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  1. #21
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    I thought there were keyboard, view screen layouts that emulated Maya and Max somewhat. From my perpspective, from the limited interaction I had with Max, Blender seems to involve fewer steps to achieve modeling. And the current versions of Blender are much more user friendly to texturize a mesh



  2. #22
    Member Chris Offner's Avatar
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    What I like:
    Default UI/theme
    Visually, I think Bforartist's default UI has a much nicer colour palette. I use the Modern Minimalist theme in Blender and am very happy with it, but defaults matter and I think Blender could do much better than its current default theme. Bforartist's generally darker default theme feels more modern and pleasant to me.

    More than 300 unnecessary menu double-entries removed!
    That's a big one. De-cluttering the UI of unnecessary redundancy can go a long way in making Blender's UI cleaner and less claustrophobic.

    Close to 100 formerly hotkey only functions have a menu entry now.
    That's the counter-side to the previous point, and even more important. Having important functionality that is only accessible through hotkeys and does not show up in any menu is a UX/UI nightmare - and a real slap in the face of anyone who is new to Blender and wants to learn it.
    To be fair though, I think the Search menu is probably the worst example of this because it's the one function even a user with a very UI-based workflow would usually open via hotkey. But it certainly doesn't hurt to also be able to access it via Window > Search, especially as a newcomer just exploring the software.

    Icons in the tool bar to reduce scrolling
    I'm very much in favour of that as well. I think the icons could be bigger and have less or no space between them than they do in Bforartists, but in principle I think icons can be a great way to declutter a UI, save space and provide more intuitive visual cues for a function than an endless scrolling list of text buttons does. However, the success of this critically depends on the quality and clarity of the icons. Good icon design is hard!

    Maya 2016 introduced a new UI and new icons, and while they're visually very pleasant, many people - including myself - keep having trouble remembering what function some of the less frequently used icons perform exactly. It isn't always entirely clear.


    But Bforartists solves this nicely by allowing the user to also turn the buttons back to text and icon mode.

    Configurable toolbar with icons
    Very nice! This seems akin to Maya's shelf where the user can quickly store little scripts and other functions as buttons. I've long wished for something like this in MODO as well - and Blender would certainly also benefit from a drag-and-drop way to do this sort of stuff.

    Overall I think there are some really sensible changes in Bforartists and would love to see Blender adopt some of the no-brainer ones I just listed.



  3. #23
    Member DerekWatts's Avatar
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    This seems like a pretty good test case for some features and UI changes Blender could/should adopt. A drag/drop macro toolbar would be pretty great, for example. Hopefully the fork leads to improvements for new users and people transitioning from other software.

    I do worry a bit (maybe unwarranted) that a UI-first approach to Blender simply means a slower user experience. How 'anti-hotkey' is B4A?



  4. #24
    Member Chris Offner's Avatar
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    That's the part I don't get about how many Blender users argue.
    Having menu options doesn't take away the ability to use hotkeys.

    My learning process for every software I've learned during my career, from C4D to Maya, MODO, ZBrush, NUKE, Vue, Blender, Houdini, even Photoshop, AE and Premiere, has always been:

    A) Learn what the software can do via its UI
    B) Transition to hotkey use more and more as I get comfortable with the paradigms and features of the software

    And if I haven't used a software for many months in a row, which absolutely happens when working in a variety of productions and environments where you jump between pipelines and tools, I can go back to it and still have all functionality at my fingertips in the UI - and still get the job done while I retrain myself.

    UI always needs to come first for a user-friendly accessible software design. And then, absolutely provide hotkey solutions for all frequently used functionality so power users can speed up their workflow.

    But having new users sift through tutorials and hotkey lists to even find out what the software can do - instead of letting them explore it right there in a clear, clean and accessible UI, that's very suboptimal UX design.
    Last edited by Chris Offner; 21-Apr-17 at 03:24.



  5. #25
    More than 300 unnecessary menu double-entries removed!
    That's a big one. De-cluttering the UI of unnecessary redundancy can go a long way in making Blender's UI cleaner and less claustrophobic.
    Here's a big problem with designers: They love to change things, but they have a hard time appreciating the cost of changing things, because they're not paying for it.

    (Re)moving something in the UI breaks every single piece of documentation referring to that thing and it disorients the user. Lots of small changes over time add up to a ton of required fixing that often never gets done. An old video that could still be valuable is now hard to follow. It will never get re-recorded. An old piece of documentation may not get updated and confuse the new user.

    When in doubt, it is best to err on the side of keeping things the way they are. Companies like Adobe recognize this, so they keep the UI of products like Photoshop stable - at the cost of consistency, usability, and visual appeal.

