About Blender interface...

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

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kAinStein
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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2002 3:08 pm

Post by kAinStein » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:46 pm

Gorgo13 wrote:I guess it would help for those who do not want (or can) remember all the shortcuts, or those who find that pressing R,X,X is slower than clicking on a button.
That's the major point in criticism in here: Not having (virtual) buttons for everthing. Having the possibility to rip off menus and make headers float would be a compromise - experienced Blender users just would not use it and new users that are used to something else just could have their buttons.
Also, having floating "palettes" would maybe become a bit messy for some people, and it could be useful to be able to dock these palettes in dedicated panels (a bit like ZBrush does I guess).
That's the point. That's why I like Blender - the UI is cleaner in most ways (not all, of course) and you are not forced to have tab pane and deep menus orgy with loads of meaningless icons.

To the docking: Well, I meant to have them docked (kinda) - similiar to a mixture of the rip off menus in Gimp or toolbars in other programs. You don't want a panel? Close it. You still can access it on the header or over a menu.

To oktodindon: It actually has the best UI - for those who want to have such kind of UI. If you don't like it: Make some proposals of something you want to see or simply go away (I can also say it more rude if you don't understand it)! Otherwise I would like a mod to close this thread because it isn't productive in any kind. You keep on repeating yourself, don't make proposals and don't even answer to proposals... All I can read from your side is childish bullshit!

kitsu
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Post by kitsu » Sat Feb 03, 2007 12:26 am

Yay, now I've been dragged into this stupid thread too :P
It's funny to see how Blender lovers talk about it as it has the best UI and the best functionalities ever.
Ever wonder why people who actually know how to use Blender always say that?

oktodindon: actually I learned enough to use Blender fairly well after a couple of weeks. The reason I mention point and click wizard type apps is because that seems to be what you are looking for. I've used Max, I find its modelling tools obtuse, and hate all the floating dialogs it has. I've used Maya, I really hate Maya's too cluttered interface and dangly menu thing. I've used XSI, I think it looks damn sexy, but after reading the first section of the manual and half of the first tutorial and still not getting it I decided I wasn't really that interested.

Good things:
Max - Modifier stack! very cool and a large collection (BTW we have modifiers too now)
Maya - Nodes, if I understand correctly maya is mostly nodes under the covers (We have nodes now too :))
XSI - NLA, IIRC they were one of the first to have it (Blender has had it forever too)

UIs reflect how things are made, UIs should be functional first, UIs shouldn't get in the way of what you are trying to do. Blender has a good UI and is improving. If you want to complain about a 'unintuitive' UI go bug the Wings3d people - they have almost no buttons at all!

Kriss
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Post by Kriss » Sat Feb 03, 2007 10:45 pm

Everything in this post is just an IMO so there is no need for another flame war. My opinion is biased at two points: I know 3ds and I find its interface quite good and intuitive, however I like OpenSource programs so I want blender to be better.
I'm not a new to 3ds, but just starting to learn blender and of course I don't know much yet.
Considering this and the fact that I already decided to use blender, everything below is not something I demand for myself, but something I'd like to change in blender.

I agree with what Gustav Göransson said about hotkeys having their equivalent in menus/GUI buttons. But this depends on the auditorium someone's aiming. I can show examples for 3ds max (it's similar for Maya, but I don't know it much either, so I can't show you my preferences, only can say that you can get rid of most menus there too)
3ds window looks like this at the beginning, but you can easily get rid of any unnecessary elements.

And this is blender (and also overall widow placement here is my proposition for default 2nd screen - Model).

Overall they looks similar, but at the same time 3ds interface looks more organized just because there is a complete menu at the top, button bar below it and so on.
TrackBar in 3ds has a button with frame number, you can drag it right or left (or just pressing < or > and / for playback ). And it opens for Mini Curve Editor (plus there is a "Full Size" Curve Editor and etc).
And things like this is also good at the beginning (but this should go to "
Default view is confusing to new users (Feature Request)"
)

Other than that there are only minor things:
Green Line at the top right corner with line "www.blender.org" and version number on it can be placed in "Help" menu instead, and information about Vertices/faces/Objects/etc can be placed in a floating window like "Transform properties".

