Unleash the power of 3D
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  • #14363 Likes: 0
    Brenticus
    Participant
    • Posts 2

    First of all I would like to give a big thanks to the developer of Bforartists. I’ve always had some thoughts on how Blenders UI could be improved, and you’ve realized a lot of my ideas. I’ve also had some of the same frustrations as you’ve had when trying to teach Blender to others. From now on I’ll try to teach Bforartists where possible (once I’ve learned it better myself) and I’m looking forward to exploring and using it more.

    Anyways, I have had a few ideas floating around in my head for a while that may be worth looking at (or they could be completely worthless).

     

    1. More menus in the info window (the top bar)

    I’ve always thought that the info bar at the top of the screen would be a better place for a number of menus/panels that exist elsewhere in blender. Maybe a display menu that has most of the display settings currently in the properties panel? I don’t know exactly how it would work out, but after seeing the amount of menus at the top of Maya I’ve always thought that it would be a better place for menus.

    An alternative could be to move the 4 menus from the bottom of the 3d view up to the top instead of having two toolabrs with 4 menus each. Context sensitivity may become an issue then though as the info bar is always open even when the 3d view is not.

    I have no idea how easy this would be to do, and from what I’ve read in other forum posts, some things are just too hard to move.

     

    2. Move the scene info to a floating, collapsible display.

    I’ve always found the scene info (number of objects, faces, etc) to be a bit hard to read, and also wasting space that could be use for other things. Other programs have it at the top corner of the 3d view, and I think that makes a lot more sense. A small “+” icon at the top left wouldn’t be intrusive, and when clicked could show a list of the six statistics that are currently in the top bar. That way it would be much easier to read, as well as make more sense in keeping stats about the 3d view in the 3d view. Maybe the scene memory usage could stay at the top, but I don’t know if the others belong there.

     

    3. Sculpt Brush Menu

    One thing I always miss when sculpting is a way of accessing a list of brushes with icons only. Something like the current list of brushes but without having to open the menu every time. How Mudbox displays it’s brushes is what I have in mind. A row of medium sized icons in the top toolbar, which is currently empty in sculpt mode, would be a huge improvement, and would allow for sculpting with minimal interface.

     

    4. Better way to rename objects

    Currently the only way to rename objects is to either find it in the outliner or use the box in the properties panel. Having a way to rename objects from the 3d view would be very handy. Maybe clicking on the name of the Object name at the bottom left of the 3d view could either allow for changing the name right there, or bring up a small window with just a box to rename the object? Even having the option moved fromt eh properties panel to the toolbar would be way better.

     

    5. Click and drag to box select

    I’m aware that this has been discussed in other forum posts, but I wanted to give my 2 cents. Personally, I never use the click and drag options in Blender, so removing the ability to click and drag an object/vertex to move it in favor of a box select would be a favorable swap in my opinion. An alternative would be to use Shift-click and drag, although that would seem more suitable for deselecting rather than selecting.

     

    These are really the main things that I wish were in Bforartists, or Blender. I realize that it won’t be exactly as I envision it, but that’s perfectly fine, a bit of adapting never killed anyone. Just wanted to get my thoughts out there and see if anyone else has similar thoughts.

     

    One side note

    Why is the icon for Bforartists different than the one on the website? I think the one on the website with the more 3d look would both look nicer and be more of an indication of a 3d software.

     

    If you’ve read this far, thaks for hearing me out! I’d love to know what others think about my ideas, and if there are issue with them or improvements that can be made on them.

    Brent

    #18062 Likes: 0
    Reiner
    Participant
    • Posts 4699

    Hi Brenticus,

    Thanks for your suggestions and ideas :)

    Let’s go through them.

    1. More menus in the info window (the top bar)

    The Top bar menu (Info Editor) will have tabs with Blender version 2.8. So it’s no good idea to crowd the header with more menus. We will have a space problem then. And see also next point :)

    An alternative could be to move the 4 menus from the bottom of the 3d view up to the top instead of having two toolabrs with 4 menus each. Context sensitivity may become an issue then though as the info bar is always open even when the 3d view is not.

