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Thread: AR Pen Only Toolbar-- tester results and ideas

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    601

    AR Pen Only Toolbar-- tester results and ideas

    Hey!

    For those of you that have a copy of this toolbar for testing, this is where we'll be discussing it--
    -questions about how to make it work
    -if it's working right
    -bugs??
    -ideas for how it might be improved, or further developments you'd like to see included

    I mentioned this in the Demo Video, but I thought I should spell it out here as well-- just FYI, but this only works in Windows. So if, by accident, one of you is a Mac Only user, I'm sorry.

    Anyways, I've been using this a lot for quite a while, so it's all second nature to me. I'm sure it won't be entirely that way to you guys. That's just as important to know as any successful attempts. As this moves along, I'll be making a video to introduce new users to toolbar-- you all are being thrown to wolves though! LOL. I'll try and put together a video though to help out as much as possible. In the mean time, please read the documentation I've made available in the download, probably in this order--

    -the Installation Guide--
    this will go over what you need to do first, before you can just click on the AR Toolbar icon
    it also goes over the shortcuts you'll need to have in place to properly make the toolbar communicate with AR (many of which are
    the defaults, but a few of which are special)
    -then go to the Menu--
    here you can pick the Large or Small UI-- note that these are same, just different resolutions for different screens and usages
    -then go to the Toolbar Options in the Menu--
    please note that there all little blue informational icons here that should lead you through lots of the customization info and setup
    here you'll find all the ways in which you can configure the toolbar, you can:
    customize the tools you choose to be in the Tools Toolbar, with a different and specific setup for the Large vs. Small toolbar
    create Hover Icons
    assign your second pen button to do awesome things for you!
    etc.

    One you've got things set up, I'd love to hear back from you all! I hope it's a lively discussion.
    Last edited by Steve B; 08-30-2012 at 03:54 AM.
    Check out and submit to the thread on Watercolor WIPs in Artrage-- lots of good tips and conversation
    My YouTube video tutorial series- How to Paint with Watercolors in Artrage
    Try out the free
    Artrage Pen-Only Toolbar to improve your workflow and reduce clutter
    List of other good tutorials on using watercolors in Artrage
    List of good sticker sprays for watercolor effects in Artrage

    My blog- art, poetry and picture books- http://www.seamlessexpression.blogspot.com/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Central Coast of California
    Posts
    30

    Exclamation Moochas Grassias!

    OK, got the toolbar loaded ok and am working on learning all the ins and outs. It looks great. I have it loaded on a Sony Vaio laptop and am using AR Studio with a wacom bamboo splash tablet.
    First observations:
    1. The toolbar seems attached to my desktop now, how do I turn it off so it only launches with Artrage?
    2. Upon first load, right clicking the pen would not allow me to move the pods around, but only resize them. Then after screwing around with the user options menus, the resize quit working (even with right clicking the pen) and reverted to moving pods around and everything reverted to as before the pen-only tool. (I believe this is actually user error and will see if restarting AR will revert to defaults or I may reboot or reload the program. We baby-boomers take twice as long to figure this stuff out, so I'm sure it's all there.)
    3. Having only a certain number of tools available really makes you think about how one approaches ones production, I'm sure ones methods and favorite tools will change over time.
    4. Highest commendations on your efforts! I will shortly be unable to use AR without the pen-only toolbar!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    601
    Ok, I just made 2 explanatory videos that I hope will make installation and customization easier. I'm uploading them to Dropbox and will provide the zip link later.

    Re: what you're experiencing maddog--
    1) The toolbar can be opened independently from Artrage. It runs independently too. This is how it stays on top of the normal interface. When you open Artrage, you can drag or place the toolbar wherever you'd like, by grabbing the clean Move button in the upper right. It then stays on screen wherever you place it, unless you open the Menu and select Minimize to Tray, in which case it shrinks to your Windows Taskbar, while still running the program, just without the toolbar on screen (but with the Hover Icons still running and the Middle Click functions still running, for example). Is that helpful at all? I'm not sure what problem you're having.

    2) Can you describe better what you're resizing? The Artrage Pods are not resizable-- however, perhaps you meant you were making Hover Icons? What are you specifically meaning when you say "Pods"? Is this the Artrage Pods or some part of the Toolbar UI?

    3) Re: having all your tools available-- a) you can make Hover Icons for your Artrage Preset Pod and Settings Pod (amongst other things), and that will allow you access to all of the Presets and Settings you have available normally. You can also change which tools you want access too each time you start up the toolbar, if you want to shift things around. For a normal painting session, I've so far found that 7 tools is usually enough for me to paint in whatever style I'm using for that period. I hope that's the same for you! ???

