Face/Edge/Vertex Mode Proposal

The interface, modeling, 3d editing tools, import/export, feature requests, etc

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thorwil
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Post by thorwil »

Monkeyboi wrote:If we throw away the old Blender Edit Mode I predict a swarm of people who will swear they wont touch it until the old edit mode is restored. Besides, the old Edit Mode is a somewhat 'clever' mix between vertex, edge and face mode.
With your 4 modes we would have old system being a whole, plus the 3 modes that must go together. All being presented like being equal. Integrating 2 different concepts, especialy without clear seperation is unelegant, will confuse users and is not efficient to implement.
Don't make Blender trying to be 2 modlers at the same time. Or make at least sure there's a very clear seperation.

Oh, and I wouldn't decribe the current system as mix between vertex, edge and face mode. It's rather an 'interpreted' vertex mode. Very different from what Wings does.
Vertex/Edge/Face mode is a proven stroke of genius that allows for many advanced operations be executed with ease from the user. Switching modes is not a pain. Not being able to is. Splitting things up into these modes will not make things slower or more inconvenient for the user. Quite the opposite. Modeling in Blender would be much faster and easier to do.
Modes can have advantages, but always have drawbacks. It's not as clear as you're trying to make it.
blendix wrote:I can't agree with having 4 modes. 3 modes are bad enough. I agree with thorwil that the modes should not affect extrusion for example, but rather selection.
But they go hand in hand. Extruding edges naturally gives a different result than extruding faces
That's why I proposed splitting extrude up into vertex/edge/face extrude (not with the current system, but selection filters). As it is right now, the type of extrusion gets auto-selected based on the selection (vertex selection is interpreted). With seperate V,E,F modes, type of extrusion will be pre-selected with the mode. And I propose to have no pre-selection, but only one step selection of the kind of extrusion.
This also allows a face selection to always stay a face selection, with out reinterpretation on changing to vertex mode (a good thing, because an edge or face selection is not necessarily equal to the selection of their vertices).

But I'm not strictly against Wings style modes, I'm only against mixing it all up with 4 modes.

blendix
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Post by blendix »

I looked at how Wings organizes its modes more closely, and found that it is not even that incompatible with what I proposed. As far as I can see, there is only one action tool, extrude, that works differently on the 'same' selection in the different modes. The other tool are or available in all modes (the ones in the menubar and move/rotate/scale), or only available in one mode.

What is nice about Wings is that it's RMB menu proposes the most relevant tools. This makes it easier for the user to quickly find the right tools, and gives a nice workflow. Constraining the user this way is not a bad idea imo.

I think that making (almost) all tools available all the time, is not necessarily conflicting with this approach. You would have three 'clever' modes, that would allow you to work the way it is possible now.

But it would also give you the ability to work the same way as in Wings. It's just a matter of menu organization. The most relevant tools would be quickly accessible, and the less relevant tools would be a bit further away in the menu's (but still with the same hotkeys). The toolbox could play an important role in this, by defaulting to a Vertex / Edge / Face menu in a the right mode.

steve_t
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Post by steve_t »

Just my 2 cents

having face, vertex, and edge selection is a staple in most 3D apps. You need different tools for different tasks and it is impossible to say that one or two modes will cover them all.

I like the proposal that was in the original post. But is it possible to have these selection modes while keeping the ability to make a non manifold mesh? Being able to create edges and verticies without faces is something that I really like about blender.

On a final note, I am all for anything that allows edge selection no matter the cost. I have been pushing for hard edges in subsurfaces for some time and obviously you need to have an edge selection mode first.

lukep
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Post by lukep »

steve_t wrote:Just my 2 cents
I like the proposal that was in the original post. But is it possible to have these selection modes while keeping the ability to make a non manifold mesh? Being able to create edges and verticies without faces is something that I really like about blender.
A non manifold mesh can be viewed as a collection of manifold meshes and degenerates ones (only edges) in the same set of vertices. So it should be possible with the adapted internals.

I agree that restricting the current work flow is not the thing to do.
On a final note, I am all for anything that allows edge selection no matter the cost. I have been pushing for hard edges in subsurfaces for some time and obviously you need to have an edge selection mode first.
Edge selection, yes. Full edge mode, not sure about that if you can construct persistent paths in the current structure.

solmax
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Post by solmax »

coming back to my tab/shift + tab switching proposal - i think this will be most convenient for old blender users, since it is closest to how it's done now. here some scenarios:

- tab opens edit mode, with vertex slection mode.
- one more tab - edge selection mode.
- and one more - polygons
- the final one - back to object mode.

shift tab cycles backwards, i.e. poly mode can be entered directly from object mode and left via tab. so the longest part to reach from object mode are edges.

