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Pictureflow View (apple coverflow improvement)

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User avatar TheBlackCat
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This idea is a new view mode for Dolphin. It is an improved (I hope) variant of Apple's coverflow:

Image

For the implementation here the Pictureflow view is only the top pane, with the actual pictures. The lower pane is a normal icon view. There are three ways to implement having the three panes.

One is that when you select pictureflow view, it automatically creates a linked split view with a particular view below that can be easily changed by clicking on the lower pane and then changing the view. To get away from pictureflow view you click on the pictureflow pane and then changing the view. That would also work well in my opinion. Either way, your position in the pictureflow view is controlled by your scrolling in either that view or the lower pane. So if you scroll the lower pane pictureflow centers itself on where you have scrolled to. If you scroll pictureflow the lower pane scrolls as well to keep itself centered on the file in pictureflow. In this mockup pictureflow has a scroll bar because it cannot show as many files as the lower pane shows. I should point out that the link for the linked split view is left out here, and that horizontal slider does not have the correct position and size. That was merely to save time on my part.

A second option would be to implement this as a panel that you could resize and place wherever you want. It would have to be able to go above or below the file browser, above or below existing panels, or between the file browser and other panels.

The third idea would be to use it with my linked split view idea.


Compared to Apple's coverflow, the big change is in the next mockup:
Image

Here you see what happens when you select files in either pictureflow view or the lower pane. What happens is pictureflow shifts down and shrinks to create space above. It then positions an image of the selected file at the top above the main pictureflow area. If you select more than one file, they are all placed above. If there are too many to all fit, they form a second pictureflow thing at the top, with only the selected files that are currently visible in the lower pictureflow area laid out flat in the upper area and the rest rotated and placed off to the side. This could just as easily be done by putting the selected files to the left or right.

What happens when a selected file comes into view in the lower view is that a blue box is drawn around the file in both view and they are connected with a line, showing you where the file appears in the overall view. This would likely all be animated in the real thing, with an animation of the file being pulled out of the pictureflow, rotated to face you if it isn't already, and stuck up above. You can see the far right file does not have a blue box. That is because that file is not currently visible in the lower pictureflow view.

There should be more files visible off to the sides in this view because all the thumbnails have shrunk, but if I did that I could not show the how the blue box is present in some cases and not present in others. That is why I didn't include them here. I also did not reproduce the reflections here because it was too much work.

The name for this view is taken from an optimized Qt clone of Apple's coverflow called Pictureflow. I assume that such a view in Dolphin would be based off of this program, but I do not know if it would be able to do the things I described here or not.



This is part of my series of Dolphin ideas

Last edited by TheBlackCat on Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:04 am, edited 1 time in total.


Man is the lowest-cost, 150-pound, nonlinear, all-purpose computer system which can be mass-produced by unskilled labor.
-NASA in 1965
User avatar lluforma
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RE: Dolphin idea: Pictureflow View

Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:08 pm
I really like your way to think.
Since i saw de pictureflow, I wish it be implemented in dolphin and as a plasmoid.
The rest of your ideas are so good too.
Great job
StefanT
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Previewer widget could add this feature too...
LifeTheHound
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I signed up for this forum after browsing extensively just so I could vote on this feature.

I have so many mac friends who would die without Cover Flow. It is also the only visual feature of OSX I love (that cannot be replicated in exact form or better by another DE).

I also love the improvements you suggested versus Apple's "Cover Flow" (which though vastly more useful for "visual confirmation" in Finder than the shallower eye-candy on iPods/iTunes/etc)--your rendition actually makes a lot of sense. I was blown away using a mac with this enabled. High resolution previews of all files next to each other with the ability to play audio, preview video, look at photos and documents clearly (seriously!) in an inordinately pleasing way with incredible simplicity. There's no way "icon previews" (or "cloud previews," for that matter) can compare to this level of polish. I have been staunchly anti-mac my whole life. I've used them extensively, so I know them pretty well, but this almost cracks my armor.

