Some UI mock-ups

During the huge discussion on changing/customising the UI, I promised I would create some mock-ups of my suggestions. I finally got some time to at least start on this. All I’ve done so far is show how I would implement the ability to create floating windows.

First of all, here is the default Blender layout for a new scene. but with some new buttons:

http://www.lisa3d.org/misc/blender/popup_00.jpg

(It’s running under Ubuntu here).

Now a close-up of the new buttons I added (with an icon stolen from a google image search :P):

http://www.lisa3d.org/misc/blender/popup_01.jpg

If you press one of these buttons, Blender could ask you whether you want to duplicate the window and leave the existing panel behind, or whether you want to erase the panel:

http://www.lisa3d.org/misc/blender/popup_02.jpg

Say I’ve pressed the button on the buttons panel so I want to float it, and I choose to erase the existing panel. This is what I think would happen:

http://www.lisa3d.org/misc/blender/popup_03.jpg

As you can see, the 3D window expands to go full screen. Sure, you can do this easily with the ctrl+arrow short-cut, but the point of being able to do it this way is that you’re not making your 3D window bigger and smaller all the time, it stays one size. You can move the buttons window around on the screen, resize it (the one I made is a bit too big), or you can minimise it, which might look like this:

http://www.lisa3d.org/misc/blender/popup_04.jpg

You should be able to do this with any panel in Blender, and you should also be able to just pop up a new window from a menu and choose what goes in it.

I think it would be useful especially for the UV window, and I’ll mock that one up later. It would be nice to be able to move the UV window around on the screen so you can reveal the area you’re working on, and minimise it to get it out of the way, without the disruptive problem of the 3D window getting bigger and smaller, and without all your other panels vanishing, etc.

I would like the floating window to be able to “dock” back into being a panel, and I’ll mock-up my ideas on that. Also, I would like to introduce the customisable toolbar that has already been created into this idea, and be able to float it too. Then I will mock-up my ideas on the customisable shortcut interface. It’s going to take me a while though!

I have to say CTRL-UPArrow works just fine for me.

even if you want the four views instead of only one in “full screen”?

It doesn’t do the same thing. It maximises one window and makes all the rest disappear. This way you can have one window floating and others always on the screen. It’s a lot more flexible.

Yes, yes, I get your point. But this is a bit overly complicated IMO, and, I wouldn’t want that button window “disconnected” like that.

Instead, why not just add a button (and a hotkey, of course) to each panel’s header that lets you minimize that particular panel. That approach would probably take less time to code, and would integrate more nicely with Blender, and it’s interface concept.

I’m not for float stuff like this, nevertheless in Blender.
For Gimp it’s perfect but not for Blender whichi is already well designed as GUI.

But you could achieve this with a second running instance of blender and a Verse server :slight_smile:

cheers

That would help, but having used other 3D packages with floating windows for years now, I don’t understand the resistance to it in the Blender interface. If you work in 3DS Max professionally, as I do, you really miss the flexibility of them. But my other frequently used package, Rhino, has its own floating windows and even floating toolbars, which tear off and dock very fluidly as you need them to.

The whole philosophical point of floating a window is that it lets you move it around the screen to wherever it has the least impact on your access to your main window. This is the most efficient use of screen real estate.

Blender wastes screen real estate by needing to always carve up your screen in a grid pattern. You can’t just use one corner of your screen for a panel, you have to use a whole “row” or “column” of it, if you see what I mean.

I’ll mock this up to make sure you can see it.

This is what the screen looks like with a complicated compositing node window one the left and an image preview window on the right (I’ve shuffled things around to “minimise” a script window down the right side and a 3D window on the bottom right to get them out of the way for now. I don’t like working that way :(). A lot of space is wasted in the top and bottom of the preview window. The nodes window loses that space when it doesn’t need to.

http://www.lisa3d.org/misc/blender/screen_estate_01.jpg

This is how neat it could look if I had the preview window floating:

http://www.lisa3d.org/misc/blender/screen_estate_02.jpg

Of course, since I made this image out of screen grabs, I couldn’t organise the nodes to use the space most efficiently. But you can see how much better it works. It would make working on the compositing nodes SOOOOOOOO much easier.

