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RE: Testflight access to beta version - Buschel - 2024-03-09

Thanks, @amasephy. Looking forward for the png. I can scale this as needed on my end.

I am sure the NowPlaying / UI changes are already quite far and will not take too long until being mainlined. Further optimizations can be done after the initial and well usable version is provided.

Let me also share some other rework I have prepared in the last months. Users mentioned several times in reviews that Files, Addons and Settings are hidden too far inside the submenus structures. So I looked into moving this functionality to main menu. At the same time I am removing these items from the submenu structures (e.g. Files has been removed from Music, Movies, Videos and TVShows) to avoid multiple entry points. For Addons I am not sure, if the current supported addons (Program-, Music-, Video-Addons) are sufficient, or if there are more addons available which should be added.
As a consequence of this change I plan to also change the "custom button view" layout. Ideally, on iPad this should be a modal presentation (like the remote itself), and also the icon to reach the custom button view from the remote needs to reflect the custom button function and not use the settings icon.

First impression: https://ibb.co/Ws6RtgS

RE: Testflight access to beta version - UlfSchmidt - 2024-03-09

Yeah (once again), adding additional items to the main menu is something I also asked for months ago, as I was even for Kodi Settings not aware at all that I can reach these from the app. I really like and appreciate your new approach and your first impression screenshot looks very promising. 👍

RE: Testflight access to beta version - UlfSchmidt - 2024-03-09

Is there any hope to get the watched indicators also for videos that are NOT listed under movies or tv shows? On Kodi server, this works, but the app currently lacks these. Or is this the result of another API limitation?

RE: Testflight access to beta version - Buschel - 2024-03-09

Yes, can be done. This is just a missing configuration with few lines of code.

https://ibb.co/6n8sbKv -> Video > Files > played/unplayed video which are not in DB
https://ibb.co/m6W4c2r -> Video > Files > played video which is in DB
https://ibb.co/4JKFBT6 -> Music > Files > played/unplayed video which are in DB or not
https://ibb.co/X518hzr -> Music > Files > folder which hold an album which was played and is in DB
https://ibb.co/vs8yq07 -> Music > Files > song which were all played and are in DB

This is perfectly in line with some other work I had started months back to introduce a file icon during file browsing. The current way of showing the video/musc/picture icons in the File-view is a not correct.

But there are complications. Kodi does not provide correct "thumbnail" image links for movies. This was changes years back and I need to use "art" in such. This is generally working fine, but I am quite sure I need to limit this to certain Kodi API versions. It is always a hassle to support many iOS, devices and Kodi servers. Let's see.

https://ibb.co/N292HVC > requesting "thumbnail" from Kodi 19.5 
https://ibb.co/6g94C8r > requesting "art" from Kodi 19.5

RE: Testflight access to beta version - Buschel - 2024-03-10

With the latest NowPlaying rework it is also possible to very easily add some nice blurred cover background to the NowPlaying view. I am thinking of making this an option/setting.

Video: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/57cbh4fh9o10pfq87ms9o/Simulator-Screen-Recording-iPhone-14-Pro-2024-03-10-at-00.36.51.mp4?rlkey=3kovcezix2dj0je4ko6slin4o&dl=0

RE: Testflight access to beta version - amasephy - 2024-03-12

I think it goes without saying I love the new blurred cover background!!  This is obviously exactly what I was doing in my mockups.  I do think it will require fine tuning though.  For example - take a look at your Armageddon portion of your video.  The progress bar blends in with the background - not good.  This is something I discretely tuned in my mockups.  I actually changed the color of the progress bar unplayed portion.  I think you may have to look at some sort of fix for this.  Also, I see you extended the blurred background to the top and bottom.  The reason I built in a gradient that went dark at the top and bottom was to ensure readability in areas where there is text to be read or buttons to interact with.  Since there is a change for fairly white background covers being used this could likely cause problems.  With the gradient you avoid that.

I'm also wondering if you can do something about the tops and bottoms of the flipping animation.  Previously you had opaque header and footer which masked this but now it is visible.  In my humble opinion it doesn't look as good now.  Honestly, if its possible, could you somehow make it so the background itself didn't flip around, and just flip the other UI elements?  I'm guessing this won't be easy to do, but I think it would look best.  You are already using the same exact background between Now Playing and the Playlist.  If you can't, can you try just using 100% black for the background during the flip animation? 

