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Have you Tried the New Tabs Interface Yet?


Edit Mode TabsHave you tried the new Tabs interface yet? I'm sure you'll either love it or hate it - there doesn't seem to be much in between. The team has just added support for Edit mode, so this might be a good time to give it a try - grab your copy from the Blender Build Bot and let us know what you think!

My opinion? At first try I found the rotated text hard to use, and I had to actively keep reading the labels to find what I needed. I'll give it some time to grow on me before giving a final verdict though!

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.


    • Algirdas Noreika on

      Well, I think color coding not so effective here, because it will clutter interface with unnecesary "rainbow" and distract from working art colors. I think unified color interface is the best here, but i would use icons instead of text.

      • Subtle colors I think are perfectly fine. They can be greyish to blend in with the rest of the theme, but have a slight hue to tell them apart. The difference would be apparent enough when you actually pay attention to them.

        • martin_lindelof on

          exactly MSG gets it. For us that has no color blindness, Text + Color would help out, a lot. I would go about it like this, main devs sets colors for the core functions. Us themes can only value/saturation these set colors to match themes.

          Addons could each have a set color and they get different hues of that color. As addons are sorted in the user preferences, Mesh addons = Purple, Animation = Red, Riggin = blue etcetera.

          I dunno, it works well in XSI when you leave modeling mode to animation mode, everything is color coded.

          • Oops. i did not think of color blindness. Good point, martin. Sorry CB folks! :) Perhaps a set of CB proof colors can be chosen so that everyone can distinguish them.

      • If the tabs are to be color coded, one nifty feature that would make the "rainbowness" less distracting is to have the tabs turn gray once the mouse moves out of the Tool panel (leaving them exactly as they are in the current implementation). This way they will be non-distracting overall, given that you spend very little time with the mouse over that panel anyway. Besides, I personally like to hide the panel when i'm done with it. :)

        • Giving the user the option to color each tab themselves, predefined default colors, or no color(grey scale) would be a great addition, but i do understand this would probably mean more coding. and resources. Perhaps v4? ;)

    • Kirill Trideshny on

      I think this will be cheesy.
      Tabs must be themed!
      The reason is that the difference between selected tab and others is not enough for me. It's so slightly brighter comparably with other interface decisions! Yeah, and maybe some people love that tiny difference, some would like to actually SEE it.

    • It's a big no no to use colors descriptively in ui design for accessibility reasons. People with color blindness won't be able to differentiate.

    • Coloring tabs is very problematic with Blender's theme ability. It's one thing if absolutely everyone has the same theme. But with the depth of our theme controls it becomes another story. And as another user pointed out, it can be a real problem for color-blind people to rely on color.

      • polarlighthouse on

        I always found the theming system in Blender quite annoying. Sure, it's awesome to actually customize every aspect of the application to one's own desire, but it should be more easily to standartize colors.

        For example one color for every button. At the moment you have to change every "single" button on relative in which viewport they are (properties / image-editor / Node-Editor etc). I guess that would make it easier to implement new GUI stuff as you just categorize them into a different color ID.

        Nevertheless I can imagine that this would be much, much work, as you probably would have to completely recode the theming-system

    • i know that this is an old line but where else has blender used color coding
      that thought just seems random + its more than definetelly inconsistent

  1. I do actually like it. However, I have to say it's not very comfortable to read vertical text. I thought I heard somewhere icons would be used in the future instead of text?

    • Charles Guillory on

      Icons have the potential to be confusing. well-known ones like "floppy disk",etc are recognizable but some apps have bizzare ones and it will actually slow down the workflow by clicking on things that are not desired.

      • Just a comment, does anyone think that an average 20 year old or younger has ever seen a floppy disk?
        I seriously think it is not a good icon for "Save".
        Need one that is not from 10 years ago obsolete media! I'm DEAD SERIOUS! Its seen its day (not only in Blender, they still use it in TONS of software), can you buy floppies anymore?

        • That's the good thing about icons, as times pass the icons lose their original meaning and take on the common meaning. Just look at how pictographs evolved into Chinese characters, or even how numerals evolved. The icon can mean much more than the original intent, and save, open (usually an open folder), folder, new (a sheet of paper), power (superposition of 1 and 0 for on and off), hell, even the pause symbol lost it's meaning (from musical notation). That doesn't mean people won't understand the meaning.

