[UPDATE 05-May-09] UI proposals

The interface, modeling, 3d editing tools, import/export, feature requests, etc

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Eclectiel
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:28 pm

[UPDATE 05-May-09] UI proposals

Postby Eclectiel » Mon Dec 15, 2008 1:15 pm

___________________________
ORIGINAL POST:

A new UI proposal for Blender general use and window management.

At Vimeo:
http://www.vimeo.com/2531167

A description of some benefits is in the video page, and there is an image explaining some of the concepts.


Previous proposals:
http://www.vimeo.com/1258177
http://www.vimeo.com/1263746


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UPDATE ( 30-Dec-08 ):

UV/Image Editor workflow: Image
Multiple consecutive Splits: Image
Small layout panels: Image


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UPDATE ( 01-Mar-09 ):

Enhanced Redo Menu: Image
Two Keys Sculpting: Image
Multiple Toolbars in a Row: Image
RNA Profiles (everything presettable): Image

One word about RNA profiles: the modifications to the RNA don't need to be directly on the RNA window, they are done from everywhere in the whole Blender UI, and get recorded in the RNA Profiles.

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UPDATE ( 06-Mar-09 ):

Joining Areas: Image

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UPDATE ( 11-Mar-09 ):

Groups Manager (layers management included): Image

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UPDATE ( 14-Mar-09 ):

Simplified Side Toolbars: Image

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UPDATE ( 16-Mar-09 ):

Groups highlighting and assignment: Image

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UPDATE ( 01-Apr-09 ):

Number-widget without arrows: Image

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UPDATE ( 06-Apr-09 ):

Alpha Background on maximized areas: Image

Simplified Screen toggle: Image

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UPDATE ( 06-May-09 ):

Two Phases workflow for Tools: Image

UI Rigging: Video
Image
Rig Example
Last edited by Eclectiel on Wed May 06, 2009 10:16 pm, edited 19 times in total.

jesterKing
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Postby jesterKing » Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:38 pm

Interesting proposals. There are some nice ideas, but one thing that I can see not getting accepted is the floating area you have at some point.

A lot of mouse travel though, I think that it'd be good if you can show in your proposal how these could be used as before.

/Nathan

Eclectiel
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:28 pm

Postby Eclectiel » Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:31 pm

Thanks JesterKing for participating.

one thing that I can see not getting accepted is the floating area you have at some point.


I believe you refer to the area that holds the panels in the "Materials Window proposal". I agree that it is an unorthodox idea, and I'm not very convinced about it either.
The idea is to resize the toolbar, it can be good to have that flexibility for icon tools, although I'm not sure if it's a good solution for the properties panels.
What I've been thinking after William Reynish's proposal is something combined between the vertical disposition and these properties panels:
http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/1931 ... umnem6.png


The dragging to 3D view ability would be optional for the user.

A lot of mouse travel though

I didn't notice that when doing the proposal but now that you mention I can see what you mean. Although I think it should be considered if for certain tasks, that would be a problem or not.

For instance, some tasks are not done very often (and not as intensively as in the videos), like windows arrangement. If you have all the window types in just one place, you gain in simplicity, the icons are always in the same place so memory muscle doesn't suffer at all, the window type selection is done in one step, you have them always visible without having to open a hiden drop down menu which can go up or down depending on if there is space on the screen for the appropriate direction (up or down) which can also change the icons order.
Windows arrangement is not done too often, so having to travel a little more with the mouse when setting window types may be a small price for the benefits the user gains.

But maybe there are other situations where it would really not worth the mouse travel and I can't see them right now.

... if you can show in your proposal how these could be used as before.

I'm not understanding this one...
Last edited by Eclectiel on Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jesterKing
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Postby jesterKing » Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:05 pm

Eclectiel wrote:But maybe there are other situations where it would really not worth the mouse travel and I can't see them right now.

... if you can show in your proposal how these could be used as before.

I'm not understanding this one...


What I mean is that to alleviate the mouse travel that is visible in your proposal, add some ways of doing things with short cuts. For instance, in current Blender 2.5 development we have an experimental Redo action (for now behind the F4 button), with which you can redo the latest action (only split for now AFAIK, but that's there to test). Check http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2pWp4fr ... annel_page to see what I mean.

/Nathan

Eclectiel
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Postby Eclectiel » Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:47 pm

I understand what you mean now. Watched the video and that scrollbars concept is very interesting, also the Redo concept will be very handy for many situations. For modelling I think it would be good if it had a history of the last 5-8 actions to choose from.

I believe most people would agree that in a lot of situations hotkeys are the most efficient way to do things. You put the mouse exactly where you want to perform an action, simply hit the appropriate key, and that action will be done where you are pointing the mouse on.

