[Bf-education] Bf-education Digest, Vol 85, Issue 1

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Sun Nov 4 13:09:02 CET 2012

The safest and least destructive thing to do would be to allow (develop?) 
broader use of 'custom interface designs' in the same vein as making Blender 
look like Max or Maya. Beyond that it would be a waste of resources when 
there are more pressing issues to address.

With respect to using 'old' versions. Blender has a history of making both 
minor and major changes which make previous knowledge obsolete, sometimes 
across several releases. So unless there's a specific reason to be using an 
old version (using Blender within the context of exporting to a game format 
for which there are no new exporters for example), using the latest is the 
safest thing to do.


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From: bf-education-request at blender.org
Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2012 11:00 AM
To: bf-education at blender.org
Subject: Bf-education Digest, Vol 85, Issue 1

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Today's Topics:

   1. Re: Blender's great weakness.. and the solution! (Ton Roosendaal)


Message: 1
Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2012 10:56:06 +0100
From: Ton Roosendaal <ton at blender.org>
Subject: Re: [Bf-education] Blender's great weakness.. and the
To: Nigel Ward <nigel.ward at eeb3.be>
Cc: Blender Educators and Trainers <bf-education at blender.org>
Message-ID: <518D4D01-B9B8-4BB8-8C1A-DCFD67798847 at blender.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252

Hi Nigel,

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:

> Hello
> 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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