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Simplify the creation of macros

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Ashish Jatiani

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  • Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2021 3:50 pm
  • Real Name: Ashish Jatiani

Simplify the creation of macros

PostSun Oct 17, 2021 7:54 am

Dear BMD, creating macros in Fusion is unnecessarily difficult. First and foremost, we cannot check multiple boxes at once(using shift-click) while creating a macro, which is supposed to be a very basic feature. Secondly, creating custom controls is also a pain. Once created, a custom control can only be deleted from the notepad by copying and pasting the node. Kindly create a provision for that in the inspector itself. Thirdly, it is impossible to figure out how to create custom pages and dropdowns in macros, to get a better layout of the tools. There is hardly any documentation on that.
I believe Fusion is a great tool in safe hands, please do not let it die down in this fashion. It has an amazing future if certain things are made intuitive to use and documented well.
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  • Real Name: Tom Jobbins

Re: Simplify the creation of macros

PostSun Oct 17, 2021 1:33 pm

Yeah, macros and custom controls desperately need some UI improvements. Because the in-built tools are limited and fiddly, most Fusion experts don't even use those UIs for making macros and custom controls, instead doing everything in a text editor. And as you mentioned, there are some aspects of managing controls and macros that must be done via text editing, which means a large number of newer Fusion users won't know how to do it, or even know it's possible.

I gave my thoughts on some possible improvements in this post over in the feature request forum:
TheBloke wrote:Yes. The Macro tool desperately, desperately needs an overhaul. The UI looks like it was thrown together quickly with the idea that "we'll do a proper one soon."

Getting a better UI is even more important now that Fusion Effects are being actively worked on and improved. The process for installing an effect via the new DRFX is pretty nice. Making the macro in the first place is pretty awful.

I could see a new Create Macro UI having a drag and drop interface where one can "build" the macro controls by dragging them from the available ones, and be able to easily re-arrange their position or remove them.

I can envisage a split-pane view, with the source nodes and controls on the left, and the macro being built on the right. The source nodes and controls could be displayed in a tree-like structure like it is now. One could then drag the desired controls from the left pane to the right, adding them as exposed controls on the macro. One could also drag a whole node, adding all its controls at once.

In the right pane would be the dropdowns for changing the type of the control and its default/min/max.

Fusion's controls section supports a ton of functionality that is not currently made available in any UI. You have to do manual code editing for most of it. So a new UI could have some kind of toolbar from which one could drag labels, dividers, sections and buttons. There would also be the ability to easily add new control pages to the macro.

Ideally this UI would be WYSIWYG - the right pane would show exactly what the Macro UI will look like for the end user once the macro is added to a comp.

I also really hope we can get some love for the Edit Controls UI, which could be done at the same time. There's still no way to remove controls, other than copying the node to a text editor, manually editing the code, and pasting it back. And the UI for adding and editing existing controls is very rudimentary.

I could see both functions being part of the same base UI, allowing one to both easily add/remove/edit controls on nodes, and combine them into a macro with exposed controls.

So when making a multi-node macro, the full two-pane I described would be seen. When doing Edit Controls on a single node, just the right-hand pane would show, populated with all the controls that node has. It would then be possible to quickly add and remove controls, as well as add pages, dividers, labels and sections as mentioned earlier.
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Bryan Ray

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Re: Simplify the creation of macros

PostMon Oct 18, 2021 2:26 am

Indeed. I don't even remember the last time I opened the Macro Editor. I usually just paste a group directly into my text editor and make the Inputs table by hand, which is a little ridiculous.

I've occasionally toyed with the notion of making a new Macro Editor script using UI Manager that would let you build the control panel visually. It wouldn't look exactly like the Inspector, I don't think, but it could be pretty close. Unfortunately, my development priorities list is currently 11 pages long, so I don't imagine that project will rise to the top any time soon. :(
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