    Close to 100 formerly hotkey only functions have a menu entry now.
    That's the counter-side to the previous point, and even more important. Having important functionality that is only accessible through hotkeys and does not show up in any menu is a UX/UI nightmare - and a real slap in the face of anyone who is new to Blender and wants to learn it.
    Pretty much no functionality is only accessible through a hotkey. Every operator that is invokable shows up in the search box. A lot of those "hotkey-only" functions don't even make sense (or work poorly) as menu entries. Shoehorning them into menus may improve discoverability, but at the cost of cluttering up the UI. The same goes for having a ton of icons even for rarely-used functionality. Also, Blender's icons are very well-made, but if you need one for every function, quality will suffer (as evidenced by Bforartists).

    Out of curiosity, what "important functionality" do you believe warrants a new menu entry? If we can accept that a bit of redundancy isn't of the devil, maybe an entry could be added (hypothetically).



  6. #26
    @Beerbaron: What you're basically arguing for is inertia, a thing that holds progress back. Yes, as any new thing is created many old things are destroyed. Yet, if the new thing is better, why not?

    If Blender was the leading 3D platform, inertia might be justified, to maintain the near monopoly position, as is the case for Autodesk, Zbrush and Adobe. As it currently stands, Blender thrives on innovation, which necessitates creative destruction.
    CG enthusiast. Tools: Blender - Substance - Unity3D



  7. #27
    Originally Posted by ambi View Post
    @Beerbaron: What you're basically arguing for is inertia, a thing that holds progress back. Yes, as any new thing is created many old things are destroyed. Yet, if the new thing is better, why not?
    Did I not literally just explain why? You are destroying value by changing things around, so your change better provide significant value by itself. Moving things around doesn't actually provide a lot of value, even when that change may be considered "better" when seen in isolation.

    Progress is not inherently good, it can wreak utter havoc. A most precarious situation is when someone "at the top" (a.k.a. upstream) gets to make decisions without being accountable for the outcome. That's exactly the situation you have with FOSS software like Blender.

    If Blender was the leading 3D platform, inertia might be justified, to maintain the near monopoly position, as is the case for Autodesk, Zbrush and Adobe. As it currently stands, Blender thrives on innovation, which necessitates creative destruction.
    Moving things around isn't "creative destruction". It's not innovation. It's "moving things around". What little value it has is rather superficial.

    On that note: After presenting his "new UI" proposal, Andrew Price recorded a podcast with an actual UX designer. If I remember correctly, he gives an account of how a company tanked their product by re-designing the UI. As a result of this interview, Andrew retracted his proposal (which I did find appealing, by the way).
    Last edited by BeerBaron; 21-Apr-17 at 06:01. Reason: added podcast reference



  8. #28
    In my humble opinion removing repetition and clutter from the interface, changing the UI to be more friendly for newcomer artists, and yes, even those people used to Maya, is innovation.
    CG enthusiast. Tools: Blender - Substance - Unity3D



  9. #29
    Member Chris Offner's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeerBaron View Post
    Here's a big problem with designers: They love to change things, but they have a hard time appreciating the cost of changing things, because they're not paying for it.

    (Re)moving something in the UI breaks every single piece of documentation referring to that thing and it disorients the user. Lots of small changes over time add up to a ton of required fixing that often never gets done. An old video that could still be valuable is now hard to follow. It will never get re-recorded. An old piece of documentation may not get updated and confuse the new user.

    When in doubt, it is best to err on the side of keeping things the way they are.
    I'm a user first and foremost. I've learned a lot of 3D/VFX software and I use a lot of 3D/VFX software - and I would always endorse radical UI/UX changes and accept the cost of short-term reorienting and learning for a smoother and cleaner UX long term. I think UX obstructionism in order to protect one's investment (that being the time and effort spent on getting comfortable in an old UI) is toxic and hugely problematic to progress - both for personal growth as well as an industry overall.

    Things become obsolete. Documentation, tutorials, articles. That's the way things go with progress.
    Of course there's a discussion to be had about what changes are worth making, and at what frequency, but I think a big workflow release like 2.8 opens the door for significant and hugely valuable changes.

    "Moving things around" makes a massive difference for UI and UX design. Where an option can be found is absolutely critical in determining how intuitive a software is to the user.
    Last edited by Chris Offner; 21-Apr-17 at 06:15.



  10. #30
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    Originally Posted by juang3d View Post
    I'm a Max/Maya hardcore user and I personally did not try BforArtists.

