Set Focus on most recent Undo & Undo de-selections

Hey Toonboom team, thanks for all your hard work on the program!

I’m pretty new but have been thrown in over my head with Harmony and in doing so, get to see at least a few things that turn into time-sucking aggravations.

The thing I’d ask a consideration for is to set the window focus on anything being undone/redone.

When you’re watching a character to see if you’ve undone far enough once a mistake is made; It’s sometimes very difficult to tell if you’ve used undo too many times… where it invisibly undoes changes that were often critical (like pivot&center placements, or override properties, or paste special, drawing duplications, etc.)

If you don’t realize your mistake immediately, you can’t redo to the original state… and can’t even find what it was you may have unwittingly destroyed without guessing correctly… only to wonder why that thing you fixed is missing days later.

Thanks for your consideration!

Secondary question/request: An Undo preference that recognizes element de-selections (So Undo would reselect whatever was selected)

I like to measure efficiency by number of clicks/key presses. When I have to click and press buttons 10 times to select the objects I want to animate, it only takes a few pixels to miss the bounding box on the rotation tool. This means re-selecting the objects all over again… multiply that by 20 - 50 misses a day and you have 200-500 clicks that would have been spent animating.

For the undoing you could use the Undo list to help see if you go too far. Also if you are drawing in the Drawing view you can activate Preferences>Advanced > Restore Current Drawing on Undo. This preference (after a restart of Stage) will go back and display a drawing that you did a change on.

For the second point I think it was decided not to keep all the selection history because it could become huge. Every time you did a tiny selection, it would have to keep that in memory.

You could use the lock option. For example lets say you select the arm, hand and fingers of a character in the Camera view. Before editing you could right-click and choose Lock> Lock All Others. Then if you mess up and have to reselect, you can easily make a big lasso on the area and only the un-locked layers are chosen.

Another trick when doing Rotations, Scales, Moves in the Camera view is to select your layers and then use the middle-button of your mouse to move, add Alt to rotate or ctrl for scale (shift+ctrl for proportional scale). This way you never loose your selection.

In the drawing view you could group selected lines so that they are easier to select. Or you could color them in different colors and use the Select by color to choose only those with same color.

Thanks Steve,

Where can I find the Undo list? Though I haven’t seen it, ultimately I suspect it wouldn’t help with the problem of realizing an undo has gone too far. Reasons being: It may be a half hour or an hour later that someone notices a mistake where overused undos are the culprit. Second, the screen is already full of windows that are minimized and need sliders to use for simple tasks in this production. Adding an Undo List to the screen space is unlikely to be used as an error-check.

Is it not plausible to set the screen focus on the object that was undone/redone (the way Flash would do) to give an indication that an alteration was made to something that otherwise would not have been readily visible?

To illustrate what we’re up against, we’re typically using Camera view. Drawing mode is unused as the builds have already been made; pegs/elements constantly have their anchor points changed in the middle of animation or limbs registered incorrectly.

Though this is understood as a brutal mistake, it’s common to have to fix scenes with such issues after even one pass of revisions. With these problems come a lot of bouncing around to different elements. Since the animators typically need to do changes to separate pieces, the interface needs to have many windows that already take many (inefficient) clicks to perform a single function:

-Camera View (Primary)
-Network (typically takes a lot of hunting and zooming to connect pegs to objects - Even when using Center on Selection)
-Tool Properties (for altering assets; typically needs to be scrolled to see the options; line widths are the main culprit here)
-Library (Well made tool!)
-Top View (many new animators use z-nudge rather than ordering objects properly in the Network - This means we need to use Top more than we’d want to and have no easy way to center on selection so there’s more hunting and zooming)

That middle-click trick is very useful for mouse users, thanks! Also thanks for recommending Lock>Lock All Others, however, it isn’t useful for these builds. We typically choose the farthest child in a hierarchy (like a hand or foot) and press B to work up the hierarchy to select the pegs. Lasso select doesn’t preserve the pegs’ rotation points, so missing a click means re-selecting the hand or foot, and pressing B until we have the pegs we’re after.

Although! on that note, is it possible to make Shift+B continue down the network’s hierarchy rather than down the hierarchy and stopping at the object that was clicked? For example: Selecting an upper arm and pressing B once selects its peg, then once more for the next parent (which houses the entire arm structure) then using shift+B to travel down the pegs into the hand would be useful. It currently just stops at the upper arm that was selected which is why we have to select the hand to go up into the arm.

Thanks for your time. I’m just exploring possibilities here.

Where can I find the Undo list?
>>>>>>It’s in the Edit toolbar that is displayed by default. Just press the small triangle to get the lists.

>>>>>>I understand that it could be too late when you notice it.

Is it not plausible to set the screen focus on the object that was undone/redone (the way Flash would do) to give an indication
>>>>>> It would have to be investigated further but that would mean keeping track of all the focus changes, pivot changes, deciding in what view to display the changes that can be done in multiple views (like editing the properties of modules that can be done in Network, timeline, layer properties, Function editor, Coordinates toolbar).

>>>>>The middle click works with pens also.

>>>>>I see your point about loosing the selection and loosing the proper temporary pivot position. So I guess the middle-click is the better solution.

is it possible to make Shift+B continue down the network’s hierarchy rather than down the hierarchy and stopping at the object that was clicked?
>>>>>You could use the Shift + B to go to the Read and then do select Next/previous Brother (/ or ?), then select child again, etc. Alternating between the two shortcuts.

>>>>>Another way would be to build your rig differently although it might be difficult to do this once the production is well under way. Instead of going with a hierarchy of pegs (arm-P > forearm-P> hand-P) you could try arm-P >arm> forearm-P>arm> hand-P>hand. This could work if you make sure that the internal peg of the Read modules are not active (“Animate using Animation tool” set to Inactive and the “Apply Embedded pivot to parent peg” is chosen).

>>>>>By the way did you know that you can micro nudge in Z with the Alt + up/down arrows in the Camera view? Useful for putting the arm in front of the body for example without changing the network order.


The middle click works with pens also.

Thanks for the middle-click option, just changed the upper switch on my wacom pen from right-click to middle- click.
Works perfect also without touching the tablet, just pressing the switch and perform above tablet.Now I just need one more switch on the pen.

The undo list is also a revelation( How come I missed that).
The use of color swatches to save selections is also “stored to memory”.
Thanks Steve


Big thanks for all the replies Steve

Will have to leave the de-selection dilemma on the back burner for now… but so long as you guys are aware that it is still a time sink, maybe the community can come up with some other feasible solutions sometime.

The middle click on the mouse won’t work for many here seeing as we’re training many and have to use older hardware for some. Programming a middle-click will be less useful overall than the right-click/doubleclick default.

I will try your new hierarchy suggestion at lunch time and let you know how it goes. It is a bit too late to rework hierarchies for this show but if it works well, it’ll be good to know for next time or for any new builds being made moving forward.