Ideas for UI Modifications (Improvements?)  

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1. Offer a single window option similar to kdenlive. For those of us on single monitors, it is super frustrating not being able to find the window you want because it's hidden behind something else and having to switch through all four of them one by one by clicking on them in the dock. An alternative (less appealing to me) would be adding a keyboard shortcut to return to the default layout (what you see the first time you open after installing it) with viewer in upper left and compositor in upper right. Then perhaps the resources window could be called with a shortcut, but by default be 'always on top'.  But I really think the option of a single-window view would be welcomed by many.

2. In the (current) four-window variant, window names should be immediately visible in the dock. As is, the windows are named 'Cinelerra: Resources' or 'Cinelerra: Compositor', but as soon as you are doing any kind of multitasking, there is no space to show anything except the first several letters of Cinelerra, so it becomes a crapshoot. There are different color icons for each window, but on a high resolution monitor, the icons are so small, and the colors are so similar, that it becomes nearly impossible to differentiate them.

3. Make a keyboard shortcut to switch between windows quickly (like alt-tab, but exclusive to Cinelerra).

4. Compositor should default to 'always on top' (not totally sure about this but i think it might help).

5. Armed (editable) tracks should have a much more eye-catching change than just illuminating the lock, again, this is tiny on a high-res screen. Perhaps the whole track box should be red, or flash, or disarmed tracks should become grayed out...

6. It would be nice to be able to collect all armed tracks at the top of the timeline, perhaps via a context menu (that way if we're working with multiple armed tracks, we can quickly see them all collected one below the other on the timeline).

7. REALLY IMPORTANT: currently if I want to use the keyboard to enter text in a dialog, the mouse pointer needs to be hovering over the exact text box I am editing within the dialog. This is incredibly frustrating, because it often means if I select a text box and then I let go of the mouse to type and inadvertently dislodge the mouse, keyboard entry is disabled. I've never seen this behaviour in any other program and don't understand the purpose of it, but it costs me incredible amounts of time.

8. SHORTCUTS:

I realize that for power users, or those who simply have learned the program in its current state, there may be no problem with the current system. However for people like myself, its a huge stumbling block because we have to forget how we do all these operations we may do in other programs hundreds of times per day, and relearn them using a new method exclusive to Cinelerra.

 

I personally use Cinelerra on an occasional basis, at high intensity for a week or two, but I may not need it again for several months. In the meantime, I am constantly reinforcing the fact that libreoffice, firefox, the gimp, ardour, harrison mixbus, and a vast number of other programs across operating systems use the following shortcuts (for example, I am constantly using them as I type in my word processor to try to make this post as readable as possible, and then I will copy/paste it into Firefox using them as well):

Ctrl+c=copy

Ctrl+v=paste

Ctrl+x=cut

Ctrl+mousewheel up=zoom in

Ctrl+mousewheel down=zoom out

Ctrl+mousebutton1+drag=drag a copy

In other non linear editors (kdenlive), the gimp, and most daws I have used:

Shift+mousewheelup=scroll left

Shift+mousewheel wodn=scroll right

 

Some aspects of this single-key shortcut strategy are also downright dangerous. Using single-key shortcuts for operations like 'delete last track', 'save', and 'cut', means that if I am multitasking I can do serious damage to my Cinelerra session. For example, if I'm typing an email and get distracted and Cinelerra regains focus without me realizing it (this can happen easily since I often have some Cinelerra windows set to 'always on top' and an erratic mouse click or brush of the touchpad can change focus without my realizing), I can easily delete several tracks and then save the session, since none of these shortcuts require modifiers (ask me how I know). Even just accdentally touching the 'd' key can ruin your day if you don't notice and rectify immediately.

 

At the very least, I would suggest the option of selecting 'safe/conventional' shortcuts as I described above (these are obviously open to debate, but I think they are fairly representative of common practice in the majority of non-professional computer software, and thus advantageous to beginner or occasional users), and also the option to invert mousewheel polarity for zoom operations.  I have never seen mousewheel down used to zoom in (I may be wrong).