    We can’t do this. It’s technically impossible. A few tools are global. That’s what the toolbar at the top contains. But lots of the menu items are context sensitive. They have to be part of the editor where they belong to. Menus from the 3D view has to be in the 3D view.

    Move the scene info to a floating, collapsible display.

    Another location would be possible. But i am not really convinced if it is a good idea for the user to dig in a sub menu. And the whole string is too long for the tool shelf or the properties sidebar. And even when we breat it into parts, it would eat needed space there then. Which means scrolling. I personally am happy with the current location :)

    3. Sculpt Brush Menu

    I see what you mean. I am not sure if this is doable though. Brushes can be customized. And that’s fixed buttons out. But i find the current way to click at the big image and to choose another brush pretty quick already. Yes it is one click more. But is it really a this big time saver to have them top UI level?

    4. Better way to rename objects

    Not convinced here. This crowds the functionality even more. One way to do things is imho usually more than enough. And we already have two ways.

    5. Click and drag to box select

    We tried. The hotkey conflicts were killing us. And in the end it would put often needed functionality to more cumbersome key combinations. And slow down the workflow that way. So we decided to keep it the Blender way. That’s better for migrating Blender users anyways.

    There is a thread here somewhere where davis made some changes to the keymap to have drag select though. And he is quite happy with this change: https://www.bforartists.de/content/how-add-shotycut-deselect-all-double-clicking-empty-area

    Why is the icon for Bforartists different than the one on the website? I think the one on the website with the more 3d look would both look nicer and be more of an indication of a 3d software.

    Already done, in master since a few days, and will come with the next release :)

    Kind regards

    Reiner

    #18074 Likes: 0
    davis
    Participant
    • Posts 295

    I still second the click > box select. – But I believe that´s mainly a matter of taste and the 3d software you are coming from. Since I used 3dsmax for 20 years already, I don´t miss the click drag at all. – You can simply change that shortcut yourself, if you look at the link Reiner posted above. In the modeling environment I also see no conflict with other shortcuts, but in UV editing it gets a bit annoying, because the only way to move things around there is the left click drag or the didicated move shortcut. Still it speeds up things enormously fo me.

    #18078 Likes: 0
    Brenticus
    Participant
    • Posts 2

    Thanks for taking a look at my suggestions.

    I completely forgot about tabs being introduced in Blender 2.8. I should have remembered that, and that does make most of my menu suggestions irrelevant.

    It’s not that I think the current scene info location is terrible or anything, but I do think it would mkae more sense from a users point of view to have it collapsable. I think it would make more sense to devote that space to other things. Scene info is one of the situations where you either barely use it, or you keep a close eye on it. That’s why I think a collapsable, transparent list view in the 3d view would make more sense. Most users, especially new and novice users, don’t really use that information. However, when a user needs that information, such as while optimizing a scene or trying to reduce memory usage, it would be handy to have it a bit more visible. Maybe this is just personal preference, but again this isn’t really that big a deal.

    For the sculpt brushes I think it would be possible to do something along the lines of what I suggested. I’m no programmer, but based off of the bit of tinkering I’ve done with scripts and seeing others addons I think it would be possible. For example, the sculpt brushes addon from IK3D contains a list of brushes in the toolbar, and it includes a number of custom brushes. My thoughts would be to add that list to the top toolbar instead and make them just icons, preferably a bit larger too.

    I understand what you mean about renaming. Again it’s not a big issue for me, I just thought there may be some way to improve it. As I begin to really learn Bforartists I’ll keep it in mind to see if there may be a better way.

    I’m not completely familiar with the keymap and input for Bforartists yet, so I can’t suggest any changes without a bit more learning. Glad to see that it has been tried though, and I’ll see if I can find a way that works well for me in Bforartists and I’ll share it if/when I do.

    Thanks again for working on Bforartists and listening to others feedback as well. I look forward to seeing where you take this.

    #18079 Likes: 0
    Draise
    Participant
    • Posts 1185

    3. Maybe we should include that brush panel addon  we had looked at earlier from the get go. It is very similar to the node icon panel workflow developed.

