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Pimp My!


1258.pngWe reported on the redesign of the forum a few weeks ago (not a 're'-design, actually, but a 'design' as the old forum was an out-of-the-box template). Looking at the amount of comments both on BlenderArtists itself and on our post, many people have problems with this new design, including myself. But not anymore!

Falgor pointed out an alternative stylesheet that you can use to return the forum to a *much* more usable shape: the old Elysiun design. Here's how to use it:

  1. Use Firefox. Really, you should, for a number of reasons, but at least for this goal.
  2. Install the Stylish extension. (Just click on the 'Install Now' button).
  3. Go to the forum and notice the little 'paper and pencil' icon in the bottom right of your Firefox window. Click it once you're on
  4. Select 'Find styles for this page'.
  5. Select 'Old elysiun theme' (or choose another one - I think this one is the nicest).
  6. Return to the window or tab and reload.
  7. Bliss!

I *really* like this plugin and I'm also very happy with the re-re-designed While I do appreciate all the hard work everyone put in to creating the theme, it would seem that usability and user testing were forgotten and I'm ashamed to say that I was starting to avoid visiting BlenderArtists because of that (which is a shame as we get a lot of our news from the forums!).

I already find myself going back to the forum more often now that I have the old theme installed. 'Old elysiun theme' is here to stay!

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. I really should not respond to this post, but because I'm stubborn:

    We had a long period in which only the moderators and administrators could see the design. They were encouraged to test it out and find possible problems. We ironed out a lot of issues in that period so saying we rushed the design without testing is a bit harsh.

    A low-contrast version of the theme is already being worked on for those visitors that don't like white themes.


    ps. man this text input box is white, where can we find an alternative for YOUR crappy design?

  2. @Goofster: the point is not that the site is white - as you might be able to tell I quite like that ;-) The problem is the lack of guidance for your eyes; the lack of visual structure makes the site hard for me to read and use.

  3. I like the new design.
    But this firefox addon is fantastic - didnt even know something like this (with site related templates) exists.

  4. I also found myself lost trying to surf in the best blender forum, because of that "lack of structure" Bart pointed out. The design is the coolest I've seen in a forum, but I just couldn't feel confortable with it.


  5. From the looks of these replies BlenderArtist is up and running now. I haven't been able to reach the site since yesterday (Dec 5th) and still can't.

    Anyone else having trouble?

  6. The parts I feel are off with the new design is that it's hard to tell when one post begins and one ends, they all just look too connected I think.

    The theme of the ads in the middle of threads are so similar that they look like posts as well, so my eyes always get caught looking at them.

    And last thing is that it just feels a bit weird looking at a forum that's aligned left. Center just seems more natural.

    But then again I don't even go on the forums that often.

  7. I think it too bad, that people dislike the new theme so much. It is really not THAT ugly, and Yes, its very cool to change themes, but.. yearh.. you know what i mean :)

  8. im on windows xp in internet exlporer. i don't know the version but until now blenderartists worked fine. now i does not load at all. i havent tried mozilla yet but ill try asap

  9. And remember -- if you're running Firefox, you can also get the EditCSS extension which shows you the stylesheets for all your websites in a sidebar, then lets you edit them right in place and see the changes show up on the page in real time. It rocks, and is most likely how our CSS-hacking friends created these nice new themes. You can make your own!

  10. any way to get the post cout to show in IE7? The main issue with the new design was for me, that you couldn't see how many posts there were on a thread

  11. In my opinion, one of the biggest problems, as many pointed out, is the fact that the design is fixed-width (in pixels), which means that it's resolution dependant and anyone with a computer newer than 1999 (read: A screen resolution greater than 800x600) will have a narrow strip on the left on the screen ;)

    Yes, I know fixed-width designs are much easier, but they're also less useful.

    Also, I wonder why the forum has a completely different design than the main site? Why didn't the main site's design get used for the forum instead...

  12. yeah I was starting to dislike going to the forum too - the functionality was also a problem not only how it looked and felt which was strange for a widescreen user because it only took advantage of 1/3 of my monitor's width.

  13. @Tony:
    THANK YOU! The issue of lost information was really my only problem. Changing the colors is the easy part. I'm very glad that it's possible to get at the view count and reply count. I don't know why they decided to hide that info.

  14. The new BlenderArtists forum is indeed a pain too the brain. The good thing about the old elysiun colors were that you could easely read up tens of topics, find easely the seperation between posts as well it was a candy for the eye to read the whole forum without having problems to actually search or think were to read.

    The new BA theme is quite hard to get used to, but if you give it a few weeks your eye will ajust to it and it will be as easy as the old Elysiun theme too read. But yes too much white makes the forum look like one big internet page and a hell to read.

  15. Yes I downloaded and applied the old Elysiun theme just to save my eyeballs. Then I mused - If my local corner shop got a makeover from their "fresh from art college" daughter who made the shop look "cool." Would I feel the need to go there some day and rearrange the shelves back to a more functional order? Of course not!!

    What a lot of web designers fail to appreciate is that a Web Page or Forum is actually a User Interface. If you get it wrong your stats go down. Just don't expect the customer to put it right under the guise of "empowering the user" with scripts.