Image
Cover Flow is the "huge new feature" of Finder, and Apple is all too keen to show it off--it now appears in nearly every eye-grabbing screenshot the company produces of OSX. Thinking it was a tacky, inconvenient, slow, useless, purely aesthetic "innovation" (though KDE has been criticized for reliance on aesthetics itself, it has nothing like this), I debunked it and thought Apple was really getting desperate with its corny iTunes nonsense. But then, seeing and using it in action really blew me away. Can you believe that you can just click on one of the previews shown and it smoothly expands an even larger preview window for it? It's seamless! There's no comparison to squinting through a morass of thumbnails and then opening each .doc file in OpenOffice just to try to find (hence the name "Finder") one document you're looking for to which you've forgotten the name... Or just leisurely browsing through a photo album, or an audio album, or even a folder of short video clips...

If KDE really wants to be an integrated, all-encompassing solution, its file manager should reflect that. I love where the trunk builds have been going in terms of media preview support (implemented and planned), but those only go skin-deep. As long as you're not editing the files you're looking through, Cover Flow can essentially give you your whole computer, and everything in it, without ever leaving the file browser (dolphin). But best of all, it does it in a visually pleasing way.

Thus "browsing" through files takes on a whole new meaning, and a powerful one. You are literally "browsing" through the files in their entirety--multi-page files, whole images, documents, movies, songs, even folders (an improvement on Apple's design) with a rapidity that would astound any windows and linux user (especially ye olde terminal users). But it doesn't have to be used for this. More importantly for the old schoolers among us, who enjoy opening large programs and media players just to verify the file they've chosen is the right one, or those of us who actually want to edit a certain file, CoverFlow/PictureFlow can merely be used to provide quick verification that the selected file is indeed correct. Thumbnails fall short--you have to click on each file in turn to find the right version of your essay on quantum physics--a tiny thumbnail doesn't do it justice, and increasing all icon sizes just to take a look at that one quite obviously defeats the purpose, even if the resolution you need can be represented in a thumbnail.

I for one would switch to KDE in a heartbeat if it had polish like this. This would truly mark the maturation of the DE (like it or not) if it is made to work with the recently-implemented media previews in dolphin. I can think of no (visual) reason my friends would still trumpet OSX over this now.

Last edited by LifeTheHound on Fri May 01, 2009 4:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar Madman
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To be honest? I don't really like CoverFlow, but it's one of the best ways of quickly viewing a file (or several) all at once.

What I'd do instead? Take the currently-existing tooltips and put buttons on them, for things like previewing in a bigger window.
What's better, the tooltips could be cleverer and show buttons specific for that file type. Media-player-like for audio files, "Bigify" in Image/PDF/Document files and both of them for video files. When viewing stuff in a list, it's usually because I want to see more stuff (files), and CoverFlow stops me doing that. However, if this was implemented in the tooltips, I could just mouse-over stuff to see if it really is the right one, or it looks how I think it looks/sounds how I think it sounds etc.

Of course, the only thing stopping the devs doing both is time...


Madman, proud to be a member of KDE forums since 2008-Oct.
User avatar TheBlackCat
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Madman, you might be interesting in my (poorly-named) Single File View idea.


Man is the lowest-cost, 150-pound, nonlinear, all-purpose computer system which can be mass-produced by unskilled labor.
-NASA in 1965
User avatar plaristote
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I really like that in Apple products also...

But KDE can't just take that feature without doing something bigger with it ?

I think that the panel should be more interactive : for example it would be nice if we could preview video and music in it, or see more pages of a document.
But well, Dolphin is also supposed to be light, and that stuff are pretty heavy.
LifeTheHound
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plaristote wrote:I really like that in Apple products also...

But KDE can't just take that feature without doing something bigger with it ?

I think that the panel should be more interactive : for example it would be nice if we could preview video and music in it, or see more pages of a document.
But well, Dolphin is also supposed to be light, and that stuff are pretty heavy.


If you take a more in-depth look, the suggestion includes many thorough improvements: multi-selection, music/video preview, multi-page view, all of that. :)
LifeTheHound
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I think this deserves a KDE4.3beta 1 bump.

Video and Audio previews have indeed landed in 4.3, which means coverflow/pictureflow is even more appealing now that the technology is in place. 3D effects such as compositing coverflow have been implemented for a long time, and now with the addition of better file previews (image, document, audio, video, and more), the two can finally be (reasonably) merged.

As a codebase for the animation, 'Pictureflow' using Qt already exists.
Pconfig
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Would be real nice addition to dolphin. You've got my vote! ;)

 
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