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Blender Foundation announces user interface team


Following the recent debates on Blender's user interface, we now have an official user interface team! Brecht Van Lommel and Jonathan Williamson are in the lead.

Brecht writes:

We are reestablishing a UI team to work on improving the Blender user experience. Note that at the moment we do not have any developers with a lot of time dedicated to working on the UI. So we will start with small, easy to implement topics, or help developers that are already working on functionality to get their designs improved and approved, and try to grow from there.

So we will start with small, easy to implement topics [...] and try to grow from there.

Brecht Van Lommel and Jonathan Williamson will be leading the project, managing things and making final decisions if no agreement can be found. To keep it all feasible and to avoid people sinking time into discussions that do not lead to actual implementation in Blender, we will follow a strict process, see here for the details.

If you want to join the team as a UI designer: get involved in the existing design tasks, write proposals on the wiki, or talk to other UI team members on IRC.

If you want to join the team a developer, you can volunteer to implement design tasks, pick up ideas from the wiki proposals, or come up with own ideas. If you have patches waiting in the tracker that were blocked by the lack of UI decision making, you can notify us and we'll try to get the design and code reviewed. But note that it's probably going to be quite busy for us starting up the project, so it may take a while to get to your patch.


  • Ammusionist

    Looking forward to lots of dialogue between this team the the community; You can't build a UI without U and I !

  • Brian Lockett

    Interesting. We'll see how this goes! Good luck, UI team, and let us remember, fellow Blenderheads--we can discuss without getting disgusting towards one another. :D

  • young_voter

    Just design software that without shortcuts, you can be almost efficient as you are with shortcuts. Then everything will take care of itself.

    • Dan Rossati

      That's a good goal but much easier said than done, as no amount of mouse moves will compare to the speed of key combinations. - though I am aware you said almost as efficient so we'll see

      • Hadrien Brissaud

        No entirely true : see Maya marking menus, which rely mostly on mouse movements, are incredibly fast to work with.

        • Dan Rossati

          I've been using maya for a long time probably around 12 years, it's faster than max but you still have to navigate, it's fine for the top level stuff after than though it become a proper list menu and that's too slow, really I just use hotkeys for just about all the common functions. For speed Blender pisses all over maya for modeling for example even with the Nex tools plugin maya can't compete. But this is largely due to hot keys being awesome in blender.

          • Hadrien Brissaud

            Couldn't agree more : modeling in Blender is indeed much faster than Maya (and obviously the tools themselves are better). I've set up a few hotkeys of mine and my hands barely shift anymore - see how Flint types on his keyboard in cloudy with a chance of meatballs ? Add a tablet to the equation and you've got the perfect set-up... that being said, I think Blender could benefit from some kind of pie menu for less common functions.

  • Porter

    Awesome. Johnathan and Brecht will do awesome. Read the details and it looks like a lot of others will also be part of the dialogue, including Andrew Price. Which is awesome. Can't wait to see what this looks like.

  • Charles Guillory

    I would be a bit disappointed if the interface became oversimplified(daz3d like,for example). most times I've seen thing redesigned they take out many features and that makes things harder.

    • Lawrence D’Oliveiro

      *Cough* GNOME *Cough*

      • Charles Guillory

        if they changed it as radically as they changed GNOME that would be rather silly. even the change from 2.4x to 2.5+ wasn't as big as that XD

  • James Rosin

    Having started with Blender 10 years ago and having dyslexia, I was somewhat intimidated by 3d software. It did not take long to learn my way around once I started. I was able to complete my Captain Blender rig and model following the excellent first book by Tony Mullen. I had difficulty modeling until I switched over to a trackball mouse. Other beginners have told me they find all the orienting in space and small motor skills frustrating to master when modeling. Hopefully the sculpting mode will help them. I have noticed other things like the space mouse that might help.

  • Gus

    This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship...

  • Walter Johan

    Wait a sec. The UI team is being lead by two people who aren't UI/UX designers? Is it me or is that odd?

    • Olivier Amrein

      Well, both are very competent and well known and respected in the community, one is main dev, other is main artists/user. They will mostly lead and coordinate a team, that doesn't mean there will be no UX UI specialist in the team for precious feedback. But I understand the remark.

    • Knowles2

      An even worst they list developers as more important than UI designers. It goes Modules Owners, Developers, UI/UX Designers, which is completely the wrong way around for UI team, which should be led by designers. An all the talk from the Blender institute has been from the programmer point of views rather user or designer point of view.

  • Roberto Locatelli

    It's a good thing that UI team will start with small changes and perfectionings. Blender needs a UI better than current one (which is not so bad). But would be a wrong idea make dramatic changes. Even from 2.49 version to 2.5 it was a jump. Ok, a good jump, but a jump anyway.

    I think the team should take a rhythm, not as fast or too slow, in order to give time the community to follow it.

  • Rafael

    Please a Pie menu with more options!!! Here is my proposal. Just a proposal with a lot of things that need being improved but well... a proposal. More than 160 shortcuts in 20 keys and pressing JUST ONE key, no more Ctrl+ or Shift+ whatever... Those options are still there but I think that my proposal is faster.

  • androiddeveloper216

    Good luck to the development team. It's a tough challenge to improve without loosing what makes Blender an efficient tool for professionals to use.

    My two cents... democracy doesn't work in software development. You need someone or a small team with the technical ability as a pre-requiste (of course) but as important, a strong vision and the ability to see it through to implementation. Those that shout loudest or en mass may are not necessarily right. Surveys etc are very limited of use, in my experience.

    For me, the recent improvements have been a big jump forward (2.5+). The modifier stack and modelling tools in particular.

    The current options with regard to the Blender Internal Render Engine and Cycles worflows are unclear (again, for me).

    Best of luck....

  • Metin Seven

    I'd like to suggest having a close look at Autodesk's 123D Design. The UI / interaction design is very streamlined and intuitive. While you're at it, throw in some advanced NURBS tools as a bonus. ☺

    • Bart Veldhuizen

      I was actually playing with that earlier today. I'd love to create one of those laser-cut wood assemblies for my kid!

      • Metin Seven

        Yes, those laser-cut wood assemblies are quite a cool option. I've got to try that as well.

        • Bart Veldhuizen

          I'm planning to spend a day at a FabLab soon and try a laser cutter for myself. I'd love to be able to use it.

          • Metin Seven


          • Bart Veldhuizen

            We should team up, have a coffee somewhere and a nice morning in a FabLab! It would be good to meet.

          • Metin Seven

            Sounds good. Which Fablab will you be attending? Let's email about it.

  • klikmaker

    When redesigning Blender's UI, please make a "Red 1967 Camaro with black stripes and top rendered in Cycles with an awesome background at 1920 x 1080, 16 bit PNG" button

  • Knowles2

    Lets the civil war begin. or will they all decide they want to live and just stick a bit lipstick on this pig and walk away saying their job done.

  • El~Osmodivs

    Whatever makes Blender better is welcome.
    But please, leave the RMB selection as it is, you can't change an old habit in one day, use a Warning window for newcomers, they will check the "don't show me this again" box and everybody will be happy.