Meeting Notes: 21 April 2021

User Interface Meeting Notes

Present: Campbell Barton, Hans Goudey, Harley Acheson, Julian Eisel, Pablo Vazquez



  • Usability workshop
    • It’s not clear what the purpose/scope is yet.
    • Planning is done by the BI, the UI module is not involved currently.
    • This makes it hard for the team to plan ahead.
    • Julian wants to clear things up next week.
    • Expectations have to be managed given the amount of time developers can allocate to potential UI projects.
    • There are a few important patches waiting for final approval.
  • Technical debt in UI code is a burden
    • The module can continue code quality days on the first Friday of every month.
    • Some low-hanging fruits go a long way (E.g. inheritance based UI button types, basic use of C++, etc.).
    • The recent porting of Outliner code to a new (C++ based) design seems like a good direction, similar patterns can be applied elsewhere.
    • Keymap cleanup: de-duplicate tweak/click-drag, remove internal operators from keymap (action zones, animation timers, etc.).

General Design Review and Tasks

Harley’s list of patches:

  • Reconfirmed: The camera lock design should be revisited, since it was quite popular.
    • A takeaway from that situation: The more visible a change is, the more it needs to be reviewed by stakeholders, etc.
  • Improved area maintenance: Join or Close any area.
    • Generally this is quite close and the team is happy with the patch.
    • Pablo will check the visual side of it
    • Maybe disable merging unrelated areas (areas you didn’t start the dragging from)?
  • Improved Blend thumbnails
    • Double check performance isn’t an issue on large (e.g. 8k) windows.
    • This should be an option, since render thumbnails are quite important in some situations
      • The “No Thumbnail”, “Render”, “UI” option can become an enum
    • Besides that, there should be a final check with artists before changing the default.
  • A File Loading Dialog
    • The popup could use some layout changes
    • There are some technical questions, but in general flicker in rare situations is likely unavoidable.
  • Set current installation as default Blender
    • This can move to the system menu
      • The system menu could possible be relocated in a separate patch
    • Is this mainly needed for the steam installer? Investigate if the steam installer could handle this.
  • Nicer Operator Confirm Dialog
    • This can be used for changes that could cause data loss, rather than regular confirmations like “Delete Object”
  • Window Title Format
    • Part of the change with the asterisk could be split out as a fix
    • But in general the team doesn’t agree with having the version in the header.

A thought: The old layer system, albeit with obvious and now solved with grace deficiencies had one very convenient feature that boosted work speed greatly - layers were hotkey-numeric. For sake of progress this feature is essentially lost now, as Collections don’t maintain numeric order and numerical visibility hot-keys became rather a nuisance, especially with lost “show all layers” - “~” key.

There are some rather complex solutions, but IMHO there’s a graceful one - how about linking Collection hotkeys to Collections Color identifiers, instead of Collection position in list?
That way:

  • It would share mostly already present functionality of Collection color IDs.
  • once assigned, a Collection won’t lose it’s ID and thus the matching hot-key.
  • it will be possible to assign multiple Collections to a single key.
  • There are 8 color codes at moment, which leaves 1 hot-key to return the show-all layers key.