*If* Blender got a new interface, what would you like to see? (NO FLAMING)

No doubt many of you have been on Blendernation recently and seen this post: http://www.blendernation.com/2007/12/10/new-particle-system/

Obviously, it was a post about Peach and particle system developments.
It turned into another GUI Flame war.

And, of course, it then turned into a flame war about the Blender community attitude.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I think that we, the Blender Community, can prove to outsiders, and those who have a dislike for the GUI, that we CAN have a structured conversation about this.

So - if (and I’m only saying if) the Blender GUI was restructured, what would you like to see? What sort of layout/design features? What would be intuitive? What should be scrapped?

Even post a few doctored screenshots to help your argument.

And please, no flaming.

Also, this is not quite related to the Stickied Blendergo article above (http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=80147)…

Here’s a summary of the list of improvements so far (I will try and update it often)
- Radial Menus

  • Better Tooltips

  • Remappable Keys/Mouse

  • Contextual Menus, more consistent

  • Optional graphical buttons (ie images instead of text for commonly used features - to make it obvious)

  • Different default theme (ie better initial panel layout)

  • Button to lock 3D Cursor…

  • Move some panels to more logical locations (e.g. Radiosity to Render)

  • Have draggable panels - ie movable from buttons area to main area

  • Change some boxes (e.g. in constraints) from requiring an exact name, to having a dropdown list (like in Materials)

  • Simpler interface (have a switch which enables advanced options?)

  • Reduce amount of stuff on the header bars (move more into menus) and possibly thinner headers

  • One-click header minimise button/Auto-hiding headers

  • Layers to be a floating panel/undockable

  • Separate command line window merged with main interface (I think this is Windows specific)

  • Multiple Monitor Support

  • Drag 'n Drop

  • Action Recording (i.e. Mouse/Keyboard combination Macros)

  • More/better utilization of the outliner (e.g. Change object names directly from Outliner, assign materials)

  • Unified Stack Interface

  • Maybe more editing modes to deal with excess functions, rather than cramming function buttons onto panels for edit/object mode

  • A little less of feature-creep syndrome… (or better consistency, see above on list)

  • Use of double click? (To go into edit mode when double clicking on an object in object mode)

  • Multiple coloured wireframes (perhaps based on material colour) to better distinguish between objects in wireframe view

  • Mass renaming in outliner

  • Create groups in outliner (other than parenting everything to a named empty, or something like that)

  • Better arrangement of texture slot layers (e.g. Move up/Move down buttons)

  • Ability to convert between pixel and real world measurement units for render (e.g. mm to px, based on dpi, and vice versa)

  • image type preview for .blend files in the file browser (perhaps for an unrendered view)

  • (DOCTORED) IMAGES IN THIS THREAD! :stuck_out_tongue:
    coz, y’know, it’d help people ('specially developers) to understand what you mean

And despite all that’s written above, we really do appreciate the current UI :smiley:

UPDATE: I’m now trying to see if I can code some of the more basic requests - you can find Windows Builds in this thread

I’ll get the ball rolling. I actually like the GUI - but there are a few things it could deal with.

First of all, though not quite GUI related, either a well written text file that appears in a Text-window when Blender starts for the first time, or a decent, simple, HTML tutorial on Blender basics, that opens after the installer finishes, would be nice. There is a PDF included, and an html file, but they are not that obvious, nor overly helpful to the very beginners. Heck, the PDF has the word ‘arbitrary’ in the first line! That sure puts me off… But a slight change in wording, as well as making the PDF a little more obvious straight after install, and already we will probably get some more people willing to use Blender.

Second, a slightly lighter colour scheme. I know grey is nice and neutral, but it is distinctly darker than most 3D Programs. A hint of yellow or red in the default colour scheme (since I know you can, in fact, distribute your colour schemes) would make the interface just a little more appealing

Third, and this isn’t really a noob thing but a workflow thing, I still haven’t figured out quite why Blender, by default, doesn’t open with a four-split viewpane for the 3D view…

Cool post. Hmm going from what you’d like changed it seems less of a GUI restructuring and more of just color changing and a changing of the defaults-which is possible already, unless i’m confused :). I would really like it if it were customizable in the sense that we could make our own button graphics (vector, or non-vector) and “MOD” the interface so to speak. Other than that I’m pretty happy with it as it is. It’s not hard to look at and if it is you can change it to suit your style to a degree.

Also it would be cool if you could use blender made graphics in your interface. And maybe have animated things in the interface. Anyways thats my two cents…

@Crititrozoz: Yeah, your right. Though of course, I’d like my changes in default.

Hmmm… Something else I’d like to see: Key remapping. That’d be real good.

I think it’s cool the way it is at the mo - though I’m open to suggestions.

You can make your own buttons graphics, there’s a post pinned in this forum on it.

@kbot: Well, for the most part I like Blender’s GUI - in fact I prefer it over Max or Maya (probably because I’ve used it more). But I mean little things (though with Blender’s structure, it might be a big thing - I haven’t extensively read through the code) like Key remapping… I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like Key remapping…

@caveman: Oooh - I’ve been off the forum’s for some time… I really should read around a bit, I suppose…


no flame? why?

