Hard critique on 2.5 Interface

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

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Jimmyon
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Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:59 pm

Hard critique on 2.5 Interface

Post by Jimmyon » Wed May 26, 2010 6:24 pm

Hello Blender Team,
i wanted you to know that nearly every Blender using person i know critized the interface of 2.5 very hard. The names are changed, a lot of buttons are missing, the interface looks to easy (to casual).
The most things are placerobbing like the 'n' window (a scrollbar in 2.5, a half transparent small window without much descriptions in 2.4x)

A lot of shortcuts arent working anymore, or only bugged(e.g. Shift+b).
We know this is an alpha, but on a usual 19" monitor using blender gets harder and harder cause of the missing space.
Also the scrolling is a very timerobbing thing and the Buttons window is now shiny (ispired by win7?) and just to different for all those who used blender for years.

This is an attempt to show you, that you'd better stick to the old interface with new functions, then to a totally new Interface with nothing working, no space to model and scrooooolling.
Blender is no casual thing, nothing you buy for 1000$ so any1 can use it (if you got skills or not like in c4d most things dont require skill) .
Blender is something you need and SHOULD spent time in to learn and live Blender.
This is a serious "warning" to Blender.
Please dont let it get so far that just any1 can use Blender with no skill at all and thousands of downloads but no real art...

Please dont ignore us,
Multiple Blender Users
My blog and portfolio: www.manuell3d.wordpress.com

wickedcrowstudio
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Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:22 am

Re: Hard critique on 2.5 Interface

Post by wickedcrowstudio » Fri May 28, 2010 6:34 pm

Like you said, the current Blender 2.5 is in Alpha 2 stage.

A lot of the functions are missing like short-cuts and such and even some are replaced with something new using new terms; not to mentioned constant crash while accessing or executing certain features.

The interface isn't so bad; it reminds me of 3ds Max and some functions similar to Maya's. If people have the same dislike like yours of the current user interface for B2.5A, then why not include both type of interface themes with Blender so that users can choose which ones they worked out best for themselves.

I currently still use Blender 2.49b for my 3d creation content but I use 2.5 Alpha 2 for video composting and visual effects because it is a lot stable and faster as well as having the ability to keyframe the specific video settings in the video sequence unlike 2.49b which does not include this feature; also, in 2.5 Alpha 2, you can now put animated texture (movie files such as .mkv or rmvb works on a plane and view it in real time with GLSL turned on which again is not stable in 2.49b.

I can't wait for Blender 2.6 after all the 2.5 testing. XD

plaintext
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Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 10:18 pm

Re: Hard critique on 2.5 Interface

Post by plaintext » Mon May 31, 2010 11:12 pm

I completely agree with Jimmyon. Except for in sounding mildly threatening towards the Blender dev's, who have done a great job so far. However I don't think I can blame Jimmyon for being more than just annoyed...

Let me first say that I am using Blender 2.5 primarily because of the much improved BlenderPython system which allows me to use a really cool rig from the Sintel project.

That required me to update my entire operating system (Ubuntu) because my glibc was getting too old *gasp*. The new Ubuntu and the loads of adjustements I had to make from scratch so I can barely feel at home has already pleased AND irritated me to far ends. So forgive me if I'm a bit emotional.

A new Blender release has never made me unhappy at all (save for some instability or crash in alpha/beta versions). This 2.5 one, however, brought with it A LOT of time wasting and frustration.
Jimmyon wrote:A lot of shortcuts arent working anymore, or only bugged(e.g. Shift+b).
wickedcrowstudio wrote:Like you said, the current Blender 2.5 is in Alpha 2 stage.
Indeed, we should actually appreciate the fact that they release Blender versions while still in alpha. However, that Blender has no way to change key bindings by the user (as far as I'm aware of) is an ENORMOUS CURSE, and something I can't imagine too impossible to have been coded 5 years ago already.

The completely new interface gave me mixed feelings of "hey that's real nice!" to "wow what a ***** **** change that is!!". Unfortunately, the latter represents the majority of my feelings towards it.

