Touch screen scripting / using ASPRO with Surface

Moho allows users to write new tools and plugins. Discuss scripting ideas and problems here.

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Touch screen scripting / using ASPRO with Surface

Post by lehtiniemi » Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:19 pm


For those who use Surface-like devices, the biggest shortcomings are the huge dependency on modifier keys and keyboard shortcuts.

Here are solutions I've found so far (there are more in the thread below):
TouchMe Gesture Studio (at Microsoft Store):
-Really amazing tool that allows you to map gestures from 2 to 5 fingers to any functionality. You can map gestures to undo/redo (check the tip-tap-gesture, really good for this), hide all palettes, enter and leave design mode etc
-Right-click-drag on numberic boxes changes the value
-There is an assignable keyboard shortcut to hide all palettes at once. In keyboard map window this is called "Close/Open Secondary windows". You can then further assign this to a gesture.
-By using AutoHotKey-app for Windows, you can further map the volume controls of the device to become modifier keys, app-specific. This means that when you run Anime Studio, volume up would become for example ALT and volume down would become control. You can even map the pen button to anything you like, for example hide/show palettes or enter/leave design mode.

With this info, you will have two of the most common modifiers, a physical pen button (or two if you map the side button to something special as well) and gestures to do the rest. This will give you very much to work with with Anime Studio without keyboard (and other apps as well)


Is it possible to hide/show palettes (tools, layers, style) by scripting? Also, is there a way to alter the brush size quickly via scripting? Does ASPRO store this value somewhere so that I could manipulate it via my scripts (basically make bigger/smaller by invoking a script)?

The rest of the message is ideas that can be scripted to make working with touch screen easier.

I'm trying to build tools for touch screen usage for Surface-like device that don't have keyboard. I wrote with the support and got the slight impression that there's not too much interest in supporting stuff like this natively. They do have some support for Wacom, but Surface-like devices would require assistance from the GUI since the workflow can't rely on keyboard shortcuts.

I can create button scripts for may functions that are often needed, like deleting selected stuff, undoing and redoing. It's even quick to write a tool for navigation so I could keep timeline hidden. It could be used to scroll by dragging the canvas and it could quickly jump to next/prev keyframe by swiping up/down with the tool. It could do something more with click or something even more with double click. This would make navigation easier and clear up screen estate. The tool buttons are also quick small for touch screen usage but this I could live with.

Two of biggest challenges that limit the usage are:
-Altering numeric values in fields? How do you do this quickly without a keyboard? Most ASPRO values are numeric fields and you currently can't drag them up and down (this would seem logical). Using virtual keyboard for this is frustrating since almost everything in ASPRO is based on changing numeric values. There are no sliders whatsoever.
-Quickly hiding interface elements like layers/tools etc. There are keyboard shortcuts for each of them separately, but you a touch screen device would really need one button / gesture to hide/show them all at once.
Last edited by lehtiniemi on Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:12 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Touch screen scripting? Possible?

Post by synthsin75 » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:46 pm

The tilde key (`/~) hides everything but the workspace. The only way I can think to invoke it by script would require something external, like AutoHotkey (on Windows).
I don't remember off hand, but I think M_Style should include methods to change stroke width.

Since the toolbar has limited space (no scroll), tool options may help. See Ramon's Lost Layers tool for ideas on how to maximize the tool options bar for more buttons.

AS allows the mouse wheel to adjust text values, but again, this is not available to AS scripting. You might be able to use dragging in the workspace to adjust values, much like scrolling the timeline by dragging the workspace.
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Re: Touch screen scripting? Possible?

Post by lehtiniemi » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:55 pm

WOW, thanks synthsin75!!!!

To those who own Surface, there's holy grail for you! It's called TouchMe Gesture Studio (available at the Microsoft Store, costs 5 USD or so). You can create any gestures you want with 1-5 fingers and assign them to shortcuts. It also adds a massive amount of default gestures you can change and delete (like bring up the touch keyboard with swipe, bring up brightness by spreading 4 fingers etc). REALLY cool app.

But by using this app, you can assign a gesture to tilde (or in Finnish keyboard it's the key left from number 1) and use gesture to clean the screen. I can also assign gestures to undo, different tools, deleting things etc in other words, create gestures instead of hotkeys.

Makes ASPRO touch screen compatible!

The only downside I've found so far is that it's not app-specific. The gestures you create apply everywhere in Windows. It's not a biggie, but would be cool if you could use different gestures for different software.

But I'm so excited. This is so cool. Such a cheap app, really well designed and adds touch functionality to gazillion apps that aren't possible to use because the workflow relies on shortcut keys.
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Re: Touch screen scripting? Possible?

Post by obtusity » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:00 am

Right-mouse hold and drag left-right will also modify Anime Studio numeric input fields - works fine with most pens where the side button is set to right-mouse functionality (including tablet PCs such as the Surface Pro).

Not gestures, but there are also a range of programs for adding visual touch or mouse controls for keyboard shortcuts (and keyboard states such as holding down Ctrl). Some of them can also simulate the mouse wheel. Most can set up a range of app-specific controls. The downside compared to gestures is that they claim screen real estate, although most can be minimized down to single-button-size when not needed. The upside is that you don't have to memorise the gestures, and in most cases you can have app-specific settings.
Tablet Pro (available through the Windows Store)
AutoHotkey-based utilities (limited hardware compatibility): ArtDock, PaintDock, SlatePal, Surface Pro Artist ArtDock

Edit: typo fixed
Last edited by obtusity on Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Touch screen scripting? Possible?

Post by lehtiniemi » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:10 am

obtusity wrote:Right-mouse hold and drag left-right will also modify Anime Studio numeric input fields - works fine with most pens where the side button is set to right-mouse functionality (including tablet PCs such as the Surface Pro).
Wow, I did not know that!!! This works. Thanks!!! That together with gestures makes my Surface totally newborn.

Yea, I was also looking for gesture solution because of the screen estate problem. With the software I mentioned it's possible to create a tiptap-left and tiptap-right -gesture for undo and redo: you just hold X amount of fingers on the screen and tap at the left or right side of them to undo/redo. Really smooth!
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Re: Touch screen scripting? Possible?

Post by lehtiniemi » Fri Apr 08, 2016 6:22 pm

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Re: Touch screen scripting / using ASPRO with Surface

Post by Fuzatron » Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:37 am

Great info here. Thanks, all :D

I've been using Radial Menu for a while on my SP3, and couldn't live without it. These other tools sound like they will be a big help as well! ....My only remaining issue is that I can not view the Style panel in advanced mode without un-docking it. Even if the layers panel is closed :(

Does anyone know of a way to toggle the resolution in AS by way of a preference or Windows 10 per-application setting or something? Would like to try making it just a little smaller to see if that solves the problem.

btw- I bought Tablet Pro as a replacement for Radial Menu a while back after exchanging some emails with the developer. Sounds like it may be a better option, but i haven't taken the time to switch over yet.

Thanks again for all the info. Will probably be able to use AS on my Surface more often now :D
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