Some observations and suggestions.

I’m a conceptual artist/retoucher

And over the past several months I’ve been incorporating blender into the toolbox of applications I use, so to speak.

The more I work with other artists that use other 3D applications the more I and other people see how competent and powerful Blender is.

Some professional observations and suggestions.

One big problem that I see in Blender is its use of the bezier curve. It is odd how it places a strange little curve on the screen, then you have to start working from that.

Blender should take a page out of other app’s that use a bezier pen tool and follow that form of work flow. Draw with the pen tool and adjust the curve as you go. i.e.: Illustrator and photoshop. I know what a lot of people will say just make your paths in a drawing program and import them into blender.
But to make Blender a complete application the use of the bezier tool needs to be addressed.

Another feature that would be nice is the use of floating palates. What I mean by that is to float a palate onto a second monitor of a different size then the main monitor. So the main monitor remains uncluttered and you have more screen real-estate to work with. Other views and palates can be placed on the second display.

Currently Blender can be stretched across two displays of the same size. But having two displays of the same size is not practical for most people.

I currently use a 23" and a15" for palates

Another feature that would be nice is to be able to build a visual library of material. so it is easier to view them and drag and drop them on to objects. and I don’t mean a python script. Which I and others I know have tried to use but it never worked.

It needs to be built directly into blender. So that it is stable.

And lastly and by far least important is a more attractive and up-to-date GUI.

As I see and work a little in other 3D app’s one thing I like is how user friendly and attractive their GUI’s are.

This goes back to the floating palate theory. If you have floating palates you can use icons of the different objects. i.e.: all mesh shapes, lights, a pen tool, materials and so on. Making the app look more visually dressed up. So you could just drag and drop from a floating palate to a scene if you like.

I know that blender being streamlined makes it a smaller app. therefore easier to download. But in this day and age of Hi-speed internet making a download 50 even 100 megs if you had to still quite doable.

I feel with Blender starting to get a lot of exposure as of lately it can become in other peoples perception a serious and not just a hobbyists 3D tool.

Because unfortunately perception to people is reality.

I know this is an excellent forum with many very competent and skilled Blender and other graphic application users.

Any thoughts or other suggestions that make Blender the best that it can be would be great.


And lastly and by far least important is a more attractive and up-to-date GUI.

you are going to make a lot of friends here with that comment. (NOT!)

Ha, and his first post too!

Seriously though, he makes many fine points(though most of them have been brought up many times before).

One thing: While Blender hasnt got the shiniest theme ever(though you can get one if you want it), its certainly far better than, say, Maya. I absolutely cant stand its layout. Its an extremely ugly app. Zbrush in many ways loosk quite similar. Thats as far as my experience goes, so any examples?

By the way, whatever happened to Blender’s wip Radial Menus Project? That could be useful…

Yeah, sorry man, you’re going to get killed by saying other apps’ GUIs are intuitive. Unless you know blender as well as the other apps, you’ll probably think blender’s GUI is bad. But if you really think about it, most (I admit it, not ALL) parts are quite logical. For example, do you se a lot of menus and sub-menus to sort through? No… it’s all hotkeys.
Really, I think all 3d packages’ GUIs are pretty non user-friendly to some extent. It’s difficult to have such a complicated program with a simple interface.

You have some valid points, but I think a better knowledge of the program is required to really understand what would really be an ‘improvement’.

(Edit: and if you’re talking about aesthetics and not functionality of the GUI, I say… who cares?? It’s what you create that matters.)

Well, he did say “least importantly” :slight_smile:

As I see and work a little in other 3D app’s one thing I like is how user friendly and attractive their GUI’s are.

You will find that most people here will consider the other uis unfriendly and cumbersome. When used to the blender UI, most find it much faster and easier to use than others.

This is not to say it is perfect. However, things should be improving soon, the core of blender is being recoded and changes to the ui should be much easier.

If I understand what you mean by pallets, that will be possible in 2.5, because you will be able (not required) to have multiple windows.

But in this day and age of Hi-speed internet making a download 50 even 100 megs if you had to still quite doable.

This would severely harm a lot of blender users who don’t have high speed internet. It would also affect the efficiency of blender, which is an extreme plus. People have produced some fantastic pieces on hardware that would cry in the face of 3dmax.

I like the idea of the beizer tool, although other apps annoy me by requiring me to start drawing then stop, then edit as opposed to just inserting a shape for me to work with.

