Are you saying you'd like an easy way to pop into a precomp? (There is, double-click it in the timeline.);
Or are you saying you'd like a way to edit the precomp while you look at the main comp? (There is, open another viewer window.)
Here are some resources on Edit This Look At That in AE..
I think all the UI's are fantastic and they can't possibly get any better than they are.
If you're looking to something marketable by shaking things up why don't you just add a new level "Use Gradients". Make a third option with some contrast and bevels and stuff to make it look more like FCP X. Then you sell that as something new, but of course, leave the option to have that, use gradients, or just plain flat (which I think most of us will continue to use). You might scare up a storm of uninformed complaints like FCP X did.
Adobe has a monopoly on most of the areas it's programs cover. Why not spend more time fixing things, adding things that are missing instead of considering changing the UI or adding over-hyped features you'd rarely use (like perspective drawing in AI).
Adobe is here, firmly planted, and we all love you... but at the same time we all HATE you.
Why are Wing Menu's so tiny?
Why doesn't AE have color swatches. Does that even make sense that it doesn't?
Why is AE's Curves panel so small and useless compared to Photoshop's?
Why are Opacity Masks so hidden in AI?
Why the HELL is there a big hole (No "application frame") behind the Dreamweaver panels when no doc is opened?
Why are Photoshop panels so sensitive that they undock if you even look at them funny?
Why is it often difficult to get the mouse over just the right spot between panels? Are you trying to hide the hotspots?
Why does snapping in Photoshop suck?
Why does easing in Flash CS5 applied to the entire tween instead of between keyframes (whatever they're called now)?
Why can't type be treated more like Corel Draw in AI? Why have this HUGE, SELECTABLE text box around text? It's a vector program, we're not making books in here, we don't need the boxes around Point Type. We want to make word art and text in AI just gets in the way.
How about fixing those (boring in your book, I guess) issues instead of making fancy new welcome screens?
And how about new features like being able to add some kind of "folder" structure to AE's timeline? (No, Shying layers is NOT the answer). What about being able to expand PreComps in the main timeline? This can't be hard. The only issue is making it clear what's going on with the UI.
Anyway, I hope you don't make any major changes to the UI. It's 90% PERFECT.
Speaking of 'fcpx', let's get some waveform improvements.
One of the biggest raves is how "beautiful" X's waveforms are.
However these is supposed to be about UI.
I have one request on Workspaces--I'd LOVE to see Adobe expand the functionality of these. Right now they are good, but basic.
One of the huge pluses of Media Composer is the ability to link Workspaces to ALL of it's settings. Keyboard layouts, UI brightness, track colors, etc. One big one Adobe is missing is presets for the timeline--track heights need to be savable. This saves wonders of time switching between working with audio, color, normal editing, etc.
Also, saving workspaces is bad right not. You need a "save current" button. Right now if I tweak something and want to change it, I have to go to "new workspace" and try to remember what the Workspace was called so that it will overwrite.
Problem with 'save as you go' workspaces -- is, especially in Premiere, you'll accidentally drag a panel out and accidentally dock it somewhere totally screw up the whole layout. It saves this automatically, and I can't restore the workspace by going back to one that I'm already on. As a result, right now I'm forced to save a backup copy of my workspaces as well, and overwrite those as well, every time I make a change to my workspace that I want.
This 'saving workspaces' process could be improved, and the whole concept could be made more powerful if it was as flexible as MC's, linking it to other settings--like track height.
I shoot RAW stills and color grade them using the current version of Adobe Lightroom almost daily. Years ago I was trained as a digital colorist on the DaVinci Renaissance video color correction system, and I like that the image "color grading" concept of Lightroom is similar in many ways. It would not surprise me if the convergence of stills and moving images drives Lightroom to one day offer the ability to process both stills and video, but that is not my immediate concern.
A couple vital "colorist" style UI features I would like to see added to Lightroom immediately are:
*Three-Way Color Corrector-style Hue Balance Tool in the Lights, Mids, and Darks of any image. This is really the heart of any pro color grading system, and it is conspicuously lacking in Lightroom. The (overall) White Balance Tool is still necessary, but the Split Toning Tool is woefully inadequate for images with complex color balance problems. I use a Nikon pro-model film scanner, and vintage film scans can reveal color problems which require time-consuming curve manipulation in the scanner software, and often still require further color work in Photoshop. I would rather spend less time with curves by scanning an image which has the color in the ballpark, and then use Lightroom to do the final color grading at full resolution. Additional restoration will still likely require Photoshop, but a 3-Way Hue Balance Color Corrector Tool in Lightroom will eliminate much of the work I am doing in the scanner software and Photoshop now. A 3-Way Color Corrector can of course be used creatively on well-balanced digital images for effect, as well. Add in the ability to convert to or from negative to positive (including correction of color neg orange mask) and Lightroom will be a much more powerful tool in a scanning workflow.
