use of the Space key

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use of the Space key

Sven Neumann
Hi,

I consider to change what GIMP uses the Space key for and would like
to get some user feedback on this. Currently, pressing the Space key
temporarily switches to the move tool. This is sometimes convenient
but I am not sure if it is all that useful.

Another image manipulation program, which GIMP is frequently being
compared to, uses the Space key to offer the functionality that GIMP
has bound to the middle mouse button: panning the image display. Since
not everyone has a middle mouse button (especially on tablet pens), it
might be a good idea to follow that example. If we did that, pressing
Space would keep the current tool but the cursor would change to a
hand symbol and one could drag the image display (not the content!)
using the mouse.

Any opinions on that, anyone?


Sven
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Re: use of the Space key

Eric P-3
> might be a good idea to follow that example. If we did that, pressing
> Space would keep the current tool but the cursor would change to a
> hand symbol and one could drag the image display (not the content!)
> using the mouse.
>
> Any opinions on that, anyone?
>
I'm in favor.

Eric P.
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Re: use of the Space key

Jakub Steiner
In reply to this post by Sven Neumann
On Sat, 2005-05-21 at 17:00 +0200, Sven Neumann wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I consider to change what GIMP uses the Space key for and would like
> to get some user feedback on this. Currently, pressing the Space key
> temporarily switches to the move tool. This is sometimes convenient
> but I am not sure if it is all that useful.
>
> Another image manipulation program, which GIMP is frequently being
> compared to, uses the Space key to offer the functionality that GIMP
> has bound to the middle mouse button: panning the image display. Since
> not everyone has a middle mouse button (especially on tablet pens), it
> might be a good idea to follow that example. If we did that, pressing
> Space would keep the current tool but the cursor would change to a
> hand symbol and one could drag the image display (not the content!)
> using the mouse.
>
> Any opinions on that, anyone?

Hola Sven.
I was initially very excited about the GIMP's behaviour. But I found
myself mostly sticking to swapping the active tool with the default
shortcuts. Sounds like a great workflow speedup in theory, but I don't
really use it :/

I see it as a good thing to use spacebar for panning, helping a lot of
people transitioning to the free software tool. Two thumbs up.

cheers

--
Jakub Steiner <[hidden email]>
Novell, Inc.

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Re: use of the Space key

kristin falck peña
In reply to this post by Sven Neumann


Sven Neumann wrote:

> If we did that, pressing
>Space would keep the current tool but the cursor would change to a
>hand symbol and one could drag the image display (not the content!)
>using the mouse.
>
>Any opinions on that, anyone?
>
>Oh, yes - please! That makes detail-working so much easier.
>  
>

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>
>
>  
>


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Re: use of the Space key

Asif Lodhi
In reply to this post by Sven Neumann
Hi Sven

That's really a very good idea.  It enables an artist to do image
manipulation more comfortably.  I am all for it.

Best regards

Asif
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

> Date: Sat, 21 May 2005 17:00:27 +0200
> From: Sven Neumann <[hidden email]>
> ...................
> ..............................................................If we did that, pressing
> Space would keep the current tool but the cursor would change to a
> hand symbol and one could drag the image display (not the content!)
> using the mouse.
>
> Any opinions on that, anyone?
>
> Sven
>
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Re: use of the Space key

GSR - FR
In reply to this post by Sven Neumann
Hi,
[hidden email] (2005-05-21 at 1700.27 +0200):
> Another image manipulation program, which GIMP is frequently being
> compared to, uses the Space key to offer the functionality that GIMP
> has bound to the middle mouse button: panning the image display. Since
> not everyone has a middle mouse button (especially on tablet pens), it

Last tablets I tried (not tablet pc, but the input device ones) seem
to have tip and two side buttons (so MB1, MB2 and MB3 as per X11 terms
are avaliable). OTOH, I am talking about the typical brand of tablets,
dunno other brands.

As is, it is just moving from MB2 to MB1+Space, so requires two hands
and still moves the pointer. Only adventage I see is when there is no
MB2 at all (single button devices without any option to simulate other
buttons).

> might be a good idea to follow that example. If we did that, pressing
> Space would keep the current tool but the cursor would change to a
> hand symbol and one could drag the image display (not the content!)
> using the mouse.
>
> Any opinions on that, anyone?

So I wonder... are there other better uses? Alternate between two
tools for example? Or would there be a way to make it configurable, so
anyone can bind any function to it (I ask due the "only while pressed"
vs "press & release", and the lack of "move view" tool)?

GSR
 
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Re: use of the Space key

GSR - FR
In reply to this post by Sven Neumann
Hi,
[hidden email] (2005-05-22 at 1710.22 +0100):
> > Any opinions on that, anyone?
>
> I agree that the space key should be reserved for something
> pretty amazingly common and useful.  I suppose it's also likely
> that panning the image is a slightly more common temporary mode of
> action than moving a layer, regardless of what The Other program
> does, though we DO have a super-handy little single-click panning
> tool on the image window already, so overall I don't think it's a
> compelling win (or loss).

