An Open Letter to the Blender Foundation

Hey guys and gals,

Should Blender establish User Experience as a core value?

First off, let me compliment you on the truly amazing progress you’ve make from 2.79 to today. Not only has the technology innovation been amazing (EEVEE and cloth brushes, etc.), but also you’ve made great strides in the usability of Blender which has led to a further adoption of it as well. Congrats!

As someone who “arrived” in the 2.7 era, I know I speak from less experience with Blender than many of you. Still, I am able to follow Ian Hubert’s tutorials and mostly keep up with what’s going on with 2.90+ updates.

And, to tell the truth, I’m a bit concerned.

There are a couple issues, but primarily they all focus around the Blender User Experience-- and the trajectory it has taken since the wonderful UI work done by those there at Blender for the 2.8 launch.

So, here is the main issue. We keep adding more and more features-- trying to “keep up” with the professional programs-- which are used by professionals as they are the only ones who can afford the $2K+/yr prices. Don’t get me wrong, features are great-- but with them come more and more complicated GUIs. Just adding a new button doesn’t really solve the problem. We’ve now run out of screen real estate for new buttons in many of the panels, including the N panel where addons typically load. Not to mention there’s a whole learning path which must be “discovered” and “remembered” for each new features as well.

I would encourage Blender to consider the use of a design thinking paradigm, “the customer journey.” I can tell you more about it if anyone is interested.

I would also encourage the Blender Foundation to find out who their users really are. I may have missed it, but I know of no poll or survey that has tried to identify the Blender userbase, and the things that keep them from success. My guess is any specific newly added features wouldn’t be in the top 10. Still, we spend so much time on them.

I belong to several other forums, and there still is a consensus Blender is just too hard to learn. I have to agree to some extent. I know friends who have used 3D for many years who truly want to learn Blender, but become too frustrated in the OOBE (Out Of Box Experience-- first time users).

I would suggest you spend at least a similar amount of time researching and thinking about how to create a better on-ramp experience for new users-- or users that just want to jump in and out of Blender every 6 months or so. There are plenty of tools to help with that, like progressive disclosure, or video help tips to name a few. There’s still a lot of innovative work to be done in easing the user learning ramp for complex programs.

As someone who has created UX/UIs since the extended ASCII days to recent work creating pulsing 2D interfaces for Fortune 100 companies (using Blender!), I’d be happy to help out how I can. I know it takes a lot of effort to work in a collaborative way to think and create out-of-the box type experiences. In the end, I think it’s worth spending the time-- just as we spend the time tweaking features and UIs.

Imagine the vision of a Blender that is a schools first choice to teach 3D because it is so simple for students to start and learn. That anyone wanting to update their kitchen, or fiddle in their workshop would see as the obvious and simple choice. I believe it can be done, but will need more than UI tweaks to accomplish. I believe there needs to be a dedicated mission, driven from the top, to make such changes.

Thanks for your consideration and thanks again for the wonderful work you do!

Best regards,

Chipp Walters


I would like to comment two parts of your letter:

It should be, don’t get me wrong, making it more intuitive could be good, but blender is not a toy, it’s an advance 3d art generation tool, and as any advance tool it takes time and study to learn it, and not just that, it takes also knowledge of other topics like some basic 3d space understanding, real like physical behaviours understanding, some mechanics, and a long etc… Blender is “hard” to learn, and it should be “hard” to learn.
But at the same time, many people is able to teach blender to even children, how could that be if it’s so hard? because it’s not that hard if it’s teached with small steps, one part at a time, and the teacher takes a very important role on this, regarding forums, I don’t thing it’s a good place to take measurements, they tend to be biased to their own interests (for example people that don’t really want to learn 3D compare it to the simplicity of sketchup, but they miss how sketchup is a such limited tool that cannot achieve what Blender can) or it’s biased because of their own previous knowledge (maya/max users tend to say Blender is very hard to learn because X, Y and Z reasons that in the end tend to be that Blender does not behave like Max/Maya), so that “Blender is hard to learn”, I beg to disagree, Blender is pretty easy to learn, much easier than other 3d packages around, but it has to be teached properly for that, or one has to have the patience to learn to work in 3D, which not everyone wants to do.

