[PD] changing the look of Pd to be more readable

vade doktorp at mac.com
Sat Nov 3 21:29:26 CET 2007

I agree, 1px looks better, and I very much like the versions with the  
colored patch coords. I think the gray sans border ones are too  
diffuse, and do not catch your eye fast enough, so you have to work  
MUCH harder to make out the patch structure.

If it is possible to add user preference for these options, at least  
things like -

control rate patch coord color
audio rate patch coord color

optional arrows (I notice you have them in there subtly)

object box border color
message box border color

object box interior color
message box interior color

font color

background canvas color.

it might also be useful to have a very subtle background grid drawn on  
the canvas at certain intervals to help patch organization. Quartz  
Composer has this, as does Max 5 (not saying you HAVE to have it, but  
it might be a nice addition.

I think the overall goal should be to increase visual differentiation  
between graphic representation of different objects on screen, like  
objects, abstractions, externals, patchcoord types, inles and outlets.

This is *really* important, as many people learn through their eyes,  
and being able to visually identify components of a patch will ease in  
learning, ease in patch flow understanding, and lower common error  
rates and disambiguate LOTs of things.

Great work. Im all for it. These are the kind of quality of life  
issues so few open source projects attempt to tackle, and what keep  
many people from actively using some software.


On Nov 3, 2007, at 3:11 PM, Roman Haefeli wrote:

> hi all
> i like the idea of optimizing pd's appearance, although i think it's
> only details, that should be improved. personally, i'd prefer boxes  
> like
> that:
> http://romanhaefeli.net/ramsch/nu_peedee_stuyl.png
> because:
> 1) 1px border looks better. 2px or more looks like drawn with a clumsy
> pencil
> 2) a border is still needed, otherwise the boxes seem to disappear and
> the strong presence of connections with very light boxes looks strange
> and makes it hard to follow a patch.
> 3) borders are grey not black in order to emphasize the text.
> 4) light grey filled boxes in order to better distinguish patch from
> canvas
> why i like in the examples from:
> http://eds.org/~hans/pdsketch/
> 1) the inlets and outlets.
> 2) anti-aliased connections
> roman
> On Sat, 2007-11-03 at 14:24 -0400, Hans-Christoph Steiner wrote:
>> I think there is a lot that could be done to the look and feel of Pd
>> that would make it much more efficient and usable.  I think it is
>> crucial to avoid flashiness, one of Pd's strengths is its lack of
>> flashiness (no segmented patch cords! ;)  But small things can make a
>> big difference.
>> For example, I think the inlet you're about to drop a connection onto
>> should highlight itself, that would make life a lot easier.  You can
>> just drag to the middle of the box to connect to and see which inlet
>> is selected instead of having to aim for the tiny inlet.
>> Another thing is having the inlets and outlets look slightly
>> different based on whether they are audio, message, or both.
>> Another thing would be to automatically shape a cord when it is used
>> to feedback to the top of a patch.  This is the only time when I
>> think that segmented patch cords are useful.
>> Some of these ideas already exist, maybe in DesireData, maybe in Max/
>> MSP, maybe jMax, wherever.  I'd like to try to come up with a
>> coherent idea of the whole look.  Another thing is choosing the line
>> colors, weights, shapes, etc.
>> I've been thinking a bit of how to make a patch more readable.
>> Color, shape, and weight should be used to highlight what is
>> important in the patch.  I think that the shapes of the object box
>> vs. the message vs. the atom box are a nice feature.  I think that
>> having them drawn in sharp, black lines draws too much attention to
>> the boxes themselves, rather than the text, which is more important.
>> Here are a couple of quick sketches I did, while talking with Roman,
>> vade, and others:
>> http://eds.org/~hans/pdsketch/
>> I'd like to see other sketches along these ideas.
>> .hc
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ----
>> Mistrust authority - promote decentralization.  - the hacker ethic
>> _______________________________________________
>> PD-list at iem.at mailing list
>> UNSUBSCRIBE and account-management -> http://lists.puredata.info/listinfo/pd-list
> ___________________________________________________________
> Telefonate ohne weitere Kosten vom PC zum PC: http:// 
> messenger.yahoo.de
> _______________________________________________
> PD-list at iem.at mailing list
> UNSUBSCRIBE and account-management -> http://lists.puredata.info/listinfo/pd-list

More information about the Pd-list mailing list