What about a new GUI?

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

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joeri
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Post by joeri » Thu Oct 20, 2005 6:04 pm

Zingam wrote:If all computer scientist, computer programmers and computer users thought that nothing needs innovation and improvement and further development and experimenting new ideas, we would have still be stitting in front of green displays just like we did 20 years ago or even there would be 5-6 computers in existance in some creepy government institutions and nobody would could have imagined that 3D graphics could be possible.
Without innovation there would have been no computers.

bmud
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Post by bmud » Fri Oct 21, 2005 8:24 pm

To adress the issue of layers, if anyone in here has ever worked with Fruityloops then you're familiar with the phone-style num pad for selecting patterns. When the program finally was allowed to do more, it was thrown out in place of a wheel selector.

A. Keep the minibuttons because they are what I call A GOOD USE OF SPACE. They're small, yes, but small -- once you're used to it -- they become very handy when you're trying to do a lot. The only thing that sucks is when you've given yourself more than 20 layers.

B. Put the tiny layer buttons on a context-sensitive secondary header bar. They'll only show up when you shift around items on that bar to make room for more space. Otherwise, you're given a regular drop-down/up context menu. This sort of behavior is very prominent in Winamp5's modern skins while in "shade mode". Try it out if you've got it by changing the length of the bar. Some skins adapt by changing interface modules into miniature versions meant for smaller spaces.

I'm glad that this post has gotten so lengthy! I'm excited about talking to anyone that has worked on the code for the GUI and learning how to contribute.

Later on, perhaps we could make a Flash version of our mock interface -- combining our new ideas

Joe Cool
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Post by Joe Cool » Sun Oct 23, 2005 10:43 pm

I for one am also very glad that this is getting some attention. I have since the beginning had trouble with Blender's GUI. It isn't clean and it doesn't match anything. One thought that I had is that we could built a "theme" for each platform. The GUI would be the same except that we would have a folder of images that would be used that would be different on each platform. If one wanted to use the GUI for a platform other than what they were using now they could change it in prefs. I would be happy to draw the images for the Mac platform if someone would work with me to code it. I also saw a GUI that reminded me of blender but that was much cleaner and not so space wasting, Aperture from Apple. Go check it out. I think that this would make a really cool GUI for blender. The other reason for themes is that anyone could make a theme for it and use there own.
Joe Cool
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elander
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Post by elander » Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:03 am

I really don't see how blender gui could be more compact. Can you prove what you say with screenshots ? Blender is one of the few apps that let me work comfortably with a resolution of 1024x768. With much more buttons showing at the same time than other modelers.

On the subject of layers there are, what, 1, 2 people ? who don't understand what layers are for and just assume with a good dose of arrogance that just because they can't work with it nobody can.

Layers are so usefull because they are a quick and dirty way to control visibility. If you want a more powerful ways to organize your objects you have: scenes and parenting but don't mess with layers.

zupermonkey
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Post by zupermonkey » Tue Oct 25, 2005 10:04 am

elander wrote:I really don't see how blender gui could be more compact. Can you prove what you say with screenshots ? Blender is one of the few apps that let me work comfortably with a resolution of 1024x768. With much more buttons showing at the same time than other modelers.
Take a look at Office 12.

Context Sensitivity.. Context Sensitivity...

That's how things could become really compact.

elander
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Post by elander » Tue Oct 25, 2005 11:55 am

Thats so lazy. Telling other people to go search for arguments to prove your own points. If you can't do it yourself don't expect for people to give you any credit.

zupermonkey
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Post by zupermonkey » Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:40 pm

Ehm, thanks for the insult.

Anyway:

http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/default.mspx
http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/uioverview.mspx

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/imag ... KPI_lg.jpg
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/imag ... cel_lg.jpg

Just like the Blender UI, it looks a bit weird, but the more you look at it, the more useful it seems to be.

elander
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Post by elander » Tue Oct 25, 2005 4:40 pm

zupermonkey wrote:Ehm, thanks for the insult.
Don't expect people to acept everything you say just because you feel insulted. Prove your claims yourself.

Which given these screenshots:
You know that Blender buttons are 3d flat objects, that is you can zoom the buttons in and out. You can also go to the options window and select an international font of any size.

The only annoying thing is that we can't turn off anti-aliasing for these kind of fonts. It doesn't work very well with small fonts. Thats why the standard font is there.

I don't think not even 3dstudio has a 3d gui that allows you to have the freadom to customize your env like this:

http://www.blender.org/cms/typo3temp/pi ... c8f276.jpg
http://www.blender.org/cms/typo3temp/pi ... ac1a9b.jpg
http://www.blender.org/cms/typo3temp/pi ... 4512c9.jpg

Even the latest Office requires you to pick up the manual or read some help files it in order to be able to work with the interface. I know i have to because i usually use OpenOffice and im not familiar with Office.

Blender is a 3d gui and unlike Office that requires hundreds of megabytes memory and its slow like hell, Blender is very small and fast. The last thing i want to see is Blender 3d gui turned into a clone of something else.