One other nitpick - is it possible to gradually shift the blurred background as you transition to another video/song?  Something like a crossfade?  I'm thinking about how Apple does it in Apple Music, check it out if you can.  Very slick.  They're also doing something fancy where they avoid the UI color collision with UI controls.  I couldn't quite put my finger on what their trick is.

Here's a couple variations for the gradients.  Its really hard to see if they're way too dark though without chopping up different sections of the app to slice in the gradient as background.  Much easier if you insert it and post some screenshots.  From there I will make adjustments and post new gradients.  I played with two styles, reflected and radial.  Honestly, I love the look of the radial one, but its hard to tell if it will work inside the app.  Lets see.

Gradient may have to be more aggressive too.  Any feedback obviously welcome, I will fine tune it as much as needed.  I'm pretty sure the banding is at least gone with these.

View original image to get the PNG.




RE: Testflight access to beta version - Buschel - 2024-03-12

@amasephy, thanks for all your input. Yes, you're right. With white covers the background is too bright in general and the light gray elements blend with the background. In the video below you can see this with Genesis' album "Duke". I also changed the animation to just blend and not flip. There are different options and the duration now is taking too long, but this can be tweaked later. This way I would not need to do add the gradients to the navigation bar and the toolbar, but could just add a semi-transparent gradient image over the blurred cover.

Video: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/836fmb3jgtv5bchq18vt7/Simulator-Screen-Recording-iPhone-14-Pro-2024-03-12-at-06.53.15.mp4?rlkey=cx7lemc42fjazxnxie0bl9hgw&dl=0

Screenshots. https://ibb.co/vVqSVsf (dark gradient overlay, from left to right with lesser transparency)

I am using the dark overlay which I had created in the meanwhile. This has a stronger gradient than yours, but still this is not recognizable when overlaying it to the cover. For the NowPlaying blurred screen I maybe need to create a picture with strong gradient (or even use the gradient function of iOS to only have the blending at the bottom and the top. Maybe I even need to think of navigation and toolbar only gradients. This could even be used to introduce transparent elements to the other parts of UI. But one after the other Smile

Edit: The overlay above the cover should use dark less transparent color on top and bottom and more transparency (not a different color) in the middle.

Another thing I was working on in the past few days is rework of the power functionality. A user asked to the add power to NowPlaying and Remote screen. This required some work and I decided to move to actions sheets which is in line with iPad and allows to reuse the code.

Impression: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/xz0voblyojgu8t284nrj7/Simulator-Screen-Recording-iPhone-14-Pro-2024-03-12-at-07.27.55.mp4?rlkey=4fk772asimw1s5mkqqr7i79tz&dl=0

RE: Testflight access to beta version - amasephy - 2024-03-12

Blend is definitely an improvement over flip. I agree with you though, the blend animation is too slow. It needs to have that snappy feel. Can you also try an animation similar to the remote style toggle - which has a fast swiping animation that toggles between buttons and gesture? The playlist could slide in from the right, and now playing slide in from the left. Even if the animation was the same duration it could give the illusion of being faster.

Your gradient does improve readability but also seems to compromise the appearance of the blurred background. I don’t know what is involved but is it possible to do what Apple does with various UI elements like the battery indicator. Based on the color being used the UI color dynamically changes between light and dark. I see this used all over iOS. In this way you could avoid the white UI elements from blending in with white blurred backgrounds.

Navigation and toolbar gradients is a great idea. It’s pretty much what I did in my mockups. Very aggressive gradient at the edges.

I admit the gradient I provided for you was based purely on my desire for the appearance of every other part of the app where blurred background isn’t used. For example the remote control screen which is where I spend 90% of my time. The now playing screen could use the same app wide gradient when no art is found. If art is used for blurred background then it probably needs to use a special gradient for this use case.

Power functionality addition is a terrific idea. It was buried way too deep in server window before. Might it also be time to review the placement of the library cleaning options? Do they really belong in the power functionality action sheet?
These might be more logically placed in the settings pane as default actions.

Very excited with these latest updates. Thank you as always for all your hard work.

