Regarding the usability of the program...

Discuss issues pertaining to the Creature Animation Editor here.
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sinspaw
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:14 pm

Regarding the usability of the program...

Post by sinspaw » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:28 am

Hello

I love Creature. You got a great piece of software that has got some incredible technology, both in terms of animating and interacting with game engines. In many respects like no other program. Plus I have to say it's really pleasant that whenever there's a doubt or an issue, it's quickly resolved through these forums. It gives me a lot of confidence in the program. That said, sadly there are things that I had hoped would work better by now. Having experience with using other animation programs in the market, there are some things that I think Creature should really have to facilitate its use. These are some suggestions I would like to make to improve the usability inside Creature, which to be honest is the only thing I don't think this program does very well. I honestly mean no disrespect to all the good work you've been doing, but since this is for the betterment of the program, I hope you don't mind. :) Also, I hope I haven't missed anything and am asking for stuff that's already in the program, if that happens I apologize. So here goes:

- Adding regions in mesh mode. When I re-import an image atlas, the program resets the names of my regions (even though it does keep them in Rig mode). My issue is I would like to be able to add a region without having to lose the names of all the others when I re-discover the regions again. Just add a button to "add region" and select the triangles you want from the image. Right now only the program can do it to begin with, even if the player can then edit. I shouldn't have to duplicate a region to get a new one from the image. Unless I'm doing something wrong anyway.

- Shortcuts
. I think that there needs to be a drastic change in this department. I primarily animate with bone transform, not with motors, and changing between frames and keyframes is a pain. Spriter for example can have you change between key frames, start and stop the animation with the keys 1, 2, 3 and 4. That is incredibly easy to use, especially since it's so close to WASD keys. In creature, there's alt+, and alt+. to change key frames. These keys are simply not intuitive. Please, make it only one key. Furthermore, why do I have to press space AND shift to play the animation? What's wrong with just space? It seems like the shortcuts should simply be... simpler. For example, if I want to paste the whole of the key frames from one place to another, I have to press ctrl-shift-d to copy and then... ctrl-shitft-a. Why is this simply not ctrl-c and ctrl-v like in in everything else? I shouldn't need to press 3 keys to do something so simple. At least let the user change, please. Good shortcuts can cut the time it takes you to get where you want by a serious amount.

- Changing Z order in Rig Mode. I've recently had a couple of hundred images to process in the program. You might argue that that's not realy what you made the program in mind with, but at the end of the day, even if it's just 20 images, having to click my way through to the top becomes a burden quite quickly. Even with ctrl+pg up it's still not intuitive, especially since the window resets everytime you move something, so you lose track to where you picked up the object to begin with. Ideally, you'd want the user to be able to simply drag it to the position they want.

- Re-sizing windows inside the program. Another issue that comes with many images is that many of the windows of the program are fixed sized. If I want to look at more than 12 items I simply cannot, and it would be useful to be able to max those windows the way we need them to.

- Be able to hide everything in Rig mode. When I'm using Rig mode, every time I re-open Creature the images there have reset to all being visible. Again, with few pictures this is OK, but with more than a few it's a lot of time to waste to hide everything you don't want to see again. Now, skin swapping has helped with this issue, but when I'm mapping the weights of the regions, skin swapping doesn't work so it's back to the original problem. At least let us hide everything in one button so that at least I can turn on only the ones I need to work with.

- Re-order animation list. I know it's not that important, but at the end of the day when you rack up 30 or 40 animations and you want to categorize them, all you can do is rename them, because the order of the animations remains the same as they were created. It's fine for 5 or 6, but for 20 or 30 ideally you can locate what you want to work with much more ease.

Now I'm not expecting you to do all these things especially since I'm well aware they cost time to code. But please consider the usability of your program so that you can work with this great technology with a lot more ease.

Whilst some of these might not seem like they are that important, believe me when your processing a couple of dozens of images and trying to get them all sorted, all these things have an influence in the speed that you can get things done in the program.


I bought this program years ago and what stopped me from using it was how hard it was to get my work done quickly and with ease even though I always liked the things it could do. It's gotten a lot better, and the features you've added to the program have been amazing, so much in fact I got the pro version recently. So I really hope you improve its usability however you can. :)

Thanks.

Regards

chong
Posts: 702
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:21 am

Re: Regarding the usability of the program...

