[Bf-committers] Actuall usability of some tools and new features

GSR gsr.b3d at infernal-iceberg.com
Thu Nov 19 22:53:16 CET 2009

damir_prebeg at yahoo.com (2009-11-19 at 0209.31 -0800):
> 1. Translate and Scale buttons under Object Tools panel are
> impractical and almost unusable.  Example: When I click on Move
> button, selected object will start to move instantly. Unless I hold
> the Shift key, by the time my cursor reaches middle of the screen,
> moved object will go outside of 3D view (btw, same happens with
> Duplicate button).  Those buttons are having some purpose only if I
> manually type the value for translation or scale. I see now the
> second purpose for them: to show via tooltip what's the keyboard
> shortcut for move and scale function.

I sense that with so many buttons, people will go for them a lot and
then complain they are slower instead of just going for direct
manipulation via shortcuts or manipulator. Button should stay (they
are not new, they have been in Nkey panel for some time, maybe less
obvious), but users should realize they are not the only way. If you
are a teacher, try to get this point across: sometimes the magic of
the interface is what is not visible, just because people focus too
much on screen captures/videos and too few in what happens in mouse
and keyboard. Yeah, that means sometimes one has to resist the

Would ssome buttons would require better control? Probably, but
without going from the "it moves to much" to "it moves too few". Some
days ago Theeth commited some experiment, referencing Houdini's ladder
widget. In some other place I even saw a better method than that
ladder, it opened a multiple slider set, one per power of 10, so you
can adjust all values without having to reopen the widget.

> 2. Ok, I'm not happy but I can live with a decision to abandon
> horizontal layout. But current vertical solution requires way to
> much of scrolling because I don't have big monitor so that's a big
> problem for me (I'm still among 30% of people that is still using
> 1024x768 resolution). Excluding active programmers, we are all
> beginners with 2.50 and for a beginner it's hard to know in witch
> window some option is located when he must scroll down to see all
> options. This problem will make blender learning curve even
> steeper. Or not, if someone donate us all 30'' monitors.

Horizontal layout could be a project for future. Vertical already got
tweaks for thin areas, so rearranging buttons to match horizontal is
also plausible. OTOH, wide screens growed horizontally with sizes like
1366x768 & 1440x900, so you are not alone about how tall the monitor
is, and people that get many monitors are limited too as they normally
place them side to side.

So I tried 768 and I agree there is some scrolling, but I think some
changes could happen and benefit everyone, even with big 1920x1080 or
1920x1200 (huge, and expensive, limit seems to be 2560x1600). Vertical
grows less and pointer motion is harder vertically than horizontally
(ask any FPS gamer, or just try to shake the mouse in each axis and
see where you have more reach). So everybody would win with some
tweaks to get better arrangements.

For example some things have a label and then two buttons below
(Noise: Soft / Hard in textures), while others have the label to the
side (or are three buttons in a row), saving vertical space.

But relearning is an given, things changed place. Now, one thing is
relearning and a different one is that the interface can not be easily
learn because things keep on jumping around and it is tiresome because
requires more action and attention. You point you have to scroll a lot
to see things, I do not see how multi clicking will be any easier. And
once you learn something, you are left with the normal usage, so
consider how much time you will be spend being a new user (learning)
vs one that has to get things done (really using the program).

> 3. Well, we can't go without any scrolling, that's for sure but I
> don't completely understand scroll bar functionality. In some
> windows scroll bar is visible and it will scroll even if nothing is
> there (dope sheet for instance). In some windows click and drag of
> that gray dot on scroll bar ends will resize window content, but in
> some other will not.

Option two, ignore scrollbars, use the consistent Blender methods:
zoom and pan the area like any other area. Only in very limited cases
I really find use for scrollbars (huge zone where going from one place
to another would require multiple grabs), to the point of hacking own
theme and version to make scrollbars more subtle. Cleaner interface
and the functionality is still there for the rare ocassion.

> 4. For me, In render buttons window/area (and not only there), It's
> hard to distinguish what's just an panel title, and what's an
> option. And I think I'm not the only one because I have seen some
> requests in the past to make panels more distinguishable.

I do not see this... maybe because I use different colours for titles
than labels? It seems to be blamed on Blender a lot but I think to
many times the fault lies on themes (2008 UI talk had something about
confusing button types, IIRC, same kind of problem), so probably the
default theme needs changes.

> 5. Almost last but not least, I'm not sure that replacement of the
> main menu (space key) with search is so bright idea. Let's imagine
> that Bill has suddenly decided to remove start menu button and usual
> Win key function replace with Run dialog...  In that same search
> menu, let someone try to scroll to see all commands while slightly
> moving the mouse cursor. That's a quite impossible task.

Yeah, Space should go back to toolbox tasks, and something else for
the search system.


More information about the Bf-committers mailing list