New button styles (With mockup images)

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

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New button styles (With mockup images)

Post by suberduber »

I think that one of the first steps we should take in cleaning up Blender's interface is defining the various interface elements

Don't get me wrong, I love Blender's unique interface, I just think that the varois ambiguities should be cleared up

For example:

- A toggle button looks the same as a normal button, how do you tell the difference?
- The number entry button has essentially three different modes of operation (Shift click to enter the number manually, click on a side to increment or decriment value, click and drag to adjust value rapidly), how is a new user supposed to figure this out just by looking at it?
- Buttons come in at least five different colors, what do these colors represent (I'm still trying to figure it out)
- Etc....

I think that before we take any further steps in improving the interface (hopefully integrating the buttons into GHOST) we need to define the interface elements more clearly

This is my proposal for new button styles:

Pressing this button will have an imediate result (ex: render scene or delete object), it may be followed up by a warning or confirmation message

This button allowes you to enter values in in the form of text, note how it is distinct from the number entry button and how the text itself is visually seperated from the label

This is the button entering numbers, almost the same as the text button but with the addition of arrows, if you click one of the arrows, it will increment or decriment the value, if you click and drag either of the arrows it will act like a slider. Also, there is no need to hold shift while clicking to manually enter the value

Notice the light (borrowed from another thread) to distinguish the button as a toggle button

The same idea as the number button but with a slider, also easier to manually enter values

Notw that you can manually enter values and the currently selected option is checked.

I have a full interface mockup in the works but I'll see how this goes before decide if I want to persue it further.

Please Comment

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Post by matt_e »

Interesting ideas! Reminds of Lightwave ;)

You may also find this earlier thread interesting, although dcuny's images seen to be broken.. :/ ... opic&t=799

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Post by ideasman »

Looks nice BUT I have to say that I don't care.
I'm not fussed about the way blender looks.
I thing there are better things to work on.

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Post by Dani »

Ideasman, you're right, once you've got the hand on blender you don't care so much about this...

But the point with such improvements is to make new users understand faster how to use blender.

I hope some of get the courage to dive into the code!
these are nice and almost self explanatory buttons.


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Post by matt_e »

ideasman wrote:I thing there are better things to work on.
In open source, it's often not a matter of there being 'better things to work on'. There may be 'other things to work on' but you can't really prioritise things. For example, for the last release, I made some new Windows icons and sent them to the mailing list. Saying I should have spent my time implementing 'complex feature X' is irrelevant, because I don't know how to. I can make icons though.

In open source, people generally contribute what they can, and what they want to, and those people are sometimes good at different things. Because of the the diverse range of people that can be contributing, the skillset of the development pool is not a commodity - you can't just shuffle people from one project to another and expect it to work. The fact that suberduber may be conceptualising some ideas for button designs in no way takes away from the development that is occurring in other areas.

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Post by dcuny »

Sorry about the broken links. My ISP's server went down, and they took that as an opportunity to move to a different server. I've fixed the link. :)

Without the drop shadow, suberduber's graphics look a bit less spiffy, but they are still quite nice:


There are a couple things I tried to retain with my design; you may (or may not) decide these are good things:
  • It stays close to the original Blender look and feel.
  • It's consistant with the use of 3D. Buttons that can be clicked are given a raised border. Controls that have editable text fields have sunken borders around the text.
I played around with the idea of adding arrows to the Number Buttons, but ultimately discarded it:
  • The arrows are only a couple pixels wide, and are hard to hit.
  • Putting arrows on the buttons makes it look like you can just click them, when you actually have to click and drag. They look just enough like Spin Buttons to confuse the user.
  • For the most part, Number Buttons are impossible to control with the arrows. Either the values are too wide (so you move in increments of 500), or the values just a bit too large (so you move in increments of 7, making it impossible to scroll from "20" to "32".
I've pretty much concluded that that feature on the buttons is more or less worthless.

My design is pretty ugly - it looks a lot like FLTK. Perhaps a combination of the two, something like this?


Note that since it's not really a button, it's drawn flat. That will prevent users from trying to click it. On the other hand, it's got this nice 3D inset border, so the users know the value can be edited.. Hrm... it looks a lot like the SubSilver theme of this forum. :)

Two other comments:
  • Maybe it's just late at night, but the buttons are a bit hard to read. They're small.
  • How well will the design scale? Remember that Blender allows buttons to be resized.
I'm looking forward to seeing the mockup.