I disagree with that, IMHO new users tend to be of four types:

1.- the ones that actually want to learn 3d properly
2.- young people that wants to “try” 3D and see if they like it
3.- the ones that simply want a simple tool to make simple things, but free unlike sketchup
4.- the ones that come from a different package and want to learn Blender but they want Blender to behave like their package.

I already spoke about the number 3 and 4, but regarding the number 1 and 2:

1.- it’s people that understand one important thing “3d is way more complex than 2D and involves way more learning than “photoshop””, when this condition happens then we have a type 1, and in this case they don’t find it hard to learn Blender, they go step by step, being conscious that they cannot take big leaps and to a full movie without knowing where the modeling tools are and what UV Mapping means.

We can include here also people that is proficient in other packages but understand that Blender is different and they have to learn Blender as it is, not to try to learn Blender as if it were one of the other packages they know.

2.- it’s people with a lot of free time, also in general they are impatient, so they want to learn quick and now, this is the type of people that become frustrated with the OOBE, to avoid that in general you don’t need to change Blender, but to deliver an attractive learning path, like “let’s model a weapon for the game X”, with some short learning paths that features from the most basic to some medium things you will avoid frustration and will respect the software itself without turning it into a “simpler” tool, or what I like to call “a toy” for them to learn, making it fun to learn instead of changing it to appear funnier

Schools will never choose Blender over other packages if Blender is not profesionally used, only IF it’s just used as a small toy for small things, the same way they use Sketchup today, but for that you would have to strip down the software quite a bit, because the only meaning of the graph editor scares that kind of people.

With that said let me add two things:

1.- If a person is proficient in other 3d package, learning Blender is one of the most pleasing experiences you can have in the 3d industry in general, it’s easy and in less than two weeks you feel like you are at home in Blender, and I include there the right mouse button select mode (this las one is totally subjective hehehe)

2.- With all what I said is not that I’m against a movement towards creating a “toy” version of Blender to serve as introduction for schools, children and people that don’t want to learn a complex package, but I don’t think this should be done by the foundation, this should be an independent movement, by people in the teaching world, creating a proper Application Template (Blender 101 initiative for example) that simplifies things and remove complex things from the user’s view, but there is no need to dedicate Blender development team to this, this can be done from the outside.

Making Blender more friendly to new users could be good, but making it less powerful or remove development time from more advanced topics to do this is bad IMHO.

I hope I have not sounded too harsh or something like that, I respect your letter, just that I’ve been in a similar conversation a lot of times and I also teached Blender and Max to a lot of people, and based on my experience this is what I have learned and what my opinion is right now :slight_smile:


I certainly don’t want to turn this into a fierce debate, but your comments concern me for a number of reasons.

So your argument is Blender is “not a toy” so it should be hard to learn.

Then you say immediately afterwards:

So, I’m trying to understand your point. Is it hard to learn or not in your opinion?

Not sure what “properly” in this context means. We know that people all have different ways of learning. Some do better with formal instruction, others with videos-- and others with manuals. Do SketchUp users learn 3D “properly?” What about Fusion 360 CAD users?

Your preference for weapons tutorials notwithstanding, we already know that tutorials by themselves aren’t a replacement for a good user experience. That is a fact every UI/UX professional knows…

I never said Blender should not be a professional tool. MS Word is professional and is used and taught in schools-- same with Excel. Both are complex applications whose interfaces can be quickly used. You don’t need to understand pivot tables to use Excel, just as you don’t need to master the graph editor to use Blender.

And FWIW, SketchUp is used by professionals each and every day.

Please provide facts, not just your opinion. My experience and that of many others say otherwise.

