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Blender 2.8 Toolbar Icons


Have you out the new 2.8 toolbars for yourself yet? If not, then this quick video by Gottfried Hofmann gives a great introduction.

Gottfried writes:

The new icons for the toolbar in Blender 2.8 seem to be highly controversial. We show you the latest changes and what the developers have in store for you like resizeable icons and a toolbar with two columns.

About the Author

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. Good day ! Tell me there is a plugin for blender - which allows you to display the cursor on the surface of the model when you are sculpting - how is this implemented in Zbrash?

  2. MirceaKitsune on

    Those UI changes look pretty good, I will admit that. Sadly they still feel like they'll be difficult to get used to, after years spent on the interface we've had since Blender 2.5. I'll have to see how the transition goes for me.

    As for which I prefer by default, either just icons or icons + text are fine by me. Just PLEASE make them smaller! There's no reason for them to be so big, and it also looks ugly compared to the rest of the interface where icons are never that large.

    • Many people asked for the icons to be smaller. The default should be 85 or 90% of the present IMO and then scale with the UI. I much prefer the 2 column layout- keeps everything compact.

      While I appreciate the intent of this mission what concerns me is a lot of the difficulty I have with the UI is actually with the panels to the right and they don't seem to be getting any love in this revamp... maybe next time...

    • So, concerning the size - it seems like this is something that Adobe gets right with Photoshop, etc. They must have done a ton of research to get their size right, and honestly I've never heard anyone complain about their tool icons. Maybe no need to re-invent the wheel?

      • If you use Adobe FrameMaker, you'd know the annoyance caused when Adobe removed colour from all the icons, making them instantly much harder to find on the toolbar. Have you ever tried to use Adobe Acrobat DC? Big flabby icons that are all grey, with many looking so similar you have to guess which one you want. The Blender guys are right to colour code the icons per functional purpose, but they're just too subtle/complex at icon size to recognise quickly.

  3. TheOuterLinux on

    I hate to say this, but it looks like Blender is going through an "Ubuntu Unity" phase. Couldn't they just install this as a touch screen theme instead?

  4. While I am glad to see someone is try to do something with the tool shelf. Those few icons are not going to replace the functions of my tool shelf. That being said if you make it only show the 2 icons row which is smaller when you get to the sculpt menu where you need to select numbers from a drop down menu you can not read them without resizing the tool shelf so the the one row and two row icons are pretty much useless without a plan to do something with all the old drop down menus in all the categories on the tool shelf. But I really liked what they did with the tabs in the sculpt and texture paint section. It is going to be a tough call to change anything in the tool shelf (without having mobs of mad users) it looks like it could be a good start. Maybe something like what gimp did icons on top and menus at the lower half. Good luck to who ever changes anything in the tool shelf.

  5. The way with the Icons is great! Ich hope they are also develope icons for the node menu. After years of work with Blender, ist's for meine still unclear. Especially in the material node menue. Little Icons could bring a better recognition value to find the right one.

  6. The icon designs are very clear as to the action they represent. That's no easy accomplishment. From what I can see in the video above, the left toolbar has become far more useful for beginners. Expert users will rely on the speed of keyboard shortcuts, and from that side, I appreciate the de-clutter of the UI. Looking forward to seeing how the 2.8 design continues to evolve....

  7. Well, Blender is becoming more like GIMP. Constraints made easy mean there'll be fewer hotkeys to learn. Blender is being made simple but it SHOULDN'T be oversimplified.

  8. horrible unsaturated greyish colours and unsharp borders... :(

    if is a step on the path to monochrome shitty icons... no thanks!

  9. Now that's a real toolbar !
    Indeed icons could be a bit smaller, but I think for the 101 project and tailored versions of blender this can be great...
    As said in the video it will be possible to set icon size so that's perfect !

    I think this will also be very useful for addons developer and make blender more "visual" and fun to use !

    Great work guys !

  10. While I also think that the current UI in Blender has gotten a bit chaotic and could be arranged in a more logical way, in most cases a simple text button with the name of the function is much more comprehensible than a colourful and spiffy, yet cryptic icon imho.

