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Thread: Max/Maya users opinion of Bforartists?

  1. #61
    @ lluc84

    Yes it will be interesting to see what the Blender UI team gets out of Tiles modified take on the UI. And if anything gets implemented in Blender 2.8.
    And it is also interesting to see if Bforartists down the road will morph into a 2.8 template (to make development easier for Tiles and whoever makes Bforartists with him).

    And I can also join others to say that it is great to see that Tiles have converted all his frustrations (& anger) he put into post on BA over the years, and now made Bforartists.
    Last edited by joahua; 22-Apr-17 at 12:15.
    (Have a active ignore list, so there are comments in a thread I don't see)

  2. #62
    Originally Posted by Tad View Post
    BUT it has the "weird" style of being reliant upon hotkeys.
    well my memory is crap, and i loath memorizing hotkeys.

    Hot keys is one thing that makes Blender so fast for modelling. If you had to hunt and peck for keys in menus, it would take forever to do anything. It's vital in any software to get a professional speed of creation. This goes from Photoshop, to Quark XPress and through to Max and Maya users too.

  3. #63
    Member Chris Offner's Avatar
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    Jul 2015
    Berlin, Germany
    Originally Posted by lluc84 View Post
    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 makes sense but keep this in mind:

    You can get used to anything. Almost no matter how complex a software is, if you spend enough time with it, you can learn it.
    That's not the benchmark for usability and good software design though.

    In order to design user-friendly (i.e. artist-friendly) software, people who have been using it for many years or decades are probably the least appropriate people to judge. They know far too well how the software thinks, know all its glitches, weird parts and issues intuitively.

    I gave some MODO character rigging lessons recently and it was striking how many small details I just did intuitively and how many quirks of MODO's messed up rigging workflow I just automatically worked around because I had conditioned myself to avoid those bugs/errors/inconsistencies through hundreds if not thousands of hours of working in the software.

    When I suddenly saw the kinds of things my students found confusing and illogical, I quite often - not always, but often - remembered:
    "True, that is kind of unintuitive and messy."

    That's why in UX research and testing you take in people who have never used your thing before. Be it game testing, app testing, or professional software testing (in the latter case you may use people who know comparable applications).

    That's what the motivation behind my Blender/MODO/Maya comparison videos was - to give some impressions of an experienced 3D user who's new to Blender in particular, and show what might be confusing/unintuitive to such a user.

    What I did, and continue to do, is explaining the things I stumble over. If people think they're worth fixing, that's fantastic.
    If not, then they'll remain as is. While I obviously prefer the former, I'll survive with either outcome.

    But I do want to do my part in trying to help make Blender more accessible - as countless others have done before me and gotten it where it is today. If Blender becomes easier, faster and more streamlined to use, we all win. Even veterans.

  4. #64
    Hi, everybody. Some might know me from the Unity forums as well (already saw a few familiar names around).
    I've been an on/off Blender user for roughly 10 years now and saw the UI discussion been brought up very often.
    I'm also a Modo user for 5+ years now and I can see Blender and Modo suffering from sometimes similar problems.

    Actually enabling the user how to learn features and ultimately the program.
    UI/UX and documentation are both crucial parts to this.

    Modo for example is a pretty cool program but some features that could enable the user to really tailor the program to his/her liking are very obscure. Take the interface editor for example. It's a huge list of dropdown menues and list entried 70% of which make no sense if you haven't used the tools before. But you have to scroll through all of it. And in practice this is much more complicated than it sounds. New Interfaces can be created with no restrictions. The same tools the developers use for UI are incorporated into Modo itself. But it's so daaaaamn easy to break the interface. And if you do that and have no idea about the structure of the layout and settings files (XML) then good luck.
    Sometimes - especially coming from another program with a different mindset you think tools should work in a way that they weren't designed to. But as a new user you can impossibly know that. So if there isn't a tutorial for that exact problem then you have to rely on the documentation (in being complete and understandable) or the community. Or support, of course.

    How does this transfer to Blender?
    Well it has some of the same weird problems, that some functions simply are close to impossible to find or guess if you don't know by heart how Blender thinks about them. How the designers intended the thing to be used.

    And that is the thing for me. A good complex program has to have a lot of documentation, ideally written in a language even a beginner can read. And even before the documentation the program itself should be designed so that it gives feedback and hints how it expects you to use the tool.

    I've watched the video for BFA and I am sure sooner or later I would go back to the regular Blender despite that I really want change in the UX. Why? First - I don't think BFA has the completely right mindset for its design. It goes in a good direction but seems to make other things worse as a tradeoff.

    1. BFA's approach: Make the Interface button driven to remove shortcuts (until the point that he actually mentions that he can't get rid of every shortcut of course) - 100% not ideal, IMO.
    A good program lets the user find everything they've forgotten about or even discover related items via the interface BUT lets them back away to shortcuts when they are familiar with the tool or want to tailor the app to their liking.
    ZBrush has this thing where every function and tool can be reached via the menues in case you forgot the shortcut or don't need it very often. At the same time assign a hotkey on the fly and drag-drop customize your interface even in dedicated layouts for different tasks if you want to. Ctrl-hover shows a brief description of the tool and how to use it in case the user forgot. Each release comes with a PDF that not only details every function for the new tools but also often shows a little example on how a project might work with this feature to show how the tool is intended to be used.

