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Home: Help Me!: Using Beading Programs:
An alternative to BeadCreator?

 



Aqua32
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Mar 29, 2005, 11:23 AM

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An alternative to BeadCreator? Can't Post

Hi there!

I have created a pattern designing program that you might be interested in. Its called BeadTool and is cheaper, easier to use & set up, and alot cheaper. I also listen to my customers!

Not only that, but you get to try it before purchasing it for $19.95. If you would like to have a look, please visit:

http://www.beadtool.net
Sincerely,

Christopher Litts

support@beadtool.net

(This post was edited by Aqua32 on Apr 1, 2005, 7:56 AM)


pugdog
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Apr 1, 2005, 12:42 AM

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Re: [Aqua32] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

This is the sort of commercial post we discourage, but it touches an issue that has been irking me for some time.

Most bead design programs out there are miserable (and the support/authors are not much better).

I do a lot of program development, and realize that while there are complexities, most of what is required in a bead designer program is simple, exists as linkable modules, and should not be that difficult to design. Such a program would fullfill over 90% of users needs, and maybe 99.9999% of all users period.

I visited your site, but things seem to be broken.

If you'd like to send me a review copy of the program, fully enabled (I do *NOT* under any circumstance review crippled or limited programs -- never have), if it does what you say, we'll review it and post that on our various sites.
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217


Aqua32
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Apr 1, 2005, 1:09 AM

Post #3 of 16 (45757 views)
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Re: [pugdog] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

My apologies :-) The sheer unfriendliness of BeadCreator is why BeadTool came into existence.

I have sent you a free key for your review to your pugdog email address. Thanks a bunch.



Christopher Litts

BeadTool author


pugdog
Administrator

Apr 1, 2005, 1:31 AM

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Re: [Aqua32] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's ok. That's one nice thing about moderating your own forum... you can make the calls ;)

I think I posted some _toned_down_ comments to this thread:

http://beadbanter.com/.../gforum.cgi?post=483

Awhile back.

Thanks for the key, I'll look for it later, and it will take at least a week to get something up, since I'm working on a dozen different things, and am trying to write a blog program, at least to beta stage, before the end of the weekend.

http://beadblogger.com .... right now, it's just sitting, hopefully there will be a beta by Monday.
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217


Aqua32
Novice

Apr 1, 2005, 1:45 AM

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Re: [pugdog] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

No problem. I hope you like it. If you dont, dont be too harsh :-)

The people that have bought it have done so because of its ease of use. While it may not be as "mature" as others, it certainly beats them in other ways.

When I received BeadCreator Pro in the mail, I clicked the button to receive the registration key and a pre-filled outlook express email popped up. I would have laughed out loud if I haddnt paid so much for it.

A note about the programmers of "the other program". I am almost ashamed of them for laughing when you requested an evaluation key. Especially if it meant exposure for thier product. As any programmer knows, its all too easy to change the registration key encryption algorithm in the next version. I truely believe they dont know much.

Alas, I have been coding all day and my brain is mush so I must sleep. On a lighter note, the next version will have some nice changes.

Christopher


pugdog
Administrator

Apr 1, 2005, 9:27 AM

Post #6 of 16 (45748 views)
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Re: [Aqua32] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

I saved some of the email responses from the authors, because I could not believe anyone writing software could actually believe that the potential retailers are "theives".

And, you are right. If they feel there are too many "free" keys, just change the algorithm, and allow registered owners to get a new key with the new download.

But, one company flat out accused us (bead stores in general) of stealing their programs, and that giving them a copy would destroy their market, etc, ad nauseum. I never ever heard anything like that. But the same sentiment was repeated in different ways by all 4 or 5 different groups. They all felt that giving an evaluation copy out was (nicely put in my own words) "Bad business."

Heck, if I had a bead pattern creator, I'd mail a copy on CD ROM with a courtesy key to every bead shop on my list, and let them know that they could sell the CD's and offer customers registration keys in their shop (if the customer could not log on and get their own registration key).

Of course I'd have some incentive to log on and register, and I'd know that there would be a large number of pirated copies (but if a code was embedded in the pattern some could be tracked).

