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Release suggestions

Posted: Fri May 13, 2005 5:40 pm
by JoOngle
Hi,

I have a very small suggestion for the release .B config file:

Could we not just distribute the new Blender 2.37 release when it comes that far
with some better standard settings.

For me this is a non-issue, but I've written tutorials (in Danish) for Blender
newbies and over some time my experience that in the local Blender forum
too many people uploads a picture when modeling - with the dark blue background
and non-oversampled. (OSA off).

While this inspires the newbies to adjust the settings and explore Blender for
themselves it often takes some time before they get to that point, and every
time a Max newbie makes a post...makes it look like the program is so much better
than Blender (to other newbies) This has a negative "recruit" effect and it's the
same story all over again with every newcomer, many are lost to the commercial
packages simply because they dont have the "feel-good" factor right from the start.

I know this seems silly - but try to have an open mind about it,
here's what I suggest:

1) Change the default BG color to either Black or neutral grey

2) Make the OSA default at least 5 and set to ON

3) Make the rendersize default to 640 x 480

4) Have the four viewports set up as the main modeling screen Top,Front, Sideview
wireframe - and the perspective camera view with shading on.

5) And 3 lights instead of just one, placed in the most logical way for viewing at
all angles.

6) The new widgets set to Default ON.

I know that this seem silly and minor, but I have a theory that it will "recruit" far more
who just want to "fiddle" a bit with it to see if it's something they want to learn further.

Am I too far fetched with this theory?

Re: Release suggestions

Posted: Fri May 13, 2005 7:19 pm
by z3r0_d
JoOngle wrote:1) Change the default BG color to either Black or neutral grey
black would result in questions like "WHY IS EVERYTHING BLACK!?!?" becoming harder to solve [blender used to not have a world setup by default, so the color of the background would be black]

why is grey better than blue?
JoOngle wrote:2) Make the OSA default at least 5 and set to ON
why? these people wouldn't know to turn it off to get a fast preview render
JoOngle wrote:3) Make the rendersize default to 640 x 480
it does default to that, but you want it to not default to a half size preview?
JoOngle wrote:4) Have the four viewports set up as the main modeling screen Top,Front, Sideview
wireframe - and the perspective camera view with shading on.
actually, blender did that for one release iirc, it annoyed me to no end, real waste of screen space
JoOngle wrote:5) And 3 lights instead of just one, placed in the most logical way for viewing at all angles.
you want shadows with that?

[actually, it takes 4 lamps to sufficently cover an object... but you need to be more specific about what kind of lighting setup you have in mind]

blender used to have no lamp by default, again, people asked why everything was black
JoOngle wrote:6) The new widgets set to Default ON.
transform gadgets?

actually, having them always on adds a lot of clutter

JoOngle wrote:Am I too far fetched with this theory?
maybe you aren't... I just rant and point out random things...


I'm kinda surpized with the other stuff you mentioned you didn't ask for set smooth and autosmooth to be on by default... [people complaining about uglyness of smoothed cubes because of autosmooth, and people trying subsurf 6 and 7 because of not knowing set smooth]... again, I'd disagree with changing these things

Solution..

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 12:09 am
by bfvietnam
Blender-wide default settings.. There needs to be in place
a way to configure blender for when people post images, so that they can communicate what they are experiencing.. I got from this message that when people post screen dumps or even notice problems with blender, its due to the default settings of blender not being suitable for the best experience. This is like the problems I experience when trying to model with primitives that are not suitable for modelling in blender. I think though its easy to say and not do something.. This is something, we as users can do, just by providing examples of what we believe are good examples of initial configurations.. I with what I believe are good object primitives, others with what they believe are good window configurations, environment colors, etc.. I just don't know how the configuration of blender can be changed without disrupting the content people work with since the blend files are used to store models and configurations..

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 12:52 am
by LetterRip
I'll bring your suggestions up at the meeting since we are plannig to discuss the defaults.

As stated by z3r0_d, black is probably a bad idea - however I think a neutral color such as grey would be a good idea. z3r0_d the reason blue is a poor choice is that it is a rather strong color, and due to lack of neutrality, there are many object color choices that go poorly with it.

For OSA - are there any good rules of thumb for OSA and quality, and OSA and rendertime? Is the increase of rendertime linear with respect to samples taken?
actually, blender did that for one release iirc, it annoyed me to no end, real waste of screen space
Well you can save defaults so I'm not really sure why it should annoy you - also it is easy to toggle in and out of fullscreen for a single view, so the default should probably tend to cater to newbie expectations. Of course other programs such as Silo have other default layouts - personally I think Silos partially rotated view is preferable.
you want shadows with that?
I was thinking he wanted a useful '3 point' light setup by default. Not sure if a generic one could be devised.
actually, having them always on adds a lot of clutter
Well again easy to turn them off and save that as your default. But for a newbie we shouldn't really expect them to find immediately. I think this will probably happen.