With visual tools it's always less straightforward. Hitting TAB to enter Edit mode, is always more straightforward than going to the drop down menu, clicking on it, finding the option for Edit mode, and clicking again to select it.

The intention of these proposals is not to replace hotkeys. The idea is to use both methods. The last proposal is completely compatible with the Redo (F4) feature being developed.

One of the intentions of these proposals is to attend the complains of newcomers about the steep learning curve that hotkeys represent to them, giving the alternative to have more functionality in a graphical way instead of only in a hotkey way or in-menu way, and trying to show that functionality from the begining, so they don't need to read the manual to know it is there, they just see there is something there, they put the mouse over it and see a tooltip that tells them what it is.
And attempted to do that consuming as less space as possible.


An example of combining hotkeys with ideas of these proposals could be the context sensitive predefined toolbars showed in the "Three Levels UI proposal" (in the proposal they say "modeling", "animation"... but it's an arbitrary categorization just to show the concept)
For instance each of those predefined toolbars could have assigned a hotkey. That way the toolbars would work as the WKEY menu, they appear when the hotkey is pressed and with the last used option behind the mouse cursor. Someone made this suggestion before, and I think it's a good idea.


I've been watching again the video to see the mouse travel issue. It's noticeable when splitting windows. You have to go to the end of the screen and come back to where you want to split, and back again to do another split.
I see it, although, as a personal opinion, when I go to the end of the screen I don't need to think or to be precise, I just move the mouse till it collides with the end of the screen, click and go back where the mouse was before. It can be a fast move. Like when closing a maximized window in the desktop, I just move the mouse to the right-top of the screen and click, I don't aim the red icon with the cross, and I think I don't even look at it.

However, I can understand if others don't see it the way I do, and feel the travelling an inconvenience.


Thanks again for the feedback.

Igm
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Postby Igm » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:03 pm

This is one of the best proposals i've seen so far... The whole idea makes the layout so much more flexible that the current belender. Moving the headers, being able to "rip out" a window or launch it seperately like that is indispensable. I like the idea of being able to customize which buttons go in which panels. I do this in 3dsmax and it's very useful for streamlining the application for a specific task. Also, the "tabs" are not a bad idea because of the way most people are used to that concept when using tabbed web-browsers.

I don't like the "circle" menu that replaces the space menu though, it's a bit too "MacOS X". The idea of customizing the menu hierarchically is great, but i prefer selecting the operations from a list.

Eclectiel
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:28 pm

Postby Eclectiel » Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:32 pm

@Igm
Thanks for the feedback, always insteresting to know likes and dislikes.

Eclectiel
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:28 pm

Postby Eclectiel » Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:58 pm

Added a proposal for UV/Image Editor workflow, mainly to manage images, and after Jesterking's feedback about mouse travelling I came up with two ideas to lessen the travelling in some situations.

UV/Image Editor workflow:
http://img296.imageshack.us/img296/6396 ... lowgd5.png


To lessen mouse travelling:

Multiple consecutive Splits:
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/6580 ... resgz0.png

Small layout panels:
http://img253.imageshack.us/img253/2739 ... outnz9.png


Thanks for the feedback!

Eclectiel
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:28 pm

Postby Eclectiel » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:32 am

UPDATE:

Enhanced Redo Menu: Image

Two Keys Sculpting: Image

Multiple Toolbars in a Row: Image

RNA Profiles (everything presettable): Image

One word about RNA profiles: the modifications to the RNA don't need to be directly on the RNA window, they are done from everywhere in the whole Blender UI, and get recorded in the RNA Profiles.

Eclectiel
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:28 pm

Postby Eclectiel » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:41 am

Small Update:

Closing Areas: Image

jesterKing
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Postby jesterKing » Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:21 pm

Just as a very quick notification, we handled some of your proposals during the Wintercamp. I think that there'll be a lengthier response later on too, but I can say that we were generally impressed by the level of detail that went into your proposals.

/Nathan

ton
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Postby ton » Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:44 pm

Hi Eclectiel.

Yep, we all (in wintercamp workshop) were very impressed with the quality of the proposals! It's amazing how well you've presented it. :)

I liked it how you managed to present a very visual workflow, with the actions specified with drag/drop methods, rather than (local) menus. It solves well the contextual issues with a subdivision based UI.
This is definitely something 2.5 should make possible. Whether to use it by default as extensively as you propose is a discussion point though, but the ui system will definitely allow it to configure it as such.

Also the non-menu presentation of materials, images, animation curves, etc. are very cool to try in 2.5.