After doing software for 20+ years, I'd rather get my program in the hands of 500,000 people, even if only 1,000 actually register, than in the hands of 500 people, all of them registered.

As my program matures, all the people with "old" copies may (and often do) pay to upgrade, even if they were originally "pirated" copies. After 3 or 4 years, if I've kept developing my program, that 1,000 registered users may be over 10,000, and the other company may still be under 1,000 (since they have no advertising or word of mouth).

But, those are some thoughts.

Nothing advertises your version 3.0, as a whole lot of old 1.0 versions on shareware or pirate CD's, that have a valid link to your domain and current download ;)

Don't get me wrong. I *want* you to succeed. If you have a good program, and want to keep developing it, and keep it under $25, with on-line support and such, I'll be one of your biggest promoters.

There is a need for a good, simple, create a pattern, and scan an image into a pattern type software, that can do a "best match" to miyuki, toho, dmc, etc colors. Also a "doodle" type software. You present a grid of different shaped beads, and let people doodle with different color pallets by dragging their mouse over the beads (sort of like a basic finger painting program, but with "bead cells").

All the 3-d rendering, and such is paint on (what I've seen so far) a lousy foundation.

Most people are not trying to get patterns published, they are just trying to work something out for themselves. They need affordable, and support.

Also, if your program is affordable, the support forums spring up by themselves as users share tips and tricks and help between themselves.
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217


pugdog
Administrator

Apr 1, 2005, 11:35 AM

Post #7 of 16 (45744 views)
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Re: [Aqua32] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,

I took a quick look at it, and I can see it's still a work in progress :)

Just a few interface things you should address before spending more time on features:

1) allow resizing of the file/picture load box. Some people have a *LOT* of files in their directories :) Also, try to use the updated common dialog box if you can. It's sort of "annoying" on xp type systems to have a 95 style box. :)

2) Your resizing of the main window is off by a bit. When I scaled the grid pattern up, it overwrote the color checker, and the loaded picture. Actually, you don't allow resizing of the main window, so the components overlap. *please* spend a bit of time working on these interface aspects, making windows behave as most windows users expect.

*now* if you can load the picture as you did, and overlay the grid on it, and click "snap colors to grid" it would be a quick way to "scan" in a picture. :) Not perfect, but a good trick. Most image software is good enough to scale a picture down, properly. So, if a user wants a 60x70 bead workspace, their image needs to scale down to 60x70 pixels. If they can't do that in photoshop, psp, or one of the other picture tools, there is no way *you* are going to be able to do that on your own. But, once they get the image scaled down, importing it into a bead grid should be easy for loom stitch. To convert to peyote or brick, you might have to come up with a "best fit" algorithm, and that will require some thought, and trial and error. I have not done a lot of image manipulation in years, but you should be able to convert using a 7-pixel average for each pixel in the final image. The simplest way would be to get a scan that is 2x the size of the final work. If the work would be 60x90 then the scan would need to be 120x180. Overlay the coordinates of peyote or brick grid on this image. Each "bead" would span 4 pixels (2x2). Average them to get the color. An advanced algorithm uses a weighted average, but that's beyond the scope of this message, and can be found in various books. If you look at how brick/peyote overlay on a photo, you'll see what I mean. 2x2->1 is a good reduction ratio, and always worked well in print reprographics.

But, the key here, is to allow the best photo manipulation programs reduce the image into a "grid" of pixels that your program can then import, and simply shift the colors into the bead grid.



3) Also, you need to let the right-click unselect a bead, and set it back to background.

4) The "finger paint" feature I mentioned is already built in. I love that :)

Keep working. It has potential, if you don't get sidetracked by the little things. ;)

========

I just was playing with the interface some more, and shrunk the grid way down. THen I used the mouse to pull it over the picture.

If you had a way of taking a "snapshot" of that, it would give a great starting point for work! The jaggies are something that would have to be manually worked on, but that's what no one tells you :)

All those great wonderful patterns in the stores, that were made with the programs, were all majorly tweaked by hand to get the details looking right. The import/scan features were only a starting point, not an end point. If it was the end point, people would be scanning in everything from moon shots to celebrities, and they aren't. There's a reason -- it's *not* easy to tweak up.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's a screen cap of what I'm talking about. If that could be "auto-filled" then you have what people want. A good place to start.