You obviously conflate the desire for ease of use with lack of power and functionality. I never said to dumb down Blender. Most UX/UI designers first try to understand exactly the nature of a problem before jumping ahead to how it is solved, then making conclusions on the “apparent” solutions.

Your quick jump to thinking of an easy to use Blender as a “toy” belies your inability to understand that point.


That is correct, MS Office and other apps. are easy if what you are doing is basic stuff (ie. writing a letter), but doing advanced layout options and the like requires you to drill down through the UI and learn how all of the more advanced options work. Many ‘easy to use’ UI’s are easy because they are done in a way where the advanced productivity options are hidden behind tabs inside windows inside menus inside a menu inside more tabs, and such a thing can actually hinder advanced users. A compromise for this could be the full realization of the Blender 101 project, which the original intent was to have Blender in different layouts including one where you just need to throw something together using basic tools (to note, we have something similar with the configuration menu in the splash screen, then there’s the workspaces).

In short, it is unrealistic to expect the user to be able to do anything in Blender without reading the documentation, and it is unrealistic to expect someone to start making their own version of a Hollywood movie right out of the gate. Are there areas where doing certain tasks are harder than they could be, absolutely, but I don’t think the Blender devs. need to overhaul everything again unless it can be proven that software like Maya and Houdini can become as simple as Sketchup while producing the same results.


I never said to overhaul everything.

I do believe there are solutions which can make Blender measurably easier for first time and casual users, which don’t have to affect power users.

That was the original purpose of workspaces. To try and order massive functionality into easier to use groupings.

IMO, there are a number of ways to ideate on a solution. For instance, Blender builds could be automated to spit out different flavors of Blender: Beginner, intermediate and advanced. Or there could be different modes for workspaces and built in guidance systems, perhaps with an AI component that tried to suggest next steps.

And most importantly, better communication for strategies to help complete projects. What are some good ways to model this? Should I UV map or not? What are the best settings for EEVEE given my project and my hardware? These are all valid new user questions, which can be aided with innovative problem solving and technology.

And these are just my own off-the-cuff first thoughts, and not fully formed ideas. That would be the purpose of polling and a design thinking process going forward.

My key point, is this effort must be top down driven with a commitment to user experience, just like Apple and other companies have done successfully in the past.

It’s also worth noting that, as frustrating as it can be, the official documentation is rarely the first place a user looks. Typical search/problem solving patterns start in-app and take a long detour through search results and youtube videos — outside of the Blender foundation’s scope of control — before most users turn to where they ‘should’ be looking.

This isn’t an issue that’s unique to Blender (I’m a technical writer; I see it everywhere), but it is one that needs to be considered when we’re talking about Blender’s UX. Different projects address it in different ways, using things like in-app instructional sequences, progressive disclosure systems for tooltips, query modals, UI verbosity controls, example projects, and in-app documentation linking. The mixture that’ll have the greatest impact on Blender will be unique to Blender, but it’ll take a top down push for rigorous (structured) user testing to suss that out.

The takeaway here isn’t that Blender should compromise on its feature scope. It’s a request that the developers devote more time to the UX scaffolding that can make that feature scope more approachable.


It isn’t an issue unique to Blender but it also doesn’t help that Blender has a number of functions that are hotkey-only and not exposed anywhere in the UI for new users to discover organically.


That just doesn’t make sense. Even in the “professional” world. I really like the ‘easy to learn - hard to master’ paradigm. Make things as easy and pleasant for the user as possible but don’t take away depth for it. Actually helpful tooltips are a good thing to begin with. Showing all the shortcuts when hovering over a tool (no guessing - EVER). Not spreading important and logically connected settings over several different submenues (like for a retopology transparency setup for example).

I hesitantly agree. Ease of use should never take away from the complexity the program can offer people who need it. The way you word it sounds a lot like hiding features or neglecting them. Blender is finally aproaching a feature set where professionals are starting to notice that it is catching up as a true alternative. That is a very important thing - especially as Open Source Software. The last thing we should do now is putting the ease of entry so much in the foreground that the powerful features become harder to manage.

