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Video: what Blender’s interface should look like

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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Blender Guru’s Andrew Price recently got a lot of praise on community forums for his clearly argued analysis of why Blender’s interface is ‘broken’.

In his latest video, Price puts his money where his mouth is, at least figuratively speaking, and presents some concrete proposals for redesigning that interface.

More conventional – but too much like Autodesk?
His suggestions, which include a contextual sidebar and a more conventional layers panel, would make Blender look far more like an Adobe or Autodesk app – the mock-up of the UI Price uses to demonstrate the use of tabs and drop-downs looks rather like 3ds Max’s modelling ribbon on steroids.

Perhaps partly as a result, the new video has proved more controversial than its predecessors. A post on BlenderNation labelling the proposed UI a “Max/Photoshop copy for idiots” is fairly typical of its detractors.

But there are also a lot of people posting in support of some or all of the ideas, and a lot of people simply debating the issues. And as before, the new video is slickly presented and persuasively argued.

Watch it above, then add your ten cents to the debate via one of the links below.

Comment on the proposals on Blender Guru
(Includes the full text of the video and some interesting survey data)

Comment on the proposals on BlenderNation
(Generally more negative feedback than on Blender Guru)

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  • Chris Sederqvist

    This would possibly keep first-time users actually continue using Blender, instead of how it is now, where a Max or Maya user opens Blender, doesn’t understand anything AT ALL. Not even how to select elements, you know. So, I’m absolutely pro these changes.

  • RazorXcom

    It’s pretty clear Andrew knows what he’s talking about in UI development. They would be wise to listen to his suggestions if they want to increase the Blender user base. I previously stopped using Blender because the UI was too convoluted. It eventually dissuades people from using it.

  • Ste We

    There is no difference in the learning curve between Blender or Max and others, because everything in 3D is complex and needs a lot of options. To really improve the GUI, it’s not at all necessary to show (off?) a new colorscheme and Icons, that take even more space, than the old adjustable scroll-pads. Andrews proposal simply takes away all the options and buttons, that are needed constantly, pretending to be therefore simple. The design looks like an overtabbed Word-2010-Clone, which doesn’t add any usability-advantage whatsoever and completely ignores the possibilities of the existing design. It’s not a shame for someone experimenting UI-design for the first time, but it’s a shame quite some people like the illusion, that this desperate design-sketch would make a better Interface somehow!

  • Robert Cummings

    Blender seems smashed together by different programmers over time, with no clue of how creativity really works, or having any stable grounding in art. The curse of open source is the lack of strong direction. It’s the reason we’d rather all pay for max at our company. If this gui change could be optional, there is no negative to doing so, thus bringing more creativity and more talent to blender, thereby improving blender. Resisting change for zero reason is a good reason for it to remain a bastard stepchild in the creative world.

  • William Sean Bosley

    I’m one of those silly folks who learned through GMax, then did the 3DSmax demo a few times. I had no idea how to use Blender, and just wanted it to be at least similar to the max programs. The max programs also seem to be more systematic, making models much, much more economical. I also really, really like the lines to 3D shapes feature of the max programs. I used to use that every time to start off with, and it made my models come to completion from scratch much faster.

    I have learned the Blender UI about 70-80% now, so at least add in the lines to 3D tools and I will be a fully functioning Blender user. Make it exactly like 3DSmax, and I will become a Blender master.

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