    If you're able to make screen shots with text explaining, that is very helpful.
    Last edited by Steve B; 08-30-2012 at 09:54 AM.
    Check out and submit to the thread on Watercolor WIPs in Artrage-- lots of good tips and conversation
    My YouTube video tutorial series- How to Paint with Watercolors in Artrage
    Try out the free
    Artrage Pen-Only Toolbar to improve your workflow and reduce clutter
    List of other good tutorials on using watercolors in Artrage
    List of good sticker sprays for watercolor effects in Artrage

    My blog- art, poetry and picture books- http://www.seamlessexpression.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Auckland New Zealand
    Posts
    672
    i loaded every thing fine, i'd like to see the vids as soon as they are ready i've use it, and it does stuff i need to be at my keyboard, so now i don't
    Graham Fisher
    Email: Home cripster99@gmail.com

    Homepage: artwheel.org

    Mobile: 021-029-75930

    Artrage 2.6
    Artrage 3.5
    Artrage 4.04

    Wacom Graphire 6x8 Bluetooth
    Win7
    4GB 64bit
    sp2

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    601
    Ok, these 2 videos are rough, but I hope they do the trick. They're a total of about 20-25 minutes of unrehearsed material, so bear with me. The first one goes over how the buttons work, and how you can be using your pen's right-click function to do additional commands. The second video goes over how to customize your Tools Toolbar, how to make Hover Icons and how they might improve your work flow, as well as how to customize a number of additional settings you can use to get your toolbar to work the way you'd like it to-- this includes things like how fast you'd like it to undo/redo, where you want the toolbar to be located when you open it, which toolbar you want to set as your default toolbar when you open the program (Large or Small), etc etc There's lots of little details that can be of help optimizing your space if you work on a small screen, but some of which might be less important on a large screen, and thus they are optional.

    Here's the download link.

    Let me know how it goes! Once you get things set up and rolling, I hope this is as useful and time saving for some of you as it is for me.

    BTW, I'm interested in opinions for new things you'd be interested in seeing included, or ideas for improvement. So please share on that level as well if you've got input.
    Check out and submit to the thread on Watercolor WIPs in Artrage-- lots of good tips and conversation
    My YouTube video tutorial series- How to Paint with Watercolors in Artrage
    Try out the free
    Artrage Pen-Only Toolbar to improve your workflow and reduce clutter
    List of other good tutorials on using watercolors in Artrage
    List of good sticker sprays for watercolor effects in Artrage

    My blog- art, poetry and picture books- http://www.seamlessexpression.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    1,076
    hi steve,

    I've installed and am up and running ... I really like having Clear Screen truly clear, thank you! ... I hope the Toolbar will encourage me to work more in AR Studio Pro, and streamline workflow ... you can tell from my work that I use very few tools, sometimes just one per painting, nevertheless, workflow is paramount :-) ...

    ... I haven't looked at the all functionality, but since the Toolbar seems to be independent of ArtRage, I wonder if there could be a "palette" where I can mix colors, then return to AR to apply those colors to the artwork? ... or create a special place (layer?) where pre-work can be done ...
    xiěyž, n. freehand brushwork, spontaneous expression
    Artrage Gallery
    / Leaning Tree Ink Studio

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    601
    Oohhh, a palette is an interesting idea. Will ponder. Some sort of special layer that's shrunk and given a simple separate "box", then you mix there, and pick up color with the color picker. Right? Who knows? Maybe it can be done.

    Re: workflow-- I definitely think you need to get everything setup and in place to get StudioPro to work well. I'm sure its the same with the iPad. So, to me, once you've got your Presets in order, and you make some consolidated Preset Groups, and you figure out your Settings..... then I feel like you can go really really fast with the Pen-Only Toolbar. I zip right along now, IMO.

    I was also curious if people had certain special commands they use all the time, for example, that they'd like to have available, and don't want to have to go into a menu to get, etc. That sort of stuff.

    Of course, we need to make sure it's actually working first! Haha!
    Check out and submit to the thread on Watercolor WIPs in Artrage-- lots of good tips and conversation
    My YouTube video tutorial series- How to Paint with Watercolors in Artrage
    Try out the free
    Artrage Pen-Only Toolbar to improve your workflow and reduce clutter
    List of other good tutorials on using watercolors in Artrage
    List of good sticker sprays for watercolor effects in Artrage

    My blog- art, poetry and picture books- http://www.seamlessexpression.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    1,076
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B View Post
    Oohhh, a palette is an interesting idea. Will ponder. Some sort of special layer that's shrunk and given a simple separate "box", then you mix there, and pick up color with the color picker. Right? Who knows? Maybe it can be done.
    ... it's a commonplace among painters that when you stare at your canvas for some time, after a while you no longer see the colors truly, because mixing takes place in the eye or more deeply in the psyche, mood influences what you see ... of course, such mixing often is desirable, but sometimes poor color or line choices are made based on elements not really there (or wanted) in the painting, then corrections don't really correct, and so on ...