*Integrated Support for Colorist Control Surfaces with simultaneous parameter input. So for example, you can adjust both hue and exposure of an image at the same time. This is the way to really rip through a lot of images.
*Ditch the Catalog. Okay, don't ditch it completely, I can see it's usefulness to some extent. I suppose it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Colorist-syle UI's. But it is frustrating and time-consuming to do the whole import rigmarole. Just let me browse images on my hard drive in the left-hand pane in the Library module. Give it a "live" view so that images don't go "missing" when moved or renamed in another app. My free Canon Digital Photo Professional even does this. You can give us a right-click for an "add this here image to catalog" prompt when browsing in the left pane if you want to continue with the whole "Catalog" concept. Or just automatically add any image to the catalog that is opened and viewed. Personally, I dislike the Catalog concept in general, and I would appreciate a non-catalog mode. I do like the non-destructive nature of Lightroom. I save XMP sidecar files. But copying and moving images within Lightroom is not only a slow pain, it is required if I want my catalog to remain organized. I would really appreciate a "copy image" (not just "virtual copies") included in the dialog when right-clicking an image or it's thumbnail. The Catalog concept as it is now is one of the biggest impediments in the Lightroom UI in my opinion.
*Allow me to drag-and-drop images from Lightroom into my Windows folders or desktop.
Overall I think Lightroom is great. Thanks for the opportunity to offer this input.
The file import dialog in After Effects and Premiere Pro needs improvements when it comes to importing file sequences.
1. There should an option to collapse file sequences. Browsing/scrolling and importing footage from folders with multiple file sequences can be a real pain.
2. There should be an option to split sequences with "gaps" in the frame numbering. Often material from telecine comes delivered as sequences with "time-code file names" rendered to one single folder. Afx and Premiere will bring in this as one long clip with missing frames. On import there should be an option to split these to separate clips.
3. To bring in media arranged in multiple subfolders can be a slow and painful manual process (Red and Alexa footage is arranged like this for example). There can be hundreds of folders to walk through. If there was an option to scan subfolders for available footage we could save loads of time when bringing in material.
Look at Apple's pro software, as much as they're having a bad time at the moment and rightly so, they do nail UI. I've always wanted the greatness of AE with the UI of Motion. AE just feels clunky even compared to Motion 2.
This is obviously only a personal opinion and realise not everyone will agree.
In online and file based workflows it is very common to relink offline media with new high resolution graded media. Often in the form of DPX sequences with time code. In that regard I find the "Link media..." menu extremely limited. Search and replace options aren't good enough. There should be options to link files by criteria like time-code, file type, resolution, framerate etc. Media often change names from offline to online so just matching exact file names isn't going to be enough. And no support for image sequences is sad. The manual is suggesting "import new still-image sequences, and place them into timelines manually". That is not a solution and just plain ridiculous. This process needs to be automated. Look at Smoke/Autodesk for how it should be done. Thank you.
I Think adobe's UI is excellent.
The idea of being able to move and drop them about as one pleases is huge.
Only thing I have to add is that the graphics of the GUI, at least compared to FCPx, is somewhat outdated.
When working in an app it is VERY important that the user feels GREAT. First thing to GREET any user when he launches the app is the GUI of the APP.
While adobe's GUIs are good the are old-fashioned (looks only not feature-wise) and not at all state-of-the-art.
I hate FCPx but its GUI is the BEST I have ever seen on ANY computer !
I don't think Adobe's interface is outdated. In fact, I think FCPX is the one with the outdated interface. When I first saw it I thought it looked like a little step backward. I say little because the interface of FCP 7 was also outdated. Bevels, shiny stuff, buttons that try to look like buttons is outdated. And what the hell is up with that subtle scratched pattern background in FCPX? All the cheap apps from 10 years ago looked like that. One of the reasons why I liked Adobe's interface is that it seemed to step beyond all that nonsense and get to business with a simple, clean, flat set of graphics. This is especially true for designers, photographers and editors. These people need to pay attention to what they're working on, not shiny doodads surrounding their work. I will say this though: it seems maybe Adobe's approach is mature enough to be mistaken for being old now itself. I would think the next step would have to be something "new". But if it's a choice between keeping what Adobe has now and going backward to make things look 90s-ish then I pick what we have now.
