BIM workbench UI discussion

A forum dedicated to the Draft, Arch and BIM workbenches development.
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1D_Inc
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Re: BIM workbench UI discussion

Postby 1D_Inc » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:25 pm

Well, Ribbon is nice example of bad design. Mostly it is useless GUI, that annoingly holds 1/5 of screen for nothing.
Blender's 2.79 UI has got the best realization of ribbon at the moment - they made it vertical and called T panel.
It allows to have hundreds well described tools and addons in T panel, and also allows to use them on demand by showing/hiding it, that brings awesome fullscreen.

Also - some joy - Quick Freecad icons redesign in Blender 2.8 style)
FreeCAD_Icons_06-02-2019.png
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1D_Inc
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Re: BIM workbench UI discussion

Postby 1D_Inc » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:56 pm

yorik wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:50 pm
keyboard shortcuts is a though one, basically there are so many tools in FreeCAD that it's a problem using single-letters shortcuts (you see that many other apps have the same problem and use the same solution...).
Yep. Only AutoCAD PGP-based console shortcut system can solve this.
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Re: BIM workbench UI discussion

Postby paullee » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:41 am

Moult wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:27 pm
... An open wire with the wall tool applied is an axis extrusion, and a closed wire is a profile extrusion....
Whilst thinking about Window, Stairs, Frame ... another idea (to extreme?) is 'Profile Generator'.

For example compare Window, Stairs currently:-

Windows currently-
  1. User input a width and height etc.; Select a pre-set type...
  2. Window tool generate the Underlying Sketch for you ...
  3. Window tool generate / extrude the solid for you ...
  4. User Can Tweak the Sketches to alter the 'profiles' of window (frame / glass panes...)
Stairs currently-
  1. User just prepare lines representing the skeleton (3 draft Wires / sketches...) - see red / white lines in screencapture / link
  2. Stairs tool generate the underlying Profiles, for stairs structure, stringer, steps/tread, landing, railing ... just from the few 'skeleton' lines
  3. Stairs tool generate/extrude the solid from the Profiles into Solid parts of stairs
  4. Input on Tread / Riser nos., height, etc could be made then
Conceiving TODO for Stairs
  1. Stairs tool generate the underlying Profiles and make them into several Sketches Objects - Just like Windows tool does
  2. Now User can tweak e.g. profile of each Tread, Landing shape...
Totally Separate Profile Generation from Extrusion
  1. User may then also totally ignore the Window, Stairs etc. 'built-in' extrusion functions ...
  2. User just use the Sketches generate by the Window / Stairs tool and do 'custom' extrusion from other tools...
  3. Another issues trying to understand is how different FC Materials could be / are applied to an Arch Object like Window (glass, frame...) Stair (structure, stringer, tread, railing...)
Seems too complicated?

Arch Wall also generate the profile including wall thickness, wall layers... from a simple line or wires... before its extrusion - but these Profiles are not 'exposed' as Sketches like what Window is doing.

Maybe just boolean box to tick ?
  • Generate Profiles
  • Generate Solid

https://forum.freecadweb.org/viewtopic. ... 00#p277139
https://forum.freecadweb.org/viewtopic. ... 10#p284683
Screenshot from 2019-01-01 08-31-14.png
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Moult
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Re: BIM workbench UI discussion

Postby Moult » Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:15 am

I really like that idea - that the base modeling tools are profiles and extrusions of those profiles, but we have semi automated "profile" generators which ease some of the more boring profile drawing tasks.
I also blog about 3D rendering, architecture, software and other on thinkMoult.com. RSS / Atom feed available for your convenience.
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Re: BIM workbench UI discussion

Postby carlopav » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:20 am

I agree, that could also draw a wall extrusion profile to quick allow the creation of a creation of a wall with different heights or triangular shape!
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yorik
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Re: BIM workbench UI discussion

Postby yorik » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:46 pm

This discussion is very interesting. Keep going!

Triplus is right about hundreds of tools. And FreeCAD is only in its infancy. There will be much more. And the way we do it in FreeCAD (separating in workbenches) is I believe totally right. However, the idea of the BIM workbench is exactly to be a "meta" workbench. That is, not to have any tools on its own (they should all be part of their respective workbenches, drafts in draft, archs in arch, etc), but to try to make things more friendly and intuitive for the user.