LetterRip

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 2:15 pm
by xand
it could be more 'newbie-benefic' to offer with the new release a set of two or three examples blend files which can show a simple scene (eg suzanne in a three point lighting) and the new features.
Newbie will have a starting point to tweak.

+++

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 5:05 pm
by malCanDo
> > > 6) The new widgets set to Default ON.

> > actually, having them always on adds a lot of clutter


> Well again easy to turn them off and save that as your default. But for a
> newbie we shouldn't really expect them to find immediately. I think this will > probably happen.


I agree, the 3D transform widget should definitely be on by default.

I recommeded using Blender to a company ( with a very technical user ) in the same building as my companu, and they downloaded the non-CVS version. When I went round to see them again a week later, they had tried it out, and said that it was way too hard to use.

I downloaded the CVS version and put on the transform widget. Now they really like it, and are going to use it on a project :)

Mal

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 5:41 pm
by teachtech
While we're on the topic of defaults, can anyone explain to me why the -z direction and y up settings aren't the default settings in the "track to" panel while adding a constraint. To me, it would seem confusing to a newbie when they try to "track to" an object or empty with the camera and the camera turns away from the object by default. Does this concern anyone else?

Posted: Sun May 15, 2005 2:08 am
by theeth
teachtech wrote:While we're on the topic of defaults, can anyone explain to me why the -z direction and y up settings aren't the default settings in the "track to" panel while adding a constraint. To me, it would seem confusing to a newbie when they try to "track to" an object or empty with the camera and the camera turns away from the object by default. Does this concern anyone else?
The problem with this is that the old tracking system has two different default values, one for lamps and cameras (-Z, Y) and one for all the other objects (Y,Z).
It was decided to make the constraint default to the other objects settings, but to make a special case for the Ctrl-T shortcut to handle lamps and cameras correctly. Using ctrl-t is faster for tracks anyway, you don't have to type the target's name.

Martin

Posted: Sun May 15, 2005 3:52 am
by teachtech
Thanks Theeth. So many shortcut keys to know, so little time..... :wink:

Posted: Sun May 15, 2005 11:40 am
by oin
I made an experiment some time ago (maybe a pair of months) . Put a coder, which worked with me in certain game company...to use Blender. I was trying him to become natural with it, as was gonna be the tool I would be using for a level I was making for his coding portfolio.
He had used previously quite a bit Max, even being a coder, he was allways in the need of using it, as he was in charge of plugins making, and scene handling, among all his tasks....
Well, I find him quite functional with it, and even a bit with Maya.

Guess what...he couldn't stand that the turntable allways ended rolling the vertical axe in an unwanted way...I know, I know... But, if we're speaking of people that come from other packages. Should we care bout this specific kind of guy? I tell you...YES....he's a great coder. I know him well, is a very fast and eficient one. An open source lover, and funnily, he's all about Linux (uses Win only at work) I know he would have coded a lot for his use for blender (plugins, etc) but couldn't convince him: simply he expected turntable working like in Max and Maya, he expected the arrow widgets, etc.

And I think this is at least the third one that tells me a similar thing... While none have told me other stuff. I knew one guy that was more patient (like me: I'm a permanent Blender noob, but...hmm...maybe in the OSA I'm not agreeing so much...As...the guy who would think that...Maybe is not only a Blender Noob, but also a 3D noob, a max noob...Antialiasing is something you allways carefully study when u render in a Max project, depending on several factors...) ...well, that only one guy, yep, after me insisting that Blender really worths it...he took the manuals, read some parts...Actually he got finally back to his free 3d package, underpowered compared with Blender...But is a different case: He now likes *also* Blender, and use it for some tasks. Smoothly probably he'll learn more and more.

I have allways thought Blender comunity growing with tallented people, will be good. And I say will, as I see that it's being taking care for people that come from any other 3D tool... The widgets, etc, for me , shows clearly that the effort is heading to while keeping Blender strenght of allways, making it more firendly for other 3d people, and perhaps, addinga new way of work for old Blender experts.

The 4 views maybe sounds silly (I use one only view in all my software (wings, amorphium, dp3d, zb,even in max at work)) but...I know that when some people finds stuff familiar...hey, wait, now I remember another guy...maybe I am "guilty" (much probably, hehe) of him learning Blender, that's another success story (when success means he keeps using his Max and Gmax, but equally uses too Blender) ..he's a good game level editor... he said me once he could put the 4 views like in his Max, and the side button scrolling panel, he felt like in home. I couldn't believe it, but seems it's true..Is like if u could customize to that extent Max(not so flexible, while is much more customizable than most people think...) I'm not of that profile, I usually just look how functional it is if I adapt my self. I have used deeply many UIs, and think I can evaluate more or less that.

