Cool things in Blender that aren't so obvious

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  08 August 2007 shouldn't be like this.

I have read these posts and they put me wonder the values and logic of software designers.

I think that "hidden" feature is a no feature at all. I feel that there is lots of work to in order to make software more easier to use. I mean is there any sense to use all your time and effort to think how to use software? There should be another kind of philosophy to design user interfaces as it now seems to be. If it takes too long time to understand from end users how to use the software it is failure of the software designers not the failure of the end users.

The principles should be like the following ones:

1. If more you need to use the manual the less succesfull is the design of the product. The designers should think how to make the software as simple and intuitive as possible. The ideal situation is that there should be no manuals at all. UI should always guide the user to do what he wants.

2. Always assume average IQ of the user. Actually average IQ is too high, maybe a little below it. Most of us have average IQ, you know. If you need astronomical IQ in ordrer to use the software its bad design. Intelligent and creative designers can create user interfaces which are easy to use. It is not impossible at all but perhaps not easy.

3. We have very little time here to learn all things. Life is short. There is no too much time to learn manuals. Look at Apple's OS X or Ipod. Why they are good? Because they are made easy to use. They use lots of time to think how to make the thing as easy to use as possible. That is the key to success. People want to concentrate to content of the design not to manuals.

People often blame themselves that they are stupid because they do not learn how to use some software or hardware. This is usually not true: most of us has at least average IQ. If this is not enough to learn the software it is a designers fault, not the users fault.

Why Gimp is not the grafics people favorite? After all its free? Does it lack some features? Maybe few of them but I think its most flaw is simply its horrible user interface. I believe that people want to pay $999 of Photoshop simply because it is really nice to use. I have used gimp and photoshop and if I had that extra money I would immidiately buy Photoshop. That is because Gimp is simply so horrible to use. I seldomly need something in Gimp which it does not have as a feature. But to do something in Gimp is simply pain - even the most simple tasks. Paint is much, much better in this respect and maybe it will someday be something useful. I hope so.

It seems that people who are good to code software do not have training in actual ui design at all. It looks that these coders always assume that most of the users are Mensa people. They are not. Only 2% can be. The only good thing here is that if you can use some complex software like Maya you may get a job because its so difficult that not everybody can handle it. I think this is not a good thing, you should get your job because you have good design ideas and the question how you can use some software should be rather irrelevant.

I think that the next step should be how make such a 3D software that even a total moron can learn it rather quickly. You already can make lots of thing with existing features of the blender but the bigger problem is how to learn them quicky. Software should be made for people not otherwise.
  08 August 2007
here here tlaiaho.

I agree UI design is something lacking in a great many packages. Take the difference between Maya and max, sometimes some simple operations in Max are so (albeit elegantly) much more complex to me in Maya.

But I feel I must stick up for blender, its not that hard to jump right in there and learn.
  08 August 2007
Yeah, sometimes I feel so frustrated with these softwares but I think I am not the onlyone. But it feels nice when you learn something. I just need to get pushing on and learn Blender. It is a grate software but needs practise.
  09 September 2007
Here's a cool one that I don't think has been mentioned (I searched the thread to make sure).

When vertex painting, you can sample any color on the screen within the viewport by Right-Clicking. The color palette will update accordingly. This includes sampling a color from any background images, the colors of objects, and even the colors of the Blender UI. This is a great time-saver when used with a background reference image.

I haven't tested to see if this works with all of Blender's color palettes.
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  09 September 2007
is that the same with texture painting in the viewport also?
  10 October 2007
Originally Posted by tlaiho: I have read these posts and they put me wonder the values and logic of software designers.

I think that...

I agree very much - INTUITIVENESS.

Even very complex software can be made to be MORE simple.

And yes - some software covers VERY VERY VERY complex concepts and background processes etc.

But it can still be made MUCH MUCH MUCH simpler.

This is why we use computers - isn't it?

And this is why we write a specialized app - to put complex power in a simplifying package... is it not?

After all, while we could type in every single coordinate or parameter of every single element or characteristic... we have the mouse... drag and drop to copy values... drag to adjust values... drag and drop to apply materials... drag to position materials... etc etc etc...

I think what has happend is that the same technically-minded, technically-oriented, concept-mastering software and routine writers make a GUI that makes sense to them, and it makes sense to them... because they can see behind the scenes -- they wrote it.

I certainly hope that i do NOT sound like i'm criticizing negatively... i'm just urging for and pushing for the "even better" -- onwards and upwards...

eliminate settling for "how it is"
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  10 October 2007
You know, that is an off topic post but anyways: blenders ui IS all the time changing to better, they are little changes but they do happen, youve got to realise that, the developers resources(like time) are limited(btw the devs do know the ui's draw backs, don't worry[some developers even use blender at thir real jobs, Matt Ebb, aka. broken(or brnk on this board) for an example]), and that features are also very important, for me personally blenders ui is good enough(thats just my personal opinion, not saying that it couldn't be better, ofc.) and features are more important, allso note that Ton will be(if not already is?) recoding the events system in blender, so that the ui and some other parts of blender could be customised & tweaked more, and that new features could be added more easily in the future..!
  02 February 2008
render simplification

i'm using the svn build, and if you set the RT to 1 then a new menu appears, where you can set the amount of subsurf, particles, shadow samples and AO and SSS quality for preview proposes. very cool.
  05 May 2008
I saw your post just now and wondered what you meant by puttint RT to 1?

I'm a dyslexic agnostic with insomnia... I lie awake at night wondering if there really is a dog!
  05 May 2008
in the scene menu (f10), in the right side of play button, bellow the anim button. set the RT to 1 and a tab called simplification will appear
  05 May 2008
I don't know if this was mentioned already:
When editing your mesh you can enter any of the vertex/edge/face modes in any combination simultanousely. Just keep shift pressed while choosing the other modes.
  05 May 2008
toontje - I didn't know that one. Pretty cool feature.
See my SIGGRAPH 2008 video interview of AnimationMentor founders Shawn Kelly and Carloas Barena

  07 July 2008
Say you have linked an object from once scene to another scene (using Make links menu CTRL+L -> To Scene....). Now the number of users of the object is 2.

If you now delete the object using X-KEY, it will be removed from the current scene and it will continue to exist in other scene. (Number of users becomes 1)

Here is the cool part....

If you want to delete the object from all the scenes that it was linked to, use SHIFT+X. This will erase the selected objects globally.
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Last edited by iluvgfx : 07 July 2008 at 03:11 PM.
  07 July 2008
Thumbs up Copying UV coords between faces of an object

Here is the process

0. Go edit mode and then choose face selection mode.
1. Select the face(s) you want to copy to.
2. Then finally select the face you want to copy UV coords from (rot/scale)
3. Press CTRL+C to get "Copy Face Selected" menu. From that choose, "Active UV Coords"
4. Tada!!!

This process obviously works for faces in the same object and does not work across different objects.
My Free Blender Training Modules
  07 July 2008
Shortcuts for select modes in Blender

The shortcut for the selectmodes is Ctrl-Tab in Editmode (doesn't work with armatures, where it switches Pose-Objectmode)

A menu appears and like most Blender menus, you can choose with number keys.


Ctrl-Tabkey - 1 = Vertex select
Ctrl-Tabkey - 2 = Edge select
Ctrl-Tabkey - 3 = Face select

Once you get used to, it's faster than using the buttons. Especially since smaller windows tend to hide the buttons.

Oh, Ctrl-1key, Ctrl-2key, Ctrl-3key and Ctrl-4key add a subsurf-modifier or, if already present, change the subsurf level.


I'll reveal a secret as soon as the countdown is finished.
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