 

9. Keyframe fader automation: Ardour/mixbus have a very nice system going here, with the option of switching automation states from 'manual' (which ignores automation) to 'write' (which writes new values according to fader position as the track rolls, overwriting existing automation until the transport is stopped and it switches automatically to 'touch') to 'touch' (which plays existing automation and switches to 'write' as soon as you click on the control, then switching back to existing automation as soon as you release it) to 'play' (which ignores manual input and forces the control to follow existing automation). The current cinelerra implementation seems to be a sort of version of 'touch', but it does some strange things if I try to write automation while the video is playing back, and it would be nice if it gave up control for the duration of manual input. Currently, if I try to draw automation as the track is playing, I end up with a sawtooth in which Cinelerra alternates between writing my inputs into automation and jumping to the preceding state for the parameter I am automating (if this isn't clear I can make a video to illustrate). Sample rate for automation capture seems very low as well, which isn't ideal for more delicate work.

10. I don't know how much work this would be, but I would love to use the same window decorations as most of my other programs, and especially the same save/load dialogs.  That way I could access all my bookmarks.  Also, Render operations could ask you where to render to in a separate dialog (currently they assume you want to overwrite the last render, which is annoying, and yet another opportunity for an inattentive or distracted user to do damage).

In general I think the program has improved drastically in terms of stability and power in the last few years, but still feels very difficult to use due to some of these interface problems. Happy to discuss any of this, and as always, thanks for your amazing work.

This topic was modified 7 months ago by dankinzelman
7 Answers
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From this discussion were born the following tickets on MantiBT: #0267; #0268; #0269; #0270; #0271
For the request of the Shortcuts changes had already been created the ticket #0263

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1- Many people have made this request. I do not remember where to find the various answers. Ask for help.
However, something has been done by being able to save and load custom layouts. See manual 3.1.10 Windows Layout.

2- Good idea. +1

3- Let's see if that's possible.

4- I didn't understand very well; shouldn't Compositor ever be able to go under some other window?

5- Recently it has been provided more highlight (red color in the patchbay). Let's see if we can also use the timeline to increase the highlight.

6- It doesn't seem useful to me, but maybe because I'm used to it. Let's hear from others.

7- Big problem for me too until I was told: Settings --> Preferences --> Appearance Tab and checked:
Set input focus when windows entered
Click to activate text focus
Click to deactivate text focus
In this way, only moving the cursor to another window loses the focus of the textbox.

8- Phyllis had opened a ticket; maybe something can be done. Let's see the developments.
https://www.cinelerra-gg.org/bugtracker/view.php?id=263

9- I don't think I understand the problem very well. To me, automatic keyframes seem really comfortable and easy.

10- I'm afraid it's part of the layout changes. I think we'll have to wait for a volunteer with the time and skills to do this job.

PS: Thank you for bringing these points to light, they're all important.
PPS: If you have any performance videos on Youtube or similar, I'd be curious to see them. In the Forum there is the "Look at Me" section where Glen has already shown his nice videos.

This post was modified 7 months ago by andreapaz
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That already exists, @dankinzelman. But I'm not going to make the mistake of naming the name and doing anti-advertising. The GUI of CGG will not change in the foreseeable future, others have been trying for years more or less unsuccessfully. You should get used to Alt-Tab for operation and switching between the windows. The Composer can also be nailed to the window manager. I had set it up this way and hidden the viewer behind it and rolled up the composer with the mouse wheel if needed. But this is only an emergency solution, with several viewers it quickly becomes confusing.

One remark, I don't like CUA, is too much Windows for me.
C+w = cut
M+w = copy
C+y = paste
I use Emacs all day long and have to get used to it all the time ... 😉

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I don't know if that's technically feasible, but it would be a temporary solution. It would be good if we had an option in the settings that will bring up all the other main windows like Compositor, Viewer, Main and Resource windows when selecting one of the Cinelerra windows, so it doesn't matter which icons you click on at the bottom of the taskbar. It's not the final solution of a one-window program, but it would be acceptable for me. It's a kind of automatic bringing all these windows up front.

