Blender User Interface Redesign


I’m new to the project, and I came into blender with a mindset of change. I wanted to know how feasible it is to accommodate a UI redesign as shown in this video ( Yes this is an older video, but the underlying points made still remain. I wanted to know how modular, and decoupled the UI is from the functional components. Could a redesign of the UI be done, and if so, how difficult/timely would it be. Is it something one person could tackle, or would it be a large enough effort that multiple contributors would need to tackle. I’m new to C/C++, and I’m not sure how tricky these ideas would be to implement. Has this kind of discussion taken place before, and if so, can someone link me to where that discussion might be?

As another point I wanted to bring up or talk about, if the previous idea isn’t feasible at the current state, or at all, what challenges would there be to make a tutorial panel, or maybe even a tutorial modal popup? I’ve only had a relatively small look at the UI code, (New to C) and I’m curious how achievable it could be to provide user guides to new users considering Blender is a very powerful and complex software. There are hundreds of shortcuts, and “hidden” features. The most common thing I’ve heard about other people when they are starting is how tricky navigation can be when you’re starting. As an example, maybe navigation information can be shown in a “tutorial” panel, along with other popularly troublesome features to understand.

I appreciate any thoughts and suggestions. I apologize in advance if any of this comes off as naive. I know often large projects like this are difficult to shift so abruptly, but as shown in the video, it seems there is a bottleneck in the project for new features due to UI/UX related challenges.


A full UI redesign is a multi-year, multi-developer project. Much discussion has taken places about Blender UI design, a Google search will show you many threads on blenderartists, bf-committers, and other places, with many different opinions.

We can improve the UI incrementally, one patch at a time, there is no reason to change everything at once. So the best way to get involved is to pick one improvement you want to make, propose it to the developers and if people agree on it then implement it. As you get more experienced with the code you can start tackling bigger changes.

About tutorials or help inside the software, I think those are a bit outdated, it’s not really how people learn to use software anymore (or ever did maybe)? Video tutorials are much more popular nowadays. We can have more extensive tooltips or link to more information from some places, but tutorials is a step too much in my opinion.


Just to add some info on the concrete proposal mentioned in the OP:
Andrew discussed this further in this video and in this podcast. I think they are important to check out after seeing the initial proposal since they put things into a different perspective

I strongly suggest if you are new to C code that you start with something much smaller. Some parts of blender’s ui code/data structures are fairly well documented but some of it is not and you may have to learn it by reading and working with the code.

In addition to trying to find small patches to work on you can look through the User Interface tasks on the developer website. Not all issues are easy so you may not be able to provide patches, but if you try to look through the code and find what is going on you can learn over time.

If you’re new to Blender I’d suggest you start with Python rather than C (specially since you have to use Python to modify the UI anyways). Follow the built-in templates in the text editor to make operators, panels and add new properties. Once you have the gist of that, you can jump to C with more confidence.

Even then, I’d suggest you make a personal branch and just play with the code before diving into patches. The codebase is huge and there’s a lot to learn.

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