John Stanowski wrote:
I don't think Adobe's interface is outdated. In fact, I think FCPX is the one with the outdated interface. When I first saw it I thought it looked like a little step backward. I say little because the interface of FCP 7 was also outdated. Bevels, shiny stuff, buttons that try to look like buttons is outdated. And what the hell is up with that subtle scratched pattern background in FCPX? All the cheap apps from 10 years ago looked like that. One of the reasons why I liked Adobe's interface is that it seemed to step beyond all that nonsense and get to business with a simple, clean, flat set of graphics. This is especially true for designers, photographers and editors. These people need to pay attention to what they're working on, not shiny doodads surrounding their work.
I am one of those people. And I LOVE and NEED and inspirational interface.
If you care to do the research, there are plenty case studies over folks and how a GUI can affect them, creatively.
Even AVID acknowledged that as they brought about Protools 8. This stuff DOES matter.
Whether you like it or not ;-)
Second that. I like the GUI as it is now. Simple and clear. No fluff and shiny 3D buttons.
With all due respect... What an odd and void comment.
Adobe IS using Shiny 3D buttons. Just take a good look at your interface.
FCPx's buttons are LESS 3D as are their respective RGB values for each button.
The contrast-relationships governing adobe's user interface is MUCH higher than that of apples.
And a HIGH contrast interface is going to INTERVENE with the user's ability of concentrating on what matters...
The FOOTAGE !!!
AS of now, adobe's buttons are competing with the footage of ANY take. And THAT is not state-of-the-art...
And the text in all adobe's interfaces is simply too bright. Bring down the opacity to 85% and the whole look will appear MUCH
more professional and save your eyes.
1st - FCPx
2nd - AE
MUCH more easy to look at FCPs buttons. Less obtrusive. GUI creation is an art... Apple despite of too much eye-candy, is mastering this.
Look at their website... Today, most companies are imitating it. Only much less successful.
Quite frankly I'm not looking at the buttons much when I working, whether it be After Effects, Premiere, or Final Cut.
I usually take these tool panels and throw them off to the very of the screen where they are out of the way. Can't do this in FCPX though lol. Thank you for the awesome panel based UI, Adobe. (I just want to be able to lock them so I stop accidently grabbing panels)
Okay, yes, I do like FCP's icons more than AE's. I agree with you on that.
what I don't like is that they're lopped into a box with curved corners that by the nature of proximity requires space around it for it to exist visually. That's a waste of space. And the curved corners looks cheap. AE's icons are in the panel and that's it; no fluff around it. Makes better use of space. But I do like the FCP icons better.
What I meant by shiny buttons is more like Avid's over gradient-crazy interface. FCP 7 is a little better than Avid in that area, although it has a strong "Look at me, I'm all metal!" feel to it. FCP X looks like a cheap program. It looks like it's targeted to consumers. Why are the... what do you call them now? The new version of clips in the bin, why do they have distracting curved corners and ... ugh ... drop shadows? What's with that 90s background texture when you first open it up? I'm not saying it's totally bad. I like the blacks and grays. I like that the fonts are easy to read. Adobe's interface font is okay, but I think that might be something worthy of exploring replacements for.
BTW, I was never a fan of tools with icons. I often scratch my head when looking at some of them and think "what the hell is that supposed to be?"
When working, stopping to 'translate' icons often takes me out of my "flow". I wouldn't mind an interface preference setting that would replace some or all of these icons with just words in buttons. Something like the AutoDesk apps do.
Thing is, GUI-taste is huge thing. Some like it X and some prefer Y...
Be that as it may, taste is something that shouldn't be discussed but accepted as a fact.
The Pro Audio Industry has been dealing a lot with this the past years.
The only app there which really solved the problem smartly was MOTU.
Instead of providing ONE theme to look at, the provide MANY and one can even make his own theme.
Check this link, there is a window that keeps changing theme.
The app is called Digital Performer and is DAW
One might argue, WHY does a music recording/composing app need to be beautiful?
Easy, people like to customize the environment in which they dwell !!!
People have been customizing just about ANYTHING they have developed a passion for, since the dawn of mankind.
Well, software is starting to play a HUGE part in the environment in which we live... I personally spend more than HALF my 24 hours
infront of either a Video or Audio app....
So I for one would like to be able to customize my LIFE which in this case is the app in which I make it happen ;-)
And WHO looses ANYTHING if there a multiple choices of themes... NO ONE...
We all loose if there is but ONE theme...
So Choices ==== Please ;_)
Illustrator, photoshop and InDesign are my regular programs until the CS series came out. My major complaint is the palettes are WAY TOO SMALL and hard to see. When I type in a value, I cannot see what I typed in. I cannot see the icons very well and this has forced me to stop using Adobe software. Is there any way to display the palettes not just a larger size, but with larger images in black (not just grey), larger bold fonts, etc? Pretty please?
In Adobe Premiere Pro it would be nice if one would be able to create subclips with soft in and out, somewhat like clip instances that would be available for the project management. If I create a subclip now (when chopping up a long clip) I get hard beginning and end of a clip and cannot change it easily.
In Premiere Pro it would be cool if you could manipulate values in panels the same way you can in After Effects where you can use arrow up and down to adjust a value.
Or even better if you can copy the way you do it in Nuke (from The Foundry), there you can also use arrow left and right to choose if you want to adjust in 0.1, 1, 10, or 100 and so on). You should do that for the whole range of Adobe apps. It's a really neat and fast way of adjusting values with the keyboard only.
In Premiere Pro's timeline i find the way that clips get "auto-placed" in certain places most annoying and hard to control. When you move a clip it is very easy to accidentally drop it on another layer or that it places itself in positions where you did not intend it to end up. This auto-place feature should be tweaked in sensitivity for a better user experience.
Just a few of today's gripes:
The Graph Editor in AE blinks on and off as you drag handles and is generally very stiff and slow to use.
The HUD Color Picker in PS could do with an option to make it stay on screen until you click on the image underneath, the current ctrl-alt-Cmd and spacebar methods are tricky and cumbersome.
Where is the consistency and (user, not programmer) logic behind what constitutes an undo-able action? Switching in and out of Graph Editor in AE is undo-able but switching comps is not (which makes tracking changes across multiple comps VERY challenging). I often wish I could undo a change to foreground colour or some other slider in PS (although at other times it would not be helpful).
Why is there no scrubby zoom or scrubby sliders in AI? I really think Illustrator needs the most attention in its UI, it lags behind PS and AE for fluidity of operation.
After Effects stops loading when the 'Missing plug in, 'created with earlier version, 'etc' ' dialogue boxes open up. I wish the program would open anyway (without me having to Okay it) and just leave a sort of stick note with the Alert information.
Also, I miss in older versions of AE that would let you know that an image was altered in another program. For instance, even if I changed one pixel in a Photoshop document AE would let me know that the file had been altered (though I'd like to see it as a sticky note).
Many times I'll double-click a Layer name and inadvertently open the Layer Styles menu. I wish that within the layer Styles menu a Layer name was present so that I could ALSO type it in there (instead of Canceling, then re-double-clicking the layer name).... It'll save me a step.
I'd LOVE if AE would put a dot next to any footage that I've used in a project. Sometimes I've got hundreds of video files that I'm trying to use and I don't know which one's I've used which I haven't. Selecting each and every one to see is time consuming. If a red dot was placed before the footage if it was used would be a real timesaver. Perhaps a red dot for footage used once and a green dot for footage used multiple times.
I know it's already there if you highlight the footage. Not only can you see that it is used, but where it's used! However, it's no good if there are hundreds of items and you need to see, at a glance, what's used. It takes a while to click one at a time to see what's used. I mean, you can use the down arrow, but if you're going fast, you better hope you don't blink or you'll have to go back to double-check.
Having an easily seen little tick mark, dot, etc. next to it would let you skim through a whole lot of items very quickly. If it were one of the columns and you found it unuseful, you could hide it.
Unlike everyone here I'd like to see Adobe go back to the Photoshop 5 (not CS5) palettes and user interface. You remember those, the ones they took Macromedia to court over, forcing Macromedia to change theirs. It was simple, intuitive and I personally found it very easy to look at. I loved that interface and have never forgiven Adobe for dumping it right after winning the lawsuit and going with these horrible panel interfaces. Hate'm, always will (the panels, not Adobe). Just an opinion from an old timer who hates all these interface changes every release.
