Fix the way Essential Graphics resize
Resizing Essential Graphics titles/shapes is fraught with problems. Here are some solutions!
- CONSISTENCY: To ensure a good user experience, there needs to be consistency between how EG shapes and titles resize. ALL elements should respect the state of the ‘Set Scale Lock’ checkbox! The fact ellipses and rectangles don’t respect this checkbox makes no sense. If this was done intentionally to make it easier for users to freely resize shapes, then the proper approach would have been to make the ‘Set Scale Lock’ checkbox unchecked by default when creating a new shape. Users should have a way to lock a shape’s aspect ratio.
- FREESTYLE MODIFIER: In Legacy Titler, elements can be freely resized by default, whereas the current aspect ratio is preserved while holding down Shift. I suggest using the same modifier with EG elements: holding down Shift temporarily reverses the state of the element’s ‘Set Scale Lock’ checkbox. If ‘Set Scale Lock’ is on, then holding down Shift temporarily turns it off, allowing a user to freely resize the element in the Program Monitor. If ‘Set Scale Lock’ is off, then holding Shift would temporarily lock an element’s aspect ratio. The ability to lock/unlock an element’s aspect ratio ‘on the fly’ would be far more productive than forcing users to mouse over to the tiny checkbox each time!
- SIDE-STRETCH MODIFIER: In Legacy Titler, pulling the side of an element’s bounding box results in the element stretching on that side. This functionality could be duplicated in the Program Monitor by using the Ctrl-key modifier. While Ctrl is held down, an EG element would only stretch towards the side being moved, regardless of the element’s anchor point position and the state of its ‘Set Scale Lock’ checkbox.
- MIRROR-STRECH MODIFIER: In Legacy Titler, holding down Alt while stretching an element’s side results in it stretching equally on the opposite side. I suggest using the same Alt-key modifier to ‘mirror’ stretch EG elements. Once again, this modifier would temporarily override an element’s anchor point position and the state of its ‘Set Scale Lock’ checkbox.
- PRESERVE CUSTOM RATIOS: If a user turns off an element’s ‘Set Scale Lock’ checkbox to freely resize it, the current aspect ratio should be preserved when re-checking ‘Set Scale Lock’!
- RESET ORIGINAL RATIO: Resetting an element to its original aspect ratio could be achieved by right-clicking on the element and selecting ‘Reset Aspect Ratio’ from a new contextual menu. Currently, a selected EG element has the exact same context menu as a user gets from right-clicking anywhere else on the Program Monitor window. This is not useful at all and truly a lost opportunity for giving EG titles added functionality. Please give EG elements their own context menu!
- ‘SET SCALE LOCK’ DEFAULT CHECKBOX: The EG workflow could easily suit everyone’s preferences with a simple checkbox! Legacy Titler users (i.e. all pre-EG users) have gotten used to elements being unlocked by default, making it frustrating that EG titles work the opposite (locked by default). A simple way to make all users happy would be to include a new checkbox in the Preferences window that allows users to choose how EG elements behave by default:
•‘Set Scale Lock’ on by default: checked = current EG behavior
•‘Set Scale Lock’ on by default: unchecked = Legacy Titler behavior (i.e. all new EG elements would have their ‘Set Scale Lock’ checkbox unchecked by default so they can be freely resized without the Shift modifier).
- UNIFIED RESIZING: In Legacy Titler, selecting two or more elements creates a new bounding box around the selection. This makes it very easy to resize various elements together, while preserving their relative size and position to each other. In EG, no unified bounding box appears. Each selected element resizes around its own anchor point. This is a workflow nightmare! Please give EG the same selection bounding box we get in the Legacy Titler.
- CIRCLE & SQUARE: While it’s extremely easy to stretch a circle/square into an ellipse/rectangle, it isn’t nearly as easy to stretch an ellipse or rectangle into a perfect circle or square. For this reason, rather than giving users to ability to create ellipses/rectangles, why not give them the ability to create a circle and square instead? Should continuing to offer ellipses/rectangles be deemed preferable, then at least give us a new context menu option for resetting a shape’s scale to a perfect 1x1 ratio.
- CONSISTENT ANCHOR POINTS: In Premiere as in After Effects, dragging an element’s anchor point results in only the anchor point being moved, without messing up the position of the underlying element. Alt-dragging an anchor point keeps the anchor point stationary while only moving the underlying element. This is how it should always work with EG elements as well! However, once an EG shape is rotated, or an EG title is resized or rotated, moving its anchor point results in both the anchor point and element being moved in opposite directions at the same time, with the Alt-key modifier no longer having any effect. Is this a bug? Is it be design? If it's be design, this strange behavior is of no practical use to editors. Please keep the way anchor points are moved consistent.
- JUSTIFICATION: When changing the justification of a title, the anchor point should move, but not the title itself. The current behavior is annoying and inconsistent with the way users can change the justification of titles in Legacy Titler without the title moving out of position.
- ANCHOR POINT POSITION: When resizing an EG element, its anchor point position should always remain consistent relative to the element. If it’s in the centre of an element, it should remain in the centre no matter how the element is resized. If it’s 25% in from the bottom left corner, that’s where it should remain relative to the element’s new size. When resizing EG shapes, the current behavior of keeping the anchor point stationary while the shape is resized in any direction it’s pulled is inconsistent with how EG titles resize and is of zero benefit to editors.
EG has the potential to surpass the Legacy Titler in easy of use, but only if its serious shortcomings are properly addressed!
As always, thanks for listening!
Nigel Jones commented
Thank you James for coming back to me. I am not a professional user and would say I was at an intermediate level on Pr and only just learning the Ae app.
On the Pr Graphics question you asked about problems with re-sizing.
I think Pierre Lois has summarised this well. I tried to move/resize a wipe on graphics element in Pr and found that all manner of changes were taking place when I wanted to only move the group itself.. This may or not be attributed to the Grouping method, my unfamiliarity, or an actual software issue.
Again, I'm not sure this is possible but can elements have different boundary and anchor point colours (colors) to help see what you are doing?.
I understand the need to not have to maintain two functional parts of software code (eg Legacy titler as well) for streamlining maintenance, but finding better ways to gather user feedback on such an important user interface would help us and Adobe in the longer term.
There will always be a compromise, but engaging with your customers in a better fashion will help Adobe gain better credibility in the longer term too and stop users migrating to the competition.
Pierre Louis Beranek commented
Thanks for the feedback James! I understand what you're saying, and it does indeed work. It's just that it isn't nearly as efficient as having an assortment of resizing options which can be accessed on the fly in the Program Monitor via keyboard modifiers. Since it seems Adobe's plans are to eventually ditch the Legacy Titler (LT), I hope EG titles and shapes can match the excellent resizing options the LT currently has. Adobe got it right with the LT as far as resizing goes, so no need to reinvent the wheel ;)
Thank you for taking the time to list all of these things out. It's all good feedback and it helps us to know what is problematic for users. I can't promise any imminent behavior changes, but I can explain some of the existing behaviors to perhaps help you use our existing features more easily.
Some of what you are seeing is due to a fundamental shapes behavior, which is that when you click and drag on a shape's blue-box handle, you are actually editing the path, not scaling the shape. If you want to truly scale a shape, use the Scale control in the EGP and it will do some (but not all) of what you want. (see the attached screenshot.)
As for Groups, we do scale Layers within a Group as one, it's just that the bounding box is the frame size, not the combined area of the layers in the group. I have made requests to change that.
Jarle Leirpoll commented
I think a lot of scaling trouble could be avoided if Groups behaved like precomps in After Effects.
Want some layers to scale together like one unit? Group them!