I am all for ease of use. User Experience is extremely important and I also agree that Blender would benefit from a UX lead to keep things consistend and easy to use all around. I also think that Blender should be taught in schools but we have to be very carfeul to not let the ease of use dictate the more powerful features to become more unpleasant to use.

These two I agree with a lot!
Any program benefits from improving the UX but Blender currently still has a few very low hanging fruit left that could help with the complexity all big 3D program bring (not counting the specialized tools that focus on one thing only, like RizomUV or InstantMeshes).


Perhaps I am not communicating clearly. I only ask that UX, and ease of use is made as serious a priority as adding the next great set of features. And that the same innovation and creativity be used to create a better on ramp experience for new users.

I understand this task may not be for longtime Blender pedigreed users, but rather for a different set of users who would like to see Blender be easy to use and accessible to all people, regardless of their professional propensities and desires.

And I understand Blender needs to be able to also perform at the highest levels in order to be competitive, retain sponsorships, and provide professional solutions for many of it’s users.

A step one idea might be to allow for a more fuller customization of the interface via an API or JSON pref file. Then it would be easy for others to create standard “interface versions” of Blender which appeal to new users, and remove Blender devs from having to prioritize it.

While not statistically relevant in any way, this poor man’s survey this evening of my meager 25K mostly Blender YT followers does show some of the questions which I think would be helpful to know the answers to. I can think of a lot more, as I suppose can most of you.


I think that you are overestimating manpower of Blender Foundation & Blender Institue.
They are collecting founds through development fund, blender cloud and blender store to pay developers to maintain and improve the software.
But current status is 18 people paid to maintain the 15 modules and all official blender websites used to communicate with community.
That is less than 2 developers per modules.

What you are mentioning, here, is the teaching of 3D rendering.
Blender Institute is doing that by producing Open Movies and delivering blog articles and Tutorials accessible through Blender Cloud.
It is an occasional way to teach Blender and far to be as structured as a schedule from a 3D school that a student will leave after 3 or 5 years.

Complexity of 3D is what is hard to learn. It is not Blender.

Some parts of Blender are easy to use and very intuitive. That was the whole point of new 2.8 UI refactor.
Some parts are not. And, IMO, the reason is because Blender 2.8 design refactor is not finished.
And at the current rhythm of development, it will only be completed in several years, after 3.0 release.
Each developer has onto his workboard on d.b.o, literally, almost a thousand of tasks assigned to him.
For each new tool, he delivers ; several bugreports tasks are opened that he has to solve, too.

With that exponential amount of work, I am amazed how they are continuing to make progress on development of software. That is probably because they are not alone.
They are helped by some volunteers.

We can’t expect Blender Institute to solve everything for us.
And we can’t expect from that little group of people to be an art school, too.

3D rendering is requiring photography learning, some optics concepts.
There is complexity in those notions.
3D texturing is requiring painting learning and basic knowledge of computer display (like what is a pixel).
3D modeling is requiring drawing/sculpting learning and basic about 3D on a computer (like what is a vertex).
And Blender is an animation software, too.
That is an impressive mass of knowledge that has to be accumulated.
That is normal to take years to become familiar with those concepts.

Art Schools are providing several diplomas related to specialization in all these fields.
Developers of the software may not have all these diplomas. They are often young guys who made long studies.
But they are not necessarily artists. That is why they are listening to users feedback.

That does not really make sense to define a beginner, intermediate, advanced UI.
People may follow a youtube tutorial to play with smoke simulation.
Would blender be as cool for teenagers if there was a scary warning like “Be careful ! You are entering this Advanced zone !”
That does not make sense. And that is unneeded.
A teenager can be happy just using “quick effect” operator.
Then, when facing domain settings, he may or may not surpass the fear of subpanels UI.
Why preventing him to have fun with Blender, if he is able to.