The post that Toon_Scheur has made in this forum also reflects my feeling well: http://www.blender.org/forum/viewtopic. ... 4058ee6b9f
Toon_Scheur wrote:BUT, there is danger looming on the horizon for Blender. I can see (or rather feel) that Blender is slowly drifting away from its own fast workflow paradigm.
I am a user interface design near-fanatic. And my philosophy is one that aesthetics always get the least say in how something is to be designed. Less-than-awesome "industry standards" and imitation can definitely go for a ride too. But ok, I don't and can't blame anyone if they don't fully agree with that.

Blender has always appealed (strongly) to this part of me. Blender ain't pretty. But it allows you to make pretty stuff with ease, comfort and speed, all the while being quite intuitive beneath the surface of its hundreds of little buttons and indicators.

Yes, the new interface does look very good. But it scores horribly on several usability points. Such as the fact that there is a sudden but subtle lack of space that almost makes me feel claustrophobic. And the fact that vertices are black, and not pink anymore. Sure pink was ugly somehow, but hasn't anyone checked to see that the pink does a WHOLE lot better in dark / difficult lighting situations such as when I have to model under a chin from the side of a humanoid face? So I can change the theme colors pretty easily. But this here-and-there-totally-inconsiderate mentality somehow permeates the new interface.
The interface isn't so bad; it reminds me of 3ds Max and some functions similar to Maya's. If people have the same dislike like yours of the current user interface for B2.5A, then why not include both type of interface themes with Blender so that users can choose which ones they worked out best for themselves.
NO0oo... *sob* Ok it isn't SO bad, but it is bad overall compared to the past for many users, perhaps not all. While I think it would be very nice to be able to switch between different user interface paradigms, I can't foresee that coming any time soon.

And by the way, a user interface is a way of working, a way of thinking (especially Blender's). Not a theme. A theme is something that dresses the same functionality up in different shades of the same darn color. Sorry for being pedantic, it's nothing against you, but this is what my whole point revolves around.

I have taken the time to write this in hope that it might affect the future of my favorite 3D suite. I estimate that in total, I have taken even more time struggling with some weird new way of thought in the interface or some nifty feature that just refuses to be disabled and keeps irritating me.

So yeah, there's my very hard critique of the new interface. Please, I don't mean to argue or rant about it just for the sake of ranting, but this has seriously gotten to me, and I'm sure, many other Blenderheads.

jayr
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Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:23 am

Post by jayr » Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:34 am

I have used Blender casually off and on for a while, I have been a troll on these forums regarding the UI. Though the frustration wasn't really the UI per se, but being forced to use the static keyboard shortcuts. I use Max professionally on a daily basis. I don't particularly like the workflow of 3DSMax and bitch about its winey button pushing workflow all the time. But at the end of the day its what my work has provided me with, and end up making my own keyboard shortcuts for macro scripts.

I use Softimage at home home regularly and enjoy the work flow. Now that it is owned by Autodesk I find myself studying python and getting familiar with building my own custom tools for Blender. In hopes of applying my own keyboard shortcuts, much like XSI, Max, Maya.

I give Kudos to the new API layer and the coolness factor that users can build your own work flow. Personally I feel the real power lies not learning some one elses key board shortcuts but making your own personal connection with the craft and tranfering the skills to other applications. With the new UI updates, it opens the possibility to customize the way you want it work. It will also make Blender easier to get familiar from a new user perpective. In addition the ability to use your favorite apps shortcuts is awesome.

Though I do agree there should be a legacy UI for the old school users.

If I may wish; I wish the data.mesh was structured either like Maya or XSI. Perferably like XSI where I have the capacity to edit multiple meshes at the same time.

Kudos Kudos Kudos to the new API

Cheers.

