Let me start by saying great job so far! Hats off to the design team! I have been a professional video editor for the last 10 years, and have used many video editing, animation, and design software packages, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw the announcement of Sequences! I spent the entire weekend playing around with the new Sequence Editor and taking notes, and see that it has great potential to be an amazing tool for creating phenomenal Game Intro Movies, Cut Scenes, Quick Time Events, Credit Rolls, etc. I know it can do more than that, but usage for these video based creations and Sprite Animations will be the focus of my detailed list given my expertise. I hope you will be able to incorporate all of these suggestions, they would make the sequence editor incredibly versatile and make it my go to software for editing sprite and 2D animations. All of my suggestions come from the desire for functionality that is simple, easy to use, intuitive, and powerful to give the user the best of all editing worlds, best user experience and freedom to create anything they want. If you have any questions or need clarification for anything, please reach out to me, I will gladly help out in any way I can!
Top 2 Must-Haves :
Canvas - Curving the position key frame path
- Add functionality to add smooth curving to position key frame paths directly on the canvas. It should work like the Path editor at the very least, right now there is only the option for Linear movement between Position key frames which make for unnatural movement in many scenarios. The Animation Curve editor 'Smooth Curves' seems to also have good curve control, as an example of how curving Position key frames should work (minus that editor being limited to the left to right line). Without the ability to curve position keyframe paths directly on the Canvas, the functionality of the Sequence editor is severely limited from its true animation potential.
(Edit after more testing a parameter is the way to go) Add a Parameter for Sprite_Index for Sprites and Objects on the Track Panel that can change with key frames like all the other parameters. For example : I have character sprites for standing, walking, and jumping that all are animated with 5+ frames each. The sprite or object would be assigned a sprite at the beginning of its track on the Dope Sheet or when added to the Track Panel. You would then control the Object the same as any other object with position, scale, rotation, etc to move it around, but it would have one more keyframe parameter to change the sprite_index at any point in time on the Dope Sheet timeline. So the character’s path, movement speed, scale etc. would be created for the Object, then you set the sprite changing at the appropriate points in time with keyframes on the timeline to change from standing sprite, to walking sprite, to jumping sprite, and back to standing sprite all on one object, one layer, no code required. This will allow you to have full control over animating characters, objects, etc without using code, and you can tweak the animation really quick and easy by just sliding the keyframe of the sprite change to line up where you need it to be on the Dope Sheet timeline. This also significantly cuts down the layer count by having one fully animated character as a layer, rather than needing a layer for each sprite and also having to manually track and connect the layers to make seamless animation.
Breakdown by window :
Add a single Parameter for Transparency (Alpha). I am aware you can go into Color Multiply and change the Alpha, but Transparency (Alpha) should be it’s own separate parameter for ease of use directly on the Track Panel.
- Add Transparency Parameter to Folder Groups as well.
- Add Letter Key hotkeys to show/hide Parameters for the selected Layer. For example : When a Layer is highlighted in the Track Panel pressing ‘P’ shows/hides Position, ’S’ shows/hides Scale, ’T’ shows/hides Transparency, ‘R’ shows/hides Rotation, ‘O’ shows/hides Origin, 'C' shows/hides Color Multiply, etc. Very quick for efficiency while editing.
- When changing Parameter values - include an option to click and hold on the parameter value and drag the mouse left/right to raise and lower values such as scale, rotation, position (x,y), etc. When you release the mouse button that sets the value. It’s much easier to be able to slide the values and watch real time changes rather than typing values and guessing.
- Add Group and Local Origin relation option - Group Layers currently apply all parameter changes to the Group in relation to the Group Layers’ Origin. Please add the option to choose between that and applying changes in relation to individual contained objects’ Origins. This could be done with a check box or similar to toggle which origin the group makes changes in relation to.
- For example, I want to have 10 apples spin 360 degrees in place and then fly up in synchronization. I should be able to make a Group that handles the 360 rotation and then position change, then put all the apple objects in the group and toggle “Local” so the group rotation makes the apples all spin in place and travel all in relation to each apples origin. If that was done with Groups as they are now the apples would all rotate around the 0,0 of the Group layer, which is not the desired effect.
- Alternatively the “local origin” option could be handled by the creation of Parenting Layers in the Track Panel list, so what ever changes happen to a parent object track would apply to its children in relation to their local origin.
- When manually typing in a Parameter value in the Track Panel the “enter” key should set the value and take you out of the editing of the Parameter.
- Add the option to reset a Parameters’ value to default (original value : such as Position would reset to the first position it had when you created the track layer, Scale would default back to 100, Rotation to 0, etc).
- Add a “Solo track” option, this is very useful for when you have many layers and need to focus on just one layer, you click ‘Solo’ (just like the visibility eye) and it hides all layers except the layer you want to Solo. It should also work with multiple layers being on Solo so you can hide all but 3 layers for example.
- Add functionality of Command+A to select all tracks.
- Change Control+D to Command+D to duplicate a selected layer, standard Mac format.
- Add functionality to click and drag a layer to the trash can in the lower right corner to delete it.
- Add ability to double click sprite/object icon next to their name to open the editor for the sprite/object.
- Add Razor blade/Cut tool to be able to cut layers on the Dope Sheet into multiple separate pieces that can be dragged on the Dope Sheet timeline to different spots on the same layer without needing to manually toggle Transparency between 100/0 every time you want it to not be visible. This is crucial to keeping the number of layers down when using the same asset (sprite, object, etc) multiple times at different points in a Sequence.
- Add functionality that pressing ‘Enter’ plays the Sequence from the beginning of the Region Markers. Spacebar already plays from the current playhead position, but adding the ‘play region’ button will make it much more flexible when previewing the sequence during the editing process.
- Add buttons for advancing the Playhead in one frame increments forwards and backwards. Usually this is done with the left and right arrow keys. Very useful in precision timing of keyframe changes.
- Add buttons to 'jump to next keyframe' and 'jump to previous keyframe'. Up and down arrows would work great.
- Add ‘Copy to Current’ Keyframe option. There is ‘copy to start’ and ‘copy to end’ already, but copying a keyframe to the current playhead position would be incredibly helpful.
- Add option to highlight multiple keyframes and ‘reverse the order’. So if an object’s position starts at the left of the screen for the first keyframe, goes to screen middle for the second keyframe, and moves to screen right for the third keyframe, you could highlight the keyframes that would swap them so the object would then start on the right of screen and travel left.
- Add functionality to hold Command (or Shift) and click multiple objects on the canvas to select multiple objects at once.
- ‘Hold Shift + Click and drag to select objects in a region’ - I feel this should not require holding shift, should just be able to left click and drag to create the range marquee for ease of use.
- Add functionality of Command+A to select all on the canvas.
- Add Command+D to duplicate the selected object/layer.
- Add Distribute option to distribute a group of selected objects/sprites/etc evenly on the available canvas game view.
Thank you again for all the hard work you are doing, I've waited a long time for an all-in-one tool that can do it all, together we can make the Sequences Editor reach it's full potential!
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