This is of course contradictory with the many tools available, hence the interest of this discussion. How do we go about that. Do we keep all the tools (but "hidden" somehow), do we keep only a selected VIP tools, do we try a clumsy "intelligent" ribbon that "predicts" what the user wants, etc. I definitely need a better look at Blender 2.8, didn't have much time for it recently...

Of course the BIM WB currently also serves to experiment and test things. But all the "consolidated" tools there should at some point go in Arch, I think.

Basically I believe the "typical" BIM user wants a wall tool, a column tool, a pipe tool, a window tool, things like that. We can maybe blame a couple of autodesk apps there, to oversimplify things (everybody who does BIM or any other kind of 3D modelling knows it's not true, there is no such thing as a "magical" wall that just models itself the way you want), but let's say it has some logic in it.

On the other hand I agree with @Moult's ideas too, that we have here an opportunity to separate things semantically in a very interesting way, and that can also be very educational, and transparently inform people on how things work in IFC. But 1) we need to think this carefully, otherwise we embark once again in the complexity vs. simplicity come-and-go, and 2) IFC is only one vision/aspect over BIM, and we have in FreeCAD a much larger application. Molding everything over the IFC structure is something that IMHO will limit or hinder us pretty soon.

About paullee's stairs: I think you are on the right path. All other Arch tools began like that. Let first the user "draw" the 2D paths, and concentrate on having the code create the correct object form it. When it all works well, then is the time to see about presets (ie. Let the tool also generate 2D paths). But IMHO this is a "second stage". The third stage being maybe rethink that all over and make a more user-friendly version :)

Awesome icon work, Regis!
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Re: BIM workbench UI discussion

Postby 1D_Inc » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:48 am

Finished my mockup.
It took some time to guess colored light theme)
Attaching SVG if it is interesting.
FreeCAD_Icons_FIN.png
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Freecad icons mockup in b3d 2.8 style
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regis
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Re: BIM workbench UI discussion