About rounded interface: probably it looks good, but I think it's just a waste of space, lucky for me every other software had an option to return to usual rectangular form (winXP,Linux: KDE, Gnome, Xfce, fluxbox), but regrettably it's impossible in blender. This steals a little bit of space (besides being inside actual program window in winXP it doesn't look convincing).

About buttons window: Buttons named "Centre Curso", "Set Smoo" and others looks strange, because there are a lot more unused space in the certain toolbars (or how they're called in "Buttons" window), and text is trying to scale with the button size. In 3ds you can scroll down this menu, in blender it's the same...

Hotkey Q - Additional hotkey to quit blender? Isn't every OS has GUI buttons to close application?

Layer visibility manager - is it needed? I think that indicator inside
I tried combinations Ctrl+1 to Ctrl+0 to find out that 1-4 used for SubSurf while others act just like 5-0 being pushed without Ctrl (if the buttons aren't used I expected them not to be used).

F1 tries to open file instead of Help (it's as standard as Ctrl-C/V and other combinations.
kAinStein wrote:To the docking: Well, I meant to have them docked (kinda) - similar to a mixture of the rip off menus in Gimp or toolbars in other programs. You don't want a panel? Close it. You still can access it on the header or over a menu.
I concur, something like this would be good to have. Or maybe something like this? Or probably something similar to both?
kitsu wrote:Max - Modifier stack! very cool and a large collection (BTW we have modifiers too now)
Indeed, that was good to find, however workflow is different in blender than in 3ds max, where you're creating something then placing as many modifiers as you want and then you're still able to use modifiers like "Edit Mesh" in the end to tweak your mesh the same way as ordinary editing without having to collapse ("applying" in blender) your previous modifiers. So modifier like this would be extremely good to see.
(I might be wrong of course since I'm relatively new to blender...)

And a quite important hint for 3ds max is: try not to collapse your modifier stack until the very end (because at every moment you have access to your previous steps and your resulting mesh.

The way modifiers are appearing is still a mystery to me, they're not appearing at the top, they're trying appear at the bottom, but when it's impossible they're appearing somewhere in the middle. I'd prefer them to appear exactly where I want to (like in 3ds) or do not appear at all, since these modifiers are just simple ones, but using some of the other 3ds modifiers in a random places might just screw up your work completely...
I definitely have to get some sleep now, so that's all for today... I can't think straight anymore.

zingbat
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Post by zingbat » Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:25 am

Did you noticed how the new Vista interface is becoming closer to Blender interface ideals. From my observation and what i have read in papers these ideals are:

1) Avoid overlapping and floating windows as much as possible.
2) Have a consistent and easy to memorize set of keyboard shortcuts.
3) Allow users to save, create and name new window layouts.
4) Have a less informal gui with buttons mixed with menu items in the same bar being an example.

Later they added menus where we can find all functionality in menu items with the keyboard shortcut in front of the menu item visible to exploration.

Like it was said before the next step is to improve the gui and most certainly (this being an open source community project) the focus will be in favor of customization and community work.

One thing i like about 3d studio is how we can morph the application almost completely. We can practically reassign all keyboard shortcuts; modify all menus and toolbars; change color, spacing and relief in buttons and dialogs. We can also make scripts that call the functionality provided by any menu and put it on a button. This is very impressive and i think this should be a number one priority for Blender and something that can be copied without causing any disturbance in the way Blender users already work.

A lot of people made suggestions about how they wish the Blender interface should be but it's not possible to satisfy everyone tastes and the active developers can't possibly satisfy everyones wishes. It would be more productive if someone organized a priority list of most wanted or most critical features and allow users to vote on these lists.

My own suggestion is that, since Vista and Blender interfaces are so close together it would be interesting to see Blender window bars be more flexible and occupy more than one line if necessary.

Also the trick of pulling down the top window is not intuitive at all and we cannot even save the application preferences independently of the initial scene setup. When using the Append menu to copy data from other Blender files, it would be useful if we could also copy application data like gui layouts and app preferences.

megabigbug
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Post by megabigbug » Mon Feb 05, 2007 12:20 pm

zingbat wrote: My own suggestion is that, since Vista and Blender interfaces are so close together it would be interesting to see Blender window bars be more flexible and occupy more than one line if necessary.
I think also that this feature is important. Actually Blender isn't made to have vertical panels because some buttons in the header are hidden.

kitsu
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Post by kitsu » Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:42 pm

Kriss: I think a lot of you ideas are sound. You've also picked out a lot of the rough spots that hopefully will be fixed in the 2.5 release :D

Here are a couple of corrections though.

rounded interface: If you pull down the top 'menu bar' you will find it is a window containing all of Blenders settings. In the ui tab is a toggle for rounded buttons. AFAIK it doesn't have any impact on the size of things though?