an other issue are modeling operations. the biggest question is, do we keep for the sake of "backward compatibility" some weird new mixed modes or do we distinguish strictly between each selection mode and the operations allowed? take for example a quad poly - we select three of the four vertices and hit extrude. what should happen? being strict only edges should be created, following the old scheme we'd end up with two new polys.

i'd rather say, innovation rules. if some things need to be relearned, that's ok. extruding points creates edges, extruding edges creates polys, and extruding polys creates more polys, with automatic internal poly removal.

of course things become slightly complex, but hey, how else can we tell the interface what exactly we want selected? speaking of that i think of course of wings - i could live with that, too. what i'd hate, though, are the endless and unefficient right-click menus.

marin

oin
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Post by oin »

" Being able to create edges and verticies without faces is something that I really like about blender. "

Wings has that problem because of its internal nature. Don't kill the advantage of editing isolated dots in space, point modelling, etc, which imho is soo great to have in a modeller... I don't have that in Wings (and while I don't have any plan stopping modelling with it, sometimes you miss that)

In metasequoia le, you can model point to point as well as extruding faces, box modelling. yet much less powerful in that than Wings.

In wings, that what you mention of what operation does what is not a problem. if you hit v for vertex mode, just you can only do what you can do in wings witha vertex. Extrude will extrude, but in a different way...
You can't "put on" (rotate,locate an object, automatically so two objects gets joined by two selected faces.(the weld done with bridge, if wished)) in vertex mode, for example.

Solmax, I really like your idea, and seems way less agressive to old blender users. But is also better by itslef in workflow. one finger , one key...way better!

Still, for new users (those also new to 3d too, as 3d people will love that tab thing ;)) may you put a vertex icon, edge icon (triangle in wireframe :rolleyes:) face icon. (hey, this is a said, an standard...)

but to advanced modellers (no matter the tool they come from) that multiple tab rocks!
imho (I tend to think v, e, f, slows a bit... yet quicker than going to the edit mesh in max, though there are other ways ;))

Metasequoia as i said use a do it all, activate any combinatin method, in a way I don't see in other softwares (in tweak mode in wings it happens, but...) ..it just each tool is restricted to work with one of the elements, simply wont let you select an edge with extrude. For that you do a pull, that actually extrudes an edge as I always thought it should...

the shift tab going back rocks, and connects with the old msdos menus and later win3.11 and 9x, etc way to cycle between buttons :)
Both keys are near enough to be "ergonomical".. :)Nice idea.

btw, the continuous right click in wings stuff is avoided setting ur hotkeys...Try this, right click, mouse over a command, hit "insert" key ...hit the key you wish for that..I think that's like Gimp?

I mean, I model a lot with keys in wings. Only for the most usual commands as too lazy to set them all.But could do so , and save prefferences txt in a very safe place to just replace with new installations (wings update very often)

"backward compatibility"...yes, for the blender old users, and also, as clever thing is use what is powerful in Blender, and mix it with new power.. no?


"quad poly - we select three of the four vertices and hit extrude. what should happen? being strict only edges should be created, following the old scheme we'd end up with two new polys. "

in meta or wings...it simply wont let you do a quad specific operation in a tri, if that concept existed in Wings, in Metasequoia, as I said if you select to faces and hit ctrl+j, you don't weld them, it gives u a diminute info window say no vertex selected. :) Actually, this is nonsense, as in the meta's workflow, you'll never do that... you know what each tool does as your own name ;)

"extruding points creates edges, extruding edges creates polys, and extruding polys creates more polys, with automatic internal poly removal. "

I'd agree with that too, in any modeller...

btw, the open meshes workaround in wings is using the hole material. A blue material that once exported as OBJ gets deleted. Playing with that it even has advanatges. Like...playing faces that aren't...totally dead...(sounds weird..;) ) You don't actually loose them but keep clearly marked in blue...well , hard to explain.
Is a disadvantage, specially for low pol (in which I am more) For hi res, I doubt it can ever become a bad thing.

Even so, I model with it allways, so big are the advantages.
Last edited by oin on Thu Apr 22, 2004 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

emack
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Internal edge crease storage?

Post by emack »

All the various methods of selecting edges sound interesting, but if possible could edge-based crease storage for subdivision surfaces be added first? After the internal storage routine is set, a variety of means/interfaces for accessing it can be tried.

This provides a nice interim solution for people who are used to modeling in other modelers (Wings/Silo) that support creased subd. Right now, the crease information is lost upon import to Blender. With this, one can model using one's choice of modelers and import to Blender for animation and rendering.

Thanks,

Eliot

oin
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Post by oin »

well..In wings, the crease for subdivision..is a curious thing. Wings uses same hard edges concept for low pol edges where theres an smooth groups/autosmooth normals crease, than for subdivision crease.

The only way I know to port it outside, no matter if it is to blender or whatever, is by OBJ file, and exporting the atosmooth/groups info (well, the hard edges) Indeed, it should be exported as well, but, only if the converter or package supports reading smooth groups, and does it well, will import the creases.