          That said, creating new icons that actually carry meaning is difficult, and doing it half-assed will just confuse people, especially if it's similar to an existing icon with different meaning.

          • Charles Guillory on

            if we changed it to something else, like a hard disk icon or a down arrow it might be confused with other functions. for now, "Floppy disk" is still widely associated with saving.

        • The floppy disk is standardized recognizable image in many applications and games and has been for ages. It's a repurposed icon, it no longer means "floppy disk" but there is a history to why it's used. Does anyone use a omnidirectional condenser mic to speak to their smart phone or an
          "Aladdin's" lamp to add oil to a vehicle?

    • Coming from MS-Visual Studio environment, I can tell you that the tabs are only for reading when you don't know what's where. Once you pick out the tools you want, clicking on tabs is simple, just "top tab" "second tab", "bottom tab", etc. No need to be complacent, take the initiative to remember where things are!

  2. Like it. Tab folders in a complex UI remove a lot of clutter, saves screen real estate and allows one to focus on the sets within each tab.

  3. disqus_JxBNvEhRUl on

    I don't use buttons but tabs would be great when I can use this as
    - shortcut chart or
    - quick manual

    problems on f70d966:
    - middle mouse scroll on tabs does not work

  4. I think the grease pencil tab is useless. We have it on the right, with a more complete menu.
    Vertical tabs are not very user friendly... But i totally love the idea and the tab organisation !

      • It' a thing I didn't like on 3DSMax : It's so big that the some proprieties can be found multiple time in the software... and they are named in a different way but do pretty much the same thing. I hope that with blender the UI design will be logical enough to not display the tools in several panels of blender. Merging them can be the best solution !

  5. disqus_JxBNvEhRUl on

    In CJK locale, it is better to support CJK vertical text.
    btw I wonder that tabs are in left side and are bottom-to-top text. does the reverse have problems?

  6. Kirill Trideshny on

    Just tried!

    1st report:

    Obj. mode -

    Transform: Translate, Rotate, Scale (+ Mirror, Set Origin);
    Operations: Duplicate, Dup. linked, Join, Delete

  7. its inconsistent with everything else in blender, how about making the panel similar to the properties panel, that would make better sense.

  8. I like the vertical tabs, but I think I would prefer horizontal tabs in two or three rows at the top of the panel better.
    Either way, the black text on a dark gray background is hard to read. Hopefully, the author will allow users to change text and/or background tab color in the preferences. Then everyone can set it up to their own taste and style.

  9. Kirill Trideshny on

    Another thing I've noticed just now: All addons present on ANY tab opened. Why not to place them to a separate tab "Addons"? If you want, you can pin any addon you need. I guess it's on ToDo of this theme...
    Do we suppose to write reports here or it's better to discuss in the Dev. section?

      • Scott Amsberry on

        Would it make sense to move the addons to a separate toolbar? That way the current one doesn't suffer from the clutter of excessive addons and each addon could generate its own tab. Give this "addon toolbar" its own hot key to keep it out of the way when it's not needed. I'm sure a lot of people would hate the idea of another toolbar taking up space, but maybe the thought will lead to something better.

      • Raindrops From Sky on

        Addons serve a large variety of purposes. It is best to place the controls of each addon in a tab that is functionally related to it, not on a separate tab called "Addons". To a user, it does not matter whether a particular functionality comes from Blender's native code or from an addon.

      • I'm thinking that for panels that have no tab defined, either an "etc." tab would be useful or put all undefined panels into the "basic" tab. It's annoying to have the same addon panels showing up on every tab.

  10. Charles Guillory on

    I like how the tabs are neatly integrated into the design ,so that they provide more functionality without sticking out too much or changing the overall look.

    • Why not use sounds ? Have a "Moo" sound when hovering the Mesh tab and "boo" when hovering the Shading tab ? :) This way it won't clutter the visual ;)

  11. Would vertical (not rotated) text help?
    (or maybe not?) :)
    Also.. there's no need to put a FULL description of all the tools in the tab.. e.g. Shading/UVs could just be Shading. The user will learn that UVs are in the Shading section.

