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Bug/UI Issue: 'Loop around layer button' & In-Out Point interact in ways that confuse the hell outta me #78
I actually hadn't noticed the Loop Around Layer Button (gonna call it the LALB), but think it may have been one of the sources of my timeline confusion.
Personal note: I understand that some of this behaviour is probably deliberate, and possibly designed to help beginners, but I'm personally of the opinion that this makes the system overcomplex and opaque and really hard to fully understand if you're trying to become "more than a beginner". My personal (boring, I know!) preference would be to stick to the existing paradigm for timeline management that is commonly used in non-VR animation software.
AfterEffects, Maya, Houdini, Harmony and TVPaint all use the same system, and it's pretty close but not identical to the one you're using. They have a scene length, whatever that is, sometimes with no defined upper limit (ie in Premiere and Harmony), and then a 'work area' or 'playback range', which is a subsection of that playback range between an in and an out point, and then they have a loop option - usually something like Play Once/Loop/Pingpong, although I don't think I've ever used pingpong for anything :-) So essentially you've got 4 numbers (scene in, playback in, playback out, scene out) and 1 mode switch.
What they don't do is change your in/out range and loop settings invisibly and automatically, and of course they all have the non-VR advantage of having the timeline view visible by default, so you have a much clearer idea of what's going on. I think it's the combination of the unpredictable automatic changing and the invisibility of the change that gets confusing, and then it's compounded by having a button that looks like a toggle but is actually a shortcut to an action.
I'm not saying it's not a useful action though - we do it in aftereffects so often we call it an IBON, for the shortcut keys you press: (I) set playback head position to current layer's inpoint (B) set playback range start to playback head position (O) set playback head position to current layer's outpoint (N) set playback range end to playback head's current position, so it's definitely useful, it's just confusing that the software is trying to do it for us without us knowing :-)