The tool productivity curve.

Barry Zundel - TD at Pixar - blog post on the subject of software usability. He mentions Blender.

Oops, edit, forgot link.

I’m getting increasingly tired of reading articles/posts on how 3D applications are too complicated or unintuitive or need to be “dumbed down”, which contain no valuable insight or suggestions for improvement whatsoever.

Maybe because they are artists have these people forgotten (since they have left school) a simple fact of life:
Learning something new makes you feel uncomfortable. Not understanding something is frustrating. If it is different for you, then you’re not actually learning something new, but are rather improving a skill that you are already comfortable with.

Now, the pavlovian reaction to this is to avoid to learn new things. Maybe this gets you by in a lot of fields, but probably not in anything computer-related.

Writing angry blog posts isn’t going to change anything. People need to write up specific designs on how things could be made simpler - and in the process maybe they will learn that certain things are as simple as they should be, already.

The guy is entirely correct - this applies to most of the engineering world, not just CG. If value was ascribed to how a tool was used rather than what it could do, things would run a whole lot smoother in most industries you could name.

I doubt his perspective will be of much use to blender though, because you can’t optimise a user’s experience until you know what they’re trying to do. Blender just doesn’t know what it is - it has too wide a user base, too many personal workflow preferences to take into account.

And we will see how with this article somebody could justify make blender a program with two buttons for amateurs that don’t know make other thing that a cube…

The gist of the point he is making I think is similar to McLuhans ‘the medium is the message.’ I wonder myself looking at 3D work whether the point is to communicate with an audience or show off the abilities of 3D?

I don’t buy his car analogy. As he says, a car has one function…getting from point A to point B, literally. 3D software is made to get you from some Point A to an infinite number of possible visual endpoints. It has to have multiple tools. Some may be implemented in clunky ways, but that’s in part a limitation of having to pipe your 3D idea through a keyboard/mouse onto a 2D monitor.

I’m getting increasingly tired of reading articles/posts on how 3D applications are too complicated or unintuitive or need to be “dumbed down”, which contain no valuable insight or suggestions for improvement whatsoever.

I completely agree. When people exclaim that Blender is too weird or complicated to use I think…wow, your VCR must still be flashing 12:00. Who sets your alarm clock for you?

A Ferrari is totally useless to go shopping or drive kids to school.
A Pinto do lots of things that a ferrari can’t do and it is easier to park.

Did you miss the part where he talked about Sculptris and how simple and easy it was to use but yet because of this simplicity you couldn’t do much with it.

I don’t think this is a man arguing for things to be simplified to an extreme level. To use a car analogy, because I like cars and he used one, He is asking for designers not to go the KTM X-BOW route on how to start a car. Watch a video(Top Gear season 18 had one) on how someone starts one of those cars and you will wonder what ever happened to just turning the ignition key or pressing a start button.

There is always ample opportunity that make simple things stupidly complicated and most people never miss a turn to do so.

Yes, but we will see this article like an argument in some discussion.

Point is, I think that Blender’s usability has improved quite dramatically, beginning with the 2.5x UI-rewrite and certainly continuing to this day. We do have tool-tips, and more than one way to do things, and an “undo” capability and so on. It’s vastly easier to use this tool than it used to be, and we have lots of hard-working volunteers to thank for it.

The problem is, and is always going to be, that … in the end … you really are programming a computer. You can stay pretty far away from that for a long time using the rich set of options and modifiers that have been made available in the tool that is Blender, but eventually – for example, when creating a render-node network, or animation actions – you’re going to run smack-dab into the reality that this is a machine that only knows about two things: 1 and 0. The computer doesn’t know a thing about sculpting, nor for that matter, about physical reality.

I don’t disagree with the sentiment of what the OP is saying, but, “now, let’s turn this into something that we can actually implement.” Talking about a tool is great, but the time comes when we’ve got to write source-code, whether in Python or OpenGL or C++. The “1 or 0” rubber has to hit the roadway and carry us along.