You're blocking ads, which pay for BlenderNation. Read about other ways to support us.

Cleaning up the Blender UI


William Reynish presents an analysis of the current Blender interface and proposes some improvements. William was also involved with the design of the current Blender interface.

William writes:

The story of Blender is quite amazing. Over the years, Blender has become incredibly powerful. And this is reflected in the user interface. With Blender 2.5, the goal was to introduce more consistency, more structure and logic into the UI. This has helped set Blender up for the future: It's more expandable, it's more flexible and it's easier to use.

However, all these additions haven't really tackled a core issue with the Blender UI, which is visual complexity.


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 dont think this will work for more complex work. If you hide away all the buttons, it may look better, but you need a lot of time to get what you want. Sure there are Shortcuts and i use them all the time, but if you want to hide away buttons, the ones shown (Rotate/translate...) are the ones you wont ever use with the mouse (-> seems a bit useless)

    I´m always against unused Space. Fill it up, as long as all buttons are organized well.

    Also, the Image comparisons are a bit unfair: The Blender Internal shows the Renderoptions, Cycles the Materialoptions for a very simple Material - I don`t think you can compress the Renderoptions like this :-)

    This proposal looks pretty and clear, but i dont think it is well thought. Im more with Brechts way of optimizing: Lower the contrast on less important options (arrows in selectionbars) and make it easier for the eye to find the important options...

    Hiding all options is no option :-)

  2. Evil_moon_moose on

    i completely concur with the above statement. Taking away the options just makes it harder to get where you want. I suggest instead that blender ships with the toolbar closed for new users? this way its already out of the way(cleans it up) but with a simple press of T we get it back.....idk..

      • +1 definitely, the best option IMHO would be to let the user decide through possibilities to hide stuff, or use presets. Granted, it might be nice to hide parts which you know you don't use often and unhide them only when needed. But always let the choice in the hands of the users.

  3. Evil_moon_moose on

    also i use alot of the buttons in edit mode and object mode toolbars (the header) because it allows quick select if i already have another hotkey pressed, or i dont feel like using a shortcut....i think its good the way it is personally

  4. julien deville on

    I don't think a 3D software with this kind of interface will be efficient. And anyway we already have T and N to clean the working window. And cycles will be here soon ok, but i think the internal will be here for a moment , so where are the options like specular, shading, transparency, mirror,visualisation, etc ?

  5. It is not an in use mockup.
    It is an ideal case to sustain thesis of a cleaner UI.

    But we don't know if scrollbars are kept or not.

    Even if the user is a newbie, it misses a lot of informations for basic work.
    Imagine that you use Sapling add-on to add a tree. Where are Sapling settings displayed ?
    Where must we set brushs settings in Paint/Sculpt mode ?
    All keymaps of my keyboard are already used.
    I use toolbar to have a button for feature that can't have a shortcut.
    It is faster than menus that I am used to hide.

  6. I think he has a point although the individual examples aren't all that well thought through. For instance moving the OpenGL render buttons doesn't make much sense. But other than that, hierarchical menus are key to delivering orientation and therefore getting fast to the functionality you are after. A worst case example for this is REAPER ( There are no hierarchies at all – just long lists with functionality and it takes forever to get to what you are looking for.

    That being said, I don't regard this as this much of a problem with Blender. And chopping everything away just to get a cleaned up UI is probably the wrong way to do it. But it could use some optimization – some polishing. Having 11 Tabs in the properties panel is one of those situations that has been bothering me for like forever. Its a pretty long list whose individual items are even only represented by icons. Reducing the number of those tabs by hierarchically integrating i.e. textures into material would help a lot. The tools menu is a bit of a mess, too, and could benefit from this. Basically all places where you are confronted with long lists of functionality could use some weighing.

    Speaking of it: I have always wondered why the renderer selection fly out menu has to be placed this prominently. Its a selection you rarely change. To me it seems like this should be placed in the render tab of the properties instead. No need to show this permanently and in such a prominent place.

    • "Reducing the number of those tabs by hierarchically integrating i.e. textures into material would help a lot. "
      A preview is needed for textures. (procedurals/cropping/alpha)
      There are different ways to do that.
      For example, a preview editor for several things (shader, texture, color picker).
      But a manner to to indicate what should be previewed, must be find.

      There are settings for textures (filtering/mapping/color modifications) totally absents of Cycles.

      Fortunately, we can select nodes and the UI is updating.

      With nodes, texture can be used for every settings.
      It is clearer to select texture node in node editor and directly updated settings related to texture in texture tab.
      If Properties editor were focusing only on selected node parameters; it will change aspect every seconds and will be very disturbing.

      Unfortunately, with a hierarchy, you can loose a lot of times during work expanding/collapsing part of properties.

  7. Dimetrii Dimetrii on

    William Reynish you should quit developing blender interface. You turn blender into an application that seem not to be able to do anything.

  8. this is real shit! 
    without any buttons, the icons look as if they were not fixed, and this is more exhausting than the current UI. I'm a beginner, but I was so fast to teach myself about blender without this crap, what you call "freshing up"! Please don't change the UI.

    • Just remember that profanity will not make your argument for you, and will probably make people less likely to agree with you. Keep your argument clean and logical, this usually works much better.

  9. Hi there, I'm new to Blender ... and though I like it very much now, I still miss some stuff from other packages.

    If simplicity is the key here... how about improving the layer system, to get a simpler approach like photoshop (or maya), by being able to name and freeze layers.
    Another request would be a shaded+wireframe display mode instead of just shaded/wireframe... which would be great for sculpting ( why only edit mode can allow this ?).

  10. Is this officially re-design the blender interface ??? THis is what i'm waiting for! Blender is somehow kinda not so flexible, so it need to re-designed for better and much easier to managing.

