[Bf-education] Outrageous Suggestion

Doug Ollivier doug at flipdesign.co.nz
Mon Aug 30 10:52:32 CEST 2010

  Hi Guys,

I'd like to make the outrageous suggestion that we encourage Ton to 
teach a few courses in Blender to new users... why would i suggest 
something so preposterous?

BF has tackled adding features - We have great features
BF has tackled the UI -We have a much better UI
BF has tackled production pipeline - We have 3 movies to prove it
BF has tackled helping out experienced users - We have Experienced users
BF has not yet tackled the little guys who are excited by 3D and want to 
use Blender.

I have a gut feeling that there are 100's of tiny improvements that 
could be made to Blender, to make it faster for new users, and in doing 
so both increase the user-base, and make it faster for experienced users 
alike. I however also have the feeling that the BF is somewhat sheltered 
from this front-line feedback.

Funnily enough, the ignorant often expect the most logical solutions, 
this means they are our most critical usability experts.  Advanced users 
already know enough to change the User Preferences, so i don't mind 
changing things on them.

My observations of some common stumbling blocks as a teacher of Blender.

*Textures Panel:*
'Size' is the wrong name in the texture mapping tab, we make the value 
bigger and the texture gets smaller, this should be called "repeat", or 
the slider should be inverted.  i.e. texture size of 8 should be 
remapped to = 0.125 in the slider

*Selecting objects:*
I estimate that at least 20% of the people I train will move on to other 
packages out of spite of the default mouse selection being RMB.  People 
simply think this is unprofessional for an application in 2010 (view 
common and heated GIMP feedback to understand how much non-standard 
effects a perception of a product).  Yes i know that this is editable in 
UP.  Don't underestimate the power of good defaults.

*Setting up Cameras and Lights:*
It seems like a large task to position, and set up cameras and lights.  
I have seen a few tricks (for experienced users) where you add a camera, 
add an empty straight away, and then parent the two.  This makes 
positioning a camera into an intuitive 2 step process.
I suggest that We add a new camera type called "Camera + Target" or 
something like that with a parent child relationship already set up.  It 
makes a lot of sense to be able to add a camera instantly and direct it 
to where you want instantly without abstract actions or rotating in 3 
axis, and zooming.
Ditto for targeting lights.

*Axis Naming:*
I have been teaching Blender to a number of other lecturers (who are 
experts in a number of other packages). They are highly confused at the 
Axis naming scheme with Z pointing upwards.  I don't know if there is a 
standard in this area, but I'd be curious to know before making any 
comments that Blender has it wrong.  To me it seems that there are two 
standards, and that Blender adheres to one of them.

There are of course lots more, but these seem to be the biggest 
stumbling blocks for new users that I have experienced, I'd love to get 
all the other teachers feedback on these types of challenges.


Doug Ollivier   BDes (Hons)
Industrial Designer

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