[Bf-funboard] Fwd: Critical improvements and features

Gatis Kurzemnieks gatis.kurzemnieks at gmail.com
Thu Sep 19 22:38:45 CEST 2013

Thanks for your answers and ideas! I agree that some of them can be done by
workarounds, but It would be nice for new users to have familiar behaviours.
Ok, I will try to add suggestions how I would imagine solving these issues.

On Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 5:01 PM, Gatis Kurzemnieks <
gatis.kurzemnieks at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello everyone.
> Our team is trying to adopt blender for some serious commercial work. We
> come from different 3d backgrounds (Maya, C4D, Softimage) and the feedback
> is mainly very positive except some things which I hear over and over
> again.
> Here are top things that are very annoying for users:
> 1. Viewport performance is very poor - especially when entering edit mode.
> Performance drops dramatically when entering edit mode for models with
> high polygon counts (500k+). Performance is quite bad even outside edit
> mode (for models with 1-2 million polygons), but when entering edit mode -
> blender almost freezes and is not usable.
> In comparison in Softimage or Maya Viewport 2.0, everything is silky
> smooth for the same polygon counts, so this could be improved dramatically
> and is very important.

- no comments here. Someone with core understanding about blender viewport
openGL implementation should approach this.

> 2. Outliner
> 2.1 Outliner lacks multiple selected object drag-and-drop to
> parent/uparent.
> 2.2 Border selection (drag to select) is not working properly in
> outliner. Items get hilighted (what does it mean?) but not selected when
> doing this. Also click to unselect is not working. Expected behavior would
> be the same as in viewport or take Mayas outliner as a reference.
> Good outliner is one of the core features used in managing complex scenes
> and hierarchies and reason for most complaints.

I don't see any need for the 'blender-ism' style pre selection - it's just
confusing. Behaviour should be identical as in any other 3d program:
 * click to select, click+drag on empty to border select
 * click/drag on empty space to deselect
 * shift/ctrl click/drag to add/remove from selection
 * click + drag on selected to parent/unparent  (if multiple objects are
selected - do this with all selected). So it is easy to arrange scene
 * it would be very good to have free arrangement - not only by name, but
freely - so users can arrange objects as they like (often some object make
sense to be near one another in outliner)

> 3. Multi-object editing.
> 3.1. When multiple mesh objects are selected, only last - active - object
> can be edited in edit mode. This is not the case in many other 3d
> applications - Maya, Softimage, C4D where multiple objects can be edited at
> the same time
> 3.2. Interface does not allow any convenient way to assing material to
> multiple selected objects at once.
> 3.3. It would be convenient to change other properties as well for all the
> selected objects from the properties panel.

This is a complicated issue and would require changing some UI behaviour. I
guess there would be areas that would be too hard to change, but in time
this should be done.

- Multi object mesh editing:  all "illegal" operations when editing
multiple selected meshes should just fail gracefully - with proper error
message to user. it is just logical that some operations are not
reasonable. This is the behaviour in other 3d apps as well. I think illegal
would be all operations which connect geometry between selected object. All
other operations should be no problem - cutting, extruding, unwrapping UVs
(this is actually very very important and frequently used feature - to make
single UV layout for multiple selected objects but keep them separated).
Now it would require joining them and separating after.

- Property panel UI should have ability to handle multiple selected
objects. In some tabs it does not make sense to support multiple selections
and therefore these tabs can be hidden/inactive when multiple objects are
selected (modifiers tab, mesh data, simulation etc.). Object tab should
definately support multiple selections and all parameters should have
special state to show value if the value differs for selected objects. In
example, check-boxes should show "-" (or any other special symbol) sign if
for some objects it is checked and for others not checked. User can click
the "-" and "-" becomes checked or unchecked  - now all selected objects
have the same value. It is standard behaviour in all GUIs I have seen in my
life to handle such situation.
All the numerical/text input fields could have the same behaviour - first
showing some special symbol to indicate multiple different values and
overriding them when edited.
This would be very very useful for editing multiple object transformations
(i.e. edit only z-axis value to arrange them all on the same plane) or
object display properties.

- about materials - simplest solution would be for materials to have some
dedicated materials palette/window where all scene materials are displayed
(multiple view modes - list, icons, thumbnails + search options). Then
there can be simple button/menu item - "Apply to selected", to apply
selected material to selected scene objects. User could also drag and drop
materials from this window to objects in 3d view or outliner. Other useful
options - like deleting unused materials and duplicating materials should
also be available. Take Cinema4d materials window or Mayas hypershade as a
reference. Other than that - new cycles node editor is awesome but old
material editing interface is horrible :) !!

> 4. Extrude behaviour - Extrude region should have option to transform
> each face along it's own normal (default behaviour in all other 3d apps).
> Currently something similar can be achieved with shrink/flatten after
> extruding without any transformation, but it does not always work as
> expected.

Extrude individual faces is not good because faces are not connected (imho
- useless operation. It should be just a checkbox in extrude region because
used rarely)  When using extrude region with "individual origins" - it does
not change anything. I'm talking about the case when island of connected
faces is selected and extruded - it is always extruded along one axis. In
other programs - faces move like in "extrude individual" tool but they are
kept connected.
Simple example with sphere from Cinema4D extrude:
http://postimg.org/image/kj9ncu3yv/  <http://postimg.org/image/kj9ncu3yv/>

> 5. When viewport rendering is active in Cycles and editing material
> nodes, viewport re-renders when adding new nodes - even when they are not
> connected to anything. Viewport should re-render only when material node
> network is modified, therefore improving user experience without
> unnecessary sluggishness.

- this should be super simple to fix.

> 6. Bone weight painting is not reliable. Blur tool produces
> some explainable peaks and has very limited control. There should at least
> be option to blur only already assigned vertex groups and do not assign any
> new. (This is the behaviour in Maya). This is important so no other bones
> are assigned to vertices without user knowing it.

- there should definitely be changes to blur tool to make it useful for
blending weights without loosing control.

> 7. Editing object pivot interactively - it would be nice if we could
> transform object pivots (centers) around using standard manipulation tools.
> The same would be nice for 3d cursor. (I know there is addons, but it
> should be incorporated in interface more nicely)

 - I am talking about object origins (pivots). Now you can set origin to 3D
cursor, but this is 2 steps - and moving 3d cursor is also not easy. It
would be nice to be able to do this with standard transformation tools. In
Maya and C4D there are special mode - where object origins become visible
and selectable, so you can transform them with standard tools - like a
vertex or Null.

> 8. Snapping to grid in snap mode - not just increments. (Currently I can
> do snap selected to grid and then turn on snap increments mode, but that
> could be added to snap mode)
- not much to add.

> I think these are core issues which must be addressed. There is no point
> in adding some new features and hope for expanding serious user base if
> these issues are not fixed in some way. For some these are so critical that
> they go back to maya or any other software despite that Blender has some
> really nice and useful features (especially modelling in blender is
> awesome).
> I really think blender is amazing software in so many ways - and just by
> fixing these not so complicated issues, blender could easily become the
> best 3d app available!
> Gatis

Gatis Kurzemnieks
+371 26791519

Gatis Kurzemnieks
+371 26791519

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