(Re)defining Blender

It’s a recurring event for a lively project like Blender that the UI, usability, design, focus or other important principles pop up as topics for discussion. It’s all about passion for making a great 3d tool here, and working with this kind of “open source dynamics” is one of the great benefits of the web and social media.

There’s a couple of aspects we do need to keep careful track of though. Online dynamics is also vulnerable – especially when people are feeling unsure about what they can expect to happen, or don’t know what happens with their contributions, or have doubts how decision procedures go. Uncertainty and doubts lead to stress and it can make people become poisonous – usually without even knowing.

A healthy and flourishing free/open source project therefore should be as transparent as possible. That means to be clear about the key goals and what unites everyone, clear about how to get involved and how decisions or actions are being defined.

In this article I will try to summarize these key goals – confirming what we’ve been doing already for a decade – and to ensure we can keep moving on towards a great future together.

Focus: Blender is for Artists

The official Blender Foundation goal is worded like this:

Provide individual artists and small teams with a complete, free and open source 3D creation pipeline.

In this simple sentence a couple of crucial focus points come together.

  • Artists and teams: We work for people who consider themselves artist – and who work on creating 3D individually or in small teams together. The definition for “artist” can be taken quite wide – to include engineers, product designers, architects or scientists. But each of them can be considered to have a serious interest in working with 3D software to create something related to that interest.
    “Blender is for artists” also means that”s it not a programming API or scripting environment, these are secondary to this goal.
  • Complete 3D creation: Blender should work for making finished products, without requirement to purchase or run other programs. Its output should satisfy the users sufficiently to share their work in public or market it as part of a living.
  • Pipeline: We are aware of how CG production works (for animation, film, vfx, games) and we want Blender to work sufficiently in each and every aspect of such creation pipelines. This to to make complex creations possible and to enable people working together.
  • Free and open source: And not only should Blender be a complete production system, we even want this to be free and open source!

But it’s also for Everyone

It’s quite common for product marketing that the people you target at are a much narrower group than the actual users you have. People just like it to belong to groups they consider to be cooler, or they are in a process to become part of such groups. This conflicting situation is even stronger for free (gratis) software like Blender is. Somehow it’s acceptable for expensive 3D tools to target at specialists, but when it’s free it must “obviously” be a common generic tool for everyone. That misconception also lives inside open source communities. Check Slashdot reviews of Blender to see how the Linux community considers they “own” Blender, and we (obviously) fail to make Blender work for them.

So – we make something for few people and give it to everyone. Quite a contradiction! But that has proven to work. I cannot count the amount of cases of getting enthusiast reactions of people who discovered that this silly free Blender tool was actually doing something advanced and useful for them – literally changing their lives.

Easy to Learn VS Easy to Use

Ideally you make tools to be simple to understand, tools that are self-explaining, that work fast and pleasant also when you’ve mastered them well.
In practice this isn’t always true – and certainly not for 3D technology and tools. If you choose to develop 3D tools to be easy to learn, you will make decisions to sacrifice speed and ease of use for frequent users. You will have to narrow down to a UI that’s optimal for generic (beginner) use cases more than for users who want to handle complexity and who have time for quality.

For tools you use every day, you can simply state “Learn once, use the rest of your life”. So – focus for Blender tools is on making it usable first. Keep things consistent and fit with overall design. Tools then become logical and feel intuitive even.

We make Blender for Blender users

This is not meant exclusive or to keep people out – everyone can use Blender freely and become a user. I usually state this provocatively to explain that I’m not much interested in “getting more users”. That’s not a sane target to work for. Nor am I much interested in supporting Maya users, Sketch-up users, or the forum trolls who don’t use Blender anyway. Why would we in the first place? Why work for people who are not much interested in your work, if you already have like hundreds of thousands of users who are?

If we work with the people who are around for years, who invested time in Blender, who started a business with it, or training services, or just use it for fun… then we at least get people motivated positively with the right incentives. Positive energy, positive results, and happy users!

Don’t look up to Average

In daily computer use you will open many programs that each do specific tasks. You can do some painting, text editing, page design, image editing, all without being interested (or even motivated) to spend a lot of time in becoming skilled in these areas.
That’s when standards kick in, the averages, conventions, common defaults and largest denominators. That’s all fine and useful for getting quick results. But it’s not something that makes it by definition “good” to do, or something to look up to – you would forever put yourself in a position of a newbie then.

I consider myself to be quite average – averagely talented and skilled. I understand conventions and can use or reject them. Use the defaults, or create my own. But most of all – from that position I prefer to look up to the excellent. What’s the best we have in the world, and how can I make that available in Blender? I want to be reaching for the stars!

All of the coders and artists teams I worked in the past – and still work with now – share this passion – we know we might be mediocre and averagely skilled, but we do look up and use the best of the best as a reference. I would never look up to average – I want to lift up the average. It’s not following conventions, it’s following a vision.

Development by Production

One of the key events that have shaped Blender were the Open Movie and Game projects, conducted by Blender Foundation and Institute. Here the best of the 3D artists were put together to work for half a year or more on a compelling target. Their feedback, their productivity, their needs were put centrally first. And as everyone in a similar working position can confirm – good looking and funny interfaces don’t make films. It’s first about reliable software that does what you want, to provide predictable and stable but highly advanced features.

For sure these 3D artists also cherish usability, they love well designed UIs. For sure they hate inconsistencies, detest the hours lost with scrolling or searching features, and detest all of the shortcomings in Blender we know so well. But this aspect is always in balance with the rest of the software itself. Blender priorities are also on technology, on enabling creativity through exposing advanced features – even when it’s with a clunky UI at first.

Also for the next few years I want to get Blender’s development being driven by such artists and teams. We will use project Gooseberry for it (feature film made by many teams around the world) and of course support our Blender Network of professionals.

Peel off the UI and replace it?

A lot of (really great) UI design proposals that went on the past week give quite a false impression that it’s either feasible to just replace the UI, or that its possible to pay for it – even when it takes a dozen people a year to work on.

The misconception here is that the “UI” is some kind of separated entity of a program, which can just be peeled off and replaced with another interface. However, a really good UI (and certainly Blender’s) is not just an abstract independent layer, it’s the reflection (and sometimes even the core) of the program”s design.

You can easily state that a significant part of the Blender code (more than a quarter) is “the interface”. You cannot code any tool without understanding “the UI”. You cannot work on compositing or rendering without keeping track of it. A particle system is “UI”. How animation systems relate is “UI”. How files read and write is “UI”. The way how undo works is even “UI”.

So – replacing a UI can be as impossible as trying to replace the script in a film. Let”s not go that way now. A full rewrite of Blender might happen once, but I think we have enough quality code design in Blender still – and a whole lot of open todo topics – to fill at least several years of coding time with.

We are all Humans (too)

Since 2010 the developers maintain a todo list in wiki. This is a list of bug reports and reported issues in Blender we cannot solve simply or quickly, but which should really be worked on.

That list now is really huge, intimidatingly huge even. Blender is in many ways crippled, unfinished, or half working only. That aspect you can detect in the UI easily, but if you seek a bit further it”s in nearly every part of Blender.


So what has everyone been doing then? Consider the enormous amounts of work that has been done since 2010… tens of thousands of bug fixes and updates, loads of new features and tools. And then – how strange – there are still so many weak parts in Blender? So many totally obvious cases we fail to handle? How’s that possible – the UI is still br0ken!!1!

It would be helpful if people who criticise Blender (or want to contribute) spend a bit of time on that aspect. The Blender team – over a 100 people who work regularly on the code – really isn’t dying for ideas or suggestions, nor do they spend time twiddling thumbs waiting for a brilliant request to be passed on. And most of all – they’re not incompetent idiots either. Every contributor knows the shortcomings of Blender and their own shortcomings as well. But they all do their utmost & honest best.

To maintain and work on current Blender is already an enormous undertaking. We have to keep it running with a massive effort, and to improve that the efforts are even larger. Easy fixes unfortunately don’t exist anymore – we’d have done them ourselves you know!

And last but not least – the work we do should be FUN and inspiring! It should be pleasant to hang out with the developers, work with artists, have a friendly and open project. It”s not – and I hope for long – a corporate environment here. That means to be relaxed too – accept imperfection, allow unfinished but promising projects being added to Blender.

Get Involved!

A good and daily interaction between users and developers is a critical success factor for Blender. Decisions and work is being handled by “Module teams” – small groups of developers and artists who are empowered to handle their work. This approach works quite good, especially when these roles are public, and when the team members can be approached easily for review and discussion of their work. It for sure works a lot better than voting or online polling of opinions.

Teams have been setup already on many areas – for character animation tool design, for vfx and motion tracking, for Cycles and shading, for the game engine or for modeling tools. Similarly we have a UI team as well, but activity there has stalled a bit in last 2 years. The team really needs to be expanded, preferably with good designers who can code, or coders who can design well – but also with artists who are closely involved and have an established authority to make daily UI decisions.

I hope we can work out a proposal for a UI team at or shortly after the Blender Conference. Such a team is not going to define “the future of the UI”, but simply will reflect and feedback on work that’s actually being done. One of the first projects they could start with is the Toolbar project from a Google Summer student.

What’s happening with all the UI ideas?

Let’s first get confirmed if we agree on focus and core Blender design issues. That focus is what will bind us together, an essential piece of energy we have to keep as strong as possible to survive as blender.org project. What’s then left – the parts we might disagree on – then can be handled smoothly.

A lot of suggestions as have been done – also to make Blender “easy to learn” – really fit well within a powerful 3D creation tool too. Power users like toolbars or custom shelves too. Power users want efficient workflow and a UI that works with them and can be configured well. By making it work for them first, it will be something any beginning user would appreciate too, or will eagerly accept to learn.

The integration of Python in Blender is also something that will get increasingly more sophisticated. APIs for controlling the UI already exist, but we also will work on access to define and build own custom editors (or to customise editors yourself). That can be used in many ways – ranging from specialist rigging UIs to an easy to use 3D printing UI for high school students.

I also recognise that the energetic and passionate UI discussions were coming from a lack of active development in that area. Our project should really be open for many more new developers – by improving our documentation, website communication and more actively doing patch reviews. We know… the amount of work is just always much higher than we can handle!

On the other hand, our project is flourishing and highly successful already. Here”s some of the actions we take now:

  • Upgrade blender.org, our web tools and services for bug tracking, code reviewing, patches. Move to “git” version control.
  • Make sure the “module owner” teams are active and actively involve users or user-members
  • Expand the “foundation” team  (developers supported by donations and Development Fund) with people who can code on UIs and usability
  • Next Open Movie target: make sure studios and professionals get better involved, (can) hire developers and become real stakeholders in Blender’s future.

So! UI changes will happen yes. It’s a matter of improving issues gradually, tackling them one by one. A matter of finding the right people and the right moment to handle this. But we never forget the real target – to make a tool for 3D artists who want to tell stories, make compelling artwork, 3d designs, animation films or games. And – to have a lot of fun together!

Ton Roosendaal
Amsterdam, 23 October 2013

  1. Your Information is really very precious for avid readers. Thanks for giving you an expensive time for us. I am very thankful to you for your information. And I hope you will always provide such kind of information on kitchen products.

  2. Hi,

    I just installed and built the project on Visual Studio but i don’t see any form for seeing the UI. How you design the UI? with another software? directly coding?

  3. I think blnder is the best and free. Blender really deserve donation. Thank you all developers..

  4. Whatever “Improvements” are to be made to the UI for future. Please make that a PRESET, or User Preferences, like the switch from right to left Mouse button selection, or Maya Key-sets, or PIE-Menu selection, or Blender Internal or Cycles Rendering engines, And please return to Before the Tabs or make them easily configurable. I as a user of lower scale don’t need anim tools in tool tab, Theres a specific screen layout choice for that already. I don’t need Multiple tool tabs, I’m not working under clock. Too much info at once only confuses the nooby. Make the UI Configurable, not hard wired one way. PLEASE!

  5. hi every one im Michel and can eney one help me make a game sorry if my spelling is wrong so yay if eney one wants to help me just leve a comment

  6. Hi everybody! Guys, I am sorry, maybe not this topic…But. How can i buy polite cordless dewalt drill seeking homework(I do vamp now, and danged demand it). Where can I pick up some tips and advices for sales,mark-down, bonuces, ets.??? Thanks,regards.

  7. I’m an animation student from India…our institution VISMAYAS MAX Is the First institution centre Using Blender software..to teaching…
    it proves the value is always for artists not for costly softwares….

  8. If the blender UI is made changeable or customizable by users as themes , it would be more user friendly.

  9. I have so much excitement! This is the best! I haven’t even downloaded Blender but just the idea that something like this is free and open source…?! Wow! Thank you so much!

  10. thanks ton

  11. Despite the UI debate (which should not be)…

    Thanks for a great product ! I never thought I’d fall in love with software [again; first was way back with Turbo Pascal :)] but it happened again with Blender. Let’s Blend forever!

    A heart warm thank you for every Blender developer, artist and supporter.

  12. Guys this arguement is getting old. Though I do agree with making Blenders UI more user friendly as Simon suggested earlier, however, I disagree when comparing Blender to Maya. Poor example. Its not like Autodesk has won awards for best interface. Judging from my own experience I found Maya to be complicated and frustrating. The dashboard is littered with weird symbols and the workflow is terribly slooow! I,m talking glacial. With that said, I applaud the developers on a great job so far. Blender is getting more interesting which each new edition.

  13. first of all..
    thank you for the two decades of efforts to build and give the world this amazing software.. a very happy birthday to blender, may the first two decades be but the indicator of things yet to come in the next two at least.. cheers..
    now.. :D
    my grandfather used to say, everything has a price.. the blender community has andrew.. i’ll try to write the next few lines trying hard to remain universally respectful and to keep things in a mostly constructive domain but i do foresee a great probability of stepping over those lines so, my appologies in advance.. the reason for me posting here anything at all is my perception of a lot of confusion that has been generated by the oh so lovely and i cannot make up my mind if more respectful or potentially productively named, deployed, distorted and overly amplified through the wonder of the internet “why blender ui is broken” nonsense.. i can only speek for myself, as a blender user, not working on generating a following in thosands to validate my opinion and back it, going for an impact meisured in megatons.. with an equally valid and loud beginning that has started the whole storm that have most probably provoked this very text that i am commenting under and immediately motivated by the changes in the latest builds that i see, identifying them as a more or less direct consequence of these conflicts of interest and an overwhelming confusion and noise of misunderstandings that has risen and is becoming a great threat to the very core values that make blender as grat as it is.. i counter with a single voice, backed by my experience only, the blender ui is NOT BROKEN.. in my opinion, the greatest strength of it is the fact that it’s “surface” is directly formed by functions emerging from the code (sigh, form following function).. that it has roots in an inhouse production tool that has never had a need to “sell itself” to a potential new client and therefore had the advantage to develop it’s interface with no such burden, becoming truly the “expert’s, once familiar with it, dream interface, driven by the work being done with the tool itself”, and is not, nor “should” be, competing directly, nor is there a point in comparing them, with commercial tools that “must” project an image of “effortlessness” by cluttering the default look (rarely to stay such in an actual environment btw) with seemingly accessible toolsets but are in fact equally “hard” to both learn and use..
    blender has come a long way by not having ribbons, shelves, icon clusters, wizards and are you quite positive that what you have just told me to do right now is in fact what you need done elements to drive the interface so, my only question, if any, is, why now??
    after two decades of having a focused vision as an interface designed to efficiently support the versatile workflows by avoiding “over designing” and nevertheless finally gaining the mainstream recognition and obtaining the critical mass of “real users” (as in people doing actual work with it as oposed to a curious downloader that will most likely be discouraged by the fact that the left click only moves some transparent sphere in the viewport, dismiss it as weird, compare it directly to the cracked commercial software that he/ she has had a chance of playing with for an hour and form their opinion on that level of usability research and in such distorted value comparison)..
    i see, perhaps wrong and/ or overreacting a bit, i admit, namely the recent inclusion of the tabs, particularly scary, for both what they literally are (to me) right now, and, more so, what these changes represent/ a possible trend to continue and as an indication of a negative impact of criticism resulting in the ui being messed with “from two sides” that don’t work together.. a populist reflex reaction of sorts.. a sacrifice for peace if you will..
    to be completely blunt, as much as i applaud what is being said in the text above, i am concerned by what is being done..
    to me it (the tabs introduction) seems out of place, for reasons both aesthetic and functional, and beside duplicating functionality (by default) positioned literally millimeters away and naming them differently (add and create) combined with a rather subjective dislike to the visual inconsistency (vertical text as opposed to the icon tabs as i know them for years on the right) and an inevitable aversion to an uncalled for, zero added value in functionality to (my) workflow and no visible means of reverting this or disabling these novelties in the user preferences i cannot help fear that such an approach as superficial, not thought through, and in conflict with the overall logic of the blender ui that i like so much because i see it as a ‘from the ground up’ and a “sane efficiency over obvious accessibility”..
    i am no developer, nor am i aspiring to be.. although i have taken (and passed) two semesters of interaction design i am no ux expert either.. i am a user, industrial designer is my vocation, blender is a tool that i use and love using.. it has enabled me, practically single handedly, to transition my work to the open source tools and has beside that inspired me to do what i do differently, searching for more democratic, more open, transparent and inclusive ways of designing products, so, yes it has in a way, changed my life.. and i love blender for that effect that it has had on me the most..
    i will continue using it for sure.. the initial struggle that has “payed off” and the challenges of doing what i need done in it, some stubbornness required at times, the dynamics of it’s evolution (this here and now included), the community, all an accounted for and appreciated part of the experience.. my only fear at this moment being, that the focused vision that i recognize in the one of a kind ui that has held it’s own throughout less favorable times, is in danger of being dispersed, and not for a justifiable reason that i can identify, and, ironically enough, result in a broken ui, making me, the “old user”, love it less and pathetically posting about the good old days..
    best of luck for 2.7 and beyond..
    i put my trust and my support with blender and it’s development.. keep it keeping.. my gratitude still greatly outweights the skepticism presented here.. felt like presenting my two cents, as a good citizen must after all when it comes to things that they care about deeply.. :) i believe that my intentions are in favor of everyone potentially reading this, even if they find themselves offended or happen not to agree.. have tried (honestly) to keep it rational and argumented.. articulated.. i am aware that it (blender) is a lot of things to a lot of people.. this was my angle.. i rarely post “things like this” and am probably not very good at it.. thanks for reading.. hope that it provides some valuable “food for thought”..

