New user and thoughts about navigation modes

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Feuermurmel
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New user and thoughts about navigation modes

Postby Feuermurmel » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:12 pm

To begin with, I want to express my appreciation to everyone who has contributed to FreeCAD. It's worth a lot to me to be able to do some hobbyist CAD work using a project that I can realistically hope to influence or contribute to, to make it better.

I'm a complete hobbyist, I've never done CAD work professionally and have some limited experience with 3D modeling software, Cinema 4D, Modo and maybe some others I don't remember anymore. I just started toying around with FreeCAD and I have a lot of gripes with its UI I could share my experience with, but I don't want anyone who worked on this to feel like I'm not valuing their work. I'm trying to concentrate on those issues I think could improve the experience I've had so far the most. I'll focus on 2D and 3D navigation here.

I've found that none of the navigation modes work for me. I can make it work with an external mouse but I never use one on my laptop. I use a MacBook Pro with one of those trackpads that don't have separate buttons. I really like it and feel comfortable using it for hours at a time but it does have some limitations input-wise. E.g. there's no middle-click, there's a right-click, but it is impossible to combine with left-click and dragging with right-click is very awkward.

So the OpenInventor, CAD, Revit, Blender, MayaGesture, Gesture and OpenCascade are all out of the race for me right from the start. I was unable to use any of those to both rotate and pan the view. This leaves only the Touchpad mode. But that mode feels very unnatural to me.

The hardest to get used to for me is the combination of "grabbing" the view with the shift key while moving it with the mouse. I think there's a very good reason why other types of application (maybe all other application I use?) always require a mouse button to be pressed to move something with the mouse (be it an object or the view). When I try to do these movements quickly, I can't get pushing the shift key synchronized with my mouse movement, which means that I either press it too early, moving the view in the wrong direction for a fraction of second or I press it too late, not moving the view the whole distance of the mouse movement. When doing these kinds of things in other applications, or even games, I never have such issues. And I in no way feel impaired when it comes to using a mouse or trackpad.

OTOH there are some missed opportunities here! The trackpad on my laptop supports very fine-grained scrolling movements in 2D, so that could be used for panning!

I'll tinker with some other graphical editing applications I use and gather write up what I would change in another post.

Thank you for reading so far!
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Feuermurmel
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Re: New user and thoughts about navigation modes

Postby Feuermurmel » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:40 pm

So here's what I'd do if I were to design my own navigation mode:

  • Selecting: Left-click or left-dragging a selection rectangle. Shift-left-clicking or -dragging would invert the selection status of the covered elements instead of replacing the selection.
  • Context Menu: Right-click or Control-left-click (releasing the mouse button without dragging).
  • Zoom: Either with the zoom gesture of the trackpad (I personally have that gesture disabled in the OS but I think some people like using it) or by alt-scrolling.
  • Rotate: Control-left-drag. My trackpad also supports a rotate gesture but I have that disabled too. I'm not sure how that 2D-rotation gesture should map into a 3D view but maybe it could be made useful in some way or another.
  • Pan: Scroll gesture on the trackpad or command-left-drag. Not having the scroll gesture for that in FreeCAD right now is the single thing I miss the most.
chrisb
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Re: New user and thoughts about navigation modes

Postby chrisb » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:56 pm

Gesture works great here on a MacBooc Air touchpad. It is configured to react on tip, so I don't have to click
3 fingers: rotate
3 fingers + Ctrl: pan
2 fingers up/down: zoom
2 finger tip: context menu.
one finger tip: select, to be modified as usual with CMD and Shift.
one finger hold: pan
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Feuermurmel
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Re: New user and thoughts about navigation modes

Postby Feuermurmel » Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:33 pm

chrisb wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:56 pm
Gesture works great here on a MacBooc Air touchpad. It is configured to react on tip, so I don't have to click
3 fingers: rotate
3 fingers + Ctrl: pan
2 fingers up/down: zoom
2 finger tip: context menu.
one finger tip: select, to be modified as usual with CMD and Shift.
one finger hold: pan
Thank you for your response. I'm having a completely different experience here. I'm running FreeCAD 0.18.2 here. I'll download the newest development version and try again. Are you running macOS or some Linux distribution? What desktop environment are you using? I've enabled "Tap to click" in System Preferences test-wise but did not get better results.