  11. Usability Expert: The checker distracts the player from the figures.
    Chief Designer: Well we have two choiches - pitch black or brilliant white for the entire board.

  12. what a stupid thought you have William Reynish.....
    The default UI looks like a piece of shit - too simple compared with Maya and 3D Studio. UI MUST REFLECTS THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SOFTWARE !!! If you hide away the buttons and menu options you have to look for them and it would take much time - I suppose William takes medicine....

    Blender NEEDS:
    - A KNIFE FUNCTION LIKE MAYA/3D Studio/Cinema 4D
    - USABLE GLOW EFFECTS in material window LIKE MAYA/ Cinema 4D
    - USABLE DEPTH OF FIELD OPTION (node solution is a piece of shit) LIKE MAYA/CINEMA 4D/ 3D STUDIO


    • Bmesh will bring A KNIFE FUNCTION LIKE MAYA/3D Studio/Cinema 4D
      Halo materials can be considered as USABLE GLOW EFFECTS in material window LIKE MAYA/ Cinema 4D
      Cycles will support a DEPTH OF FIELD OPTION (node solution is a piece of shit) LIKE MAYA/CINEMA 4D/ 3D STUDIO

      • Using halo is not an option when you want to create - for example a glowing robot eyes like transformers.... or a neon text effects or....- using node is not a good solution....

        ..and the depth of field function is very bad in blender - unfortunatelly i am not a programmer so I can't write such script for blender.... i am just a graphic artist....

        ..and I forgot creating is a nice hair material is very complicated in blender - setting ramp shader and its transparency and hairpieces width in "blind"...-not too good... - compared with cinema 4D's shave and hair cut option....

        • " using node is not a good solution. "

          But that's how they do it on the transformers movies. 
          So I guess your "no solution" should be read as "no solution for me" and can be tossed in the bin.

          • Luciano A. Muñoz Sessarego on

            let little pallatius think what ever he wants to think, i'm sorry to say but trashing people like that doesn't deserve any attention guys, we all know what / how 3D works and why things are the way they are :D cheers

          • for Bart - WHY DON'T YOU DELETE THE PREVIOUS COMMENTS "trashing people - only my's not fair....

            Luciano A. Muñoz Sessarego 1 comment collapsed Collapse
            Blender UI is VERY amateurish.... Compared with any other 3D apps...YOU BLIND MAN....

  13. I don' t think that to purify blender interface help new user to understand how to use the tools, but the idea to associate an icone in the simplest action is good as in a lot of young 3d software like modo.
    Oh and please do not touch the header, I use all tools present in the 3d view header and that accelerates my worflow , in spite of I use most of keyboard to model. (To model architecture: snapping, translate/rotate/scale assocaite to transform orientation and pivot center are very important tools and must be easily accessible).

  14. This is my UI - I tried to reflect the knowledge of the blender and to get out of its best -  I have attached some UI snapshoot of Maya, 3D Studio, Cinema 4D for comparing with Blender UI - I think Maya have won.... Blender UI is VERY amateur compared with the real greats.... -I forgot to mention I'm a blender user....

    • Why did you mess blender's gui this badly before making this screenshot? If you would bring up millions of submenus and floating windows in any of those other applications they would look just as shitty.

        • Luciano A. Muñoz Sessarego  - If you don't understand the words I won't explain....stupid asshole....

          okapi - because the original is much worse....

          • I don't really understand your comment seeing as you have shown maya options minimised and yet shown blender options maximised, maya would look more disorganised if you expanded all it's menus. So it's an unfair comparison, surely you should have compared either all customised views in the screenshots or all default. You can't pick and choose to prove a point.

        • for Bart - WHY DON'T YOU DELETE THE PREVIOUS COMMENTS "trashing people - only my's not fair....He can write ugly words for me and I can't do that ??? NOT FAIR....


    • William's screen shot reminds me of Silo and XSI.  NeverCenter's UI and workflow for Silo was simply genius in "smart" workflow methodologies. They implemented user centered design and optimization work flow .  They took away the clutter and introduced a new workflow that was 10x faster for poly modeling than any other tool at the time. They introduced double clicking on edges to select the loop, contiguous edge selections, etc, X for cut, B for bevel.  It took Autodesk 5 years to introduce those edge selection work flow methodologies into their own apps. 

    • This isn't a fair comparison considering how you've changed the default layout of each program (Well, at least in Blender and maya, I don't know about the others). I've found Maya's interface to be the most unusable of any program I've ever encountered. Yes, blender's interface could use come cleaning up, and the above UI clean-up is certainly encouraging, but it already blows the competition out of the water, IMO. 

    • I have worked with Maya recently in my job. In my opinion maya have  a most illogical
       UI  in compare with other 3D modeling tools.
      BTW I have worked a lot with 3D MAX, Maya and Blender - current blender UI i found the best.

  15. Jeez! I like to organize everything in dropdown menus and pie menus. Bring that shit in and stop fooling around! The problem with the current GUI is that the buttons and the text are all messy. It needs a real cleaning up so that the functions doesn't look ugly and unreadable when minimized.

  16. So far, i'm good with  > Ctrl  +  up arrow <  buttons.
    I think i shouldn't talk too much about something that i never tried myself. Who knows, if his proposal can be well executed, maybe i'm gonna like this change. But if its not... well, i still can go back and use the current UI right?

      • Yeah, because then it'll be like ubuntu and unity: just make a SHITTY UI just for the shit's sake, and then to put the cherry on the SHIT they pull your own shit out of your shitty ass and make you eat it while not allowing you to go to the old UI from the piece of SHITTY JUNK!!!

