[Bf-education] Blender's great weakness.. and the solution!
ton at blender.org
Sun Nov 4 10:56:06 CET 2012
Thanks for the suggestion. You actually confirm what we know already for long, and it's a feature on our roadmap. At the last Blender Conference I mentioned it in my keynote as one of the targets for the coming year.
Now there are two ways forward:
1) Join the educators list:
I will CC this message to get feedback or help from other Blender educators. (You have to subscribe to mail to the list).
Since all buttons in Blender are defined via Python scripts - an average scripter can reduce 80% of the UI quite easily. The trick is to define what should go... but it's a quick solution worth investigating.
2) The developer/final solution
The main problem with the previous approach is that changes in the code are hard to keep in sync. You basically just take an existing version, and hack it for a training purpose. Obviously - for beginner classes you don't need the latest of the latest always. Last year's Blender was also awesome!
A better solution would be if we can find a way to manage "Blender Configurations" more easily or automatic even. A bit like how custom keymaps now work - these get synced with new releases quite well. Such configurations could not only be needed for an "Educational Blender" but will also be useful in studios for special optimized UIs for game level makers, or character animators, name it.
Related to that: on our old 2.5 todo is to enable horizontal toolbars, also to be used as custom 'shelves' where you can drag tools into. We should also allow bigger icons (32 pix or more) for tools, ways to use own pictures for it, and good drag & drop support for such tools. (Like: picture of monkey, drag in 3d window, adds a monkey).
With all that, a trainer (or author of training material) can make a config for UI tailored for special workshops or classes.
Ton Roosendaal Blender Foundation ton at blender.org www.blender.org
Blender Institute Entrepotdok 57A 1018AD Amsterdam The Netherlands
On 3 Nov, 2012, at 22:50, Nigel Ward wrote:
> You’re a busy man, I imagine, so I’ll keep this short..
> I’m a teacher of ICT at European School 3, Brussels. I teach Blender to pupils aged 13-16 and tell them this is simply the very best, most sophisticated and most fun free software on the planet. The most fun? Well, with sophistication comes the challenge of achieving a level of competence beyond which the rewards overcome the frustration of being lost in the thousands of options that Blender offers. In my opinion this complexity is by far Blender’s greatest weakness (you would call it Blender’s greatest strength, of course). I know that in reality my pupils will only be able to work with Blender for a few hours in my school – enough for them to glimpse the potential of the program and for one or two to want to take it up as a hobby, while the rest experience more frustration than anything else.
> I’M WRITING TO PROPOSE THE SOLUTION! If there was ever a program that should offer the option of switching into a ‘beginner’s mode’ in which most of the options would be simply hidden then Blender is that program. I propose that Blender should have a ‘beginner’s mode’ button or menu item which, when clicked, would hide say 75% of the controls in Blender. For example, no scene, particles or physics panels, no weight paint mode or vertex paint mode etc etc. I’ve been using Blender for more than a hundred hours and 80% of Blender’s controls have so far just been ‘noise’ for me – I would far prefer the option of having a simplified interface where the basic controls are ‘in my face’ and where I’m less likely to make accidental changes by changing some setting that I don’t yet understand. Since all I am proposing is the hiding of certain options the programming effort to make the change would be limited. Choosing which options should be hidden would not be too difficult – I’d be happy to make detailed suggestions.
> Thanks for taking the time to read this message and for leading such an amazing project as Blender.
> Nigel Ward
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