UI feedback

General questions about Indigo, the scene format, rendering etc...
ErichBoehm
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UI feedback

Post by ErichBoehm » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:57 pm

Hello,

I am a graphic designer, who has been using this lovely tool for many years. I think I stumbled across this site when at least 6 or 7 years ago. I'm so glad I discovered it as Indigo was really a catalyst for launching my career in the creative industry many years later as an adult. I graduated college a few years back and have been marketing myself to various agencies here in the heart of Silicon Valley. I am seeking to incorporate 3D visualization into my workflow and offer this as a unique selling point as a designer. As someone who is used to working within the Adobe Creative Suite, I find I have been struggling with Indigo after picking it up for several years of being away. The image quality is terrific, but as someone who is seeking to work in a fast-paced agency environment, I think a few UI changes would really help to make things smoother for me as well as other creative professionals. Here are a few things that I have been thinking of

1) Some feedback from Indigo when your scene has issues. I downloaded a scene off the Sketchup Warehouse, only to waste hours trying to figure out why it was rendering black. These sort of things cost companies time, and as they say time is money ;) It would have been nice if indigo gave me a warning about the glass on the table that had no depth. This would make trouble shooting a lot quicker.

2) HDRs are a bit tedious at the moment, as there is no way to get an idea of how they are position, and there isn't really a lot of control for adjusting them position-wise.

3) A lot of important controls that don't fit into any of the categories at the top (camera, environment) are hidden away in a huge list of items, which again slows down workflow, and makes it harder for us creative professionals to access important things.

4) No easy way to adjust the brightness of emitters. I know about light layers, but I want to have easy access to the output of my lights.


I just wanted to say thanks for keeping this lovely thing free for so many years. It has really helped me turn my childhood passion into a career. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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Pibuz
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Re: UI feedback

Post by Pibuz » Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:53 pm

Hi Erich! And welcome to the forum!

Many of the things you say seem to be quite correct at first glance, and it's something I would actually say myself for any new piece of software I try. In these days I'm making some reflections about the visual industry and the recent products coming out: everything seems to be ready OUT-OF-THE-BOX (big advertising saying "change of season: 3 clicks, change of material 1 click"), and on the other hand we visual artists are somehow getting used to the eeeeeasyness, to the direct access to everything we think we need to get a wonderful and communicative work. We must keep in mind that for each one of us there are peculiar important features which may mean nothing to someone else. The bottom line of my thinking is that if we want to use a software (or more softwares)...we "sadly" must LEARN it (them): it can take some time but after that we gain additional skills, our luggage of experience we will be referenced for.

I don't mean that programs such as Indigo must be complicated to be dedicated only to an elite (I abandoned vray some years ago for its complexity...) but we must pay a little price to learn, and to be distinguished among the others for the quality we produce.

ErichBoehm
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Re: UI feedback

Post by ErichBoehm » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:06 am

Well, as someone who works in the industry and who is familiar with what makes a tool appealing for any particular company, I can tell you that lowering the time it takes to train someone with a particular tool will make it more appealing to a company. Time is money as they say, and any company would rather pay an independent contractor for a week to train their team in the use of a tool as opposed to 2 or 3 weeks. ;) I would say that the reason why Indigo has't achieved widespread usage in the industry is it's UI. I would never use any other tool, as the results are amazing, but I see nothing wrong with making things simpler and more user friendly. You needn't compromise quality when simplicity is involved.

Look at some of biggest Industry-standard tools. Photoshop is very capable, but very user friendly at the same time. :wink: That's what makes it so popular in the industry.

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pixie
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Re: UI feedback

Post by pixie » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:22 am

Photoshop is older then my grandpa! ;)

ErichBoehm
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Re: UI feedback

Post by ErichBoehm » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:09 pm

But it is used by virtually everyone in the creative industry.

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pixie
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Re: UI feedback

Post by pixie » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:21 pm

You missed my point, the point is that it had more then time to tune all the troubles in its UI.

