HM3: Wherein bugs are squashed and a question asked

With thanks to Panner and MMI, I've just updated the HeroMachine 3 Alpha with some more bug fixes:

  • The alpha transparency settings for all colors (especially color2) should now be working properly when you add additional items.
  • You can now switch on "Multiples", add two of the same item, switch to "Single", add a different item, and the previous items will correctly be removed without giving you "stuck" objects.
  • You can now drag items with the mouse wherever you want, even off-screen. Previously you were limited to dragging items only within the composition window.

Thanks to both of those folks for their excellent troubleshooting and bug reporting, it made squashing the bugs much much easier.

My question for you all regards automatic masking.

Currently, let's say you have one item (for example, a square insignia) masked to another (like a body). Here's how that looks:

But then you decide you want to add a second item from the same slot. In our example let's say we wanted to add the chevron insignia. We select "Multiples" in Insignia, then click the chevron. The old item, the square, becomes UNmasked from the body, and the new item, the chevron gets masked instead, like this:

The question is, when you add a second item from a given slot (like the chevron insignia), would you prefer that the masking on the previous item (the square insignia) stay applied? Or would you prefer to keep it like it is now, where masking transfers to the new item along with colors and such and the old item is unmasked?

83 Responses to HM3: Wherein bugs are squashed and a question asked

  1. Captain Kicktar says:

    Keep the old one masked.

  2. Dionne Jinn says:

    Keep the old one(s) masked.

  3. Fabien says:

    I vote for the masking keep on the old, too.

  4. dblade says:

    Keep the old one masked. If that’s possible it would be awesome. I wanted to mask a body with various insignia and was a little sad that I couldn’t without resorting to some workarounds. This addition would make HM3 a very powerful force for art. 🙂

  5. Jeff Hebert says:

    Well, that was quick! So far every single person (both here and in other threads) has requested that masking not transfer to new items, so I have just uploaded an update (A17) making this so. From now on, if you have a masked item then add another item from the same slot, the original item will stay masked, and the new item will appear unmasked.

  6. Violet says:

    Keep the old one masked, please. It is a bit annoying for me the way it is now, especially when I have to dig through several layers to find the new thing and move it.

    On another note, I really can’t wait for the undo button. I seem to have a habit of meaning to click on the reverse button, then accidentally hitting the “clear all items” one.

  7. Jeff Hebert says:

    Violet, of course now you get warned if you hit the Clear All button and asked if you really meant to do that 🙂

    I wanted to note also that you can still only have one item masked to one other item at a time, that’s a Flash limitation. So in the example, I can’t have both the square AND the chevron masked to that Body item at the same time. To get that effect, you have to add a second identical Body, mask the second Insignia to IT, then make that second Body completely transparent for all three colors so all you’re left with is the masked insignia, and the original body with its insignia mask. It looks like two insignia are masked to that one body, but really there are two bodies, with one made invisible.

  8. jak o spades says:

    it could be masked on to the previous one that would be fine i guess.

  9. Myro says:

    Wow, thanks for the changes you just instituted, and thanks to Panner and MMI for busting the program to find these bugs. Most of these things are annoyances that have gone on so long, I automatically account for them anytime I try to do something nowadays, so it’s going to be weird using HeroMachine and not having to worry about this stuff anymore.

    DEFINITELY keep the old item masked. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into this situation, much to the point that I honestly question how much I need the new item if it’s going to screw with my old masking.

    Jeff, just thought of something. Sometimes when I’ve clicked on an item to drag it around, I find the item semi-permanently attached to my cursor, and have to deliberately click the item to make it stop (sometimes a little difficult if the cursor was off-screen, but the item isn’t, so at least that’s not much of an issue anymore). Or I’ll have clicked on the rotate wheel to rotate an item, and found when I’m done, the rotate spoke has become semi-permanently bonded to my cursor, causing my item to rotate wildly when I move my cursor away. Spidercow and I brought this up months back (mostly with the rotate wheel), and you mentioned something in the coding that is making that error, but I was wondering if you knew how to fix that next. But I’m guessing that both instances are the same error (or at least very related).