I have been thinking, and remember some people were saying tools were
running out of mod keys. Why not reserve it for those cases? Tools
could use shift, control, alt and space. Or is the any technical
limitation about making mod+space a mod?

Space alone obviously not, but dunno if it would give us a single key,
or another level. Still one mod more is a win, a family of them a
bigger one, specially if it makes all the required operations to be
based in one or two keys, never three.

GSR
 
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Re: [Gimp-developer] Re: use of the Space key

Sven Neumann
Hi,

GSR - FR <[hidden email]> writes:

> I have been thinking, and remember some people were saying tools were
> running out of mod keys. Why not reserve it for those cases? Tools
> could use shift, control, alt and space. Or is the any technical
> limitation about making mod+space a mod?

The fact that we are running out of modifier keys means that we have a
problem to solve. But I very much doubt that adding more modifier keys
is a reasonable approach to it. If a tool needs more than the
available modifier keys, then it should probably be split into
multiple tools.


Sven
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Re: [Gimp-developer] Re: use of the Space key

Sven Neumann
In reply to this post by GSR - FR
Hi,

GSR - FR <[hidden email]> writes:

> So I wonder... are there other better uses? Alternate between two
> tools for example? Or would there be a way to make it configurable,
> so anyone can bind any function to it (I ask due the "only while
> pressed" vs "press & release", and the lack of "move view" tool)?

We should be very careful here and keep in mind that the feature
should be discoverable. If the user presses the Space key, it needs to
become obvious what is happening. Changing the cursor to a hand should
make it clear that dragging with the mouse will now pan the display.

If instead we switched to the last-used tool, the user will only see
that a tool switch takes place. She will probably be surprised that it
switches to a different tool next time she tries. It will be rather
hard to grasp that the tool changes to the last used tool. A lot of
users will simply not understand the logic and won't use it because
the behaviour appears as random.


Sven
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Re: use of the Space key

Akkana Peck
In reply to this post by Sven Neumann
Sven Neumann writes:
> I consider to change what GIMP uses the Space key for and would like
> to get some user feedback on this. Currently, pressing the Space key
> temporarily switches to the move tool.

Spacebar to switch temporarily to move is awfully useful. I didn't
know about it until this discussion, but I've often wanted something
like that -- I'm forever switching between move and something else,
for instance when I'm creating lots of different text layers and
need to position each one. If you change spacebar to pan, I hope you'll
consider investing some other key with this "temporary move tool"
meaning. Now that I've known about it for a couple days I'm already
sorry to have to give it up!

Do a lot of gimp users not have a middle mouse button? Maybe tablet
users who don't want to put down the stylus and switch to a mouse?
(That would be understandable.) Or is this just because ... that
other program does it that way, and its users are used to it?

        ...Akkana
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Re: [Gimp-developer] Re: use of the Space key

Sven Neumann
Hi,

Akkana Peck <[hidden email]> writes:

> Spacebar to switch temporarily to move is awfully useful. I didn't
> know about it until this discussion, but I've often wanted something
> like that

See, that is exactly my point. The feature is not discoverable and it
might make sense to exchange it for something which is probably at
least as useful but wider known.

> I'm forever switching between move and something else,
> for instance when I'm creating lots of different text layers and
> need to position each one.

That's just a missing feature in the text tool. Of course the text
tool should allow you to move text layers.

> Do a lot of gimp users not have a middle mouse button? Maybe tablet
> users who don't want to put down the stylus and switch to a mouse?
> (That would be understandable.) Or is this just because ... that
> other program does it that way, and its users are used to it?

Because I tried it and I made the experience that it pressing a key
with the second hand disturbs the workflow less than to switch mouse
buttons. But perhaps this needs actual user testing.


Sven
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Re: [Gimp-developer] Re: use of the Space key

Tom Williams
Sven Neumann wrote:

>>Spacebar to switch temporarily to move is awfully useful. I didn't
>>know about it until this discussion, but I've often wanted something
>>like that
>>    
>>
>
>See, that is exactly my point. The feature is not discoverable and it
>might make sense to exchange it for something which is probably at
>least as useful but wider known.
>  
>

I'm in the same boat in that I didn't "discover" the current space bar
behavior and now that I know about it, I think it's great.  The reason I
didn't discover it is purely because I never thought to press the space
bar at all.   I've got no issue with changing the behavior of the space
bar but the main point is I didn't know about the behavior associated
with the space bar because I never thought to press the space bar,
regardless of the functionality associated with it/

Peace...