The other thing is that, as someone pointed out in our big UI discussion, having floating windows is the best way to make use of a dual monitor setup. You can put all your floats on one monitor, in whatever arrangement you like, and keep your main window maximised on the other.

I somehow don’t like the idea of overlapping windows too much. I like the things to be where they are and not have to move them around to access some other things. In my opinion it only makes the workflow slower by giving the user additional work. If a particular window is too small for me I simply press shift+spacebar and it becomes full screen, shift+spacebar again and it’s back to normal.

I see what you mean now. When I read your suggestion first, I thought you meant to disconnect it from the program, so you’d have to tab in and out of it., but now I see what you mean. It would certainly be useful, and the way you’ve thought it out would work perfectly. This would make blender’s whole workflow much faster, and intuitive. Great idea.

Well, no one forces you to use this option. It’s something you can do if you want to do it.

Can’t you already put your buttons window anywhere you want it? I don’t understand the need for the ability to make it float out away from the edge of the screen to the middle, where it is blocking your view. I think everyone would just move it back to the edge of the screen where it has always been.

Take a look at the screenshots with the UV-Window open. Get the idea?

Thanks Milky, I’m glad I persuaded you :slight_smile:

oldskoolPunk - I’m sorry that I chose to use the buttons window in my first example, but I was too lazy to use anything other than the default workspace! I don’t think people would float the buttons window that much (although I certainly can think of times when I would want to). I just used it because it was there!

Also, the way I presented it at first doesn’t demonstrate how you can resize the buttons window and move it around. The point of a floating window is not to block what you are doing, but reveal more!

No overlapping windows is one of the KEY features of Blender. It’s one of the most clever UI features it has.

If you want to quickly switch between UI setups, use the “Screen” menu, next to the “Scene” Menu. Then switch back and forth between compositing, modelling, animation, and whatever setups by pressing CTRL+left or right arrows.

I think that setup works perfectly.

Why do so many people Dislike the interface of Blender lately? The “option” of a floating window could be cool, if it doen’t tax my system resources. But I am a creature of habit (change is Evil, down with change).

knellotron - No one would hold a gun to your head and force you to use floating windows! But for someone like me, not having overlapping windows drives me batty. I can’t stand always having to make my 3D window bigger and smaller to access different things, and the screens don’t suit me because they’re not set up the way I want them. I’m not very good at using an interface someone else has set up for me and told me is what I should be using. I want the freedom to set it up the way I like it.

because they were brainwashed by autodesk…
or do not care to learn how to use effectively blender’s alternative offerings.

agree here…
smart UI that is easy to suit for dual monitor and multiple workspaces…
(like in modo)…

Sigh

If you’re describing me, let me repeat (yet again) the list of 3D animation software I have used, either in my job or just to learn it:

Blender (the FIRST app I learnt, back in 1998)
Maya
Animation: Master
Rhino
3DS Max
Houdini
Softimage XSI
Motionbuilder
Silo
Modo
Cinema 4D

As usual, I am sure there are some I’ve forgotten. There is one more NURBS app I learnt a while ago, but I can’t remember its name!

The fact is, the more 3D software you use, the more you develop your own way of doing things, and the more you resent a program that tries to dictate a method to you that you don’t like.

Use verse+blender, run second instance of blender with “-w” arg etc…

Please, don’t be silly with floating stuff, you don’t have enough experience with Blender to understand its complexity and its genious :slight_smile:
Just look at ED making-of. :slight_smile:

Non-overlapping is one of the blender’s concept, if you don’t get it, it’d be very annoying and you risk to be really disappointed.

cheers