AuthorTopic: rendera (free paint app)  (Read 9652 times)

Offline joe_7

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rendera (free paint app)

on: June 29, 2015, 05:57:53 pm
Hello, I'm the author of Rendera, a free (open-source) painting app. I recently rewrote the entire thing from scratch, and you can get it here:

http://rendera.sourceforge.net

I made this mostly for retouching, but have done game art also. At the core it's like a fancy version of MS Paint.

The current todo list:
-copy/paste/clipboard etc
-patterns
-isometric grid

It's difficult as a developer to write useful software without feedback, so that's what I'm after. (Also will give credit for ideas/code contributions.)




Offline yrizoud

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 01:49:27 pm
Hi, and welcome.
As a coder of a graphic program too, I've tested a lot of them on Windows to get ideas.
* Yours looks quite "pro". Nice design, clean one-executable packaging.
* The drawing tools like antialised lines and antialised freehand shapes are quite unusual, very nice !
* Many painting modes which I didn't even know existed. Any documentation ?
* The multi-step Undo is good to have, but you should really make a Re-do to go with it, otherwise people will Undo too much and lose work.
* In the same line of thought, a protection against "quit without saving" may save someone some serious pain.
* The dither pattern that marks the part that you're drawing : I completely understand the question of performance. It is actually very suitable for a lot of tools (preview polygons...) and for many effects where the result is not very visible (when you're applying subtle low-pressure effects). At the same time, it's not the best for "simple" drawing (Normal at 100% opacity), but you can't have the best of both worlds. One remark : The black and white dither texture itself may be annoying because it can display "fuzzy" (unstable) on low-end screens, and on very high-resolution ones it can become totally indistinguishable from grey, which defeats the purpose of a "recognizable" color. I don't have a solution in mind for this.

If I have one suggestion, it's to choose where your editor sits in the middle of the countless free graphic editors for Windows, and focus on its strengths. It's tempting to try do everything at once, but it would take years to accumulate all the features of Photoshop, and this is even without talking of different color spaces (indexed, HSV, 48bit RGB...) or image types (layer groups, animation)

Offline joe_7

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 07:09:12 pm
All good suggestions, thank you. Will try to fix those problems soon. My goal at this point is to have a nice paint toy without getting into fancier things like layers etc. It's pretty easy to add new tools/modes/menu items though. Ideas are welcome, there is plenty of room for more stuff.

There isn't much documentation yet besides this lazy effort:
https://github.com/Mortis69/rendera/wiki

Offline surt

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #3 on: July 01, 2015, 08:30:41 am
Tried it under X11.

Looks promising.

If you want it to be useful for pixel art then indexed mode editing is really quite important.

The dithered stroke preview is really ugly to my eyes. I'd much prefer it just use solid paint colour.

Is there a way to pan with the mouse without switching to navigation view, just pull the canvas across the viewport? If not then that would be very important for me.

The gui panels all have a lot of empty space. It'd be nice to be able to pack them together in line with others. Does FLTK have docks?

Offline joe_7

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #4 on: July 01, 2015, 07:14:25 pm
You can use the cursor keys to move around for now, but I think doing it your way and having the navigator optional (maybe with shift+middle) would be better.

Will look into some of the other things also.

Offline joe_7

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #5 on: July 03, 2015, 05:18:46 pm
Fixed a few of these problems in the source code:

-shows color instead of ugly pattern now when painting
-implemented redo
-closing the program triggers an "are you sure?" message (doesn't check to see if you saved yet, but I'll get around to it)

Indexed mode is next.

Offline surt

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #6 on: July 03, 2015, 08:41:25 pm
Painting's much more pleasant to look at with the solid coloured stroke now.
Redo looks to work fine but is quite awkward without a keyboard shortcut.

If you're going to have indexed colour then it'd be nice to be able to change index colours nonmodaly. So for example have changing colour on the colour square update the selected index rather than having to launch the palette editor whenever you need to tweak a colour. Colour component sliders would be nice too (RGB/HS?).

Offline joe_7

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #7 on: July 06, 2015, 02:44:18 am
Made a keyboard shortcut for redo, thanks for pointing that out.

I don't think an indexed mode is going to work out very well. It's possible, but I feel it only adds a lot of confusion to both the code base and user experience. So I'll probably make a separate 8-bit version for pixel art purposes (much of the code can be reused for this).

Also planning to remove the palette editor (never did like it), and do as you suggested. Shouldn't be hard to provide the same funtionality on the main screen, along with a choice of color wheel/sliders.

Offline Vagrant

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #8 on: July 10, 2015, 07:31:26 am
Hm, interesting.

I can try this soon and provide in-depth critique as it relates to my own professional pixel art workflow and my deep craving for a sleek-quick-clean interface. As well as considering that I'm a Cintiq/drawing tablet user.


Interested?

Offline joe_7

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #9 on: July 10, 2015, 07:38:08 pm
Yes, I think that would help a lot.

Offline Decroded

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #10 on: July 14, 2015, 01:42:15 am
Yes, I think that would help a lot.
prepare urself!  :lol:

Offline joe_7

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #11 on: July 18, 2015, 06:52:00 pm
Is there a way to pan with the mouse without switching to navigation view, just pull the canvas across the viewport? If not then that would be very important for me.

I implemented this today as the default middle button operation. (The full navigator comes up with shift+middle.) Thanks for the suggestion, it's a lot better this way!

Offline Vagrant

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #12 on: July 21, 2015, 02:23:10 am
Here's my suggestions. (Or should I say, -wishlist- for the most efficient Pixel Art program I could ever imagine?)