In 3D modeling area, inspected one by one, tools are not complicated.
Each one corresponds to a simple action.
But those actions are numerous. And their combinations are more numerous.
Complexity in 3D modeling is happening in the way to combine those concepts.
There is no universal valid way to model something. Some different combinations are as efficient for same results.
Let’s say, your goal is to obtain number 5. You can do it by using 1+4 or 2+3.
Will you arbitrary force people to use only 1 and 2 to obtain 5 ? forcing them to do 1+2+2 ?
Do you really consider it a simplification ?
You can write 212121212121211212121. It is more complex and may not answer important question like 42.

That is not a gift to hide things to people. If people are feared by complexity of edit mode, they will naturally try to master Object mode, before. That is natural path that everybody is following.

I don’t mean that new users are not needing help. Just that can’t be Blender Developers fulltime job.
That is a mission for community.
And if you want free open 3D curses available, you have to find a way to finance people who will produce them. That is a lot of work. You can’t expect volunteers to be more efficient than art schools paying professional artists to do that.


Hey! I am happy just using “quick effect”!!! :stuck_out_tongue:
Seriously, though: I like presets, easy customizability and finding help when I am stuck. A good and complete documentation, direct help inside the program and no hidden shortcuts (looking at you, Shift-R in sculpt mode and Apply, duplicate and delete keys in the new modifier stack) and a UI that helps you discover what the program wants you to do.

I also agree that Blender has the same entry barriers as most 3D software does. Cinema 4D is widely seen as the one with the lowest barrier. It’s what I learned on at university 13 years ago at university. Honetsly though: As usual it was the ressources and people who were able to help each other out that made the difference. Also C4D has a very strict philosophy of monitoring how people new to the software or a feature are using it and then adapt the workflow to it. With all of its own shortcomings Cinema 4D is a program that is extremely consistent in how features are being used. When you understood the core concept of how to use the interface you can apply that to 80% of all the other features without opening the documentation to at least get somewhere.
That’s what I am still missing in Blender, though 2.8x makes a ton of difference and progress in the right direction already. Features that behave the same way you are used to from everywhere else in the UI. Learning exceptions and unpredictable behaviour is pain. Being stuck with a UI with no clue on why things aren’t working - that is true pain (texture baking, with a selected node, anyone?). This is what we need to eliminate first in my opinion. That is what 2.8 was doing right and what got more people on board in the first place.
The rest is the learning curve you will have in any other 3D software as well - what is good meshflow. What are shaders and how are they set up… why is rigging so damn hard… that stuff :stuck_out_tongue:

And just as a sidenote - Blender Institute is looking for a UI designer in Fulltime:


I hear a lot of “we can’t” I believe Blender was founded on more of “we can.”

My suggestions are not final solutions. Maybe they are good, maybe not. I find it is much easier to criticize than to create and that is why I offer up some ideas.

I am 64 years old and retired. I have patents for designs at Apple, Toshiba and others. I’ve designed full scale prototypes of lunar habitats and space station emergency return vehicles for NASA. I’ve given lectures all over the world on design-- and recently I’ve worked my way through a year of treatments for late stage cancer. None of this happened by saying, “I can’t do this.”

If you need more resources, then we get them-- but first this must be a priority. That is the discussion point. Designers talk about WHAT and WHY first, then HOW.


First of all, I stated my opinion that is contrary to yours, but in no way I have disrespected you, please keep this respectful.

I may have not expressed well, but I-ll explain this to you:

Learning basic things in Blender is super easy already, that’s why I find not important what you propose, not at least for the B.I. team to llok into it from the core.
Learning advanced things is not easy, I find many people with wrong knowledge about shading, about animation, about rigging, about modeling, and about any other area you may think about, and that’s because learning 3D (not just Blender) is complex, making a person to work without UV’s, like in Sketchup, is “easier and simpler” but not better in the long run, because then they know nothing about advanced texturing, the same for any other area.

So yes, learning Blender is hard because it has to be hard, that does not mean that learning the basics of 3D with Blender is hard, nope, in fact it´s way easier in Blender than in any other tool.

So I think there is no need to simplify the UI for new users by default.