    It could be great, I don't know, but I think that if a piece of software has been designed in an specific way, why should you fight it?
    Blender as is is a really cool piece of software, it can be improved and will be improved for sure, but the foundations are pretty cool, including the 3d cursor, it is sooooo useful when you learn how to use it.

    So IMHO it's not worth trying to modify Blender so it's similar to Max or Maya, just learn Blender as it is, it's my opinion of course.

    Cheers!
    +1. When you learned Maya, did you say, "well this UI is terrible, it's non-intuitive." close it, and never use it again? No... you learned how to use it and dodged its quirks ... EVERY piece of software is like that. I use Blender every day for my job... if it was unusable and counter-intuitive I wouldn't get anything done, but it's just the opposite.
    I wish people would quit complaining about it and just do it.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXsQAXx_ao0
    Quicksand has no sense of humor



  11. #31
    Originally Posted by apoclypse View Post
    I agreed with Tiles, I disagreed with Tiles, but after his announcement of bforartists the snark was on the highest of levels in this forum with people questioning his technical prowess to even do the project in the first place. Cut to maybe a year later and he is making progress and is getting good feedback from non Blender users (Maya, Max users) by catering to what they want to see in the software rather than some ideology about Blender's UX which is what discussion about Blender almost always devolve to.
    There were good reasons to question his technical skills. He had a very strong opinion about using Qt for the UI and heavily criticized the Blender developers for not using it. One of his main topics was to adapt Qt.
    Many explained him the difficulties which are involved in such a transition and maintaining it. However, he always knew it better. It took him very long to realize that it was indeed not feasible and dropped the idea.

    Right now, he does many small changes which look really promising. I am sure, the Blender developers would have been far more open to this kind of changes.

    Unfortunately, he deliberately provoked by being rather vocal and e.g. by having this kind of logo. Of course, the way in which it backfired was not acceptable. But it was not that surprising either if you are actively watching what happens online.


    Originally Posted by apoclypse View Post
    Tiles was very vocal about what he though was wrong with Blender not just the software but the leadership behind the project and he felt/feels that any contribution to Blender for things he thinks are important are not important to Ton, etc. In a way I agree. A lot of the changes in Bforartist would never make it to Blender trunk. Blender101 is supposed to address the same things that Tiles is already addressing, but that's no guarantee that the politics behind Blender won't rear it's head when 2.8 comes out.
    I never had the impression that he wanted to actually work with anyone. He started as being a very demanding user and never took the time to find out how he could contribute. In every project, a new person can not join and ask for huge changes without really understanding why those decisions were made in the first place. That's simply not how it works.
    The politics behind Blender often seemed like a cover up for me. If there are unreasonable demands like a switch to Qt, this has nothing to do with politics. If there is no real effort to work with existing developers who actively contributed for years, that has nothing to do with politics.



  12. #32
    Member Chris Offner's Avatar
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    Trying to improve the software is not complaining and it's not whining.
    If people hadn't dedicated time and energy into improving UX and UI, we'd still be modelling by manually entering per-vertex world position coordinates into text fields.

    Believe me - I've learned a lot of software and I'm certainly not too lazy to wrap my head around any new software's particular quirks.
    My motivation is not personal convenience and laziness, it's a wish to contribute to further improvements and progress.

    Maya 2016 made radical changes to their UI, moved things around drastically and streamlined things. The result, while requiring a bit of reorienting at first from veterans, is so much better than before. I don't know any Maya user who thinks having the old UI and menu ordering/hierarchies back would be better.

    Houdini 16 just came out with an amazing new Network Editor. They completely revamped the UI/UX on the core working space of the entire software, which is the Network Editor. They also changed a bunch of nodes to improve user experience - for example, they split the old and overly crowded Group Node into four separate nodes that perform different tasks.

    I think consistent UX/UI improvements are critical to the progress and innovation of any software.
    Last edited by Chris Offner; 21-Apr-17 at 06:32.



  13. #33
    Originally Posted by Chris Offner View Post
    Trying to improve the software is not complaining and it's not whining.
    If people hadn't dedicated time and energy into improving UX and UI, we'd still be modelling by manually entering per-vertex world position coordinates into text fields.

    Believe me - I've learned a lot of software and I'm certainly not too lazy to wrap my head around any new software's particular quirks.
    My motivation is not personal convenience and laziness, it's a wish to contribute to further improvements and progress.

    Maya 2016 made radical changes to their UI, moved things around drastically and streamlined things. The result, while requiring a bit of reorienting at first from veterans, is so much better than before. I don't know any Maya user who thinks having the old UI and menu ordering/hierarchies back would be better.