Autosmooth in wings what does is you set an angle and it is the angle threshold to appear creases. Between to faces. If the angle is smaller than the threshold (or was the oposite??) then a crease appear...well, heck, as it is in every package... I just do 60º for objects, 75-80 for humans :D

Wings then set the hard edges -creases, depending on that angle threshold. Setting manually is similar than in Max smooth groups setting. But in max you select the faces forming an smooth group, and assign it a number in the surface part of edit mesh/poly, and in wings select edges to be "hard".

If Blender imports that smooth groups info well, and applies same concept on normals creases for subdivide...but if I were you I'd subdivide in wings, and import as is.

Indeed, in wings you can subdivide per area, so a good refined/optimal hi res mesh can come easy to animate, in case you wish.

thorwil
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Cycling is bad!

Post by thorwil »

I think the tab cycle mechanism would be a very bad thing!
2 state toggling can already be problematic, because you have to be aware of the current state. Allthough it works quite well in many cases.
But multi state toggling means having to hit a key several times (my fingers hurt just thinking about it). One easily overshoots the target, something that happens to me with alt+tab window cylcling often enough, allthough I have much practice.

The main problem is the mental burden of having to know the list of states that will be cycled through (without this knowledge, usage will be terrible inefficient: press key once, determine what the current mode is now, press key again ...). Well, a small window presenting the states just like with window cycling would help, but would still require extra effort for making sense of it.

And this proposal doesn't even help old users like was stated, because tab would be no longer a sure way to leave edit mode.

Allowing reverse cycling doesn't help much, because it requires an extra portion of concentration (which the user could better spent on his actual project). But even with reverse cycling going from object to edge mode takes 2 tabs (assuming 3, not 4 modeling modes). Hitting a single key (or combo) to enter the right mode without a doubt is so much better!


Oh and about Wings style versus a flat mode like I proposed: I have the feeling people tend to vote for what the know and might have actualy used. I can understand that to some degree, and I don't pretend there would be no problems / drawbacks to my proposal. But nontheless this lack of imagination (like I perceive it) saddens me.

Dani
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Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2002 8:35 pm

Post by Dani »

Hello...


PART 1 - ABOUT WINGS AND BLENDER

First of all may I remind that wings has this very cool feature called "Tweak"
This is, you have your objet and a two-view set (that's my way of doing it).
One of these views is the normal Wings editing mode, the other is set to "tweak".
In this tweak mode, you point a vertex/face/edge (it highlights them) click and drag and there! you edited your mesh! It's extremely useful when you're doing local editing... you only need to click and drag...
The other view is for all the rest. Multiple selection, rotation extrusion, etc...
So wings uses 5 modes (point, edge, face, objet, tweak)... and each one articulates pretty well with the others.

However... Wings' philosophy is that you're always in "edit mode" and it is very easy to switch from one mode to the other. And this leads to the sensation that Wings is dedicated to editing single objects... I mean that when you add a cube and a sphere, and you edit the cube's edges, the sphere's one also become editable. And this philosophy doesn't suit blender's.


PART 2 - WINGED BLENDER

For me, an 'edit mode' is when you edit the object's structure (not it's position/size/rotation relatively to other objects). This is important.

What I came up with is the following:
Blender would have two "states"

-Rest State
it's the current "non-edit-mode".

-Edition State (per object)
Activated by TAB. It gives acces to the point/edge/face edit modes. Here, some changes are introduced...
The mode selection can be done à-la wings, by overflying the element you want to select and clicking, or by forcing the modes (wings' Vkey, Ekey and Fkey) with hotkeys... Which hotkeys? Indeed the keyboard is almost completely covered by the hotkeys.
Well, some hotkeys, when editing an object are not as usefull as in Rest Mode. For example, when you model an object, you model it in in a single layer, so swithcing through the other layers may not be needed... thus the 1-0 and alt+1-0 keys and combos can be used for something else. The layer controls remain available through the window's header.
So, in edit State, "1" would call the point, "2" the edge, "3" the face mode and in the menus there should be an option to set a window to tweak mode... and to help the user, the header could change color with the edit mode (or the name of the mode would be written in a corner of the view). And at any moment, TAB makes you come back to REST STATE

So it's basically Wings with a better distinction between objects... Oh, I'm not attached to the names I gave here (states, modes, rest etc...) if you dislike them and can come up with something better: absolutely no problem :] Same for the hotkeys (1,2,3...)

So?

Dani

thorwil
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Post by thorwil »

Ah, fresh input!

Wings tweak mode shows that selection on all 3 element levels can work nicely. Now just imagine that clicking reuslts in selection and you would have the behaviour of an selection filter system with everything allowed.