  10. Dionne Jinn says:

    Yayyy! Now I can ad items without previous maskings being messed up. Thanks for that update, Jeff!

  11. dblade says:

    @Jeff Hebert (7): Ha! I totally misread your original question. I thought you were asking if we wanted to have both Items masked to the same item. Thanks for clearing that up. My answer is still the same though. I’m glad people are pointing these things out and you are so responsive to these suggestions. Hero Machine 3 is just getting more awesome every day.

    I already use the workaround that you suggested so I can still get what I want so I won’t complain about Flash’s limitations.

  12. Me, Myself & I says:

    He:), he:), he:) … I’m so HAPPY!!!

    Definately, keep the old one masked!

    You just made my day Jeff. I’ve wanted this for so long I think I’m going to cry tears of joy.

  13. Jeff Hebert says:

    Myro, hopefully the “item stuck to the cursor” problem will be resolved with this release. Basically it would happen if you were dragging an item and with the mouse button held down, moused over some other object (like the big yellow ad area, for instance, or one of the control buttons), then let go of the mouse. The item would be stuck to the cursor and you’d have to click somewhere in the composition area to get rid of it.

    This release changed that so now it doesn’t matter where on the stage you let go of the mouse, the item should drop.

    The rotation dial is in the same general category of “Do something when the mouse does something” actions, and it’s on the list of bugs to squish at some point.

  14. Jeff Hebert says:

    Man, now I feel bad that it took this long to make the change, it was a pretty easy one — just removed one line of code :-/

  15. The Imp says:

    Like MMI, I’m now going to cry tears of joy. 😀

    The unmasking of a previous item when you add a new one has been one of my biggest teeth-gnashing experiences with HM3, but it never occurred to me that it was something that could be changed.


  16. Myro says:

    Jeff (13): Awesome, thanks.

    MMI (12): I’m already thrilled half to death by the changes. Hell, some of this stuff I was still dealing with only last night. And you’ve been doing this longer than me, so I can only imagine how happy you are.

  17. Me, Myself & I says:

    I’m so happy. I just thought I’d mention that in case nobody got it the first time.

  18. Skiriki says:

    BAWWWW! You made my life wonderful by allowing multiple maskings! BAWWWWW! 😀 I cry tears of joy!

  19. Dionne Jinn says:

    Hee hee hee… I just remade my gallows background for that Corsaro Rosso picture I had in the Critique yesterday. The masking with that was giving me a headache but now it’s working like a miracle. I’m happy happy happy…

  20. MScat says:

    I have been working around this issue for a while…and in reality I would keep working around it, but life will be much simpler if the old item stayed masked. It would save time too since majority of my time creating is spent redoing masked items lol

  21. MScat says:

    I’d also like to state that at the rate things are going and the advancements made to HM3 its going to become a default program used by animations and artists everywhere

  22. Tim says:

    Thank you for this update Jeff! Like everyone else, I definitely like the first item to stay masked! You just made life so much easier 😀

  23. Watson Bradshaw says:

    Jeff you done it again! These changes are going to help immensely. Thanks again.

  24. Panner says:

    I, also, vote for keeping the old one masked. It’s just too much of a headache when all the old maskings fall off.

  25. Nick Hentschel says:

    Keep the old one masked: this is a real annoyance when I work with masked items, and/or think of changing them (I’m now running into this problem with “Piglet,” for example, monkeying around with the design of her dress).

  26. ams says:

    Hey Jeff, I may have found a little bug. I was applying a tatoo on a character (Insignia on a arm- Body Item) and when I went to pattern shade the arm after, it de-masked the insignia. Is that normal?

  27. Jeff Hebert says:

    ams: Yes, that’s normal. Masks and patterns are basically the same thing “under the hood” — they’re both illustration objects that get masked to an “itemMask” object within each item. Since any object in Flash can only have act as a mask to one other item, you can either Mask or Pattern, but not both.