    • Shading and UVs, while related, are very different things. UVs are no more shading than shading is UVs. They are grouped, though, because they are generally used together. So should one share the name of the other in the tab? Hard to say.

      • Valid point, Jonathan. I did not mean to marginalize the UVs, btw :) I was suggesting to find a more generic, short name, that would be intuitive / appropriate enough to host Shading and UVs in the same place .. like SUV ;)
        Seriously, in the end I think it won't matter much, like someone else already mentioned, since you'll get used with the layout and perhaps colors of the tabs fast enough that you won't care to read the tab names anymore.

      • On the same topic (tab names) I would say that the first tab “Mesh Tool” can be just be “Mesh” since the Tool is evident, given that the tabs in the “Tool Panel” hold various tools anyway. IMO the “Tool" should probably not be mentioned at all in any of the Tool Panel tabs names.

    • Unless you write in Japanese/Chinese/ other vertical language, it's actually far more difficult to read horizontal characters in vertical order.

      • I wonder how easy is to read asian characters horizontally displayed but rotated 90 (same as the tab labels are now). Is it harder than having them unrotated but vertically displayed?

        • It's a learned thing. Right side up but vertical is read top to bottom (like your example), but rotating everything would mean you now read bottom to top. You can get used to it, but it certainly isn't pleasant and could cause (rightful) backlash (like your example would).

  12. I have no trouble reading sideways text (at least of that orientation). They're already background noise to me and I don't 'see' them unless I'm trying to see them; if you understand what I mean. I've already added the necessary code to one of my add-ons so that it appears in the correct tab.

    I have, however, begun to notice the endless scrolling in the Properties panel. So I'm all for tabbing that as well.

  13. I like the idea of tabs, but there needs to be more indication of the currently selected tab. I think there's nothing wrong with colouring them. The vertical text is hard to read but you'll get used to them soon enough and know which ones are which, relative to each other. But not being able to tell which one is selected is a bit of an issue.

    One thing that has always bothered me, and this isn't a tab-specific issue but I feel the tabs draw renewed attention to this functionality somehow, is that the Translate, Rotate and Scale buttons in the Basic tab begin operating as soon as you click on the button; so if you click Translate, your object starts to move relative to the mouse which at this point is way over at the left edge of the interface. I've always ignored those buttons in favour of keyboard shortcuts (as I suspect 99.99% of users do), but the tabs brought my renewed attention to them. Point being, I think the tabs interface might throw up a few other interface issues that need fixing.

      • Can there be a themable distinction between pinned/non-pinned tabs? I
        assume the pinning system will get more features down the road, and that
        the constantly shuffled order will be fixed... but a way to simply distinguish that level of "VIP tabs" might go a long way.

      • Kirill Trideshny on

        Can we have an option "Selected tab text Color" for themes? It's not a big deal but would be cool! I want to create an "inverse colors" look for my active tabs for example.

  14. I've worked recently with both new builds with Tabs and an older version trying to get information for a bug report. I've had no trouble switching between the two interfaces.

  15. polarlighthouse on

    At first I thought those tabs were awesome and the development of the GUI improvement is going to be in the right direction, but when I tried it I was fairly disappointed. It's hard to read, it's not really that much of useful and it's not looking great too.
    However I really, really like the design of this proposal in the dev discussion:

    • This is by far the best proposal. The current race to make small and
      disruptive changes is a waste of time, we need a concerted effort to stop herding cats and create a professional, useful and accesible UI like this one

      • I agree, the whole tabs thing was put together very quickly as a test as far as I remember, but now it seems to have become accepted as a new feature (albeit with some changes still to be made).

      • Not to argue, but you do realize that very little in the above proposal is different than current Blender? The most striking difference is simply the toolbar layout and icons. That and the info bar (which is already being discussed and is the basis of the above proposal: )

        While I have no problem with the above design proposal, I quite like it in fact, let's at least acknowledge when something is primarily a visual difference.

        The above design makes a good few small changes, and one big one. So the argument for small changes being a waste of time is a bit moot.

