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My 2 cents on the UI


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First of all, nice tool. Great work.

I will sound a bit nitpicking, but i thought you might be interested in my first hand experience with Paint.NET. I have some background in using Photoshop (5.5) and GIMP (recent). The Paint version i used was 'Paint.NET 2.2 (Alpha 1 Release build 2.2.2067.27821)'.

1. Floating windows in my way

The first thing i noticed was that the floating windows are obstructing my workspace. For example if i have an image 800x800 and the workspace area is around 750x750 i can not edit the corners of my image without moving the floating windows.

My wish: hot key for hiding all floating windows (IIRC Tab-key in PS)

2. Floating windows move ... now

Then i tried to move the floating windows outside of the main window. At first i didn't manage to move them past the border, but soon i discovered that i could move them out on the oposing side (i'll explain it later). Now i moved the tool box _around_ the main window to place it to the left.

What happened? Obviously you can only move the floating windows over the border at a certain speed of the mouse, which explains why i couldn't move them in the first place. My mouse needed to gather speed and it only happend when i arrived at the oposing side of the window. This feels very strange to me, since i have never seen moving restrictions based on mouse speed in any UI.

My wish: Use the distance to the window border as a threshold.

3. Floating window now move where i want you to be

After finally managing to 'jump over the border' i couldn't place the toolbox in the upper right corner, because the mouse was ahead of the point where I initially started dragging it (relative to the toolbox window). So i had to release the window and grab it again to move it to it's final position.

My wish: After crossing the window border, make the window stick/jump to the mouse cursor position again.

4. Ahhhh it was hard work moving the windows ...

After starting Paint again, it gracefully forgot the window locations. Back to step 1. ;)

My wish: Remember the window locations ... always.

5. Where's the color window?

After stacking some floating windows i noticed that clicking on the color field in the toolbox doesn't raise the color window (in this case obstructed by the layer window).

My wish: Raise the color window when clicking on the color fields in the toolbox.

6. Rulers are strange

I noticed that the ruler somehow is part of the working area e.g. i can start painting inside the ruler which might also trigger the auto-panning.

My wish: The rulers shouldn't be part of the working area.

7. Rulers still strange

The ticks on the ruler show some sort of 'rounding error'. Example: start Paint, switch to 25% zoom. You should see the ticks being shifted right by some pixels.

My wish: fix it ;)

8. Pan by space key

Change the zoom setting via the tool bar. Try to pan the image using the space-key shortcut. Now the zoom combo box gets filled with spaces and i can't pan either. There is no easy way to get the focus back into the working area without using a tool and the only tool that doesn't alter the image or change the selection is the ... *drummroll* ... pan hand tool :)

My wish: Make the zoom combo box 'space insensitive'.

9. Pan by space key revisited

Same as ( 8 ) but this time i changed the layer. Now my layer gets invisible when i try to space-pan (in fact the visibility tick gets re-/setted)

My wish: Make the layer visibility tick 'space insensitive'.

10. Select nothing

I terribly miss a shortcut for 'Select nothing'.

My wish: obvious.

11. Move layers

I first thought that layers can not be moved. After a while and a coffee, i noticed that by using 'Select all' and 'Move Selection' tool i can move a layer.

My wish: When nothing is selected, make the 'Move Selection' tool move the whole layer.

12. I'm german. Please give me back the _english_ version

I would love to have the possibility to select the language.

BTW: the german translation is realy good, no complaints on my side.

My wish: ...

13. Some minor things nagging here and there

a) The ordering of layers in the layer window feels backwards to me. I would expect the background to be down and the topmost layer to be at the top.

B) The zoom icons in the toolbar feel switched to me. I would expect the (+) zoom to be right and (-) to be left. (i constantly click the wrong ones)

c) The shadow around the image is distracting. I would love to have just a simple rectangle.

d) When double clicking a layer, it would be nice to have the layer description/name field focused and completely selected. So i could start typing away instantly.

e) Confirmation dialogs shouldn't be transparent (e.g. after dropping an image on Paint '..Open as new or as a layer...').

::::THE END::::

I hope you didn't lose interest on your way through my nitpicking.

Keep up the good work

... Martin ...

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Great feedback, thank you so much.

Here's a respone for each point:

1. It's a compromise between 'in your way' and 'reducing your screen real estate.' We chose to maximize the usable screen real estate. This is especially important for people running at 1024x768 or 768x1024, esp. on a Tablet PC.

2 - 4. Our floating window "position manager" is buggy. We know this. We need to fix it.

5. Good point. I've filed a bug.

6. Bug filed.

7. Again, bug filed!

8. Hmm ... this focus stuff is a pain :) The problem is that the edit box for the zoom widget has the input focus. Quite possibly we could have it relinquish focus whenever it sees the spacebar pressed. I've filed a bug.

9. This seems to happen when you click on the current selected layer. If you click on *another* layer, the focus is put back to the workspace. I've filed a bug.

10. Edit -> Deselect, or Ctrl+D, or there's a button on the toolbar.

11. We had it this way during some early builds of v1.0, and everybody thought it was terribly confusing. So we removed it. The workaround? Ctrl+A, press M (for move tool), then move the stuff around.

12. We're still figuring out how to do this localization stuff, so bear with us :) I've filed a bug for this specifically.