I am in the process of familiarizing myself with the new particles and damn me that´s complicated.
(also because there´s so lottle dukumentation).
so my idea (maybe its more a feature request) would be somthing like extended tooltips.

at the moment there are these little oneliners that loosely say what a button does.
the problem with that (especially when learning something new) is that it is noncontextual and very brief.

nice would be something (i think zbrush has it?) you turn on and when you get a tooltip
you´ll get a more extended description and maybe a hint what that function/value is in context with.

there are obviously issues with the relation of that with the wiki like:
a) redundancy
b) how “updatable” could something like that be?
and most importantly
someone would have to code it (please don´t say: just do it yourself! I know)
and the texts would have to be written.

and i can´t believe i really posted something GUI related :o

I really liked the Tuhopuu 3 GUI.

Hmm, not sure what you mean by that. You can make changes to anything and make them the default…So you can set up blender with all the settings and a default circle and change gui colors and render settings and all that and save it as the default so it’s like that every time you open it. That’s not what you mean i’m guessing…

There Wont be a new GUI, the current one will just be improved so more things can be customized.
that way people who like the current one can keep it… while others can customize it completely to suit their needs.
People will just release presets of interfaces, so i’m sure there will be presets that’ll closely match the GUI’s of 3dmax, maya etc…

no discussion needed :stuck_out_tongue: unless you want to talk about things that’ll never happen.

@blaize: Well, you never know - someone might actually take it upon themselves to code these things… then convince someone to commit it. I mean if they are useful enough, they will probably get used… Or a branch will be made for trial purposes…

@Crititrozoz: Ah, I see where I confused you. No, I don’t mean default just for me - I mean default with the standard build/release.

@tedi: Haven’t seen it - do you have a link to a build or something?

@florianfelix: I agree that more comprehensive tooltips would be useful in places - occasionally I see new features, and the only way I figure out what half of them are is through experimentation (experimentation is fun, but time-consuming).
Long tooltips would require possibly a separate window, and are a little more difficult to code than standard tooltips, but updatability wouldn’t be too much of a problem - a separate resource file which is included in the build would prob do it (though file size would be somewhat boosted). Of course, someone would need to actually update/write the tooltips…

@endi: hmmm… what can I say, really.

I am eagerly anticipating the changes that will come in the improved interface.
Will they still be using radial menus? (the ones Broken posted earlier this year).
At the moment, I like the sleek look of the rounded theme better than the default white.
Currently, I can’t think of too many things wrong with the interface.

@Sergeant_Oreo: Yeah, those radial menus looked nice… but since I’m not an avid menu user, the design’s not usually an issue for me… (I like all the hotkeys!)

The overall layout (and configuration) and panels I think are fine. What I would like as options…

Customizable keymap
Configurable mouse (I would love to be able to lock that 3D cursor, default my selection mode to paint selection… set up Mirai/Nendo/Wings style navigation and right click = menu without the pause)
Context sensitive menus
Optional graphic overlays for frequently used tools (much like Espresso or Expresso (the old python plugin) had.
Matt’s radial menu and blender toolbar.

@gruvsyco - Actually, there is a patch on some custom builds which lets you lock the 3D cursor - I’m hoping it will be added to the main source…

move radiosity and world into the render panel… lol seriously…

ok, I want the same thing we have now, only I want to be able to move, re-arrange, pull out to anywhere on screen, stack, minimize/stack all the menus and buttons.

also, when clicking on a light I want to switch to the lighting options, not stay in link and materials…

I really really want (and think people new to blender need) images for modeling functions, instead of words. They are faster to find and easier to click because they be bigger then just words, which are often easy to miss click and select something else.

change all the parts where one needs to type a name of an object, to where one can just select an object and then the thing that he needs, or at list have its name come up when clicking an arrow or something.

something needs to be done about animation modifiers to make them a bit more user friendly, I have no idea what through…

shiny user interface… :stuck_out_tongue:

i find it frustrating when you have the panels flow vertical.

i think the amount of new functions starts to render the panel system
slightly problematic.

in horizontal it is still ok but I think all the graphic eye candies start to use up screen
space right now.

what i want seriously for the GUI is one central menu like space bar which contains everything and remove all other modeling tools from the headers away.
leave the header only for 3d views, 3d widget, and layers.

this header should also be with one click be able to be minimized like what the
triangle is doing, should just apply to the complete header.

i would love the layer to be a floating panel.

it confuses too many students how inconsistent the menu structure is.

Along with customizing the hotkeys, we should be able to customize the mouse clicks. One thing that might be confusing to newcomers who have migrated is that when you switch to select with Left mouse, it switches things like scrubbing the timeline and drawing in the UV editor to the right mouse button.
One way in which this would affect me is that I could set, for example, right mouse drag to box select.

As for the Help PDF included with Blender, I think that it should be rewritten for when 2.50 comes out. (I’d be willing to contribute :smiley: )