        • Fair point, but I suppose that the last few incremental changes I've seen are hiding tools even further. The robot mummy proposal above lays out the tools where you can grab them or at least find them. Combined with the other changes it represents a far more useful UI than we have seen before. The small changes comment refers to the disparate efforts to make changes rather than a combined effort that actually make blender better, something which I don't believe the the tool panel tabs achieves.

          • Once the tabs are finalized for the full 3D View (including object mode, curve objects, etc), then one of my main tasks is to improve the actual organization of the tools within the tabs. As you say, they're quite bad right now.

            This will hopefully happen before 2.70, but may have to wait until 2.71.

          • I still object to the use of tabs on the tool panel. I downloaded and tried them and all they achieve is to further inconvenience the user when they actually want to do something. I don't want to click the mouse twice when once would do! It goes against any UX paradigm and is taking up developer time when a more user-friendly (both pro and beginner) UI has been proposed.

          • Just in case you haven't, please base feedback exclusively on the Edit Mode mesh tabs, as they are the only ones that are finalized right now.

            We also want to reduce clicking as much as able, while also (and primarily) reducing scrolling. Clicking is better than scrolling in my opinion, as clicking works with location muscle memory. Scrolling does not as it's a moving target.

          • Kirill Trideshny on

            The conversation about this mockup (or close to this) is already happen. And it was very detailed. First time I've thought "wow! it's so cool! Let's implement this UI!" But then somebody has brought out a good reason "Can we create icons for everything?" Another reason "What icons will be used for addons? Do addons' owners need to create own icons? Somebody need to watch the style or we'll get some kind of a silly mess in Addons". These were some of the thoughts.
            Now, can you create icons for "Duplicate linked", "Make single user". As I got, it's planned to create tabs for other editors too where it's necessary. There will be even more complex commands.
            P.S. I guess how these two icons "must" look but I'm not sure it will be very understandable. Actually when a user will get what some complex icon means, he/she will be very familiar with it's name (and how this word looks with different zoom) already. So it will be unnecessary to see all the icons. IMHO all this "icon UI" is great for newbies. But with more experience it will be more desirable to hide them, to save space. Also think about users with small screens. Sometimes people use Blender on a road when it's not possible to work with a big monitor.

          • Icons or not, the layout is far more compact allowing more tools available on-screen at once. This is essential for efficient use of space. Tabs just mean more clicks.

        • Maybe, but I think that's really what Blender needs - a lot of small, even tiny changes that, if combined, will make a big difference. For example, these small icons gives a LOT of clarity to the UI. Please note that the same was done to modifiers panel in 2.5, and it made searching for the right one way easier.

        • Raindrops From Sky on

          Although the topic of tabs has grabbed all the attention, the icons have made the buttons much more recognizable at a glance; a significant step in the "Don't make me think!" direction.

          I hope we will have icons for the other tabs too (not just in the buttons of the "Create" tab).

      • polarlighthouse on

        Yeah, of course the color scheme is a matter of taste (actually I like it), but speaking of accessibility, clutterfree layout it is way more user-friendly IMHO

        • The problem with the new UI group is that they don't seems to have a new way of thinking about the UI. This tab system, OK it's cool, it's better. But what Blender need is a new rethink of some ui elements. The screenshot shows it : Tools are in a different order, the left bar is totally new. It's not just a small feature. I don't think a totally new UI (as Andrew Price says) is good for the user and the spirit of blender. Bug a biggest improvement than just a tab system is needed. I guess Jonathan and the other developers have to work step by step, with the strong opinion of the community. But the day they will think "New" and not "Redo", we will have a great and notable Ux improvement.

          • Here's the thing, the left bar is not totally new. It's just reordered, added icons, and added/removed a few tools. That's basically it (which are all good things!). But it's not "totally new".

            When talking about "redo" versus "new" you must also consider what is actually involved. Who is going to do the work? Who is going to design it? Is it really needed? Can a few small changes make a big impact? Would big changes be too disruptive?

            It's very easy to think that a "new UI" would solve all of our problems. But in reality, all new generally does is introduce new problems to solve. Sure it may solve some existing ones, but it's always a balance.

            Is it better to solve existing problems or start from scratch and introduce new problems?

