Author Topic: Thoughts and suggestions on new UI (2018.1.0)  (Read 5219 times)

Welcome to my rant/feedback/feature request

Substance painter has been a great tool for texturing so far with consistent gradual improvements, what I can’t exactly say about the 2018.1.0 version.

The wasted space in UI has increased tremendously and readability between individual elements has actually diminished, especially in layer stack.

1. The new color scheme(or lack thereof) is unhelpful to say the least. The whole layer stack has been completely stripped of of useful color information that gave some definition to different elements.

2. I personally hate the new sliders with passion. They are less intuitive and take twice the amount of space as the neatly packed old ones. The 1-10 grading within the slider was actually quite useful for setting the exact value quickly without typing it in.

3. The new “context toolbar” now takes an entire fat block of space across the top of viewport. When I’m not in tool mode its only occupied by 4 icons that I always access through hotkeys and when I do use a tool, I access the settings via properties panel. So this whole new top panel is entirely useless for me and so far I haven’t found any way to remove it or even put different icons in it. Have an option to get rid of it please.

4. The new “Jump-to…” icons take up an entire row on top in properties/display-settings menu and are rather useless if you’re operating a mouse with a scroll wheel. Would be nice to have an option to disable those to save some space.
Frankly if you didn’t have so much wasted space between icons, sliders, and text boxes you wouldn’t need the “Jump-to…” icons in the first place since everything would fit nicely without the need for scrolling. That should be the priority instead of adding more useless icons and unnecessary actions to view the same amount of information. We don’t want to scroll/navigate through a mile long strung out settings list. Just pack it nice, neat and tight!

5. The overly bright and distracting blue outline on active elements compared to the old subtle yet perfectly distinguishable highlight. And why is the loading bar a different color? Why not have it blue, consistent with the highlight theme. I personally loved the red one, now it’s gone. Would be nice to have an option for theme color change. Seems like red should be the overall theme, consistent with the substance logo.

6. Overkill with the massive somewhat distracting new all-capital title letters for every menu title that get cut short much sooner if you dock multiple menus on top of each other. Not an improvement

7. Giant wasteful margins around every UI element. The amount of useful information I can pack on screen in the same space has reduced greatly. How is this an upgrade or improvement of any kind?
Maybe have a setting to adjust/strip the UI of these useless empty margins, gaps and excessively large text. Or better yet just have an option to switch to old UI style/elements(that would be perfect).

Honestly it seems like this whole new UI has been built solely for some lazy touch screen user with super fat fingers. I get that you’re trying to make it more comfortable for people who mainly use pen/tablet to navigate the UI, but it seems you’re doing it at a great cost to everyone else. Have an option to customize it so it can work for all.

We need more customization, not just forced new design. Slapping a new UI on us periodically without a way to tweak it to some comfort and efficiency is counterproductive. If you focus on providing full customization instead, you’ll never have to worry about redesigning it and messing up artists workflow.

Frankly I have no idea what prompted Allegorithmic to prioritize reworking a reasonably good UI at this point over the much more important features like:
-painting across UDIMS/texture sets
-support for global uv scaling(per texture set) so we don’t have to scale each generator/layer individually to match texel density.
-support for hiding mesh parts (and not by using separate materials)
-more robust hotkey support
and just more UI customization instead of flat redesign.

I will be avoiding the upgrade for as long as I can if this remains like it is. Please make some improvements.
If you want to pursue this simplified, tablet focused UI, at least provide a way to fully customize it.

Excellent post.
I really appreciate the effort you put into the side-by-side comparisons.

I don't see much issue with the "color-coding" for the folders.  The "filters" and stuff are the only place I see a loss of color, but they are well indented, so I don't see an issue there.

I must admit, your annotated pictures are very convicing!
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I agree with Kyle. Too much empty space. I have 1920x1200 and now I have to scroll down, while previously everything could fit on screen.

What an awesome feedback! Totally agree with Kyle. Empty space in new UI makes me crazy and pushed me to install the previous version with old UI.

As an occasional user, I was certainly puzzled as to where the brush hardness had gone.

Of course, it was off the bottom on the screen.


I do find myself scrolling and searching for parameters / inputs much more than I used to. The amount of padding around all the ui widgets does feel quite large. The Parameter subgroups don't stand out as much, and the positive and negative space of the widgets, and areas surrounding the widgets, are largely similar... so information tends to blend together.

If headers and sections were more apparent, and negative space was reduced, I feel like that would be a win. While it still has some room for polish, this ui is a step in a good direction.

Personally, I'd love to see some kind of keyboard modifier as well, to adjust slider sensitivity for fine adjustments.

For the love of everything that's pure and holy, PLEASE revert back to the old UI! It was perfect!

I appreciate you guys trying to make Painter look like Photoshop or something but Oh.My.GOD!! There is soooo much wasted UI space!