  28. ams says:

    And I don’t know if this is happening to anyone else, but I can’t SAVE my images right now??????

  29. ams says:

    Okay, The image is saving, but it is notletting me name it. When I scroll down to the bottom of the list for SAVED pics, The image is there with no name. Something wrong???

  30. Jeff Hebert says:

    Oops, sorry ams. Glad you caught that before I left for the night — I’ve corrected it and updated the swf, it should all work properly now. My sincere apologies for any work that gets lost …

  31. ams says:

    Thanks, works on my end. Good night!

  32. Gero says:

    I say let the first item stay masked. I’ve had to go back and re-mask items so many times from forgetting that they unmask I can’t even count them all. If you can change it so the first item stays masked, by all means please go ahead and do it!

  33. Jeff Hebert says:

    It’s already done and live, Gero 🙂

  34. Nick Hentschel says:

    “Since any object in Flash can only have act as a mask to one other item, you can either Mask or Pattern, but not both.”

    That actually clears up another question that I forgot to ask! Thanks!

  35. Watson Bradshaw says:

    hey Jeff, just a bug I noticed is if I use the Transform function and then use “All Items” to change size or position when I go to save the file or go to headshot view it resizes or moves all items back to there original spot. is there a way to have that fixed or will it take a lot of recoding?

  36. Myro says:

    Watson (35): Jeff and I discussed this earlier. There does not seem to be a real fix for this yet, but the gist is that using all items alters the picture like a movie clip. When you save the picture as a jpg or png, it does the same thing, and sets the picture back to its default settings.
    You can resize or move items in smaller groups or individually without running into this problem, though.

  37. Myro says:

    Watson (35): Jeff and I discussed this earlier. There does not seem to be a real fix for this yet, but the gist is that using all items alters the picture like a movie clip. When you save the picture as a jpg or png, it does the same thing, and sets the picture back to its default settings.
    You can resize or move items in smaller groups or individually without running into this problem, though.

  38. Myro says:

    Double post, really? I feel like such a n00b.

  39. Watson Bradshaw says:

    thanks Myro, its not a big problem but thought I should mention it.

  40. Nicholas/GtaMythMaster43 says:

    I got to say, thanks Jeff!
    I can’t tell you how much I’ve needed this. It’s helped me alot already and saved me some time! THANK YOU THANKYOUTHANKYOU! But uh, it masks over the masked item area not the torso or limb area were the other is masked.
    Think you could fix that? It kinda mess’s up the line of the last piece. If I’m not making sense I could screen shot the problem to ya’. 🙂

  41. spidercow2010 says:

    I can’t help but wonder, Jeff, what potential advantage you saw to leaving things as they are? I mean, you put it up for discussion, and I can’t figure out why; is there some reason you know of why anyone might be in favor of losing one masking when adding one? I’m not trying to be flippant or anything, I’m just curious, and wondering if I’ve overlooked something.

  42. Nicholas/GtaMythMaster43 says:

    Oh yes, and here’s tip for silly people who only use the HeroMachine save function… If you have a printscrn/SysRq button on your key bord take a screen shot and save it in MS-paint if you have it. So you can match the unfinished product with the final version for refrence. It makes any issues you might have when the save button isn’t working.
    [I say silly in the nicest way of course]

  43. Jeff Hebert says:

    Nick: No clue what you’re talking about. The masking operates the exact same way it has since it was first introduced. The new item will always appear where the old one was, if that’s what you’re asking. And if you mean some of the body pieces sometimes overwrite the black interior lines, that’s something I’d have to go back and tweak each individual object to make perfect. Down the road some time.

    If it’s something else, no clue — further explanation or a picture would be great.

    Spidercow2010: Well, first it’s been that way for a while, so I didn’t want to just change it without getting feedback first. For all I knew, people liked it the way it was.