Modifier stack: You can edit meshes after modifiers without applying. There is a little circular button in the header of each modifier. If you have editmode visibility on and turn on that button it allows you to edit the modified geometry as if it were actual. Blender's modifier stack is actually quite similar to Max's, just less feature full. It can be used for exactly the same kind of non-destructive modeling :o

On other hint: Blender thinks in top mode. This means that things further down the screen in a 2d view are closer to the front, while further up means further back. Most applications thing in front view, so the top is the top and the bottom is the bottom :roll:

Of course the fact that these things aren't obvious points to even more roughness. The settings options are pretty hidden, you need to know about the modifier stack ui before you can use it well, and that there is still some old quirkiness leftover from the pre-OpenSource days. That said, I'm sure I could find similar flaws and quirks in any good 3d software...

Kriss
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Post by Kriss » Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:00 am

rounded interface: If you pull down the top 'menu bar' you will find it is a window containing all of Blenders settings. In the ui tab is a toggle for rounded buttons. AFAIK it doesn't have any impact on the size of things though?
Sorry if I was unclear... I didn't speak about buttons, I spoke about windows' headers (or areas'?). I completely understand that this was a design decision but for me it's just a waste of space and IMO it just doesn't look good because:
1.) That triangles that appears between windows/areas doesn't look good, because they're not show my desktop, they're just show me gray color and it just reminds me once more that these are just "fake" windows inside actual one.
2.)Windows/areas with round top (or bottom) and with rectangular opposite side aren't look good and not something I will choose as the design solution.

I read that this was made to visually emphasize what window this particular header belongs to, but it has a quite visible line between itself and foreign window already. Adding 1px more for 3d effect at the top of the header might be a better solution.

It's true that hotkeys are better, but UI is something we have to look at, besides it's a "facade" of the program and ones who are choosing what to use will have their first impression based on it.
Modifier stack: You can edit meshes after modifiers without applying. There is a little circular button in the header of each modifier. If you have editmode visibility on and turn on that button it allows you to edit the modified geometry as if it were actual. Blender's modifier stack is actually quite similar to Max's, just less feature full. It can be used for exactly the same kind of non-destructive modeling :o
Not sure what you said, so I'll just ask you a question: is it possible to move/rotate/scale additional vertices that were created by using modifier "SubSurf"? Because in my case this button worked like "Show End Result" for 3ds max modifiers (by using this you can operate your lower level mesh while still seeing end result along with it), So I see that there are more vertices on my mesh, but I can't operate on them unless I apply this modifier. I might be wrong though...
BTW, may I ask a questions then?
a.)How to operate on invisible edges (the ones that looks like a diagonal in every rectangular face)?
b.) Is there a way to use a modifier not for the whole object, but for a selected faces/edges/vertices.
c.) In 3ds (in addition to verts/edges/polies) I can also select faces (triangles) and elements (a part of a mesh that is not connected to anything, like a lid of teapot that is a part of mesh, but not connected to the rest.), is there a way to do the same in blender?
(If something is not possible, you can think of it as a proposition [but not for this topic ?])
On other hint:...
Thanks for both explanations (actually by a habit I didn't even think that new modifiers can appear at the lowest level of "workflow"/editing. And I'm kind of ashamed about how rigid-minded I am became. :shock: )

And overall question about interface: does anybody know what point of view developers (ones who are involved in this process) stand on?
Can the interface be changed?
And to what extent:

Does things like floating(dockable) windows like we might see in GIMP are feasible or it should still be "area"-oriented to be more unique?
Like, for example, to have 3d window (with the ability to split/join it to more 3d windows) with complete menu on top and other elements are just floating dockable windows with the ability to save their positions (and orientation: vertical/horizontal) and revert UI to default hardcoded positions. And/or proposition about windows I made looking at blend2cs (Crystal Space 3D exporter for Blender).

Or the only things that have a probability of changing are menus, buttons and other minor things?

