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  1. #41
    Originally Posted by BeerBaron View Post
    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.
    Sorry, but I believe the result will be worth nothing. First of all, this forum doesn't represent the Blender user base. And even within the universe of this forum, you won't get a clear result. I am very open for changes in the UI, but only if special care is taken for compatibility. Meaning that old code still works, but won't look good, or that there are (semi-)automatic updaters or it is clearly announced that a major release takes place with breaking changes which is an exception.
    This may represent one side of the yes spectrum. On the other end, there might be people who just want updates no matter what. Because it is so unclear, some may even vote "No".



  2. #42
    Member Chris Offner's Avatar
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    2.8 is a release that will break backwards compatibility either way - so any radical UI changes would be best done there.
    However, I'm not so sure that some of the more basic cleanup and reordering tasks performed in Bforartists would even necessarily break compatibility.



  3. #43
    Beerbaron
    Your argument makes more sense when you apply it to more common application or OS systems.
    I would argue that Photoshop simply got it right from the beginning, and there is only so much you can add to an image manipulation program, which is the reason lots of people still use older versions.

    3D applications are much more bleeding edge and there is a lot more going on in terms on the user interfacing with the program. Maya still looks similar to the 2000 version but the amount of new stuff is staggering. No comparison to Photoshop or MSOffice.



  4. #44
    Member Chris Offner's Avatar
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    I also think the comparison to Photoshop is inappropriate. Photoshop hasn't fundamentally changed since forever, whereas virtually every 3D application has had not only important new functionality but sometimes even entirely new areas added to it. Fluid simulation/Bifröst, sculpting, what have you.

    MODO started out as just a modeller, then added rendering/shading and gradually built up to more areas like rigging and animation, dynamics, etc.



  5. #45
    Member Pesho's Avatar
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    First time i hear of Bforartists... It looks like Blender, but with a tweaked UI? An experienced user probably wouldn't benefit much from it, maybe someone moving from Max or Maya would. Then again, i was mostly a 3dsmax user until 2009 and the 2.46 interface didn't scare me away.



  6. #46
    Originally Posted by Romanji View Post
    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.
    Like I said, you're asking for real money now in exchange for a potential benefit in the future. You can't promise me 5-10%. You know nothing about the real cost or the real benefit (if it exists, at all). You can make a guess, that's it.

    3D applications are much more bleeding edge and there is a lot more going on in terms on the user interfacing with the program. Maya still looks similar to the 2000 version but the amount of new stuff is staggering. No comparison to Photoshop or MSOffice.
    Name me a single 3D application (other than Blender) that has had a major UI overhaul. I'm not talking about re-skinning or adding features. Of course you need to add UI for new features. Other than that, all of the major packages are essentially the same today as they were ten or fifteen years ago. Maya even switched UI toolkits under the hood, while keeping the UI structure intact.

    Originally Posted by Chris Offner
    Maya users love the new interface.
    ...which is a very incremental change. Not "radical", at all. Not very innovative, either.

    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
    CGI moves at a rapid pace? You must be joking. Some people aren't even done throwing out their phong shaders from the seventies, almost fifteen years after PBRT. Most of the programs in use are literally dinosaurs. Looking at Blender's source code is like an excavation.

    If you want to see "innovation", look at the SIGGRAPH showreels from five years ago and tell me how much of that has "arrived".

    Of course, that has nothing to do with UI, where moving a bunch of buttons or adding/removing menu entries already counts as innovation to some people here.



  7. #47
    Member xrg's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeerBaron View Post
    Here's Adobe Photoshop from 1999:

    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.
    I wouldn't have difficulty reorienting myself with BforArtists, either.

    Originally Posted by BeerBaron View Post
    Would you seriously point to Microsoft Office or even Windows (8+) as examples of successful UI revamps?
    Nope. UI success stories wasn't my point, though. Some UI changes are successful, some aren't. I only was pointing out that most software doesn't have a stagnant UI. BforArtist doesn't have unusual changes to me.
    My Blender Tutorials | look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!