            Or perhaps even better, can we do both? I certainly think we can.

          • I know that some change are not really needed. But the major problem with blender and his the UI for the is that a new user is afraid. It looks too complex. Blender suffers of this "it's too complicated" problem. At least 3Ds an c4d have some visual basic tools : Creating primitives, rotation and transform tools etc. User are not lost.
            It's the work you have made with this toolbar, so it's very cool and it do the job !

            A new UI will not solve the problems, but it will create a new dynamic about the whole software, which is a good thing.

            Obviously, to do a visually good software , and with a great user experience and logical in the workflow will take 1 or two years I think. I'm not sure that "building on the top" have to be the only solution for a new UI. I agree with you basically. It's better to do both. Creating a more visual and friendly interface, and keeping/improving the current version. It's a lot of work, and even more reflexions about it. The community will never agree on all the design choice, but you have to keep in mind two thing : What a new user want one the software open, and what an old user want.

            This tab is a good step forward anyway, and it has to be made ! :) Well done !

          • No interface will make professional 3D simple for a newbie. It can be simple OR professional. Professional needs to have all the buttons at hand on level of reflex.
            For a newbie 10 buttons with unknown names is a lot already.

            Take Maya. It's not any simpler than Blender. Maya users may find blender complex, but it's no more complex than Maya for Blender users.

            What matters is time needed for someone who is ready to sacrifice convenience to learn.
            And that time depends mostly on consistency and see through logic.
            Indeed Blender has problems with it - I'm doing 3D for over 14 years and even now stumble on problems like wasting an hour because some feature had different logic that it seemed should be there. To fix those problems is a huge work, but it would have second to none impact on visual appearance.

          • Kirill Trideshny on

            I think you're partially right here. The best look when you go to Edit mode (for ex. !) is when you see the most popular commands there and it's completed with icons. I mean the basic tools for creation and transformation. Everything should not be "iconified" IMHO or we'll spend another half-year to solve all issues around it. And the real issues of Blender are not in UI. Not that "it's too complicated".
            Drawing quality pictures by pencil seems too complicated to many people too :) But when a person really LOVE to draw, he/she will go through this obstacle course. Something in this key was already told on the Blender Conference 2013.

          • polarlighthouse on

            Sure "little" has changed in the proposal, nevertheless I find it makes a big difference, especially the icons do a lot to the "anti-clutter effect" :)

          • Kirill Trideshny on

            Jonathan, I think that tabs in Edit mode are not in a right order. It's my own opinion. So somebody can think that MeshTools - Shading/UV - Create - Options - Grease Pencil is a great sequence. But I think it's more logically to set it to Create - MeshTools - Shading/UV - Options - Grease Pencil. Probably somebody will like to have Grease Pencil first...
            Can the order of tabs be changeable through Preferences?

          • The order of tabs can be tabs in Python, but my hope is to eventually get drag and drop reordering (like panels).

            As to your suggested order, this was my initial thought as well. Except that the default tab should really be the one that is most used during a normal workflow. Which in this case is Mesh Tools.

          • Kirill Trideshny on

            Yeah, drag-n-drop things are cool indeed!
            My choice of tabs' order was justified by thoughts of the mesh hierarchy, from the biggest to smallest commands. So we create first, move vertices - second and change shading/UV - it's third.
            The order of tabs that is changeable in Python is very good too. It's not a big problem to change some settings in this way.

    • Vincent Holzborn on

      Yes, this seems to be the best proposal I`ve seen so far! Just ask myself why Blender hates Icons. Ithink we could get rid of all the text and having only the Icon instead. It would save a lot of space and makes the whole thing much more clearl.

    • Yeah, this one looks GREAT and everything's clear here. And, to be honest, it looks realy "modern" in opposite to the tabs presented in the dev version of Blender, which look rather like some raw mocap of the real thing (not trying to offense anyone, juts saying my thoughts).

    • Pawe? ?yczkowski on

      The ideas in this mockup and toolbar tabs are not mutually exclusive. Actually, if I did this mockup today, I would put in the tabs - until now panels could get really chaotic, and finding and managing them cumbersome.

    • I love that by just showing the design and not talking about "ribbons" that most people actually like the idea of a ribbon system!