Jimmyon
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Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:59 pm

Post by Jimmyon » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:41 pm

I forgot that THOUSANDS of blender users spent uncountable hours of making tutorials which work on nearly all versions, but now all their work wont work like before with blender 2.5 and following :(
Thats sad
My blog and portfolio: www.manuell3d.wordpress.com

Picklesworth
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:23 am

Post by Picklesworth » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:14 pm

Jimmyon wrote:I forgot that THOUSANDS of blender users spent uncountable hours of making tutorials which work on nearly all versions, but now all their work wont work like before with blender 2.5 and following :(
Thats sad
I think that covers why the interface change is a good thing. This isn't about moving buttons; it's about establishing a stable interface that doesn't fluctuate every six months. One which allows those buttons to live, eternally, in their respective logical places.

Think back to when you were first learning Blender. Remember the frustration when a tutorial had a screenshot from a Blender version maybe a year prior, where “arbitrarily named buttons panel with three lines in its icon” had the button you needed six months ago, but the version you were running didn't because that panel ran out of space, so they moved the button to a different panel?
(Horrible run-on sentence to reflect the pain of the situation. It was on purpose. Honest!)

I forced myself to learn Blender fairly recently, and I distinctly recall that experience. Really the only reason I figured it out was because of a single wonderful tutorial on modelling humanoids, thanks to the summer of documentation project. Just about every other tutorial inevitably mentioned something that wasn't where they said, and I would tear my hair out before I learned that the button I wanted now had an ellipsized label and had moved to some dark corner of More More Mesh Tools. The only reason I stuck with Blender was because it was free and my teacher insisted I do.
(Disclaimer: He was an awesome teacher, and I love free (as in libre) software).

On a different note, the new interface directly equates to new functions (and a huge quantity of refactoring). Shoehorning the new properties stuff into the old design is just not going to happen. And if you can't keyframe everything, it isn't 2.5.

If the default layout is stealing space and you don't want a bigger / wider screen, consider shrinking some panels and using the search feature more. With the new UI work, everything is a lot more scalable. Lists that use two columns will happily change to single columns as they get too narrow.

And yes, this takes learning. It's a major change. Everyone knows that. It isn't finished yet, either. I am sure the developers would love some constructive feedback on how they can improve peoples' workflows with the new design. Searching and the tool shelf are two big parts, so maybe there is some way they can be more useful to you? There is no movement away from core values here; just a realization that this application can be more than it is. It could actually appeal to new users on merits alone. I think that's happening.



With regards to constructive criticism, “it's too different” is not hard critique. The only real critique I have detected is that vertices are not coloured in a helpful way. Everything else is talking about how you are critiquing, and some general picture of how you think interfaces should be designed without actually detailing why Blender 2.5 is not that. (I think it is; the animations help to connect different states, so I get a nice sense of how things work, and they keep me in a good mood).

I have an easily impressible mind (probably a reason why I instantly liked 2.5), so maybe you can convince me, but you have to be convincing!

jacobvalenta
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Post by jacobvalenta » Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:46 am

Jimmyon wrote:I forgot that THOUSANDS of blender users spent uncountable hours of making tutorials which work on nearly all versions, but now all their work wont work like before with blender 2.5 and following :(
Thats sad
I partially agree, but isnt it NOT about the 'click this, click that' and more about the concept?

I personally like the new UI (dont get me wrong, i WOULD redo a couple of windows) mainly by default scratch the time line and scene outline and save those for a diffrent set up (to conserve space)
If you don't like my driving, stay off the sidewalks.

GreenSnake750
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Post by GreenSnake750 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:21 pm

I have to partially agree with both sides here, it seems that blender is in fact redesigning its own work flow, the interface isn't horribly bad, but it gets annoying when you have to scroll... scroll... scroll... to finally get to what you wanted, where as in previous versions you could simply move you mouse and click on it. One of the majors problems i have is that on my 14.1 inch laptop screen, i have to drag the windows in order to see all of the available panels to me. which i find quite bothersome and annoying, and i do agree that it feels kind of claustrophobic, especially so on a smaller screen and when compared to all the room you had in 2.49b. But then again, that is why we can customize it! Oh and the verticies colour is very very hard to see in certain situations.
The future is Blender