  8. #48
    Originally Posted by Chris Offner View Post
    2.8 is a release that will break backwards compatibility either way - so any radical UI changes would be best done there.
    However, I'm not so sure that some of the more basic cleanup and reordering tasks performed in Bforartists would even necessarily break compatibility.
    The starting point of Bforartists was to use Qt for the UI. That would have basically broken everything.
    Bforartists was not created for those small changes, but for big ones. The initial goal was to turn everything upside down first and then make step by step improvements on it. The big shift to Qt was later on dropped.
    If the goal would have been to work with the Blender developers to gradually improve the UI, that would most likely have been possible in one way or another. But that was clearly not the goal!



  9. #49
    Member Chris Offner's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeerBaron View Post
    ...which is a very incremental change. Not "radical", at all. Not very innovative, either.
    Sorry but that's just incorrect. Not sure what your benchmark for radical is, but the changes made in Maya 2016 to the menu structures, order and how Maya is organised were certainly more​ radical than anything seen in Bforartists.

    I was quite confused at first to not find common features where I had been used to finding them, but after a short period of familiarising myself with the changes was fully supportive of the restructuring as it was more logical and streamlined than before.
    Last edited by Chris Offner; 21-Apr-17 at 08:42.



  10. #50
    Originally Posted by xrg View Post
    Nope. UI success stories wasn't my point, though. Some UI changes are successful, some aren't. I only was pointing out that most software doesn't have a stagnant UI.
    My point isn't that UI never changes at all, either. Most software does have remarkably stable UI (over decades!), if for no other reason than saving cost of developer time.

    You can commonly see gradual, incremental changes, but whenever you have massive changes (Windows Metro, Office Ribbons, GNOME 3, Unity) to user interaction, the result tends to be rejection and frustration.

    Originally Posted by Chris Offner
    Sorry but that's just incorrect. Not sure what your benchmark for radical is, but the changes made in Maya 2016 to the menu structures, order and how Maya is organised were certainly more​ radical than anything seen in Bforartists.
    I don't consider the changes in Maya radical. I'd consider something like Andrew Price's UI proposal "radical". I don't consider Bforartists radical either, most of the UI didn't actually change significantly.

    Having said that, such changes are still big enough to break a lot of stuff. I don't think they pay off, at all.
    Last edited by BeerBaron; 21-Apr-17 at 08:58.



  11. #51
    Tiles strikes me as someone who should let his work speak for him more often.



  12. #52
    Member xrg's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeerBaron View Post
    My point isn't that UI never changes at all, either. Most software does have remarkably stable UI (over decades!), if for no other reason than saving cost of developer time.

    You can commonly see gradual, incremental changes, but whenever you have massive changes (Windows Metro, Office Ribbons, GNOME 3, Unity) to user interaction, the result tends to be rejection and frustration.
    Ok, fair enough. BforArtists' changes are on the level of Adobe rather than those examples, though. The results of the changes seem to indicate less rejection and frustration than what Blender gets. I don't understand what your initial beef was, but I've got too much other shit to do, so carry on.
    My Blender Tutorials | look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!



  13. #53
    A interesting case - concerning changing UI (& features) - I think is with video editing programs.

    Years ago Apple's Final Cut Pro was the go to tool for professional videoeditors. While Adobe's Premiere was just a program for hobbyist. Adobe then rethought/streamlined Premiere's interface, relaunched it as Premiere Pro and added better and better professional features with each release. The program began to attract serious interest among professional videoeditors.

    When Apple then rethought the UI for Final Cut Pro and relaunched the program as Final Cut Pro X, the migration to Premiere Pro really picked up speed. Final Cut Pro X* was a big rethink on how to make a videoeditor, and it lacked crucial professional features.

    Today Premiere Pro is the dominant videoeditor for professionals (as far as I know).