With that said, an application template that simplifies things could be a good idea, but I already said that in the previous post but you seem to have ignored it.

I will explain what properly is: learning 3D from the ground up, learning topology, anatomy in case you want to create characters, light physics in case you want to be a lighter/render wrangler, physics in general if you want to do simulation, complex concepts like UV Unwrapping, weight painting, rigging, constraints.

I think you perfectly understands what “properly” means, but in what seems to be an emotional reaction to my answer you are trying to disgregard what I say using demagogy, it’s what that answer seems to be.

Fusion360 users don’t learn 3D properly, in fact the don’t want to, that does not mean that their work is useless or bad, but they work in a very limited range of 3D, with barely no knowledge in other areas like animation, complex rigging, shading and lighting, and a long etc… they will have to go out of Fusion360 to do anything related to that, or be kept using the simple toolset of Fusion360

Regarding Sketchup, the exact same answer, they want to have access to a limited subset of 3D in general, they don’t want to use or know what a UV map is, and all the other things.
I’m not sure if you have worked with models created with Sketchup but they tend to have a horrible topology, they are a mesh in what regards to UV’s/Shading and a long etc… you can do pretty things, but you can also use paint to paint a texture… that does not make paint an advanced tool that allows you to learn Digital Painting properly.

Yes, this is where we disagree mainly, I actually think the UI/UX of Blender is very good, it can be improved, of course, but I don’t find the need to simplify it so new users are less “scared”, on the contrary, I find it very welcoming for new users because it’s very easy to understand and explain, specially thanks to it´s non-window-overlap nature.

As someone already answered Word and Excel are easy to use for the easy task of writing in the keyboard, you cannot compare the simpler task you can do with word with the simpler task you can do with Blender, and at the same time the Blender UI/UX is very easy as soon as you understand the simple logic behind “shift+a, add - geometry - cube” or “g for grab” or “g,x to grab and move only on x axis”, or just grab the x axis in the manipulator to move the object in the x axis, nothing compex there, as easy as write some words in word.

What you propose in your letter, at least what I understand, as others have also pointed out, is to simplify Blender, and dedicate more efforts towards a simpler Blender that is easier to use for new users, that makes Blender development to immediately loos pace in advanced features.
And that makes Blender less interesting for professional use, hence less professionals will use it.

You also compare it to professionals here:

So you are clearly pointing towards a simplification of blender for new users partially ignoring what professionals want because you think that way.

No need for you to inform me, it’s used by professionals that their main target is not 3D production by itself.
Tell me a studio, archviz, animation, vfx, engineering viz, that works with sketchup as their main tool and don’t use other 3d tool for advanced tasks/results (blender, max, maya).

As a fact I provide the same as you provided, my experience, my knowledge and the propler that I have teached Blender too, I don’t see any document in your letter with numbers and statistics supporting your claims of “users finding Blender hard to learn”

In fact you posted leater a youtube poll, and there is an interesting result:

In the first question, the majority of them don’t find that understanding the user interface has been a problem for them, on the contrary they find harder the “understanding the modeling strategy”, that don’t depend on Blender at all, that’s learning modeling, topology, and other things like anatomy for characters, etc… which is what I mean with “wanting to learn 3D (not Blender) properly”.

So even you data supports what I say, and also in your data you can see how there are more or less 50% of old users and 50% new users, many of them could be coming from other packages or not, but the main problem for them is not that the UI is complex or hard to learn, and we are talking about users that use blender more than once a week.

I don’t need to present you any data, you presented data that supports what I said.

I relate “ease of use” at some levels in 3D with “limited possibilities” in many situations, specially if we are talking about new users.
Can UI/UX be improved? for sure
Can the “ease of use” be improved? yes, why not, but not at the expense of simplifying the tools, the features or making it more comfortable for new users, that’s what Autodesk has been doing with max for years, and it was in they dna, I’ve been deeply involved with max development for many years and the “talk” was always the same, and the task was never properly achieved, “limited tools for actual users, then requiring plugins to do advanced tasks that properly works, confused new users that don’t understand why they can’t do the same they see in their preferred movies”

To simplify the UI is not the same as making it “easier to use”, in fact it tends to end up being harder to use when you want to do any advance task, because the advanced tools are kind of “hidden” so the new user is not scared.

