Selecting Items Is Work

By far, most of my time in Shapr3D is spent editing selections. Either tapping exactly the right collection of edges or faces to modify, browsing through the item list looking for a certain plane/axis/sketch, or panning around the model trying to find an angle where most of what I want can be lassoed. Once a selection is made, it’s often just a few taps and maybe a drag to execute the command.

Minutes of selecting, seconds of executing, then more minutes of selecting, over and over. This applies to 2D and 3D operations equally. Maybe other people have different usage patterns, but this is mine.

Every single one of these selection adventures can be instantly ruined by a stray tap. If I’m selecting 16 tiny edges and I miss the last one by a single pixel, all the work I’ve just done is permanently cleared. No undo, no restore. Just have to swear and start over. It’s my most common cause of frustration in this app, and it happens probably hundreds of times a day. (Edit: I misspoke above; there is Undo Deselect All. It had never occurred to me to try it because of what I describe in the next paragraph.)

Then, once I’ve got my selection just right, if I execute a command (say a Move/Rotate) but I get the distance wrong, the fastest fix should be to hit Undo and then type the correct number. But Undo clears the selection. You have to get your command just right on the first try, every time, or be prepared to redo a lot of work. (Forget to hit the Copy button before you tapped the arrow? Be super careful dismissing that number entry popup that’s covering it now!) It’s incredibly stressful and it leads to the “minefield” feeling that I once mentioned in a previous post.

I lose hours to this in every project. Hours. Literal actual hours. Tasks that should take 10 minutes take 20 or 30 because Shapr is so incredibly unforgiving of small errors, and the reason it’s unforgiving is philosophical: selecting items is not considered to be work. Despite it being what I spend the bulk of my time doing (and redoing, and redoing, and redoing).

If you look elsewhere in iOS and MacOS, Undo always restores the selection that was active before the command, when it makes sense to do so. Delete files in the Finder and hit Undo — the icons come back selected. Highlight text in any app and type something to replace it, then hit Undo — the old text comes back, selected.

Some major productivity apps take things a step further. In Photoshop, selection changes are fully undoable/redoable entries in the command history, and selection sets are objects that can be saved and restored (Fusion360 has this too). I don’t think Shapr needs to do all that, though I wouldn’t complain. But just fixing Undo so that it always restores the previous selection would at least double my productivity in Shapr all by itself.

Here’s a forum post asking for Undo to preserve the selection almost three years ago. Istvan replied:

Yes, this is a quite unfortunate behavior, and something that we are working actively on. Sorry for the inconvenience, we will fix this soon.

Can this request please be prioritized again? I don’t know if it’s low-hanging fruit or not — Undo can be a tricky thing to implement, and there are a lot of undoable commands — but at least for me, it would be the single biggest workflow improvement Shapr could possibly make. For the sake of my sanity, I’m desperately urging you to consider it.

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This! Like! +1! :+1:t3:!

Lasso was a big upgrade but there is still room for improvement.
Excited to see how the creative minds at Shapr3d come up with.

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Same issues here!!!

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Hi,

You can undo deselecting everything. If you accidentally tap aside, just click on undo, and your selectuon will come back. If you added an unwanted element to your selection, simply deselect it by tapping on it again. Would that work for you?

Incompletely. There are two issues: (1) unwanted deselection, and (2) Undo not restoring the selection. Undo Deselect partly solves the first issue: when I mistap off my model completely, if I notice right away, I can get my selection back. Thanks for adding this; it does help!

But it’s not sufficient, because there are other ways to lose your selection:

  • Quickly tapping two edges or faces that are close together (or tapping a second time to deselect a mistaken item) often becomes a double-tap, which selects the entire body, destroying the selection of individual faces or edges.
  • Doing a small drag with the pencil instead of a tap, which sketches a line, killing the selection with no undo.
  • Holding down for a moment too long and entering lasso mode: some items selected via lasso cannot be individually deselected, so you have to start over.
  • Accidentally tapping a command button while intending to pan or rotate (see my previous post). Undo can’t help you after that because of problem (2).

Also, while helpful, Undo Deselect is broken. It doesn’t participate in the undo history, so it only works immediately after deselecting. If you don’t immediately realize you’ve deselected and proceed to tap the next thing, you can’t undo twice to get the original selection back.

So the feature is indeed sometimes helpful, but overall it’s a poor implementation of a half-measure. What we really need is for selecting to be treated as a primary workflow task, and for selections to be considered valuable work that should never be discarded irretrievably unless the user’s intent to do so is absolutely clear.

Thanks again for reading all of this. I hope it’s a useful perspective.

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+1, couldn’t agree more!

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This is super helpful, and a fantastic summary. Posted it on our Slack. Thank you. We should definitely improve this.

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