  17. The interesting thing I've personally found about visual complexity in this context is that once through the painful learning curve (which is common to all complex applications), I only tend to see what I want to see at anyone moment. In practice, focus makes everything else invisible on a rolling basis, so a full but orderly screen actually cuts down my time looking for things. In that sense having a lot on display makes it easier to switch focus, and I also find words easier than loads of icons which I need to remember or decode. An occasional UI spring clean and tweak is obviously beneficial, but I find the present UI very good, and having invested a lot of time in learning it, find it fast in use and lets me get things done at a commercial speed. In fairness, I can see a case for this kind of approach in helping beginners get a good grasp of blender with a perceptibly simple and inviting UI, but for complex work (as 3D surely is), but I feel it must be better for the application to be hard to learn but easy to use, rather than easy to learn but hard to use. The flexibility of the Blender 2.5/6+ UI is very, very good, and does seem to put a lot of other applications to shame, and in some respects, even the main 'industry standards'. For instance, I have used Maya for a long time, but find it a bit fussy now in use, and am giving up on it in favour of Blender. The balance in Blender is quite good at the moment, so perhaps a complete overhaul should be approached with some caution. Just my penny's worth.

    • Thank you MartianR, I can't add anything to what you have just said. Most important is " I feel it must be better for the application to be hard to learn but easy to use, rather than easy to learn but hard to use." For people doing serious work with Blender, reorganizing the UI so that it's 'accessible' to new users would be a terrible impediment for us who rely on it.

    • You make a lot of good points.

      The bottom line is, the current UI works very well. It has a learning curve, but it's one that can be easily overcome.

      As a newbie myself I don't feel overwhelmed by it at all. Like you say, I see what I need. (Sometimes I don't know WHAT I need tho, because I just don't know what the method is for what I want to do.)

      • Just to inject some humor into this incredible discussion, my "modest proposal" for the learning curve is based on RPG role-playing games -- keep all the features of the UI exactly where they are, but "unlock" them as they are "earned", like skills in an Elder Scrolls game!  The quest to level-up has never been so productive!  Hmmm... maybe a Blender-Game-Engine programmer could make an open-world RPG where the UI is the world.  "Slay the Lambert-Shader guardian to gain entrance to the lair of the fearsome Oren-Nayer beast!"  Okay, I'm done now.  :o)

  18. 2 thoughts on this:

    - Slowly we should really start to "harvest" the idea of the python script based ui
    Ideas like williams, although I got several oposing thoughts, should actually be possible by the gui architecture itself.

    Same goes for advanced options etc. (A hint to the camera vfov discussion. in the mailinglist). I mean: The whole switch resulted in
    a lot of downsides, but it seems only a small group actually understood the advantages. Having multible ui aproaches might result in some interesting new concepts.

    - William has a great affection to a very clean and spacious interface... I'm not a fan of it, also "hide" options might result in a much higher click orgy than we already have wich isn't very "workflow" supportive.

  19. N.A write: "I dont think this will work for more complex work. "

    Agree. I think most of the Blender users dont make anything with Blender, just playing with it.
    So Blender developers must decide: Blender for noobs or for professionals?

    • Why not simply have an up-front option to toggle between easy-learn and fast-use?  And where do I apply for my Nobel?

  20. Arnaud Couturier on

    I'm against this kind of simplistic designs.
    We need a tool to do work, not some useless eye candy, simply for the sake of attracting/pleasing (cheating?) new users.

    Blender is a complex tool anyway, no matter how much you simplify the UI.

  21. Blender UI tools should be locatable at operator choice.This approach will make Maya,3Dmax and CINEMA 4D user to work with blender UI more efficient in workflow.I'm right handed,so even now blender UI is fine for me.Stop! intimating commercial 3d UI interface.Let blender "Stand out"

  22. one thing I'd change in the ui is the material editor. the preview should always be on screen even if all tabs are open.

  23. First off, I'm not impressed by some of the hostility to William.  If you are not in favor of his idea, go ahead and disagree, but don't chew him out.

    I personally had a great deal of trouble relearning the UI when 2.5 came out.  But now that I have it mostly figured out I can work quickly and efficiently, partly because the tools are easily accessible in just one or a couple of clicks.  If William can maintain this with his simplified UI, great.  But 3D software is by nature complex, and the complex UI blender sports allows very quick workflow.  If that is lost with a simplified UI then blender will have a great deal of trouble competing with the big boys

  24. William did a great job on the UI redesign for 2.5, and while there are some valid points, and yes it seems cleaner at a first glance, and more easy on the eyes, I think he´s taken it too far here. Too much stuff hidden away, and too much unused space in headers and menus. Also, this is a too big UI refactor so close to the ast one, which would mean another documentation nightmare. Refine the UI, sure, but another remake does not have my vote.