13a. True. We wrote it this way because honestly it was easier this way, and we haven't changed it for two reasons: 1. it works and we're focusing on other areas of the app, 2. the moment we change this we'll confuse everybody used to our new backwards way! However, eventually we will be changing other things which will require a revaming of this layer box. At that point we'll probably make it "upside up".

13b. Bug filed.

13c. I like it :)

13d. I agree. Bug filed. Easy to fix, too.

13e. Bug filed, I agree.

The Paint.NET Blog: https://blog.getpaint.net/

Donations are always appreciated! https://www.getpaint.net/donate.html

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Also, for #12 (english UI preference), until we have a button or some way to choose this, you may simple rename or delete the file "PaintDotNet.Strings.de.resources" (the .de part is important) in the installation directory.

The Paint.NET Blog: https://blog.getpaint.net/

Donations are always appreciated! https://www.getpaint.net/donate.html

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Martin, as Rick already mentioned we're still considering the best approach to language selection. However, I think that Paint.NET should default to Windows' UI language. Are you running Paint.NET on a German version of Windows right now? If so, what's the point of having an application with a different UI language? And, no, this is not a rhetorical question so please let me know what your ideal user scenario is and why. :-)

This post is made "AS IS" without warranties and confers no rights.

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13b. We put out an update today (go to Help -> Updates -> Check Now if you don't get the "blinking green circle" in the toolbar) and I *thought* this was fixed. Turns out Tom misinterpreted the bug description ("swap the buttons") and swapped the keyboard shortcuts instead. Oops. Anyway, just an fyi.

The Paint.NET Blog: https://blog.getpaint.net/

Donations are always appreciated! https://www.getpaint.net/donate.html

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@Rick Brewster ...

Thank you for the tip. I'll switch to english. :)

I wouldn't have noticed the swapped shortcuts, since i use the Ctrl-(+)/(-) shortcuts (old habit, in fact Adobe habit).

@Dennis Dietrich ...

I also think that defaulting to the Windows UI language is the way to go (btw: i use a German Win2K). Though for me there are several reasons to switch to english:

* Sometimes the German translation is bloody potato (not in this case, the German translation of Paint is realy good).

(EDIT)

Small anecdote: there is a game for the Sony PS2 with a splasher saying 'Sony Geschenke'. If you speak German and think about it for while you know what happened. In English it would have said 'Sony presents' and if you translate 'presents' to German you might get 'Geschenke' which is the German word for (pl.) present/gift.

(/EDIT)

* German runs wider than English and sometimes the translators start to throw around ugly abbrevations (go have a look at the German nVidia drivers for a good laugh :lol: ). In other cases the layout can't handle longer captions gracefully and cuts them half way.

* a lot of programs don't have German translations and so i'm much more used to the English descriptions.

* If i look for information about specific problems of a program, i have a much broader variety of Usenet/BBS postings dealing with the English version. It's also easier to search for a specific error message (sometimes i have to translate error messages back to English to find something useful).

* If i submit bugs, i usually have to deal with english speaking developers and it's way easier to describe bugs using the 'default' developers language (of course there are a lot of non-English speaking devs around, in this case it's sort of the least common denominator).

(EDIT)

* Software developed by english speaking devs, is most likely more extensively tested in an English environment.

An anecdote again: I recently wrote an asp.net application using VS 2003. VS defaulted to German which didn't bother me at first. But after the solution wizards couldn't even open the example applications i got suspicious. I changed the UI language of VS to English and suddenly all problems disappeared.

(/EDIT)

*** Now for something completely different***

I've noticed another thing that i think is not optimal. The tolerance slider of the toolbox window is too small in my opinion. Especially when using the ohhh soooo sensitive magic wand, a small change in tolerance can make the selection completely useless.

My wish: When i click on the tolerance slider, i would like to have a wider slider popup (like the volume control in the tray bar, left single click). Maybe in addition to a spinner control for fine grained control.

OK that's it for now. I'll keep reading this space.

... Martin ...

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Hi Martin!

I'm happy that you like the translation (although you're not going to use it ;-)). Anyway, thanks for the detailed feedback. This is exactly what I wanted to know. I'll discuss with Rick what we will do but I think you've got a very good point and if I understood you correctly a simple "Use English user interface" command somewhere in the menus would be sufficient to make you (and hopefully others) happy.

By the way, I know what you're talking about and the anecdote about that PS2 game was quite funny. I still have the German version of "Sonic CD" for PC and it also contains some weird translations (and won't run on Windows 95 hosted by Virtual PC 2004 ).

This post is made "AS IS" without warranties and confers no rights.

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Hi Dennis, sorry to say ... i switched to English. :)

Yes, a simple 'Switch to English' command would be fine. In fact renaming files or editing registry entries is also a viable solution for me.

About your Sonic problem. For years ntcompatible.com is my first stop for compatibility problems. There is even an entry for Sonic CD:

http://www.ntcompatible.com/Sonic_CD_c11372.html

Following the trail i found at:

http://forums.gamexc.com/archive/index.php/t-1253.html

... links to a patcher which should solve your problem:

http://sonicology.fateback.com/downloads/utilities/SonicCDfix.part1.rar

http://sonicology.fateback.com/downloads/utilities/SonicCDfix.part2.rar

*Warning* I have not tried it (i don't even have Sonic CD). It might do something evil :twisted: You better run it in a virtualized environment and do some diffs afterwards.

Have fun ... Martin

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