Then, if you enforced colors, eg: you had the list of Miyuki, Delica, Toho, etc colors, as pallets, when someone clicked a color, the program did a "best fit" within that pallet, and gave people a choice to change that color to.

Having an automated "best fit" for all those left over bead colors (like the "auto play" feature on solitaire). Once you've adjusted the important colors, you can have the program automatically pick the others.

Reduction of colors *should* be done in the photo manipulation program, since there is no way you'll ever write an algorithm as good as those.... This is supposed to be a bead pattern tool, *not* a photo manipulation program, so only build what can't be had elsewhere :)

Good luck!
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Attachments: screen_cap_bead_tool.png (86.0 KB)


Aqua32
Novice

Apr 1, 2005, 12:01 PM

Post #8 of 16 (45742 views)
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Re: [pugdog] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hi,

I took a quick look at it, and I can see it's still a work in progress :) . .
--->Always. But its very functional as it stands right now. The manual that comes with the distribution is very helpful :-)
Just a few interface things you should address before spending more time on features:
.
1) allow resizing of the file/picture load box. Some people have a *LOT* of files in their directories :) Also, try to use the updated common dialog box if you can. It's sort of "annoying" on xp type systems to have a 95 style box. :) . .
--->I'll work on that. I think its a simple commdlg API call.
2) Your resizing of the main window is off by a bit. When I scaled the grid pattern up, it overwrote the color checker, and the loaded picture. Actually, you don't allow resizing of the main window, so the components overlap. *please* spend a bit of time working on these interface aspects, making windows behave as most windows users expect.
--->I have no idea what youre talking about :-) What resolution are you in? If by overlap, you mean the grid, palette & picture components overlap, this is by design. You can move them wherever you want them to go. The "work area" is designed to operate like a "desktop" with free movement of all components.
*now* if you can load the picture as you did, and overlay the grid on it, and click "snap colors to grid" it would be a quick way to "scan" in a picture. :) Not perfect, but a good trick. Most image software is good enough to scale a picture down, properly. So, if a user wants a 60x70 bead workspace, their image needs to scale down to 60x70 pixels. --->I disagree slightly. While it may be nice to have a "wizard" that would do this (which is a very good idea and already in the back of my mind), for the most part, if you wanted a 60x70 pattern and had a 120x60 picture, the pattern would look horrific scaled to the proportions of your pattern. If they can't do that in photoshop, psp, or one of the other picture tools, there is no way *you* are going to be able to do that on your own. But, once they get the image scaled down, importing it into a bead grid should be easy for loom stitch. --->The picture is easily scaled with the SHIFT+RMB while dragging. Another way should be available though. To convert to peyote or brick, you might have to come up with a "best fit" algorithm, and that will require some thought, and trial and error. --->Converting between the 3 types is easy. just select the type you want from the Pattern properties. If it doesnt look right after you changed stitch types, re-assimilate.
But, the key here, is to allow the best photo manipulation programs reduce the image into a "grid" of pixels that your program can then import, and simply shift the colors into the bead grid. --->As mentioned earlier, Assimilation has already been implemented since version 1.0


3) Also, you need to let the right-click unselect a bead, and set it back to background.
--->I dont know what you mean. Could you explain?
4) The "finger paint" feature I mentioned is already built in. I love that :)

Keep working. It has potential, if you don't get sidetracked by the little things. ;)

========

I just was playing with the interface some more, and shrunk the grid way down. THen I used the mouse to pull it over the picture.

If you had a way of taking a "snapshot" of that, it would give a great starting point for work! The jaggies are something that would have to be manually worked on, but that's what no one tells you :) --->Already done: Assimilation.