I would prefer to stay with the terms edit and object mode. Already familiar and well matching.

I think selection filters are a more elegant and easier to understand concept than 'forcing' special modes. In the end it's about exclusive modes vs layered ones.

Alternatively normal behaviour would be everything selectable, with the possibility to restrict to any element type by holding down a key. Least modality, but rather untypical for Blender.

In any case these modes/filters should be tied to easy accessible shortcuts. But reusing the number keys is not a good idea. They're not mnemonic. Shortcuts with varying meaning in different modes is problematic enough. But overwriting shortcuts that could perfectly work the same way independent of the current mode can only lead to confusion.

At some point the whole setup of shortcuts will have to be reevalueated anyway (making sure the best assignments go to the most important functions, improving consistency ...).

oin
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Post by oin »

I really didnt like and yet don't, when it was added Tweak mode's last selection style.Before...tweak selection was better...it was like standard wings system. but that's my opinion.

I like the multiple mode(it works more accurate) in Metasequoia, but in wings, picking in tweak multiple mode is not as accurate, so you usually end up picking unwanting edges or faces instead of 'that' vertex. Also, Usually I get into tweak, as most people, to model quicker a low polygon model (indeed this tweak thing resembles a metasequoia type of modelling, click (select and move at same time)) or...to use magnet so to move big masses of vertices with a soft selection style...in case doing a high res model.

I have modelled with many softwares,(the mentioned plus zbrush, amorphium, max, a bit maya, open fx, quake modeller, Organica,old 3ds under DOS, softy, etc) and must admit that wings is one of the UIs I prefer of all. Yet I like much also other ones..getting used to blender's.

is not only a matter of creativity in design, but learn from other discoverings sometimes, and also if provide a bit of common ways in general handling, makes the arrival of new users much possible. And to the user that comes, way easier to translate her/his 3d knowledge to Blender. So, another 2 cents more...

Monkeyboi
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Post by Monkeyboi »

I think it could be very problematic with with vertex/edge/face selection all in one mode. You would often select the wrong thing because there would be som many things to select very close to each other.

With your 4 modes we would have old system being a whole, plus the 3 modes that must go together. All being presented like being equal. Integrating 2 different concepts, especialy without clear seperation is unelegant, will confuse users and is not efficient to implement.

I don't think it sounds that confusing, but if only three modes can be implemented, with support for open meshes and floating points in space etc then I'm all for it. I just don't want a scenario where Blewnder users feel the need to use older versions to model things because it was more convenient. Don't get me wrong, I love winged edge modeling, but in some situations it is not always suitable. So, to keep everyone happy, and make a very flexible system, I think the fourth mode, All-in-one Mode (old edit mode) sounds neat. Feel free to convince me otherwise though.

oin
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Post by oin »

" but in some situations it is not always suitable"

actually, please don't go on closed volumes only...is my only serious problem with wings... How much better is to draw point to point in certain situations...(I use hamapatch for stuff like that, or metasequoia wonderful way for that, and reference planes:It'd rock to have in Wings;is great if you have it in blender.)

I dunno...Wings is very quick(for me the quickest), but as it was conceived so since beguinning.

Yet so, I agree with Mokeiboi; vertex/edge/face modes while keeping the way to model like today is done in Blender.

thorwil
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Post by thorwil »

Monkeyboi wrote:I think it could be very problematic with with vertex/edge/face selection all in one mode. You would often select the wrong thing because there would be som many things to select very close to each other.
Therefore pre selection highlighting would have to be implemented. So you can see what will be selected before you click. Works very well in Wings and Solidworks. Would also help with just the current system, because it gives direct feedback on how close you have to be for selecting a vertice.
If a mesh is realy to dense for all three at first face ad later edge selection could be disabled.

I don't think it sounds that confusing, but if only three modes can be implemented, with support for open meshes and floating points in space etc then I'm all for it. I just don't want a scenario where Blewnder users feel the need to use older versions to model things because it was more convenient. Don't get me wrong, I love winged edge modeling, but in some situations it is not always suitable. So, to keep everyone happy, and make a very flexible system, I think the fourth mode, All-in-one Mode (old edit mode) sounds neat. Feel free to convince me otherwise though.
Yes, of course a new system would have to be objectively better. But can't make everybody happy no matter what you do.
It's very important that the modeling part of Blender remains a consistent whole. There should be a low number of basic concepts, without exception or special cases. With your 4 mode proposal the like-now mode would mean the selection will be interpreted by Blender to determine the type of extrusion. BUt the other modes will be llike a pre-selection of the kind of extrusion.
Then lets say you have 3 rectangular faces in a row. Face mode, select 1st and 3rd. Switch to vertex or like-now mode. Switch back ... sorry, but I consider the result of such an operation as ugly, not user-friendly. It's up to the user to change the selection, and this should always happen explicitly, not as side-effect.

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