Monday, May 14th, 2018 Posted by Jim Thacker

Bforartists team releases Bforartists 1.0

The Bforartists team has released Bforartists 1.0.0, the first official release of its fork of Blender focused on making the software’s interface more intuitive to use, particularly for artists familiar with other 3D software.

The release coincides with the end of the 2.79 development cycle of Blender itself, and the first public showing of the UI changes coming up in Blender 2.8.

All the functionality of Blender, but a very different design philosophy
Created by a team of volunteers led by Reiner Prokein, Bforartists has been in development since 2015.

The fork aims to preserve all of the functionality of Blender while making the interface more intuitive to use, particularly for artists used to the UI conventions of other 3D software.

As the Bforartists FAQs put it: “Blender’s usability philosophy is centered around hotkeys and speed. Bforartists’ usability philosophy is centered around the graphical menu.”

A menu-driven workflow with a more streamlined, redesigned user interface
The results can be seen in the video above – it dates back to Bforartists 0.9.0, so there have been further changes since then, but it illustrates the general design principles of the fork.

Key differences to Blender include the use of left mouse button rather than the right mouse button for selections, the condensed hotkey map, and reorganised, more flexible GUI.

As well as providing menu entries for commands that previously only had hotkeys, Bforartists makes much greater use of icons, particularly in the Tool Shelf and user-customisable top toolbar.

The fork also increases visual contrast in the interface, standardises tooltips, de-duplicates menu entries, and attempts to arrange controls more logically.

The impact of the changes can be seen at a glance at 01:15 in the video, which switches between the standard interface and that of Bforartists.

Development now paused until the official release of Blender 2.80
Bforartists 1.0.0 is based on Blender 2.79b, with development of the fork now paused in the run up to the release of Blender 2.80, currently scheduled for later this summer.

As well as being a major overhaul of the core code, the 2.8 cycle will bring with it its own changes to Blender’s icon and interface design – about which, the Bforartists team seems to be cautiously optimistic.

According to Prokein, the team plans to wait for the first official build of Blender 2.80 to appear at Siggraph 2018 before deciding how, or whether, to resume development of Bforartists.

“It makes no sense to even start with modifications at this point, since everything can still change,” he writes in this forum post. “First we have to [see] how far 2.8 really goes.”

System requirements and availability
Bforartists 1.0.0 is available under the GNU General Public Licence. Binaries are available for Windows Vista and above, with those for Mac OS X 10.10+ to come. Linux users will need to compile from the source code.

Read more about Bforartists on the project website

Download binaries of Bforartists 1.0.0

Download the Bforartists source code from the project’s GitHub repository