    • I agree. The sole purpose of an icon is to provide an instant reminder of its purpose. I have gazed at some of these new icons for ages and still not worked out what they would do. They are very pretty, but too complex to 'read' at a glance. My favourite is the new pie-chart icon, the one that looks like a Trivial Pursuit playing piece!

  11. Do you really think that a powerful and versatile Blender deserves some kind of childish looking icons?
    Oh no, dear devs, don't do this, please!
    They are as terrible as the 3DMax ones.

  12. PorpitaStudios on

    I am unsure yet as to the icons - I don't like large icons for sure... I believe having an interface where you can size icons to what you want is the best way to go even with an option to display what icons you want or dont want at hand with a drop down for all others perhaps? and yes the icons look childish. :S

  13. I think the icons are a great idea (two column version). I am an architect and I often use Blender just to sketch some volumes before I go and design a house in Archicad. So, I will need a simple interface to work with. Don't get me wrong. I like the fact that Blender has shortcuts for every command. But sometimes you need a place to start. And that are those icons.
    Also I am very interested in the ruler/ protractor tool. I hope it will be like in Sketchup.

  14. HI. Blender folks looks good for me ...
    Congradulations, hope the text come in all 3 version and we can choose text on or off.
    Zooming icon size and the text size and fullitegrate text in all view like moi3d one tab solution...
    That's the way to go....
    A good cleans fresh look and one tab for all in MOI3d and the tab
    are always with text and one Tab toolbar is enough for control ...and
    works well for beginners and is a good compromise and clutter not up the view workspace.

    Hudini in my opinion is a good example of another good designed icons and very good tool tab or
    Cool working ladder, object,edit and widget system with good programmed deep detailed functionality and but the tools in the most tabs have no text integration like Moi3d..

    Thanks developer ....

  15. Can get Blender 8 working. Sticking with Blender 2.79. Any chance of getting the TOOL Bar to work in Blender 2.79?

    MR H

  16. Can't get Blender 8 working. Sticking with Blender 2.79. Any chance of getting the TOOL Bar to work in Blender 2.79?

    MR H

  17. Matthew Carson on

    The debate about efficiency between icons vs symbols vs text vs pictoids is well understood by those who study such things but they are rarely focused on by the general users who mostly draw from personal experience, plus the unfortunate influence of style. Style can really work against usability. Just look at the early days of web-page design mostly powered by graphic artists! To me most of the themes included in blender look the same and rarely have advantages over each other.

    I also see the arguments divided into two extremes: easy to recognize big icons to attract beginners to Blender, and then the 'pro's for whom Blender is a workhorse and they do the same actions hundreds of times a day. No wonder they like hotkeys; they get as much practice with those as the rest of us took to learning how to type!
    I've been slowly trying to learn the hotkeys but some key combinations are totally impractical, and many commands do not even start with a default hotkey. And my usage is two generalized to get much practice with very many hotkey combos.

    To me the biggest category contains all the people in between. That category contains a lot of variety so an interface that is configurable makes the most sense to me, although that may overburden the developers.

    Although it has been used to great success in past software and even an aborted attempt in 2.5, I can't seem to drum up much interest in the idea of a NEW dedicated editor window to collect favorite/most-used/most-recently used buttons that use icons and/or text. Super efficient, configurable to make everybody happy (expert users may not even have that kind of editor window open and use the space for something else.) You could have multiple versions open with different sets of commands in different places to match your workflow, and different setups for different workspaces. Can somebody tell me why this is not a great idea?!!!! Development of just that 'editor' window could take on a life of it's own exploring tabs, and other mechanisms for custom organization. It could even replace some things like the flyout panels in windows)
    (I suspect there is a cultural bias amongst the core developers that determines what actually happens and it takes HUGE influence by the mass user base to force ideas to flourish. Just look at the right-button select debate.)

    Personally I think the whole icon/text/hot-key argument is obsolete. Computers can do anything and we need a new paradigm for complex interactions (NOT speech!)

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