    Houdini 16 just came out with an amazing new Network Editor. They completely revamped the UI/UX on the core working space of the entire software, which is the Network Editor. They also changed a bunch of nodes to improve user experience - for example, they split the old and overly complex Copy Node into four separate nodes that perform different tasks.

    I think consistent UX/UI improvements are critical to the progress and innovation of any software.
    Is this comment meant as reply to what I wrote? (I am really not sure)



  14. #34
    Member Chris Offner's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Dantus View Post
    Is this comment meant as reply to what I wrote? (I am really not sure)
    No, it was in response to Safetyman's comment. Yours came in while I wrote this one.



  15. #35
    Well, to be honest.
    Pros: add some things that will not make trunk in the near future like hide cursor, colored wireframe, clean the interface, add more icons and shortcuts, add a custom toolbar and clear redundant things, tabs for layouts etc...
    Cons: according to Tiles break some addons change lots of pannels to addapt what he think should be blender and ofc all the tutorials based on the default blender would be hard to follow for a noob user.
    Is a nice fork just like fluid designer, Dark blender or the sensei format. Would be great to me to have some of the things that he put there in the default blender.



  16. #36
    Member xrg's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeerBaron View Post
    Here's a big problem with designers: They love to change things, but they have a hard time appreciating the cost of changing things, because they're not paying for it.

    (Re)moving something in the UI breaks every single piece of documentation referring to that thing and it disorients the user. Lots of small changes over time add up to a ton of required fixing that often never gets done. An old video that could still be valuable is now hard to follow. It will never get re-recorded. An old piece of documentation may not get updated and confuse the new user.

    When in doubt, it is best to err on the side of keeping things the way they are. Companies like Adobe recognize this, so they keep the UI of products like Photoshop stable - at the cost of consistency, usability, and visual appeal.
    Adobe tweaks Photoshop's UI every version. Everything does---Windows, MSOffice, Web browsers. They have to in order to stay competitive. The product that gets the job done the simplest is the one that wins. Open Source is the only one that goes long periods with stagnant UIs. They rarely hold a major market share either, though.
    My Blender Tutorials | look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!



  17. #37
    Originally Posted by Chris Offner
    I'm a user first and foremost. I've learned a lot of 3D/VFX software and I use a lot of 3D/VFX software - and I would always endorse radical UI/UX changes and accept the cost of short-term reorienting and learning for a smoother and cleaner UX long term. I think UX obstructionism in order to protect one's investment (that being the time and effort spent on getting comfortable in an old UI) is toxic and hugely problematic to progress - both for personal growth as well as an industry overall.
    Fair enough, I consider that an extremely immature attitude. In business, respecting the investment that other people make in your platform is incredibly important. Like I said, the problem is people making decisions without being accountable for the resulting cost.

    If you've never run a business, picture yourself justifying to your superiors the cost outline for retraining for some new UI. You're talking about an real immediate cost for a vague promise of reduced cost in the future. Good Luck getting that through. Chances are, you will be stuck with whatever you have, instead.

    Having said that, maybe the Blender userbase is not to be compared to regular businesses. I have therefore set up a poll to get the general sentiment.



  18. #38
    Originally Posted by xrg
    Here's Adobe Photoshop from 1999:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    All of that stuff is pretty much exactly how it is today. The menu structure is the same (though of course Photoshop's interface can be re-arranged by the user). You will have no difficulty reorienting yourself if you open Photoshop CC.

    They have of course tweaked visuals and added features, but that's besides the point.

    Everything does---Windows, MSOffice, Web browsers.
    ... and it pisses people off every time. To this day, some people begrudge the Ribbon interface, even though it's arguably better. I'm not saying nobody ever does changes things (Microsoft can basically do what it wants) - but when they do, it causes a lot of trouble. Would you seriously point to Microsoft Office or even Windows (8+) as examples of successful UI revamps? By my account the new Windows UI (still) is a complete disaster, even though it has largely been reverted.



  19. #39
    But you don't know that. What if the cost of retraining is nothing compared to an quality or speed boost of 5-10%. Not to mention that training new people might get faster/easier.

    You learn a new workflow ONCE, the improvement is permanent.



  20. #40
    Member Chris Offner's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeerBaron View Post
    ... and it pisses people off every time. To this day, some people begrudge the Ribbon interface, even though it's arguably better.
    Maya users love the new interface.
    Houdini users love the new Network Editor interface (further UI enhancements to be expected in future versions).

    A bit of inconvenience and a small learning curve is worth it. If you don't like to learn new things, you're probably in the wrong field anyway - CGI moves at rapid pace, with or without you (not you personally BeerBaron).



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