I am at a new game company now (happily) and my boss asked me bout open source 3d software as an option to buying uber expensive one (as we don't aim AAA games, but have quite a good deal anyway) ...when I mentioned yet no smooth groups in Blender, he's not taking it in account...But I have told him it will probably will have soon, so the door is very open.At least for character animation, and modelling with other tools(wings,etc).

My 2 cents. I think in general JoOngle idea is good. And specially good is his "recruit"(for both coders and artists) idea ;)

Posted: Sun May 15, 2005 12:40 pm
by kxs
So maybe add 4view windows style as an alternative theme, but I think that one view as a default is better. I also had a feeling at first that using Blender with one window will be odd, but after couple of days gave up that thought. I use now only one window and think that it`s much more convinient. So, why forcing bad habits then? I think that 4views as another theme will do. Blender is a different program that Max3d or Maya and there is no need to make it look similar to them.

p.s. but some things, like OSA for example could be set as On as default.

Posted: Sun May 15, 2005 10:43 pm
by joeri
Hi, I tried to keep an open mind and have these remarks:

1. Yes, turn backgrond color of render to: or black, or white.
design people like white, video people like black.

4. No don't do a 4 split. Yes it would be easier to understand for new users if blender looks like a CAD program, but it's not a CAD program it's a virtual sculpting program. Try to model in 3d space as soon as possible. I realy mean this. Personaly I think that people who don't understand 3d space should stay away from 3d programs or 3d at all.

6. The new widgets are set to Default ON. They just use a different hotkey?

5. And 3 lights instead of just one, placed in the most logical way for viewing at all angles.
Well yes and no, where to stop? What's the purpose of this anyway?
Can't someone write a python script to add default models/settings etc.
- 3point light. -Limbo -Nightfall set. things like that. One button -> done.

3. Make the OSA default at least 5 and set to ON
Again, what's the point? press F12 and the given cube tooks bad?
Take a good setting or none, but please no comprimise that no-one uses.
Why not remove all. Or start with a very nice scene?
I always remove the cube, 'cause I rather start with a plane. And the light sits more in the way then that it's usefull. I rather have blender render with a default lightset if I have no lights in the scene.

Why are newbies (always) in favour?
I asked at the conference if we could have a 'beginner' and an 'expert' mode, I was laughed at. So now the advanced are going to 'suffer' for the beginners, what is weird 'cause there are more advanced then beginner users.
Meanwhile it looks like the advanced user is going to reset more and more presets just because newbies don't want to read the manual or think they can make 'the incredibles' without knowing how to split up a window. right?

If there is something as a good setting for the beginner then why not have a "reset all values to: beginner, advanced or leave alone" in the install ?

Posted: Mon May 16, 2005 12:24 am
by HiNMity
joeri wrote: Why are newbies (always) in favour?
I asked at the conference if we could have a 'beginner' and an 'expert' mode, I was laughed at. So now the advanced are going to 'suffer' for the beginners, what is weird 'cause there are more advanced then beginner users.
?
Too bad that you got laughed at since its a great idea.

Its not about designing for the newbie. Its about accessability and user friendly interface. Everyone benefit from logical clean interface.

I used to do lots of graphics with Amiga in paint softwares but took some time of for a couple of years. Then when i embraced the computer scene again i was looking for good software. Good design and functionality is the key. Adobe got me starting right away so did 3DsMax i tried lots and lots but they were the ones i got stuck to because of the simple layout and interface interaction.

Now i use Maya and Houdini frequently and i would call myself a rather advanced user. And i must say that it doesnt matter how good i become i still enjoy simple and easy-to-understand interfaces but simple doesnt mean complicated it means well thought through. Take a look at the audio/video software development and see where they put a lot of money investigating in simple interface design

I think blender has come to a point where it really needs a redesign of its user interface. So many functions and so many shortcuts. Custom keyboard shortcuts and icons as well as main window menu accessability to all functions is beneficial. Im not saying that there is one interface that goes for all but there is a term called good design and it has a meaning.

Posted: Mon May 16, 2005 3:04 am
by Delta
i think that the inclusion of Matt Ebb's custom tool menu (once, or if, its included in bf-Blender) with standard functions like extrude, grab, size, rotate, subdivide, smooth, set smooth, subsurf, etc. in the panel as default would make life much easier for newbs and tutorial writers alike...

just a humble suggestion...

Regards,
~Delta

Posted: Mon May 16, 2005 9:56 am
by kxs
HiNMity wrote: Its not about designing for the newbie. Its about accessability and user friendly interface. Everyone benefit from logical clean interface.
I think that Blender`s interface IS user friendly. The thing is that it is quite different from 3dMax or Maya interface. I think the main way of convincing people to try out Blender is making cool renders and animations. When you see that something great whas made with Blender you want to try that soft.