  14. Wow…

    You’ve just convinced me that my current attempt to learn Blender is a complete waste of my time.

    I’ve used Maya, Realflow, Max and a number of other products which all follow the same basic paradigms. When I first picked up Realflow, it took me about 5 minutes to get the hang of it and then I could concentrate my time and effort on learning how to do the “cool stuff”.

    I’ve been beating my head against Blender for 6 hours now and dear god is it awkward to learn.

    Using the Maya presets seemed like a good start – until it comes to following ANY tutorial at which point I have to spend time working out what the remapped keys do.

    No doubt if it was the first tool I picked up, I could learn it more easily but then I’d be in trouble using any other tool.

    What I’ve taken from this post is “Well, we like it and can use it and anyone else just has to learn”.

    Can you imagine what would happen if Chrome had decided to use completely different conventions to Firefox/IE and getting an address bar required pressing Shift-A or something similar?

    Any time I spend learning Blender is wasted. The skills aren’t transferable and it looks like I’d have to spend weeks to get to the point where I can think about the task I’m trying to accomplish instead of how to make the UI do what I want.

    You seem content to make Blender a niche tool which intentionally keeps new users out (much like GIMP). It baffles me that _anyone_ would think that’s a good idea, but congratulations, you’ve convinced me.

    My time can be invested far more usefully elsewhere.

  15. Ton, this is just bullshit. Separation of logic, view and controller layers is well understood and commonly followed design patter, and you just said you have everything mixed-in. What is more surprising is that you would go deeper in this shit instead of fixing it. Can’t you just sometimes follow some good practice instead of inventing the all-new weel for yourself (and, what is more terrifying, repeating long forgotten errors).

    My advice – listen to people’s needs, don’t talk that your target is a professional or artist because there are no professionals using blender for serious things. You certainly need to do some good requirements gathering and redesign.

    I am loosing hope that Blender someday will become a usable tool.

  16. Well, looks like the UI is going to be the way it always has been for the forseeable future.

    Ton didn’t even mention the new proposal and how is the Blender Foundation’s goal even relevant?
    ” I’m not much interested in “getting more users”. That’s not a sane target to work for.”
    No, not working towards getting more users is an insane perspective for any maker of software.

    Can’t we just start small and standardize the buttons?
    It’s not like the whole thing could be done all at once anyway.
    It’s right there in the first half of part 1 of Andrew’s youtube video series.

  17. Okay I had the opportunity to try the latest build of Blender and so far things are good. I like the new toolbar which has tabs, sweet! So its not perfect but definitely a step in the right direction. The properties sidebar needs to be reorganized, more streamline, and the resizing some buttons would be helpful for sure.

  18. Newbie here, absolutely impressed with this great program. Former architect, now IT project manager I would like to home in on the comment of not needing a bigger userbase. From the point of sharing, in everywhich way, that makes no sense whatsoever! Especially sharing knowledge accross different fields of expertise. All parties would gain. There are a lot of architects, civil engineers and product designers out there who would greatly appreciate a 2D presentation and/or lay-out option. Maybe something similar to the ‘render to texture’ python solution (RenderToTexture.py), whereby you could draw a 2d lay-out in the 3d environment and ‘map’ camera output to different areas, without having to render unless you want to. I’m sure a working system for measurements can be solved by users, but having the wireframe ‘picture in a picture’ option seems more of a core thing, however close the python solution comes (great work in itself by the way!) This usergroup needs a near to reality presentation system and a printable 2d lay-out on a day to day base. Funding, technical know-how and time spend on improving the program must surely increase, as well as public awareness, because one thingbis for sure: you guys certainly deserve some quality spotlight!

  19. The new blender interface is in concept, the ui team have been established. Even small changes to the ui can make all the difference. For example the properties panel needs to be set to a fixed size like 275px wide by 600px high and have it so the panel is hidden with a click of a button/key. Currently the side panel looks too narrow at startup but can be stretched beyond proportion. I waste more time resizing it when I could be doing something more productive.

  20. The thing is, most people believe that getting a better tool=making better work. That’s not true. If you make food that tastes like crap with a basic frying pan, you will not make delicious souffles and whatnot with a top-of-the-line $200 Wolfgang Puck cookware set. If you cannot drive in a beat-up 1987 Corolla, you will not be able to drive in a 2014 Maserati Quattroporte. If you use the same paint that Picasso used, you will not immediately make art like his.
    Same goes for 3D creation tools. If you make utter crap with Anim8or (no offense to those devs :P ) you will make utter crap with Blender, Maya, Sketchup, and 3DS Max. If you can’t figure out how to use Blender, you most likely will have the same results with any other tool. Using the same program as “pros”≠Making amazing art. Sadly, many people do not realize this until well after they have wasted >$100.

    • I agree, a fantasy pencil don’t make you a better artist. Reading a book called The Secrets of Success doesn’t make a millionaire.

  21. Most people are afraid that Blender’s Ui will be completely gutted with most of its core features stripped or altered beyond recognition. I highly doubt that the developers would go that far. What you don’t realize is Blender has been changing all the long. Take a look at 2.49, 2.55, and the current version. See the difference. Wither you like it or not change is inevitable. With that said, the new ui scheme is not a bad thing at all. All I ask from the developers is: keep what works, fix what doesn’t, get rid of things that are never used.

  22. We just don’t want to loose anything from the flexibility and the versatility only Blender has. I, personaly would never sacrifice anything from Blender’s functionality for the sake of just an “Appearance upgrade” as tradicional paid programs usually do, just to sel again new versions of the very same thing, with just a “nicier” looking”. I remember we’d loose many things from Blender 2.49 at the change to 2.5 series. Nothing wrong to refresh our knowledge about Blender, to use improved tools, ok. But what makes Blender unique is it’s versatility ( I do use it for professional arquitectural desing and renderization), no other software imitate. We can go on to make an advertising with it, as we can even make a fluidic simulation on prototipying, and it is great.

  23. I will start by saying that I appreciate developers of free software, and I don’t like making demands on them. I know what it can feel like on the other side.

    I had a post that turned WAY to long, so I posted it at:

    Below is the conclusion of that blog post:

    Mr. Price made a lot of good points that I agree with. However, I feel that most of his proposed changes are already very close in theory to what Blender already has in practice; Blender just presents it differently as necessitated by its unique structure. Aspects that Blender does not already fulfill seem too trivial for the difficulty of implementation (LMB debate included). It could use a few tweaks, but the development team does awesome with those things. Maybe we should be suggesting those tweaks instead of an unjustified UI redesign. Maybe we should be working to come up with a better default scene that beginners see? Regardless, all things considered, Blender 3D has one of the better UIs available today, so we shouldn’t be too quick about wanting to change it. Instead, we should step back and rediscover what it already gives us, especially for task management.

  24. In my opinion Blender is a fantastic program, but I disagree with the UI issue, that is obviously a problem. You, Tom, in fact are recognizing it with all what you said in this post.

    Changing the UI should never be part of the core. It was necessary at the time blender was created, but it is not today. That is the main problem blender has. The part that is related to the core(what is connected with what) could be left as it is. What people care about is having to endure menus and toolbars from the last century.

    blender in reinventing everything themselves, a 3d editor should reinvent the screen interface alone. The menus, the toolbar, the buttons,the text, even the python text editors!!. If this is a quarter of blender code, then you should get rid of it freeing the developers from reinventing the wheel.

    Another option is to split the blender UI code,like GIMP did with gtk?, and make it available for other apps. This way they could improve and contribute to it outside of your project. gtk’s main problem is that is not portable like qt or blender.

    Why reinvent buttons, text, toolbars when qt, gtk, cocoa exist?
    Make bindings to it on different platforms and focus on drawing the screen,like Firefox does, much less work than reinventing everything. qt or cocoa or windows interface took billions of dollars of investment for getting to be what they are, and have all the necessary libraries preloaded inside the OS.

  25. Using Blender has been one of the more interesting experiences in my life. I usually only have a vague idea of what I want to do and when I dive in, I end up creating something other than what I planned. Sometimes I am amazed at what I come up with, sometimes surprised, and sometimes I create a monster of vertices and faces that must be destroyed before it attacks the world. In fact blender is like the world itself – simple and intuitive, complex and mind-boggling, and nearly infinite in possibilities. At times I have become so frustrated with it that I won’t use it for months at a time. And I have spent weeks of long hours working on some personal project. My only real relief is that the software is still here and alive. So many other great things of digital nature rise and fall and then disappear so quickly. I would like to thank Ton and all the developers and the tutorial creators and those who maintain message boards and even the critics for keeping this lively community going.

  26. You are talking about Blender 2.49? Then, I agree with you :P

  27. This is sad to read; the conceit that Blender is “easy to use rather than easy to learn” continues to look like a crutch to avoid addressing a set of very real problems.

  28. What about this following link? Looks nice!

  29. i would like see a interface more modern! :D

    • Blender is open source!
      Start coding and rebuild it in your image.
      Good luck – see you for the Y3K bug festival.

  30. Reading several comments, I feel approved that it was the right decision to keep away from community shark tank.

    Blendes new Site looks interesting.

    I am glad to hear that colaberation of artists and developers works.


  31. The flame war started by Mr. Price is over.
    At the conference he said explicitly that he was a businessman and marketeer, not an artist or developer.

    He also agreed that he had not considered the many myriad interactions inherent in UI changes, so kudos to him for admitting his mistakes.
    I was slightly disappointed when he was asked by Ton why he had not contacted the developers with his suggestions, he implied he did not want to bother them!!!

    If you watched his previous tutorials, he has been reading books on marketing and pop design like his recommendation “The 125 universal principles of design”.
    In the light of this background, it should come as no surprise that he decided to correct the “errors” of Ton and the developers.
    Perhaps pressure to “grow” his business fed into his zealous desire to please his newbie clients, but only Mr. Price knows his motivation.

    This is not meant as a criticism of Mr. Price, simply an observation of his own statements at the conference.

    If I could give Mr. Price some advice, genuinely offered as help, it is that he has not identified his competition accurately in his business model.

    His competition is not professional Maya, 3DS or other such users, but in fact, Youtube.

    Blender, Maya et al. training is readily available on Youtube for free, on just about any aspect of these packages.
    The quality of Youtube tutorials varies from horrible to excellent, but Mr. Price needs to understand that the problem is not Blender etc, but perhaps his business model needs rethinking.

    Since Mr. Price has described himself as a businessman and marketer, not artist or coder, I would respectfully suggest he dispassionately evaluate his own business, and leverage his talents to evaluate his own training services business model.

    I have no idea why he decided to use inflammatory language like “Why Blender is broken”, but can only guess that it came from inexperience, not a conscious desire to offend, or start a flame war.

    So the war is over, but the casualties are still there, which is what is most sad and disappointing.
    Who has won anything from this farce?
    Not Mr. Price, not the Blender community – only Blender’s detractors can smirk that the community is at war with itself.
    This is not a legacy anyone can ever be proud to call their own.

  32. The problem with redesigning Blender’s UI is, IMHO, similar to the problem of redesigning a city. Many people in Europe (me included) live in cities with a complex structure of roads, and often asking for directions is like “you take left, and then you go straight on until seeing that sign, and then you turn left again…”. From what I know, large American cities have a regular grid-based structure. The reason of that is, well, the European cities have had a different (and longer) history, and the cities have developed themselves in successive iterations, by people who did not have the same design knowledge as had the urban planners for American cities. I am not saying that American cities are inherently better than European cities, they just follow a different design structure, and if someone would like to retrofit a European city to conform to an American standards, it would be impossible without demolishing and rebuilding the whole city. Blender, Max, Maya, etc. are very much like these European towns in these regards. It’s not that it would be impossible to redesign Blender’s UI, just as it would not be impossible to demolish and rebuild Paris, but would be completely ignoring where the denizens will live during the time being. In Blender’s case, users will have to stay with a basically unmaintained and stagnating version of the software for years before the new version of the software that will suit their needs is developed. Just like what happened when we had to wait for years with Blender 2.49 to wait for the stable Blender 2.5 to be released. Do we really want to jeoperdize our entire user base during a redesign of the whole software. And radically changing blender’s UI is not simply a matter of modifying an XML layout file. While Blender is relatively well designed and documented, the functionality is not 100% loosely coupled with the UI.

    So, if you want a better UI for blender, there are basically 2 solutions:

    1) Fork it.
    2) Rebuild a Blender-inspired software from scratch, using other design principles.

    I would go with #2. Just look at the codebase and see if you really want to refactor all that.

  33. Hi all,

    I was reluctant to use Blender until I found Blender 2.6. I’m a complete fan of XSI which, since bought by Autodesk, is desappearing bits by bits and I found a something that reminded me these olds feeling in Blender.

    In my opinion, you don’t need to change so much from what it is now to make it “more likable” to artists from other packages, just improve what have already been done…There are some moment I just get upset because I couldn’t do something I want (for example selecting easilly more that one object in the outliner…) but at least it’s not like in Maya where I couldn’t do it because you know it’s a bug left there by some loosy programmers…

    The UI need some improvement…that’s a fact, but I’m not sure it need to be completly redesign, far from it. Blender has fantastic tools that you don’t find in commercial packages.
    Every software has to make it’s way to it’s “maturity state” and maybe Blender is almost there but not yet completly.

    I don’t think it’s about being Open Source or not…Quality has no price and anyone who has used any commercial package know that even if you pay 4k+ $ you can still end up with a bearly usable and almost not user friendy software.

    Everything comes with its own pace…we are just so impatient to get The “Better Blender” that we just can’t stop ourself to ask to get it right now.

    So now, Get to Work !! I WANT a Better Blender and I want it KNOW !

    have all a nice day, even Ton…just kidding

  34. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and likewise the software is not free, The blender foundation is using the community to help develop tools and get valuable feedback, which they are using to fund there own business and support themselves, so the effort of the many ultimately is sustaining the few.

    The blender foundation has said time and again that the UI is of little importance to them, as they are happy with how it works for them!

    What I am suggesting is they take a bit more seriously the need for a better more succinct, friendly UI to give back to the community and support new artists who cannot afford the steep learning curve for reasons of coming from an impoverished background.

    I always thought open source meant giving to the community, but it is plain to see that in blenders case and specifically the Blender Foundation, it appears that taking from the community is of more importance.

    Kind Regards

    • Just to add before anyone gets all uptight about my comment.

      I personally think that blender is an outright amazing piece of software and that it is “free” for download is an amazing circumstance!

      I challenge Ton and the Blender foundation to take the UI debate more seriously and to not relegate it to something of little consequence and of little importance, and to really “give back” to the artists of the community!

      Many blessings to those who will fix the UI catastrophe.

  35. I’ve been following Blender for the past 15 years and am saddened by Ton’s lack of empathy for new users… Guess somebody should take the base code and build a new UI on top of it for new users just like Linux works with different UI for different users but the base system being the same… Techies give this a thought…

  36. Blender is the only free 3d modeling software that comes with a fully featured toolbox that is comparable to its commercial counterparts. Yes I do think the interface could use work but after using Maya for a month I have learned to appreciate Blender much more. My thanks goes out to the Blender community for all their hard work. Without you guys, artist like myself would be stuck paying $4000 for crappy software like Maya. Keep up the great work guys.

  37. Andrew Price’s proposal is resonable but incomplete. Yes it’s true that Blender’s ui could use a facelift but you don’t need a complete refabrication to achieve this. A good start would be by separating those items that have no relation like for example Clamp and Seed. In addition the terminology is a bit counterintuitive. Clamp should be renamed to despeckle, uniform size (hair>children) renamed to volume.

  38. Blender’s UI philosophy stresses customizability and features, and the editor paradigm is a revolutionary approach that successfully achieves the goals of that philosophy. The Blender community should work to achieve solutions to issues/problems with the current UI as they arise (as Ton said), not throw the current UI out and start with something new, because the underlying editor paradigm is strong.

    Conventions and standards are useful (as Andrew Price and others have noted), but you should reject them when doing so adds more value than sticking to conventions offers. As Ton said, we shouldn’t strive for the average, for the common denominator, we should strive for the best. The editor paradigm is superior overall and offers more advantages than others, like the single top menu bar with a single unified workspace below (from MS word and others). There is a tendency for old ways to hold back progress, and some (though not all) of the UI discussions reflect this kind of thinking.

    Because the Blender UI (editor paradigm) is unconventional, we need to better educate users about how it works and what the benefits are. If more people understood what we have now (most do not), UI discussions would be more productive. It is a lack of understanding coupled with the yearning for comfortable familiarity that drives many complaints. If we can communicate and educate about the current UI editor paradigm more effectively (and work to solve/improve UI issues that arise), many of the complaints will disappear as users begin to comprehend the benefits of the current system.

