The Blender Interface

General discussion about the development of the open source Blender

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Xenocythe
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The Blender Interface

Post by Xenocythe »

I don't know if you've heard this a million times before, or if you haven't heard it much at all.

Blender is an amazing tool. It has the capabilities of professional applications that cost up to $2000. I really would love to learn to use this tool prefectly.

The only thing that stands in my way is the interface. If you tried, perhaps, redisigning the interface, this truly would be the best free 3D modelling application out on the web. I love it, but I can't get my heaad around it.

So it may be a big task, but is it possible you could completely re do the interface? Or are you already undergoing such a process?

Thanks
-Xeno

BlackBoe
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Post by BlackBoe »

They're not redesigning the interface, I believe this has been stated many times. Seriously, though, it starts out really hard, but once you get the hang of it, it runs like complete greased lightning. The underlying concept is not planned to change so far as I know.

Still though, you might be happy to know that they're just going to hack out a quick 2.44, then they're gonna work on 2.5, which is going to have a UI refactor. This means more window customization, customizable hotkeys, an improved event system, etc. A lot of 'under the hood' stuff that will make customizing the GUI a lot easier. I think they're planning to reshuffle the interface, too, to clean it up a bit.

stiv
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Post by stiv »

So it may be a big task, but is it possible you could completely re do the interface?
This may be shocking, but we kind of like the interface the way it is. You see, we have the source code. If we wanted it different, we would have changed it already. Could it be better? Sure. Will it evolve over time? Without a doubt!

Though it seems unfamiliar, Blender's interface is based on principles from Jef Raskin's "The Humane Interface". There are other applications with a different user interface paradigm. I'm sure you can find one you like.

And, yes, it would be a big task.

SiriusCG
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Post by SiriusCG »

but I am just saying please do something with the UI.
Adapt or die, dude. The UI isn't going to change anytime soon... thankfully.

stiv
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Post by stiv »

To save your user preferences use CTRL-U or File-Save Default Settings if you prefer the menu.

Good references for new users are here:
http://www.blender.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11012

SiriusCG
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Post by SiriusCG »

When you've gotten the UI "just the way you like it" HIT CTRL-U and then answer OK to the dialog box. Restart Blender and you're there...

[EDIT] yeah.. what stiv said... (he answered first...)

JiriH
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Post by JiriH »

I think that relevant answer is to try more 3d apps for some time and then judge.

When I opened Blender for the first time it was very very hard to be to understand UI. After several month of practice I may compare it with Maya and Cinema. People belive me work flow in Blender is bloody fast. I would guess the fastest one as well as most customizable.

So do not judge for first sight. Than you are like my parents when I have reinstalled their home computer and changed MS Office to OpenOffice. They were crying that the program is really strange and worst. After half a day of UI explaining and some week they cannot see the diference :-)

I would also guess that mainly MS Windows user are the ones who have most problems with Blender UI. If it not a window style they are lost.

ton
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Post by ton »

Moderator note: the person using nick 'fedexbox' has abused this forum, posting porn and insults to people.
I've removed all of his posts, but that also included three reactions to his post from stiv and joeri. Didn't make much sense to leave it in.

-Ton-

jeelocked
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Location: Calif

Post by jeelocked »

Hello all… New to Blender.org Forum Index -> News & Chat

I read with interest the comments on Blenders Interface.

I also read jef.raskincenter.org/humane_interface/... a brief summary of his major work. I'm sorry but I found in his introduction almost every criticism I would want about Blenders interface. That having been said, I can also say that to make Blenders interface thoroughly intuitive would be a truly daunting task. Why? Multi-level complexity. From extensive experience in AutoCAD I can tell you that working in 3D is not 2wice as hard as 2D, it’s many times harder. More tedious would be a better word.

If there’s just one thing about Blender that makes it worth the effort to learn (true of most 3D programs) it is the release from tedium. In Blender THINGS HAPPEN.

Based upon my meager experience I recommend, STRONGLY RECOMMEND, going through the tutorials. Start at the beginning. Anything else will be maddeningly frustrating. BLENDER IS NOT INTUITIVE, but it is powerful, and will be very fast when you have the skill.

Now that I’ve introduced the subject of tutorials, the are many grievances I have with them. Where do I take the grievances?
Stuff like;
What release(s) does the tutorial apply to?
Ongoing editing to update to current release(s)?
Adherence to terminology (across releases.
System nomenclature;
Use of undefined terminology,
Context does not supply meaning.
Search capability for definitions

Guidelines/standards for submission/editing of technical information.
I started editing one of the tutorials (WikiBooks) and realized that it was part of a large volume of tutorials. Where to start, where to start?

