[Bf-funboard] Initial Splash Screen

Ludvík Koutný rawalanche at gmail.com
Mon Mar 26 16:42:58 CEST 2018

I am a bit biased against Blender 101 project, so my response will be
probably biased as well:

Blender is mainly a 3D package, and it should always be primarily presented
as such. It's competes very well as a versatile 3D package, but it
completes very poorly on a field of video editors or compositors. Times has
changed, and these days, it's a bit naive to think that anyone would choose
Blender as a primary tool for compositing or video editing when we have top
notch free software like Blackmagic Fusion and Blackmagic Resolve available.

While this splash screen revision may decrease some of the confusion of the
user minority, which opens a piece of software widely known mainly for its
3D modeling, animation and rendering capabilities with expectations to use
it primarily for things like compositing or video editing, it may also
worsen already quite significant confusion Blender imposes on users, who
seek to use it primarily as a 3D software.

Furthermore, you can see that even a still frame from Agent 327, which is
one of the top artworks produced with Blender does not hold up very well as
a full screen image. High quality artworks done with Blender, which hold up
even at full screen resolutions are scarce. First impression matters a lot,
and full screen display demands extreme quality standards for the artworks
used as a splash screens. In case these artworks were not picked carefully,
the very first contact of a user with Blender could result in an impression
of not very professional piece of software.

The main problems Blender currently has with the implications it makes with
its default UI state are:
1, Out of the box, users are presented with Properties panel open at render
settings tab. One of the most technically challenging property tabs in the
editor. Furthermore, rendering is rarely the very first step done after a
starting a fresh scene. Content creation usually precedes rendering, so
this doesn't make much sense and adds to the first impression of complexity.

2, Viewport by default is already populated with scene elements, all 3 of
very different characteristics. This breaks the impression of a "clean
sheet of paper that's ready to be drawn on", but rather, makes it feel as
if you downloaded Blender with someone else's, already pre-customized
startup configuration.

Full screen splash image isn't going to fix these issues.

My subjective feeling is that my first encounter with a software package,
which would present me with full screen display of average artwork and a
box of a few giant, touch screen interface like icons would strike me with
an impression that I am about to interact with a hobbyist, not professional
piece of software.

If the main intention is to draw the focus away from UI to the splash
screen, then more reasonable solution would be to simply darken the rest of
the UI with some overlay, so that the attention is drawn towards the splash
screen box, such as:

Alternatively, the entire UI area could be replaced with something useful,
like what Adobe did with recent Photoshop versions:
There, we could present users with smaller iconic pictures of the UI
layouts they are about to choose as well as perhaps a list of recent files
with visual thumbnails of their contents. If we are to occupy the entire
space, it could be occupied with some more useful data than oversized icons
and giant artwork.

To conclude, I am all up for a splash screen redesign, I just do not
believe a full screen artwork is a good idea, and I am also not confident
that layouts such as Video Editing or Compositing should be presented as
equals to 3D modeling and Animation.


Ludvík Koutný

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