And a quick question: I heard that hotkeys and UI will be more customizable. But I'd like to know with what version and to what extent (I know that I asked it in "About feature requests" topic along with proposition on mouse movement...

MBX
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Post by MBX » Tue Feb 06, 2007 4:03 pm

i love the rounded theme interface. really, as far as the interface look goes blender is one of the best looking. i also wouldn't like to see bigger buttons (at least make as option. but not standard) because of screen real estate.

i just hope that the dev's can make the ui/ navigation and experience a bit more intuitive. ease up some things that now maybe require more steps than it should.

so i'm really looking forward to 2.5, i heard there's gonna be some good changes. but who knows.

kitsu
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Post by kitsu » Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:58 pm

Oh, the rounded division between windows! Yeah, no way to change it, but it looks nice :roll:
You can turn window headers on/off and move them to the top or bottom though.

Yeah, subsurf modifier doesn't let you work on the generated verts, only on the control verts. In the upcoming release there is a feature called multires, which is what you are looking for. Currently it is not a modifier, and is separate from subsurf, but it allows you to edit at any level of subdivision while preserving higher level geometry. I don't find it very useful right now though, and I hope it will eventually be integrated with the subsurf modifier :D
Other modifiers like mirror, armature, lattice, curve, etc. do let you edit the deformed geometry. The system is not perfectly WYSIWYG yet though - when you are moving a vert you are moving it at its base position still, even though you see its ultimate position. This causes problems when working on extreme deformations.

Invisible edges: no such thing in Blender. It is true that your model is tessellated to triangles when viewed/rendered, but it is automatic and adaptive AFAIK. The only way to control triangles is to make triangles!

No selective modifiers - I'm guessing your talking about subsurf again? You can select part of a model and subdivide it in edit mode, but it is not a non-destructive editing operation.

'L' and shift-L select linked verts. (check the select menu for other options like grow selection or invert)



As far as how the interface will be changed - I expect the developers will focus on internal consistency rather than making changes to match other apps. Hopefully they will polish some little details while they are at it (like garbled button text and redundant "are you sure" popups) but most of the changes will probably be internal refactoring with some new features as side effects.

Kriss
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Post by Kriss » Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:56 pm

kitsu wrote:Oh, the rounded division between windows! Yeah, no way to change it, but it looks nice :roll:
You can turn window headers on/off and move them to the top or bottom though.
This helps, but not for TrackBar and sometimes I still need them.
Rectangular windows are somewhat "default" everywhere (since we have rectangular display, window-managers are oriented to use rectangular windows, everything else is just a decoration) and have a cleaner look.
kitsu wrote: Yeah, subsurf modifier doesn't let you work on the generated verts, only on the control verts. In the upcoming release there is a feature called multires, which is what you are looking for. Currently it is not a modifier, and is separate from subsurf, but it allows you to edit at any level of subdivision while preserving higher level geometry. I don't find it very useful right now though, and I hope it will eventually be integrated with the subsurf modifier :D
But then it will be limited to SubSurf. Having it as a stand-alone modifier IMO is a better solution (I mentioned SubSurf as an example, there are many more modifiers in 3ds that can use it. And I hope we'll see more of them in the future.)
kitsu wrote: Other modifiers like mirror, armature, lattice, curve, etc. do let you edit the deformed geometry. The system is not perfectly WYSIWYG yet though - when you are moving a vert you are moving it at its base position still, even though you see its ultimate position. This causes problems when working on extreme deformations.
:?
Mirror does? And modifiers that aren't adding new geometry...
How they can let me to do something on them?
It's just if you edit your base mesh, then modifier (that is acting on top of existing geometry) is just changing the result mesh...
kitsu wrote: Invisible edges: no such thing in Blender. It is true that your model is tessellated to triangles when viewed/rendered, but it is automatic and adaptive AFAIK. The only way to control triangles is to make triangles!
Yes, it might be automatic and adaptive in Blender, but most games operate on "Editable Mesh" instead of "Editable Poly" (3ds words, meaning different approaches, in Editable Mesh you have full control on your mesh, while Editable Poly, among other differences, tries to "adapt" invisible edges automatically but you can't directly edit them)
kitsu wrote: No selective modifiers - I'm guessing your talking about subsurf again? You can select part of a model and subdivide it in edit mode, but it is not a non-destructive editing operation.
No, not just about SubSurf. About usual selection of vertices and applying a modifier to them, then modifier to "Edit Mesh" on top of it and we're continuing our project...
But probably modifiers in Blender are meant in a different way than we see them in 3ds.
kitsu wrote: 'L' and shift-L select linked verts. (check the select menu for other options like grow selection or invert)
Thanks, this will be useful.
kitsu wrote: As far as how the interface will be changed - I expect the developers will focus on internal consistency rather than making changes to match other apps.
It's not to "match" other apps, these are propositions for window managing in Blender. I can't imagine Blender to match GIMP, but I can imagine buttons window (along with some others) in this eample to have completely transparent background with only toolbars and a window header visible.
kitsu wrote: Hopefully they will polish some little details while they are at it (like garbled button text and redundant "are you sure" popups) but most of the changes will probably be internal refactoring with some new features as side effects.
So it will wait until 3.0 release... (mentioned in "UI redesign", [probably I saw it on mediawiki]) :?

