Making Synfig easier to use brainstorming

Agree with that. :slight_smile: It would facilitate camerawork with “fake camera” layers like translate and zoom, plus you would have the ability to use the space as some sort of visual library shelf.


for me, smell like feature request…

but wait a little, an even better idea can come from the stroms…

  • color filter to identify clearly in/off camera ?,
  • user option to adpat offcamera backcolor…?



I put here some others ideas that bring to me the use of Synfig. This time is related with waypoints and timer section. I’ll copy the text that I put incorrectly in other message.

I think that is really interesting copy&paste more than one waypoint. It is really annoying select one waypoint-goes to the correct time-paste waypoint-goes to the next waypoint-copy-goes again to the next correct time…etc.

So, if you could copy more than one waypoint and paste with the same times between them animation would be faster.

Other thing: possibility of change the color of the waypoints. When you are animating an object of a group, it is interesting see the waypoints from the group… but all the waypoints of all objects in that group are the same form! It’s very annoying must to select the object or “imagine” what waypoint is of a object from the time.

If you could change the color of the waypoints could be easy to asignate a color to an object and would be easy to see from the group view. A popup with information of what object modify that waypoint could be interesting, too… but the color would be more fast to see.

For last. I think that must be thinking in separate (or living together) the waypoints from the timer-view. Of course, that is fine, but I think that an object must have his own waypoints. This could be used to enter in the neccesary library of objects.

It’s a bit annoying that you can’t reuse animated objects between files. If an object have his own waypoint the export-import would be simple.

The waypoints of an object must be grouped. So, you could make: walking, staying, closingeyes, animation1… etc. That tags would have its own set of waypoint that you could drag and drop in the timer view at the time that you’ll want.

I think that differentiate the waypoints are really necessary.

I just had a weird idea:

Synfig has some incredibly impressive effects and distortions in its repertoire. Would it be far-fetched to use some of the existing distortions to create new kinds of “simpler” effects, like say…

…3D Cubes? Please, work with me here.

What I mean is that being able to create a 2D-looking 3D space or object. We can start off by experimenting with a 3D cube. Basically, the Cube is simply an “object” much like a Star or Circle, but with parameters to adjust its hieght, width or length, or even the entire size. And it can rotate much like a star, except in “almost” every direction (the directions it doesn’t do can easily be fixed with Transform layers).

I got this idea when I was wondering if it’s possible to use some of Synfig animations as “textures” of a side of a rotating cube – not in Blender, but Synfig itself. We have perspective morphing and Z-Depth, and it can be utilized to create such a “folder-filter”. In fact, this could be used to make simple BUILDINGS too!

And no, you don’t need to model the cube like you do in Blender. This cube is just an illusion that works really well (unless you really WANT actual 3D algorithms in Synfig, then that’s fine with me too). Think Mode-7, a clever technique used in consoles that could never support 3D (such as SNES).

Bezier splines (which Synfig uses) are affine invariant. This means that applying a transformation to the spline can be achieved by transforming just the control points, which makes it a dirt cheap operation. Guess why transforms are so pervasive and fast on SVG (ie. inkscape)? One problem: perspective transform is not an affine transform (it is projective).

To synfig it doesn’t matter, because it always transforms the pixels rather than the shapes. The downside of that method is the huge performance hit (as can be seen on Synfig).

Rational B-splines are projective invariant, which would make it cheap to apply even perspective transformations.

But why stop there? :wink: It is also possible to apply curved transformations to spline objects, and do so somewhat cheaply. So one could not only map vector graphics to a 3D cube but also to a 3D sphere or any freeform 3D spline surface for that matter.

That was the idea behind my Free-form deformation effect. There are still some problems with that technique though (ie. higher order bezier splines). I’m still investigating how to deal with that.

One thing that’s currently lacking: Multi-waypoint deleting thing. (So that we can remove all waypoints and be able to edit in non-animate mode again)

I know that “Disconnect” option works in most parameters, but doesn’t do well enough in Vertices paramaters. Try making a bline with region and outline, go ahead animate them, then Disconnect the vertices. Yeah, sometimes waypoints don’t disappear, but here, try moving the tangents and vertices in the canvas now.

…See what I mean?

Also, we might also need to figure out a way to edit in non-animating mode even though the animate-mode vectors have changed. Basically, I mean something like Blender where Object-Mode and Edit-mode stuff can… erm… probably never mind.

look like this entry … : … issues/392 ?

…wait, that’s the entry I posted! XD

How about time selection like audio editors have. Simple mockup:

Note: I also extended the parameter selection into the timetrack window. This would also be a nice feature to have.

Then the waypoints in the selected time range and selected parameter(s) can be removed via right-click > Remove waypoints.

Time selection could also be used for other things, like copying a section of animation from one time position to another (or even from one parameter to another, assuming parameter types are compatible).