    ... painting with light is even more intense ... so I'm thinking that a "tear-off" palette viewable independently of the main work might be useful ... even though I don't consider myself a great colorist, even monotone shading (gradients) can be difficult to achieve when there are distractions ...
    xiěyž, n. freehand brushwork, spontaneous expression
    Artrage Gallery
    / Leaning Tree Ink Studio

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    601
    Hmmmm.... Well, I have some ideas that I'll communicate with Luc. Who knows? I've proposed some stuff to him in the past, and he's come up with some amazing results. Getting the concept and UI down first is the germ. Then I need to see what magic he can work with the code. I hear you though, in regards to the process of painting, and why a palette could be nice, in terms of functionality.

    BTW, has anyone watched the videos yet? If so, were they of use? Or was a lot of the functionality easy to figure out from the get go? It'd be nice to understand where the bumps in the road come into play, in terms of usage and confusion, as well as actual bugs.
    Check out and submit to the thread on Watercolor WIPs in Artrage-- lots of good tips and conversation
    My YouTube video tutorial series- How to Paint with Watercolors in Artrage
    Try out the free
    Artrage Pen-Only Toolbar to improve your workflow and reduce clutter
    List of other good tutorials on using watercolors in Artrage
    List of good sticker sprays for watercolor effects in Artrage

    My blog- art, poetry and picture books- http://www.seamlessexpression.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Central Coast of California
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B View Post
    Ok, I just made 2 explanatory videos that I hope will make installation and customization easier. I'm uploading them to Dropbox and will provide the zip link later.

    Re: what you're experiencing maddog--
    1) The toolbar can be opened independently from Artrage. It runs independently too. This is how it stays on top of the normal interface. When you open Artrage, you can drag or place the toolbar wherever you'd like, by grabbing the clean Move button in the upper right. It then stays on screen wherever you place it, unless you open the Menu and select Minimize to Tray, in which case it shrinks to your Windows Taskbar, while still running the program, just without the toolbar on screen (but with the Hover Icons still running and the Middle Click functions still running, for example). Is that helpful at all? I'm not sure what problem you're having.

    2) Can you describe better what you're resizing? The Artrage Pods are not resizable-- however, perhaps you meant you were making Hover Icons? What are you specifically meaning when you say "Pods"? Is this the Artrage Pods or some part of the Toolbar UI?

    3) Re: having all your tools available-- a) you can make Hover Icons for your Artrage Preset Pod and Settings Pod (amongst other things), and that will allow you access to all of the Presets and Settings you have available normally. You can also change which tools you want access too each time you start up the toolbar, if you want to shift things around. For a normal painting session, I've so far found that 7 tools is usually enough for me to paint in whatever style I'm using for that period. I hope that's the same for you! ???

    If you're able to make screen shots with text explaining, that is very helpful.
    Thanks for the help Steve,

    I don't know how to do screenshots and a lot of what I am experiencing is haphazard and doesn't repeat itself. That's why I think it's mostly operator error. In response to your points:

    1. I'll use the minimize to tray button. I didn't realize this runs independently of ArtRage.

    2. I am referring to the layers, presets and settings pods in Artrage Studio. I had previously found by right clicking over the pod's top bar there are some limited resizing choices available, but my problem was that after installing the pen only toolbar, at first right clicking the pen did in fact resize the pods and canvas, but then my pen quit doing that and reverted to the default of panning/moving the canvas (and I have to use 'shift' to resize the canvas.)

    3. When I try to create hover icons of layers, presets and settings within the toolbar options menu, the hover icons do appear, but then disappear along with the toolbar options menu. If I can click on them, the toolbar options menu appears again instead of the layers, presets and settings options.

    I also had some issues with my computer resizing the text size of this forum for a few minutes after installing and running the pen only toolbar. Also had a 'control' tag following my cursor around my desktop until I rebooted. Weird.

    Anyway, I think I will wait until I upgrade to Studio Pro and that way it will be easier to communicate any bugs. I watched the new videos, they are very helpful as well and explain a lot of what I was doing wrong with setting up the hover icons, etc. I think now I can start all over and maybe a lot of these issues won't reoccur.

    Overall, I say good job on everything so far.

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