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Due to server maintenance and restore from a backup, the last post was no longer available. Here is the last post from: @dankinzelman

1- Many people have made this request. I do not remember where to find the various answers. Ask for help.
However, something has been done by being able to save and load custom layouts. See manual 3.1.10 Windows Layout.

-OK, but I presume if many people make this request, maybe it's worth actually doing 🙂

 

4- I didn't understand very well; shouldn't Compositor ever be able to go under some other window?

Yes, I think it should, but personally I much more often want it on top than behind. So if possible (until we get a good single-window option), I would prefer the default to be 'always on top'. That way I can make modifications and scroll on the timeline without losing sight of the compositor window, which I often want, but currently have to set up manually.

5- Recently it has been provided more highlight (red color in the patchbay). Let's see if we can also use the timeline to increase the highlight.

Where's the patchbay? I'm not familiar with that term.

6- It doesn't seem useful to me, but maybe because I'm used to it. Let's hear from others.

Sure, I am thinking about big, complicated multicamera sessions where I have 3-4 channels of video and 6-8 channels of audio. In this case, it would be nice for me to be able to collect the tracks I'm editing at the top of the screen in a quick way, again, to help me avoid making errors and doing edits on tracks I didn't intend, or not editing tracks I do want to edit.

7- Big problem for me too until I was told: Settings --> Preferences --> Appearance Tab and checked:
Set input focus when windows entered
Click to activate text focus
Click to deactivate text focus
In this way, only moving the cursor to another window loses the focus of the textbox.

Thanks, I'll try that. I definitely think by default this should be disabled, I can't imagine why anyone would want that active. Again, this seems like a behavior unique to Cinelerra. In general, I think my general idea is that Cinelerra, whenever possible, should behave like any other program we use on a daily basis. That way it would be much more welcoming for new, or occasional users. At the moment, I think Kdenlive wins hands down in this department, despite the fact that I very much prefer Cinelerra's power and versatility.

9- I don't think I understand the problem very well. To me, automatic keyframes seem really comfortable and easy.

I have done some more testing, and I made a video to illustrate the problem I'm talking about (check the attachment). To describe in words, if the fader automation has already been modified, further modifying that automation creates zigzags since there seems to be some indecision about whether or not to overwrite the already existing automation once I assume manual control, and it ends up alternating between existing automation and new automation points (at its low automation sampling rate). I think in the video it should be clear what I mean, check out the zigzags.

10- I'm afraid it's part of the layout changes. I think we'll have to wait for a volunteer with the time and skills to do this job.

OK, I understand. It would be a huge step forward, IMO, if we could get the same kind of desktop integration we see in Kdenlive, but with the much more powerful engine of Cinelerra. Is this complicated? I always figured integrating with existing window decorations was chosen often because it was the simplest option!

PS: Thank you for bringing these points to light, they're all important.

Thank you! I presume you are one of the developers, and I deeply appreciate what you do, and your interest in my feedback!
PPS: If you have any performance videos on Youtube or similar, I'd be curious to see them. In the Forum there is the "Look at Me" section where Glen has already shown his nice videos.

Sure, I'll share a few things. We have some new (and much better quality) content coming but it's not yet public. However I would be happy to share it with you privately if you'd like. Email me: info(at)hobbyhorse3.com

@dankinzelman

5- The Patchbay is the area to the left of the tracks, where are the name of the tracks, the buttons of playback, arm, gang fader, draw and mute, where are the overlays, the slider of the fader, etc. An unarmed track puts the color red in the background of the title textbox.

7- You're right, CinGG is too personal and this keeps random visitors away. The reason is that the original Cinelerra was made by the typical "genius and unruliness" that imposed its own way of working (based on the tracks in their entirety instead of on the clips like all the others). GG also goes down this road: when asked for a feature, it tries to find an original way to implement it (with excellent results, in my opinion). So it's hard to bring CinGG to standard workflows. Who knows, maybe implementing a way to move entire tracks with the mouse instead of moving them up/down one step at a time might be possible.

9- Yes, the video is clear, thanks. I think it's the wrong way to use automatic keyframes. You create so many that they are unmanageable. However, the problem of zigzagging remains, and we need to hear Good Guy about his cause.