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Post by kaktuswasser »

i think those buttons are far better then the ones used at the moment.
I dont care how they look, but they make things really clearer for beginners :)

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Post by Pablosbrain »

Only one comment... remember other languages and that words in one language are not always the same length in another. My personal opinion... the buttons in your mockups could be a tad larger... but then again as someone pointed out... they can be scaled in blender fairly easily.

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Post by cgul »

Great idea for the b uttons. They look similar enough for veterans not to get lost, but they have enough hints and style so that new users can get up to speed much more quickly.


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Post by leinad13 »

Any work being done on actually creating these buttons, using OpenGL, they are simple and yet i prefer them the normal buttons, if you want any help creating the buttons in OpenGL i will help. (I recently created some buttons using OpenGL for another project. I could help make these buttons, but not implement them into the code, i hate the source at the moment so dont even ask me to code anything into it.
Over to you boffins


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Re: New button styles (With mockup images)

Post by ylai »

suberduber wrote:Don't get me wrong, I love Blender's unique interface, I just think that the varois ambiguities should be cleared up
I think there is nothing wrong to create a different approach for Blender's interface. A themable Blender would be best, of course.

One should not make illusions. There are plenty of people being terrified by Blender's interface on the first sight. Many of them will never touch Blender again thereafter. This, of course, does not change the fact that other people love the interface. It is simply like that.

There is nothing wrong to make carefuly expressions, but this tends to hide the much harsher world. ;-)

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Post by basse »

interesting ...
especially the number -button is great. those left and right arrows would help a lot the newcomers.. also dropdown list, having arrow pointing down / up tells much more than just a "-" there is now.

great style too. as long as they can be drawn as fast as current buttons..


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Post by Etna »

Mmh, looking cool. Personnaly, i love flat rendering.
Okay, some people don't want to change interface etc etc.. but i would say only one word: Evolution!

I don't have any problems with the actual interface, but it doesn't disturb me if it change. We can find inspirations within High-end Software (just not 3DS please hehe)
I've turned around this forum, some people are definitively against any changes - i'm okay for a few things - but we can't deny features really interesting because coming from High-end Software or are a bit difficult.

One thing that irritate my eye (after my spelling :) ), That's to read : we must make Blender the most easiest for beginner.
I don't agree with this idea, totally! Because we sacrify great interface's ideas to simplify a thing for noobs. Why Blender is difficult for a beginner? Because Beginners don't read the Doc and got bad habits! that's all. I mean, it's fundamental! READ the documentation and it goes well! It's simple what i say, but it's true.

little exemple:
I've tested Houdini, and believe me, it's a real nightmare (at the begining)! but arount this, there's a great Documentation. Even tutorials are enough in some cases and after passed that, it's really a pleasure to work with Houdini, even some stuffs (maybe weird) are too obvious etc etc..

Well, what i want from Blender? A great 3D package, pro-flexible-powerful... but sorry, too easy sounds bad with it.

In this 3D package:
- UNDO, Fundamental!!! even MSpaint got that! :) and one History Stack.

- A full set of modeling tools. (especially Edge tools)

- Pixie or Yafray as renderer =), and rendering pass a part (shadow, specular, etc)

- Materials/textures Editor improvements + a Tree-view to seef complex multi-textures e.g: Input/Output materials/textures (why not accessible directly from Oops)

- Improve Oops.

- Better features for Layers (organization, naming, option, tree-view, datasheet etc)) fot this i'll post a demo.

- ( not an emergency eheh ) Object with Parameters. Already possible in Blender with animation tools, but more in a Houdini way (i'll post a better explanation soon)

- Animation ... (i'm not ready yet)

my 2euros

Last edited by Etna on Sat Jun 14, 2003 5:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by matt_e »

Blender can be made easier for a beginner without compromising the interface we all know and love. For example, like you mentioned - adding an undo feature would make it easier for a beginner and easier for experienced users as well. It doesn't have to be a tradeoff.

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Post by Etna »

Broken, As i've said: UNDO is FUNDAMENTAL!!!!! :)

Edit: More seriously, i've seen what you mean, but what i note it's that some people underestimate blender's users. I didn't say we must have a 3D pkg like Maya or other, ... so, i stop here (i don't know anymore what i meant) lol

Ok Broken, you make a great work, i trust you, in fact i trust community!.


ps:nevertheless let's not be afraid if Blender exceed 8mb. hehe

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