A 3D Crafter 10 preview is now available. I don’t expect any further changes before the final release, except cosmetically.
IMPORTANT: Unfortunately you’ll need to manually uninstall any earlier betas. This includes uninstalling all “3D Crafter Prerequisites”.
With version 10, 3DCrafter now has a “ribbon” interface. You might know it from Microsoft Office, WordPad, Paint and others. I won’t try to explain it. I hope everyone has used it at some point. One of the benefits of this interface, and the reason I decided to use it, is context specific tabs that show only functions related to your current selection. I think this works particularly well with 3DCrafter.
o) I have organized the main toolbar, the “ribbon” by modelling phase: “Build”, “Paint”, “Layout” and “Animate”. Each of these phases has a toolset associated with it. There’s a toolset button on the left side of the ribbon.
o) There are three user modes available: “Novice”, “Intermediate” and “Expert”. These are available on the “Options” tab. Novice is really just for beginners. It hides many features so that beginners are not overwhelmed. I expect most people will want to use Intermediate, which has all features enabled. Expert is for those who want to work more like 3DCrafter version 9. It combines the Build, Paint and Layout phases into one. Unfortunately this results in a crowded toolset, but I’ll be working to improve that.
o) The Navigation Controls is gone. Gone forever. It was more trouble than it was worth. People tended to get lost, get things turned upside down etc. It has been replaced by “Orbit”, “Pan”, and “Zoom”. These are on the main toolbar, but they can also be accesssed via the center mouse wheel/button. Orbit is the center button, Pan is the shift key held down with the center mouse button, and Zoom is the scroll wheel.
o) The Edit Control is now “compact”. It is basically the same thing, but making it “compact” makes the various surfaces easier to click on because I can orient things more suitably. The one thing you’ll notice is that the vertical scale/move are gone. But, all you have to do is right-click on the surfaces to get vertical scale/move. Just like if you were clicking on an object to move it up and down. I want to get rid of the Edit Control completely at some point, but there are really too many things to do, and I want to put out something as a starting point.
o) The biggest new “feature” is the ability to draw primitives. How it works:
-pick a primitive,
-click to start, drag, (use the scroll wheel to get the detail level you want)
-click to indicate the size you want
-drag again for height (use the scroll wheel to get the vertical detail level you want)
-click to finish
o) with v10 context is everything. You should only get functions that are related to the modelling phase you are in, and what (if anything) you have selected. This will have to be progressively refined through the alpha/beta period.
o) One of the goals is to make it so that normal modelling tasks can be completed without ANY toolbars, panels etc visible, AND without having to remember any complicated key-combinations. I’m still working on this one, but it’s coming along. The key is that the ribbon can be minimized and important tools and operations can be placed in an are called the “Quick Access Toolbar”. I’m going to need help in choosing the standard tools and operations to add to it. Select, Select Point/Edge/Face, and Extrude are obvious ones I’d say. But there are certainly others.
o) The panels that normally were located along the left side now have to be shown using the View tab. Only those panels that are relevant to the toolset you are using are available. During modelling I don’t think any of them need to be displayed normally. Just every once in a while. I imagine it like this: model… model… model… need to look at the layers – show the panel – do something with layers – hide it … model… model… model… need an oddball operation not on a context tab-show the panel use the operation-close it… model… model… model…. When in Paint mode I kind of think it is the same. You choose a material, and then close up the material panel. But that might not always be the case.
o) The settings for an operation (if any) are immediately shown after you apply it to a selection because this is typically when you need them. I’ve tried to make it so that it doesn’t get in the way, but sometimes it does. It isn’t moveable, or closeable. I’d rather it not be. My experience with closing these tool settings is that they always seem to be gone when you need them-and operations almost always need some adjustment to settings. My experience with moving them is that they just end up in the way again in a couple of minutes, so they are constantly being moved and in the way. The way I have done it they are consistent, and it really isn’t that hard to ctrl-center click to pan the scene if something is obscured. That’s just my opinion of course, not everyone is going to agree.
o) The “Info” panel on the right is now context specific also. I “hope” it can always be closed during modelling unless doing a tutorial. I’ll need feedback on this. The panel can be closed either by clicking on the divider, or dragging it to the right. It can be re-opened by clicking on the divider or dragging it to the left.
o) There is a simple “material palette” on the paint/expert toolsets.
o) Icons need to be completed
o) A couple of tutorials need to be entirely re-written, and many others need adaptation. Many screen shots need updating. I’m leaving that to the very end. I want ot be 100% certain the interface won’t change. It’s a big job and I don’t want to do it twice.
o) There may be paint tool options coming, but I’m still deciding on it. They may be in v10.1