All those great wonderful patterns in the stores, that were made with the programs, were all majorly tweaked by hand to get the details looking right. The import/scan features were only a starting point, not an end point. If it was the end point, people would be scanning in everything from moon shots to celebrities, and they aren't. There's a reason -- it's *not* easy to tweak up.
--->Agreed
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's a screen cap of what I'm talking about. If that could be "auto-filled" then you have what people want. A good place to start.
--->As before, this is called appropriately "Assimilation".
Then, if you enforced colors, eg: you had the list of Miyuki, Delica, Toho, etc colors, as pallets, when someone clicked a color, the program did a "best fit" within that pallet, and gave people a choice to change that color to.
--->Pretty complicated but certainly do-able some time in the future.
Having an automated "best fit" for all those left over bead colors (like the "auto play" feature on solitaire). Once you've adjusted the important colors, you can have the program automatically pick the others.
--->VERY much agreed. This will be my next major effort.
Reduction of colors *should* be done in the photo manipulation program, since there is no way you'll ever write an algorithm as good as those.... This is supposed to be a bead pattern tool, *not* a photo manipulation program, so only build what can't be had elsewhere :)
--->Agreed also. Im still looking into dynamic image manipulation libraries.
Good luck! Thanks



(This post was edited by Aqua32 on Apr 1, 2005, 12:06 PM)


Aqua32
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Apr 1, 2005, 12:07 PM

Post #9 of 16 (45736 views)
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Re: [Aqua32] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

What the heck is wrong with this forum? Its not taking my /n 's :-)



Now my quoted reply is all messed up...


pugdog
Administrator

Apr 1, 2005, 1:04 PM

Post #10 of 16 (45731 views)
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Re: [Aqua32] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

What do you mean?

Leaving two lines will format.

If you need to do code formatting, use the "quote" or "code" features on the editor bar, or in the basic editor, use:


Quote

or

Code



Markup tags are pretty standard...... I think there is a help file with them on the view page.

You can also use the "list" formats to set up a numbered or bulleted list.
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217


pugdog
Administrator

Apr 1, 2005, 1:53 PM

Post #11 of 16 (45729 views)
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Re: [Aqua32] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
2) Your resizing of the main window is off by a bit. When I scaled the grid pattern up,
it overwrote the color checker, and the loaded picture. Actually, you don't allow
resizing of the main window, so the components overlap. *please* spend a bit of time
working on these interface aspects, making windows behave as most windows users expect.
--->I have no idea what youre talking about :-) What resolution are you in? If by overlap,
you mean the grid, palette & picture components overlap, this is by design.
You can move them wherever you want them to go. The "work area" is designed
to operate like a "desktop" with free movement of all components.


Ok, I figured out the components move, and that is *cool*. But, the main window can't
be resized. You need to set the flag in the main windows options to allow it to be
resized


Quote
3) Also, you need to let the right-click unselect a bead, and set it back to background.
--->I dont know what you mean. Could you explain?


Ok, if you set a color, there is no way to "unset" it. You need to pick a
new color. If you draw, and accidentally set a bead to a color, you want to
just "clear" that color, not the whole grid. So, something like alt-left-click
or a right-click should do that in color-set mode.



Quote
*now* if you can load the picture as you did, and overlay the grid on it, and
click "snap colors to grid" it would be a quick way to "scan" in a picture. :)
Not perfect, but a good trick. Most image software is good enough to scale a
picture down, properly. So, if a user wants a 60x70 bead workspace, their
image needs to scale down to 60x70 pixels.
--->I disagree slightly. While it may be nice to have a "wizard" that would do
this (which is a very good idea and already in the back of my mind), for the
most part, if you wanted a 60x70 pattern and had a 120x60 picture, the pattern
would look horrific scaled to the proportions of your pattern.


I think you mis understood this... this was a quick/dirty suggestion for how
to get an imported picture into brick/peyote format, without a lot of image
manipulation.

If your input picture is 2x the size of your output, you have 4 pixels per
input grid, for each 1 pixel on the output grid. Because with peyote, 1 row
is really 3 rows, pixels (1,1)(1,2)(2,1)(2,2) would be averaged for the first
bead in the first row (A). Pixels (2,3)(2,4)(3,3)(3.4) would be bead 2 on the
second row (B). Pixels (3,1)(3,2)(4,2)(4,2) would be the first bead on row3 (C).

Pixels (1,3)(1,4) would be ignored, and left blank.