  25. Build on Blender on

    There needs some cleanup/optimization/friendlyness improvement of the interface but I believe this is not it.
    Its not complexity that strains, its lack of CLARITY.-More whitespace is NOT needed, There is already too much wasted space, with the panel headers the way they are, the radio buttons which take up twice the room they should, the huge margins required everywhere because there is no other method for separation at that stage. -A better organisation and clearer visual and usage structure for the everything would be VERY WELCOME, what buttons do and what they are attached to is not always immediately clear.-An overall higher level of interactivity in the interface would be nice (more useful actions in right click menu and drag-drop/copy-paste for available for just about anything as examples)-More clarity of the icons would be very useful.-During modelling and object manipulation the T-toolbox in its current implementation is a great waste of screen space. Its only useful in these modes when you use an operator - in which the box does a terrible job in availability, mouse travel and screen space required to show all its settings.The way I see it, blender uses hotkeys and very-very quick to access popup(from those hotkeys) lists for actions not hundred of stupid action buttons taking up space.What the toolbox should be for is things like sculpt/paint where you have different TOOLS (one you actually pick up) which require detailed settings and are not one off (press=done) events.Its also a commonly used space for scripts with options (like tree generator or something) which is just silly. These sorts of scripts should be under a different window (3dview,properties,outliner,nodes editor,"scripts")-The outliner needs some help and intuitivity.The current implementation of the outliner is not cleverly designed to be functional where it is, the scrollbars cover up half the content and if you ever try to use the search bar, you ask for trouble. A ctrl-f type setup would be better here, with popup options (case sens, search whats visible in outliner only, search all, search only meshes-material etc). :)no I dont mean want an huge side panel to popup to show my search options and require me to resize my outliner to see:)-Modifier window needs reconstruction from ground up.-The N-panel in 3dview works ok but some thing I think are duplication. It is a mix of object information and display properties, yet the object transforms seem more at home here than they are in the object window.-The stats info at the top of screen (face count-selected-object count etc) are useful please stay.-BlenderXversion text is not useful anymore (use to be progress bar but not so useful these days).-Blender need better error and progress feedback display, not a undermouse text popup which could be accidentally moved away from(these have their place btw in feedback which is not important but nice to have). The console seems to be turned off by default now but nothing  seems to have come to take the place of what it did in this area.I know blender doesn't like popups but I believe they can be friendly in some cases, temporary options and bad errors for example.-Multiple object editing needs some attention (ctrl-c copt script helps)-Texture window context does not make much sense. Why isn't it just a generic texture settings editor, not world/selected material/brush? Why not select the application(and layering) of the texture from the world page, or material page etc.Mentally, what has the Influence got to do with the individual texture.

    • "Texture window context does not make much sense. Why isn't it just a
      generic texture settings editor, not world/selected material/brush? Why
      not select the application(and layering) of the texture from the world
      page, or material page etc.Mentally, what has the Influence got to do with the individual texture."

      Influence by individual texture is a limitation of the renderer, Blender Internal.
      Cycles does not works like that. Interface for external renderer is different, too.

      For blender Internal, order of texture channel slots have an impact on influence.
      It matters for Stencil and Warped texture.

      So, you can not create a texture editor for BI without showing texture slots order and keep warping for texture.

    • You could be right but your grasp of what works on the blender interface is contradicted by the massive blob of text you just splatted on my screen. Sort of indicates that you get it but don't really. :)

      • Build on Blender on

        Hi Nolan, I had new lines in and plenty of separation my text in a list type fashion. This was some reason removed when I posted, I know sorry, it looks horrible and is unreadable.

  26. This interface proposal is not good William. Please DON'T clutter main working window with very rarely used buttons. Current Blender interface is about shortcuts. And shortcuts means  - efficiency. Everyone, even gamers know that. Please DON'T make Blender to look like idiot dedicated software.

  27. No-no-no-no-no!!!!!!! Algirdas ITech is right at all. Blender interface is ok! Maybe some improvements, like layer names and more control on layers (hide, freeze) and pop-ups for the instruments like align objects, are required. Buttons are not only buttons but they are also the indicators of the current mode (snapping mode, e.g.)

  28. Overall, I disagree with the argument presented in the article. There are already ways to simplify the interface, if one is feeling distracted. There are a few tweaks that could be done to the UI. However, many options are available to customize the layout and look of Blender. I do not feel as though the author has a fully realized argument. He has presented us with "make it more simple" and thrown some screen shots into his blog. He has not really explained how his interface would help the user, aside from making the user feel better about what he/she is looking at. There is no real depth to the article, no nuts and bolts break down of how the author would create this hierarchy menu with one or more examples from current tools. The presumption is made that most of what is currently laid out in the UI is unused by the artist. I do not see how much of the tools he has removed from the workspace would help me in the slightest. Again, I can simply my view by one stroke on the keyboard. Then again, I do not do much with animation, so maybe that's the angle Reynish is coming from.

  29. Sorry but I haven't read all that's already been said: interface discussions wear me to the bone. If what I have to say is a repeat then... well, I guess that I concur. ;)

    What about letting the user's usage do the simplification ?
    Blender could keep statistics on which editor, which context, which panel and which button in those panels get used often enough and which doesn't. Don't display what isn't frequently used, leaving it set to their default values, and give the option of a single "More" shortcut toggle, possibly one single button somewhere handy, to re-expand the then active panel.

  30. Hello!

    I'm using Blender for a few months ago and I like the UI, because it's clean and very well organized and you can work along a 'thread' or a 'chain'. So you have all the most necessary buttons, fields and info at a glance. And other things are in the menus or you can make them appear.

    If the UI will be cleaned, it will have the same disadvantages like the new GNOME or Unity. I'm not generally against GNOME or Unity, but a lot of settings and actions are hidden and you have to take more time to do actions. There is less organization and more well unused space.

    Sure, there can be something optimized, but as some people said it already, let Blender being efficiently. The users don't want to take long ways to functions. There is a famous quote by Linus Torvalds related to such issues.

    And until now, all the Blender developers have done very good work, mainly for 2.50/2.60. So I think they will find a good solution for this issue.
    By the way, this is the greatest advantage of open source (communities) and especially Blender. Look at the participation!

    Thank you developers!

    Kind regards,

  31. wow . Please go beck to the 2.49 UI and you'll see it's much cleaner than the current.

    For UI Pleas follow Softimage XSI design  download the mod tool and you'll see. You can also edit the ui to your neeeds.

    Modo is a mess.

      •  the reason my previous company wouldn't adopt blender is because the interface changes would cost too much in staff training time. I think the best option would be some gentle iterations of simplification with versions and an editor to allow the user edit the interface themselves to a greater extent. 

        • But I have to say the 2.5 interface was a MASSIVE improvement. for me it went from quirky to a seriously useable package. It okay to continue the refinement.