10- No, it's not easy; I'll bring you a message from an old developer, Hermann Vosseler (taken from Igor_ubuntu's blog):
"..the greatest problem you get to face immediately is that you can't just reconfigure Cinelerra, add some new functionality here and there and put a new GUI "on top". The reason is, that obviously (just judging from the existing source code -- I am not the original author) Cinelerra wasn't written with that option in mind. It provides some very limited extension points (plug-ins for effects), but that's it. All the rest was thought out as a whole and works as a whole."
But I repeat, if some new developer arrives it will be possible to change the GUI entirely (I like Premiere Pro's); until then I am satisfied with the custom layouts.

PS: I wish I was a coder. I'm only a bad tester and I only made small contributions.
PPS: Don't be discouraged from requesting new features for CinGG. I asked to be able to draw on frames and animate those drawings, basically 'Motion Graphics'. GG said it was a complicated matter and he didn't know it well. Then after a couple of weeks, surprisingly, he created the Sketcher plugin, fulfilling my request.

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1. The pan control is really bad at the moment, IMO.  When the timeline/editor is full screen, panning something full left has the mouse running into the left margin of the screen, necessitating several click/drag operations.  Also, panning in stereo should be one dimensional (x-axis only), but the panner is two dimensional, which simply creates confusion, because it seems like moving the green dot up or down should change something, when it apparently does nothing (and rightly so!).  I propose a simple knob panner for stereo projects: click and drag up moves to the right, click and drag down moves to the left.  Otherwise a L-R slider (like the current panner window, but without vertical freedom).  I think the current style of panner should only be used in projects with 4+ output audio streams.  In either case, even in the absence of other modifications, it would be good to relocate the panner button to the right side of the patchbay to avoid bumping into the left margin of the screen, which is super annoying.

2. It would be nice to be able to spawn audio from a video clip to a new audio track.  For example, when working on multi-camera projects, I often use the audio to sync the clips and then would like to throw the camera audio away if I have something better to free up vertical space in my timeline.  But if I later screw up the sync somehow during editing, it would be great to be able to respawn the camera audio to a new track to recheck sync against my reference tracks.  Since I know of no way to do this, I end up with a bunch of extra audio tracks floating around the session that I just keep for insurance, but as soon as I forget to arm one of them when editing the related video clip, they lose sync with their own video and become just useless clutter (worse yet, if I don't immediately notice that I've ruined the sync, I can make matters worse when trying to fix stuff).  If we had something like a context menu item 'extract camera audio to new track), it would come in really handy, that way we could quickly fix problems like this.  If there's already a technique for this please let me know, I DESPERATELY need it.

3. Perhaps even better (but undoubtedly more complex to implement) would be if all video sources containing audio automatically created associated (but hidden) audio tracks, which automatically undergo all editing operations performed on the video, but are hidden by default.  If we want to separate audio and video, we can use an option like 'copy audio to new tracks', and those new tracks would then be unlocked from their associated video, but the video track would always have it's associated audio tracks available, undergoing the same operations, and thus permanently synced.

4. Perhaps simplest to implement: Allow the option of 'locking' or 'grouping' tracks together (even to a limited number of available groups, say 4).  In that case, arming one track would automatically arm all the others assigned to that group, and editing operations would automatically carry over to all associated tracks.

Dear dankinzelman, I take the liberty and hereby officially appoint you feature enquirer. Welcome to the club. Please be so good and write your suggestions for improvement point by point on the bugtracker provided. It is important to treat each point individually, so that it remains clear and so that the point can be declared as done or preserved for future generations. Here is the link to the bugtracker:  https://www.cinelerra-gg.org/bugtracker/my_view_page.php

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Thanks Olaf,

I just started a pretty intense period of work but I appreciate your invitation and will get to work on it as soon as I have a bit of free time to invest again.

Dan

@dankinzelman

If you want, I can create the tickets on MantisBT.

@andreapaz

Sure, if you have time that would be great!  I am really busy with residencies for the next few weeks so it would be hard for me to find time.

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