UI overhaul: Ideas?

Just a basic post for gathering UI overhaul ideas. GUI wise.
Small icons that make better sense. I know none of this will be coded unless someone does it, but somebody’s got to start the campaign.

My first one. A pin tool. We have red dots… Which meld into the dark color scheme of the uv window already… Why not, I don’t know an icon of a pin??

I’m not sure if the icons scale with the Blender application when it’s being used on a bigger resolution. But it would be indeed a nice idea to update the icons on the main tabs in blender. Ofcourse everyone is used to the red sphere for materials and the world for the world settings, but sometimes I find those icons a little ugly and outdated compared to the rest of blender.

I’m not sure if the new GUI design is still in progress and if they already planned to change the buttons, but I’m sure it would be a nice little idea. Althought I would love to see new buttons, more clearer and good to recognise. But simply drawing some button icons isn’t that easy. In a lot of programs they do a lot of research before they actually add a new icon and how it has to look like.

I would say, go and do it, come with some nice researches on new blender icons, visuals and explaination why? :slight_smile:

The best UI idea is the event refactor that’s on Ton’s to-do list. That’ll free up coders to implement custom key binding.

The ability to create custom panels, and to drag-and-drop control sets from other panels would also be invaluable. That way, people could create their own UI (custom keys + custom panels) and share it with the world. Let evolution commence.

IMHO, the fewer icons, the better.

Harkyman has the idea. Custom interface design is the way to go. Let people build it how they see fit, will open it up more to production, as it will allow studios/artists to design the layout according to their specific needs.

I don’t completely agree on the no icon rule, I think there should be a way to have every tool be a button if necessary. Remember accessibility is also a good thing. A person with a handicap can’t exactly press the shortcut keys all over the place with ease. I’m not saying add icons, just within the framework of the custom panels, etc allow the use of more icons/buttons.

I hate icons as well but places where they belong is a major needed function…

Pinning as I said… just changeing a vertices color to red wont cut it. Bezier vector shapes (icons) can scale to infinite so that should not be a problem just use Inkscape or Illustrator

I think a good start would be implementing something like the UI for Espresso. Something that could be expanded and collapsed as needed. It’d be great if it had a gui config utility too so you could assign either basic blender commands or use scripts and also assign the position of each menu. Add to that the ability to customize hotkeys and I think you would probably start getting more favorable responses on the UI from non-Blender users.

and for the anti-icon people, you could just as easily replace, for example, the bitmap image of a line with a bitmap image that has the word line.

I agree with keeping the icons to a minimum and that’s why I think having a floaty panel would work. For one thing, most people will keep the objects they are interested in centralized in the 3D view. Try it when you are modelling something. Very rarely do people ever change anything towards the outer extremity of the 3D view. They will move the view so the object to be modified is in the middle. So why waste the space around the periphery?

There could be a floaty panel for mesh tools - perhaps it can be snapped to the left - like in Photoshop. Icons would certainly save space here. Then up top, each tool when it’s selected can have it’s own options that appear when needed - like in Photoshop. Like all the spin dup options. They can appear when you select that tool - then there would be a button to execute the command.

The knife tool would have options like loop cut, midpoint etc but those options would only appear in the upper panel while on the knife tool.

I also think a lot of the per object settings can be held in the pop-up you get by pressing the n-key. The options for drawtype and extra for example. Even the modifiers could go in there as long as scrollable lists were implemented, which are really needed in Python btw.

Not directly connected to the GUI, but I think, it is time for a per user config. At the moment, all gui configuration as well as auto-save, path names, themes and stuff is stored in the blend file and the .blend file, which is only invoked on creating a new project. This means, if you get someones file, you have at first to change the whole config or live with the stuff, this person has set up. Not a problem for now, but imagine, you get a .blend file with customized keys and GUI. You’ll have to change them before you may start working on it.

The Video Sequence Editor looks somewhat outdated. A more “Windows XP Movie maker” type approach would be more intuitive.

agree with this one.

About icons – agreed that they have their place. I wasn’t advocating the removal of all icons :slight_smile:

I was, however, saying that we shouldn’t turn Blender into one of those icon-heavy apps. At least with the minimally named buttons, new (and old) users have a fighting chance when accessing a new/little used feature.

Also, the custom keybinding would allow you to bind scripts to keystrokes. Then, python tools would be truly integrated into the workflow.

Imagine a custom panel, with all specific tools and settings you need in order to do your work, floating in a maximized 3D window. Workflow bliss.

Arrrggg so when does this keybinding thing happen ?

Answer 1: I know that you know the development model for this software, so I can only assume that your question is rhetorical. Asking “when does this happen” for a down-the-road feature on Blender is like someone saying “you won’t forget, will you?” It’s tautalogically silly.

Answer 2: When Ton is done doing all the beuracracy, fundraising, publicity and everything else for the BF that he does, and is satisfied that the bug report levels are low enough to begin work on a major reconstruction, and has pesky people like the Orange or Plumiferos animators no longer asking him for immediately needed features.

Answer 3: When you code it.

Answer 4: When I code it.

It’s pretty well hidden but when you open someone else’s file, there’s a button at the bottom called Load UI. Deselect this and it will load the file with your default layout. It doesn’t work when you drag a scene to the Blender icon though, which is how I tend to open files.

Creating your own icons is lot’s of fun.
I’m really looking forward to the personal shelf thing.
And I hope it can be in a floating panel…
But I’m not to sure that I’ll use that, floating panels are always in the way, and then I’ll be moving the panel away again, etc. The best solution for this is pop-up panels under the mouse pointer. There is a big panel / icon mockup threat on blender.org.
Everybody creating icons for their owm macro’s and scripts can also become a big mess. So BF should release an icon template! Why not have an icon template contest?

Uncheck ‘load UI’ in the file load screen.


Unless the panel also contained information that you wanted to check, as opposed to buttons or sliders you wanted to manipulate. Controls give information as well as allowing control. Allow assignable hotkeys, per panel. One keystroke expands/collapses the panel in the location you’ve already placed it. A different keystroke pops the panel up under your mouse, and pressing again returns it to it’s former location and collapsed/expanded state.

:smiley: :smiley: I made a quick mock up, Two different ideas… A Pin, and just a simple method of increaseing the dots ratio of vision to select and edit


I like the idea of stuff appearing under the mouse but I’d prefer if right-click is used to make it appear. It would be nice if there was a grid of a customizable size that appeared and it would be centered around the mouse so you don’t have to move far to reach a tool. 10x10 should fit most things and 32x32 icons would only take up 320x320. You’d put a menu over items like the mesh icon to add a plane or whatever

I still think there would need to be a permanent panel for tool options but maybe there could be a hotkey (similar to the n-key) that pops up per tool options like spin dup values. This panel could be a hiding one like the OS X dock - it wouldn’t have to slide out or anything fancy, just appear. I think the header should do this too actually. There are too many windows where I have to middle-click drag to pull the header across.

I think we need a UI profile manager. Say, you as a modeler mostly use certain functions (maybe you’ll never need spin edge or some other function you use constantly). You could invoke a modeling profile that consists of all your preferences, hiding functions you don’t need to use at some stage of modeling. You should be able to make multiple profiles for the same mode/ stage/ screen/ scene/ window. So later on you are going to tweak or sculpt, you just invoke the correspondant profile, hiding all buttons that you are not going to use and remapping buttons under your favorite keys, or panels. The same goes for rigging, time window, ipo window etc.

I think you can eleminate a lot of clutter this way.