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Oscar J
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Re: UI feedback

Post by Oscar J » Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:30 pm

ErichBoehm wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:06 am
I would say that the reason why Indigo has't achieved widespread usage in the industry is it's UI.
I wouldn't. It's a much more multifaceted problem than you make it out to be. It's everything from plugin support and feature set to marketing, documentation and training.

And the UI question itself is complicated. The most successful render engines right now don't even have standalone user interfaces at all. The professional market today expects integrated rendering, so why spend any more time on a redundant user interface?

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Re: UI feedback

Post by ErichBoehm » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:14 am

This is true. I think marketing is a huge part of the equation, as is documentation and plugin support. I think widespread usage in say, the animation industry (eg. Pixar) is a bit of a far fetched goal, though who is to say I guess. ;) I think, Instead, Indigo should aim for more widespread usage amongst creative agencies. I live in Silicon Valley, and the area is hot bed for design agencies of all types and sizes. There are a dozen of them within a block in some parts of San Jose. What these companies care about is being able to deliver fast, efficient results to their clients. I used to work at an agency, and I am looking to go back to agency work very soon. :)

We had an architectural client, and I was the only one on the team with skills in 3D, which impressed everyone, the client included. What they care about were frequent updates on our progress. They wanted as much done in as short of a time frame as possible. Time is money, and the more money we can save the client the better. Indigo's quality did impress though. I will tell you that. :)

Often a good product does "market itself" to some degree. If the creative director a company stumbles across a website for a tool, and is impressed, they are very likely to take a closer look. They may even take on a contractor that can help integrate that new tool into the team's work, which is what I basically was. After all, more capabilities means more clients, which means more revenue. If Indigo could get a slick, modern UI to go along with that great render quality, it would go along way, maybe in conjunction with some press coverage. Some of these Agencies work with big brands, such as Twitter, and if Indigo became a part of their work, it would get a ton of attention.

I would say in most cases, function is not a problem. The light layers UI for example is very simple. Even a non-technically inclined user such as myself can pick it up almost instantly. Many things are very intuitive an self explanatory, which has been very helpful. I think it is really more so a matter of form. Function makes people want to keep using a tool, but form is what catches their eye and attracts them to it to begin with. ;)

Aesthetics are a huge part of this industry. A hiring manager will always choose the better looking of two portfolio's with equally good work as I understand. ;)

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Oscar J
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Re: UI feedback

Post by Oscar J » Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:02 am

Thanks for that lesson about how the creative industry works, I guess. It doesn't really answer why Indigo needs a better UI (or even a UI at all), when the entire rendering industry has been moving in the exact opposite direction for the past five years.

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Re: UI feedback

Post by ErichBoehm » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:28 pm

UI designers are one of the mostly highly in demand positions at the moment. Some of the top tech companies are doubling or trippling their investment in user experience design. I don't see why you are so opposed to a better user experience Oscar. User experience is the next big thing. Just look at all the big car companies for example. Why do you think Apple is worth 900 billion. It's because of the user experience. It's because of how their products connect with the consumer. Now, granted, Indigo is a tool meant to accomplish a purpose, but user experience still matters. If you buy a hammer (granted, a much simpler tool than Indigo in it's purpose) from the store, you don't want something that weighs 60 lbs and is uncomfortable to hold.

Part of success is taking those big risks, daring to be different than the pack. You pair Indigo's great rendering speed, image quality, with a top notch UI and we will have a bombshell that will take the industry by storm. Not to mention most creative types are not especially technically inclined. I think part of of the reason Indigo represents such a tiny market share is because it is currently straddling the two worlds of technical and creative. Not everyone has a mind for the technical aspect. I am an artist. I deal in colors, composition, etc. I don't deal with code and numbers. Technical and creative are very different outlets as far as knowledge and skill set go. There is nothing like Indigo at the moment. All the great, high quality options are all very expensive. I have been putting out work for 100% free that has caught the eye of several companies. This, to me, is incredible.

Many early-stage startups have an idea for a product that they think can change the world. But they can barely afford to pay their employees. They can't afford to fabricate prototypes. Enter Indigo. Completely free ideation. Indigo is poised to solve many of the problems in the creative industry. It just has to become a little more user friendly. There will always be a learning curve, but the idea is to decrease the learning curve as much as possible.

