3DCrafter 10 Preview Available

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”.

Download 3DCrafter 10 Preview

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.

What’s new
========

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 It has been replaced by “Orbit”, “Pan”, and “Zoom”.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.

To do
====
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

Is this version suppose to open v9 files? If so I am seeing some really strange problems.

Also, what is 3D Builder?

Well, it is SUPPOSED to load v9 files. It does on my computer, but I’ll have to try it out on my test machine tomorrow.

3D Builder? Isn’t it something that comes with Windows 10?

I have had no problem loading V9 – or earlier – files into the Preview version. My initial impression is positive. The inclusion of the hierarchy in the Intermediate mode makes a big difference working in that mode. I will give it a more thorough trial later.

BFM

PapaXpress,

Maybe you can send me an example? “assistance at amabilis.com”, is my email address.

BFM,

Thanks. Looking forward to hearing your comments.

First go at an installer for my extra scripts and plugins…. not all 100% tested but most seem to work.

http://www.gausdens.talktalk.net/3dcplugins10.zip

Cheers,
Paul

Installed without problems for me. As many as I have tried are working normally. Great to have the double side plug-in and operation back. (Note, My anti-virus program (AVG) tried its best to stop me installing the plugins with many warnings about an untrustworthy source which I had to over-ride).

BFM

Also no problems for me with the Plugins Paul, thanks very much. Same with the anti-virus for me, but that’s par for the course in Win 10. On the program side the right click fly outs are a vast improvement in ergonomics, especially on a large monitor. But the operations really need to be user selectable, as most of the default Ops are ones I seldom use.

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by  JimCrow.

After several hours of using the Preview version, just a few comments.

Overall it is a big improvement on the earlier betas. I built a fairly straightforward model using Intermediate mode (a bridge) from scratch and everything went smoothly and fairly speedily. There were no crashes. I was still probably working more slowly than I would with 9.3 but I would expect that as I become more familiar with the new interface the working speed will improve. If there was a way of keeping the operations and plugins panel open for as long a I need them this would definitely improve speed, I frequently have to use several operations or plugins on a single object and it is a nuisance to have to re-open the operations or plugin panel after each individual operation. (I needed to trim a lot of extraneous lines from a face following a boolean subtraction and having to open the operations panel every time to access the ‘trim’ operation was unnecessarily time-consuming).

Is there a ‘delete’ function somewhere hidden? If so, I was unable to locate it. I actually found it difficult to delete multiple faces using the delete key on my keyboard. I believe that it is preferable that there be a delete button in the program itself rather than having to resort to the keyboard.

I also tried the program with a more complex model (the loco cab I have been working on for some time) and I’m afraid that my experience was less good. The program crashed after a few relatively simple operations – mostly involving moving a few objects around the model. Initially after an operation, the program would go into ‘non-responding’ mode for as long as one minute before it accepted the move. That period kept lengthening with each subsequent operation until eventually the program just stopped completely. Worse, I could not restart the program – even before I reached the stage where it asks if I want to recover my work, a message came up that 3D Crafter has experienced a problem and will close. There was no way I could re-start and eventually had to un-install and re-install it. When I eventually got it going again, it did not ask me if I wanted to recover the work done before the crash. (Fortunately, I had saved the work after each operation so it was not lost).

I am beginning to wonder if indeed, there may be some incompatibility between the current and previous versions that is causing the problems I am experiencing with complex models built with V.9.3.

A fairer test might be to build a complex model from scratch in v.10 and see how that goes.

BFM

I will try to email you examples of what is happening on my system with the 9.x files in a couple days.

The 3D builder thing may have been a fluke. I thought it was launching with Crafter, but it’s not the case.

BFM wrote “Is there a ‘delete’ function somewhere hidden? If so, I was unable to locate it. I actually found it difficult to delete multiple faces using the delete key on my keyboard. I believe that it is preferable that there be a delete button in the program itself rather than having to resort to the keyboard. ”

I don’t have a problem using the Delete key on the Numpad. Works fine. Make sure Numlock is not on if your delete key is on a Numpad. I can’t find delete command in V10 either. Used to be on the right click edit in V9.

Another way round not having the desired OPs in the right click menu would be a detachable Ops/Plugin window (permanently open) the user could place near to the area of the model they are working on, to cut down on cursor movement when selecting.

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by  JimCrow.
  • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by  JimCrow.
  • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by  JimCrow.

There’s a lot to respond to.

The new 3DC interface is limited by the features of the Windows Ribbon. So, for instance, I can’t make the right-click menus user-defined. And, I can’t keep the pro-ops drop down list open etc. I have used all of the features of the Windows Ribbon that are available. However, I can probably provide entirely separate ways of accessing tools, such as I do with the alt-right click menu, and the panels, which are not Windows Ribbon features.

But, I think the best solution in the short term is to determine what are the most used operations and make them handy.

So, on to specifics:

– Paul, thanks for making your operations/plugins available. For many 3DC is unusuble without them.

– There is an “erase” button, which is delete. The delete key sometimes doesn’t work? I had that problem once or twice. Not sure why yet.

– BFM, there won’t be any benefit starting a model from scratch in 3DC 10 vs loading a 3DC 9 model. I’m trying to think why some of your complex models are not working well in 3DC 10 on your computer (it works ok on mine if you recall).

– I’m trying to determine the operations that are important and should be part of the right-click operations menu. (And tools for that matter.). Is it a consensus that “trim” should be one of them? And what else? And what can I remove?

Thanks to everyone for their input. I know the betas were a hassle at times, especially due to the installer issues.

Over the next while I’ll be thinking about possible improvements that go beyond the Windows Ribbon features.

Invert, Flip. and Trim (in addition to Divide, Extrude, Inset and Chamfer which are already in the ribbon) are the ops. I would most frequently use. But Trim is the one I would access most frequently on a continuous basis when eliminating unnecessary lines and points, so if you can bring that one to the ribbon or otherwise give it some permanency when it is first called, that would be great.

I feel stupid that I did not recognise the ‘erase’ button as the ‘delete’ function!!

BFM

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