    Second, the reason I did it like that originally was that I figured (wrongly as it turns out) that most of the time people would be using Single as the main setting. Like, you put a sword in the guy’s hand, decide you want a different weapon, and cycle through a bunch till you find the one you want. It would be a pain to have to mask it each time, over and over and over, just like it would be a pain to start each new selection with the default white fills with black lines after you already chose colors. I didn’t realize how prevalent masking would become, I thought it was mostly going to be for hand-held items.

    Once it was coded like that, and I was done with coding in favor of drawing for a long (long) time, I just let it ride until I was ready to get into the guts of the program again. Had I realized how irritating it was, I’d have changed it a long time ago, but until it was pointed out in the last bug thread and then this one here, I honestly didn’t appreciate its severity.

    Not the first time the user community has used something I built in a different way than I imagined, and I am sure it won’t be the last 🙂

  44. The Imp says:

    @Nicholas: I don’t think it’s silly at all that people save their stuff. A lot of people don’t have the time and/or patience to finish a creation in one sitting, so that’s where the save comes in very handy. I myself never use it; if I can’t finish something in one sitting, I usually just take a screenshot and rebuild it later on. But to insult someone who relies on the save feature is just dumb.

  45. Nicholas/GtaMythMaster43 says:

    It’s helps alot Imp. I use it quite a bit because I lose my stuff when I save most the time. I figured people have had their fair share of ‘ARRRGGGHHHHSSS!!!’ from it. So I was just putting it out there. xD

    Oh, and Jeff, I mean it sticks out for me. Like the item is invisible, and it goes on top. I stretch stuff out for effect, and well, it’s acting like it’s still there just masked. So it follows how far the other items sticking out. If that makes sense.

  46. spidercow2010 says:

    Ah. Makes sense. Thanks.

    Hey, Nick, I think the Save function under discussion is the one that lets you save a character in progress and resume working on it later. You can’t do that with printscrn/SysRq.

  47. spidercow2010 says:

    Whoops. Spoke too soon.

  48. spidercow2010 says:

    Or too late.

  49. Jeff Hebert says:

    Hopefully the save feature’s a lot more reliable now, so the AAAARGHH moments will be fewer and farther between. Hopefully.

    Ironically the error today was from accidently publishing a version that I was using to start work on the undo feature. If you notice, the button’s there. Granted it doesn’t DO anything yet, but I haz button!

  50. Nicholas/GtaMythMaster43 says:

    Argghh moments were already fewer then before.
    So thank you Jeff for making it 98% fewer ‘Argghs’!
    And I couldn’t imagine doing what you have to do, it seems so tough to code for a…didn’t mean to come off rude if I did.

  51. The Imp says:

    I just had a major AARGH moment. I was working on a character, added an item, and went to move it up a couple of layers. For some reason, instead of the ‘move up one layer’ button highlighting when I moused over it, the cursor changed to that vertical line that it looks like when you move over text, and I couldn’t press the button. When I clicked back to the item screen, all of the items from the same group I just added (in this case right hands), randomly spun to different degree orientations and locked. Couldn’t move or delete ’em.

  52. Nicholas/GtaMythMaster43 says:

    I told ya’. See, it happens. Crazy stuff happens all the time. And here’s a problem Jeff…
    See the one on the right? I fixed her boobs [that sounds retarded I know] but the one on the left still has the load error. Do you see it? Her right boob is like merged to her outfit. It looks idiotic/out of place.
    Any idea as to how to fix that?

  53. Myro says:

    Nicholas (52): It looks like you can resolve it by moving the sleeve down a layer or two. Or maybe up a layer I’d two. I work better intuitively in front of my computer, but that issue definitely looks like it cam be resolved by proper layering. Then you ahould be able to save it just fine.

  54. Me, Myself & I says:

    Nicholas/GtaMythMaster43 (52) If I were you, I’d give Myro’s (53) suggestion a try. I really like the shins on this image by the way. That’s a pretty neat idea.

  55. Nicholas/GtaMythMaster43 says:

    Ok guys, I’ll try. Thanks for the advice.