Pete
Jeelocked
COGITO ERGO ZOOM

Gwentiv
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Post by Gwentiv »

Well...
I m rather new to Blender (1 month) but i think the UI ist just great !
I ve tried 3ds (the demo) and i wasnt able to crate a cube in less then 1 hour,
after 1 hour on Blender i had a (crude) wine glass...
Ok it IS a bit unusual for Windows user but one gets the feeling that everything has a good rason for being as it is...

Just brilliant. I hope it wont change.

podperson
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Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:06 pm

Post by podperson »

I posted this elsewhere but I agree with the original poster that the Blender UI could greatly benefit from some fairly simple changes, but I think it could be done without hurting experienced users. Blender could be easier to use for newbies, easier to learn, and quicker for experts too.

Simple examples:

1) Why align newly created objects to the view? This is hardly ever what anyone wants. At least one tutorial starts out by teaching you the shortcut for clearing an object's rotation.

My guess is this change won't hurt anyone, and will help a lot of people.

2) Why make relocating the cursor (or whatever it is) the single easiest thing to do in the program? I'd be happy if it were locked at the origin and invisible (i.e. didn't exist), but even if I'm in the minority, surely selecting stuff is a more common task. Yes, I know left-click to select is a GUI option, but it's implemented in a half-assed way, which makes the program as a whole less usable.

I'd suggest that locking and hiding the cursor be provided as preference items; it wouldn't hurt anyone then. If you want to be controversial, lock and hide the cursor by default.

This frees up the left button to select stuff and the right button to bring up the spacebar menu -- again, behaving like most applications. For bonus points, the spacebar menu can open contextually (e.g. the vertex submenu is open by default if you're editing vertices).

3) Why so many non-standard keyboard shortcuts? How does forcing people to learn non-standard keyboard shortcuts for cut, copy, paste, etc. make using the program faster for experts OR newbies?

Arguably, this will harm folks who know the current shortcuts... but quite likely they'll benefit in the short run since they probably use Photoshop and FireFox and other programs with standard shortcuts.

4) The "combo" widget (I first saw it in Silo 3D) is gaining popularity (it lets you translate, scale, and rotate the selection modelessly). You can get similar functionality in Blender by shift-clicking all the manipulator options, but there's no keyboard equivalent. I'd like to see it supported better and more explicitly in the UI.

Again, if it's an option it hurts no-one. If it's the default some will complain.

5) Would using standard OS file requesters and alerts be such a bad thing? The Blender confirmations are "slippery" -- you can miss them entirely, especially if you use the mouse (rather than hotkeys) a lot.

I'm sure there are people who love the current requesters...

6) Turning off confirmation for undoable actions would be a quick win and a productivity gain. Even greased lightning can go faster...

I doubt anyone will complain about this.

7) Not quite so easy: improve the behavior of "groups" so that (i) when you click on a member the whole group is selected by default; (ii) when you duplicate a group you get two groups.

8) Also not quite so easy: improve the behavior of object "pivots" so that you can move them around without moving child objects and can translate them like any other object in edit mode (say).

This is all the "low hanging fruit" in the UI that I can think of off the top of my head; I think it could all be implemented pretty easily.

joeri
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Post by joeri »

podperson wrote: 1) Why align newly created objects to the view?
Think about it as clay or painting or drawing, not technical drawing or constructing with a ruler.
podperson wrote:This is hardly ever what anyone wants.
Hmm, mindreader?
podperson wrote:My guess is this change won't hurt anyone, and will help a lot of people.
Guessed on what? Experience from other 3d apps? You must be using 3d contruction software, not freespace creation tools.
podperson wrote:2) Why make relocating the cursor (or whatever it is) the single easiest thing to do in the program?
You must be a mac person, in the unix world all mousebuttons are created equal.
podperson wrote:I'd be happy if it were locked at the origin and invisible (i.e. didn't exist),
Just a matter of workflow. You must be a create first place second person. But note that you and most software does not work like that. You don't paint a brushstroke and then place it on it's place. Does not really make sense, even if all other software would do it (i know Word does not do it like that) it would still make no sense.
podperson wrote:but even if I'm in the minority, surely selecting stuff is a more common task. Yes, I know left-click to select is a GUI option, but it's implemented in a half-assed way, which makes the program as a whole less usable.
Grow up; your mouse has 3 buttons, spreading functions over more fingers is more relaxing for your hand.
podperson wrote:I'd suggest that locking and hiding the cursor be provided as preference items; it wouldn't hurt anyone then. If you want to be controversial, lock and hide the cursor by default.
You are missing the point. Create on the spot where you need stuff.


