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Report: User Interface Workshop – Feb. 2020


Last month the User Interface team and developers met at the Blender HQ in Amsterdam for a two-day workshop to discuss Everything Nodes, Asset Management, the Brush system, and more.

William Reynish writes:

The dust has now fully settled after the major UI changes that happened in Blender 2.80, this gives us a vantage point to look at planning Blender’s forthcoming next UI-related work. For this reason, a few Blender developers met at the Blender HQ in Amsterdam for a two-day workshop and planning-session. Among the group of developers were Ton Roosendaal, Dalai Felinto, Brecht van Lommel, Julian Eisel, Bastien Montagne, Pablo Vazquez and William Reynish.

Rather than going over every little detail that could be improved, we chose to focus on the major areas that will affect the user experience. Here is a summary of the meetings and sessions we had.

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. The UI changed A LOT to better. But we have yeat a long way ahead. I want to make a suggestion: when we click to render an animation, Blender should ask us the directory we want to put the result and the name we want to give to the file. Instead of this, Blender gives an automatic meanless name like 1-180.mp4, and put the file in that evil tmp folder unless the user changes this setting.

      • Exactly. In 90% of the cases, the final render is the goal of all the work. When it is a still picture Blender asks the user about the desired name and folder of that image. This is fine. But the animation files are sended to a temporary folder! This is weird! In some systems this folder is automaticaly empted when Blender closes! A better choice is send the animation files to a folder like C://blender/render_results or something like this. And Blender should asks the user about the file name as soon as the user click on "render animation". This would avoid that automatic meaningless names.

          • Every action you MUST take in order to avoid a bad behavior from the software is a sign that something is wrong with the UI. For instance: when the user try to open a new file without save the present file, Blender now ASKS if he (or she) wants to save the work. This is nice, this is friendly, because it can happens that the user forget to save. Because of these reasons in the last 30 years EVERY major software in the face of Earth ASKS if the user wants to save the work. And none CG software saves the work in an obscure tmp folder. I'm pretty sure that the final render of the movie Avatar wasn't save in a tmp folder.

        • Is that a joke?? Most of the times you have to set your image sequence format in the SAME PANEL where you define your output path! How hard it can possibly be to do SAME action you want to perform in the prompt dialog you're asking for, but just prior to render???
          By the way, don't want default /tmp/, why not to change it ONCE, save it as a startup file and forget about it forever??
          It is useful sometimes just... you know... not to be such a lazy ass :)))

          • Thing is: artists are most of the time lazy. They are focused in their art, not in the tool. 3ds Max, Maya, Cinema 4D and other softwares don't conquer their positions by being hard to use. They are the industry standard by beeing as easy as they can for a 3D software. Ok, Blender can choose to be a software for a few tiny little group of people. If this is the case, version 2.8 is going in the wrong direction. Blender developers seems to have the goal to offer a friendly software. Because of this, is unevoidable that Blender get a lot (A LOT) of new users, including professional users.

        • You're not hearing me (and probably anyone else). You're talking about concept, I'm talking about this particular case. Exactly HOW is it takes more effort to perform SAME action?? Whether it's on a prompt dialog, or on the Output Settings panel it's the SAME TEXT FIELD! Your proposal doesn't bring any useful functionality nor making existing functionality any better! In fact - it adds one extra mouse click to close this useless prompt. What's the point???

          • No, it's not the same. Far from it. In one case, the user HAS to be warned in a tutorial or course about that few mysterious letters "/tmp\" lost in a line of a section of a panel of the software. In the other option, the software friendly asks: "in which folder do you want to save the render result"?
            In all these years I've saw many newbie users ask in the foruns: "I already rendered my animation, but where is it?". This isn't a good sign for a software.
            CG is enough complex subject. If the UI isn't very friendly, we will loose users that will migrate to more friendly lands.
            But as I said, Blender team seems to be very focused on build a friendly UI. Now Blender will became even more attractive and will conquer many more users.

    • I also prefer that old fashioned icons that are 2d but with more than a single color. But could be worse. I use InDesign from Adobe. All icons are white. No colors at all, like if the ui had been washed out with some chemical. My screen seems like it is a black and white screen. So "modern" but so poor.

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