Now, instead of birthing a bunch of fat paragraphs that would most likely achieve nothing, I decided to go with the classic Pixelation way, edits and mock-ups. There's no better way to get messages across.






I'll begin with what I found. Overall, this version was fully un-usable for me, testing on a Cintiq. The screen was too cluttered, it was sluggish to change between tools (Time was wasted in long trips and menu back and forths), and as such, a frustrating program for any efficient drawing of any kind.

So here's my suggestions to fix pretty much everything:







I'll tackle this image by parts.

First things first- Normal click inputs a drawing stroke, which is applied when the click is released, like in every other drawing program. That whole confirm render stroke issue needs to go, as it only wastes time. Usually, Undo is what you use to revert pretty much everything.

Space key opens up a customizable pop-up menu. Right Click activates the Colour Picker. (These two functions take the two buttons on my Cintiq pen, and are the most useful and essential.)

Just like in Graphics Gale. This pop-up menu is incredibly efficient and allows for tool changing in less than a second, for the experienced artist. The key here is customizable, it really allows this to adapt to pretty much anyone. I think a basic rounded list should be introduced as a place holder when opening the program for the first time.
Colour picker. Probably one of the most used functions in pixel art, and deserving the greatest shortcut. Right click seems a natural option, like it's done in Graphics Gale. One just can't live without this.


Top Menu. Tabs for open files. It's incredibly convenient. Eliminate everything else from here, as it makes the layout too charged, and there can be better places for both the zooming options (Tool options) and grid ('Image' top menu).

Tools window. Along with Painting, Palette, and Preview, these windows need the option to be free to drag around anywhere. Dockable as well of course. Otherwise, the whole interface feels too rigid. We artists need freedom here!
I put a number of tools there that are used frequently. Select tool, lasso select, magnifier, they all go here.

Painting window. It's reduced to basic pixel brushes, their size, as well as pixel textures (A feature in Graphics Gale). The latter can be optional, but it's very useful sometimes. Those are the essentials. Anything else, like the solidity levels as well as any other features one might want to add, should be able to be hidden away in a tab, to free space off the interface and add it to the actual drawing.

Palette window. Added primary and secondary colour options. Also, the ever-useful RGB slider, with buttons to click right away with your drawing pen, as to avoid touching the keyboard. Everything else seen here is more of an optional thing, and should be able to be hidden away under tabs if so the user prefers.

Preview window. It's simply too vital in pixel art. Should have many zooming options, with at least 50%, 100%, 200%, 300%, 400%.



And that's about it. Here's a sample configuration I would use, to serve as an example:
Everything I need would be there, and the tools in the tools window I would place in the Spacebar menu, for speed and convenience.

Less is more. But in drawing, less interface means more un-obstructed drawing. ;)



 
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 02:39:44 am by Vagrant »

Offline Vagrant

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #13 on: July 21, 2015, 02:28:47 am
Here's a full-screen configuration, along with some extra notes on it's workings.

The thing about working on screen tablets like the Cintiq is that you want to use as much screen space as possible, and the presence of sidebars and top menu bars have the potential to become undeniably annoying. This fullscreen view is meant to be clean, pure, and perfect in that it's not an obtacle nor an eyesore.

Here, Auto-hide can be used to get 100% of the screen purely for your drawing.












If anyone wants to add to the suggestions and features, I'd be much appreciated.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 02:50:05 am by Vagrant »

Offline joe_7

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #14 on: July 21, 2015, 05:55:20 pm
Some great suggestions (and the images help a lot), thank you.

The overall interface seems to be the most glaring issue, so I intend to work on that first. Probably multiple document support after that, followed by the various bells & whistles.


Offline Vagrant

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #15 on: July 23, 2015, 12:36:49 am
I think that when it comes to pixel art programs, everything is pretty much figured out already, with the likes programs like Graphics Gale and ProMotion. There's not really much room left for new features or innovation, but where there's a sure potential is on interface design and workflow optimization.  ;) It's crazy how these programs still look like a primitive Windows XP application with almost no regards to workflow.

Ideally it'd be best to factor in the preferences of the community around these things... And take the best of both programs, merge them into one ultra sleek and simple retouching and sketching concept, and it's sold.

Animation, and frames is I think too much at this level and perhaps unnecessary, this being the other two program's strong points.
Maybe later, once the main interface is out of the way, you could consider animated gif editing with preview.


Also joe_7, check your PMs.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2015, 12:52:52 am by Vagrant »

Offline yrizoud

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #16 on: July 23, 2015, 09:14:52 am
It's crazy how these programs still look like a primitive Windows XP application with almost no regards to workflow.
People don't want to learn anything new, so any program which tries to stray from the principles of Windows 3 user interface gets a cold shoulder.

And there are many possible control schemes, so any UI optimized for a specific one will be much, much less usable with the others :
1) mouse with 2+ buttons
2) mouse with 1 button
3) electro-magnetic resonance stylus (ie. Wacom-style)
4) resistive touchscreen (single touch)
5) capacitive touchscreen (multi-touch)

For example, see the radial menus experimented in Inkseine in 2009, they are genius idea for TabletPCs which all have wacom-style stylus. It's a pity TabletPCs have been nearly forgotten since.

Offline joe_7

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Re: rendera (free paint app)

Reply #17 on: July 27, 2015, 01:21:54 am
Got some floating windows going. For now I re-used the old panels for testing purposes, but it's a good start. Round or polygon shaped windows should be possible with a little extra code, if needed for something.

Also rewrote the palette code so that it renders swatches optimally into a window of any size. This way the user can decide on the size/dimensions based on their needs.