Thank you for the opportunity to make suggestions. Currently have CS4 Design Premium, will soon upgrade to 5.5
Using InD, PS regularly for years, AI frequently. Hoped to learn DW but found the gobs of minute icons way too confusing to recognize, let alone master.
Have appreciated many leaps forward in PS over the years! Please address this simple request: I often use purchased stock photos when creating images and typically will open several and use Duplicate Layer to add images to my working file. Why not let the file name copy over as well so I don't have to type in the photo name or number into the layer palette? Also: where did show Hidden Characters disappear to? I think this was there in CS2, now gone. Why? Need it!
I have had massive point selection problems with AI for years and find it impossible to develop a "flow" when working. Constant halting to try again, switch views, magnification, etc. Please: can't it just work better?
Now I am teaching groups of 20 students on 28" iMacs and seeing that some problems are exacerbated. They are not allowed to change the resolution settings on the monitors, so the icons and all details of the interface are way too tiny. The default "Open" position of the window to full screen and far left and right positioning of Toolbar and Palettes stack is especially problematic for newbies searching for the right tool among dozens of choices. I know they can customize the positions, but the main problem is still the size. The single most diffilcult issue is being able to even see the points and handles of paths. PLEASE offer options to make anchor points and handles larger!!! People have been begging for this for years!! My eyes are worn out after a 4-hour lab. And the students are straining forward, searching for things, must be in pain by the end of the day!
I am getting a new iMac myself and glad I realized this problem before ordering a 28"! Prefer 2 monitors anyway, each angled comfortably for viewing. As other posters have mentioned, setting and maintaining one's preferred two-monitor setup would be a great feature. Now the constant management of open, closed, attached and hidden palettes is so tedious.
In my own work, I wish there were more layer functions available in the Layers palette: especially drag Selected Art block to dupe in another layer. If it's possible, I haven't found it. C'mon, can't you combine with one af the command keys? More/easier actions in layers palette!
Love the Erase tool in AI, btw. Now that's a timesaver!
FWIW, I am not linterested in monthly/yearly subscriptions to run these programs, and I don't want to work in the cloud. Internet is nowhere near fast enough in USA to keep up with all of us trying to create!
One thing that I don't think anybody has mentioned yet, is the ability to automatically synchronise saved workspaces (and ideally preferences too, although off-topic here) between different machines via the cloud. More and more hot-desking is going on, and laptops becoming increasingly capable of high-end work. It makes sense to me.
If all of my settings, including workspaces, shortcuts, color tweaks, labels, etc (all settings) were synced in a Chrome/Rockmelt-esque way, I'd save a whole lot of time doing it manually on all the machines I work on.
I think it makes a ton of sense. Every user should be able to pop in a usb key (for those workstations not connected to the internet) OR log in to their Adobe account and immediately get all of their settings.
I'm mostly relating to Premiere Pro, maybe AE but not as big of a deal, but it could apply to everything in the suite.
First of all thank you for asking the question!
The two biggest UI quirks that bug me are:
1. Many times I'll accidentally click the "Browse in Bridge" item in the File menu. In Dreamweaver in particular it's adjacent to the "Open" menu item. It's very frustrating to do that and wait for it to load. Please either (1) allow me to customize menus in all applications (you could model it after Photoshop's menu customizer) or (2) allow me to remove Bridge from CS5.
2. I prefer to maximize my app windows. Between a coworker and I, we in the past we've had Adobe appplications' chrome bleed onto a second montitor, even though the app is maximized on another monitor. This occured for most but not all Adobe programs. It may have been fixed by now, because for the life of me I can't get it to occur now.
I think one of your best UI assets is the very convenient Workspaces presets dropdown.
The focus of attention problem still plagues media production workspaces. When crafting things in the digital media, we are forced to constantly "find" that panel or button. I did some research years ago 2001 that sought to understand the focus of attention problem in Illustrator, but findings could be applied to all of Adobe's products. You can see a short video demonstration (no sound) of this research. Basically, the solution is to come up with a palette container that allows a user to transport to a different palette at any given time, in any given context. So, the question of "where do I put this UI palette" goes away, and it allows the creator to focus on what they are making.
Thought this link would be relevant to this discussion: