Customizable GUI and shortcuts?

Now that Blender is open source, why not start a project to seperate the technology from its GUI. Then we can set up the GUI as we want individually, make it work as LightWave, 3DS or any other application… Similar to the upcoming Modo application from Luxology: Modo

The visuals for the buttons and icons should also be customizable (themable), and definately the ability to customize the hotkeys and overall layout. In Wings3D you can go to a menu item with the mouse, press the insert button and do a keycombination to set the shortcut. Very nice! :slight_smile:

Waiting for the Blender GameKit I just bought, fun fun fun. I hope I will be able to make something similar I have done in Macromedia Director: Car Demo (drive with the arrow keys, and if it does not drive, press inside it first with the mouse)

i recon that would be a good idea, then we could trick lightwave users into using blender MWAHAHAHAHA :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :Z

Let 'em fix Lightwave so it works more like Blender!

As a lghtwave user…I like to model in Blender . Sure, lightwave has many more modeling functions, but I think Blender is a good “down and dirty” poly modeler. Except for it’s vertice limitations, of course.

And, customizable interface was a proposed feature before NaN crashed…was it not ? I would like to see custom hotkeys…that would be nice. And backround color.

I thought about asking for something like this before. I suppose it would be a good idea, but I doubt if it would be implemented soon, as there are many many things higher on the priority list (Game Engine, better booleans, loop selection, edge selection, undo feature, addition of texture support to the API, etc)

It would still be nice tho :slight_smile:


Interface improvements can happen in parallel with new functionality - there’s more than one person working on Blender, you know :wink:

I’m coming from using Maya and posted a similar question a little bit ago (sorry, but when a search gets 30 pages of similar posts, you’re bound to get reposts).

If you would allow the users to customize their GUI/hotkeys you’d give the user 2 huge benefits:

  1. They can customize the workflow to how they see fit, thus increasing productivity. Everyone works differently and what works for one person is a huge inconvenience for another. Even the most talented programmer in the world will never be able to make a program that works for everyone. Maya acknoledges this as do most games (wouldn’t Quake suck if you had to use what they thought was the best set up for keys!?).

  2. Besides making the transition from other programs a much easier proposion, it would allow studios to more easily integrate Blender into their pipeline. Instead of needing to remember which program your using and adjust your hotkeying behaviour, you could easily switch between programs without having to think about it.

Before you flame me for being a newbie or wanting to change blender, consider the idea that for each new member you get using this software the easier it will become to find support in programming and problem solving. And the easier you can make Blender to use, the more people will use it.


Consider also, though, that in any case with more customization to functional elements of a UI (not just colors and widget types, but button placement and hotkey assignment), it complicates troubleshooting userland problems. All of the sudden, when someone says they want to mirror something in object mode, where you used to say “S X 1 -”, now you have to say “scale, constrain to the x axis, and set the size to negative one.” The second you say that, the first question is, “Okay, how do I do that?” If they have a custom keymap, you really can’t know to tell them. Sure, the problem isn’t insurmountable, but it is real.

It’s a trade-off; we get some of the advantages you listed, but at the same time we gain complications like this and others. We really need to ask ourselves if it’s worth it. Personally, I like the the UI to be tied to an application’s particular approach at solving a problem; a Blender “way” (or XSI way or Maya way or…). It might take an extra amount of time to initially understand the interface, but once you understand the way things are done in the app, it tends to make more sense and you work faster. Yes, everyone works differently, but applications work differently, too. Often they don’t have parallel means of approaching a problem. Bitch-rigging Blender to work “like” what ever you’re used to will only frustrate you because it won’t (and can’t) be the same.

That’s just my opinion, though.

Well, one can already custumize many things in Blender: UI color, button type, vertex size, buttons placement (vertical or horizontal), screen divisions (4 panels, 1 panel, n panels…) and save these configs as a named theme or a user default config.

Alexandre Rangel

I agree that it makes telling people how to do things with specific key specifications a little more wordy. But that in itself makes the whole experience more user friendly in that you describe the process rather than shorthanding it into obsurity. If you use any of the tutorials on these other pages (like Maya for instance) they seem to work fine and aren’t hampered by the possibility of key changes.

I also understand that each program works in its own way and rebinding some keys won’t be necessary or helpful. But I find the process of moving between programs (which is frequent when you add up everything that typically goes into producing a 3d animation) becomes needlessly complex if I have to stop and think, “Ok, so which combination of keyboard and mousebuttons do I need to use to scroll around.” or “Do they use ‘u’ or ‘z’ to undo.” or “How do I get this thing to play back, now?”

Along those same lines, hopefully it will be the more advanced user that changes keys once they know what they want to accomplish. As much as I like Maya’s config, I’ve still changed many key assignments to something that’s more convenient to how I use it.

I’m also not hoping to get Maya for free by customizing Blender. I’m just hoping to get Blender to work with how I prefer to work. I think with open source we get to ask the question “Who’s the boss, us or the programs?” much more frequently than with proprietary programs.