I love that idea! Though, since we’re at it, selecting keyframes like in audio-editors would also give us an open window to have Blender-like waypoints management, whether scaling or translating (by pressing S or G).


I think that, in general, all these Open Source Graphic Software should follow a certain standard. Or at least, follow a common language.
In the example above, A “blur” must be a “blur” on all this software, as an “stroke”, or a “path”.

On the other hand, I don’t have problems with difference of style between a path node in Synfig, and other path node in Inkscape, because it’s obvious what represents in each program. I put this as an example, based in previous topics read. No offense to anyone.

  • Other thing that bothers me is, when a parameter is linked to other (not exported), there is no feedback about what layers are involved.


Another subject,

What do you think to have a visual information for opened panel in Menu / Window ? (same visual information that the one for Menu/View/Guide)
I was about to add that enhancement, but maybe i’ts not interesting …

Now i know… .it’s not a good idea. The toggle information in a menu inform the user that the action will be undone if already done : that not the case here.
So if we want to inform the user what are the opened panels, it’s another kind of visual information that must be displayed.

Any idea ? . (bold when open come to my mind, or italic if not open … )

If panel is already open then:

  • Don’t show it in Panels menu
  • Disable it (ie. grayed out) in Panels menu

I don’t think anyone will miss the current menu action on already open panels (ie. bring panel to top).

The synfig interface is quite complex… hummm … less quite hard ever.
But, i think users (particularly new ones) will miss this action if entry is grayed out or removed (but how new users could mess an action they don’t know about ? :wink: ) has briing to top really help to find the eggs in the basket… (i was thinking to highlight the panel when already open !)

I agree. I use it sometimes when I lose a window or two. Making open ones bold is most intuitive I think.


I mean, it takes like 10 seconds top to click thru all tabs to find an specific one. And if the panel is “hidden” behind other windows then the “bring to front” doesn’t bring the window to top (only the tab). So that would need fixing also.

On the other hand, greyed out entries sends a pretty clear message “you can’t open this panel, because it is already open”.

Anyway, use bold text if you want to mark open panels. It’s what the new Switch Group uses to highlight the current visible frame, so we have a bit of consistency going on.

a silly question before we go further in confusion, are you talking from your experience of ?

I’m not at a PC which can compile latest version in, so used synfigstudio-0.65.0-20131230.morevna.8.i386.tar.bz2 dev snapshot I had lying around. Maybe it has changed since then.

normally, if user miss/lose a window/panel, he will go to Window Menu and call it by clicking corresponding menu entry. Miss/Lose is meaning user can not find out on screen, there are two cases in fact:

  1. the window/panel is closed at the moment (user closed it intended or accident);
  2. the window/panel is hiding behind other UI elements.

Regarding opened document/file (canvas window), almost the same, but it is always go to File menu -> Open to open a document, everyone knows it.

From my point of view, there is no need to identify if a panel opened or not in Window menu, just list out all panels and opened windows there, if user loses and would like to call back a panel or a canvas window, just go and click the menu entry, it popups. If a panel is closed before, it reopens, if a panel is opened, then it gets UI focus (in this case, it is nice to have a visual feedback). An opened document window is the same case.

As an addition, listing all panels in this Window Menu can help new comers in learning, he can find out and check those panels easily. And listing all opened document windows is also helpful, user can easily get the idea how many files he opened, and switch to a certain one.

In adobe, the Window Menu entry behaves as a toggle menu entry, I found it is quite annoying, particularly when I lose in panels and windows, and am going to call a panel back, I go to Window Menu, and see the menu is opened ( a symbol attached to the menu entry), I click it, panel closes, and then, I do the same again to bring it back on my workspace. so as you can see, in adobe you have to take double actions to call a panel back. Maybe one will say, when you see a symbol attached to the menu entry, it means the panel is opened and you should not click, just go through out the workspace to find it out. But based my experiment and observations, when user would like to work with a certain panel/window, he will, at first moment, seek it on the workspace, and then, if he can not find out from reasons, he will go to Window Menu. This workflow make an indicator attached to a menu entry of opened panel useless and even caused more unnecessary actions which interrupts user’s creation in fact.

The purpose of Window menu is not exactly same as View menu:

  1. figure out how many panels Synfig Studio has
  2. open panel to work with
  3. find an opened panel and switch to it to work with (bring it up*)
  4. figure out opened documents( canvas windows)
  5. switch a opened document to work with (bring it up)
  6. organize workspace: place/layout panels, windows and adjust the spaces, grouped in Workspace sub menu.
  • the Bring it Up feature doesn’t work at the moment in Synfig Studio.
  1. and 2) is combined now, it is safe to say, user doesn’t care if a panel is opened or not, he cares about a speed way to get(open or bring up) it in hand, and work with it.