Code
   |------|       |-------| 
| A |-------| |
-------| B |-------|
| C |-------| |
|------| |-------|
| |-------| |
|------| |-------|


The other comments didn't need more discussion.
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217


Aqua32
Novice

Apr 1, 2005, 5:25 PM

Post #12 of 16 (45727 views)
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Re: [pugdog] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, if you set a color, there is no way to "unset" it. You need to pick a
new color. If you draw, and accidentally set a bead to a color, you want to
just "clear" that color, not the whole grid. So, something like alt-left-click
or a right-click should do that in color-set mode.



-->Again, this is in the Help file. All you have to do is press the Shift button while "drawing" instead of drawing that color, it will erase it.



There are lots of things that are implemented that you dont know about because you havent read the help file. Not your fault! Any good GUI needs at LEAST 2 different ways to do things and I will definitely be working on this (actually 1.3.8 already has a "Eraser" button that sets it to the transparent color ;-)



Anways, Id like to thank you for your suggestions and I will be working on some things (My TODO list grows larger every day) because registered members also contact me with suggestions too :-)



Any word you can put out about my program would be appreciated (good word I hope).



Bottom-line-goal of this project: Create a cheap, easy to use pattern designing program that either lets you draw from scratch or create from a photo with little hassle and put it on paper so you can create the pattern in real life. Whew, talk about run-on sentences. I think Ive done it and my customers seem happy. The rest is all application refinement and improvement :-)



Christopher


pugdog
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Apr 1, 2005, 6:52 PM

Post #13 of 16 (45729 views)
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Re: [Aqua32] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

>> -->Again, this is in the Help file. All you have to do is press the Shift
>> button while "drawing" instead of drawing that color, it will erase it.

I'm pretty sure I tried that.... But, you should have two ways of doing it. The "windows standard" way, and a more "intuitive" way for your particular application. Windows programming is a pain, because people want things to work the same way from program to program.

Part of my first evaluation of a program is how easy it is to get going, without reading the manual, and if it works the way it looks like it should. I try to get a general impression, before going deeper.

I need to work with the program more. I didn't even think I'd get to look at it yet, but I wanted to see it.

Keep me updated if you release new versions.

Right now it looks like it's going in the right direction. Keep your eye on the bulk of the users, or potential users. Keep trying to figure out what a user will want, what will attract a new user, or make the program a real "Bead Tool" for the average beader.

And yes, registered users always come up with new ideas/features/suggestions/bug fixes, etc.
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217


thegemreaper
New User

Feb 26, 2006, 12:50 PM

Post #14 of 16 (41630 views)
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Re: [pugdog] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,
I have BeadCreator software and love it.Not only do I use it to create patterns for my own use but I also create patterns that I sell to others.My customers love the layout of my patterns,the Delica color key ( the program has palettes for all the most used brands of beads),as well as the fact that they have a word map to work from that tells them bead by bead,row by row,how the pattern is to be beaded.I have never had one complaint,only compliments.Also,I can do custom work by taking my customers' own pictures and making patterns for them. That adds to my sales.Smile
With the Palette Creator part of the program, I can create my own custom palettes in a snap.
As far as customer support is concerned,whenever I have a question about the program and call or email for support,it is not unusual that I get a response from Andrew himself.Now THAT is what I want in customer service. Who better to answer my questions than the man who designed the program?
I tried Bead Tool and maybe it was because of the limited ability of the trial version, but it just did not suit my needs as a professional designer.

Thanks,
Susan

(This post was edited by thegemreaper on Feb 26, 2006, 7:35 PM)


Pa. Nancy
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Jul 12, 2006, 1:35 PM

Post #15 of 16 (40018 views)
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Re: [thegemreaper] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

Does anyone have Auto Bead, bead designer? I have NO idea how to even get that one started. It's a BEAR, and it was very expensive. Mad Any tips? Thanks!!!!!!!!


Hison
New User

Feb 5, 2021, 3:55 AM

Post #16 of 16 (758 views)
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Re: [Pa. Nancy] An alternative to BeadCreator? [In reply to] Can't Post

Now, if you simply don't impress him with your presentation, you could lose a customer too. This is a very common issue, so it is best to speak about it directly with support professionals. For example, I did it to get help with my https://slidepeak.com/ , when I had a business meeting. It turned out gladly so. I hope that this works for you all, too. Good luck, I hope I supported you and you will know exactly what technical support you want. This is also a trustworthy scenario.

 
 


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