    :dance:

    #18080 Likes: 0
    Reiner
    Participant
    • Posts 4699

    3. Maybe we should include that brush panel addon  we had looked at earlier from the get go. It is very similar to the node icon panel workflow developed.

    Could you please refresh my memory? There are so many ideas, and i can’t remember this one at the moment. Or even better, make a task. Then it doesn’t sink in all the other forum threads :)

    #18089 Likes: 0
    Draise
    Participant
    • Posts 1185

    3. Sure, I’ll make a task there.

    4. Batch Rename Datablocks addon – possible solution

    By default Blender can’t rename multiple objects at once, which may be the biggest stumbling block, not just the methods that work already.. This would help you rename a bunch of objects and their mesh data easily. And, just to mention, you CAN rename objects from the properties panel within the 3D view with the Item panel AND the outliner AND in the Object Properties tab. To make things rename materials, I would also maybe add a button calling this specific addon panel up (like a dropdown) beside the object name panel (currently only way is to search and activate it). I’ll post it, it is one of the only great addons I found that has helped me add some juice and usability to the outliner and large dataset management.  I’ll post this as a task too.

    Batch Rename Datablocks addon

     

    :dance:

    #18206 Likes: 0
    infinice
    Participant
    • Posts 9

    This is really simple, but really needed. All other 3D and even 2D apps i’ve ever tried have a Close (Project) button, usually in File menu. So if you give up on a project, and want to retry, or just switch to work on another, you can, without quitting and restarting. This is a basic usability feature that BFA needs.
    BFA’s solution: load new/default accomplishes most of that, true, but non-intuitively. Most people look for a Close button. And easier access to switched-from scenes (often shown in tabs).

    #18207 Likes: 0
    Reiner
    Participant
    • Posts 4699

    Thanks for your idea infinice. Now how should the behaviour differ from pressing the current new scene button then? What exactly is unintuitive at it? The second confirmation click? Other software shows a ” do you really want to … ” hint here.

    #18300 Likes: 0
    infinice
    Participant
    • Posts 9

     My point is so simple that if you don’t recognize it, i’m at a loss as to how to restate it.  When most people want to close a project, they expect to find a close file option in File menu.

    My addendum on tabs- well it’d be nice to see alternate viewports and projects shown in a tab bar (that would appear only when cursor pressed against top of screen).

    infinice

    #18301 Likes: 0
    infinice
    Participant
    • Posts 9

    I’ve been inching forward, trying to learn BFA, but also viewing Blender tutorials.  The experience is making me aware of the advantages and disadvantages of BFA. 

    Briefly put: i reluctantly accept learning fewer Blender hotkeys, but the prospect of having to unlearn BFA equivalents is sobering.  They’re moderate and major disadvantages. 

    After all, this whole project depends totally on the willingness (and masochism!) of one man (you, Mr. Reiner! :D ).

    I think many people are tempted but conclude that, nah, it’s just not worth the risk.

    But i think it is possible to mitigate this (perceived) risk.  I think that you should add an extension to “Important Hotkeys”, a toggle that would show in pop-up bubbles, the original Blender hotkey for action just being implemented.  That way BFA users could gradually learn B hotkeys, have an insurance policy (so if you get tired/sick/married/dead, we’ve sacrificed little by specializing in your BFA ‘fork’). 

    Or you could code copies of commands to go to Blender? (One would run both BFA and Blender at once and be able to switch back and forth to see how Blender would appear at each point of ones BFA project!).

    Infinice

    (Please don’t think of me as more full of sh*t than a duck pond- think of me as great fertilizer for BFA!)

    #18303 Likes: 0
    Reiner
    Participant
    • Posts 4699

    Hey Infinice,

    We don’t develop Blender here. We develop Bforartists. For Bforartists users. Not for Blender users.

    You have to decide what software to use. You cannot use both. Well, you can, but they have a contradicting UI and useage philosophy. You shoot yourself into your foot that way.

