UI Discussion

agreed. Blender is the only 3d application I know where I can fullscreen the 3D Viewport and Model something without a transform, rotate or scale gizmo and without any menus and all I need to remember is like 5-10 Shortcuts (for modelling).

Since the left-right select and save on exit seem to be the main issue they could be changed for 2.7x.

Maybe Blender should also have a first use notification that explains the left-right select and confirm on quit can be changed in the user preferences.

I’ve been working professionally in 3d creating commercials around London for 16 years and have of late (over the last year or so) developed a soft spot for Blender and started to try and incorporate it into my work whenever and wherever possible. I have also taken it as a personal crusade to promote it in places I work and encourage people to donate to the development fund. While I’ve adapted to Blender’s navigation and interaction I agree wholeheartedly that it needs a thorough overhaul to compete.

On this topic I really hope that some cues are taken from Softimage in terms of organisation and interaction. It was well structured, well thought out, and clean from day one and is the primary reason it’s users are so fond of it (IMO). I’m not trying to be fanboi-ish, there are commonly accepted and recognised areas of innovation in its design (some patented however). I would urge you to watch the first handful of videos linked below to better understand this.

It is actually that big a deal, because to the new user the thinking is, “If ‘select’ is with the right mouse, there must be a really good reason and if I change to the left, these tutorials and my choice in left/right mouse button might make this harder.” I think it was even Jonathan Williamson in a tutorial who said that he leaves everything at defaults in the interface so it’s “easier” for new users to follow.

It’s not a matter of someone never being able to “get” 3d because they stumble starting out, they are overwhelmed and uncertain as they take their new steps into the unknown. Meeting them on common ground is not breaking anything and shouldn’t offend old time users. When they’ve heard people tell them that “all” the big studio’s and game dev’s use 3D Studio or Maya, but they don’t want to pirate something and opt for the free alternative only to run into a “few” hiccups; weird mouse, lost file due to no warning about saving, etc., maybe those first days of initial frustration pushes them into another package and piracy. This does not make them weak, like you implied, it makes them a novice, like all of us were at one point.

Regarding Andrew, you state, “unjustified assumptions and IMHO he loses credibility”, “Andrews criticisms of the interface to be a bit petty” - keep this civil, do you think you gain credibility by judging his, are you not being petty pointing out that you find him so? I agree that his statement that Blender is broken is heavy handed, as for the rest of his personality, that has nothing to do with a need to discuss some shortcomings of some great software.

As for cred, dude I used Turbo Silver starting in 1987 on my commodore well before Softimage 1.0 was released, back then though we had to know A LOT more about irq, dma’s, jumpers, command line, chip pullers, and code than any young person growing up today with swipe and gesture.

Saying things like, “Yes, blender is hard. But not because blender is “broken”, but because 3D in general is hard.” is the proverbial old guy telling the younger generation, “Yeah and we walked 10 miles to school in the snow barefoot while under attack by a swarm of locus and we never complained!” - Chill on the grumpy old man routine.

Not to be petty myself, but do people really get upset when they close a program without saving and later are unable to find their (unsaved) files?

That just seems ridiculous to me. It’s the equivalent of a save screen on a PC game telling me to not turn off my computer while it is saving. Who just slaps the power button in the middle of a save operation? and why are we trying to push for a UI to meet the needs of the lowest common denominator?


the video is over dramatized and I think some people are also correct when well he makes a big fuzz about problems which are on a second look less dramatic to be honest. It is also quite counter productive when a person that has such a high follow line in youtube makes such bold claims because outsiders seeing those videos could quite easily get the wrong idea about Blender.

I started teaching Blender quite some years ago, boy when was that 2004? At that time the interface was so radical different it was odd.

The left click right click is the ONLY real issue in my class room because students often overlock that and get confused.
But yet some simply stick to it as well. So it seems not to drive them away or make it impossible to get work done.

There are for sure areas to improve mainly making things consistent - but the inconsistency is not that dramatic that it feels like two different applications (NT in 3D view - image editor) and much more important slowing your down or harming your productivity.

For sure it would be much better to be able to streamline the workflow and interface even more.
However is there any software out there where the interface has not problems.