  56. Worf says:

    @Jeff: Kinda late for a question, and really low priority but here goes anyway:

    Do we really need the save as JPEG AND the save as PNG buttons now? It could just be a “save as..” or a “export to image” button right?

    I know, I know… nitpicking right?

  57. Worf says:

    @Jeff: nitpicking part 2: As long as I’m on the subject, I’m not sure the randomize function will ever work with HM3… I mean, feel free to completely ignore me here, but I think the program has become too complex for that kind of thing… On something like HM2.5 with limited slots and limited parts yeah, but now?

    Again, feel free to tell me to shut up or completely ignore this….

  58. The Imp says:

    I just wanted to thank you again, Jeff, for changing that mask/unmask option. I cannot BELIEVE how much work and effort that simple change is saving.

  59. Myro says:

    Worf (56, 57): I know Jeff is the final say on all this, but I think there’s quite a bit of sense to both nits that you picked.

  60. Jeff Hebert says:

    The buttons are all placeholders. I’ll definitely be removing the separate JPG/PNG buttons once I start working on the UI layout.

    I don’t know for sure if Random All will work or not but until I make the call, the placeholder button will stay as a visual reminder, if you will, that it needs to be worked on. It’s one of the favorite features in every version for the casual user and I think it can be made functional with some work (i.e. offer to load all the Standard sets and then randomize one each from there, otherwise load one from every set of every slot that’s open, that kind of thing).

  61. Dionne Jinn says:

    Random colour and swap colours would be nice…

  62. Me, Myself & I says:

    I ran into another problem this morning. If you look at the image here you will see only a few items present.

    ~I added a boot and colored it.
    ~Then the scale skirt.
    ~Then the other boot.
    ~I selected the first boot and tried to paint the color onto the second boot but it wouldn’t paint.
    ~Re-sized and rotated the scale skirt.
    ~Moved it over the boot and tried to mask it but the masking wouldn’t work.

  63. Me, Myself & I says:

    MMI (62)

    I should also mention that when I refreshed the screen and started from scratch again it worked fine.

  64. ChrisN. says:

    Wow, I am so relieved, that was one of my biggest problems with HM. I got so frustrated with it, I’d give up uber easily! Thanks!

  65. Nicholas/GtaMythMaster43 says:

    MMI, that’s exactly what it did to me! That’s what I was talking about! Except it did it to the second mask item!
    Can I do the ‘I tried to tell you but I worded it wrong, but I was still right’ dance? 😛

  66. Violet says:

    Jeff: I wasn’t going to mention this, because it only happened once the other day, but now it is happening with increasing frequency.

    I go to rotate or stretch an item and any other item from that category mimics it. I save and exit, then reopen, and it’s okay…until it happens again with something different. It is mostly tops and items.

    It has happened to me three times in the last hour. Just thought I’d letcha know.

  67. ams says:

    That’s happened to myself also. But I noticed when you go into the transform screen, the “current item only” is not activated and whatever category the item belongs to is.

  68. Nicholas/GtaMythMaster43 says:

    Not seem like a nit-picky douche, but I’m also in the club with Ams and Violet. That happens alot now [to me].
    I used to have it happen on the occasion of load edit error but now it happens quite a bit. At least once a day.
    Oh and a screen error, were after I’ve selected an item from a certain group it stays there unresponcive. :-

  69. Violet says:

    Yeah, it is happening all the time for me now. Hands, Tops, and Items will now randomly decide to do a choreographed dance routine, all at once. Maybe it was something tripped by one of the new updates? Because this seriously just started the other day.

  70. Jeff Hebert says:

    I don’t doubt you guys at all, but I can’t replicate this. Is there a specific sequence you can identify that triggers it? Like you were using Grouping, then switched? Or if you had a certain pattern or were working on an old character or something? I didn’t really do anything at all to the Grouping settings. If I can’t replicate it it’s going to be really hard to do anything about.