It needs to be built directly into blender. So that it is stable.

Python programs are not inherently unstable.

In 2.5, iiuc all functions will have a python link, and python scripts will be able to integrate tightly with blender. Someone, please correct me on this if I’m wrong. :slight_smile:

3DS Max! Most frustrating 3d app. I have ever tried to use, some people like it, others hate it. I think Blender’s GUI is fine, it’s one of the main reasons I switched to it. Floating panels would be a good idea, but I could live without them.

I don’t see how “And lastly and by far least important is a more attractive and up-to-date GUI.” is being negative???

What I meant by that is. For all of the suggestions that I made that is by far the least important for Blender to adopt.

Blenders interface right now is mostly text based and not GUI based.

It would be nice if they introduced a GUI interface but it is not critical.

Having a nicer interface is more for the outside world to look at blender and perceive that it is high end. And please note that I said “PERCEIVE”. Because it is high end without it.

So that goes to my point at the end of my thread “Because unfortunately perception to people is reality.”

That post is not meant to offend anybody and I don’t see how it would.

I think Blender is an amazing application. And I though some of those suggestions from a professional point of view would help make it even better.

And I wanted to hear what people thought and how realistic it would be to incorporate them into future releases of Blender.

Sorry if you were offended.

firstly drag and drop by design is not a very inefisant way of working becouse you waste vast amounts of time moving the mouse around the screen, this is the same reson why i hate eyecandy, a few extra miliseconds here nad there quickly adds up. I have used 3ds max, a supsadly “industry standard” app and so far i am not at all impressed with its interface, everything is plased with absoultly NO thourght as to how it will be used, as a result modaling in max is about 30-40 % the speed of blender. in blender everything is just the right sise, nothing is to big. in max EVERYTHING is to big. macking the 3d view ports rilly small. i like how if i dont need a window, eg the timeline, i can get rid of it, macking even more screen spase. finaly i dispise having vital tools in floting windows becouse thay cover up hatevers behind them, you haft to constantly move them around, again wasting time. this applys to blender too, it should replase the floting windos in the 3d view port with panels.

To address your Bezier curve concern: to add points to and extend that simple bezier curve, Blender uses Ctrl-Click. Hold the control key down and click where you want to the next point to go. The same holds true for tracing and extending the simple mesh objects, or NURBS objects as well. It is, in practice, just like tracing with a pen. In fact, if you use a pen tool, it is the same.

Regarding using more than one screen, blender is ok with that. stretch that main window sucker as wide as it will go. Divide up your real estate however you want. We personally all hate floating pallets, and if you start another GUI rewrite thread, I cannot help you.

I personally find that if I name my materials well I have no problem going into my library and appending whatever I want. I don’t need a picture of green glass to know that it is green glass. If you want a visual thumbnail library, use the script. The scripting language, as with other apps, is there to extend current functionality. There is nothing wrong with using a fully integrated scripting language with a package. It puts power in the hands of the user.

Regarding your internet speed comment, you must be American. Welcome to the global community, where countries don’t print as much fiat currency as you do. Lend a hand when you can, invade only where you must. in the meantime, much of the rest of the world has limited pipes and PC’s.

I don’t care if people perceive Blender as a professional, personal, leading, backward, gorgeous, elegant, or ugly tool. It is Open Source, and no other Open Source tool has anything to match Blender. Not Even Close. The beauty of Open Source is that if you don’t like it, you can change it. If you are not able or willing to change it, or improve it, you have no right to complain or to compare it with anything else.

You might want to ask questions first and shoot later. just my .02

In the meantime, since you are not a coder, but an artist, the User Manual could really use some help. I and about 50,000 other users would appreciate your help in coming up with some good, clear, and beautiful examples for the User Manual. the list of features that need updating are on this page. Pick one and I will help you improve it. Thansk!

Well, IMO it would be stupid to be offended about a program’s GUI:p. I was just saying what I think about it.

Unfortunately, although you said it is least important (to tell you the truth I thought when you said ‘last and by far least important’ it was a typo; people usually mean ‘last but not least’) people may be offended.

What I meant about the interface is that it is the least important thing for Blender to implement into future releases. Thats all.

And addressing Papasmurfs comments.

  1. I didn’t say the bezier curve tool didn’t work I said it would be nice if it were updated so that it works better.

  2. If you like naming all your materials thats great for you but not for me. When I’m working on a project and I need to show a client or art director a group of materials to chose from it would be nice to have a library so they can quickly look at 1 or 10 or even 20 they might want to use.