Postby regis » Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:15 am

1D_Inc wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:25 pm
Well, Ribbon is nice example of bad design. Mostly it is useless GUI, that annoingly holds 1/5 of screen for nothing.
Blender's 2.79 UI has got the best realization of ribbon at the moment - they made it vertical and called T panel.
It allows to have hundreds well described tools and addons in T panel, and also allows to use them on demand by showing/hiding it, that brings awesome fullscreen.
What about the blender 2.8 ribbon? don't forget most of us here on Freecad have some decent level of familiarity with Blender a swell so in that regard I can kindly disagree with you that their new ribbon take is completely bad. As for the blender 2.79 their T-panel ribbon is great for the different Workbenches if they are meant to be exposed and cycled through out a project pretty seamlessly while the main icons used every stay consistent and don't flip switch on your face every time you change from one workbench to another.
1D_Inc wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:48 am
Finished my mockup.
It took some time to guess colored light theme)
Great work, I love it, this looks very similar to the monochromatic mode in the new blender, its all looking good. However i'll stress that we should keep Freecad Classic in the loop a swell and provide for the ability to change the theme for anyone who wishes a different theme. Because not everyone was a fan of those new blender Icons, and wished they had stayed consistent with the coloured icons which are "more easier to identify visually given their small sizes pixel ration they've decided to roll with. I wonder what your reorganisation of Freecad Classic can look like.
yorik wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:46 pm
Triplus is right about hundreds of tools. And FreeCAD is only in its infancy. There will be much more. And the way we do it in FreeCAD (separating in workbenches) is I believe totally right. However, the idea of the BIM workbench is exactly to be a "meta" workbench. That is, not to have any tools on its own (they should all be part of their respective workbenches, drafts in draft, archs in arch, etc), but to try to make things more friendly and intuitive for the user.
Yeah I think as far as BIM, mostly those heavily involved in the AEC industries will understand exactly it's necessity to be a certain way. So I completely concur with you here.
yorik wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:46 pm
This is of course contradictory with the many tools available, hence the interest of this discussion. How do we go about that. Do we keep all the tools (but "hidden" somehow), do we keep only a selected VIP tools, do we try a clumsy "intelligent" ribbon that "predicts" what the user wants, etc. I definitely need a better look at Blender 2.8, didn't have much time for it recently...
Indeed, many questions to be answered still. I think there are positives we can acquire from blender 2.8 and it evolved from 2.7. I'm not such a great fan of everything they did, but overall the general intention is great. Blender was becoming too clumsy a swell and they gradually refined it again from it's previous 2.4 to 2.5. It's only when they created 2.5 that i was able to jump on blender. So I think UI is a "big thing" a swell.
yorik wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:46 pm
Of course the BIM WB currently also serves to experiment and test things. But all the "consolidated" tools there should at some point go in Arch, I think.
Yeah in my mind generally Arch and BIM are synonymous for the industry so for me the Workbench should have been consolidated into one and renamed Arch/BIM, but i'll leave the conversation evolve so we can all inclusively determine what is the best approach, as well as how to seamlessly integrate it with the other workbenches. I also think creating a Workbench / custom workbench should be easier so that those who want to experiment with what ever combination is free to do so without it screwing the default setup that will be generally agreed upon. I find it quite useful instead of going into the code to add a workbench from there.
yorik wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:46 pm
On the other hand I agree with @Moult's ideas too, that we have here an opportunity to separate things semantically in a very interesting way, and that can also be very educational, and transparently inform people on how things work in IFC. But 1) we need to think this carefully, otherwise we embark once again in the complexity vs. simplicity come-and-go, and 2) IFC is only one vision/aspect over BIM, and we have in FreeCAD a much larger application. Molding everything over the IFC structure is something that IMHO will limit or hinder us pretty soon.
Yeah solid point here. That's basically been my scare. But hopefully we have a few good brains to keep an eye on the big picture and others on the small picture. So let's experiment and we can determine in the end. In retrospect to "moult" ideas, it brings back the question of, (what was it called again?) Direct modelling like in Revit or sketchup and the kind of tree modelling. It appears to me that Freecad does both already, it just depends how we provide the tools each task and organise them.
Moult wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:15 am
I really like that idea - that the base modeling tools are profiles and extrusions of those profiles, but we have semi automated "profile" generators which ease some of the more boring profile drawing tasks.
Yeah speaking of that, Freecad needs a clever way of handling it's normal's, like in blender there is a necessity to be able to manipulate those extrusions according to their normal's as well, "Global, Local, Normal, Gimbals, and View". I've run into so many situations where it couldn't handle complete angles of modelling etc even with the best profile extrusions. I believe this is a good base a swell to look into. as it will give us great flexibility.
paullee wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:41 am
Whilst thinking about Window, Stairs, Frame ... another idea (to extreme?) is 'Profile Generator'.
Yeah you are deadly spot on, The question of Generators has been on my mind aswell. A seperate Icon style? for these? for example, i've been playing with qgis, and there is a need to create Contours maps that can either be used in Freecad directly, or exported as DXF and imported into Revit and other programs, so definitely at someone point when we'll have the ability to look into this more closely we'll call it Contour Generators?
And then another one i've kind of breifly talked about with @microelly is the Patern Generator, This can be very powerful and can start helping address some of the hatch issues we have aswell. More on this later probably on a different topic, but i'll leave you with a video link of how Archicad handles it. It's beautifully powerful.
phpBB [video]

triplus wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:42 pm
I couldn't resist too, and did have created some tabs:

https://github.com/triplus/TabBar
How do I check it out? Please include some pics aswell for those of us visual oriented, it makes life 50% more appreciative :lol:
triplus wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:42 pm
Blender in my opinion has a rather complex user interface.
This is why good UI design matters.
triplus wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:42 pm
All the modes user is confronted with and needs to think about. Complex sidebars and things like that.
Good UI reduces learning curve exponentially, I can assure you that based on my experience. The first time I came across blender 2.4 in 2005, I was so intimidated by the software, it made no sense, it's only in 2008 when I had to learn 3ds Max at school, I felt it was so discouraging to master although it is super powerful. So I set out to look for an open source version, and I landed again on blender. The great new was that the new 2.5 interface had 'just' been introduced. Al thought there was still a long learning curve as blender is no small simple soft, I was more enthusiastic about it this time. It flowed better. A similar story applies to my Freecad learning. Freecad was hard in the beginning, I mean trying to get anything and make sense of it was crazy hard. Every-time i opened it and spent more that 3hrs from reading Yorik tutorials and many others, it still never made sense. It took me an average of 3years to first sit down with a basic understanding of Freecad. Today i'm on my 7th year with Freecad just to give you an idea. But it is exactly the reason for this conversation, How to change all that stress for the betterment of Freecad.
triplus wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:42 pm
here are Architectural, Sketcher, Drafting, Drawing ... capabilities. Usually sorted in groups we call workbenches. What (new) users usually complain about is on why must i use more workbenches. To get the job done. Why can't just all the tools i need be in one workbench. In my opinion this is rather unsolvable problem.
We for now, we'll tell the new users that currently we are trying to do what we can to help them.
triplus wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:42 pm
If you have a few thousand commands and a few thousand users and more. One set up just won't do. There will always be a piece of functionality somewhere else. Not where one would expect it. Moving some of the Draft/Arch/Part tools in BIM workbench therefor in the end won't result in BIM end users not relying on Draft/Arch/Part workbenches anymore. Said that, i agree, lets move things forward, whenever and wherever that makes sense and we can do it.
Indeed, let's keep this going, I think If we can find a way to maintain "ease" of customisation, "flexiblity" in tools managament + "functional UI". We'll hit the jackpot.
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Re: BIM workbench UI discussion