To rotate, I left-drag. To pan, I control-left-drag. To zoom, I scroll (2-finger-drag up/down). To open the context menu, I click with two fingers or control-click. The only thing I was not able to do was selecting by dragging a rectanlge. Is that also possible in Gesture mode?
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Re: New user and thoughts about navigation modes

Postby chrisb » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:48 pm

This is my system configuration of the track pad. I show a screenshot because I'm not sure with the english names. I almost never ever click, I only touch my touchpad. I run FreeCAD natively on MacOS 10.13.2
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Feuermurmel
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Re: New user and thoughts about navigation modes

Postby Feuermurmel » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:01 pm

I've tried 0.19-17331 but navigation is very sporadic. The view randomly starts to move or rotate in the sketcher, even without pressing any modifiers, but not in a deterministic way. I will have to look into this an see whether I'm hitting a bug here.

To your explanations, @chrisb; I don't get it. I really don't. I feel like we are talking about different things without noticing. So you are saying that you are using the trackpad of a MacBook Air running macOS. You have the navigation mode in the lower right corner of the main window set to "Gesture". You can place 3 fingers on your trackpad and move them all at once in the same direction and that will rotate the view in 3D?

If I try to reproduce that, it will activate Mission Control, App Exposé or switch spaces, depending on the direction. If I disable the 3 settings (see screenshot), moving 3 fingers as described will do the same as placing 2 fingers on the trackpad and moving them (i.e. scroll). I'm using the same settings as you have showed in System Preferences.

Why do we not get the same results here?
Screen Shot 2019-07-12 at 20.56.55.png
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kdtop3
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Re: New user and thoughts about navigation modes

Postby kdtop3 » Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:14 pm

Reviving an older thread because as a newcomer to FreeCAD, I also am put off by the mouse navigation system. I think that users of the various software the FreeCAD's modes emulate will be fine. But to me it all seems awkward. I can't find any of the navigation systems that seems right to me, or matches the navigation of the other programs I use (OpenSCAD, Blender, MeshMixer, MeshLab). I have found the documentation page (https://wiki.freecadweb.org/Mouse_Model), but I dislike having to keep going to the manual rather than it being intuitive.

Question:
--Why not allow users to edit the mouse bindings? Is this just a feature that no one has implemented yet? Or is there a reason why it would not be desired?

Thanks
Kevin T
vocx
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Re: New user and thoughts about navigation modes

Postby vocx » Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:50 pm

kdtop3 wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:14 pm
...
--Why not allow users to edit the mouse bindings? Is this just a feature that no one has implemented yet? Or is there a reason why it would not be desired?
Are you really trying to use a CAD program with a trackpad in a laptop, why? That's counter intuitive. It's like running a marathon while wearing jeans. Use a mouse.

The navigation modes are hardcoded in C++ files that must be compiled. There is no interactive editing at the moment. Would it be possible to dynamically change? Maybe, maybe not. The 3D view is a complex thing that handles selection, rotation, and things like that. I don't know if it can be designed in such a way that the navigation styles can be changed at runtime, or if there is a technical reason that prevents that.
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GeneFC
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Re: New user and thoughts about navigation modes

Postby GeneFC » Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:45 pm

kdtop3 wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:14 pm
I dislike having to keep going to the manual rather than it being intuitive.
The only things in life that are truly intuitive are basic functions like breathing.

I have been computing for many decades on a great variety of systems. I have used some of the programs you listed.

Nothing is "intuitive"; you simply need to learn what the rules are and use them. I have not looked at the FreeCAD manual for the mouse model for a long time. You won't need it either if you continue to use FreeCAD.

Gene
drmacro
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Re: New user and thoughts about navigation modes

Postby drmacro » Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:14 pm

vocx wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:50 pm
...
Are you really trying to use a CAD program with a trackpad in a laptop, why? That's counter intuitive. It's like running a marathon while wearing jeans. Use a mouse.
Exactly :!:
The navigation modes are hardcoded in C++ files that must be compiled. There is no interactive editing at the moment. Would it be possible to dynamically change? Maybe, maybe not. The 3D view is a complex thing that handles selection, rotation, and things like that. I don't know if it can be designed in such a way that the navigation styles can be changed at runtime, or if there is a technical reason that prevents that.
The right click and select navigation in the 3D view is plenty...considering I've been using FC for many years and never used it...maybe it's not even needed. :roll:
And I'm a Blender user as well...never switch to Blender mode either. 8-)

GeneFC wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:45 pm

The only things in life that are truly intuitive are basic functions like breathing.
Indeed. In a past life I was the manager of a software development group. When the minions would come to me and say "it's intuitive", I'd ask them to bring their grammy to work tomorrow and we'll have her try it. None ever did though.
I have been computing for many decades on a great variety of systems. I have used some of the programs you listed.

Nothing is "intuitive"; you simply need to learn what the rules are and use them. I have not looked at the FreeCAD manual for the mouse model for a long time. You won't need it either if you continue to use FreeCAD.
Yep...RTFM
(And, yes, I'm guilty of not doing that on occasion. :oops: )
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