Look at some more screenshots and tell me if 3dstudio can arrange your modeler gui with this freedom:

http://www.blender.org/cms/typo3temp/pi ... 08107d.jpg
http://www.blender.org/cms/typo3temp/pi ... f2bd80.jpg
http://www.blender.org/cms/typo3temp/pi ... 188fe6.jpg
http://www.blender.org/cms/typo3temp/pi ... 002361.jpg
http://www.blender.org/cms/typo3temp/pi ... 9928b0.jpg

Edit: By the way a new selection feature would be welcome but that is not a gui change people are requesting its an application change. Named selections and grouping objects (nothing to do with parenting) is something i see people ask all the time. Not just for naming selections on a scene and control their visibility/activation status but also for named selections of vertices and faces. This does not replaces the use of layers as quick way to organize visibility in a scene.

Joe Cool
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Post by Joe Cool » Tue Oct 25, 2005 5:51 pm

Sorry for no screenshots. I thought that this interface would fit blender really well. Also a fullscreen mode in this same style (if you click through the slides you will see shots of it it is dark and has edit windows that float) would work well for smaller screens. If nothing else I think that taking their example in how they implemented their smaller windows would be a good idea. Just a thought.

http://www.apple.com/aperture/gallery/
Joe Cool
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joeri
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Post by joeri » Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:06 pm

zupermonkey wrote:Take a look at Office 12.
O dear, all the Right mouse holding > left mouse clicking and the popup reading...

elander; You must be a terrible gui designer, I'm surely glad you are not on the gui design team. btw. anyone else who does not agree with me is a terrible person and I pity you.
Jow Cool wrote:The GUI would be the same except that we would have a folder of images that would be used that would be different on each platform.
How would the documentation benefit from this?
Jow Cool wrote: The other reason for themes is that anyone could make a theme for it and use there own.
Sounds like a fun hobby, shouldn't we be making animations with the package instead of redoing the package?

I like the fact that developers spend time in getting the animation tools up to date, instead of all these skinning. I can imagine that the winamp team got bored , "yea it plays mp3 now what?". ( I know sensible people who prefere winamp3... ) But with blender there is still a lot to do about the animation system. It makes more sense for winamp to have a cool skin, it sits on your desktop that you spend hours to create. Doing, doing, nothing! because it's actual function is to play music truw your speakers. With blender I'd rather have no interface (buttons) at all.

Ofcourse there is no reason for any developer to pick this up and start to make a 3d package that makes sense (to them). But I find it weird that people think they will understand 3d animation by rearanging the interface themself. Because I think you should know a fair deal about 3d and gui and the package you are using before you can understand what you would change in your interface. And that is visual interface only, looks, skinning. It's not workflow. You'd still have object mode and edit mode for example, there is no interface that is going to change that. The transform would still move your object the wrong way (if you'd think its going the wrong way), only it would be a blue button or your Bla key that moves it the wrong way.

And this is what would happen if you'd arange all the buttons just as maya has them and all the icons to maya icons, it would not turn blender into maya, because the objects would still rotate the wrong way. And there would still be no key to repeat the last function and there will still be no hyper shader.

So why the need to have a mac visual interface if the buttons don't react the mac way. I'd think it's better that they don't look like mac buttons, this way you don't get confused.

"The buttons are to big"
If it bothers you that much then buy a better monitor. Seriously, you can't just go around claiming developers time for a free package because you want to save on your hardware. Blender is getting more and more buttons and tv is going HD within the next 5 years. Movies have been HD since ages. One day, also you will need a monitor and a grfxboard that can display 1920 x 1080, to be able to use blender. Blender's main developer is using it, so I expect that will happen pretty soon.

Then I looked at the mac aperture examples, see what I mean with HD? I can't even read the text so big are thoose screens.

Now blender will get grey buttons, buttons you cannot press untill you press another one first *sigh*. Why? Am I that stuppid? Does the software really know better what I want then I do? O well, it will help the noobs.

People don't seem to understand that you need to toggle the shadow on and need shadow lamps to create images with calculated shadow. "I set the shadow on but it did not make shadows". No, you toggled the shadow button to on but did not create shadow casting lights. Is this realy an interface issue? It sounds like "I sat in the car but it didn't move" to me, go take the bus! Or take drivers lessons, but don't put a "Enter key here" on the contact. That makes no sense, and no that's not logical.

"I pressed render but I got a black image". Did you add a light? "Huh? No, am I suppost to?" Well, do you know what rendering is? Why press that button in the first place if you don't know what it is? "Do I need to know what I'm doing *before* I'm using this blender?" Now we are getting somewhere... Some think you do (me) and some think you don't.

"But I know what I'm doing, i've been using bla for years!"
Uhu,... You've been driving a car for years and so now know how to drive this moped? How hard can it be right? And if you fall down, just blaim the moped for not having 4 wheels. Then go to the moped forum and ask for 2 more side wheels to be attached, because this programm is defendly missing 2 wheels!

That's what I think about the need for blender of a new gui.

jesterKing
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Post by jesterKing » Thu Oct 27, 2005 8:02 am

joeri wrote:
Jow Cool wrote: The other reason for themes is that anyone could make a theme for it and use there own.
Sounds like a fun hobby, shouldn't we be making animations with the package instead of redoing the package?
Just for the record, there is already a possibility for making themes - perhaps not with spiffy images, but still, a theme is a theme :)

Now, I all urge you to refrain from attacking the person itself, even if you feel compelled to do so for whatever reason. That kinda issues you can fight out over personal email. Keep it constructive, and I don't need to lock threads because people can't behave.

/Nathan

Zingam
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Post by Zingam » Thu Oct 27, 2005 10:09 am

Have you people ever seen AutoCAD or at least tried to understand, what I have proposed about layers?

Or you just feel so mighty superior over some not so experienced users and you feel like displaying you arrogance and superiority?

Nobody has ever told that you are stupid, because you use a badly designed program. Some people express their oppinions what they don't like and what they would like and you are telling them that they are stupid, because they don't how to use the program!

One of the worst things I've ever seen were these old 3d game level editors, but professionals still made great games with them, which hadn't ment that they couldn't be improved and third parties have done it!

Why don't you say something meaningful and useful and you prefer to bash the other people?

Thank you for reading!

elander
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Post by elander » Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:03 pm

Zingam wrote: Why don't you say something meaningful and useful and you prefer to bash the other people?
We simply cannot disagree with your "meaningful" and "useful" opinions can't we ? No mater how much we try to show you how the Blender interface works.

Joe Cool
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Post by Joe Cool » Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:08 pm

My point really wasn't the themes. And I understand the interface and can use it. The problem I have is that it was designed with a larg screen in mind. When you get on a small screen (like my laptop which I take everywhere and would like to be able to do more blender on) you end up having the interface cover itself up. The small windows inside the windows like in the materials pane (the little subsections) resize themeselves incorrectly so that they end up hiding behing the other panes. If the panes were set up so that each pane's content fit snugly inside of it (like in Aperture) it would be able to be used on much smaller of a screen without problems. Basically there is a lot of wasted sace that never gets covered up while the useful buttons end up too small or hidden. Try showing the prefs pane and make the window smaller. You will see that the text overflows the buttons and becomes useless. Solution: take the subsections out which makes the buttons bigger, place a row of tabs accross the top (maybe) to switch subsections and put a small button limit. When the pane hits this limit scroll bars appear that allow you to access the hidden buttons. Things like that could be placed throut the UI to make it a more universally useable tool.
Joe Cool
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elander
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Post by elander » Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:07 pm

Can you work better in your laptop with Maya and 3dstudio ? I have tried all these apps and i still have more space with Blender overall. Not saying that this is perfect and cannot be made better.
Joe Cool wrote:The small windows inside the windows like in the materials pane (the little subsections) resize themeselves incorrectly so that they end up hiding behing the other panes.
Joe Cool wrote:If the panes were set up so that each pane's content fit snugly inside of it (like in Aperture) it would be able to be used on much smaller of a screen without problems.
Joe Cool wrote:Basically there is a lot of wasted sace that never gets covered up while the useful buttons end up too small or hidden. Try showing the prefs pane and make the window smaller. You will see that the text overflows the buttons and becomes useless.
Joe Cool wrote:Solution: take the subsections out which makes the buttons bigger, place a row of tabs accross the top (maybe) to switch subsections and put a small button limit. When the pane hits this limit scroll bars appear that allow you to access the hidden buttons. Things like that could be placed throut the UI to make it a more universally useable tool.
I have seen these problems metioned before by other posters several times so im sure these are already recognized.

Preferences could get a major revision IMO. It would be more interesting to have preferences groups arranged in tabs like you said. Being able to save preferences to named files or load preferences from named files would be very nice.

Having a generic edit menu with undo / redo / cut / copy / paste / delete / rename / search / replace the usual stuff would be welcome. Notice that you can already use Ctrl-Y and Ctrl-Z anywhere (not just in edit mode). Yes i know it's hard to notice.

I have also seen people complain about the file loading mechanism. Personaly i would rather see an independent floating modal window for this stuff or beter yet an option in preferences.

We can arrange a vertical right window with buttons like in 3dstudio. But you will notice that both the window title and button panels where made for an horizontal window not a vertical one. Try minimizing the panels in a vertical window and you will see they won't scroll to close the free space.

I have heard of someone working on some vertical text render code or something like that. Perhaps this will help solve the panels problems with windows being rotated 90deg or something like that.

Most of these problems were noticed already but you also have to realize that Blender is an open source project not a commercial one. Things aren't solved right away. It depends on people contribution.

I also belive there is mixed old code in Blender source dating from contributions of previous developers so it may be very hard to implement ui solutions that equaly affect all parts of the app in harmony.

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