  39. This reply look like it read from amateur compare to Andrew Price well thought out argument for improving Blender UI. It also the typical argument you hear from self important programmers who have no contact with end users and just expect the end user to put up with up with a shit interface.

    • After being corrected and informed by developers, users and professional UI designers, Even Andrew Price now thinks that Andrew Price’s design was poorly thought out and not a good idea in general.

      And i’m actually a professional artist, but i’d rather sound like a “self-important programmer” than a whiny infant who throws insults when **volunteer** developers don’t do what he wants.

      If you think Blender has a “shit interface”, by a ll means go use Maya or 3DS. Why delay your happiness?

  40. Nicolas, none of us want to learn something that is as complicated as flying a fighter jet. We want simplicity.

  41. As an artist, I have always made an attempt to understand the machine of software, as A coder I would hope that the UI becomes something of importance to be considered. With this left brain approach to Blender, and with the grandstanding of those within and outside of the community I think it is a big mistake to discount the value of the UI.

    If the dream of blender is to find an audience within the opensource community and to provide a piece of software that is as equally simple to use as it is in its strength in what it can do then it would be a pity if this debate hasn’t sparked some sense of maybe something is not quite right and needs fixing, there is a vast untapped user base in the developing world that would love an open source platform to do 3d, right now blender is alienating that world even further.

    Both The UI and the coding should work together as seamlessly as is possible, and a harmony should be found to give credence to a software program that should be both left and right brained.

    It saddens me that the blender foundation seems adamant to alienate those who have not had the privilege of a first world education.

    A piece of software should be like using a pencil, if it falls short of this, there is work to be done, instead of taking the self congratulatory tone of those in the know, great effort should be made to assist those who do not know how and would love to learn, until this mindset has sunk in, blender will unfortunately be relegated to a community of the elite well educated few.

    If all the effort of praise and hubris could be directed to finding a solution, that would be a job well done.

    As a dyslexic person whose world is the UI, I find blenders blinkered approach to UI design very narrow minded in that it serves to alienate rather than include.

    I don’t see this as a win win debate there are clearly two sides at war, and in war nobody wins.

    Best wishes to all, and many blessings to those who would find a solution to the UI catastrophe!

    Kind Regards
    Julian Potgieter

    • The Blender Foundation is not alienating anyone or being elitist. This lamentation is exaggerated and frankly getting old. Some fields require a learning investment, its as simple as that. Nobody is intuitively a fighter pilot. Nobody is an surgeon because a scalpel is easy to use.

      Should flying a fighter jet be as simple as using a pencil? Should being an architect be as simple as using a pencil? Those fields also require first world educations. Are architects elitists?
      Why do you make this assumption that CG should be as simple as using a pencil? And even if it was, most people cannot draw well even with the best pencils. Is that still the pencil’s fault?

      3D for everyone does not mean everyone should automagically “get it” with little to no effort or investment. It means the tools and resources to learn it are available for those motivated enough to learn and use them. There are free resources for learning math and python as well. Its like making a fighter jet available for anyone who wants to learn how to fly it. The jet is still a very complex peice of machinery, the learning curve is still high, but you now have access to something you would not normally have access to. You now have the possibility to learn it. Thats what 3D for everyone is. If you dumb it down to make it easy, you’ll no longer have a fighter jet ; you’ll have a balloon.

      Is Python foundation elitist because you have to learn to code in order to use python? Are they alienating non-coders? Should they make a version of python that does not require learning to code? Of course not. That’s ridiculous! Everyone accepts that coding requires a certain level of personal investment in order to be productive.

      Yet when it come to CG, a field of probably equal technical complexity, this evident learning vs complexity vs reward ratio is thrown out the window, and a lot of people seem to assume that they should simply “get it” for no reason whatsoever. Mostly because this idea that CG is easy keeps getting thrown around.
      This expectation, which is naturally popular with novice users, fails in reality and leads to frustration. And the UI is an easy scapegoat for this frustration.

      Andrew, with all the good he has done with his educational videos, has done this community a great disservice by perpetuating this expectation that CG should be easy and blaming the UI for a user’s shortcomings. Ironically this pollutes the learning process.

      • US air force have spent hundred millions of dollars to make their aircraft as easy and as fool proof to fly as possible.
        Talk to any cockpit designer and you will hear about them trying to make planes easier, simpler to fly.

        • So could you jump in a jet tomorrow and “intuitively” know how to fly one? No? Why do you think that is? Why do pilots have to train for years? Why don’t they just make the cockpits so simple that anyone can easily learn it?

          Nowhere did i state that Blender was perfect. The point of the comment is that trying to bypass the learning curve for CG by dumbing down the UI is a fools errand, and you’ll only end up with a beginner 3D app (a balloon) that will be useless to professionals and serious users.

          Ton is absolutely correct : Simple to use != Simple to learn.

          The same goes for fighter jets. Those millions were not spent to make the jet flyable by an 8 year old kid, it was to make the cockpit efficient for experienced professional pilots.

  42. I wasn’t going to comment further but after having viewed the recorded streams of Ton speaking about the UI at the BC I have to come back. Some of the things he had to say and his attitudes just annoyed the hell out of me. I am not going to give a heated rebutal here but I will say this. I think he is quite wrong in many aspects. I hope we will put in place some changes to improve the UI for everyone’s benefit despite his difficult positions. It is not about driving a car on the left or right but why we have to get over into the back seat to change gear as we go. I salute Andrew for asking himself why he is dicking around opening and closing the glovebox to get at the indicators for example and if this is really necessary. We will come back to this fight for rationality to prevail another time I am sure. The conference was another success I think. Thank you to Ton and all the participants and unknown helpers for that.

  43. I think that this stuff is great for clarifying what’s been going on with the devs at this time, and also what should be done to help with fixing what’s wrong with Blender. Sort of like a roadmap.
    Some other thing though, to help with what Blender can do:

    1) Integration with Other Software: Seriously, now, look at professional studios. What are they using? 3DS Max, Maya, Zbrush, Modo, Sketchup, professional software. Blender has almost no integration with any of that software. Because of this, if one person in an entire studio started using Blender, the whole pipeline would get messed up.

    2) UI: Actually, I think that UI has a lot of impact on what people think of Blender. Most people look at the beauty that is Blender, but they say, “What the hell? What is this garbage? I can’t find anything!” This is because Blender is so complicated. It takes a HUGE learning curve to get used to it. So UI does have a huse impact on people’s view of it. However, we must also take into account that the current UI is so firmly woven into the program that it would take a whole recoding for a new UI to be made. So we need to cut the devs a little slack, they’re working on it.

    3) Documentation: A lot of the documentation is either badly written, or written for an old version, or a couple of other problems besides.

    4) THE USERS THEMSELVES: This is a biggie. People are really pushing it on the devs and thinking they can get it out by the next release. NO! They’re only humans, so please, at least cut them some slack, people! A lot of slack.

    That’s all I have to say, please forgive me if I offended someone, or made someone irritated in the slightest.

  44. I was sure that the new UI proposal will be put aside but i did not expect this comment ”Nor am I much interested in supporting Maya users, Sketch-up users..”. Exactly that the problem here. You are to arrogant to admit Blender needs help to get better, is a very good tool already but for now is a coder oriented basement tool, you can not get a job at a studio if you know blender because in the industry no one cares of blender(yet) because blender has no standard. Only powerful feature it has is the recently Cycles render engine. I invest lets say 5 years in blender to be an expert, and……, i go at work with my laptop with blender? i try to adapt an existing pipeline in a studio to blender pipeline(i tried and failed)? First thing blender foundation, aka Ton, should do is to listen to their veteran users, because if they, after years experience in blender say is a lot of room for improvement and even propose the changes, but all other ”blender experts” jump on them with pitchforks then is really something wrong here. Second big step: Blender has not invented anything, is just an open source package witch mostly copies the old dinosaurs in the 3D industry. I personally like blender and i like the interface flexibility and easy to configure for multi monitors, even if i am a max/maya power user i like blender a lot but, is far from perfect.
    I wanted someday to switch completely to blender but i guess that day will not come to soon. Ignore me and many like me and who knows if blender will be someday more then a curiosity with a great potential. It does not matter how many blender users you have, it matters how many advanced real artists blender users blender has, how many studios use blender, how many movies use for vfx blender, how many commercials, that’s what matters and say that software X is a production tool and makes new artists learn because they know will find a job later.
    A good artist draws even in MSpaint a masterpiece but can not use MSpaint in production daily. Some of my friends wanted to switch completely to blender because is free and pretty powerful, but because of mostly the same problems Andrew presented they could not switch because we, here, we earn our bread with 3D/vfx stuff and can not afford to waste time to learn a new interface interaction model when 99% of other 3D software uses a standard more efficient artist friendly one! Its that simple. I learned Max 13 years ago, after that i learned Maya but because i knew 3dsMax was easy to learn Maya, after that Cinema 4D,2-3 days crash course and i was ready for production. Softimage, very easy to use and logical if you learned any other 3D software. Now tell me if is the same thing for blender users, can any of them adapt fast to other 3D package? I don’t think so.
    Not every new blender user is a noob user, i bet 50% of new user interested in blender are veterans in other 3D packages. And never forget developers should listen to artists if they build software for artists, not the other way around.

  45. For those who didn’t seen Ton’s explanation on BF youtube channel – it’s a “must have”! His mention about that Coca-Cola ad. video was a head shot!
    So before arguing something you must ask yourself “are you sure that you’ll not show yourself like an adequate person waiting for a support of noobies army?” I’m not insulting anybody. I’m always patient to newbies and help if I can. But when people want to lower planks of 3d standards to let themselves jump over it and say “hey, make them lower, my noobie-friend said it will be better and more like in Word or Photoshop” then I send ’em you know where…

    P.S. I’m not a hater but I’m already pissed off a bit that some ppl still reacts like morons although even A.Price told he was wrong (saying simply). BTW Andrew is toooo much sucked into “marketing and selling technologies” books like well known Kiosaki and others. It’s almost “visible”. It’s not a reproach but is a critique.

  46. I like Blender because of the people behind it. I believe they did great work. Thanks Tom/developers.

  47. First of all: thank you for a wonderful, exciting program and – more importantly – your ongoing support and development of this program.

    Users (the community) are an integral part of the program, aren’t we? Since we don’t know all the intricacies of software/UI development, our suggestions are just that: suggestions. The final word is with BF and Ton.

    I believe that Andrew’s suggestions are good ones and that he himself emphasized the point that they *are* suggestions, not mandates or bug reports or anything of that nature. That’s what I got from his videos.

    For those who feel strongly enough and are gifted in writing alternative solutions: we do have access to the source code. Just like with GIMP: the current product as it stands coming from BF is going to follow Ton et al’s vision and it is fully understandable that they stick to their roadmap and vision (which do include UI changes). I will continue to support BF and Blender as I can and am able to as I’m a HUGE proponent of free (as opposed to hidden, closed-source) open-source software which is why I use and support Linux Mint as well.

    Blender *is* about the community of artists as much as anything else. This is what makes Blender great. But Blender *belongs* to BF and Ton. I don’t think that anyone is contesting this, either.

  48. It is sad to see that the blender UI is not progressing much.
    I would love to use Blender much more but the UI is just to timeconsuming.
    Because Blender is the only free 3D Software with many features people use it.
    The great tools cost 3000+ dollars and many people pay that.
    Why don’t this people use a wonderful free tool ?
    It is because of the UI mostly.
    It takes 10 years to change from right click to left click.
    Crazy …
    I think blender would be the most impressive tool around.
    It has so much potential.
    But after 10 years only some thousand people use it.
    The same problem with gimp and inkscape.
    Photoshop has millions of users and it really lame compared
    with blender or gimp.
    Many UI experts want to help open source projects to rise,
    for free, but the help is not excepted.

  49. Maya has a terrible interface whereas Modo has a great one. Blender is unique which is good but if the developers do decide to change the ui, please don’t copy it off of Maya. Modo is a better example but obviously you can’t copy it either. Be creative, be unique.

  50. Many Artist are accusing Andrew Price for creating a flame war. Why is everyone so quick to pick up a hatchet like blood thirsty barbarians?. To be honestly, I think his proposal is reasonable. There is little doubt that Blender’s ui needs to change but just how much will it change is up to the developers.

    • I think it fear that finally someone have constructed a serious argument for big changes in Blender, that are virtually impossible to argue against. People generally fear change and people know Price may have the leverage to achieve change so they have attack him like blood thirsty barbarians.

  51. I think it is not good to have this Andrew vs Ton debate when it comes to the direction of Blender. Andrews mistake was he should have had a meeting with them at the conference before coming out with any mandates/request. This is simple respect. The Blender organization has provided Andrew with a living through Blender only to have him pool a good many of his supporters anger towards them (Although I am sure he didn’t mean this). Respect is something that is earned and Andrew will learn this in time. He is young and immature and I don’t mean this in a negative way. Maturing takes time from years of living, sure people can be mature for their age but this can only go so far. It takes years of living to be able to see the big picture and to be able to understand what you see when that day comes takes even more life experience. I like Andrew do not get me wrong, but he never considered the consequences of getting this many people upset about the current UI. It would have been much more constructive to consult with Ton first before launching this UI proposal. It would have gotten many more people on board instead of creating this division within our community. Look the whole idea behind Blender is community and everyone coming together for common cause. The way this was handled was border line mutiny. Ton has oversaw this project for a long time and therefore in doing so provided all of us with the software we love to use, whether we use it for profit or fun, we use it. Sure we all have things we might like in it, or changes to current items, however achieving goals as a team is much more likely if we do not forget we are on a team. I wish all the best to both Ton and Andrew, however one took the highroad and the reason behind this could teach the other a thing or two about life moving forward. Now that the cat is out of the bag and the UI is at the forefront of all things dev. Can we at least agree on one thing. We have a fantastic piece of software that will do many many things and it has obviously made us all happy or we wouldn’t even be on this website, much less debating the validity of ones UI request. In debating this request we must not forget anothers life long accomplishments that brought us this great software package known as Blender, for without it we aren’t even here in the first place discussing anything.

    Peace to all!

  52. I foresee flames arising from my comment, but please bear in mind this is just an observation, not a suggestion or expectation. That said, viewing this issue from a historical perspective, when a division of opinion reaches critical mass in the open source community, a “fork” frequently occurs. Granted, this is not always the case, as sometimes it simply means that a large portion of the community simply abandons the product for something that either already has what they are looking for, or can be easily adapted to meet their needs/vision. What generally follows from a “fork” is a natural process of “survival of the fittest”. I’m sure this has been suggested in the past, but if funding for resources is truly the major stumbling block, why not approach the crowd-source community (i.e. Kickstarter) for assistance? There is likely a huge portion of the artistic world that is completely unaware of the existence of Blender, but would appreciate the tools and be willing to assist. I know I, personally, would be happy to support a Kickstarter initiative, and I only consider myself to be a “dabbler” at best. I’ll be very interested to see where Blender is at in 5 years. Good luck and thanks for the years of fun and creativity I’ve enjoyed!

  53. The problem with someone trying to change the foundation’s vision becomes the same old Problem,

    “the tail wagging the dog”

    You will lose sight of the original objective of the foundation , I am not sure the foundation can continue to be sanctioned legally if this happens,

    It is a good thing that someone like Andrew continually poke a stick at it for change , But it was not someone’s vision to design it better so another makes financial gains from someone elses hard lifetime commitment ,
    Ton does not have to waste one word to defend this !! has the world gone crazy!!LOL

    Andrew may be a thorn in the side of blender , I remember other instances he wanted to change blender , Andrew you have made a good living from your skills of teaching tutorials but come on , start your own foundation and let this foundation stay focused we are wasting time here .
    By the way , like the live feed , also watching technology failing is hilarious

  54. Speaking of UI. Look at Zbrush’s UI. It’s as non standard as any software can get. So why doesn’t Pixologic change their UI to look more “Autodesk” ?

    Blender reminds me of the old days of Zbrush when it was just a 2.5d paint program that had a weird and ugly interface. Fast forward a few years and look what happened.

    Artists are forced to learn the interface and are producing great work.
    The software is state of the art and unique in the industry.

    I personally go nuts learning Zbrush interface but once you learn it it just becomes a habit.
    So what’s wrong with being unconventional and unique?

    What we need is a stronger blender community and produce great work. People will follow and would just get into Blender with all it’s goods and bad.

    Blender is free and have a great set of tools that are evolving and one day may become the industry standard as a pipeline tool or as standalone tool.

    I use 3dsmax and other pro apps. They are all hard to learn and will take investment in time to become proficient.

    Try to learn Houdini and let us know how people think of it. Sidefx “slapped” on some cool icons and presets on a shelf and made the UI more conventional, but the core app is and have been for years, “insane” for newbies.

    God i hate autodesk and tired of waiting and paying for years for half functional piece of PRO software. Where are the fluid sim in max? Ok gotta buy FumeFX for smoke. Water sim hmm buy some other plugins. 3d printing utility? None. GPU render engine? buy Vray/RT, Octane etc.

    Tons of “broken” components of max have not been updated and Autodesk just “plug” up their crap with plugins.

    Just learn blender now and deal with it’s quirks. 2 years from now things will only get better. We should all thank the community for giving the masses a tool that is democratising 3d and challenging the “Big boys” software developers.

    There a no alternatives to Blender so let’s all contribute to make it better. Thanks Ton and all the people working hard on Blender.