  16. I'm getting a sense that this is not a topic that can be resolved too effectively strictly through a consensus mechanism.

  17. just seems like change for the sake of change.if someone is going to use blender their gonna use it ,tabs or no tabs.horizontal whatever.waste of energy and time redisigning something that was just redisigned 2 1/2 years ago maybe longer.ugh.61 comments ON TABS?????? yikes.

    • Kirill Trideshny on

      I think it was started from the "pain of the loooooooooooong scrolling lists" :) Actually when you work a lot, you learn shortcuts and it gives you a huge speedup. Blender is already great with this.
      For me personally this UI-tabs stuff is interesting only because of some cool but non-optimized (or just BIG) addons. There I can't use hot keys and this problem with long scrolling lists becomes very annoying.

  18. I have only just started using the builds with the tabs (waiting for bugs to be fixed), but from what I've seen of them they basically just need customization + custom tabs.

  19. Dmitry Khuzakhmetov on

    The worst blender feature, I can remember:( Just need the ability to remove buttons from the panel. Transform group - useless, Mesh tools - useless, Create - not sure, what it does, but suspect it's useless too.

  20. Overall, I like the effort. Though, it's not particularly easier or more convenient for me to use, at the moment. Generally, I think it could still use some more time in the oven. Perhaps if when we could eventually see tabs pinned, as I think was shown in concept, it might be a different experience.

    Personally, I'd love to see something I described here: But I do understand that such is a major undertaking that falls outside the scope of this more immediate resolve towards an improved toolbar UI.

    But I'm glad to see some good effort being done towards UI improvement. If anyone can figure it out, I think it's the current team on the job. And maybe the current direction will grow with me in time. Perhaps I just need to wait until the idea's more developed to make a call about it.

  21. Yes, I have been using the version with tabs for testing purposes. I
    must say that this is a nice improvement over previous versions,
    allowing more tools without breaking concepts and usability. We still
    need few tweaks, (duplicate grease pencil, some pimitives present in
    "shift + a" shortcut aren't listed yet), but once using, there is no
    turning back.

    One of the things we will need for the future, is to move
    some of the panels located at the Properties Panel, related to
    3D view (shading, etc..) , to a proper context, instead of mixing
    with the properties of the selected object (transform, etc).

    I mean, Grease Pencil, View, Display, Shading, Motion
    Tracking and Background Images panels could be moved
    to a new context or moved to separate tabs
    too, so we will have a more organized properties panel.

    Ivan Paulos Tomé.

  22. Leonard Siebeneicher on

    Playing with it, I like the new way the toolbar is ordered.

    Thinking about Grease Pencil section at the moment. Layering for Grease Pencil is "put away" into the N-Bar. To access functionality, one needs to have toolbar and N-Bar opened.
    Would it be an idea to put Grease Pencil Layering into toolbar? (Grease Pencil section)

  23. No interface will make professional 3D simple for a newbie.
    What matters is time needed for someone who is ready to sacrifice convenience to learn.

    And that time depends mostly on consistency and see through logic.
    Indeed Blender has problems with it - I'm doing 3D for over 14 years and even now stumble on problems like wasting an hour because some feature had different logic that it seemed should be there. To fix those problems is a huge work, but it would have second to none impact on visual appearance.
    Tabs might become great feature. But most important improvement will be getting them consistent.

  24. Since I almost memorized all the interface and I still love my collapsible menus, the tabs does nothing interesting for me at least. I don't like to see more crammed text next to my shiny buttons though. I prefer to have my viewport without tab intrusions too.

    Plus if I forget where is certain command, we can press SPACE and search with a few letters what we are looking for. Boy, I love that Search command *pets SPACE*

  25. I think you should check the Interface proposal made by Andrew Price at Blender Guru site which in my opinion is more important and relevant to consider than this color discussion. That´s amazing!!!

  26. Tomislav Vuksic on

    The tabs are good but look at he other good app example - modo. It is easier to read when you read top to bottom. Can you do it like that.
    If it is good there is no shame in copying.

  27. I appreciate all the discussion that's going into the UI and all the efforts of the UI Team.... not a job I'd want:)

    So far I'm loving the direction it's going.

