[Bf-committers] Recent features UI feedback/review

Matt Ebb matt at mke3.net
Mon Sep 25 04:15:53 CEST 2006

Hi all,

I've been out of the loop a little bit lately, had no internet for a  
few weeks after moving and just recently was confined to bed for the  
last week with a virus :( Anyway, I've done some experimenting with  
the cool new stuff that's been added recently, and have a few  
comments to make on my experiences with them. I hope these issues can  
be rectified!

3D texture painting
I'd read about this on the mailing lists in internet cafes and was  
really excited to give this a try, but I was remarkably disappointed  
once I actually updated and compiled CVS and give it a try. I was  
really looking forward to giving it a try, since the texture paint  
mode has been largely useless since it was implemented due to it's  
horrible speed, which I'm sure you all know. I was so sad when I  
tried out the new texture paint and found it to be not really much  
better, speed-wise, than before. I thought it was just my crappy  
hardware until the topic came up in IRC, when someone mentioned that  
I had to turn off MipMaps in user preferences. Huh?? I tried it, and  
lo and behold, texture paint was wonderfully fast, and I love it!  
It's an enormous improvement over before, and I'm sure I'll be using  
it more and more.

Now had I not been in the #blender*coders* IRC channel talking about  
this I would never have known, and just given up, which is a real  
shame, and ridiculous for such an important feature. Something so  
fundamental should not require obscure options to be set that  
seemingly bear no relationship whatsoever, that an average user would  
never figure out on his own. Most artists would barely know (or care)  
what mipmaps are, let alone what impact they would have on texture  

MipMaps should just be overridden to be off when in 3D Texture Paint  
mode. For something as basic as this, it should Just Work.

Tangent Space normal mapping
There are problems with the 'NMap TS' button (of which the TS only  
shows up on nothing less than an enormous buttons window) Firstly,  
the name is very un-descriptive. It's also for choosing whether the  
map represents normals in tangent space or object space, so it should  
be a set of two buttons representing the choice between two options,  
not an on/off toggle.

Whether the normal map represents normals in tangent space or object  
space (or some other space?) is part of the 'encoding' of the colour  
representation on the image - it's something that's specific to a  
particular image, not to the entire material. The button is in the  
wrong place - it should *not* be at the material level, and should be  
in the texture buttons with the other 'normal map' toggle that is to  
do with the same concept: what those coloured pixels in the image  
actually mean. Other controls, such as a menu for choosing what  
'style' of normal map it is, i.e. the variations in what colours/ 
mappings different apps produce, can live here too. It doesn't belong  
at the material level, and certainly not in the Shaders panel either.

PS. The non UV tangent derivation is great makes things much easier :)

Displace modifier
Can we have a proper std_libbuttons menu for the texture choice,  
instead of a text entry field?

EdgeSplit Modifier
The label "From Flag" is quite meaningless and bizarre to artists  
(who know flags as those coloured bits of fabric on government  
buildings).  "From Marked as Sharp" would be much more descriptive,  
just a matter of moving that button underneath.

As for the name, "Split Sharp Edges" would be better ('split edges'  
still doesn't really help an artist understand what he'd use this  
modifier for). It's more natural to use names that would fit into an  
everyday sentence, that is, verb before object. It's also less  
quickly readable (not to mention nerdy sounding) to remove spaces  
between words, since you can't recognise the individual words by  
their general shapes any more (which is largely how we skim-read).  
Same goes for UVProject - "Project UVs" would be a lot better.

Name issues as above, and a similar thing as displacement, it would  
be good to have a menu with Blender image blocks, rather than the  
text entry field.

I'll be getting back into IRC as I feel better if you want to chat  
about these things, but otherwise that's what this list is for :)



Matt Ebb . matt at mke3.net . http://mke3.net

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