Indigo really has to figure out who it is trying to market to before it wins that part of the market. Is it catering to small animation studios, architectural firm, etc? That is the number one rule of marketing - know your audience.

Obviously Indigo needs a UI for the sake of consistency. So many different exporters, with a different experience. A common UI is the only thing that holds the ecosystem together and ads some semblance of coherence. Consistency is vital for a professional tool.

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Originalplan®
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Re: UI feedback

Post by Originalplan® » Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:28 pm

From personal experience..Indigo works a bit different than other stuff on the market but worth every second of learning you put in it. Anyhow from UX stand point Indigo went thru very big and positive changes in the past few months ( half year period ) UI also, there where a bunch of new icons and functions made. ( Not sure if you remember older versions )

We also made some UI element updates to SketchUp plugin.

Specific suggestions are welcomed ofc.

Glare is constantly working on delivering the best products/updates in reasonable timeframes.
Rest assured UI/UX experience is not some forgotten subject in the background ;)

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Oscar J
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Re: UI feedback

Post by Oscar J » Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:09 pm

ErichBoehm wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:28 pm
There is nothing like Indigo at the moment. All the great, high quality options are all very expensive. I have been putting out work for 100% free that has caught the eye of several companies. This, to me, is incredible.

Many early-stage startups have an idea for a product that they think can change the world. But they can barely afford to pay their employees. They can't afford to fabricate prototypes. Enter Indigo. Completely free ideation.
Just to be clear, Indigo costs 595 €, and you can't use the free trial for commercial work.
ErichBoehm wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:28 pm

Obviously Indigo needs a UI for the sake of consistency. So many different exporters, with a different experience. A common UI is the only thing that holds the ecosystem together and ads some semblance of coherence. Consistency is vital for a professional tool.
I don't think that's obvious. If you're after the best user experience, you'll want to keep the rendering happening inside the 3D modelling application itself, rather than exporting it to a standalone application with a UI that's completely different to the one you're modelling in. This is how, for example, Corona and F-storm are doing it, and they're praised as some of the most user friendly arch viz renderers out there.

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Re: UI feedback

Post by ErichBoehm » Wed May 16, 2018 5:37 am

Hello!

So, I just downloaded Indigo 4.0. Much better light layers! Now I don't don't have to use trial and error to tell which is which! Overall a big improvement.

I would say there are still some cosmetic changes that can be made to make things look a tad bit more modern, and I would love to see an "undo" button with interactive history tree (eg, you could go back to change you made to a light layer, and edit it from there like a smart filter in Photoshop), but very nice update! Thanks for the great tool Glare!

ErichBoehm
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Re: UI feedback

Post by ErichBoehm » Wed May 16, 2018 5:41 am

Found a bug it would seem! Render info at the bottom is also cut off when all the panels are chosen to be displayed. Using MacBook Air with Sierra.

Would love to see a toggle for some of the options. I have accidentally assigned a material because I didn't realize I was still in "add material" mode. With a key that you hold down, that would make it hard to accidentally trigger the tool, because your mind is consciously performing an action the whole time. Would love to see dragging and dropping too for Indigo in general Eg. dragging and dropping to add textures, assign materials, import presets, etc.

I think another neat idea would be the idea of a "project file" where Indigo remembers render progress, imported materials, settings, etc.

The kind of quality that Indigo provides, especially at this price point should get the industry talking. There are are many industrial design firms here in Silicon Valley that would love to use Indigo in their offices. Thing is, they just don't know about it.
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Polinalkrimizei
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Re: UI feedback

Post by Polinalkrimizei » Wed May 16, 2018 6:40 am

Hi, I think V4 is pretty cool, too!
I am not sure qhat you mean by the term "project file", as Indigo can save a scene with all the settings, including light layers. To save the render progress, you can save your image as an .igi file, and resume it later on (don't forget to save the scene as well!). Just be aware that depending on your resolution etc., those files can easily grow to some gigabytes ;-)

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