Jimmyon
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Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:59 pm

Post by Jimmyon » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:54 pm

I always found the buttons of old versions, maybe 1.8 or i dont know even in 2.49 ! I dont watch that much tutorials, but i do some and i can tell you, its hard work to explain and help and i dont know, you can imagine how it must feel spending hours n hours just to help a few and they cant even use it in 2.5 -.-
My blog and portfolio: www.manuell3d.wordpress.com

NateW
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Post by NateW » Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:36 pm

I actually think that this change is a good thing. Blender 2.49 looks like it's from the stone age compared to 2.5. In the past I've tried to get people to use blender and their biggest complaint was that it looked really old and was difficult to understand/use. 2.5 is definitely a huge step in the right direction. Options and names make way more sense and it now looks good. The people that I tried to get to use blender 2.49 are now giving 2.5 a shot because it's now easier to understand and use. So in terms of the UI, I think it's about time.

About stability. They don't call it an Alpha for no reason. There are things that don't work and features missing. 2.5 was a rewrite so I understand. Within the past month I've noticed a huge stability improvement and have had almost no crashes. (Using linux). Also about keeping your OS up to date, I think that should happen more often. Blender now renders a whole lot faster than in 2.49 and there a many new features, so it makes sense to keep your OS updated. In terms of shortcuts, look in the user preferences, they did change some of the shortcuts around.

Lastly, in terms of tutorials, I respect peoples' time and effort put into making those, but most of the tutorials online are horrible. Either you can't hear their voice, they recorded at a bad resolution, they don't have enough skill to make a tutorial, the tutorial is a waste of time, or the tutorial is WAY too old. Not to mention a ton of bad lighting, modelling and texturing. Now if they were the quality of say BlenderCookie, or BlenderGuru then I would see there being more of an issue (both places have been using 2.5 for tutorials for a few months now). So I'm not too sympathetic about that.

Personally, most of the issues that you are complaining about should be fixed by version 2.6 since 2.5 is the DEVELOPMENT series and there will not be an officially "stable" 2.5. But I think the devs are doing a great job and should continue in the direction they are taking.

Nikprodanov
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Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:54 pm

Post by Nikprodanov » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:55 pm

Stop whining, it's progress.

The old interface was very bad and uncustomizable. If you don't like the names of buttons and where they are placed, 2.5 allows you to change them around however you want. If hotkeys don't work the way you want them to, you can change them. Even if the look doesn't please you, you can change it. The rest is stuff that has not been reimplemented yet, and you can't blame anyone for that.

SlinkySerpent
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Re: Hard critique on 2.5 Interface

Post by SlinkySerpent » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:27 pm

This seem more of a moan about change rather than a useful critique, since you haven't actually said what you find right or wrong about the feel and function of the interface.
Jimmyon wrote:Hello Blender Team,
Blender is no casual thing, nothing you buy for 1000$ so any1 can use it (if you got skills or not like in c4d most things dont require skill) .
Blender is something you need and SHOULD spent time in to learn and live Blender.
This is a serious "warning" to Blender.
Please dont let it get so far that just any1 can use Blender with no skill at all and thousands of downloads but no real art...

Please dont ignore us,
Multiple Blender Users
I don't go along with the suggestion that $1000 dollar software makes it too easy, or that to making blender's interface more easy to learn (intuitive) will devalue all the time you have spent learning blender. However easy or difficult the interface, the result can only be as good as the artist. I guess I know what you mean though, but this is the old chestnut that gets back to the 'addition of a 'Create new Pixar Movie' button ;)

With regard to the many great tutorials out there, well yes, this will make many of them redundant, and may need to be rewritten but that's progress. Tutorials move forward like anything else. There is good and bad in that, but it does provide the opportunity to keep things fresh, and keeps our talented tut writers busy.

I do agree, however, that functionality and workflow should take presidence over cosmetic, pretty looking cheap tricks to gain popularity, and I see no reason to 'copy' other software interfaces for cosmetic effect. I also agree that To forsake efficiency and fast workflow, would be to betray it's roots.

