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Sunday, September 2, 2018

The new "editing mode" for interactive tools

It has been a while since I posted last time... meanwhile I have been silently working on PhotoFlow, adding new tools and improving the usability.

In this post I will explain how interactive tools (those who require mouse interaction in the preview area in order to set their parameters, like the crop tool) are working in the latest development versions.

Such tools in PhF have two "modes of operation":
  • editing mode, in which the tool follows the mouse mouvements/clicks in the preview, and changes the result accordingly. In this case the preview might not match the final result - in the crop tool case, the preview shows the area which is to be removed with a darker color. There are usually also additional lines/areas drawn on the preview to guide the mouse interactions.
  • preview mode, in which the final output of a tool is always shown

In the past, tools were switching to editing mode as soon as the corresponding layer was selected, and were switching to preview mode when selecting a different layer.
This means that there was no way to see the final output of an interactive tool as long as the corresponding layer was selected, which is quite annoying...

To improve the situation, I have introduced a new toggle button to switch ON/OFF the editing mode when a layer is selected. The toggling is also associated to a new `CTRL+e` keyboard shortcut for easier access.

Here are a couple of screenshots showing how the toggling works in the case of the crop tool.

With editing mode enabled (use "pencil" button or CTRL+e for toggling):

With editing mode disabled (use "pencil" button or CTRL+e for toggling):

The editing mode is enabled by default when a new layer is added, and is switched OFF automatically when a different layer is selected. Other interactive tools, like the path mask, gradient, perspective correction and image rotation, now work in a similar way.

The new packages are available from the continuous release page - just look at the date in the filenames and select the newest ones (the Linux AppImage is still work in progress...).


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