joeri
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Post by joeri » Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:16 pm

Kriss wrote:So it will wait until 3.0 release... (mentioned in "UI redesign", [probably I saw it on mediawiki]) :?
? If you can wait that long on an app. you are obviously not the target audience anyway.

Kriss
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Post by Kriss » Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:31 pm

@joeri
:?
No, I'm not the target audience at all. I just want to use program that can do what I need it to do. I have 3ds max 5.1, Maya 6.5 Unlimited, and recently I downloaded Blender v2.41 and v2.42a (GPL means something for me) and already using it. Looking at its interface I wanted to share my opinion on how to improve it. I can't code, I can only create models, but I can tell what I think can be improved based on my previous experience. Although I heard already that there might be something wrong with attitude of some of the members on this forum, but you just didn't try to understand what I wrote. Indeed my English is far from being perfect, but definitely not to that degree...

About the phrase itself: The only thing I tried to say that I saw information on Blender's UI and that this design was planned to stay until at least v3.0 in the past...

acdwrp
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Post by acdwrp » Sat Feb 10, 2007 1:45 pm

Hi all. I'v just started to use Blender. Not very good at it yet. Theres a lot of discussion is going on about its interface, so I thought I should post my opinion on this.
To tell you the truth, I actually like Blender interface. Looks quite good, and really usable. But I actually think that it could be a little more intuitive. I dont think that it should be completly redesigned. But theres some issues that really must be fixed. My poin is that it should be more "new-user friendly". Don't get me wrong. I actually think that the use of shortcuts is actually a great feature of interface, but what I find really annoying is that I have to look for this shortcuts through the entire manual. In 3D Max and other similar software you can just point your mouse over a button and see the shortcut in the tooltip and then use it instead of clicking buttons. In Blender, on the other hand, its hard to find this buttons/tooltip with shortcuts, and for some actions theres no button at all, so you have to spend some time lookin for it in the manual. It feels like developers are hidding them so only 'the chosen ones" could use it. Besides, by hidding the buttons and making interface more "shortcuttish" you actually hidding Blenders features. When I first downloaded few months ago and opened it, I actually thought that Blender isn't worth my time because of it lack of tools and features compared to 3d Max. So i uninstaled it. Only 5 months later I accidentaly found out about how powerful Blender actually is and how much top quality features it actually has. But unfortunatly, to find out about them you have to read though the ENTIRE manual, just to have some sort of idea what Blender is capable of. I think thats one of the main reason why Blender isn't so widespread like Max and Maya.
I'm not saying that Blender interface is a total crap and that it should be more "standart", after all, innovation is the thing that keeps the progress running.
But maybe by ADDING (NOT REPLACING) an alternative way to use Blender we could make it much better, and keep "newbies" and "gurus" satisfyed simulteniously.

oktodindon
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Post by oktodindon » Sat Feb 10, 2007 2:40 pm

You're totally saying that current interface is kind of crap but in a nicer way and I totally agree with you. Especially for the elitist point.

zingbat
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Post by zingbat » Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:34 pm

oktodindon wrote:You're totally saying that current interface is kind of crap but in a nicer way and I totally agree with you. Especially for the elitist point.
Look what we got for not agreeing with the troll holy truth the first time we had a chance. Now he is going to stink this thread calling people names and distorting their posts with a vengeance. I think this calls for troll flushing.

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