  71. Violet says:

    @ Jeff: All I can tell you is that it is happening with both new and old characters. I guess your best bet will be putting a notice out for people to send you files where it keeps happening even upon reopening. That hasn’t happened to me yet.

  72. Violet says:

    Oh! But I just realized that in both new characters this happened with, the tops were masked to the torso! Might be coincidence, but there is something.

  73. Dionne Jinn says:

    I don’t think that is related Violet (72). This problem shows up with me as well, but I hardly ever mask tops to the body. Actually I don’t remember ever doing that. But it might be something with masking in general.

  74. Me, Myself & I says:

    Dionne Jinn, Violet & Jeff;

    I might be able to help you out a little here; I think it has something to do with the groupings. This effect can be created intentionally very easily. I did so and copied some stills so you can se how everything rotated.

    Step #1: Select a category and click multiples.

    Step #2: Select a bunch of items in the same category.

    Step #3: Go to the Transform tab.

    Step #4: In the Grouping For Scale, Rotate and Move area, select your

    Step #5: Select the Rotate Wheel and move things around to your hearts content. See, they all move in unison.

    Step #6: Incidentally, if you want everything to go back to the way it was previously; I’ve had success by typing 0 into the Rotate field and entering it.

  75. Jeff Hebert says:

    MMI, that’s the way it’s always worked. My understanding was that people are seeing the “Group” setting switch to “All Headgear” for instance instead of “Current Item Only” without having actually set it themselves.

    Am I reading that right, Violet and Nick?

  76. Me, Myself & I says:

    I was thinking that maybe it selects by default like the single item rotating does if your cursor moves to the wrong spot on the scren.

  77. Violet says:

    Yeah, I have never even gotten near those grouping settings so it must be deciding that on its own. If that is what is causing that, then good for MMI!

  78. ThePerfectTense says:

    For some reason, with my Wolfman entry, every time I downloaded a picture it moved it down and to the right 40 spaces.

  79. Nicholas/GtaMythMaster43 says:

    What happens to me is that it frezes the item in place.
    so I that’s what I thought they meant. :O

  80. Nick Hentschel says:

    Jeff (75):
    Although you clearly meant to address my namesake, I *have* been having that problem lately. An unhappy side effect of the debugging process?

    Today, I have also been having another problem: the program is not saving. I have been modifying a drawing, saving in stages, and the list SEEMS to show successive versions, but when I open the program later, they’re gone. I’m losing a lot of work this way.

  81. Jeff Hebert says:

    Nick (80): Some other people have reported similar hit-or-miss saves. All I can suggest is to close out of your browser completely and reopen it, hopefully they’ll still be there. Also if you can find your hmcharacters.sol file, send it to me and I’ll see if the characters are still in there and just not showing up, or what.

  82. Nick Hentschel says:

    Actually, I found what may have been a simpler solution on my own: free up more space. Operating under the assumption that there may not have been enough room to save, I deleted some extraneous files, and tried saving again. (For safety’s sake, I saved a JPG, to make reconstruction easier.) This morning, there the files are!

    Maybe my solution had something to do with it, maybe it didn’t, but I seem to be OK for the moment……

  83. Noah says:

    Hi! I’m pretty new to Hero Machine, and having a ton of fun with it. I’m just having some problems today that I haven’t encountered before. Apologies if they’re known issues, but I didn’t see them mentioned anywhere.

    I was able to reproduce these problems in both Firefox and IE, but only with this character – which is the only character I’ve saved today.

    Problem 1: my save file is loading with all the layers mixed up (I think in the order I added them – I did backgrounds last and they’re on top). Screenshot:

    Problem 2: after loading my save file, I deleted the backgrounds because I didn’t like them anyway. Then I went to Backgrounds – Standard (just switched to that item list, didn’t actually apply any to the image), and suddenly half my items disappeared. I thought at first is was only “multiple” items, but both sandals and two parts of the staff are still there. After this, I could add new items but they didn’t take the colors of the old items. And I couldn’t open ANY save file again until I completely reloaded the page/program.