Itoo Software Forum

Author Topic: Overall complexity of Forest Pack interface  (Read 734 times)

Kim Laughton

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Overall complexity of Forest Pack interface
« on: August 09, 2017, 01:34:50 PM »
I've been using Forest Pack for a few years now, and while I love the results achievable and the level of control it provides there's always a slight sinking feeling when adding it into a project.

The menu is complicated and unintuitive and with each new feature becomes more bloated. It feels as if its creators are using it every day and are comfortable with where everything is - little thought is given to how others might approach it. Often nothing shows up onscreen and you then have to poke around in various different places (paying attention to the stats which are for some reason in a separate window) to try and figure out what's going wrong.  Wondering if there are any plans to streamline things in future?

I'm posting this today after trying the scatter on displaced surfaces functionality - something that I'd imagine is commonly done these days - and being amazed by how convoluted this is.

iToo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3315
    • iToo Software
Re: Overall complexity of Forest Pack interface
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 02:16:44 PM »
Yes, we know Forest interface is a bit complex, because all features added along years.
But unfortunately we cannot remove any option, because even the most quirky is used for someone. We cannot break compatibility with existing scenes, without causing problems to many customers.

That gives us little options:

- To redesign the interface completely: an huge effort, problems for users who are habituated to the current one, a new interface may not like to everyone. And that will ruin all our video tutorials (documentation can be updated, but videos...).
- A completely new plugin with less options and new interface: not affordable at this time.

For this reason, we decided to improve the current interface in Forest Pack 6, adding collapsable group boxes. In this way, you can choose to hide options that never use.
You can find attached a sample of the new interface, with all group boxes collapsed. Collapsable state is persistent between Max sessions.

Regarding V-Ray displaced surfaces, we suggest to use the Max Displace modifier instead. You can find details here.
Anyway, we are working to provide a simpler Effect for displaced surfaces in FP6.

« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 02:20:10 PM by iToo »
Carlos Quintero
iToo Software

Kim Laughton

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Overall complexity of Forest Pack interface
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 03:34:42 PM »
Of course I understand it's not an easy fix (and Max itself suffers from many of the same issues, as does any old software). Certainly features shouldn't be removed in order to simplify the menu, and backwards compatibility should be maintained where possible. I think however people are pretty flexible when it comes to learning new interfaces especially when they make things easier. Documentation will become outdated including videos - but old tutorials may be a bad reason to hold back new and easier ways to do things.

Good to see that steps are being made, not sure if further levels of collapsing helps though? At the moment all the collapsing and digging around is the biggest problem, this just adds more to open out. A big issue is of course Max's skinny sidebar which works for most simple modifiers but really isn't good for big sets of options.

How about having a floating window (similar to the effects or library boxes) that replicates the functionality of the existing menu? This could make use of tabs which are easier and faster for displaying a bunch of options and obviously allow for more space. It's a pain juggling windows around, but everyone is used to it - imagine trying to edit materials in the sidebar. For users who prefer the existing setup that can still exist.

For the displacement I've been using a conventionally displaced plane set to invisible to scatter on but it doesn't work too well for large areas and Megascans type materials that have a lot of detail.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 03:41:37 PM by Kim Laughton »

iToo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3315
    • iToo Software
Re: Overall complexity of Forest Pack interface
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 04:21:23 PM »
Thanks for your feedback and suggestions.

We'll explore all options, but unfortunately Max doesn't help us with this issue. We could use our own interface for Effects and Library browser, because they work as standalone tools.
But rollups are different, because the values exposed there are the parameters of the Forest object, and Max handles this interface directly.
Carlos Quintero
iToo Software

FC1888

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 88
Re: Overall complexity of Forest Pack interface
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2017, 02:06:43 AM »
For what it's worth, I find the Forest Pack Pro interface, very easy to navigate. and frankly any attempt to simplify it, would likely cause more problems than it would solve..

However, how about this. Have forest pack pros interface, open in a separate window like Vray, so I could stick it on my second monitor and have it open all the time, instead of it taking up screen real estate on the main screen. I can't imagine how much work that would involve, but I imagine it would be much easier than trying to simplify what you already have.. and certainly wouldn't confuse old time users, cause any problems with older scenes or make help files or tutorials invalid. Yes while it's great to have stuff, integrated into the main 3D programs interface, it can make things very cramped and tearing it away from the main interface, would allow you to fully expand it, on a second screen and save all that scrolling and opening and closing of sections

iToo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3315
    • iToo Software
Re: Overall complexity of Forest Pack interface
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2017, 12:03:00 PM »
Well, you can undock the full command panel and move it to a secondary screen.
What is not possible, is to undock only certain rollups or rewidth them. Max doesn't allow that functionality.
Carlos Quintero
iToo Software