    You should forget about Blender when you want to use and to learn Bforartists. It is a different software. When you want to use Blender instead of Bforartists, then you better jump to Blender immediately. Because the differences are growing bigger with every release. And this is intended. When there’s no difference then the fork is pointless.

    The same counts for all suggested features that tries to turn Bforartists into Blender again, or should help to make migration easier from Bforartists to Blender. They are pointless. So please don’t expect us to implement them. This will not happen.

    Kind regards

    Reiner

     

     

    #18318 Likes: 0
    Draise
    Participant
    • Posts 1185
     
     

    Just to say, the Blender shortcuts are being spliced into the BFA shortcuts as we speak. I’m working on them, so you don’t have to completely forget some workflows from Blender. The project I’m doing with the shortcuts fusion will also include graphics in the manuals and visual tags for Blender differences to aid migration or comparison, mostly a thought but a project nonetheless. It’s just a big project as the shortcuts are literally in the hundreds of lines of code (thousands nearly), meaning hundreds of shortctus to make sure don’t conflict and fusion correctly.

    I come from working in studios with Blender, but quickly switched to BFA (and also switched to an independant studio model), as it was easy to learn BFA understanding how Blender works (and easier to tutor and teach to interns) – they are similar source code and similar systems – but the UI use of the system is just different (and easier and more fun for me in BFA, in my opinion).

    I highly recommend BFA over Blender, as switching back to Blender is…. well annoying, but possible. Even if BFA doesn’t prosper, which I doubt (because who doesn’t hate opensource closed monopolies!?). You have my support for whatever art you do in BFA, troubleshooting or anything.

    Concerning what he said above, yeah.. it would be pointless to develop Blender persay – as that source is just a source for a completely different thing, and I know how much things have burned hot in rejection to anything he would want to do for that community, as there is a blind mob mentality going there – which is why this fork started. So if anything, once I have the shortcuts spliced and documented/visualized – then there will be no stopping you porting those shortcuts to Blender for personal use, or just stick to BFA and enjoy the optimizations that are a leg up from Blender, always – as BFA is built from the source of Blender, so anything Blender does, BFA always legs it up – just how it goes.. as the source is similar if not the same at the root of the software, just with a better UI and workflow – and one more consistent with Autodesk based industry standards. A no risk, no brainer descision to me..even if it’s small and has a smaller community around it. 

    To be honest, it was way easier going to BFA coming from Softimage over Blender – so if you know any 3D concept that way, through Autodesk, might be easier through BFA to get an easy grip of the “Blender” platform. 

    And really, I worked with a team of people on the same 3D project, some in Blender and me in BFA (doing most of the legwork) and there was no file compatibilty issue (other than with the VSE due to Blender not using FFmpeg codecs unlike the master builds that BFA is based off, a fault on the official release of Blender not using FFmpeg codecs – and just turn off Load UI when loading scenes from BFA).. so compatibility, you don’t need to know Blender to work with others in Blender, get comfortable with whatever feels best (arguebly BFA if you are starting, but if you already have Blender habits, might be Blender). But yeah, I would stick with one platform or the other, and not worry too much on both.

     

     

     

     

     

    :dance:

    #18322 Likes: 0
    infinice
    Participant
    • Posts 9

    Yeah- i was gradually realizing that (BFA is diverging from B)– my point was that if you provided a bridge (popup hotkey equivalents) that you’d get more people to commit to BFA (because they wouldn’t feel that they were burning bridges behind themselves).  That, practically speaking, is surely worth doing?

    #18323 Likes: 0
    Reiner
    Participant
    • Posts 4699

    No, it’s not worth it. Since we develop Bforartists, not Blender.

    We don’t burn bridges. We just don’t have the time to wear everybody over the bridge one by one. The feature must make sense. Keeping the Blender keymap available is a no burner. And Draise works currently at a full keymap that uses the Blender keys where possible, also a no burner. But we will not pollute Bforartists with useless features or all the Blender things again that we have successfully removed meanwhile. This will simply not happen.

    My advice remains: make your decision, choose either Blender or Bforartists, and then stick with it. It’s really the best you can do.

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