RE: Testflight access to beta version - Buschel - 2024-03-12

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, the database actions could be placed in the settings. I would do this along with the change to move settings to main menu. I am not sure where to place them best… There’s not much space …

I would not attempt to recolor icons for readability. I am doing this for text. e.g. in the album/show section header, but for what you ask for I would need to not look at the overall brightness of a cover, but at the color in the area where an icon would be shown. Too much work. I rather force the background dark enough to have it work with light colored icons.

RE: Testflight access to beta version - Buschel - 2024-03-12

I just added an overlay with a gradient which is dark at bottom/top and transparent in the middle. This looks a lot better for the NowPlaying screen.

Video: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/4xwellbf6zjpq956cq5q3/Simulator-Screen-Recording-iPhone-14-Pro-2024-03-12-at-20.15.46.mp4?rlkey=99c1gd9n0arq5oozxstrvif6r&dl=0

RE: Testflight access to beta version - amasephy - 2024-03-13

Definitely looks a lot better. I’m going to be honest again. I seriously cannot tell that the top and bottom are darker. It looks uniform to me.

I’m also not convinced about using the blurred background for the playlist view, at least with its current implementation. I assume you will be working on that section more?

Also, the faster fading transition between now playing and playlist looks basically perfect to me now. 👍🏻

RE: Testflight access to beta version - Buschel - 2024-03-13

I just did some screenshots. Each pair has pure cover (left) and gradient overlay (right). On the bottom and top you can see that the cover is darkened more than in the middle, but the overlay has a soft grading. But this also helps with the labels and the progress bar, and somehow I like it is not obvious using grading but just looks quite ok.

Screenshots: https://ibb.co/2MGPnYp

Yes, the playlist background can of course be kept without the blurred cover -- will not be a complicated change. Maybe I am doing this even before raising the PR to get the changes into mainline. Anything still speaking against bringing in the changes soon? I am personally quite happy with it for a Beta Software. Smile

RE: Testflight access to beta version - amasephy - 2024-03-13

Now I see it. Thanks for the comparison. Yes, the gradient darkening and top and bottom makes a huge difference.

I’m not necessarily against blurred background in the playlist view. Based on your sample video here’s what I don’t care for in the playlist view with blurred background:

The top and bottom have the blurred background visible. But UI elements adjacent to these spaces have opaque elements: at the top you have playlist entries with opaque backgrounds. At the bottom you have the playlist views, music, videos, pictures with opaque background. This just looks really jarring.

May I make a suggestion? Can you darken the blurred background even more in playlist view? With the tops and bottom becoming nearly black? Then maybe add some transparency to the background of each row item? Maybe add some transparency to the background of that music, movies, photos row as well?

I think if you do that it may look a lot better. My reasoning for darkening the background more in playlist view is that the emphasis should be on the different rows and all the additional text that is visible in this view. I think keeping the blurred background but darkening more in playlist view is less jarring than removing blurred background when flipping between the two views. Hard to confirm this until we see it in action. Up to you though. Just my thoughts. 🙂

RE: Testflight access to beta version - Buschel - 2024-03-13

1.15 build 4264.42 - obsolete

Another UI test build for NowPlaying, but it does not have all changes which the next one has.

1.15 build 4264.43

Lates UI test build for NowPlaying.
- Blurred cover feature (only NowPlaying screen on iPhone)
- Gradient overlay for blurred cover to maintain readability
- Animating between new blurred covers
- Use dissolve instead of flip animation when changing from playlist to NowPlaying
- Font scaling keeps overall label dimension/relation on different screens sizes

Should be now pretty near to get mainlined.

Edit: Does someone still have iOS 12, 13 and 14 devices? I am interested in the current behaviour of the navigation bar (transparent or not).

RE: Testflight access to beta version - Buschel - 2024-03-13

(2024-03-13, 12:45)amasephy Wrote: [...] This just looks really jarring.

[...] I think keeping the blurred background but darkening more in playlist view is less jarring than removing blurred background when flipping between the two views. Hard to confirm this until we see it.
I was initially not even taking care how playlist would look like. because I just added the effect to the internal logic where it was easy to do. Now I disabled blurred covers for the playlist view as to me this feature would cause more trouble to do it right. The cells have a full color background. Making them transparent will cause even more work as the label colors are using automatic Day/Night color modes. I do not want to mess around with this and introduce different styles for different views. Also, to make it right the top and bottom should not use transparency in this case, just darkening more still is just a wacky way to make the problem less obvious. So we need to live with the user experience when toggling between both views.

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