  16. I'm not trying to go against the grain simply for the sake of being contrary, but I like the new design. I do have a bit of a problem determining when one post ends and the next begins, but not much of a problem.

    I'm not sure I can articulate why, but this new design seems easier on my eyes. I have not visited much until now, preferring to go to CGTalk. But I have actually started visiting much more frequently, mostly because the design puts me at ease, somehow.

    Honestly, I'm not trying to be contrary, just letting you know what my experience has been. Perhaps one reason for my different perspective is that I do not have the habit of viewing the old format, and could look at it without that "habit" affecting my perception.

  17. I happen to like the new design. It looks more modern than the old Elysiun one. There are a few changes, possibly, that could be made here and there (such as making the 'new thread' button (and so on) a different colour so it doesn't blend in so much with the white background)

  18. It would be unfortunate if the admins decide the site does not need fixing because they believe people have already sorted it out for themselves. New members and many old members, myself included, will not be installing things to "fix" the forum.

    The white forum doesn't bother me as such but the lack of delineation does. It's a chore to read through long threads. The ads stuck in MY posts bothers me a lot and they also cause some confusion as it often seems I've reached the end of the page as I scroll down. In some cases the ads completely overpower short replies - and most of the ads are white too, so even they just blend into everything else. The only good one I saw was a Jeff Lew ad. Now, it could be (and has been) argued that I'll eventually get used to differences like hidden links but that assumes blenderartists is my life and that I don't use other, more traditional, forums.

    I hope Goofster was just being sarcastic because comparing blendernation to blenderartists is flawed. They are not the same thing. Plus, as I mentioned in my comment in the earlier post, blendernation is very well delineated due largely to the consistency of format and simplicity of the information it offers. Blenderartists is a fully-interactive user forum with thousands of members so consistency just doesn't exist and simplicity would require the abolition of still more functionality/usability.

    It may be possible to give a forum a magazine-style appearance, but so far it seems it won't be easy. But, put a grey bar between each post, move the ads to somewhere more practical and give me my post counts back and I think it'll be pretty well acceptable and might just grow on me.

  19. Jean-S. Guillemette on

    Andy: and everyone else actually...didn,t you guy read the post from Goofster? HE SAID they were working on a more contrasting version. So stop saying that the "admin" and "moderator" won't do anything to fix what you think is flawed. THEY WORKED HARD, and WILL WORK hard to comply with the general opinion.

    so quit the bitching, and wait. everyone know what everyone think of it so..I think it's time to stop bitching the guys who worked hard.

  20. I like the current design. Clean and nice.

    Also, black text on white is easier on the eyes than white on black.

    Elysiun is the past. Be gone with you, terrible orange thing!

  21. Yes, Jean, I saw Goofster's reply. He said a "low-contrast" version was being worked on. I'm not sure what that means since that's what we already have. Maybe he meant a higher-contrast version. It was the sarcasm (?) regarding the blendernation design that drew my response though.

  22. I have mixed feelings both about the new design of BlenderArtists and the seperate styles...

    Websites should be attractive. Having people to go through the work of adding a seperate style means the forum must be *that* good. Normally people will not visit a site if they have problems reading or whatever.

    I rather would have BlenderArtists offer a selection of themes, also one for me to make the font bigger, and a little less white.

  23. i think the new site is good, it just has an issue with contrast.
    solving that will helpe improving readability a lot.


  24. hey yall elysiun is DEAD u know that right. it was time for CHANGES. people be so critical it HURTS. stop embarrassing us n look at all the bitchin at ba. I mean DAMN people. google so bright but dat dont bother you tho huh huh. let mods fix da shit then shut da HELL up n get back to da art FFS!

  25. Roger L. Waggener on

    I must say this Firefox plugin thing is a ridiculous hoop to have to jump through.
    It's just silly.

    First of all, there exists within the fucntionality of vBulletin the ability to let users specifiy which theme they wish to use and set it as a preference in their user profiles.

    PLEASE enable this functionality- please.

    Additionally, if the curren template were designed properly to separate content from functionality, then all that would be necessary would be to specify an alternative style sheet in the head of the page template. Then all modern browsers, Opera (which I use), Firefox, and maybe even IE7 would be able simply select the other stylesheet from a dropdown menu in the browser chrome. But it's NOT. I just looked at the code. Aside from some CSS bolted on, and some div elements, it's pure 1997 with tables for markup and inline font styles.

    I understand the administrators of the forum worked hard to make something they felt was an aesthetic improvement. I appreciate the intent, but the current look of the forum is much less usable to me and I do not understand why there is no option offered to easily have the old look back.

  26. Roger L. Waggener on

    Please allow me to apologize for my last premature rant.

    After I read the article and visited the links- there is a user javascript that works flawlessly with Opera, and I am grateful for it.


    However, I must reiterate that this is not the best approach. The best approach is modern semantic code designed to separate presentation from content. However, I also realize that there has been a large investment made in vBulletin whose template system does not make such best-practice design very easy.

    This is why I still request the user selectable theme option. That way, when I log in I will get the look I want instead of having to remember to install the user JS script on every computer I use.

    Once again, please forgive me for flying off the handle above, and thanks for listening.

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