Yet if one way does not work a different will work. Through out the years I did not come across one software that is perfect. Specifically when the amount of tools increase often the software will get harder. Sorting information is a daunting task and not an easy one.

In CAD alone you can see the simplify UI but sacrifice depth approach and the we want tools and sadly sometimes overload things approach.

Many claim Maya has a terrible interface, same with Alias, 3D Max, well at the end the workflow is what is important. And knowing beside Max each one I cannot say that those apps are for hobby users. And even for professionals there are courses in how to use the software.

SolidWorks a powerful engineering and design often offers training seminars. So every designer who finished school should because the interface is so simple just open the software and be productive instantly?

3D is just big - if you want to pick it up alone fine, some will be successful some won’t. But even simple tools are sometimes hard to learn when beginning and being a beginner as well.

Why should Blender be the exception here?

When I started to teach Alias I had few days to prepare to I used the heck the internet to get onto speed. I had not manual nothing.

I question if somebody opens the app, doesn’t get it and then claims the software sucks, if the person is simply not efficiently approaching this. There are enough helpers outside on the internet to consume! More than actually for many professional tools.


If I understand your argumentation correctly, you’re basically saying that nothing is wrong (except the left-click), nothing is broken and by the way, there is other software out there who also has serious issues, so nothing needs doing here. That about sum it up right?

All software has issues, the difference is that this is “our” software. I don’t give a rodent’s hindquarter about problems in 3DSMax. It’s not my problem. I don’t use that particular piece of software and even if I did, I don’t think they’d listen to me much. I have much more faith in the Blender devs, and I do use and love Blender. So I care, and so should you.

We need to try dial down on the denial and we need avoid getting defensive. My background is is UNIX systems administration, not development. But i know the gut response of denial and defensiveness well enough, we all have it when someone points out mistakes we have made or things we should’ve thought of but didn’t. The question is what we do with it after those first deep breaths. Pretending the problem is not there isn’t a solution, neither is doing nothing or hiding behind lame excuses (“3D is hard”/“other software has problems too”/“this is the theoretically correct way” are right there on top of the list).

Admittedly it’s easy for me to come here and criticize - I’m not a dev. I’m not the one who has to sit after school or work and spend my free hours doing this. But please recognize this, and I believe Andrew’s video, for what it is: people who care, who take the time to engage and have an opinion with the best interests of Blender and its users in mind. If that’s not the a great community, then what is?

I was afraid that siding with anyone here puts one into a polarized camp on the left or right, it’s all quite indicative of who we are as a people these days, as demonstrated by the discussions on a political level here in America. This isn’t about a winning or losing team, Republican or Democrat, abortion or right-to-life; it’s an interface people! And it’s obviously one that has the writers here impassioned. Does anyone see someone here asking for our opinion on a new brand of diapers? We are here because a tool that the majority posting use probably every day is evolving. Evolution requires dead ends and new beginnings, for humans working with information and knowledge, that means we have to discuss things. The defensive nature of people, like Cekuhnen’s comment to me that Olesk responded to so eloquently, is a great example of how insular this place feels sometimes.

I’m so damn happy that the devs mostly stay above the fray as they watch us play like petulant children having tantrums.

Because the majority of the world’s population lives between the top 100 city centers where there are not expert tutors and user groups. Because there are people who are 9 and 10 years old who are picking up on these tools, as they are likely going to have to use Blender, and a lot more sophisticated software in their near future. Because not everyone is an English speaker with a ready grasp of all the details you may think are obvious due to your style of thinking that might be centric to your place on Earth. Because not all of us can be in the highest common denominator as you have insinuated that you are.

Signed, just another troglodyte knuckle dragger.

He never said that Blender is broken. With “broken” Andrew referred to some specific areas of blenders interface.
A man without legs still has his arms… or so to speak.

It could keep some people from learning Blender, but it isn’t necessarily the main reason. This aaaand…

… those many little annoyances can sum up to one big annoyance, which can be big enough for some people to throw the towel. Again, this isn’t always the case… And still, if you could get rid of those annoyances, why not get rid of them?
A fly bouncing against a window is also not a “major show stopper”, but I think we agree, that anyone still would like to NOT have this fly in his room.