    A couple small suggestions if anyone is still reading this, +1 for icons instead of vertical text or icons wherever we can put them. Icons transcend language and I believe it's been said we process images as much as 60, 000 times faster than text.

    Secondly can the highlighted tab simply follow the themed slider colours? this makes it much more legible and matches each users interface.

  28. george bestelei on

    No real professional app is using vertical text. Is just more clutter and difficult to read.
    It has to be based on visual recognition - vertical writing is not and I always find myself turning the head to find what I need. Is just worst. Inkscape has it also and is bothering me every time.
    Simplified, monochrome icons with hints on mouse over will be best. I used max for years and the right panels icons just seem natural to me...even if they look a bit old. Please don't go back to the awkward design of older interface. And maybe read some UX design guides.

    • Yep, I like this one better than the mummy's as well. But I would rather have a history button somewhere - in this mockup, it's gone.

  29. I like the tabs. When add ons begin utilizing them it will become more streamlined. Also is there any way to add a button behavior to make them cycle like spacebar over the tabs T panel? I hate not having grease pencil options available and i think maybe the default tab should feature flat / smooth.

    • Brilliant. I think this might be able to make everyone happy. I don't like the horizontal panel mock-ups that I have seen so far. They look cluttered. This works a lot better.

        • Hahaha! That's awesome. i never knew that. Blender has so many easter eggs. Thanks.
          I don't even mind the vertical alignment. As long as we can customize our own panels then it's all good. Replacing the text with icons might not be a good thing.
          I disliked every new update of Maya because they just added more icons and even replaced the text panels with picture icons. Most of them aren't very descriptive of what the tool is. I would end up using the menus and shortcuts to access tools. The only icons I stuck to were on the tool shelf because you can customize it so I was happy with that.

        • My goodness, I really didn't know about this. Are there plans to make this functionality less hidden, like in Lightroom? Guess it would be used more often, then. Thanks!

    • Another thing I would find helpful would be an icon at the left of the header that is highlighted when a performed action makes the operator panel active - for times when the tool shelf is not expanded. Maybe a little gray/orange 'F6'?
      ps: thanks for all the work, Jon! I like the new tabs, and I'm looking forward for it's final version.

  30. Alexander Ayala on

    I know there is some momentum already moving forward on this idea with vertical tabs, but I don't think we have everyone's full conviction. Apart from being harder to adjust to and read there is also the issue of the eyes travelling much further as it now has to scroll all the up and all the way down instead of focusing in one central area where one can simply select from a set amount of tools. Although horizontal tabs are feasible solution, it does tend to look a little cluttered, and perhaps the solution lies somewhere in between. It just occurred to me while I was reading this blog this morning and I'm sure I'm not the only one with this idea, but perhaps the solution could be with the use of rotated tabs. This would be give the reader a much more pleasant experience, as they now don't have to think about what their reading, provide a more centralized location, and also give some good space saving real estate. Forgive my artwork, this is only something I made on the fly to give you a quick idea on the organization.

  31. I like it. Really useful for my 6 year old sister, following in her oldest brother's footsteps. I think it's awesome. So are the collapsible menus.

  32. Alexander Ayala on

    I know there is some momentum already moving forward on this idea with vertical tabs, but I don't think we have everyone's full conviction. Apart from being harder to adjust to and read there is also the issue of the eyes travelling much further as it now has to scroll all the way up and all the way down instead of focusing in one central area where one can simply select from a set amount of tools. Although horizontal tabs are feasible solution, it does tend to look a little cluttered, so perhaps the solution lies somewhere in between. It just occurred to me while I was reading this blog this morning and I'm sure I'm not the only one with this idea, but perhaps the solution could be with the use of rotated tabs. This would be give the reader a much more pleasant experience, as they now don't have to think about what their reading, provide a more centralized location, and also give some good space saving real estate. Forgive my artwork, this is only something I made on the fly to give you a quick idea on the organization.

  33. You should add icons to the tabs. It was hard to read the tabs, and the text was cut off on my small screen, so I couldn't read the entire tab anyway. Icons are instantly recognizable, and you can add a tooltip if someone doesn't know what the icon means.

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