Suggestions - UX (& more) Wishlist

I wanted to put up a list of improvements i wished for while using aseprite. I find that in terms of usability, while not perfect, it’s certainly the best pixel art editing software around as far as i’m concerned.

I don’t want to seem demanding with these changes, they are just little bits and bobs (some mayhaps bigger than others) i really wish were added to the program. I’ve come from drawing textures on Photoshop and most things feel so much better in Aseprite. Only a couple of things feel like they’re either awkward to use or missing and i’d really like to be able to ditch photoshop altogether.
If i’m entirely honest I must admit i’m a bit of a pessimist and i don’t expect to see many of these suggestions implemented, however, even if not so atleast i want to leave a “Letter to Santa” here incase it gets noticed.

(The list used to be bigger but i’ve dug around a bit and found that many of these have already been addressed and are mostly due for the 1.3 release.)

Most of these will be Photoshop-related:

  • I’ve found that the method Photoshop uses for drawing straight lines was quite intuitive and once i started using it quickly became second nature. Sadly this doesn’t seem to be the case for Asesprite. The functionality exists but it doesn’t help as much as the photoshop version.
    You can’t just press the angle snap shortcut alone without having to hold the draw straight line shortcut aswell, which is a bit limiting if you’re dedicating a single hand to the keyboard.

I don’t know if this would involve alot of work but just having the option to make the behaviour of the angle snap key include the straight line lock aswell would be great, greater still if you could have an option to use the Photoshop “hold key to constrain cursor axis” behaviour.

This is very useful to quickly draw lines on a pinch to fill gaps, check if two lines are leveled, etc… It saved me a fraction of a second everytime i used it in photoshop and i didn’t even have to think about it. Compared to Asesprite’s way where it’s a bit hit and miss and its use requires a bit more practice and i end up using the pencil tool instead.

  • Having a strip of colour on the Hue/Saturation menu represent the change in hue In Real Time instead of just the preview.

  • The addition of dodge, burn, sharpen, clone stamp and smudge tools, for making something like drawing textures for a modern pixel art environment a bit more accessible.

The convolution matrix provides these functions already (and the shading options aswell) but in terms of usability it just doesn’t compare to an actual tool you can just sprinkle here and there on a whim, creating tilemaps with these helps a ton. Its not super high priority, but its key to taking photoshop out of the creation process.
(this is ridiculously useful when creating textures, and to be honest, Asesprite kind of already takes care of 75% of the base functionality i’m looking for in Photoshop, as in, not just pixel art.)

  • Pyxeledit’s tilemapped animation canvas
    (alright, this one’s impossible, but one day i dream of having my whole animation tiled and displayed in front of me while still posessing the editing capacity of Asesprite. Maybe on the 1.3 tilemap update i’ll see something similar).

  • Change the behaviour for the Ctrl key when selecting layers so its easier to change their order.
    (Drag to Change order, Ctrl+Click selecting one layer at the time, Shift+Click selecting all layers inbetween first layer selection.
    This would replace the current Ctrl+Click Select layer contents with Ctrl+Double Click)
    This is so you could more easily and intuitively select a range of frames within longer animations and reorganize animations with a lot of layers.
    (This one’s pure quality of life)

  • Change the layer order of elements so the Onion skin range selector is displayed on top of the selected frame rectangle, makes it so you can see it even if your range is less than one frame is each distance.
    (This one’s the absolute limit of nitpicking and doesn’t really annoy anyone, it’s more along the lines of just taking note its there if you want to fix it, currently you can just select any cell within that frame to be able to change the range again.)

  • A “Pixels Moved” tooltip on the mouse cursor when you move a selection, this is very handy when creating tilesets or when you have specific positions for sprite maps (just as a few examples off the chart)

Along these lines a really neat thing that could be done would be making the distance to edges tooltip remain visible when moving the selection. Currently if you have the hotkey pressed you’ll see the square incompassing the selection and the distance (in pixels) to the canvas edges, but if you move it they disappear. I don’t know if this is a limitation of the system or if it’s just intended behavior, but making it toggleable would be greatly appreciated.

  • Toggleable Scrollbars on the timeline panel, they serve both as a quick scroll method and indicator at a glance.

One either on top or bottom timeline position (maybe bottom since the tag system takes up space) (it’s there, i’m just blind)
And a vertical one on the right for layers.

  • Frame speed conversion & indicator.
    These are actually two small requests.

One is for when you change the duration of frames to have the Milliseconds based value have a field displaying how many frames per second that will correspond to. (just a quick conversion, nothing fancy, it doesn’t matter if 30fps would be 30.333333etc…)

Another is to have on cell thumbnails (and overlays if possible) a number in the corner displaying the duration of the frame (in milliseconds) for quick reference.
(currently all this information can be found on the status bar in the lowerleft corner but it’s a bit unwieldy if you’re trying to look at where your mouse is and at the corner of the screen at the same time)

(I’ve found out you can play animation at different speeds by right-clicking the play button, this is really cool and should be an option on the “Frame” dropdown menu in case people miss it)

That is all for now, if i remember something new i’ll it to the post. Hopefully its something small and doable within a patch/update.

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A Smudge tool would absolutely make Aseprite my go-to image app. It would also fit in perfectly next to the Blur and Jumble tools.

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