I don’t mean to sound argumentative and I realize that it isn’t nor does it intend to be like Maya or any other 3d app. I just feel very strongly that in order for a program to be considered professional grade or even user friendly, it should give the end user some options in how it’s used. I know many don’t (I’m looking at you Adobe), but many of the really high end ones do (Maya, Avid, etc.) and I think this really sets them apart as being professional and more importantly, efficient for the end user.

That being said. I have to say that I am really enjoying using Blender (UI aside). And I really like this healthy community of users.



well this is an old thread… but still a valid topic…

Then we can set up the GUI as we want individually, make it work as LightWave, 3DS or any other application
- petterms

As a new user to blender trying to switch over from 3dsmax, I agree completely. The first thing I did when I came into the program was try to find a way to change the ui so I could easily adapt to it and start work immediately… instead of having to go through and read a bunch of documentation and learn all the hotkeys.

If Blender had a powerful gui system that could be changed to whatever the user wanted, it would attract a large amount of people to the program.

There are some things that I personally would work better with that I’m sure some others wouldn’t. But each person has their own way of working… For instance I would enjoy working with blender much more if they had the ability to change the modification methods… such as moving and rotating… The methods I found most useful were the ones Maya, 3dsmax, and XSI use… activating the tool and a gizmo pops up… moving your mouse over certain parts of the gizmo will allow you to change the axis you are modifying…

Also being able to drag select with out pressing “b” first would be nice… and clicking once would select just one object/subobject…

of course these are just some things I personally find nice in user interfaces… and I’m sure others would completely disagree with me… but like I said we all have our own way of working… so the only solution really is to create a flexible work enviroment.

Blender developers probably already have plans for features like this… I’ll be really excited once they come out with them… in any case blender is still a great program… my bickering over little things that I dislike won’t change that… and it’s definitely not something that only this program is missing… I’d also like to see more control over the ui in 3dsmax and Maya…

First: I’m a nu-b :expressionless: - as you can see - (otherwise I would have joined this forum long time ago) :wink:

Is it possible in current version of blender to customize shortcuts or mouse use in any way?
I would be willing to learn python or whatever it takes to accomplish.

Especially I’d like to change mouse behavior to pan when I only push MMB. This because I use Autocad and can’t forget that pan IS MMB.

No matter how hard I know that in Blender MMB will rotate, sometimes I act on Autocad instinct. So user define the mouse would be very useful to me.

I am not quite the programmer but it cant be that hard to just change this one thing. (?)

Yes, many things in Blender can be customized. I won’t go into detail, searching the forum should yield more help, but to customize the mouse buttons just move your cursor over the bottom edge of the top menu and you’ll see the cursor change to an “up-down” arrow. Left mouse button click and pull down the the entire menu and you’ll see all the settings you can change.

When you’re happy with the settings, put the menu bar back, and use the top menu function: File => Save Default Settings to make your changes permanent.

Hope this helps.

Hey didn’t think it would be that easy after all I read in the posts above …


(Now I get pro in no time :wink: )

I’ve learned Blender, and I’m MUCH faster in Blender than I was in Lightwave or Maya, as far as modeling is concerned.

Blender is BOOFOO fast and I respect it. I love the interface now that I’ve figured it out.

However, given how much functionality blender has in modeling, I agree that it should have customizable keys. Preferably with an easily accessible theme manager for keys.

What I’m talking about is owning market share. Do you have any idea how many people would switch if they could hop into blender with minimal qualms about how to work it? Especially companies that have designated modelers that send stuff out in .3ds/.obj formats. They could make the switch rather quickly.

Of course, a few things would make blender dominate in marketshare if only we had souls out there with the time to make it happen.

Making verse for say, Maya, which has a horrendous rendering license setup, or 3D Studio Max, could get companies to render in yafray in farms and would be a powerful gateway to blender usage.

A few speedups, and making sound sync the default in the compositor, along with more compiled plugins by default, could make for a powerful competitor to most video editors.

However, I have no idea what kind of undertaking it’d involve. If it’s a massive code rewrite (e.g. making a shortcut key abstraction management system, and then replacing ALL key-catching code with links to that system) it’d be a headache; if not, or if someone can manage patching it in a transparent way, and it got accepted by the main repository, Blender could overtake other 3D apps little by little.

Like I said, I loves me the Blender UI, and I can’t say enough about it’s glorious fix-it tools, and its no-BS-get-work-done approach, but I could only imagine how many people I could talk into switching if the re-learning needed to be minimal.

While different shortcuts would be annoying when people ask for help, most of the time the point of themeable shortcuts would be that people already know all they need to about their application, and for that intended audience you could actually SAVE time. e.g. no more getting questions about how a certain function is handled in Blender.

Whatmore, those themes could be extended by adding shortcuts to otherwise unused keys in the app’s theme for functions that are handled in that app by menus only. Could you imagine someone walking over from Lightwave to Blender, finding out that “bandsaw” (ctrl+R in Blender) is a shortcut key they otherwise never used, going back to Lightwave, seeing that such a commonly used tool wasn’t originally that shortcut? They’d probably STICK to Blender, and that’s FAR more important than their initial switch.

Just a thought.