[.. more wrong workflow comments removed...]
podperson wrote:3) Why so many non-standard keyboard shortcuts?
History, blender is 11 years old. That's pre-mac.
podperson wrote:How does forcing people to learn non-standard keyboard shortcuts for cut, copy, paste, etc. make using the program faster for experts OR newbies?
alt-c is standard, apple created the non-standard apple-key.

podperson wrote:Arguably, this will harm folks who know the current shortcuts... but quite likely they'll benefit in the short run since they probably use Photoshop and FireFox and other programs with standard shortcuts.
Whats the standard shortcut for extrude in firefox?
podperson wrote:4) The "combo" widget (I first saw it in Silo 3D) is gaining popularity (it lets you translate, scale, and rotate the selection modelessly). You can get similar functionality in Blender by shift-clicking all the manipulator options, but there's no keyboard equivalent. I'd like to see it supported better and more explicitly in the UI.
Widgets are for wimps. Arguably new users are all wimps, one could wonder if a programm should focus on them. Ever seen final cut pro?
podperson wrote:Again, if it's an option it hurts no-one. If it's the default some will complain.
What does hurting people got to do with targeting a professional audience?
It's just the difference between wanting a big group of mediocre users or a small group of excellence.
podperson wrote:5) Would using standard OS file requesters and alerts be such a bad thing?
Hard to maintain for all OS. And some are just plain ugly. Also,... non of them have project based selectors.
podperson wrote:The Blender confirmations are "slippery" -- you can miss them entirely, especially if you use the mouse (rather than hotkeys) a lot.
That's the whole point, some people want to focus on work and not the UI.
Clicking is more constraining then moving the mouse. It's just faster. Choosing faster for better readable for new users is something I prefer and love blender for. I hate other software choking my workflow with stupid questions all the time ( like would I like an upgrade or would I like to save now, well no dummy! If I would like an upgrade I'd look for one when I have time. Not now when I'm trying to meet this deadline.)
podperson wrote:I'm sure there are people who love the current requesters...
As an open source project it's better to have the current requesters...
Makes it possible for developers, who want to, to extend them.
Blender is not just a gratis 3d application for user to use. It's also a 3d develop platform for programmers to extend knowledge of 3d software.
podperson wrote:6) Turning off confirmation for undoable actions would be a quick win and a productivity gain. Even greased lightning can go faster...

I doubt anyone will complain about this.
Matt made some proposals on how actions should be forward predictable and post adjustable.
podperson wrote:7) Not quite so easy: improve the behavior of "groups" so that (i) when you click on a member the whole group is selected by default; (ii) when you duplicate a group you get two groups.
I haven't checked out groups in blender yet, I'll have to believe you on your word here. I think groups should be groups where all members are equal but adjustable as a group.
podperson wrote:8) Also not quite so easy: improve the behavior of object "pivots" so that you can move them around without moving child objects and can translate them like any other object in edit mode (say).
Agree. I think there should be a pivot per linked obj-datablock. Materials should get a different pivot from the mesh and the object itself.

podperson wrote:This is all the "low hanging fruit" in the UI that I can think of off the top of my head; I think it could all be implemented pretty easily.
Well, just pick a deadline and we will applaud when you've done them.

-Joeri

BlackBoe
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Post by BlackBoe »

Hey, Joeri, are you paid to over-compensate for the slightest hint of a request with bulleted lists of why the poster sucks?

Actually, a better question is 'are you a developer'?

stiv
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Post by stiv »

Looks to me like joeri was responding to podperson's itemized list of how we should remake blender in his own image. No ad hominem attack there.

Joeri has been involved with Blender since way back when. This means both he understands the Blender way of doing things and the history of how it got that way. It does not mean he likes everything. Just ask him!

The long, often well-written list of how Blender does not match someones expectations is a one of our two common threads. The other one is about how the Blender source is much more complicated than the poster's computer science homework problems. Sometimes I wonder if we should create a couple sticky threads as containers.

BeBraw
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Post by BeBraw »

I'd suggest that locking and hiding the cursor be provided as preference items; it wouldn't hurt anyone then. If you want to be controversial, lock and hide the cursor by default.
You might want to check out http://projects.blender.org/tracker/ind ... 9&atid=127 . I cannot guarantee that it will work out of the box. (I haven't updated my patches in a while.) Adding cursor hiding to the patch should be fairly trivial. Feel free to hack it as you like.

By the way there are loads of nice patches waiting to be reviewed at the patch tracker. I am sure you will find at least some of them interesting.

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