  55. The way I see it, the easier the interface is to use the faster I will get the job done. Support the new UI.

  56. I usually don’t comment on forums or blogs but I just want to add my 2 cents. I am somewhat new to Blender but not to 3d or tradional art. Years ago I tried to use Blender but found it to be a pain and not worth the trouble. I do like what Blender does and I like the GUI now. I also agree with some of Andrew Price’s suggestions, and remember it is his opinion but from some of the posts I read some people take offense to his suggestions and his only goal was to offer POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENTS. I do believe Blender now is great and will continue to evolve and Ton is leading Blender in a good direction but not listening to users who may not like the interface and at times being defensive wasn’t the best way to handle this. Let me be clear, Blender is powerful and is a very good program and the UI to me seems to always be its’ weakness judging from past and present comments in other forums and posts. I personally like the UI and I do believe the BF will improve it as well as other functions of Blender. I just hope that some of the UI suggestions will be implemented. Programming UI isn’t easy but can be done. (I can do programming since I went to college (in the ’80’s) for Computer Science but found it tedious and dissapointing, but it paid the bills.)
    The UI now isn’t my main concern as long as Blender improves with functionality and features as well as bug fixes I wll continue to learn and use Blender as one of my 3d tools. All software have advantages and disadvantages and Blender is no different. Every developer or user wants what is best for their particular piece of software(s) but to me what can alienate users new and old from a program can be the UI, features, function and a dismissive attitude towards users’s needs. I don’t believe this is Ton’s intent but reading the blog at times to me it came across that way. Best way to kill a user base is to not listen to them. There should be some common ground met on both sides. In any event I do like Blender much better than before and I hope it continues to improve.

  57. Such a lot of talk on the UI sure there is room for improvement and things are a little complicated to new users but this is the case with any software there is a learning process that has to happen. Most new users probably use Youtube tutorials to find out how to do something then mess on trying to recreate there own. The blender wiki is great but I suspect some NOOBS are impatient “they just want someone to tell them what to do”. I love the software its growing fast and moving its way up within professional circles. When Blender gets more and more features packed within its core the UI will start to develop as there is only so much you can fit on the screen. Keep up the excellent work Blender is a Gift to Artists. Thank you Ton.

  58. I liked to hear this points of view, directly from “the” man himself. :) Thanks!
    The honesty and practicity of your approach is the right way to tackle the future of UI (and the rest of Blender) I think.

    I’d really like to help improving Blender’s UI, just don’t know how to reach UI team members in an effective way.
    Could you suggest something appropriate for that?

  59. 0% autocritic… you could be the new Microsoft CEO

  60. I have been using Blender on and off for about 3 years. Everytime i go away from it for a while, it takes me a few weeks to get back some where i was where i left. The same does not happen with say Photoshop or After Effects. I loved Andrew’s proposal and it would make Blender better. To say that it does not need to change or insult new users like Ton did makes him look bad.

  61. That’s soooo true!! Blender has already a great UI and usability!
    It’s a horrible thought to get a 3DSMax- or Maya-Copycat like some suggest.

    There are many people who love the way Blender works. And I’m a big fan of it, too. It works perfectly in every way, everyday and for every task I’m using it!!

    There are always a few who don’t consider the issues Ton talked about.
    Blender is made with artists and takes account of the way they work and the needs they have. It’s not the way that there are people who just code something without any feedback – and it hasn’t been over all the decades of its development!!! Blender became the way it is – the way it works best for most of its users – because of that.
    We all know you can’t satisfy everyone. And there are always other programs which fit better for other people. So let them use them!
    But don’t change this terrific program just in regard to other programs workflow. Please keep on reaching the stars! You all have done a great job in the past and you all are still doing an outstanding one!!
    Keep up that awesome work!! – And keep up Blender being Blender!!!

  62. I’ve used some other 3D tools over the years and I constantly find myself wishing that their UI was “More like Blender.” Blender’s interface is not ‘normal’ but it is efficient. I like it. It’s not perfect but it’s in no way needing an complete overhaul. Chasing the new user is a fool’s errand. If somebody can’t spend a half a day with a tutorial learning how to do things ‘the Blender way’ then they aren’t committed or intelligent enough to learn it to start with. Keep up the good work guys. I think you are on the right track.

  63. As an artist, designer and construction professional, I am of the breed that uses and expects usability straight from installation. If the software doesn’t make my life easier to achieve my design needs, I ditch it. Blender, for some reason, I have downloaded over and over for the last 6 or 7 years and, whilst it has been infuriatingly impossible to remember even the basic shortcuts because they are so alien, it has not yet been uninstalled. Therefore, I can only say that I see Blender as worth persisting with even though its UI is hideous, its disharmonious limits and constraints irritating and its wiki tortuous.

    In respect of Ton’s article and the comments above, all I have read is the inevitable ‘political’ protectionism I witness in other business spheres when the status quo is shaken…and frankly, it is sad and not the first time I’ve seen it. I worked for one construction company a few years ago whose owner had developed the cost management system when coding was in its infancy. His vision back then was of its time and limited. By the middle of the first decade of this century, it was useless. Yet, he persisted in wasting time, money and staff functionality on trying to keep his precious baby alive whilst complaining no-one worked hard enough and profits were slipping. He knew what was needed to be done but refused. Staff left, others refused to use his development the way he had intended and it kept crashing at critical moments. I left in 2008. Earlier this year, that business failed.

    My point is: I really don’t care for politics or protectionism. There are problems with the immediacy of functionality of Blender straight out of the box and it needs more attention than the BF clearly want to give it. I also find it amazing that we should be directed to the long list of bugs that are awaiting repair in advance of the UI. Why should I care? If the programme isn’t useable straight out of the box, I am probably never going to get proficient enough to ever wonder if something is bugged in the first place!

    Seize the moment and sort it out. If coders aren’t interested, ditch them and find others who are. Follow AutoDesk’s lead in setting ‘must haves’. “Someday one day’ mindsets never achieve anything.

  64. I love Blender’s UI. I use it for more than 12 years. I make arquitectural desingns that engineers using paid (or cracked) software are wondered to see, and some of them very envy to see quality of work made in a free software that needs not advertising for iut’s quality and UNIQUENESS. That’s it. Blender is quite UNIQUE and need not to become like payd softwares in the market, and we do not want Blender to loose it’s uniqueness we love so much! No software in the market is like Blender! Try to turn it to the likeness of the average 3D softwares is like to abolish your own name to be called as a like-every-one, or so.
    Blender is to be the best, so we want blender to grow as Blender and not like some any other crackeable expensive, hard, heavy and growing obsolete 3D software’s clone.
    God bless all Blender programmers even more!

  65. I think it’s right to put this points on Blender’s table.
    I’m not a fan or not a hater of a “new shiny UI with easy to use abilities”. But I had some similar thoughts in my head that “it’s not a program for newbies”. But I’ve thought that Ton and Dev’s team is closer to “find more users”.
    As this point is wrong so it comes very clear – the future of UI is for people who want to learn Blender step by step.
    I was that guy for “Blender with two UI – newbie and normal” but now I see that was a kind of implied opinion.

    For the last: if anybody will ask you “when Blender will become more user friendly?” Tell him/her – try Mesh Mixer, it’s free and very easy. It’s not Blender, you’ll get only the basic abilities for creating and some unique tools.
    I think it’s a good program to test if anybody want to become a 3d artist.

  66. Ton,
    I like the way the Blender interface is setup and find it easy to use. With the addons, custom and python, if someone wasn’t that happy with the interface, they could change it so it would be closer to what they wanted. Don’t change it for everyone just because a few are unhappy.

    Also, whenever I ran into an issue with the SW and submitted an error, your team was polite and extremely fast to respond and fix the issues. Something I have seldom seen from highly paid program and their support teams. Your whole team does an excellent job and if/when you talk to them, let them know they get high praises from me (an end user)and their work is highly appreciated.

  67. This debate about the Blender UI is misguided and naive. The impression you get from those calling for a change to the UI is that they seem to think it is as easy as changing your underwear. An overhaul of the UI to the level Andrew has suggested would be as complex as building a Saturn V rocket from scratch. Blender developers are volunteers. Think about that. They don’t get paid. They are doing a brilliant job without pay. Developers tend to focus on functionality of the software. A UI is just a means to an end. A UI is not designed for the lowest common denominator by developers. Their not thinking in terms of Blender beginners. With Blender’s development so far down the track it would be difficult to rework code to facilitate a UI overhaul. To achieve this mammoth task would require a cessation to current development for any code changes will impact on the UI changes. If developers continue to work at the same time as a UI overhaul was being attempted would be like a dog chasing its tail.

    The problem with Blender isn’t the UI (even though it does need improving). What hinders Blender from a users point of view is documentation. Blender is a complex software package that lacks in-depth user manuals. So much of Blender’s features are hidden to users just because there is nothing that explains how to use them. What we users need to do is leave the developers to do their thing and to fund a project to create user manuals that strip back the complexity of Blender so that users can appreciate its power and use the software to its full potential.

    Calling for the impossible like a UI change just creates undue stress for the developers and implies criticism of them, which is not valid. Users should be showing support by undertaking responsibility for what can be done. Funding a project to create much needed user documentation is doable. It just needs someone to co-ordinate the project.

  68. Hi Ton,

    You have put out a comprehensive “white paper” on BF’s approach, and this excellent document deserves to be in the Introductory pages of the BF website, as a permanent document; rather than as a blog. (Respects!)

    A few themes you mentioned are more relevant to the issue at hand:
    1. The UI is tightly integrated with functional code (not MVF)
    So refactoring it impossible/prohibitively expensive.
    2. The coders are their own masters about what to add/improve.
    BF has avoided mechanism that identifies the NEXT todo item.
    (e.g. A master architect’s vision or votes/polls of users.)
    3. Even in future, the role of a UI team will be to topical inputs.
    It is not supposed to define strategic direction.
    4. The user will have to stretch himself initially to learn Blender.
    The UI will never be dumbed down for the sake of increasing user base.
    But still, a streamlined UI for the power user is not ruled out.

    As the father of Blender, you have laid down these rules, and we respect them, of course.

    But what if we respect these caveats and still achieve what Andrew suggested with a massive approval from the users?

    The basic idea is to re-design Blender to leave the command-level UI intact, but wrap it at screen level.

    This means, follow Andrew’s ideas about-
    (a) goal-based tabs
    (b) A ribbon toolbar at top and another toolbar at left.

    Both would need ADDITIONAL UI canvas elements (Borrowing a little JavaFx terminology), BUT calling the PURE ORIGINAL code.

    All commands and their keyboard shortcuts remain EXACTLY the same. What changes is the PLACE where each command appears; and an additional button on the ribbon.

    Here is the new user scenario:

    When the user clicks on a ribbon toolbar button, he selects a command. The properties of this command pop up on the right toolbar (as in InkScape). He has the choice to use the command with default values.

    Instead of showing a multi-tab “Properties” window, the UI would show only the properties of the ONE command selected from the ribbon.

    The current design offers a buffet spread of commands AND their properties through the multi-tab “properties” window. Removing this from view does not hamper a power user, because he still has fast access to the commands through keyboard shortcuts and ribbon buttons.

    All the shortcuts would be available at all times, regardless of the current tab. So if the user presses a shortcut that is not part of the current screen (tab), Blender should automatically switch to the corresponding screen and display the properties of the command.

  69. Ton, your response seems, by and large, very political – lots of big picture fluff to obscure a very simple, non committal answer. It seems like you basically said, “I hear you, but in the end we’re going to do what ever the hell we want, so…. No Comment.”

    You might as well have said, “To hell with standards – Who Needs ‘Em” If you truly believe this then perhaps you should reassess your carrier as a software developer. While it’s true that if everyone followed standards there would be no innovation, it’s equally true that when standards have been established, failing to follow them is certain death. For example, suppose someone came up with an operating system which decided not to implement a TCP/IP network stack but rather its own unique system. How much use do you think it would get? Answer: none. Why, because it wouldn’t be able to communicate with any other computer over a network. If that’s what you can live with fine, but the majority of users wouldn’t be very satisfied and would quickly ignore your product. I bet that if Blender were priced equal to any other 3D package it would loose to the one which follows standards. In the same vein, if you follow standards, you don’t have to worry about explicitly “supporting” Maya users or Sketch-up users because many issues go away.

    I also find your comment, “I’m not much interested in “getting more users”.”, to be equally alarming. You might as well have said, “Go buy Maya, I don’t care.” As the owner of Blender YOU SHOULD WANT PEOPLE TO USE IT. You SHOULD WANT new users to come to your software and not just because it’s free.

    When people use your software for more than its price, that means it’s doing something right. As an example of why this is bad I refer you to Linux. Linux doesn’t seem to care whether it get’s new users and it is practically in a state of stagnation. There hasn’t been significant sweeping change in years, it just creeps along gathering errant minor features without really making them integral. Compare that with Mac and Windows who make significant progress from version to version and still have a unified product. I’ll also point out here that Linux has a very short release cycle while Mac and Windows are both at least one year.

    You say that you want Blender’s course to be pushed by artists and their needs. While to some degree this is necessary, it should not be the primary force. When you cater too much you can end up with some areas being very strong and others very weak because of neglect. You don’t want this.

    You claim that UI is integral with it’s backing representation. This is a curious statement but one which I believe is misplaced. I believe there are really two UIs in most software. There is the data UI and the control UI. Blender’s data UI is fine; there’s very little wrong with it in so far as it reflects the underlying data as well as possible – this is not to say that the data representation is the best, only that the UI does its job.

    The 3D view is the 3D view, what more do you want. The real issue which people have been arguing about for the last two months is the Control UI and those parts of the data UI which have nothing to do with the data. These suffer greatly from fractured design patterns, poor layout, and arbitrary choices. This is where work needs to happen and this should not require ripping out Blender’s guts or completely redesigning them to make progress.

    The Control UI SHOULD BE such that it can be pulled off and swapped out. Why, because all the button should do is call a well defined command in the core – it should not do the actual work. Also, coders rarely make good UI designers and vice-a-versa. You should have a UI designer and a UI coder and they should not do each others’ jobs.

    You referred to the substantial to-do list. Towards this I have a proposal. For then next year you do NOT add major new features. Instead you focus on the to-do list and enhancing existing features. And if you take more than three months to do a release, so be it. This will more or less lock the UI which gives a UI team the time to redesign it without having the rug yanked from under them every three months.

    There have been many who say Blender should be improved to help beginners. In part this can be addressed by following conventions (see above) but mostly these people should be ignored. CG is a technical field and is not necessarily “easy” to get into.

    It’s very much like programming. There’s no “easy” way to learn programming and UIs don’t help – in fact they usually are a detriment because they prevent the student from learning what is truly happening preventing them from ever going beyond what the UI can give them. In fact most college courses teach intro programming without using IDEs. This isn’t to say you can’t improve the experience for beginners by simplifying and clarifying the UI, but you should not cater to beginners. Beginners should not expect to open up Blender and automatically create masterpieces.

    That said, MS Visual Studio Express (the free version of their development software) used to do something interesting. They had multiple modes for the UI (menus mainly) along the lines of “Beginner”, “Advanced”, and “Expert”. Expert showed all the commands while Beginner hid most the of the technical commands which could overwhelm a new user. This I believe could be done in Blender, even without a UI overhaul. It should be on Beginner by default, but easy to turn off. But as I said, CG is a technical field and Blender should target experienced users first as all technical software does.

    Blender is a wonderful piece of software for what it is. Please don’t fall victim to the open source mentality of “We’re doing this for the love of it so it doesn’t matter.” For all intents and purposes you should have the mind set of proprietary software. Your customers needs and wants should be first and foremost. And you should care about whether users leave and should do everything in your power to keep them. But it’s also true that sometimes this means ignoring your users and doing what you know is good for them, even if they don’t believe it.

  70. I think that any coder who is willing to sacrifice functionality to make a more accessible UI is making a terrible mistake, and is doing his or her job poorly. But I also think that any coder who codes without thinking trying to find the best way to ensure that the functionality is clear, as easy to use as possible and as consistent with the rest of the software as possible is making a mistake just as terrible and is doing their job just as poorly.
    I think it would be very, VERY difficult to get this right in any real life situation. But it’s the best way to do it. I think no one in the functionality vs. UI debate should think, “I have arrived. I do things the best way possible. If people want to get it right, they should bend towards me.”
    Including Ton.

  71. 10 years ago Blender attracted me – the new user (I was 3ds max user before) because I discovered few shortcuts during modelling simple object (from that day I had started to play on keyboard like Chopin) and because of this “silly” but really helpful 3D cursor. I felt in 10 minutes the beauty of software and Ive got first, but important message from coders that they know what they are doing, Ive started adventure with Blender because of curiosity and because I felt that it is and probably will be ideal for me – Im an artists with some sientific background. I think its really hard to guess what will attract people to such a not attractive thing like 3D software.

    Like I was guessing Blender became great tool to work and play (Im mixing both of this activities) and every change which will not destroy this tool-toy or adds more functionality to it will be great.

  72. Ton,
    When I decided to get into animation, I looked for FREE animation programs on the internet. After all, there is no use in spending a lot of money on something if you don’t know that you will enjoy it. The two programs that came to light were Anim8or and Blender (2.49). I downloaded both programs and evaluated them. Anim8or had a great tutorial that had me making my first animation in quite literally minutes. The User Interface was easy to use, but the program had some limitations in its meshmaking abilities. The program’s website also had not been updated in almost three years, giving me concerns that the program was not being kept up to date as well.
    Although Blender’s interface at the time was difficult to use, there were a number of tutorials available, and the meshmaking abilities were superior of those found in Anim8or,and it appeared that the website and program were being kept up to date. So I made my decision to stick with Blender, and while I occasionally get frustrated with my inability to understand all of the buttons, sliders, and graphic arts terminologies in Blender, (I’m a Fire Protection Specialist, not a Graphic Artist by trade), Blender has allowed me to produce two animations of approximately a minute in length that my family and friends have found to be at least humorous.