    *I haven't used Final Cut Pro X myself, but this is what I picked up from reviews and all the debate in the videoediting community.
    (Have a active ignore list, so there are comments in a thread I don't see)



  14. #54
    Originally Posted by BeerBaron View Post
    (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.
    I think that this is a weak argument for avoiding making UI improvements, especially with open source software like Blender. Unlike Autodesk software, for example, it's very easy to obtain and run whatever old version of Blender you want, so you can always run the exact same version of Blender as the documentation or tutorial use, which would make it easier to follow than using a different version, even without radical changes. Besides, if you don't want to run an old version, as long as the function is named the same it can easily be found through the search that you mention in your next point.

    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).
    I think this is also a weak argument for avoiding improvements. A function being available through the search box is no substitute for discovering it through the UI. What if the user doesn't know the name of the function or even that such a function exists? How will they search for it?

    Just so I understand your perspective a little better, do you believe that Blender should have kept the 2.49 UI, or do you just believe that the 2.5 UI was a good enough improvement and should not be improved (much) further? Stipulating that whether or not a UI change is an improvement or not can be somewhat subjective.
    Last edited by Shenan; 21-Apr-17 at 11:20.



  15. #55
    Originally Posted by Shenan View Post
    I think that this is a weak argument for avoiding making UI improvements, especially with open source software like Blender. Unlike Autodesk software, for example, it's very easy to obtain and run whatever old version of Blender you want, so you can always run the exact same version of Blender as the documentation or tutorial use, which would make it easier to follow than using a different version, even without radical changes.
    In this case I'm talking about removing elements and moving them around within the UI. That will always be a minor improvement at best. Blender very rarely actually does this, but if it happened often it would become very annoying. User are building a mental model of the application, messing with that should not be done without a very good reason.

    Making users install multiple versions of the application just to follow constantly outdated documentation is pretty bad, too.
    Besides, if you don't want to run an old version, as long as the function is named the same it can easily be found through the search that you mention in your next point.
    If some property gets moved from one area to another, you can't just search for that within Blender. Of course it's not an insurmountable problem, but it's wasting the user's time. It all adds up.

    I think this is also a weak argument for avoiding improvements. A function being available through the search box is no substitute for discovering it through the UI. What if the user doesn't know the name of the function or even that such a function exists? How will they search for it?
    I didn't say it was a replacement, the point is that they are not actually hotkey-only. I did say menus are more discoverable (at the cost of clutter). Still, not all commands make sense as menu items. I asked for examples of important functionality missing from the menu (because I'm not actually aware of any).

    Just so I understand your perspective a little better, do you believe that Blender should have kept the 2.49 UI, or do you just believe that the 2.5 UI was a good enough improvement and should not be improved (much) further? Stipulating that whether or not a UI change is an improvement or not can be somewhat subjective.
    In retrospect it's easy to say that the 2.5 UI is superior and that it was worth it, but the 2.49 UI did set the bar pretty low. Also, the UI did not really change conceptually and the actual rearrangements were rather minor.

    Regarding the cost of the switch: At the time Blender didn't have anywhere as much documentation and (video) tutorials made for it as it has now. Still, a lot of work became obsolete.



  16. #56
    Thanks for your reply, BeerBaron. I understand your points and your perspective better now. They are not unreasonable, and the differences of opinions here are mostly due to different perspectives on how things could go wrong or right. Like someone said in your poll's thread, I trust Blender developers to consider everyone's input and make mostly good decisions regarding any UI changes.

    Regarding breaking documentation and video tutorials, I definitely see your point that that is an issue to be mindful of. The only thing I can say regarding that though is that on the other hand Blender attracting a lot more users in would most likely also bring a lot more documentation and tutorials.



  17. #57
    Originally Posted by Dantus View Post
    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.