IMHO yes, you did, if that’s not what you wanted, I can do nothing about it, but IMO you did it.

IMO all that together means that.

I will finish with a quote of this again, this is disrespectful and I tried to be as respectful as possible while disagreen with you, I may judge you and tell you that this:

Can make your vision biased and instead of giving support to your analysis can in fact make your analysis invalid because you have such a big bagage that you see complexity where there is none, and you fall in the absurd idea of the “ribbon” interface, one of the worst UI/UX designs that can be out there as soon as you want to do something advance properly.

But I don’t do that (except to put the example), what I do is to tell you:

Trying to express my respect towards your letter and assuming you as a valid person with experience and valuing your words, don’t do the contrary with me please, I’m also a seasoned artist with a lot fo adnvaced experience in many areas, being expert in sevearl of them, alongside several packages, production types, programming languages and a long etc… but I don’t think that should be relevant here as long as we respect each other.

So I ask you to stop being so aggressive with me if you don’t like what I say.



I already explained it in the answer to Chipp, but I´ll quote my explanation here (instead of writing it again) just so you receive the answer :slight_smile:

IMHO Blender is very easy to learn, and pleasant, but you need some guidance and will, no matter if it’s from documentation, tutorials, a teacher, and that’s not just Blender, it’s 3D in general if you actually want to learn 3D, if you just want to learn a basic subset of capabilities of 3D, then Blender is also easy to learn, as easy as Sketchup or Fusion360.

That does not mean that there is no room for improvement in ease of use, but that does not mean to simplify the UI, it could mean reorganise it, and some times we even need more parameters, like with Cycles and many things that cannot be done right now, like LightGroups, Caustics, proper Shadow Catcher with reflections, and a long etc… that will bring up more and more advanced settings and a simplified UI that hides them will not help the user to learn to use it, however an improved UI may do that, but in general in that case that UI can be as “frightening” to new users as it is right now, or not, who knows… but IMHO it should not be done at the cost of advanced features or settings that allows the user to do advanced tasks.

Functionality and UI/UX should be hand in hand, never the one without the other IMO.

1 Like

@RonanDucluzeau you nailed it.

You are right, it should not be “we can” bu “we should not”

As I said, as a starting point, it’s not hard to make an application template that improves UI/UX, but I don’t think the B.I. should dedicate time to that in general.

It’s good that you have such a big experience, but I think regarding your letter and what you expressed it’s not so important that you have designed for NASA or the Fortune500, because you are focusing in new users and simple features instead of medium/advanced users and complex features.

How much of what you designed was “automated”? for example, in 3D, when we work in complex projects, we tend to avoid automated things, because there is a thing that is a sword over our heads called “directability”, so we need things to work in “manual” mode as much as possible, and that means complexity in it’s functionality, and usually also in it’s UI, how big are the manuals for the space station?

I don’t think a space station, or in this case a space shuttle is a good example of good UX:

Now you have also the SpaceX example:

¿But how much was automated there?

And what may happen if you need to go into full manual mode?

I don’t know because they don’t show the full manual mode if there is one.

Once again, as long as it does not mean:

  • Making things simpler hiding features so new users are not scared
  • Automating things so new users don’t have to deal with the understanding of a lot of settings

I agree that UI/UX can always be improved, but new users should never be the main focus, they must be part of the equation, but not the main part.


