While I was adding the color wheel control for IndirectUI, I decided that now was as good of a time as any to incorporate some other feedback from some of the more prominent plugin authors. Ed Harvey had suggested that the UI could be made more compact, as adding a bunch of properties often created a dialog that was large or spread out. BoltBait and pyrochild wanted the ability to change the text in the title of the dialog – perhaps to add a “version 2″ tag or something similar. The rendering quality of the preview/thumbnail image in some of the dialogs was also a bit of a thorn in my side.
So, I’ve managed to address all of these, and a few others. The end result is a visually refreshed UI that is cleaner and less “noisy”. I think the difference is best seen by showing pyrochild’s Film effect plugin, before and after:
(Unfortunately I had to resize these to 65% of original size, otherwise my WordPress provider was complaining about the image sizes or something…)
At first glance it may not seem like much, but I think overall it results in a much more favorable user experience. The “tick marks” on the sliders are not shown by default (plugin authors may still enable them if they want though), and the dialog ends up being less spread out. The reset button is more subtle, favoring a small graphic instead of text. I may need to push it out another pixel or two so that it doesn’t accidentally get clicked instead of the up/down buttons. Or maybe I’ll move it to the left side of the text boxes. The thumbnail is also smoother, as it is using bicubic instead of bilinear resampling (although you can’t tell with the resized screenshots). For me, all this results in a less “noisy” dialog and it is much nicer to use.
And the great thing about IndirectUI is that all plugins written to use it will automatically get these benefits! :) Hopefully this will help Paint.NET v3.30 further distance itself from being “a cowbell release“.