    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.
    I don't exactly remember it this way but I didn't always agree with his way of going about things and did find him antagonistic at times. However I always had the impression that his intent was an improvement on Blender UI/UX and his thought process was that if there were an easy to use or more familiar UI toolkit it would make it easier for developers to make the changes he deemed necessary to make Blender's UI tolerable in his eyes. I can agree to a point. Blender needs a more robust UI toolkit that is both familiar and easy for new developers to grasp and change Blender.

    Like @ChrisOffner said one of the main reasons why Maya is the megaton monster in the room on CG software is because it's highly extensible. It's essentially a platform that allows TDs to create whatever they need in a production environment. The majority of that can be done with mel which has direct access to the UI/UX and viewport to make anything you want.

    In that respect I can see his point, but I did agree that porting Blender to Qt was not feasible. It would be better at that point to start from scratch and scrounge for any relevant code that can be easily ported from Blender, like the backend stuff. That's a huge undertaking and there doesn't seem to be a lot of interest in that regard as Blender after all these years is still pretty much the only game in town. It would be interesting to see at least another OSS 3D software out there. K3D looked interesting for a while but that went nowhere.
    Last edited by apoclypse; 21-Apr-17 at 16:05.



  18. #58
    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!
    Well said! I might have a little bit harsher opinion in the same direction. I used Maya for around 10 years and then switched to Blender over a year ago. I got used to blender's defaults and now use it as my main tool for modelling and rendering and find it really easy and pleasant to work with. And I know how inconvenient it might seam at first when you are used to different things. But seriously why would one want to fight the way it was designed instead of using it to it's full, the way it is meant to be used? I use Blender every day and I notice how some things might be more convenient than they are. I think awareness of other 3d packages can greatly contribute to making Blender more efficient an easier to use. However I see absolutely no reason for Bforartists existence. It's only sad that all the effort dedicated to developing it did not go to improving Blender. And by improving, I do not mean copying key-maps of other software or making a bunch of icons because one is used to seeing them elsewhere. I think only people who accept Blender, master it how it is and forget their habits related to other software can start talking about it's improvements. I don't think that was how this Bforartist thing started. I bet it was more like the same story as with every beginner complaining about how hard it is to learn a 3d package or migrate from one 3d package to another. I have seen too many of them and I have been one myself I even had the keymap copying stage. I am ashamed of it and I am glad it passed.

    It is now unclear to me how keyboard shortcuts or which mouse button is used to select stuff can make a difference for a professional. I have put a lot of effort into learning to work using Maya, Marvelous Designer, zBrush, ArchiCAD and many other software packages with their native hotkeys and have no problems with the way stuff works now, after learning them. It did require a lot of effort to do so and it was unpleasant at times. I know how it feels. I know how pleasant it is blame something else instead of myself for my lack of skill or my own inefficiency using tools unfamiliar to me. I think this puts me in a position to understand that there might be a chance people developing Bforartists could be driven by their immature desire to avoid learning and changing their habits instead of a wish to create a better tool that is more effective and easier to use. Now this would be just plain wrong wouldn't it? Bforartists might be a huge waste of effort and energy the way I see it. It's a real pity. This whole energy could have gone into more useful things.

    That is my honest perspective. I expect people might have different views. That's fine.



  19. #59
    Wow, I had no idea my post would get so much response.
    We'll i'll TRY to read through everything and report back.



  20. #60
    Member lluc84's Avatar
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    I have us Blender for so long that for me is super easy and the UI and work philosophy is perfect, i find my own way to work with it and its very efficient for me. I can imagine that for new users its hard to get use to it, like for me its hard to get use to 3D max XD.

    That said think there is good ideas there, I hope that 2.8 take some of those concepts.

    I really like the custom icons bar like Maya, that one is probably my favourite, not enough to change to Bforartists but I will try to bring it to normal blender that should be a script somewhere.

    Thanks for sharing that website.
    http://www.artoutproductions.com/
    "Blender is not free is better than that it's opensource"



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