          • I agree - some cleaning up here and there would be great, but 2.5 was a great improvement already. As mentioned previously, the Standard UI and a separate "Stripped Down" version may be a viable option, with the default to the Standard (current). I like less clutter too, but not in all instances is "less", "more".  w/out giving it much thought, the first thing I'd change is the drop down main titles "Shading" "Performance" "Layer", etc.. to stand out a bit more from the rest of the text, either bold, more contrast,'s easy enough as is, but I do find that I have more eye movement then needed. They don't stand out from the rest of the text enough IMO. 

            Personally I like 2.5 UI, but I think we can always discuss better ways to improve. I've dabble w/ other 3d packages like most. I recall trying out Houdini, and it was a bit daunting w/ ALL those buttons, but the more i played w/ it, the more I enjoyed it. We can't forget we're working on a complex robust 3d software package that in its very complex, but yes, let's strive for improvements :-) 

          • and just found out from posting below my request is already semi-implemented! :-)

            Ctrl-atl-U / Properties / Title

  32. --BlenderRules-- on

    Just darken the Interface a bit more by default.

    And please get rid of the NEON ORANGE outline and wireframe ,or make a a color picker option.

    Would be really great :)

    Cheers !

  33. This proposal has me a bit upset, to be honest. I have a bunch of both general and specific issues with it, but it's so hard not to slip into sarcasm that I'll just snip the opening statements of my rant: 

    "I'm with MartianR.
    I really really like Blender's current interface as it is. 
    And I hugely prefer clear text-buttons over a vast array of icons. 

    Returning to Maya - where I learned my basic 3d ropes - feels like slogging through a bloated laggy mess. And that's WITH a interface re-write and optimization only a couple of years ago. So talk about the all-perfect perfectly polished commercial packages always makes me giggle half-madly."

    As always - huge points for all the time and thought and work put into Blender. But a very loud and clear "No thanks" for this specific direction.

  34. I dont like it. if I want more space for the 3d view I will just go full screen anyway. I like the gradients, dividers, and clear text.

  35. The Blender interface is very flexible already, customizable for any type of job we  develop at the moment. We can maximize and minimize windows easily . Hiding shortcuts will make the work more complicated and time consuming. Simply customize your GUI and save it for quick access on the screen lay out menu. I guess we are great the way it is now.

  36. I can agree that the current UI in 2.60 is not optimal, some elements could be made smaller to save some space, and some of the more important elements should be highlighted (like the Cycles theme does much better then the default). I cant say that I like the tool shelf in 2.60 either, it looks ugly. The Operator panel is just horrible, having to move the cursor to the lower left corner to change settings for an object you've added, I would much rather have the mouse cursor in the middle of the scene all the time with exceptions for maybe materials and rendering settings, what I would like to see is that the Operator panel pops up at the cursor like it did in 2.49, it's much better.

    What I do like with this theme proposal is that it looks clean, the tool shelf looks much better and is more minimalistic (being able to toggle it on/off would still be useful for us that use the hotkeys though). Still Continuous Grab doesn't work (too well?) so the Transform/Scale/Rotate buttons are useless.
    It looks like a lot of space is wasted on nothing (might be appealing for new users "this doesn't look to hard"). Will I have to mess around in sub menus instead to find the option I'm looking for? I like to us buttons for things I haven't learned hotkeys for (stuff I don't use to often), having to go through a lot of menus would not be better, you need to have them somewhere.

    One thing that should be looked at is the User Preferences, they're a mess imo and it's not easy to find what you're looking for.

  37. I find it funny. lots of people are saying "don't make it cleaner! people can figure it out! if you change it, i'll use 2.6 forever!"

    but uhhh... 2.49 and older was in the exact same situation. lots of people did not want a change (me included, and I still was 2.4x back) because 2.4x was "messy yet organized" and they (I) were used to it.
    and now it's happening again xD only this time it's a tidy-up, not a 95% UI overhaul.

    i'll just say this: atleast 2.4x had a working horizontal layout system and adjustable panel order. and layer buttons that were actually clickable (mine are tiny and hard to click)

  38. Okay. Upon re-evaluating the interface, I think I like it. One question though. What's the shortcut key to maximize an editor window? If I knew this, I'd work quite quickly. I work with only a few functions while editing my mesh. All the rest I keep hidden. currently I have to right click the header and maximize or tile area. It wouldn't be a problem, if I didn't have to drag my mouse all the way to the header and then click. Just my two cents


    P.S. Found it. CTRL + UP. Just hovered. Looks nice

  39. William, I think this is quite a good start for cleaning up the cluttered interface of Blender! 
    Not only for beginners it will be much easier to learn and work.
    The UI should only show the main stuff and should hide away all sub-functions.
    And there are too many strings now. For us visual folks it would be better to replace the strings in the tool shelf with icons.
    Many things are unnecessarily complicated in Blender. You have figured out some examples like the Material Panel or the Scene Selection.
    Another example for such a over-complicated workaround is a simple thing like adding a background image. Now I must press N, scroll down to "Background Images", check it, expand the menu, press "Add Image", expand "Not Set" menu, press "Open", look for it on the harddisk and so on. Why not just make an "Add Background" Button? The rest could appear later. Or even easier, just add a background image per drag & drop into the 3D window!!!

    • I don't know if I agree that all sub functions should be hidden (as I wrote in my previous post) except for those that you very rarely use (but I even hesitate on that one, I don't like hidden functions at all). I can however agree that the workflow of adding a background image is a total mess.

    • you can already drag and drop images into 3d view, well I can do it on windows I don't know if it works across all OS's. you just need explorer open and blender open than drag an image from explorer into blender's 3d view and viola.