Well yeah. That’s what I was saying. :wink:
And I think Chipp basically means the same thing. It just came across like dumbing down a little - which it certainly should not be. We all agree on that. Blender is supposed to be a tool for everybody to do great and professional things. An alternative for people who are left out by Autodesk pricing or all the people who see Open Source as the better way to progress instead of closed source.
There is a difference in closing your eyes and saying “Blender is already good the way it is” and being open for theoretical discussions, though.
As long as we are discusing if there even is a problem in the first place we won’t get anywhere. A thrad like this one is not supposed to be a design document set in stone either. It’s a brainstorming session where theoretically everything shoudl go and be on the table.
Initially you blow up ideas and just throw in everything there is. Then you sort out.

There is a time for “No” and there is a time to just say “yes, and…”.
I think Chipp wants this thread to be an initial “yes and…” thread. And I agree that we should be open for this. If nothing comes from it then there is no harm in it and it will just die down. Shooting down change before it can even be considered is a sure fire way to never get anywhere though. It’s also very easy. Shooting down ideas is the easiest thing to do and the most effective to discourage people., sadly. And it’s also an easy way to maybe never even get the awesome idea others didn’t think of in the first place.
I have a habit of doing the same thing way too often, as well and I always need to catch myself when it’s not the time for it. :slight_smile:

Of course. New users usually have a much better time coming into a new program when there is a clean interface for everybody, though. Completely agree: One should always leat to the other.
And that is where we have to get to. Into a discussion of how this UI and UX should look and how it should feel and how to organize it in a way so that it is consistent. Difficulty should only arise from the problems of the task at hand. The software should be there to make it as focused and accessible as possible.

On a sidenote: I like that SpaceX Design. :smiley:


Well said. I agree completely.

Sorry if I hurt your feelings. It was not my intention.

Add to this people that simply want a different view of how 3D works and can be created, we left Autodesk not because pricing but because lack of ethics, and in the end we found that we are way faster working with Blender than with Max/Maya :slight_smile:

And I agree with that, as I’ll explain later here, I’m not trying to shut down change, but to shift the responsibility of that change, that should not be in the core devs team shoulders, but in the community shoulders IMHO, that’s the beauty of Open Source :slight_smile:

Not exactly, at all times I tried to specify for what I could understand part of what he says, and for what part I disagree.

And in the end I can understand a simplified UI for new users and something like an “accelerator” to learn not just Blender but 3D in general with simplified concepts and automated parts like in sketchup.
The point where I disagree mainly is not the general vision, but the part where he puts the responsibility of doing this over the shoulders of the B.I. and the core team.

I’m open to the idea, but my no is presented over that point, IMHO this should not be part of the B.I. efforts, if it’s presented as a community effort trying to look for some devs/designers and users to collaborate, I’m all for it, I think it will be good in general terms and eventually it could be included with Blender as an app template.

There was already an initiative that looke3d for this, and I assume all of you know it, Blender 101, it was specially focused towards what Chipp said, and initially it was going to be focused towards 3D Printing and easy modeling for 3D printing, something very attractive for schools because it includes many things.
I’m not sure if the initiative is cancelled or delayed, and why could have been cancelled or delayed, but so far I think no one is working on this, right now core devs are handling way more important things than that, like making the Deps Graph fully stable and feature rich, there are many things that are not there yet, like making Overrides work, a basic tool in any kind of production, and many other things.

But maybe as a community driven initiative this Blender 101 could be resurrected and activated with the guidance of Ton/Dalai so it can follow the basic guidelines that were already planned.

Where I mainly disagree is in the focus of the letter, if it’s targeted towards the community to releave that part of the charge form the dev team shoulders, I’m all for it and I’m all for creating a simplified UI/UX as an app template (that may require some adjustments in the master code probably here and there), but as that, as an optional App Template, not as part of the default/main Blender UI.

Totally agree, and that’s what the Workspaces are for initially, and in a more advance manner, app templates :slight_smile:

Me too, that’s what automated things can bring you to the table, but in manual… the space shuttle is what you need to fine tune everything hahaha


thanks :slight_smile:

In the same way you agree with that, what you did with your way of answering me, probably unintentionally, was to shut down the counter-ideas I presented.

I hope I have explained my point in a better way now so you understand better what I tried to explain :slight_smile: