Various UI improvements.

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

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-efbie-
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Various UI improvements.

Post by -efbie- » Sat Jan 29, 2005 9:19 pm

There is still a lof of things in blender that can be polished. I listed here all the things that i found unintuitive when i learned blender and things that i still find confusing. This is all sort of little improvements that would make blender more user friendly (and more efficient)

1)Split window.
Maybe i am a retard but i often miss the window when i want to split it. It would be more flexible if you could still change the active window when you use the tool.

2)Hotkeys in Infobox
Sometimes tools are not available in the menus, only with buttons, but there is no information on what are the hotkeys for these tools. Displaying the hotkey in the infobox would be helpful.

3) Camera List
There is no obvious way to guess wich camera is the active one. A list in the render panel would be really useful.

4) File extensions.
File extensions aren't automatically added for pictures, but they are for .blend files. It is not really consistant.

5) Hotkey indicator
There is a lot of functionality 'hidden' with modifiers keys. a good example is Ctrl-LMB to open Image navigator. It would help users if it was said in the header free space 'Use Ctrl, Shift, for additional options. So the user would know that there is additional behaviour. Header is not the best place, maybe the infobox would be less intrusive...

6)Save render
'Save image' Is a quite 'vague' tool. I personally made screenshot of my render because i didn't found how to save it. (then i read the doc :) ) But i still don't know why it is called 'Save Image' and not 'Save Render'

7)Select Mode
A quick way to change the selection mode (face/edge/vertex) would be a Ctrl-RMB on a vertex / edge / face, and it would automatically change the mode.

joeri
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Post by joeri » Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:19 pm

1. ?
2. Good idea: some thing like this?
3. I hear that's not going to be implemented soon. mockup
4. I think that is a bug. Even with the toggle 'extensions' on it does not write extensions.
5. Yep. Textual feedback would be good. Also python errors in a blender window.
6. Nope. Save Image is what it is. Not save rendering, because anim is also a rendering and not saved with this hotkey.
7. Why have modes at all? Can't blender see my mouse is above a v/e/f ? Highlight the possible selection and auto switch modes on nearest selection.

Just my 7 cents.

-efbie-
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Post by -efbie- » Sun Jan 30, 2005 12:16 am

1) I was thinking of this :
Image

2) Something easier :
Image

6) Save Rendered Image ? ;)

7) Because sometimes you just want to laso select faces, and not Faces + random vertex. But, as you say it here is another improvement :

8 ) Highlight a preview of the selection when moving cursor over things.

halibut
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Post by halibut » Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:16 am

I think the save image button should be at the top of the render window too.
The extension adding behaviour is not a bug, this is explained in the 2.3 guide, I remember reading when it does and when it doesn't :)

Hotkeys in tooltips - excellent.

New splitting behaviour would be better, but I never had a problem with this. It is which blender window was last active when you roll mouse on to the bar that gets split - in one of the official video tutorials it says whichever blender window your cursor is closer to (eg, one pixel closer to the bottom window than the top window) gets split, but I don't believe this is correct(?). bar = the dividers of the blender windows.

Arathorn
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Post by Arathorn » Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:49 am

3.) If you press Num0 you get a viewpoint through the active camera.

joeri
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Post by joeri » Sun Jan 30, 2005 11:30 am

Arathorn wrote:3.) If you press Num0 you get a viewpoint through the active camera.
Would be nice if the active 3d camera had a different up arrow, or something to see which is the active one. Also it would be nice if there was a spot where a user can read what the active camera is, or select one not using the 3d window. It would be nice, not a must or a big deal.

2) Good idea.

6) To long. Save image is fine, what would it mean anyway but save the renderd image? Save a random image?

7) Lasso, Good point. Then maybe the lasso should be in a mode. B selects lasso in last mode; B,V / B,F / B,E sets lasso in v/f/e mode?

8.) :) [hahahaha crazy smilies 8) ]

-efbie-
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Post by -efbie- » Sun Jan 30, 2005 12:59 pm

2) I'm ready to add the hotkeys in the tooltips, but will it break translations ?
3) Yes, i know but this isn't really 'obvious' especially when you don't have a numpad. that sort of basic features shouldn't require to read the blender documentation. (IMHO)
6) At least a button in the render window like halibut said.
7) I think modes are a good thing, it allows you to select without too much thinking. The bad thing is that switching between mode is not really practical.

joeri
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Post by joeri » Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:16 pm

7.) I'm glad blender does not have a "Modeling" , "Animation" & "Render" mode. Modes are bad. Objects/Edit is as far as I find nice. Paint/Face/Pose bah, bad. e/f/v; bad. Hee just my opinion. I would think that's an human interface challange. Except the obvious is chosen: modes. Why I know it's bad? Just look at all the 'solutions' people are inventing to quickly change modes, this indicates they don't want the modes.
Lasso selecting only verteces is not a mode, it's a tool: the vertex selection tool. And why is it a problem to select multiple mesh parts (v/f/e) ? Most tools work on only one of them. What if you select a bunch of parts, verteces, faces and edges with the lasso and then press V, this toggles off all except the verteces. So could E and F. Or pre-choose your lasso type; BE, BF & BV.

halibut
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Post by halibut » Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:37 pm

Modes are good to an extent, in that they allow less room for error, eg: if I am trying to select a face amonst a thousand vertices, it will be a lot easier if all I can select is faces!

But I remember trying to use 3dsmax, when I wanted to just edit the vertices of a mesh I had to apply a modifier?! yuck

-efbie-
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Post by -efbie- » Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:49 pm

I don't understand why you are against select modes. If you don't want them, shift-select them all.
But you will see that it is not practical to work like this. People want mode because they are useful, but they also want to be able to switch between mode easily. These aren't incompatible requests.

Anyway I would like to know if someone knows if changing the tooltips breaks the translation system ?

joeri
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Post by joeri » Sun Jan 30, 2005 3:38 pm

-efbie- wrote: People want mode because they are useful
What about trying to find a way to avoid them? Nothing in nature has modes. So seems to me the more intuitive/natural way is to avoid them. A good way to avoid them is switching tools.
Software in general is having less and less modes. OS gets more multitasking to avoid modes. I'm against v/f/e selection modes because I think they have no use. As far as I know Modo also has no selection modes. Just needless clicking.

-efbie-
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Post by -efbie- » Sun Jan 30, 2005 4:48 pm

modo has select modes, and you can switch between modes by right clicking on a element. That's where i stole the idea :)

No modes in real life ? And car gears ? These are modes and you know that manual is more efficient than automatic. My dog has two mode : silly and crazy. You switch between them by giving him food. ;)

The only solution to avoid modes that i can think of, is pressing v/e/f when selecting to restrict to one of those elements. But i think that after a while we will get tired of pressing those buttons and want that it stays on, that's exactly what a mode does.

Making specific tools for e/v/f means too much different tools, and there is no room left for all the hotkeys.

Bellorum
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Post by Bellorum » Sun Jan 30, 2005 4:53 pm

Just a thought on selection modes. While I like the idea of a universal mode, I think that separate modes are useful in one aspect - in a universal mode you have to be more exact in your selection, while having different modes allow for a more "sloppy" selection, ie "select nearest" works alot better. A no-mode option would be facilitated, I think, by a highlight feature, or selection preview if you will. I think there is room for both solutions.
There's no such thing as democracy. There's only the tyranny of one, and the tyranny of many.

halibut
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Post by halibut » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:20 am

joeri wrote:
-efbie- wrote: People want mode because they are useful
What about trying to find a way to avoid them? Nothing in nature has modes. So seems to me the more intuitive/natural way is to avoid them. A good way to avoid them is switching tools.
Software in general is having less and less modes. OS gets more multitasking to avoid modes. I'm against v/f/e selection modes because I think they have no use. As far as I know Modo also has no selection modes. Just needless clicking.
Don't think of them as modes! You are just selecting the edge select "tool", ;)

joeri
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Post by joeri » Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:00 am

-efbie- wrote:modo has select modes, and you can switch between modes by right clicking on a element. That's where i stole the idea :)

No modes in real life ? And car gears ? These are modes and you know that manual is more efficient than automatic. My dog has two mode : silly and crazy. You switch between them by giving him food. ;)

The only solution to avoid modes that i can think of, is pressing v/e/f when selecting to restrict to one of those elements. But i think that after a while we will get tired of pressing those buttons and want that it stays on, that's exactly what a mode does.

Making specific tools for e/v/f means too much different tools, and there is no room left for all the hotkeys.
hahahah, okay then :)
But your dog has moods not modes. Computer deformation!

Calling gears modes is okay with me, but then everything is a mode, words are modes to: hello is a word in hello mode, and smack is a word in smack mode, see, modes are very usefull, otherwise we would not have words. That argument does not go anywhere.
In my perception my wife is not in "cook mode" when she's making diner.

But your car is not in "setting gear mode". You can steer and gear at the same time. If you'd need to press a button to switch from steer to gear mode you'd find that annoying right?
But that's just a silly car annalogy, one could argue that mesh editing is something different from driving a car.

On sloppy selection:
Maya has a row of icons where I can toggle what I want to be selected on and off. They are not radio buttons.
Maya has 3 selection modes Group/Object/Edit
Group mode selects whole hierarchy,
for object mode I can choose handles/joints/curves/mesh(nurbs,poly and/or sds) /lattices/particles/render(light/camera/texture)/other,
for edit mode points(cv's/vertex/lattice)/uv/edge/face/hull/pivots/other.

But inside the selection mode (edit for example) the user can choose what to select, example: verteces and faces. If I do a 'normalize normals' it will do it for the faces and verteces. If I select everything and I select smooth edge, it will know to leave the faces alone. (optional 'auto correct selection' can turn the face selection off as well)

Lot's of tools are selection dependant so it doesn't matter that you've selected to much. "Triangulate" is only for faces. "Fractal subdivide" is only for edges.

Just my thoughts on the subject.
I do know I hate the game related modes (paint/face/uv). Seems to me that visual 3d feedback is the most important part of the modes. If it's instant clear what mode I'm in, than modes are fine. Just try the V / F modes to see what I mean. (press F F F F, V V V V, V F V V, F V F F for fun, and for extra fun also use the TAB)

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