      • Ok, that's useful to know. It's no excuse to have a clunky workflow when adding a BG image inside Blender though. Not the biggest issue in the world but annoying.

  40. ok, 2.5x is more readable than the 2.49, it is mainly the reorganization which made ​​it more clear.
    But the horizontal menu allowed us to arrange the tabs in a more optimal and if something needed to be improved it would for my part of the Réitroduction Horizontal bar menu. (Manif Mode)I do not think Hide tools / menus / sub menus is a brilliant idea for the work. The arrow TRCL already allows to clarify the working interface. If a tab should be clear this is the N menu in my opinion. I also feel that the change does not help to stabilize interfaces users must learn a "new software" every year. why not clarify menus menus before any change? here the "new interface" makes me think of software for children. no kidding.Wy not open on discussion about this befor do some Big works for Blender? Sorry for the google translate. I'm speak French.Meltingman

  41. If you can make the layers more like Photoshop (with names that highlight when selected) + make it cleaner like Silo, that would be a milestone.  

  42. Wow! this has really caused some interesting reactions.

    I would prefer the ability to use a complete custom UI function. Where we can simply drag and drop the buttons we want, where we want. We create our own Editor Types for this and just dump the individual buttons we want in group container controls. Job done.

    Then we just add it to the header feild as a selectable interface. You know the one I mean? the bit where you choose Default, Animation, Game logic ect....

    Then it's a complex or as simple as we like.

    • I was thinking along the same lines Dusty. Only, I'm not sure how much work this would be programming wise. Changing the UI to all empty containers and the populating them would demand changing the interface to be script driven. I think that's a good idea but I also think it's allot of work, and right now the focus is on integrating the rest of the Blender dev branches. I wonder if the Blender dev team is following this discussion.

  43. Nabil Stendardo on

    It's not a good idea for Blender to look like an iOS app that has been programmed for 3-year-olds. 3D animation software is complex, and you cannot hide that complexity without reducing functionality and/or workflow efficiency.

    • I AGREE WITH YOU, THX BRO !! I said the same thing and I was attacked by lot of fool !! - The UI should/must reflects the capabilities of the software - Like maya or modo, etc... - If you see the blender UI first time you can think this 3D apps don't know is for 3 years old and not a professional 3d application - That would be good the UI should be like a professional software....

  44. Wow. There is a lot of trolling going on in this post. Seems like if people wanted to disagree with what Williams is doing, they can simply state it without trying to insult his ideas.

    I think Williams should continue his work as there is a way to keep both camps happy. Just add a mode in the Blender Splash screen for something like "Blender Beginner" or "Blender Streamlined" for the more simplified interface. Then also keep the current more cluttered interface as "Blender Standard" or "Blender Advanced". I mean right now it has some preset for "Maya" which does nothing. There is nothing stopping us from adding the more presets for different functionality and purposes.

  45. I'm all for a bit of tidying up but I can't imagine the UI would look "clean" like this after any serious work started.

    How about just making modes for different times in the 3D workflow.  More than just layouts which still have all the buttons available but have for example a modelling module that only has mesh and add tools available in the UI.  The same could be true for texturing, animating etc.  Sort of like Lightwave having modeller, etc.

    just a thought.

    The last thing we want is to have to hunt through menus, anyone try C4D?  it takes 5 menus to get to extrude.

  46. I like what William has had to say. I also appreciate what others have said.

    This is obviously an important issue:- as witnessed by the hornets nest of replies.

    Whatever will happen, will happen and will be carefully scrutinised.

    No one will be happy at first, but everyone will be careful.

    Good to hear the nest buzzing.

  47. The new interface looks great !
    Most users use shortcuts in B,ender because the UI is full of clutter and
    it takes a long time to get to the right option.

    Pro tools like Maya and 3d max have a much cleaner interface.

    • Lowreedeme334343 on

      Martin,  not sure if I agree.   How is max cleaner?

      The best thing about the new max is the AUTO SLIDE panel.  Other than that the
      max changes have been BAD.  Should have left well enough alone.

      Maya has too many colored icons everywhere,  Im not sure its cleaner.

        The current blender is appealing more to PROS than it ever has.  I wouldnt not change the 260 look

  48. Something like object mode should really go out of the menu,it's an everyday operation we do but always we need to find it in the menu,should be:it's there,click it and change.

  49. Just let it as it is...for a longer time. Blender has already been significantly changed from version 2.49 . New users would be puzzeled.

    I think the best you can do, is to release experimental versions with the new and simplified interface, and wait for a lot of feed-back. After much study and feed-back, yes, we will have the new and optimised interface that we are dreaming on .

  50. * Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.
    * The only thing worse than a complex UI is a constantly changing UI.
    * If it isn't broken, don't fix it.
    * yada yada yada

  51. Anyone here seen IDIOCRACY movie ?
    Having Blender as it is today ( read public ) is a privilege not a right.
    Evolution is brought by the few not by the many !

  52. Hi

    I think this UI is more for the beginners (newbies), and not for the advanced users or "professionnals" (the users of blender and other 3D soft since 2000 for example).

    So you could have Two choices of UI (options in the Splash-screen):
    -  beginner/newbie (or the others who want this simplification) : this UI
    - advanced (for those who use blender as professionnal) :  the 2.5x UI

    Personnaly (but it's a really personnal opinion), I think the 2.6x UI is better for the professional, and in a commercial work (animated serie, game).

  53. Haven't had time to read all through but my suggestions are:

    EXPANDING AUTO PANELS like 3ds max.     There is way to much scrolling.  you hover mouse and they expand left 2 or 3 out.

    However  DON'T disable duplicating the panels to put on a second monitor.  This is best for those that have dual monitors.   
    whats great so far is being able to customize the look of panels you want.  