My view though, is this is not the case with Blender 2.5, for me, many of settings are more logically placed. But that's just my view, and I have not put in the same time that other have in the older interface. There is also future development and additional feature to consider. I suspect that to try and bolt these onto the original interface elegantly, is likey to get more and more difficult.

@GreenSnake750 The vertext colour by the way can simply be changed in the theme preferences.

GreenSnake750
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Post by GreenSnake750 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:38 pm

thankyou slinkyserpent i did not know that. I hope that in my previous post i did not sound like I was bashing Blender as i love the program and only want the best for it. I found that the non-intrusive GUI and unsurpassed work flow got a little more intrusive (in terms of lost space) and a little slower to work (having to scroll down lists gets bothersome and is relatively slow). This is not moaning it is what i feel is wrong about the feel and function of the new interface. And yes this may lighten the learning curve for new comers which is great but for experienced users it slows down your workflow. And i agree that the new naming convention and placement of things is excellent. My problem is not where things are, it is how you get to them. And Blender's improvements are excellent also no complaints about that, but once again i would prefer it to look 'old' as long as i could work fast and be productive, rather than looking nice and having to scroll down lists :wink: , but that is my opinion and all you guys are entitled to your own as well. C'mon BETA!!!
The future is Blender

gconrads
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Re: Hard critique on 2.5 Interface

Post by gconrads » Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:56 pm

Jimmyon wrote:i wanted you to know that nearly every Blender using person i know critized the interface of 2.5 very hard. The names are changed, a lot of buttons are missing, the interface looks to easy (to casual).
The most things are placerobbing like the 'n' window (a scrollbar in 2.5, a half transparent small window without much descriptions in 2.4x)
Um... this is tragic. :twisted:

Seriously, something is changing, becoming easier to look at, easier to use, more logical, and no one said it was perfect... Every blender using person I know prefers the new interface and the logical clustering of tools in contextual menu areas that allow for easy display or hiding. The improved search function and the overall aesthetic improvement of the UI.

But the developers should stop what they are doing because it might become more like a professional tool?

I am a fan of blender, I like the idea of it, and I have used it on and off for several years. Having said that, it has almost never been more ideal than other applications for a specific project. Was it powerful? In it's own convoluted way, yes, but the UI was holding it back, making it hard to grow and maintain coherence. The UI update is not a simple 'prettying' of buttons (though I appreciate that too) but a rethinking of the significant value that an good UI can bring to an application. The new UI allows for improvements in workflow that the old UI simply couldn't hold up with. It's like comparing a serial port to a USB port. The serial port while useful became a limitation. The USB port opened a host of new opportunities. And some people were sad because their old stuff wouldn't plug right in... then, they were forgotten.

Even the details of button design and icons are important, if you pay attention they communicate more clearly and are more consistent throughout the interface. The way UI elements animate and the interface suggests directional movement helps a user understand where and how the interface is transforming. Things like this may seem like gloss to you... and you may feel a right to have an opinion of it. But to me that suggests that you don't have a very educated opinion on this topic. UI designers and developers typically have a keen understanding of the value of organization and visual details, and this trumps the value of keeping things in the same place so as not to change the status quo.

While it took me a bit of time to adjust to 2.5, I really enjoyed that time because I instantly recognized the effort that had gone into making the interface behave in a logical predictable manner. Blender is leaving it's half-assed-ness in the past. That makes me smile. :D

Have a nice day!
-g
!=

stiv
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Post by stiv » Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:14 am

Far be it from me to stifle this glorious soup of rant and whining, but it might be worthwhile to remember the whole point of the 2.5 development effort: Upgrade our window/event system and unify access to tools.

More here:
http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:2 ... ment/Focus

Please note the last item in the Not targets (yet) section:

* A complete new and glorious UI! Although there will be work done on improving the UI and presentation, the project focus will enable it, not result in it. Much of that work will be done later too.

We now return you to the regularly scheduled frothing. Thank you.

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