    I will admit that I am a newbie with limited knowledge about Graphic Arts, but I have extensive experience in learning to use computer programs. (I started computing on a RadioShack TRS 80 that was connected to my TV.) The truth of the matter is that any change to the User Interface, even if it makes the workflow more logical, will require the users to get use to the change, and while it makes sense to some users, other users will find the logic behind the change illogical. The current user interface, while sometimes being difficult to understand, has advantages to the previous 2.49 version, as I’m sure any future changes will have advantages over this version.

    As was mentioned by João Mesquita above, I find that most of my problems with Blender arise from a lack of knowledge about the terminology used in the program and the effect that each button or slider will have on my animation or rendering than any issues with the user interface. In my personal opinion, what would help new users more than a change to the users interface is a good help system that would travel along with the program, or could be downloaded separately but could be accessed from within the program. Many users like myself have limited download capabilities and therefore don’t have unlimited access to the Wikibooks help file, which makes learning the program frustrating.

    While I hadn’t originally intended this post to be so long, I do want to finish by thanking you and the Blender Foundation for providing such a complete animation/graphics/game development program available to the public at no charge, and for your dedication to keeping the program current. I look forward to each new release, even though I don’t understand even half of what the new changes are. I also want to thank the multitude of people (including Andrew Price) who have taken the time to develop tutorials that help newbies like myself to understand at least some of the features in Blender and to try to enjoy the creativity that those of you in the business have been allowed to enjoy. Thank you all for your help, assistance, and contributions.

  73. It’s uplifting to know that developers are focused and have a clear direction on were they are going. Any drastic change in the UI is really going to affect we users who have put in a lot of time to get to know blender. Thumbs up guys.

  74. Quit bitching about the cost and do a kickstarter to raise the funds. How many times has the program been downloaded? How big is the user base? I’ll bet the user base could raise the funds. Take a week, do a cost analysis for how much you need to raise to fix the UI and post that figure. That way you’ll be able to finally GIVE THE USERS WHAT THEY WANT!!!

  75. After 6 months I’ve finally become a master of Blender after coming over from the 3D max dark side… so whatever you do don’t change anything now that I’ve gotten used to how it all works ;P

  76. Thanks a lot Ton,
    what you write here is not just an answer to someone, you’re speaking about the spirit Blender has and it is really inspiring also for me also if I, because of the time I need to offer to my studies, could not find the time to continue to learn Blender since 2 years ago.

    Of course Andrew Price it’s not the main recipient of this article, we all users are, but certainly Ton was thinking also to Andrew’s recent proposals about UI changes; I think Andrew’s opinions are STILL a great help and in fact he has been positively taken in consideretion in some part of the article, while he’s been refuted in some other parts (this is what a leader like Ton does).

    I’m very happy to be part of this community because here you really learn a lot of things.


  77. hmmm… frankly, as someone who has been pushed out of blender by the simple inconsistency of left-button select sometimes/right-button select sometimes, i am not heartened by ton’s response. basically, i come away from it with the impression that what’s being said is that basically “maybe it’s not for you”.

    i can accept that.

    also, the take on standards, that it’s essentially “mediocre”, is aggravating. the sane rule is “do it the same. UNLESS. your way is much much better.”

    a ferrari is not made “mediocre” for the fact that the accelerator pedal is on the right… just like a hyundai.

    no one is saying that you must slavishly do something everyone else does because everyone else does it. if your way is BETTER, do it that way. but there are a lot of elements in blender that behave in a novel way WITHOUT making anything better. and that was the subtext in a lot of what ton wrote – that things are the way they are because it’s better that they are this way… better than the “standard”. i disagree.

    and from that topic, ton discusses the idea of ASPIRING. to not look at the mediocre but to look up. question that i have is – look up… AT WHAT?

    if you resist standards, what is the aspirational model you’re looking up toward? blender is a 3d, cgi application. it is not novel in this regard. so what are you looking at as aspirational models? or is the aspirational model simply what blender already is?


    the points about “not looking for more users” as well as catering to existing users who already like blender the way it is is probably the plainest way for ton to express what he really feels.

    but alas, that’s not very inclusive and leaves many, including me, on the outside.

    but that’s his prerogative.

    and if nothing else, i appreciate the plainness with which this was expressed.

  78. The current Blender UI is a blessing when it’s compared to version 2.49 which I hated with a passion (worst UI scheme ever). Having said that I still feel that the current UI could use some work by rearranging and in some cases resizing buttons. A feedback dialog box would be nice too.

  79. I started 5 years ago with 3D max because everyone told me it was the best there was. But at some point I didn’t get the UI and at all and for sure 3D max didn’t on me. Just some people can not find the connection with the application. So for me in concern it tried Blender and started with the older 2.4x UI that was nice but the start of the newer V2.5x release was the best of all. It’s not the best but Blender is on the right track to get advanced solutions with a smart UI approach. Keep going and let’s bring it to the next level. Best UI topic in the community thx. BR DigiDio

  80. No-one is saying that Blender has to be ‘easy to use’, as any 3D software will need some technical knowledge to operate. But the technical knowledge should be about HOW and more importantly WHY you would use the software’s functions, not where those functions are or what the unnecessary jargon means.

    Yes it would be hard work to change the GUI now, but it will be a hell of a lot harder in a few years, and with the implementation of each new feature, improving the GUI will become more work. It doesn’t have to be a major change, and it doesn’t even have to look good, but simply increasing consistency while still keeping the base interface would be enough.

  81. I liked Andrew’s proposal. I think it can help working with method.
    Wait and see

  82. (voy a aprender ingles solo para contestarle a los trolls certificados anglosajones :)

    Sr. Ton R. mi gratitud, respeto y admiración. !Gracias¡

  83. The Blender UI is fabulous, tons of thanks to Ton, and the great team of developers. Please do not become a product “easy to use” commercial style.

  84. Ton,
    Thanks a ton for Blender! It was just today at work that some guys needed to extract an audio file from a video and they tried quite a few applications that didn’t work. Finally, as a Blender nut, I thought, let me give it a try on Blender, and it came out perfect. They said, ‘But Blender is a 3d software?’ I said, ‘It is, and also an animation, video editing, compositing, game creation and a hell lot of other features software. Something like extracting audio from a video is a piece of cake’. They were impressed.

    • were talking about UI, we all know what Blender does…. but we need to find it :D

  85. Ton was pretty clear that new users don’t matter to him. Reading between the lines, the only opinions important to him are those of long-term users, so I doubt anything any of us say will chance his mind or his attitude.

    Ton also implied that the UI was “the core of the design” in Blender and couldn’t be simply pealed off and replaced. This is simply untrue. Good code design separates the UI from the core and, indeed, every other part of the code. I worked for the company that first developed Internet banking and this was something I heard discussed during many a meeting over the five years I was there. The GUI VERY MUCH IS a layer that can be pealed off and replaced. If it isn’t, the code designer screwed up big time. I saw two of them fired for this very thing.

    But Blender’s code base dates all the way back to the 1980s. Code design was a very different thing back then. because of CPU speeds and other technical concerns, OOP was a mere pipe-dream. Cutting-edge thinking on code design has changed course several times since then and Blender hasn’t kept up. I don’t think it can, not with a code base shoved so far up 1989’s butt. Various coders have commented about how convoluted Blender’s code is and that pretty much tells the tale.

    Ton also stated that Blender is for artists, but I’m not sure where he got his idea of what an artist is. I’m an artist; I’ve got the papers to prove it; I’ve had the career to prove it, too. And I can tell you from this artist’s POV (and I studied 3D at art college before Maya was a twinkle in Alias Animator’s eye) the UI just isn’t designed for artists. It’s designed for DOS-oriented computer jockeys and code-whackers. It’s obvious to me that Ton never owned an Amiga (the artists’ computer of its day) or even a Mac (the designer’s computer of the 1980s) unless it was used as a doorstop.

    My statements come across as insulting to Ton and that’s no accident. Although I’m grateful for Blender, I’m insulted that Ton would state so openly how anyone who hasn’t been using Blender from the beginning simply doesn’t matter. It seems to me the gratitude should go both ways.

    Where would Ton be without all the donations made to the BF over the years? He’d be working for some accounting firm doing IT instead of doing what he loves. And every one of those donations came from a user who, at some point or other, was a NEW user.

    But the bottom line is that Ton can run BF any way he wants and code Blender any way he wants. It’s his baby; he conceived of it, saved it from sure death at least twice and presented it to the world as a gift (not to mention a way for Ton to continue doing what he loves to do and make a living while doing it; not everyone has been that fortunate). Since Blender is, was (and likely will be for some time to come) Ton’s brainchild, the buck stops with him, pure and simple.

    So, why am I wasting my ‘breath’ here? Because Ton’s address is an insult to anyone who wants to join the Blender community.

    • Ton develops on a Mac.

    • After a Sinclair Spectrum I switched to Amiga (6 years), Then to SGI Irix (10 years). Then to OSX (11 years now). I only used Windows when I was forced to do.

      I studied Industrial Design, and I’m developing tools and UIs for CG and 3D since 1988.

    • Wow! Hey, have a cookie and relax man : the “We make Blender for Blender users” paragraph was marked as being a provocation in the very first lines ^^

      As I understand it, when Ton says that the UI is tied to the core it is more in a philosophical way: the UI reflects the data structures below and many of their possible associations. It gives a lot of flexibility to the user but has a steep learning curve.
      Technically I think it wouldn’t be that hard to strip the UI and redo it in Qt/GTK/Wx/Upp if you wanted to. Long yes, hard no, useful… meh?


  86. Alex says:
    “Many imagine their workflow and then draw the tool around it, instead of thinking about a universal tool that would be as nonrestrictive as possible.”

    I say:

    Ton, thanks for the software, the direction you’re taking it and your patience with the heterogenous user base.

  87. hi everybody,

    i was hoping to have this debate during the conference but i guess this way more people from the community can join in.

    Ton makes some good points that i would like to address: first, that Blender is for artists and second that we can not look up into the average.

    so first, i teach Blender to art students – most of them new to 3d – and i never heard any complain abount the ui being too difficult or not standard. that’s something that i get from experienced 3d artists. but the problem about being experienced in anything is that we are used to do stuff in a very specific way and we don’t like changes because we stop being experts. More on that later.

    what i get complaints about from artists new to 3d is that Blender assumes too much technical knowledge that isn’t in their mental frame of reference. As someone that did a lot of web development back in the day I know that these concepts are in fact present in a developer frame of reference.

    and that is an issue. if tools are made by developers but are to be used by artists, someone has to make sure that artists understand the tool and how it works.

    mind you that this isn’t “noobisation” or “easy mode”. As an artist myself I take offense in that simplification because when I try to explain to someone who is not an artist why a drawing from a known contemporary artist is art and his kid drawing is not, he thinks that i’m mocking him. i’m not. we just have different backgrounds (theoretical, historical) that allow us to see things differently.

    so if we agree that “blender is for artists” is in fact a design target these features that are obvious to a developer must be translated to the artist frame of reference.

    and second, the notion that standardization is good interface.

    here i think Andrew got it wrong and i think he got it wrong because the sources he quote are wrong. in the field of HCI design the primary research was done by Alan Kay, Donald Norman (the guy who created the concept of the gulf of evaluation and execution) – and some other people that i can’t recall from the top of my head now – back in the 70’s and 80’s. A ui proposal that strives for improvement of user interface that doesn’t take into account the results of that research for me are void of improvement.

    Norman states clearly that “standardization should be the last resort for interface design, because that means that the designer wasn’t able to come up with a better idea than the one that is being used by everybody”. and if the designer doesn’t come up with a better idea then there is no improvement.

    by going with the standard, braun couldn’t have designed appliances with a masterful ui in the 60s, sony wouldn’t have designed their iconic walkman and tv’s in the 80’s and apple wouldn’t be able to design the ipod and iphone nowadays.

    so i put it again if “having the best user interface for a 3d software package ever in a easy and useful way” is a design target for Blender then looking into the standard is exactly what we shouldn’t be doing. on contrary, if the goal is to standardize then everything has already been done by everybody else and we just have to follow them.

    both ways are valid in the context in which they are applied. we just have to decide which is the desired design target for Blender.

  88. This, “GUI storm” is great in the sense that it shows that so many people care about Blender, but, at the same time, it was so silly at moments, since so many users consider GUI so superficially. Many imagine their workflow and then draw the tool around it, instead of thinking about a universal tool that would be as nonrestrictive as possible. Blender might not be in some ultimate GUI heaven, but it definitely takes rational and smart steps IMHO towards excellently chosen, rational and smart goals. Ton, and everyone, thank you for all the great work.

  89. Hello Ton, Though i may agree in many UI suggestions given lately, now i understand it is not as easy as to publish a video or opinion poll about how blender’s UI should be or should not be like..We tend to underestimate the developers’ efforts to sustain an open source project like BLender in a commercial world. It is not at all fair to compare Blender with other commercial alternatives..Blender is quite good as it is for a free software.

  90. Kudos Ton.

    Blender Foundation has inspired many young artists, middle-aged hobbyists, inquiring scientists and budding entrepeneurs.

    Thanks go to you, the development team, the great artists that inspire the average, and those that can afford to donate to a worthy and human endeavour.

    Long may it last!

  91. very well said, thank f’n god your not losin your mind with all this bull$!~@#. you just redid the whole deal a couple years ago.thanks for puttin your thoughts on this mind boggling crap uot there.cant make everybody happy.and with Price stirrin the pot,just cause you dicided to read a couple books on a subject DOS’ENT make you an expert.”friendly disscusion” ha. when ever anyone starts something new you have to learn it.loved that pod cast with him and williamson.i think al his “fans” are going to his head.lol

  92. “If you choose to develop 3D tools to be easy to learn, you will make decisions to sacrifice speed and ease of use for frequent users”

    Thanks for all the work and write up, but I don’t agree with this sentence. Why is that necessary? Can’t you think of a way to make Blender easier to learn, without sacrificing speed and ease of use for frequent users? For example, if a UI part would help new users, but delay advanced users, you can make let them hide it.

    • I think that the “hiding” is the problem. One of the simplest ways to make the interface more friendly to beginners is to hide a lot of the advanced features. Sure, you can have the option to unhide the features, but now developers are stuck maintaining two interfaces, “beginner” and “advanced.” They’ve got to find time to decide “now, does this new feature belong in the beginner interface? Or is it too confusing and should it be hidden?” Then they have to figure out where they can place the feature so that it fits into both UIs correctly and consistently (if it is not decided to be “too complicated” for new users). In other words, you could end up doubling the amount of work that goes into maintaining the UI, and exposing new features to the interface. I don’t know if that is really such a good situation to be in.

  93. look on any forum for 3D software and as soon as Blender is mentioned the single most common response is the UI is needlessly overwhelming. If it’s the communities position to label these responses as misinformed or invalid the Blender community runs the risk of gaining the reputation of an open source title with an elitist attitude, and this will only turn away a lot of potential users.

  94. I understood this text as an agreement with the necessity of UI improvement. But of course, all Blender improvements (and UI is not exception) must be done with care and patiently. I repeat: a lot was already done when Blender “migrate” from 2.49 version to 2.5. In that occasion I thought: “ok, it’s called 2.5 version, but could be called Blender 3, because is a quite new UI and also new resources”. If Blender implement a new and more friendly UI, something like Andrew Price pointed to, this time it will be Blender 3, cause it will be even more powerful and more open to new users.

    I don’t think Andrew Price proposed a worst Blender with a “nice” UI, or a Blender for less intelligent people. I know a lot of people that use, let’s say, Gimp, Photoshop or LibreOffice, softwares that have very friendly UI. And they are, often, intelligent.

    I create book covers. And I have to say that a book author doesn’t want to know codes or shortcuts to write their books. Book authors can write remarkable books, amazing books, without using shortcuts, but only menu commands.

    A painter have to know a few about chemical. But only a few. If they get in trouble because some chemical difficulties, they simple will think: “what the hell. I’m not a technician, I’m an artist”. And probably they will change the ink brand.

    The same way, the best UI is that one which stays invisible, stays on the backstage. If the UI is itself a skill that must be hardly conquered, the software will stay as a software for a few ones that have time and money to patiently learn, instead of become a competitive software.

  95. Blender developers are doing a Great Job! I don’t understand people complaining and trolling all the time.

    Happy user migrating from Maya to Blender

  96. BRAVO ON! Excellent explanation. As a long time Blender user and Blender lecturer at my university at Kaunas I can confirm that new people very easy learn and start using Blender. And I start teaching them with shortcuts – to work like professionals from a very start. Shortcuts focus, and keyboard releated control is one of the main things I like in Blender because it makes my work very efficent. My good friend used 3D Max for 10 years and after release of Blender 2.5 he moved to Blender and found it very powerful and efficent. Thank you for making Blender Professional. I also want to thank Andrew for his UI improvement ideas while I still do not agree with his final UI vision :). These ideas and the whole discussion will make Blender perfect. Thank you for all dev’s and artists for your great JOB I am really proud to be part of the community.

  97. Some quick reactions:

    – Blender has > 5M downloads per year, we have millions of visitors at blender.org. These huge numbers we didn’t get by “aiming for more users”. These numbers you get by doing something good.

    – Blender is using a modified version of MVC – check the wiki docs on 2.5. http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:2.5/Source/Architecture/Window_Manager

    – Blender Foundation and Institute currently employ 9 people in total, 6 of these are developers (not even counting me). Dev fund, donations, and open movies make it possible. Then there’s of course the 100s of active volunteers who work on Blender.