Postby 1D_Inc » Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:53 pm

regis wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:15 am
What about the blender 2.8 ribbon?
Well, it's total faillure.
There is no any need in it, so it was drawn by someone because... why not, instead, for exaple, of improving T panel, that is still the best solution on market.
Ribbon in 2.8 - as it was expected - took the place being wasted most of the time.
New design does not supports for comfortable use of hundreds of addons, required for production, anymore, it was designed to use nothing but defaults, that's obviously, not enough.
regis wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:15 am
Great work, I love it
Thank you)
Yes, I wrote the reason why we are against monochrome icons in 2.8 there
https://devtalk.blender.org/t/colour-co ... 4?u=1d_inc
However, more different mockups is better, it can inspire a solution one day.
yorik wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:46 pm
"intelligent" ribbon that "predicts" what the user wants
It is hard to predict user demands, so that doesnot work like this almost anywhere.
Ribbon works in very primitive way - showing context tools.
Yes, that's annoying for professional software users, that almost don't use GUI for actions and work with software like with math abstraction it can provide, but sometimes it looks like "predictive" behaviour,
at least more than solid static UI (something jiggles, the user is happy), so that works for the market.
regis wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:15 am
It took me an average of 3years to first sit down with a basic understanding of Freecad. Today i'm on my 7th year with Freecad just to give you an idea.
Well, I started learning Autocad for need and 3dsmax in 2002 because it was cool.
Then turned to LISP development to survive AutoCAD in 2006.
I quit 3dsmax in 2012, and switched to B3D - as CG Workflow designer, I've started resarch of inventing workflow of opensource baroque/classic modeling,
that allowed me to go to the stocks for gathering additional funds for global and local development.
Now, if you are familiar with Blender, you may know me as


= Concept designer of different tools, (like F2 and 1D_Scripts toolset)
= Autor of almost triple-diamond Turbosquid Account
= Diamond Blenderfund suppoter (Paul Kotelevets) https://fund.blender.org/

We made a nice job with Blender and a lot of different opensource software, but FreeCAD is that kind of a software, that just don't allows to enter to it, especially if you know other softwares and workflows from AutoCAD to GIMP.
BIM workbench can change situation, but there is no even timelapses over internet, that can uncover and show entire FreeCAD BIM workflow process to make user at least to start to use it.

So, you are talking about icons grouping and redesign, but there is even no data for the base - workflow process research.
There is no common general understanding of the process, everyone interprets in his own way.
In CG workflow design terms you are building roads without roadmap, guys.

When I designed baroque modeling workflow, I made timelapses videos to analyse how and what is going on every step during the process, and what needed to be simplified or improved.
Now, tools that was written as a result of such analysis makes possible to me to make baroque models for joy, in opensource, using mouse and gamepad, lying on a couch, while in commercial packages it is still kind a... work.

Example for workflow analysis
phpBB [video]


Example for tools analysis
phpBB [video]


A nice, but a bit too fast example
phpBB [video]


Making such a thing will be a good point to start from.
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yorik
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Re: BIM workbench UI discussion

Postby yorik » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:33 pm

Amazing job with icons, 1D_Inc! There is already a support for different icon themes, I'll have a look at how we can integrate yours.