The first thing I've done is changed the colour scheme, and implemented some of the changes talked about in this thread: http://www.blender.org/modules.php?op=m ... opic&t=799 .
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I can forsee some people not liking the dark colours, just as I can forsee people liking the dark colours. It would be nice to have some sort of user preference, like in 3DS MAX, though I don't know how to add it (I'm not really a programmer!). However, I do think the inset number/text buttons are a worthwhile addition, whatever the colour scheme.
Here's a description/rationale for some of the changes I made:
- Darker colour scheme is less visually distracting and tiring on the eyes. I much prefer using a darker colour scheme if I'm going to be working for long periods of time, as it strains my eyes less.
- Less contrast and lesser number of colours on screen at a time helps make the interface less distracting and 'in your face' and lets you concentrate on the work at hand. A smaller set of more harmonious colours also looks better from an aesthetic point of view, rather than a rainbow soup of salmon, green, blue, purple, etc.
- Changed the buttons to square edged. This is more of a personal preference of mine. In my opinion, the rounded buttons look too 'puffy' and childish. The rounded corners also disrupt potential visual alignment - If a number of buttons are placed aligned to one edge, the impression of spatial alignment is reduced by not having clean, straight edges.
- More visual differentiation between different UI controls, which helps to communicate their function better.
- Like dcuny suggested here, text and number buttons are now inset like most other text entry fields usually are in other programs/OS control sets. which communicates that they're used for entering information and not executing some sort of command, in which you would 'push a button'.
- Reduced the use of colour so that it describes different button function types. I have used coloured buttons to show 'action' buttons that perform an action when pressed, rather than the other buttons which are used to toggle settings.
- Some of the icons in the headerbuttons have messy edges and specs of grey, which probably wouldn't have been noticed against the previous light grey background. I'll have to get around to cleaning up those buttons, once I find out how.
- As it is right now, I have only changed the button colours in the renderbuttons window, as more of a proof of concept type thing. I'll end up extrapolating the guidelines I used for colouring the renderbuttons window to the other windows, but I thought I'd at least put this up for some comments first.
Please keep in mind that the layout of the renderbuttons has not been designed with this colour scheme in mind (and also things like the inset text/number buttons) so it may look a bit messy. The next thing I'd like to do as part of my project is to re-organise the renderbuttons (and I guess some of the others too) into a cleaner and more logical and task-oriented layout. The current layout is rather arbitrary and incoherent, which is expected since it's evolved to be that way over a number of years of incrementally added features.
- I chose the blue colour for the buttons etc. from the blue colour in the Blender logo. (The orange looked horrible - it turned out to be a dull brown ). Blue also looks relatively good when it's at low saturation, (eg. in the inset text buttons) so by using slightly de-saturated blue, you can avoid having a really bright and distracting UI.
Now, there may be a problem in that the blue is rather similar to the blue used in Discreet's compositing programs. Perhaps this would open the way for people to accuse this UI as ripping off Discreet's UI? I don't know. Any ideas?