Really? They are different and therefore require different numerical inputs? Why do they require different inputs? I don’t understand, could you specify this a little bit more? Why do they have to have different inputs?

Again, one little detail might not be a problem at all, but many little details can in some cases sum up to one big problem.
A single grasshopper doesn’t hurt anyone, but hundreds of thousands of them are considered a plague.
Apart from that, if it’s possible to get rid of a little annoyance, why not get rid of it?

Well, you say it.
If you don’t understand the unit value of a given input, you probably don’t understand what that input does in the first place.
So why not say it in the first place?
You make it sound like an accusation to the “unworthy” user, but actually it could be helpful for the user while learning the software.

Exactly. I agree, and because 3D in general is hard it should be made as easy as possible for the users to work with it.

I think Andrew Price has made some great points in his video and backed them up with good arguments. It’s the most in-depth treatment of the topic I have seen so far (seen, not read or heard).
And I personally couldn’t see the exaggeration people are speaking of in Andrews video.
Is it the most important topic?
I don’t think so, but it doesn’t hurt to talk about it nonetheless.

I would be happy if this would work. Have you ever tried it? The text “Select with Left/Right” is misleading, because ofter changing to “Select with Left” you get the desired behavior indeed in the 3d viewport, but in almost all other editors (where left-click is standard) it will be changed to right-click. This is extremely inconsistent and imho a bug.

Who would want to select with right-click in the timeline, dopesheet etc.?

After getting panned in the other thread on this topic, I thought talking about change and improvement was a taboo subject on here. I’m glad to see I’m not alone.

Maybe I’m not explaining myself properly, so am putting peoples backs up, I will leave it to the more eloquent peeps to carry on the “discussion”

One bit of advice for everyone, try not to get caught up in the specific terminology used. e.g. ‘broken’. Look rather for the explanation or motive behind it.

We all love Blender.

LMB in the dope sheet as select means you can select and move your selection with lmb, and use rmb to scrub the time. Do you mean you would rather have selection married to the scrubbing too, so that you can inadvertently select, move your keys when you meant to scrub? I think if this were the case, someone else would post about how terrible it is that Blender software allowed them to mess up their keys just simply trying to scrub the frames, to which they would say ‘need to separate the selection from the scrub’ and here we go again.

Ohjin, in your other thread you mentioned the interface is 10x better but not broken however needs improvement. I actually agree on that and thats my point it is while it can use some polishing NOT broken.

M for move (layer)
I for insert face
E for extrude
G R S for grab rotate scale
X for delete

the students find this actually very logical and faster. I have some Maya folks in my class as well.

Generally I feel there are two different type of users:
Those who try to learn how a software thinks and those who want the software to think like the user does.

Both cases are valid, but I find Blender not that hard to learn. 3D has just a lot to master.

I think all I would promote is more like stay on the ground of reality nothing will ever be perfect anyway.

I also have students who leave my class because they don’t like Rhino and rather continue working in Blender even find Rhino hard to learn while others claim it is the most easy to learn NURBS application. A lot in Rhino is not self explaining as well.

So to a certain degree you cannot expect the software and UI being so self explaining that no working time might be required.

This week I participated for a big company in a product and tool presentation - they have the money to do this and be really detailed.

Blender does not. And if I would have to choose right now resources spend on better menus compared to better tools I would choose the last.

I feel right now Blender is already an incredible fast easy to use and very productive application.

Any an interface improvement is announced for the next version so I am looking forward to this. At the end I cannot code and not improve it on my side and I am sure Ton and his group know what is realistic and feasible to do as I trust them a lot.

:cool: Now I know like the rest of the Blender user community around the world that the Blender software is a unique program in the way it is set out and how it actually works.

But in the 21st century of highly competitive 3d industry you have to be on the leading edge of every part of the program.

Now my forum name as everyone can see is NEWB and to my own regret that is what I still am simply because I can’t aford the time to learn it compleately but I have dabled with Blender since version 2.42.

I totaly agree with Andrew with what he sead in the vidio and I fully realize he is presumably tredding on sacred grond as far as the program development is concerned ,but what he says does make sence in keeping Blender at the cutting edge of 3d software and as a lot of you know Blender is now favored above other commercial software to do the job.