The methods you propose for making screen/area/region layouts are impressive, but won't be a priority to try or test... mostly because it's quite a lot of work to code it exactly as you propose, with not much effective workflow benefits (creating screen layouts you do only a very limited amount of time compared to using Blender to make a 3d animation).
But of course, we will definitely make sure UI configuring will be much quicker than it is now.

In the next few days we'll publish all ideas for 2.5 UI work in wiki. We're very happy with the progress we made sofar, and look forward to your remarks!

-Ton-

Eclectiel
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:28 pm

Postby Eclectiel » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:23 pm

(oops.. I was just posting this message and saw Ton's answer... I'll read it now... here is the reply to jesterKing)
Thanks jesterKing for the notification. Sorry for the delay on my reply, I wanted to listen first the audio files on that link.

I'm glad that these ideas are being evaluated. As William mentioned (I think it was him in the audio), and I appreciate the thought, it wasn't easy. Not technically difficult but took quite a lot of work and time.

I heard the audio files. Is good that Ton really liked the 3D view background color.


In some parts voice overlaps and is difficult to understand, also I'm not the best understanding spoken enligsh so I surely missed some comments.


Some thoughts on a couple of things I heard in the audio recordings:

The render button is intended to work the same way that it works now, simply rendering the active camera. What I intended to show in the proposal is the additional ability to use it in a Drag&Drop fashion to make it faster to render different views of a scene. I was also thinking, if the user Drags the render button and drops it on a camera in 3D-View or Outilner, then that cam would be rendered.

I agree that the material editor I propose must appear already functional instead of having to define what kind of view goes in each of its regions. I thought of this while I was doing the proposal, but wanted to express clearly the idea that that view was not rigidly defined, instead flexible and user defined, in layout and distribution of the view types.
Maybe is just about defining a default set of region types like the one showed in the "materials windows" proposal.

In case you haven't download the .Blend file for the materials window proposal, remember it has much more resolution, it looks the same as in Vimeo but can be seen in 1600x1200 directly on Blender's 3D view.
Here is a link:
http://www.4shared.com/file/84002265/f9 ... ets_2.html
I wonder if in the Vimeo version some subtle things can be communicated... for instance using toolbars to place temporarily textures, constraints and modifiers. some kind of copy cache, or instancing to assign or drag it to other windows.


Both video proposals were made in Blender. For the last one I didn't post the Blend since it had a couple of things that made it look different in the 3D view than in final render.

In some part I heard someone saying he was not understanding how I did something. If that is the case in any part of the proposals, feel free to ask, since I didn't add an explanation on every small detail, and some things may not be clear if they need a Key modifier or they just use a simple click and drag action.

So feel free to ask or make any comment that can show the pitfalls or areas/method that could be improved.

Cheers!.

Eclectiel
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:28 pm

Postby Eclectiel » Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:39 pm

Thanks Ton for your words, I'm glad these ideas are being taken into account, or inspiring better ones, that's the whole purpose. It was difficult but fun at the same time. I love Blender and thought I could contribute with something. I know is a controversial subject, so I'm aware that not everybody will like the things I'm proposing. This is not like bringing volumetrics, or sculpting mode... we all like those and appreciate them.


Whether to use it by default as extensively as you propose is a discussion point though, but the ui system will definitely allow it to configure it as such.

That's perfectly fine. I don't expect all of my ideas to be included. Some of them I don't even fully like them myself. But I post them anyway because I think they can be a starting point for an improved version, or inspire ideas from a different point of view. (sorry for the panels inside the toolbox)


The methods you propose for making screen/area/region layouts are impressive, but won't be a priority to try or test... mostly because

If this relates to Area Spliting, and is difficult to code the general "area cut line" tools at the left and bottom, I was thinking a splitting approach similar to this idea for joining areas:
http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/1488/closearea.png
The splitting tool would be a green short line (like the red one) below the white line, on the sides of the areas.

This way users don't have to interpret the position and dragging direction of the splitting tool, it works in both directions (same as the "join area" red line). Is pretty straightforward, the user will find it on any side of the area they decide to go to, and doesn't consume space.

In the next few days we'll publish all ideas for 2.5 UI work in wiki. We're very happy with the progress we made sofar, and look forward to your remarks!

Will be glad to share my thoughts, and if time allows me (and ideas come), make some pictures.


After all, as you mentioned in the reunion, my ideas "aren't entirely stupid".


Cheers, and good luck to the team with the upcoming proposals.


EDIT: the green line "below" the white line not "behind".

Eclectiel
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:28 pm

Postby Eclectiel » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:42 am

Feels good to see some things coming alive:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5IjbClO8Sk

Thanks jesterKing!


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