styles or gradients etc. - but perhaps this will still help you with your workflow.
For the feature request, please rather visit the Inkscape bug tracker at https://bugs.launchpad.net/inkscape, or join the discussion on the Inkscape development mailing list (http://sourceforge.net/p/inkscape/mailm ... ape-devel/, this exact topic has been discussed a couple of weeks ago).
Something doesn't work? - Keeping an eye on the status bar can save you a lot of time!

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brynn
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Re: Tool Styles are counterintuitive; other problems using Width as an example

Postby brynn » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:21 pm

(Note that developers don't usually visit this forum, and likely won't see your comments. As Moini indicated, you'll need to use the bug tracker or mailing list (or development IRC) to have your comments seen by them. This is a user support forum - by users, for users.)

1. How tool styles are counter-intuitive to every other paint program


Inkscape is not a paint program, and it's not likely to be developed in the direction of being a paint program. Inkscape is a vector graphics editor.

Because it's a vector graphics editor, setting a shape (I'm assuming you must mean on the Pen or Pencil tools) is not the same thing as a brush. Although it's the closest thing Inkscape has to a brush, it's not a brush. The shape settings cause whatever you draw with that tool to automatically have LPEs (live path effects) applied to them.

You might also notice, when you set a shape for Pen or Pencil tools, and draw a path, it's not identified as having a stroke. (See the Style Indicator, on the left side of the status bar.) So how could it have a width if it's not a stroke? While it's not technically a closed path, it acts like a closed path, with a fill and no stroke.

So of course the Stroke Style tab can't be used anymore, because it has no stroke. Although I've recently learned that you CAN add a stroke to something that you draw with Pen or Pencil tool with shape option. Then the Stroke Style tab can be used to style the stroke.

I can't figure out what you mean by "width box", so I can't offer any comments about it.

In general, I would say that if you want a paint program, you should use a raster graphics editor.

As far as I understand Inkscape's development goals, Inkscape strives to a vector editor which follows the SVG standards, almost to the letter. If there's not an SVG standard for it, then Inkscape probably doesn't have it (and never will, unless an SVG standard is created for it ). (Afaik, flowed text is the only exception.)

Also afaiu, Inkscape doesn't strive to be like any other program. It's not meant to be a free replacement tool for AI, for example, as many people apparently think. To me, it's unrealistic to install new program and expect it to act like all other programs in its genre.

Inkscape is very complex tool, which serves many different professions, vocations, and avocations. If Inkscape wanted to be primarily an artist's tool, I'm sure many features would work differently. You could peruse the Inkscape website, to learn more about it. inkscape.org

vertexbbq
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Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:07 am

Re: Tool Styles are counterintuitive; other problems using Width as an example

Postby vertexbbq » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:43 am

Thank you both for clearing up some of my misconceptions about Inkscape.

The rest is for @brynn

I can't figure out what you mean by "width box", so I can't offer any comments about it.


Fill & Stroke window > Stroke Style > Width

The gist of the second half of my original post was simply using the width box as an example, but applies to interacting with any sliders, textbox, incdec, etc that appear in the dock. And that gist was that the canvas (where one draws) should always preserve focus when interacting with said widgets

So of course the Stroke Style tab can't be used anymore, because it has no stroke. Although I've recently learned that you CAN add a stroke to something that you draw with Pen or Pencil tool with shape option. Then the Stroke Style tab can be used to style the stroke.


What I have learnt since posting this as well is that shaped lines apply a path effect (power stroke).

In general, I would say that if you want a paint program, you should use a raster graphics editor.


I have several raster programs that I make use of in Linux. Inkscape is seemingly the only vector program that is both developed and still in development that, to me at least, seems worth learning.

I had said that in traditional paint programs that the width and color are set first. @Moini helped me to see that I could set the color first, but not width. Being able to specify a width beforehand for regular and shaped lines (unless technically impossible) is the feature I am after

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z3z
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Re: Tool Styles are counterintuitive; other problems using Width as an example

Postby z3z » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:15 pm

I'm sorry you're having difficulties, but it might be worth trying to adjust your mindset a little for vector work. With paint programs, you need to set colour/size etc before you touch the brush to the canvas, because once those pixels are painted, it can be difficult to remove them. That's absolutely not the case with vector. You create your lines, shapes, objects etc and you can move them wherever you want. You can stretch them, squash them, change colour, size and shape, apply gradients, strokes etc etc after the fact. Because you can so easily alter objects afterwards, the need to set parameters in advance (so important with raster images) is far less important with vector.

We've all got our own way of working and there's certainly no right or wrong way to approach your work (only the way that best suits you), but I'm wondering if you're still approaching vector work with a 'raster' mindset, and that might be holding you back.

vertexbbq
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Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:07 am

Re: Tool Styles are counterintuitive; other problems using Width as an example

Postby vertexbbq » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:20 am

@z3z So what would be the disadvantage with setting the width before drawing ?


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