    For rendering -  all engines added should reveal the same basic panels with just INSERT THE NEW MATERIALS.   New lights,

    ALPHABETIZE :    The ADD LIST,  Editor List ,  ETC.  should be customizable for alphabetize.  I note even watching the experts
    they continually waste time,   trying to find the selection they want.

    Captain P

    • "ALPHABETIZE :    The ADD LIST,  Editor List ,  ETC.  should be customizable for alphabetize.  I note even watching the experts
      they continually waste time,   trying to find the selection they want."

      I agree.
      I just indicate a work around for Editors. Use existing shortcuts for editors.
      Shift F2 ->Game logic, Shift F3->Node Editor, Shift F4 ->Python Console, Shift F5->3D View, Shift F6->Graph Editor, etc...

  54. STOP, STOP STOP with Blender UI, it is quit nice now and a lot of documentation have already been done!
    Damn, you have nothing else to do than redoing eternal overhaul?!
    Blender is a complexe piece of software you won't make it easy enough for any noobs, it requires works and dedication!

    There is a big difference between opening Blender for the first time and using Blender fluently in production!

    Blender needs tools, means *strong* tools!

    • Agreed -    blender needs to GET MORE COMPLEX  ,  not less.

        It takes years to get into 3D,  major changing the look of the GUI is not the answer.

      • Lowreedeme334343 on

        Blender needs to appeal to Professionals -  NOT more noobs.

          Its image now and has been of a hobbyist app.   We need more maya and houdini professionals to come over .
        People with talent and experience who can add to tutorials and ideas.  You should be asking this question
        on professional 3d forums.

          And god forbid - dont add ANY MORE CLICKING!   The Less clicking to get to something needed the better!

  55. Ohh my, I like the thought behind it, but looking at the picture I instantly wonder where many things went and confusion fills my mind. I have no idea how this would work, so I'll just give it a try once it's finally completed, but CERTAINLY make it optional! If it's optional I don't mind anything. ;)

  56. It's  quite unfair comparison with Timeline and other additional panels opened in the first screenshot. 
    I like the way Blender UI looks currently and I don't the Cycles build where there's no Outliner or Timeline panels at the startup. Also the materials tab looks so empty I don't know where to look for some things. 
    That's why I'd want only a small amount of changes William proposed to be implemented.

  57. I am a taxi driver.
    I learned Blender interface like if I was discovering a new town.
    Every button was visual repair like a building of a city.
    I knew that to find a special book; I had to take that street and go to this library.
    But 2.4X towns had trafic problems and was forcing to take long route.

    2.5X interface was a great improvement. Every book on the same theme were arranged in the same building.
    Suddenly, most of long route problems were solved. I could ordered every books in the library like I desire.
    But there were lots of new incomers. They added new buildings. Some were great.
    Some were not very different of olders and sometimes with less charm.
    I stopped to collide into new big road signs.

    Sometimes, I am frustated to have to turn around a new big fountain.
    City is, now, bigger but mainstreets mostly used are not always faster than old little streets.

    Most important part of the population of this city don't take attention to old districts of the town.
    They are saying that it is not well organized, dirty, deprecating the town.
    They are saying that life would be better if the town looks like Venise, Paris, Prague.
    But most of them are ignoring hidden treasures in the old town.

    And today ! There is a massive UFO shadowing the town.
    An alien appears on a big screen to say that he comes in peace but he will destroy some districts of the town for our good.
    Humans are too stupid to build decent towns.

  58. My two cents on this. Too much is too much. And too few is too few. I've used all of the options inside 3D header panel. It's pretty perfect as it is now if you just keep these rules on your mind: Properties window is all about properties, 3D header is all about different modelling modes. Tools panel is all about tools or sub programs. But keeping those in mind, I think there could be some cleaning allright.

    I was wondering about why the snapping isn't in the dropdown box only. I just recently got to use it more. Hold down Ctrl to snap. I don't know would that work so well anymore if you have selected no-snapping as an option. Same goes for the origin thing. You could conbine those allright. But currently it's 5 selections in the dropdown and "Origins only" button. You could cluster those up allright but that would make it 10 selections in the dropdown. I prefer it how it is now.

    The Properties window and 3D header panels are just perfect. I wouldn't change anythign in them. Cycles has too few options for my liking really. I would like to do some more fancy eerie stuff with it but there's only as many options. How about some curves where you can adjust how the light bets bent, how the light gets faded out inside the material, how the color gets adjusted inside the material and how much in different distances, The light radius, there's no sun lamp for my knowing (would be usefull). I'd appreciate some light ramps, like when you make a spotlight, you could make it wave black and white and all the rainbow colours in different distances it travels. It needs more options to be useable to me. So that example did not appeal to me one bit.

    Everything for me is pretty nicely placed already. But here's what I would change:
    - Last time I checked 3DsMax, it had those neat little tweak buttons and sliders whenever you did some operation to model. Like blender already has if you do an operation like extrusion and press F6. But I'd use it in a non blocking way. Whenever you complete some action, there could be a popup window opening to the left with all the options for that extrusion. Currently it is under tools... To prevent it from flickering when you do a lot of operations. It could automatically open when you go to the left side of the screen with mouse. But in a way that it would hover over the 3D view and not open a new panel. Tools panel is clustered pretty bad with the operator panel at the bottom. Just mind that it should be out of the way most of the time. And mouseover/left thing would be nice. Or disabling or enabling that behaviour from the preferences window.

    - The N-panel. It's a bit clustered. The object name panel is a bit useless there. I personally rarely use it and it could be mixed with the transform tab. Name it like, "object basics" or something. Because the options for those can be found on the properties panel anyway, it could be just named as "shorcuts" or something. After that you could just cluster up some other often used stuff there too. Then I would introduce a J-panel. That would contain all the viewport stuff. So N-panel for object related and directly 3D related stuff and J-panel to viewport stuff. (Not really sure if J-key is in use in any mode btw.)