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

EDIT: Please also bring back the "export textures..." option in the right-click menu in the viewport.
Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 11:19:27 am

Hi guys,

Thank you for the detailed feedback! First, we just wanted to clarify a few things: The new UI was developed in close collaboration with a group of users from various fields and proficiency levels and most changes are direct answers to frequent requests we’ve seen over the past few years.
We were of course anxious to see the reaction of the community since these changes are sometimes pretty drastic, so we’ve been monitoring feedback closely across many communities and it’s around 90% positive, which from our point of view validates the works we’ve done on the UI and UX.
That being said, there is always room for improvement and we are currently looking at improvements to the new sliders and some other elements, but there won’t be any rollback to the previous UI.

Now, I’ll try to give you some more precise answers to the different items that have been brought up:

New Color Scheme: The goal here was to simplify the color scheme where the older style had a ton of different shades of grey and colors all over the place. Adding custom colors to the layer stack has been and is still planned for a future release.

New Sliders: Having more space between sliders to make the UI more readable was actually one of the main goals here. That being said, we’ve listened to the feedback and work is being done on the sliders right now, you should see significant usability improvements shortly.

Contextual Toolbar: This toolbar allows users to have a quick access to their current tools option while maximizing the viewport space by hiding the Tools properties window . This toolbar will also get filled with more content/features in future updates. I’m not sure it can technically be hidden.

Jump-to icons: These buttons were actually already present in 2017.x but used to take much more space, were color coded and didn’t look like actual buttons with a layout that left to be desired. But they are extremely useful for tablet users for whom scrolling through windows is a real pain. When it comes to spacing, we are currently integrating the new style into Substance Designer and spacing is a big issue there, so it is likely the Painter style will also evolve as we find better tradeoffs while working on the Designer side.

Color accents: I would argue that it is a completely subjective opinion :) Red is often associated with errors and was not an ideal color to keep in the tool (and as you said, it had been chosen because it mimicked the color of the Substance Painter logo, which was a bad reason to choose red in the first place).

All caps titles: Agreed, we could improve this.

Margins and padding: As I wrote previously, the aim was to make the UI more readable and less cluttered (which it did), but there is certainly adjustments to be made to find the right tradeoff between readability and “dead” space in the UI.

Export Textures: The right click menu having been entirely repurposed so the Export Textures option is not coming back to it, but you can still use the shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+E) if you don’t want to use the File menu.

Again, the UI change was not an occurence of “let’s make a new UI for the fun of it” but a real need expressed by countless users through the feedback we had been receiving for years, and it was carefully crafted and iterated on for a period of over 4 months. A lot of thought was put behind this redesign, and even though we knew changing the design would disrupt long time users the most (and that was a big concern for us as well), global feedback after this release says we were right.
Finally, working on this also allowed us some time to clean up our codebase and lay the foundations for what comes next.

All this being said, please keep bugging us if anything doesn’t feel right, positive feedback only get us so far ;)

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Jeremie.  It's always nice to know our posts are being read and taken under consideration.

As far as disrupting existing users, personally I'm so used to interfaces changing that it's usually no big deal.  I did not need to watch multiple tutorials to re-learn how to do common tasks; most things were very familiar and easily found.  Having said that, I am glad I took the time to watch the video about the new interface since it demonstrated several new features and shortcuts I would not have thought about.

I look forward to seeing the next iteration.
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Alot of what is in the new UI is really good, the only thing I found is that going through the properties panel, of lets say a generator, is rather hard for the one main reason that it all seems to blur into one thing.

There is no separation of the different properties at a fast or first glance. not only that, it seems like you have the overall property control as a normal word and then its properties as a bold word. this is EXTREMELY backward for first time users (im teaching substance painter to some students and this is the first time they are using the program and they agree... they found it extremely confusing)

currently, this is what the UI looks like:

If i seperate the sections:

As you can see, the "heading" or "main control" is in a normal font while its subset of controls are in bold
This should be the other way around...

Hi, sorry for resurrecting an old topic. New user here and really liking SP so far. It's very powerful! But I did find myself struggling with the interface in places. Especially the properties panel. Amongst other things, it surprised me how all the elements were being stretched horizontally across the panel, even something as simple as an on/off switch.
Why not use simple checkboxes for on/off functions? They are used elsewhere in the interface and would make the properties panel more readable in my opinion.

I also decreased the distance between the sliders and their text labels to make it clearer. Right now there is almost as much space between the label and it's corresponding slider, as there is between the label and the previous slider. The spacing is too even which makes everything kind of blur together.

Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 04:28:18 pm

Another odd thing is that for example in a fill layer's properties, you see all the channel names (Height, Roughness etc) are center-aligned in the grey bars. But as soon as you add a texture map to a channel, suddenly the name is left aligned. Why not have them all left aligned all the time with just always a box on the left. The box could show the color if "uniform color" is selected, meaning you could do away with the colored bar beneath the normal channel and the base color channel. You could even do away with all the sliders since you could simply click on the little boxes to open up a slider interface, just like what happens if you click the colored bar underneath "base color" or "normal" right now. though that might not be ideal as it involves an extra click (but less scrolling since you would save enormously on vertical space).
I do think it would make the list of channels more readable, since all the names would always be in the same place, and you can easily see the value/content of each channel. As a bonus, it's more consistent with the look of the layer panel.

Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 04:36:54 pm

Has there been any further thoughts on updating the interface for quality of life improvements?