    Everything in Blender should reachable. And if by any chance you stumble on another tool that sounds useful while you browse through the list of - let's say - Edge modeling functions. All the better - sounds like it could be useful? Let's check the documentation to see what it does.

    2. The UI should help and show the user how it wants to be used.
    This is mostly a consistency thing and probably the most difficult to reach in an open source software. Unity for example take their sweet time with their releases. Painfully long at times, it seems. But if you have used Unity for some time you usually feel at home fast with new functions. It's pretty consistent in use (as far as this is possible) and in case it's not there is documentation.

    3. Documentation - huge f'in deal. For me still one of the worst things about Modo despite that they have paid people working on it full time. Blender's is much better than when I started but still feels rather empty at times.
    I already mentioned it above - a good documentation can be reached quickly from within the software and consists (for me) of two parts:
    - reference for every item and function in the tool detailing what it does
    - at least a short explanation how this could be used to show the design idea behind it

    Documentation is ideally written in a language that is understandable by people with little experience as much as veterans alike. Clear language doesn't need to be a buzzword party.
    I am also a fan of added short videos but that's nearly impossible to achieve unless we start a Kickstarter to employ maybe 2 people to really, reall overhaul the documentation to be complete, consistent and understandable, I'm afraid.
    (Would be super cool, though).

    4. Lingo. This is a weird side effect I came to terms with in different programs. Some things are worded differently despite doing the same thing. Prime example: Cinema 4D's HyperNURBS which was essentially SubDiv.
    I'd love as much consistency to the mainstream applications as possible but that's just something the user has to figure out as they learn. I just wrote it because it annoys me in every program that is just slightly off to what you expect it to be

    5. Drag'n'drop!
    Why oh WHY won't Blender let me drag and drop hierarchies in the Scene Browser?
    Why is the parent key active in the 3D view and not in the outliner?
    And while I am drifting off into random things: Why can I change the interpolation type of multiple items simultaneous in the dopesheet but not in the curves editor?

    Sorry I drifted off here.

    What I am saying is this:
    Blender's UI and UX should change. They need to change. Saying that change is bad because it breaks old tutorials or files stalls progress. And progress is needed in a world where tools change as fast as they are, currently.
    BUT not just for the sake of change itself. This should not be done often either, of course. With a behemoth program like Blender changes can really easily do more damage than good as things are very intertwined.
    But what should be changed is to enable the users to help themselves. Make it easier for them to understand tools and find out about functions by themselves. Help them find their way around the program and understand it. Without the need for a community or a user who has worked with the tools before.

    Blender may be obscure in usage. It can be weird. Every 3D program I've ever used is that in its own regard.
    But what is maybe one of the main fears of users is getting stuck at a point where there is nobody to help out. No tutorial, no company, no help from the documentation. Blender (like Modo for me) reaches this point sometimes very quickly.

    Ultimately it should not be this way. If I make the commitment to a software I am aware that is a huge time investment to learn it if I am using it professionally.
    So I want to be sure that first and foremost the program and documentation tell me how this thing wants to be operated. For me that was a 60 minute talk/demonstration from Andreas Goralczyk. After that I understood Blenders modeling so much better for the first time. That is what Blender should show the users in the documentation for each major feature: Modeling, Materials, Rigging, Rendering, Scripting.
    Official learning material is key to the success of a program. I want to be sure just as well that if I commit to a learning program that I am taught good form and correct usage. Before I can judge whether training is good or bad I want to make sure to learn the basics in a correct way first so that i can know what is good form myself.

    Beyond that - make the UI show the user what it does. Make tooltips helpful. Make every tool available from the menue and make it grouped logically. Help the user discover tools. Don't hide them from him.
    No that is not a bad thing and does not contradict shortcuts and fast editing. It's a way to enable the user to discover tools instead of hiding them. Someone put a lot of effort into these tools - show me that they are there and that I can use them!

    TL;DR (for realsies this time):
    Make Blender UI/UX complete, consistent and foremost make the Interface and the documentation enable the users to really help themselves. Also complete intro tuorials that are guaranteed (by the Blender foundataion, ideally) to teach good form. Drag and Drop. Don't hide features.

    PS - As a reminder: Andrew Price proposed a UI overhaul 4 years ago already

  5. #65
    @ Chris Offner

    Good post Chris - and I completely agree with you
    (Have a active ignore list, so there are comments in a thread I don't see)

  6. #66
    Originally Posted by Chris Offner View Post
    That makes sense but keep this in mind:

    You can get used to anything. Almost no matter how complex a software is, if you spend enough time with it, you can learn it.
    That's not the benchmark for usability and good software design though.

    In order to design user-friendly (i.e. artist-friendly) software, people who have been using it for many years or decades are probably the least appropriate people to judge. They know far too well how the software thinks, know all its glitches, weird parts and issues intuitively.
    Completely Agree and a relevant XKCD

    Also related XKCD to the "we should not change it" discussion:

    And for the record - I think we should change it. But my Wall of text isn't approved by a moderator yet
    Last edited by the_motionblur; 22-Apr-17 at 05:48.

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