Tom
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Re: [Gimp-developer] Re: use of the Space key

Pierre-Alexis
In reply to this post by Sven Neumann
Hello,

Why not use another key (or key combination) for that
function ? Maybe it's not Photoshop's behavior, but
Gimp's not really just a Photoshop's clone...

Pierre-Alexis.
______________

--- Sven Neumann <[hidden email]> a ?crit:

> Hi,
>
> Akkana Peck <[hidden email]> writes:
>
> > Spacebar to switch temporarily to move is awfully
> useful. I didn't
> > know about it until this discussion, but I've
> often wanted something
> > like that
>
> See, that is exactly my point. The feature is not
> discoverable and it
> might make sense to exchange it for something which
> is probably at
> least as useful but wider known.
>
> > I'm forever switching between move and something
> else,
> > for instance when I'm creating lots of different
> text layers and
> > need to position each one.
>
> That's just a missing feature in the text tool. Of
> course the text
> tool should allow you to move text layers.
>
> > Do a lot of gimp users not have a middle mouse
> button? Maybe tablet
> > users who don't want to put down the stylus and
> switch to a mouse?
> > (That would be understandable.) Or is this just
> because ... that
> > other program does it that way, and its users are
> used to it?
>
> Because I tried it and I made the experience that it
> pressing a key
> with the second hand disturbs the workflow less than
> to switch mouse
> buttons. But perhaps this needs actual user testing.
>
>
> Sven
> _______________________________________________
> Gimp-user mailing list
> [hidden email]
>
http://lists.xcf.berkeley.edu/mailman/listinfo/gimp-user
>


       

       
               
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Re: [Gimp-developer] Re: use of the Space key

Akkana Peck
In reply to this post by Tom Williams
Tom Williams writes:
> I'm in the same boat in that I didn't "discover" the current space bar
> behavior and now that I know about it, I think it's great.  The reason I
> didn't discover it is purely because I never thought to press the space
> bar at all.  

I don't even have that excuse. I press the spacebar all the time:
I use it as a no-op to make that image active (so Layers and other
dialogs will correspond to that image). I had dimly noticed that
"something changes in gimp windows" when I pressed it, but I never
thought to hold it down and really look at what was changing.
My only excuse is that I think of space as an autorepeating
character key, something I shouldn't hold down unless I want
some discrete action to happen repeatedly.

If discoverability is the problem, might it help to make it one of
the startup tips? That's probably worthwhile regardless of which
behavior ends up being bound to spacebar; spacebar to pan is
no more discoverable than spacebar to move (I'd be surprised
if most people who use a spacebar panner in any other program
discovered it on their own).

I bet there are lots of other tips like that which would make good
startup tips.  Is http://wiki.gimp.org/gimp/FortuneCookies a good
place to collect such tips, or does that just reflect the current
checked-in list?  Would it be better to add tip suggestions as a
patch in a bug?

        ...Akkana
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Re: [Gimp-developer] Re: use of the Space key

Asif Lodhi
In reply to this post by Sven Neumann
> From: Sven Neumann <[hidden email]>        Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 02:14:44 +0200
> To: [hidden email]
> Cc: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [Gimp-developer] Re: [Gimp-user] use of the Space key
>
>
> Because I tried it and I made the experience that it pressing a key
> with the second hand disturbs the workflow less than to switch mouse
> buttons. But perhaps this needs actual user testing.
>
>
> Sven

What about giving us a configurable option to configure any one or
both of these facilities?

--
Best regards

Asif Lodhi
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Re: [Gimp-developer] Re: use of the Space key

Asif Lodhi
In reply to this post by Sven Neumann
> From: Sven Neumann <[hidden email]>        Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 02:14:44 +0200
> To: [hidden email]
> Cc: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [Gimp-developer] Re: [Gimp-user] use of the Space key
>
>
> Because I tried it and I made the experience that it pressing a key
> with the second hand disturbs the workflow less than to switch mouse
> buttons. But perhaps this needs actual user testing.
>
>
> Sven

What about giving us a configurable option to configure any one or
both of these facilities?

--
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Asif Lodhi
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Re: [Gimp-developer] Re: use of the Space key

Sven Neumann
Hi,

Asif Lodhi <[hidden email]> writes:

> What about giving us a configurable option to configure any one or
> both of these facilities?

Making things configurable is a bad thing to do. Every new
configuration option that is being added doubles the amount of
possible configurations. This makes it impossible to test all possible
configurations and increases the likelihood of bugs. It also makes it
a lot more difficult to document the program. I am not completely
opposed to adding more configuration options and from a programmer's
point of view it's a trivial task but I think we should try very hard
to avoid options. And if we absolutely need them, we should at least
try to come up with reasonable defaults.

In order to come to a conclusion here, we should probably try to
implement a couple of options and actually try them. Backed up by such
tests, it will be a lot easier to decide.


Sven
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