Post by chong » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:51 am

Hello,

Thanks for the very useful list :) Actually, all the points you raised are very good ones!
If you read through the forum posts, you will notice that I address user concerns very often :)
Obviously all the things you listed down will take time to implement, however, most of them sound like very reasonable requests to me.

The way Creature development works is: I normally try to address the issues that can be fixed more easily first, followed by the ones that take more time. That way, users can get the improvements much faster as opposed to waiting for a long update.

I have read through all your notes, they are very good pieces of feedback. You might be interested to know that the next update coming out soon
adds additional meshing functionality for Pro ( merge meshes, delete meshes, as well as manually define new mesh regions without re-meshing )
This is already undergoing testing and will be pushed out hopefully soon. There will also be a basic Spine to Creature convertor tool included with the next update.

After that, I will start taking a look at the list you just wrote for me. The plan is to address usability fixes as well as new cutting edge features for the updates coming up. Thank you again for the very good writeup! I will continue to improve the Creature Animation Tool as time goes by.

PS: For changing between frames, it's just the < and > keys. But yes, I can look into making the shortcuts for jumping between keyframes easier.

Cheers

chong
Posts: 702
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:21 am

Re: Regarding the usability of the program...

Post by chong » Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:06 pm

Hello!

Quick update. I think I will start looking at a possible shortcut customization system for various animation functions.
This isn't something trivial to design and implement but I wanted to let you know it is on the list of TODO items.

Update: I have addressed the annoying Region-Reordering items scrolling view reset issue. The next update will at least have this:

Image

Now items that are re-ordered maintain their scrolling focus in the listbox.

Cheers

sinspaw
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:14 pm

Re: Regarding the usability of the program...

Post by sinspaw » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:20 pm

Wow, once again, awesome response. :)

I appreciate all the good work you've done and keep doing, seriously. I wish all developers were as passionate as you.

I'm glad you see these requests as reasonable as they will really help me and other people in the long run in developing games :)

Thanks for looking into the shortcuts, it will be of great help! And that scrolling list looks awesome! No longer have to look for the item I'm scrolling :D

Keep up the good work man!

chong
Posts: 702
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:21 am

Re: Regarding the usability of the program...

Post by chong » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:30 pm

Hang on there :) There is one more update coming up tonight. Another minor bug fix for text entering. Sorry I did not catch that but it will be updated in a couple of hours.

Thanks!

chong
Posts: 702
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:21 am

Re: Regarding the usability of the program...

Post by chong » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:34 am

Hello,

Another piece of news: The next update of Creature will now try to smartly preserve the names of your mesh regions even after you have added in additional new body parts. As long as the sizes and colours of the original body parts do not change, the algorithm, will through the magic of AI and Computer Vision, attempt to match and preserve the names of the original body mesh regions! The positions of the regions in the newly imported image can be different and it should still work :)

Another Update: Basic HotKey Customization support will also be in for the next update. I will be starting at the Animation Mode level first, with hotkeys for playing animation, stepping through, keyframe jumping, motor value copying etc. Over time, we will be expanding the amount of HotKey customization you can do in the system of course!

Cheers

sinspaw
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:14 pm

Re: Regarding the usability of the program...

Post by sinspaw » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:32 pm

Seriously thank you for your hard work. You're one of the best developers out there.

The region re-mesh intelligence is great! But the addition of hotkey customization will literally save me hours of workload so I'm really looking forward to that.

Keep up the good work :)

sinspaw
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:14 pm

Re: Regarding the usability of the program...

Post by sinspaw » Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:23 am

Hey can I ask you something - would it be possible to get a blueprint node that gets the last frame of the current animation for the Creature Plugin in UE4? Something similar to what the flipbook component has with "get flipbook length" blueprint.

Thanks

sinspaw
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:14 pm

Re: Regarding the usability of the program...

Post by sinspaw » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:21 am

Another question - is there a reason for why I can't set my Creature Asset variable through a blueprint command? If I could switch between assets that would be ideal.

Thanks

chong
Posts: 702
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:21 am

Re: Regarding the usability of the program...

Post by chong » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:05 am

Hello,

I just added 2 BP functions to allow you to retrieve the Start and End times of your animation given the animation name.

Sync and check out the change list here:
https://github.com/kestrelm/Creature_UE ... b7d130c92d

With regard to switching assets, that is a lot more involved unfortunately since it will dwell into the complex mesh + memory allocation issues for each character. It is not something that is trivial to implement for now.

Thanks

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