I just think it would be a crying shame to see Blender slowly go by the wayside because it became too hard for newbys like myself too hard to learn. :frowning:

So now we have 34 pages of useless philosophical discussion. Again. You want to improve the UI?

Keep Calm And Post Mockups.

I am not against a tabbed workflow(model|texture/paint|animate) this is of course to support a corresponding tool shelves…I am aware we can change the window modes already…

why do we have no vertical tool bars(iconic tool bars)?..esp. for the properties panel.

why are some of the shortcuts so damn long? center objects origin to 3d cursor is like ctrl+alt+shift+c…or something like that???

everyone has a laundry list of things that should/could be changed…but until blender is more modal(as I previously stated) I don’t think there is a good philosophy for how we can fix it…(analogy—>)it is like organizing things into different folders where you can have duplicate shortcuts or buttons, since they occupy different folders…as it is now…everything is in one big folder…feels like a messy desktop.

I have no problem with that - at least that is constructive. But l have to ask: if we all post mockups, how do we get from there to something that is really getting implemented? And isn´t this a discussion on two levels: one, where the mockups perhaps belong is a radical complete change of the UI which will take some time, and another more basic level where obvious glaring UI inconsistencies can be directly treated as bugs and fixed by the respective devs?

My pet peeve is fixing the seconds vs. frames in the physics panel for example. To me this is a UI bug. A massive mockup covering all parts of Blender would fix that, but I´d rather have someone go “ouch, yeah, that´s a mistake” and fix it quickly, rather than wait for a complete Blender redesign project to handle it.

I´m not trying to sabotage here, but I think we can handle both levels. One quicker fix of obvious mistakes and another higher level discussion of the Blender UI. It could be that they belong in different threads though, as to not “pollute” the mockups thread, which I suppose this is.

I just saw Thomas Dinges reject someone´s attempt at registering an UI inconsistency in the bug tracker. Not because it was incorrect in itself (at least, that was not the reason given).

Date: 2013-09-28 01:08
Sender: Thomas Dinges
Thanks for the report, but this bug tracker is for bugs only.
Bugs = errors, crashes, in existing tools.

>> Closing

Conclusion: don´t try to report UI inconsistencies/errors, as they are not “bugs”. With an attitude like this, how can we improve anything? This is a far cry from other open projects I can think of. The current structure is such that there is no way to report UI bugs at all. One can only hope that enough devs read this thread to start asking themselves if perhaps acknowledging that simply applying a very narrow definition of the term “bug” does not make the other bugs magically disappear.

Did you know that according to Wikipedia a bug is “an error, flaw, failure, or fault in a computer program or system that produces an incorrect or unexpected result, or causes it to behave in unintended ways”. A far cry from “errors, crashes, in existing tools”.

If we could report UI bugs as bugs, then that would take care of the direct problems short term, and the mockups could take us to a final new UI in the medium term, and all would be wonderful :wink:

Come on guys, that particular report was about Dynamic Topology. The reporter said he would have imagined the tool to be inside the modifier stack, instead of the 3D View Toolbar.
Or check this recent one: https://projects.blender.org/tracker/index.php?func=detail&aid=36818&group_id=9&atid=498

I know that you guys wish for a central place to report feature requests and suggestions, but that is another topic. I watched Andrews video, and I agree with a lot of things there. :wink: I also hope to work more on the UI soon.

But we need a “calm” place where we can work on the real bugs like crashers. That is a priority.
Especially since we are close to the 2.69 release, and we get a lot of reports currently.

I understand you can´t deal with a million UI requests, half of them conflicting :slight_smile:

But other projects do deal with this, in putting them in either “feature requests” (like GIMP) or similar categories. By insisting that bugs are only “technical” in nature, it becomes impossible to help. I´m not saying “open the flood gates”, I´m only asking that when a UI bug is reported, it is given due consideration, in stead of being rejected off hand for “not being a bug”…

Take the example of this little fix: http://t.co/QR4PPftTTw

A tiny example of something that could´ve been reported as a bug. Why not? Fixing it was no big deal and since it required a “fix”, I´d say it was a bug that is now closed. It shouldn´t be necessary to make long videos to get stuff like this fixed :wink:

Problem is, currently, that seems to be the only way. Is that really how we want it to be?