Like I said myself and others that I know tried to use the material library script but it did not work for us.

  1. Stretching the display works with 2 monitors that are the same size. Not if they are different sizes.

  2. Well I do care if people perceive Blender as high end or not. Because the bigger user base we get the better the program can become for all of us.

I am just sharing some suggestions with the forum. And I was hoping for a positive open discussion.

I didn’t ask you to agree with me but PLEASE have an open mind.

The multiple screen issue is being addressed right now and should not be a problem in the next release. Blender will be able to use several windows.

I am trying to have an open mind.

  1. I don’t disagree that there isn’t one aspect of Blender that could be better in some little way. It is not perfect. I personally wish the Bezier curve had this like AI that positioned the handles the “right” way based on what you already have done and where you might place the next one, like an auto-rotate and auto-scale function to make French curves automatically.
  2. I think each material library has a scene which you can render and print or save which samples the materials in that library. If not, it’s a few minutes work to make one and then you can update the file and share it and the problem is solved.
  3. If a script does not work, you can fix it, or you can ask for help in the Python forum.
  4. How does having a larger user base help the product? We are not funded; we are a volunteer organization.

Again, welcome to the club. Grab a broom and help out.

He made good points and I agree with him.

Nice idea. Though I think there are issues that are even more important as of now, but working with Bezier-Curves could be easier in Blender.

Actually this is beeing worked on. The GUI has to be totally rewritten for that, so it may take a while 'til it is released.

Yes, definitely a good point.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder.

You made some good points but we had this discussion here for quite a few times. So I think many experienced users would just use what is offered as of now and show their workarounds. And this may be not the ideal forum to make propositions for the developement of blender.

I know that many developers read the forums, and the comments of an artist working professionaly with a few 2D and 3D Apps are always interesting.

With kind regards and welcome to the forum

[edit]You should read Brokens comment in this thread.[/edit]

Thank you SoylentGreen,

As I am new to this forum I did think developers read this.

I also feel that an artists prospective could help a developer understand the needs of the people using the app on a day to day basis.

My only motive is to make Blender the best that it can be.

“And lastly and by far least important is a more attractive and up-to-date GUI.”


While I find your comments agreeable, I have to second that you should be ready for harsh feedback. A lot of people in these forums are, shall we say, extraordinarily sensitive about criticism of Blender. It has nothing to do with you. In fact, Blender is sufficiently different in some aspects (like the GUI) that a lot of people seem to feel they have to ‘defend it against non-believers’. The same can be seen in other software apps, but since many commercial ones seem to share a common basic design philosophy, Blender tends to stick out, and people are more defensive.

I completely agree with the Bezier, btw, but sadly also agree that it is a minor concern. Right now, new simulations and particles and a lot of recoding is on the table, and eagerly awaited :smiley:

People who use Blender exclusively or primarilly tend to like the uncluttered, hot key interface. A lot. People who use Blender occaisionally or as part of a pipeline including other apps generally wish for an interface more like the other programs they use on a day to day basis. I don’t think this will ever be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, although floating/dockable menus and assignable hot keys would go a long way toward being able to let non-programmers set up the GUI according to their own preferences.

The bezier curve is a good example. I have no problems drawing curves with Blender’s bezier curve, but I’m used to it. When I use Inkscape, rarely, I have to retrain myself in “proper” bezier curve drawing. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long, but I can imagine having to switch back and forth several times a day, constantly having to remind myself how the curves work…I wouldn’t like that at all. But I suspect there is more involved in transporting an interface that works in 2d into a 3d application.

That said, welcome to the forums. We are mainly here to help each other learn how to get the most out of this incredible piece of Open Source software. We welcome your participation in that endeavor. :slight_smile:


I think a major problem is si,mply not the GUI, I think this is subject to personal taste, but the problems inside the menu structures. It is clustered, many different names for the same tool (Loop cut - loop subdivision). This simply confuses new people.

With the steady amount of new functions in blender also needing more space to store them, the interface with the tap system has to adapt to it to start releasing screen space. Do we need the layer buttons in each view port? the hierarchy could be improved here.

But I like how fast Blender works once you mastered it.

The Bezier curve, I agree, it would be nice to when you extrude not have those handles from the old point simply copied, but well in AI you set points and push the handle afterwards as well, or after clicking, thats true a little more convenient - but at the end the same what you do in Blender.