    – Note that I was the initiator, the principal designer, leader and developer of the 2.5 project. That project (UI part) is not finished. We’ll keep working on it, and *for sure* a lot of these UI features will be appreciated by everyone who’s been proposing improvements the past weeks. Just takes time dudes…

    • 5 million downloads doesn’t imply we have 5 million users or that what we have is a silent vote for the status quo or that we can’t or shouldn’t do better. In fact new Blender releases come every 2 months or so so we can likely reduce that to say1,000,000 followers of which how many people actually stay with it? Possibly only 50,000 are persistant sometime users and there are probably less than 5,000 hardcore or fulltime users doing anything significant with it. Of those who didnt persist with Blender how many gave up because of the quirky UI? How much potential sponsorship,participation was lost for BF projects when people gave up? Potentially it might be half what it could be I’d say. Then again perhaps many people don’t download Blender because its good but because its cheap as in free and they imagine it might be useful enough to like render the default cube if can they get over how it does or doesnt work….
      OK enough from me to no effect. Later…

  98. Excellent post Ton. Your leadership of the Blender project is inspiring, and I think you’re keeping just the right atmosphere. I think they key for people to realise is that it’s important for a UI change or other major changes to fit into the big picture.

    Also well done to Andrew for opening up debate on the issue, and please continue to push Blender forward in your own way. I suppose that’s how we are all involved – our own contribution towards the big picture.

  99. I love how this UI debate went like wild fire. Yes Blender needs improvements to it’s UI and as Ton stated they are going to revisit the UI team and get more people involved.
    I’m not as die hard as some, and I thought an update to the UI to be a great thing. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted some key things to stay the same. Things need changing but not hings that would take the UI back to square one but would refine it.
    We don’t need a UI update, we need a UI refresh. And we need vision for the future. When Cycles becomes the default renderer, do we need the materials tab? That is a square peg in a round hole if I have ever seen one. I don’t have a solution for that, and I sure hope they don’t get rid of the blender internal renderer completely.
    Really, the only thing that upsets me about this whole debate is that CAMINANDES hasn’t reach it sales target of 500. Seriously, how do we have that many people so passionate about the software and we can’t get 500 people to donate less than 30 euros(less than $40)? There is an active open movie project that will benefit USABILITY (as well as other improvements I’m sure) and the have 321 pre-orders as I write. 322 once I finish (had to transfer some money to my paypal which takes a few days). I’m as guilty as the rest for not financially supporting as often as I should, but seriously, everyone take a step back and reassess the biggest part that is wrong with Blender right now. And that is us, the user base that complains or even encourages in words only. That being said, there are still limitations even with all the money in the world, and we have to understand that. But if every time we have a large gripe with the software and complain we hit the little donate button, I think Ton and the rest of the people involved will get a little less offended (not that he came accross offended).
    On the flip coin, every time we have a huge success with blender, donate 5 bucks. If you were a painter, that would be way less than the costs of materials. Here is the link to donate, just in case you’ve never been there.


    I also do understand that there are people in financial situations that really don’t allow this and I have to say this post was not directed at you.

  100. Thanks Ton for your effort and the excellent work!

  101. why not make a new step, a Bcon, after the bugs have been fixed,before freeze, where designer can voice up their opinion of how and where that new feature should be in the UI. Programmers have a lot of steps where they can make their mojo, let artist who use that mojo say something about where it should be find

    and if it is to much, why not have an UI centered “re”-design at every major number change (ex. from 2.x to 3.x). I think this wouldn’t be so demanding as the first proposal.

    Programmers have such a big input on creating Blender(and it’s fair since it’s their, many times non-paid-free, work), but at the same time they do tools for use to “artists”, new or pro, but we also are people and we want to contribute to “our” tool of choice(even though it is not perfect and we have to work some extra for sticking up with it). It is not fair to treat our opinions as whine just because we don’t know Python and we can’t contribute code. I do understand that coders cost, and is not a easy job… but… my work ain’t easy as-well with tools put all over the place in the ui.

    Blender is like big-custom jacket with MANY pockets put all over the places… from time to time it has to come to a major reorganizing of the things in the pockets, sometime of the pockets themselves… we just have to put it in the schedule, thats all

  102. Salutaion a tous,

    J’utilise blender depuis plus de 10 ans, comme simple passionné de 3d et ai tester plusieur des grands noms du jenre et je pense que Blender n’est pas plus compliqué a apprendre qu’un autre.

    Je dirais meme plus rapide a aprendre grasse a la concordance des raccourcis clavier et a la possibilité de personnaliser son interface aux besoin du moment !

    Pour moi blender a des defaults ( ex : le fait que les lamps n’on pas toutes les memes possibilitées que le spot pour les ombres ),mais ca souplesse et sont tout en un fait de lui un outil genial.

    Si demain je veus fair un film ou un jeu, je cherche UN outil et non pas 3 ou 4 et alors je trouve Blender.

    Il a un piplane complet,il est communautaire, il est gratuit et il est FUN.

    Que demander de plus ? Rien …. car ca arrive tous les jours grasse a la communautée !

    Merci a Ton et a la communautée.

  103. I love blender since the last major UI change with one caveat… All gray is confusing and hard on the eyes, and drastic changes between the default vs. editing states of things was confusing.
    My learning curve was abysmal until I went into the user preference settings and one by one altered them in a way that made sense to me. thank God you made that relatively easy because after I color coded features, panels, and editors according to common functions or utility, … my learning curve skyrocketed.
    Perhaps this is the best way for people to learn Blender terminolgy and features is by tinkering and discovery. But basically I stared by separating the various panels(editors) by color, used a separate color range for vertexes, edges, faces and object settings, using different shades of the same colors to represent the changing states of the same features during editing. i.e. diffferent shades of green for vertex states, blue for edges, orange for faces. these are now easily distinguishable no-mattter what i’m selecting. thanx and don’t make changes too drastic….I too would rather have bug and performance fixes before UI changes. don’t rush releases and you’ll probably be fine.

  104. Wow! I did follow the proposals and the diagnosis Andrew did but I didn’t follow the debate surrounding them. I can understand how this debate will let developers lose their motivation and Will even leaf Andrew ashamed behind as he opted for a constructive debate.
    Andrew, Ton (and all other blender devs) I wish u all the luck in the world. Have a Nice conference.

    To all others:do not only try to improve the UI… Try to improve your communication skills too.

    Ps. Lot’s of people refer to Max as the ui… 3dsmax (of modo) is not the defacto software in the movie industry. For the more serious tasks softimage or Maya is used and those programs aren’t really user friendly to new users…

  105. Thank you Ton to share your vision about blender. I found your statements very sincere and valuable. I am a beginner user and really like to use Blender. I am now creating my first 3D content with using blender. Unfortunately I don’t know neither coding, nor UI designing however If I can manage to sale my project I want to make some donation to Blender Foundation.

    Many many thanks again to Ton and all devs to put their hard work for keeping blender alive.

  106. Well done Ton. Time and more good people involved will make things happen. Keep going.

  107. I’m all for improving the UI to be more easier to understand but the bottom line is if anyone is serious about having work of a high standard then they should be prepared to work hard at it, regardless of how easy the software is to use.
    For me I do have my issues with Blender’s UI but I’m more concerned by its features and capabilities (what’s the use of having an easy to use interface that looks promising but doesn’t pack a punch???).

  108. I dont know, why you all think, that Ton said, that the UI will be the same.
    He did say, that there WILL be changes.

    Although the first part of the response seems to be arrogant and provocative, he managed to show understanding for the UI problems of a lot of artists with Blender, who switched already to other packages.
    of course you can say we dont need these traitors…. but than we will never get enough donations and as consequence not enough manpower in all fields.
    you see people who are productive are willing to invest in plugins etc, to met their goals. So why not spend this money for the development of Blender?…. Of course there have to be clear, in which part of development the money has to flow. The User should have the ability like Ubuntu to trigger explicit development fields. If youre really into the idea of open source, and not only pseudo (dictator).

  109. Great to read the discussion.

    Drew’s recent ‘UI-project’ now seems to be more about indulgent marketing than meaningful contribution from any broad understanding or even an inside industry perspective, surely he’d have consulted with the foundation others – that’s just common sense ????

    It now all comes across as a very shallow 2D dive of eye-candy propped up by easy to gather metrics bootstrapped to a tight audience niche of specific users – a fractal ‘mob’.

    Frankly the UI has depth across the tools is easy to learn, and the software blindingly capable in the hands of craftspeople who tend to stay silent choosing to get on with their craft … and thankful it is such a great suite of tools.

    Can’t help but feel this topic was seen as anything other than easy to hi-jack off the blender top-shelf of to-do items for ‘effect’ … and that is what I am taking from this – one user appears to have put their ‘mob’ above all users. Show boating in the extreme …

  110. Totally agree.
    When i saw Blender UI first time, i thought this software is for profesional.
    Blender UI force newbie to learn profesional workflow, its “shortcut”

  111. Ton!For it is theme need to make more lightly building Blender.
    For each from Andrewes.Let’s doing they practice.But we to look at NEW Gui,what is concern it.

  112. Ton Roosendaal, thank you for keeping your vision and commitment steady. I hope you will take this comment – and I see many others like it – as a vote of confidence in the way you have guided and continue to guide the development of Blender as a unique and powerful artist’s tool.
    Keep it up.

  113. This is the reason I contribute to the Blender Foundation, because this improves Blender, as guided by the Foundation!
    Considering increasing my monthly amount due to a better understanding of the development efforts needed…….

  114. to have a lot of fun together………….¡ this is the really spirits of blender and this is why a love blender……………great words ton…¡

  115. Blender will get better and easier at time progress. We blender head need to support Ton and the blender institution of it goals and vision.We are known as a community to welcome other 3d user professional and armature to freely enjoy blender and in return we accept respect. Blender need to have it own identity UI not an imitation of other 3d software.Of cause there will be similarities however,for legal reason and license use of those similarities are to be measured. So,thanks Ton for clearly this controversy…

  116. Thank you Ton.

    I’ve been following these recent debates with some interest, especially as I have been seriously focusing on properly learning Blender these last months.
    I’ve never been too keen on posting to internet forums in the past. Writing this here now, is slightly out of character. It’s not something I tend to do that often, but I just felt I really had to comment on this.

    Surely I must qualify as one of these industry pros people have been talking so much about.
    I have worked in the industry quite long time now. Almost 15 years in the CG side. I started originally in 2d.
    I consider myself a character animator firstly, but I’ve worked on all sorts of things. You have to if you want to stay working. VFX design as well as games and app design.
    I’m pretty familiar with all the big three by now, 3DS MAX, Maya and Softimage.
    I have worked as part of a team in studio productions as well as alone as a one man band where I used to create VFX and animation work for TV here in the UK. I have also set up pipelines and projects.

    All I can say is I love Blender right now.
    I’ve been putting serious effort into learning it recently and really enjoying it as well.
    Seriously, the much debated right click approach only took a couple of days for me to get used to, and within the structure of the program it seems to be making sense. I just assumed it must be there for a thought through reason and that would become clear as I got more familiar with how stuff worked.
    All I can say is I’m used to it now. It’s also no problem for me to jump back into Max or Maya when I need to.
    Also it’s so incredibly damn fast to work with. Just so utterly fast.
    I just love modeling in it. It got me to actually enjoy poly modeling again.

    I always assumed the current interface design was surely a product of the fact that Blender aims to do so much over such a wide remit ?
    Which also surely sets it so much apart, and makes it quite unique.
    It’s not just a 3D modeling\ animation tool. It also composites and edits and camera tracks. It’s intended as an all in one animation and post production studio.

    As someone who has had to quickly learn a huge amount of software over the years. Sometimes having to get to grip with a new compositing app say in a day or less. All I can say is, I see so much the value in having a unified workflow across everything. Blender is becoming something so unique and special in the animation and film making community and as somebody who has spread over many disciplines over the years I can so much see the incredible value in it.

    I would love to illustrate some points with software comparisons.
    I can just think of so many illogical and clumsy workflows in some of the majors right now. But I’m not sure it’s appropriate and there’s too much of that elsewhere anyway.

    All I want to say is……

    They are all really difficult to learn in depth. All of the major 3D apps.
    If you want to really master one of these apps it takes a lot of time and commitment.
    I’m not sure how much it can just be the interface. Sure if you just want to drop right in an edit a cube or make a simple model or particle explosion.
    But if you want to be doing advanced work then you need to get deeply into the fundamental philosophies of the software, and in my experience the interface is always a direct reflection of that.

    There is always too much detail in these programs for any one person to remember it all.
    The only way you learn this stuff to a level where you can work well across multiple types of jobs is to really develop an instinct for how the software works.
    So you can quickly assume what you don’t directly know or can remember.
    Just personally, right now in Blender. I’m liking the drop down text menus compared to lots of icon bars. It reminds me a lot of softimage in that way.
    So far I’ve not found it noticeably harder to learning any of the others.

    Personally I would just prefer to see continuing gradual progress and feature improvements across the whole program as has been happening already. Like more functionality in the VSE etc.

    I don’t want to come over as somebody who thinks it’s all perfect and is some sort of crazy fan. ( although I might be turning into one… yikes! ) Of course there is room for loads of improvement all the time. I mean I gather this new interface is a pretty massive improvement over the last one.
    I came into Blender recently so I never knew it much before. This is one of the reasons I have not commented before.
    It was a work colleague posting me a link to Sintel that made me finally sit up and take notice.
    I was working in a big central London animation studio at the time and I can assure you pretty much everyone was excited by the potential of it.
    I just think it’s getting lost, just what an amazing creation it already is. Some of these comments are just so spiteful and bitter. I don’t understand where they are coming from. It’s a bit odd.

    Allowing true open criticism and discussion is really positive and is to be so much admired.
    Also like I said, I’m new to the whole Blender community here and I know a lot of careful thought went into a lot of what has been talked about recently. And all of that was also long thought through and brilliantly set out.

    But I also saw some, what seemed a lot like shouting going on in the forums.
    Especially things about how industry pros work and what industry standard software should be.
    In truth there is no magic wand. It is normally all a bit bug ridden, tricky and full of pros and cons. ( Especially some of the more recent big name releases of late )
    From what I have seen of Blender so far, it’s seriously pretty damn good. Incredibly impressive.
    And I especially love the whole community around it and the sense of optimism and creativity involved. It does truly feel like a real place for artists to come to, and fertile ground for great things to develop

    One of the things that has just so depressed me about the animation industry in recent years is the steadily narrowing corporate sway over just about everything. All the way down to college level.
    It’s becoming utterly suffocating.
    It so desperately needs a blast of fresh air. An alternative way people can choose to follow.
    Also after already seeing quite a few changes in the industry over the years nothing makes me groan more these days than to hear the phrase, industry standard used all the time. The industry is always in a state of flux and changing constantly.
    These changes seem to happen quite suddenly though, so don’t seem visible for a long time. Normally after pressure on the inside builds up for awhile. Like tectonic plates.

    In terms of this endless question of what the pros want to use. I seriously believe, well I know… that if it’s good enough, gets good word of mouth, and makes the most sense for the job then more and more pros will begin using it.
    And they will certainly very quickly adapt to any differences in interface or new working methods.
    Because in my experience that is what pros have to do constantly all the time. Quickly adapt and learn new things. Constantly.
    Right now Blender seems to be making inroads all over the place as a high standard, modeling and UV mapping app.
    Anyway is there a plan to directly target the big studios pipelines ?
    I wasn’t sure there ever was ?

    Good luck with everything going forward.
    Hopefully I will be able to pop up in the near future and show some work once I’m really going.
    I’m very excited about Blender right now.

    Anyway take care and all the best.

    And thank you once again.

    • Thank you TOKA for taking the time to write most of what I actually been thinking following all this talk about the blender UI. Like you I rarely write anything in forums but I do read a lot.

      All in all, I like blender as it is, UI included. I use blender for about 6 years now and toke me about 2 months to learn how to use it and finally finish a project(archviz). My 1st project was a freebie, but my second I got payed for it. Yes, it’s hard to learn at first, but once you got used, it’s the most refreshing, fun, fast to work and rewarding software I ever used. Did I mention FAST? Yes, once you learn the shortcuts and get used to the right click for selection left click for action, they just make sense. It’s not perfect, a lot of things to improve, but that I see happening every 2 month with a new release.

      Thank you Ton for blender.
      Thank you all the developers for the hard work.
      Thank you all the artist creating amazing things every day.
      Thank you the blender community for all the tutorials and support.


  117. Ton, thank you for that well-considered and truly statesmanlike appraisal of Blender’s current situation and the philosophy of the Foundation.

    I have been a user of Blender since 1998 (I have the original RiffRaff manual) in the pre-Ckey days, a Ckey purchaser in the heady days of the bubble, and a steadfast financial supporter of the Foundation and its film projects since then. In all that time I don’t believe I have before read such a stirring and reassuring position statement from yourself or anyone on behalf of this software project that has provided so much opportunity and enabled so many dreams. It certainly is deserving of such a statement, because in the fog of all the excitement surrounding our vibrant and ever improving feature-rich software, the difficulties and challenges involved can be too easily overlooked, seemingly invisible.

    I don’t think truly that anyone would take the UI challenges in Blender for granted, but you have served us all well by reminding us of the philosophy behind everything and the complexities involved.

  118. Well and nicely written Ton. Keep up the great work.

  119. Thanks for clearing up your decision about the interface. Your obviously passionate about your baby.

    I thought the interface was headed to a logical direction after 2.5, but it seems like it will continue to be an oddity in 3d modeling.

