I’m finding it hard to organise stuff in Studio. Well, hard to reorganise stuff. The tools we’re used to in just about every other app – being able to select more than one object at a time, for example, or simple cut and paste – don’t really work in Studio as far as I can tell.
If I spend a bit of time mucking about and create a fun effect, I usually want to encapsulate it into a subsymbol so I can re-use it in other projects. But that seems more fiddly to do than it should be. I can cut and paste the contents of script nodes, but I usually have to recreate everything else. I think there’s a way to export parts of a project, which I’m guessing can then be imported into a new subsymbol, but basic cut/copy/paste tools would be incredibly helpful here.
And out at the “list of projects” level, we’re stuck with a single list of everything; no way to group projects by client, no way to separate out all our experiments and tests from the more meaningful stuff. The version control stuff built into Zap Studio is better than no version control, but I’d give it all up in a heartbeat if I could just have a normal File menu with Open…, Save As… commands. As it is I have no way of knowing where my work is being stored on my drive (and whether it’s being backed up!). For every other project on my network, whether it’s Houdini or Logic Pro or After Effects or a website, I know where to find it, I know where all the files are. If something unfortunate happened to me, my wife could quite easily find and send each of my clients their folder of project files - but heaven knows how she’d find the Zap projects.
(It’s not that I want to know where Zap is ferreting all these files away – I mean, that’d be interesting to know – it’s that I want to choose where Zap puts Client X’s project, like I can with every other app. If I’m still doing AR stuff in a couple of years’ time, that Project list is going to run to the hundreds, I’m guessing)
So my wishlist is:
- Allow selection of multiple nodes. Ideally, the Props pane should show parms common to the whole selection, but until that’s implemented, just blanking it out is fine. At least we’d be able to move stuff between groups quickly.
- Cut / copy / paste of any selected node(s). This could potentially cause some breakage - if you paste a node into a subsymbol, it’s possible that Relative To… parameters would no longer be valid, but that’s fine: we can fix those sorts of things.
- Project file management: please make it work like all the other applications on my machine. Use standard OS dialogs. Let us keep stuff organised, versions / folders etc, with the tools we already know, rather than reinventing the wheel. Give us a “Save As…” command, so we can fork and dupe and commit projects in the same way we do with every other app. (Yes - I know we can export / import projects, but that adds a huge amount of unnecessary friction to everyday tasks, and actually makes organisation much much harder)
Zap Studio introduces lots of weird Flash-like paradigms that we necessarily have to get to grips with – it’s how the Zap AR thing works, so that’s fair enough! – but that makes it all the more important that the basic File and Edit menu stuff should be as conventional as possible.