    Don't get rid of the shaded buttons. I like eye-candy and it doesn't really make stuff hard to see or anything. Well, at least for me it doesn't.

    Anyway, I pretty much like how the current UI looks right now. It's not a simple application that can do few things only. So I wouldn't make it seem like one. Easier to use for new users if possible, Sure. But don't make it harder to people who know it already and wish to access some more advanced features easily too.

  59. I still prefer 2.49b - I can't put my finger on what it is. I miss the horizontal properties and the way the windows work. I don't like the new 'N' and 'T' panes in the 3D panel.... I guess that everything... I want to like the 2.60 interface.. but I don't

  60. Hm, I really don't agree with these proposed changes, the first 3d software I used was Art of Illusion, and it had a simplistic UI quite similar to the one that is proposed here for Blender. Because it was simple, it was quite easy to learn to do the simple things. But I never learned to use it's advanced tools until after I started using Blender, because those tools were all hidden in submenus, to keep things simple. And as a result, it was actually *harder* to learn parts of the program because I didn't know they were there. Access to advanced tools trumps a clean UI every time, imho. I wouldn't have a problem with the default configuration being simple, as I can easily reconfigure my own advanced layout, but I don't agree with tearing all the useful buttons off of the toolbars and headers in the name of simplicity. I don't know how to configure button positions, and some of the buttons I use a lot are missing in this redesign.
    I think a good compromise here may be have a user option of either basic mode (proposed UI) or advanced mode (current UI), so that beginners can have an easy to use app and experienced users can have access to the more powerful parts of the program.

  61. Sorry, but I prefer the current UI. Of course a lot of things have to be clean up, but the proposed changes look quite slower than the current UI.

  62. Love the simplicity but hate the buttons on the left hand side. Unlike the current UI, they don't look removable and in fact more of a hindrance than an improvement.

    Ultimately a lot of these tweaks could be done by changing the default layout that appears when you open blender. I don't see much of a need for a code rewrite.

    The 2.4x interface was rightfully horrid, but 2.5+ is pretty good I think :)

    • "Love the simplicity but hate the buttons on the left hand side. Unlike
      the current UI, they don't look removable and in fact more of a
      hindrance than an improvement."
      In 2.5, you can flip toolbar from left hand side to right hand side by pressing F5 and hide it by pressing T.
      I think that William do not want to change this behaviour, maybe only keymaps.

  63. This is a VERY VERY BAD idea.    Do you realize you wil RUIN all tutorials and learning on Blender 2.5?    Destroy all the
    hard work of the entire community!   Set the community BACK by years?

    I started on 2.5.   ALL tutorials done on earlier versions were worthless to me.  Even today I cringe if I accidentally link to a tutorial
    below 2.5.  

    You should have thought of this long ago.   This is beyond bad.

    • But this is WRONG on the face of it.   Beginners NEED tutorials.   They need the security of an interface that is
      familiar.    Only tutorials for this new version would be of value.  The entire 2.5 LIBRARY OF TUTORIALS would be
      ruined.  It would essentially RUIN blender.

  64. the only thing that i really have a problem with is the fact you can stretch the height of the timeline. I cannot imagine a situation where that would be necessary. It drives me crazy that you can accidentally stretch it. Please make it a fixed height!

    • P.S. I'm a newbie and I didn't have much trouble learning Blender in 2.57, because the UI is already very good (definitely many times better than earlier versions, when I look at screenshots from 2.4 I get dizzy!). So I think this "UI refresh" proposal is a bit premature and a little too radical. The current UI is pretty good, don't change it (yet) and wait for more feedback from newcomers.

  65. I think there should be a 2.4, 2.5 and 2.6 interface. All interfaces have their good things. 2.4 users love the 2.4 interface so
    it is good they can work with it, but blender has to get better.
    The blender UI compared to other tools is still in stoneage. The new design is not perfect, but i think it is better then the usual blender design.
    As as professional user i think it is really important for blender to improve. Not only the render quality (with cycles) but also
    the UI really needs to faster and more user friendly.

  66. I noticed a big slowdown in my workflow between 2.49 and 2.5.  Using blender every day since the 2.5 release hasn't really done much to bring my speed back to normal.  I really think many of the tools could use some re-organization.
    Maybe make header-items appear/disappear (based on how often most people use them), as a blender window is resized.
    And kudos to the person on this thread who had the idea to have menus in the properties window automatically expand with a mouse-over.

    In the UI mockup shown here, I don't see much that changed.  The t-key menu is disabled, the timeline and hierarchy windows are gone....  ...isn't that something we can already do?  Can we have a real UI refactoring that increases usability without throwing sometimes-vital features out the window simply because they aren't used often?

  67. BlenderLovingSquirrel on

    I agree with Mr. Reynish completely. It's too cluttered looking even when you've been using blender for years and know ur way around. It's more cluttered LOOKING now than it ever was in 2.4

  68. I think that so many people miss the point when they are suggesting design improvements. Instead of trying to convince other users that your way is the best why don't we all focus on making blender super easy to customize
    so that users can chose what they like? some examples:
    1. Custom pie menus with drag and drop style.
    2. Turning off things of the ui that you don't need.
    3. turning of menus that you don't need.
    4. making it possible to change more than ten shortcuts before Blender starts to fall apart.
    5. drag and drop all buttons over different panels etc.

    If Blender made these changes treads like this wouldn't even exist.

Leave A Reply

To add a profile picture to your message, register your email address with To protect your email address, create an account on BlenderNation and log in when posting a message.