    The best thing about this whole statement is I can now stop spending time trying to learn this software. After Andrew’s review of an interface that is normal with today’s tools, I will never look at Blender the same.

    You say it is for artist, an artist should not need to understand python, or to get a feature to work, click 10 buttons on twelve menu tabs. For artists, Really, Really? I have started Blender a thousand times with an idea, stumble around the menus and just to close it in frustration.

    Best luck with it, it seems to be headed down the same road as True Space 3D. Original interface that was just left behind, for many good reasons, and some bad business moves. It had a dedicated following also, but that doesn’t really seem to help in the long run.

    Sorry for an honest review.

    • I tend to agree. There is a rather puzzling adherence to the notion that persisting with a needlessly difficult interface is part of the path to a Blenderists enlightenment, or that Blender needs to be contrary and obtuse to succeed. The harder I is to use the better the artist is appparently Is this the same mentality that artists need to suffer to produce great work?. It certainly confines it by default to an also ran status in the cg world. Blender can be different where it makes sense but why go out of your way to be non conformist and quirky everywhere even when it is shown to be beneficial to revise it here and there to much better effect. People will move on from dissing Blender as a toy to saying Blender is for cranks. Such a shame to see self generated obstructions become larger than common sense.

  120. Thanks Ton,
    I’m glad you were able to write about UI and contribute to the discussion. Even though usability is key for me as an artist, usability needs to extend as well to you the programmers (such as fixing stuff we break).
    Glad Andrew’s discussion happened though. It certainly sparked a response that generated new ideas from you for the long-term. Maybe this will calm all sides down a little too.


  121. Excellent guidelines here.
    About the UI, we must remember that there was a strong improvement from version 2.49 to version 2.5. No doubt it cost a lot of work for Blender team. And this new interface was very welcomed and certainly contributed to the strengthening of Blender in the CG international community that Ton had detected on the last Siggraph.
    Blender is like a enormous ship. It can make soft curves on its route, but not radical changes, otherwise this would put the ship on danger. I trust in Blender team. I have not skills in Python, but I’m learning this language right now to perhaps join Blender contributor on the future.

  122. I do appreciate the fact that the last UI overhaul is still pretty recent, as well as all the realities of software development. However, it is hard to deny that Andrew’s proposal addresses the current UI’s shortcomings with very logical arguments. His improvements are also very convincing and well thought out.

    Although current UI and workflow is vastly superior to the pre 2.5 days, it can still be very confusing, inconsistent and tricky to work with. I still believe further improvements/changes should be a priority. Making it more consistent/organized does not lower the bar. Please, before any insults on my intellectual ability to comprehend how blender works, I am not saying I can’t/don’t know how to use it, but I do believe that it works in a far less than optimal way.

    One last thing. My opinion on Andrew’s proposal does not mean we are ungrateful to the amazing work the BF has put through, Blender’s awesome features and its unique philosophy. It is because we love and believe in this software and the people behind it, that we are so keen on proposing/supporting our perceived improvements. It certainly does not mean we think the Blender devs are idiots! Even the smartest person in the world can benefit from fresh eyes/fresh ideas. It is because the Blender Foundation is a fun place/community, with passionate people on what they/we are doing, I hope the proposal will be given a fair chance. A huge part of Blender’s user base seems to agree.

  123. I’m a little bit disappointed by this polite reply to Andrew’s UI proposal. However I’ve been always satisfied to know Blender developement has been strong.

    I feel like it’s christmas every new Blender version.

  124. Ton, aqui é Gilberto do Brasil. Estou atualmente desenvolvendo uma animação que já tem cerca de 45 minutes na parte de movimentação. isto que eu estou fazendo no Blender, eu estava fazendo no 3D Max. Parei no 3D Max, pois vi que como software proprietário, não poderia continuar. Entrei em um hiato temporal. Mas vasculhando daqui e dalí, achei o Blender. Comecei no 2.49. Fiz algumas figuras, alguns modelos de personagens más, desisti. Desisti porque a interface era muito confusa. Outro hiato se deu. De qualquer forma fiquei de olho no Blender na esperança que a interface mudasse para ficar mais compreensiva; de fato mudou. Ai fiquei muito contente e me pus a ler o manual. Como já tinha uma certa experiência em 3D, logo aprendi muitas coisas. Esta minha animação deverá rolar ainda por mais uns 8 meses. Não é uma animação de grandes efeitos, nem personagens sofisticados, até porque eu estou fazendo sozinho todas as etapas.
    Bom, dito isso, eu quero fazer algumas sugestões como usuário pois não sou programador. Ferramentas que tenham relação uma com a outra deveriam estar no mesmo painel. O manual do usuário deveria estar sempre atualizado, porque é nele que se busca a referência de uso de ferramentas. Mas aqui vai a sugestão que realmente eu gostaria de ver no Blender. Se clicar com o botão direito em cima de um parâmetro, poderia se ter uma sugestão de uso ou de efeito daquele parâmetro. Isso poderia ser Online.
    Por último, de mais espaço entre lançamentos do Blender para ter mais tempo de corrigir os Bugs se não teremos sempre versões inconfiáveis de alguma maneira.
    Obrigado por ler.

  125. Those using Blender the most are ones not having time to complain.

    UI is great. Attention to details can improve it more than 10 year rewrite.

    Passion is what keeps Blender evolving – Keep it fun!

    • I do not agree with your assumptions/unsupported conclusions. Also, how is Andrew’s proposal not passionate enough and keeping it less fun?

  126. Both points of view about the UI are legit. I think that I’ve said this before: let the user choose between an entry-level UI or the full on UI. Take WinAmp as an example, U have all sorts of UI’s to choose from; micro-players to the huge Bento. But it’s still playing the music the way it’s meant to. It all comes down to how U want to use it!

  127. Appreciate your time to write and think and always giving us inspirations, Ton!

    I am 100% agree with what you wrote here. Surely UI can be improved, not necessarily like Andrew Price visioning, but that is really not the upmost priority and should not be.

    Blender is already accessible in term of usability. Leap 2.49 to 2.5x is already a fantastic UI update and that it clicks to my brain. I am originally a Maya user, and it is kind of nice to be able to adapt to Blender and how Blender adapts to my workflow.

  128. My 2 cents:

    As a professional software developer, there is an intelligent perspective here. However, there is a need to plan for continuous change. The more the blender community grows organically, the better for Blender. This means attracting the new users (artists, scripters, coders, etc) by making it really easy for them to get hooked on this great project. They will become power users only if we can make sure they stay with it.

    Ensuring all UI panels/views are consistent and strictly adhere to guidelines and operational modes would be a simple way to start. Having a living, breathing architectural roadmap and sustaining a continuous effort of renewal would be stage 2.

  129. Thank you, thank you, thank you Ton.
    Thank you for keeping to a higher standard rather than lowering the bar. This vision of blender is very fair, and thank you Blender Foundation for this beautiful tool.

  130. I use blender all of the time and am currently using blender to make the terrain for a character visualization scene which will be built in the free version of unity 4.2.

    currently as it stands blender is awesome, it does everything I need, and I like blenders UI, its a brilliant ui which allows the user to really configure it any way they want, the only problem I see with blender at the moment, and hopefully the only part of blenders ui that gets changed is blenders menu system, first you have the main right menu, then you have the top menu with the file/edit buttons on, then you have the far left menu in the 3d view port and the right menu in the 3d view port, why is the menu split up into so many different menus, it annoys the living daylights out of me, and I think if they can redesign the menu system in blender, it will be much easier to work, in fact the menu is the only part that really needs work in terms of blenders usability.

    What really really annoys me is my inability to help in the coding of blender, with me being an artist and me being totally unable to learn coding not without a lack of trying though, trust me I couldn’t count the amount of coding books that I own because I wanted to learn how to programme so I could create games in unity with javascript, I find myself totally helpless, I feel like I am pointing my finger at a problem instead of helping people come up with solutions to them.

    but with what ton has said, I feel good knowing that the future for blender is sound.

  131. Ton’s post is the most sensible post I’ve heard in this whole UI discussion. Keep doing what you are doing Ton and thank you for Blender.

  132. I’m totally agree. I was somehow scared when UI discussion raised, but now I’m calmed again: things don’t want to change drasticly. =)
    Thanks for making this position clear!
    Of course Blender DOES have an issues. But. It’s brilliant already! Thanks!

  133. thanks, Ton, for this wonderful gift you have given us. I greatly appreciate your vision. I think we sometimes too quickly forget the massive UI changes as Blender transitioned from 2.4 to 2.5.
    I like having a program where I can model and sculpt and texture paint and composite and video edit all under the same hood! That is quite an accomplishment in itself. Blender has been very good at meeting many of the needs I have as a 3D artist and animator. Continue the great work! And for all that want improvements immediately, I am certain there are probably many areas many areas in Blender development where one could volunteer to use their skills.
    I’ll continue working with Blender as I complete my MFA in Integrated Visual Arts at Iowa State University.
    Take care. – Nick

  134. Do not change the Blender UI!!! Its the most robust UI in the world. Learning curve is very fast and straightforward. Cheers Ton!

  135. Well… pretentiousness doesn’t make a software accepted in the industry that’s for sure, so good luck and have fun at your meetings (don’t drink anything from an open bottle).

    • Accepted in the industry? Now that Blender will be the principal tool to make workshop for valve? Now that all people speak about blender in the industry? Now that we see a new good work in blenderartist all the days?

    • Uhm, are you saying that you read the entire thing and came away with the conclusion that Blender is somehow pretentious software? That seems rather…
      pretentious of you.

  136. I’m curious how the Foundation sees Blender’s role within a pipeline. Is the ideal a studio where each department is using Blender in a different role (modeling, texturing, rigging, etc.) or is it within a more typical heterogeneous mix of software where Blender might get used for modeling, but not necessarily for animation or compositing?

  137. Personally, I think it’s great the whole process leading up to the time Blender is a software that surprises me every day, has been a great response that I just read, because I think that the UI has been the result of a great development that has been running on track, in my opinion could be complemented with contributions that have already been described, but I think it is a job that takes a good way.

    Take this opportunity to thank the whole team for giving us such excellent software quality

  138. Thank you Ton!!!

    I`m a happy Blender User :)

  139. After Reading Ton’s Answer, I felt that he is sincerely deeply touched by the fact that people are not thankful for the work already done so far, All those hours of tears and sweat spent coding to make BLENDER a state of the art, are not valuable against a -some how- weak UI design.(this is personally what I understood).
    Dear Ton, if this is really what you wanted to express, then let me inform you that you missed the point. In fact the Blender Users Community are so PROUD of Blender as a package to the point, to ask its maker to push-up Blender to the next level.
    Really this is a fact, nowadays artist from around the world using Blender achieved a level of perfection only achievable by commercial packages. Statistics showed that Maya and 3dsMax users are starting to switch to Blender because of this reality, just follow on YouTube the number of followers that watched video tutorials about “HOW TO SWITCH FROM Maya/3DsMax TO BLENDER” and it’s going up.
    Dear Ton, let me share with you a secret: Know that around 75% of Maya and 3DsMax users on the world Basis have a cracked version of those software, Autodesk knows this, but it leaves it as it is because those 75% of people are a user base that promote for Autodesk 3D softwares indirectly. It’s because of them that 3DsMax came from the shadow an started rivaling with Maya. The clever idea here is when those 75% became addicted to Maya or 3DsMax, they found themselves obliged to buy a legal copy to produce something sell-able, or they influence their employers to buy a copy because it’s only what they know how to use, and they have spent so much time to learn them then the idea to change them with other Soft seems out of this world. This is a marketing ruse used by Big companies.
    Now let’s comeback to our beloved BLENDER, Keep in mind my friend Ton that the people started the question of the UI change are all “artists” not “coders” and the only way to them to participate in developing blender is on an artistic point of view, and the only artistic side of Blender directly clear to users is the UI !!!!
    So their intention is good, but without knowing they touched a sensible point, in fact as you said the UI is so tied to the internal code to the point of changing just a little portion can scramble the whole Core code.
    So for me they are right and at the same time they are wrong. They are right because Blender really needs a Good UI kick on the Ass;) , and they are wrong because it is not the perfect time to start it. Now how to fix this without making anyone angry???


    I have spent a lot of years on/off (since Blender 2.49)trying to hack on Bender code in the shadow, my goal was not to participate in development, but to understand how you cast your UI design idea on this kind of huge project code (the MVC model). Over the years the Blender code became so complicated and uses a lot of languages to the point that Only the GHOST library is the perfect example of the CHAOS theory. The code takes several branches and proliferate from leaf to leaf, it accumulates code upon code…and so on and so fourth.. Really Hat Down for Bug fixers.!
    So with this knowledge my proposed solution is as follow: MAKE THOSE ARTISTS BECOME CODERS !
    likewise they realize what coders are facing. But the question is: HOW????
    how to make an illustrator or modeler without any programming background become a C/C++ or python Coder???
    My solution is: ALGORITHM. Yes Algorithm, instead of loosing time teaching artists how to write ideas in C/C++ or python, teach them how to write it in Human language in diagram form. Rectangles for declarations, Diamond for ‘IF’ branches, Square for ‘Switch statement’…etc, I will take the burden to elaborate this system just for this sake. Then translate the actual Blender code to this form of language by taking each module apart, after that, produce videos and podcast by Veteran Blender coders to explain the idea behind each algorithm and how to chain them to each others. I will be in charge of translating the coder’s way of thinking to the Artist’s way of understanding using my developed way of teaching. At the end my goal is to try to separate the UI code from the Blender core code by the help of those newly grown ‘Art-Coders’.
    By knowing the tough task the Blender foundation is dealing with, People starts to weight their words before starting any Discussion about any subject. Because they can take a pen and a paper and try how hard is to integrate that Idea to the present state of Blender just by using Algorithm.

    Dear Ton, the space here is not a much to explain what I think of about this situation. But be sure that I’m offering you a new way to change this World’s BIG Blender Community and may be others!
    Just let this idea boil in your mind and contact me if you are up for it.
    And I Invite every Artist or Blender User concerned by the question of developing BLENDER’s UI to show me if they are up to participate in this project not only by words and votes but by actual Algorithm and Code.

    Yours Faithfully

    • I share your idea. Blender must go MVC. There should be separation of concerns totally. It should be possible sterip away the ui of blender and replace with another just like installing a new WordPress theme.

      MVC rocks and will help introduce loose coupling which redecues stress involved in changing very core aspects of a software

    • +1 on this.

    • Well commented. I can invest time and effort in making Blender UI better.

      • Apparently they didn’t read the documentation lol.

        • One then has to ask… If it’s an MVC design, why exactly is this true…

          “The misconception here is that the “UI” is some kind of separated entity of a program, which can just be peeled off and replaced with another interface.”

          That’s sort of the point of MVC – separation of concern.

  140. Putting ourselves in Ton shoe’s will show us that THEY are really human. they’ve done great things on blender so why don’t we wait since the message about UI is passed already and make them do GREATER thing in blender.

  141. Well put Ton! Thanks for keeping Blender focused on core values. It really takes long term vision to lead a project of this size.

    Thanks for the great software and thanks to all the contributors for their hard work:)

  142. Great piece, nothing to add. Keep up the great work, Ton and the other Blender devs!

  143. Well, I really apreciate what Blender team is doing, but, on the other hand, I think that the software needs some changes. Let’s talk about it in points:

    1. Ton mentioned, that a) he don’t need the userbase to grow bigger and b) the problem is that there’s not enough manpower to improve things quicker. But this two statements are somehow contradictory. The bigger userbase, the bigger chance that some of them buy something from BF or make a donation, the bigger amount of money the BF collects, the more manpower it can have. These things are connected.

    2. Albert Einstein once said: “We have to make all things as simple as possible, but not even a bit simpler”. And he was right. He defined the thin line, where the complexity of the tool should be equal to the complexity of the task. However, for now it’s not the case for Blender. I agree that some complex tasks require a complex UI parts, but currently in Blender even some basic tasks are handled with complex, unintuitive methods. Like this bloody RMB select, the “Translation” name for grab/move operation and so on. Not counting some display options are placed in many different panels (!).

    2a. It’s vital to differentiate betwean “healthy” complexity and “poisonous” complexity. And the same is true for “good” and “bad” non-standard. If You want to make sth non-standard – fine. Want to make some tool very complex? Ok. But You need to ask yourself: “Do this tool really need to be so complex in order to do what it meant to do? Do the non-standarisation adds to the usability or make something previously impossible possible?”. In Blender, the answer for many of this questions is “NO”. I’m not against complexity and non-standard behaviour of the tools, but only there where it’s needed and adds to the user experience.

    3. I think one of the biggest problems of Blender is (maybe surprisingly) it’s release cycle. New version is released almost every 2 months. The problem is, it’s too short time to fix all bugs and make the software 99,9999% stable (none of the software reaches 100%, let’s be honest). In consequence, Blender is always in the beta-like state. Imho it should change the release cycle to, let’s say, twice a year (one release is a stable one, and the second one is a new-tool-packed one). It could lead to make Blender more reliable and apropriate for more professional users.

    4. Money. More money for the BF, the fastest the software grows. But how to achieve that? Well, if You go to the Ubuntu donations page, You’ll find the answer. In there, You can decide the amount of money to donate, and You have a bunch of sliders to divide Your money betwean different parts of the software. I.e., if You are interested in improving UI, You donate all Your money to UI. It makes people more goal oriented, they know that their money will be spent on functionalities of the soft important for them. Maybe it’d be good to implement the same mechanism in Blender donations?

    And, for the end – yes, I often use Blender, and am a HUGE fun of it. Love the idea behind it and appreciate what BF is doing. But at the same time I see all the flaws and problems of Blender and really, really want them to be removed, so the software could reach the point, where it can stand for the fight with the best :)

    • I agree with everything you said, apart form point 3. Blender does seem to be in beta all the time, but I am more than happy to have new features available ASAP, as opposed to waiting for half a year for fixes on features I might not even be using at the time. It’s probably exhausting for the devs, but it keeps the community very active and engaged.

    • Really I am sick of seeing 2 months release cycle too fast.

      I do support users of wine. Wine does 2 weeks release cycles. So 2 months is in fact snails pace. Is there a key difference between blender and wine to achive this speed difference.
      Yes a testbot and testsuite. One thing to make blenders quality better every release would be setting up a testbot farm to run the testsuite of blender against every single patch. So early detection of opps is possible.

      That blender has moved to git using wines testbot code base would be possible.

      Setting up a wine style testbot farm will require resources.

      Longer release cycles equals worse defect is before detected. Wine attempts todo a formal stable every 12 months. So from my point of view releases should come weekly/forthnightly with a LTS version every 6 to 12 months.

      2 weeks is in fact enough time to argue over patches to be included/rejected. The Linux kernel running on a 3 month cycle also only has a 2 week merge window.

      Yes wine development branch is as fast as you can spin it. Being short means it has small areas between versions when hunting down regressions.

      Development versions and Production versions have two different requirements. People doing a movie might want the Development version now because they want X new feature.

      This is why development and production versions are key. What ever you do 2 months is slow for development releases. Might be too fast for a quality stable. Prebuild development releases every 2 weeks containing the parts that will be in the next stable(if they work) lets non coders find opps that is stuffed sooner and report it sooner. It can be very hard to remove a patch once more patches depend on it. Lets take a 6 month not showing to users lets say in the first month a bad patch gets included and you don’t notice 5 months of stuff built on top of it. Its really not fun to fix.

      3 months as Linux kernel does is really the outer limit of sane for development releases to public.

      The shocking thing with wine is on adverage the fast spinning development version is more stable than the offical stable. Due to the number of issues fixed.

      1 day cycles are too short. 1 week is possible but is too stressful on project lead(yes we know from wine 1 week is possible) 2 week seams to be the ideal mix between not stress the project lead. In fact wine project lead is allowed to extend it out to 3 to 4 weeks if need turns up. Objective is 2 weeks but if is broken a development release can be skipped.

      Project lead of wine is also use to hey it did not make it this release I might get around to the patch next release. Limited volume of patches per wine release. Move versions release less volume of patches per version. Less disasters.

      So there is lots of reasons to speed the process up. Also very big reasons to focus on getting automated testing running every patch.

    • +1 to that. Except point 3 of course : )

  144. Ton is Blender ,Blender is Ton
    I am Grateful for his lifetime commitment to continue to improve Blender , stirring his teams imagination with projects Just to keep it going in the right direction !
    This program has been moving in incredible leaps and bounds ,other 3d program UI s will have to start being a bit more flexible as Blender is, other programs give you a Choice “classic or not” that’s it !Blender wears a lot of different hats, nothing else can hold a candle to Blender.

    I am sorry but I disagree with Andrew , He has some good points , But
    I Think Ton’s vision is the best thing for Blender and I hope he has a good health plan LOL

    Sounds like Andrews students are looking for refunds

  145. I’m agree with Ton, I think Blender UI is enough. Many friend arround me say that blender more efective than other 3D software because of the shortcut and looks professional. They never protest with the UI

  146. Well as far as i can tell, a GUI and a program are usual different parts. And require different skills, programmers are often not good GUI creators.
    One should ask a programmer to create a heart of the engine, but ask a designer to create the car around it; it are just different skills.
    Of-course designer and programmers must have the same goal.
    Although if my Peugot 363 would have the skin of a Lamborghini it be cool,… but not .. really functional. As usefulness and design are closer together with my current skin of my car.

    But that’s not the case with blender, blender could use a redesign and when looking at the past, it already has had a few redesigns so..

    What i saw from the video presentations those where similar goals, to make it easier for normal people, starters, small groups, students.
    Easy to use and easy to learn are main focus parts.
    That begs for a better UI, even nicer that might atract more people to code it.. !

    I hope these new proposels i’ve seen lately get a change, or at least become some kind of plugin; or a ..wrapper.. for the backend code.
    Those video presentations of new GUI realy seamed to nail the GUI problems Blender has today. (and it looked as if a huge part was done already).

    Personally i wouldn’t be woried if some shortcut will be replaced by another, or become part of the GUI, or some kind of other button click, mouse-wheel, or tirth button click. Because these things on picks up fast. If you always pressed alt S to do something, then i wont take you month to change that behaviour; and therefore spending lots of time to discuss such things make not a big sense.

    • You make some really good points, Peter and I agree that Andrew’s GUI proposal should be given a chance. In fact, it should be a top priority at BF.

      • Top priority? I think the UI should get a top billing spot on the list, however to say one guys ideas should get it is just being difficult to say the least. Sure he has many good points, however like Ton said this program is very connected to the UI, it is not like World of Warcraft where you can simply xml your way to UI usability. There is a reason Blenders download is 90mb or something and Maya is a couple of gig. Efficiency versus bloated, I will take efficient.

        Sure UI will get what it needs in time.

  147. Having tried out virtually every desktop system in existence since 1985 and their applications, Blender is the only app I’ve used that regularly gets me thinking “how did they make it that smart?”. If the UI design in Blender were to get any better I think it would lower my productivity, I’ll just sit there admiring the UI.

    Great job, Ton! (but please, don’t ever add a right click menu or modal dialogue!)

    • I expect people will need to put aside some of their own views/wants in the greater interest including Ton. Ton’s view as chairman of Blender Foundation is important but he is not dictator. If there is a push to improve some aspects of the UI behaviour at this time it ought to be considered. Ton has many duties and in fact we hardly hear from Ton these days. I think he prefers others to take on the work anyway. Perhaps if you ‘involve’ yourself at a level most people aren’t into as mere users, yes. I think there is as much going on outside the old system with a commercial/crowd sourced bent as inside it. The commercial side seems more active or has a higher profile or perhaps is liable to get on and do something immediately. Too often we hear from the BF why something can’t be done or they don’t want to do it – no coder enthusiasm for instance – while there is an enthusiasm to get stuck in and achieve something on the outside. I think there is a bit ofconflict/disconnect between the two. Perhaps there needs to be some protocol/co-ordination around what the BF has in mind to do eventually and what the jump on the bandwagon community is up to. To my mind the BF is looking a bit out of touch with currect momentum enabled by more immediate communications/funding possibilities.

      • I should say this too, today Blender users are scattered across the globe and time zones. There will be be people who can get highly involved by painting the walls at the BI or cutting sandwiches for the BC. There are others who only participate on forums as users. Lately we have a new type of user who is highly connected and mobile via the internet and willing to participate with ideas and opinions and sponsor innovative things they happen across. These people do involve themselves but in a flash mob sort of way. These people are more spontaneous and self directed/interested but never the less what can emerge from their collaboration can be just as useful as a traditional club room meeting or methodical top down approach. I don’t think BF has evolved far enough to consider the contribution this group can make at this point or integrate what they might achieve. There is now a spectrum of possible development avenues/sources. Some comes from individuals, some from core BI coders, some gifts from commercial enterprise, and some from the slightly cross over twilight zone that is internet savvy. Just some thoughts.

  148. I completely get what you’re saying Ton and the strides Blender has made over the past few years has been incredible. Perhaps some users who code are in it for the money (since that seems to be a point of interest,) but there are also users / artists who are simply passionate about Blender and producing amazing 3D art that do it in their spare time out of enjoyment. Herein lies the beauty, if it doesn’t do what you want it to then you have the option of coding something to do it.

    Another interesting tidbit between paid 3D software and Blender is that a lot of times if you run into an issue then you have to dredge through the knowledge base or try to stay calm while spending possibly hours on the phone with an automated system, voicemails and the inability to get a solution to a problem. A good example; I personally retrieved Maya 2014 PLE (1.35G) and was able to install on my MacBook Pro that met requirements. After one launch the software crashed and would not launch again. I returned to Blender, downloading 2.69 (81M) and within minutes I was up and running with no problems and able to do my work.

    Thanks to you Ton and the rest of the devs for continuing to make Blender a more stable and enjoyable experience.

  149. Thanks Ton. Great to have these thoughts written down so clearly.

    As a long time (13 years!) user, I love Blender’s interface. With such a successful tool, you can understand that people think the Blender Foundation can do magic. But of course we understand that there would be a lot of complexity in implementing any significant changes with an outcome that would be likely to divide thc community. So it must always be incremental changes.

    Nobody can deny that Blender is very good at an amazing range of things, if not top of the class in most of them. But as you say, that’s what Blender is about: being able to do everything.

    To get the same results with commercial software I would need about 3 packages, all with different UIs, but with Blender I can do pretty much everything I need to in a more or less consistent (and therefore very fast) way. It really is amazing and it is that, above all else, that I value about Blender.

  150. I guess Andrew Price shouldn’t have booked his trip to the conference.

    • and why not? Like what’s up with all the hostility towards Andrew? He has done plenty for the Blender community. You really should give him credit for bring this topic to center stage.

  151. Andrew’s UI proposal is the next step.

  152. “It’s not following conventions, it’s following a vision.” Excellent job Ton, Blender has never been an application that imitates how other apps work, Blender is and will always be a great tool with it´s own fresh and unique vision.

  153. OK so we have limited money and manpower and a long list of todo’s. Nothing new there.. However I think we have reached the point where the artist users are saying this UI while better than the last is frustrating to their daily use and ambitions to use the wealth of tools already in Blender. The layout of some of the panels is clumbsy, many tooltips are unhelpful, some default settings are wrong, there is inconsitency across tasks etc and these make for tedious workflow and confusion particularly for newbies. The UI needs some oversight and a tidy up to be as good as it can be BUT without ripping the face off and redoing it which has been identified as really too big a mission. I think Andrew is right though about the UI being an inhibitor to more people adopting Blender and hence growing the user base and stoking community enthusiasm. Jonathan Williamson seems like a good person to head up a usability oversight team IMO if he has the time and inclination. I note he has already undertaken a successful retopo project and has started compiling a list of pet UI annoyances. I think he has a good handle on what’s needed. Obviously we need to find a coder willing to put in place the tweaks though. I think this could be done on a part time basis a few say 10 changes at a time and with a goal of perhaps implementing 50 of the most useful changes to bring a noticable improvement. I can’t code myself but I am willing to contribute to some funding for it of 1000 euro if one can be found..

    • Reflecting on the general tone of the comments I think offering 1000 euro toward refining the UI would just be a waste of money so I withdraw that. A large number of users want zero change no matter how things are and you can’t reason with them so whatever might be done to good effect by a few is going to be roundly pissed on by most everyone else or even immediately stripped out or redone. In the case of the UI no one can be satisfied so what’s the point… Good attempt Andrew but as you can see change is totally futile with the pervasive mentality. As Ton rather obnoxiously remarked on Twitter the noise will stop soon and then he can get back to work… I guess Blender is always going to partly suck but at least you can tell new users and users of other programs now that why that is is that we prefer it that way. Go figure.

    • I completely agree that the UI is a bit messy and needs work. My philosophy is, work towards fixing the old features before adding new ones.

  154. I think the new UI proposal would be great for Blender but at the same time I understand how restructuring the core-interface from a programmers perspective would be a nightmare. There really is no way to achieve something of this magnitude in just one step. Making smaller changes over a period of a year would be more realistic.

  155. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. And when its free, rest assured even monkeys would elude you. I thank blender and the blender community for teaching me 3D, but since my evolution into a professional, earning my living entirely from 3d works, i have moved on to cinema 4d and modo.
    Blender makes me think too much about getting the software to work, instead of the task at hand. Andrew price hit the nail right on the head. His analysis of the problems and solutions for blender is just shockingly true. The problem is that the solutions can just not be funded with monies raised by open source. People needs to be paid to make other peoples lives easier.

    Blender is a fun software to start with, and because it makes u think soo much, transitioning to the paid ones is a breeze. I would say if you are earning a living from it, u had better be ready to invest in the rights tools

    • When considering the level of Blenders capabilities one can easily say that the artist defines the tool not the other way around. If you make crap with blender, you will make crap with maya. Going with your logic one would believe all I would have to do is buy a top of the line drawing touch screen monitor to become the next da vinci. This isn’t the case as you should know. The idea that you had to ‘think’ your way through blender tells me you weren’t skilled with it to the level you should have been.

  156. Ton, as a member of the GIMP team I want to thank you for this write-up. We’ve been talking about these things for a long, long time. Explaining how internal logic shapes UI, or how the focused approach to feature set and the “app for all” approach mix together, is rather difficult.

    It does take a while for some ideas to settle down and become widely accepted. You’ve just brought that happy moment closer :)

    • You just explained why I and so many others don’t use GIMP.

      I’m sorry, but your ‘happy moment closer’ sounds like a socialist waiting for a revolution that will never happen or a christian waiting on the rapture.

      We, the general user population don’t care for learning your arcane interfaces. Just spending a minute with GIMP trying to learn how to select something is a waste of time. You may say – learn it and you will be rewarded.

      But most users would rather spend that time downloading a copy of photoshop or even fireworks or anything with a ‘standard-ish’ interface that they can learn in seconds and not have to google to learn how to do the basics like the unusual keys for simply selecting something as you care to define it. That’s not a ‘happy moment’ for users. That’s wasted time, frustration, and causes them to immediately look elsewhere.

      And that’s why GIMP will forever be like the name says… locked away from users… unless you align it with the ‘standard-ish’ keys etc.

      Yes, interfaces can be born of their underlying code, and it’s nice to dream about such relationships – like someone saying a programming language was inevitably born from math/logic – but those those are the dreams of coders and don’t often make their language or code useful and hence popular, but rather ‘idealistic’ and even ideological/religious/arcane.

      The best interfaces are born of human interaction models… how we think, how we move, and how we make art. Not how some coder decided to invent their own way of doing things. The code may be art to a developer but it shouldn’t dictate the interface to users – to artists.

      And as importantly – separation of interface/views from classes/controllers etc is not a debatable topic these days in software – it’s the standard. It makes for easier quicker testing and changes of the interface to improve it for the user and it makes work for the developer easier too. I and many others were lead to believe that this is exactly what Blender’s last transformation was intended to do. I’m greatly disappointed to read that this wasn’t the goal. Blender has improved a lot, but it’s clear that its new interface has already outgrown its philosophy.

      Most of Andrew’s suggestions are exactly how Blender should be improved. I would add that he needs to trim his suggestions a little here – or rather actually standardise them eg keeping the notifications panel as a global panel so it shows render state etc rather than have that shown on the render preview (or use both).

      I also don’t believe Andrew intended to be disrespectful. Rather his suggestions, like my comment about GIMP are rather born of the fact that the software in focus has reached that ‘formative’ period where it has enough momentum to look like it could be improved upon more, while standing on the shoulders of inventors like Ton.

      But to keep the momentum going – changes need to be made to the UI – and the very idea of ‘for the artist’s’ needs to be better defined. Andrew, I believe, has done that better than anyone. That’s not to criticise Ton. Without Ton’s hard work and belief in Blender and its community, Andrew would have nothing to comment on.

      Perhaps the real issue is not that Andrew made such comments but that there was no proper forum in Blender for such ideas to be otherwise raised.

      My fear is that if we don’t address Andrew’s well thought out proposal properly, Blender will continue down a path that keeps its interface an eccentric oddity like GIMP. I’m sincerely sorry to say that about GIMP, but it’s clear from its development and your comment above that its developers have no intention of listening to users.

      If Ton doesn’t listen to Andrew and find a way to energise the community to take stock of Andrew’s enthusiasm for UI progress, then this will be the greatest wasted opportunity in Blender’s history.

      • Your comment is mostly correct in everything that relates to how interfaces should be designed, and yet 100% incorrect in grasping the reality, because you are simply missing or ignoring our ongoing work on improving the UI to make it easier to use. But no hard feelings :)

      • @ Plato Why do you need to be inflammatory? You could have said all that without derogatory comments.

        • well … i just use it cause it’s free and for a long time Blender has been a reference as a free alternative proposition to other paying softwares ! I just say thank you Ton and keep up your greatest work !

    • You can not even write 5 clear lines on how to build blender , how can you create a good user interface

  157. Great article, I agree completely. I really appreciate that Ton has highlighted the difference between easy-to-use and easy-to-learn. This is really important, as I think more people need to realize that there is a difference, especially if all this UI discussion is ever going to make real forward progress.

  158. What an excellent response. The UI could be improved in some ways, sure, but I’m glad you guys have your priorities straight and your feet on the ground.

  159. I hope this statement will calm UI storm. Well said Ton!

  160. reestablshing a UI centric team is a first step; but changes must come, since functionality and UI usage must be synchronized

  161. Great reply. I understand all your points. Just focus on core issues of the GUI first! (like named layers!)

  162. Thanks for everything Ton =)

  163. I’m agree with Ton, blender needs to be better, The UI is great, maybe change some preferences (Left clic for exemple), add the toolbar GSOC and it will be better.

    I think blender needs to be connected with others softwares like mari, nuke, guerilla and have the latest tools to work in production, like alembic, Udim texture etc.
    It’s more important than changing the UI.

    • The idea was to use blender without having to rely on external tools ;)

  164. Thank you for clarifying the Foundation’s position so succinctly. This makes me feel proud and happy to be a Blender user, I fundamentally believe in the ethos as it has been put forward so eloquently here. Here’s to the future :)

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