2.5 and what it means for you!

April 25, 2009 at 2:23 pm

I have been a user of blender since it was 2.31, and I must say that there have been times when I wanted to reach out and try something else.

Well, I am a Softimage user and supporter, have tried the lower end stuff as well such as  Carrara. These are all excellent tools, and though I am sometimes starry eyed about what some app can do and what another can’t, I still find myself coming back to this, the first 3d app I tried, and you know what, it will always be the first choice I have when doing my work unless asked otherwise.

Why? Because Blender is fast once you got your head around the Hot key’s. One hand on the keyboard and one on the mouse.

And because no other app, as far as I am aware has such a fast and stable release time table. Which brings me to the point of this post. 2.5, The UI and Event system rewrite!

The development around the 2.5 series came as no surprise for anyone, since blender has totally outgrown itself for the UI to work effectively and efficiently. Even Ton Roosendal the man behind blender had to admit that he couldn’t find certain options.

Below is a list of things to expect and not expect through this project.

The 2.5 focus

To prevent this project grows completely out of control – or never happens – let’s try to Keep It Simple, Stupid!

So, here’s the KISS description:

Upgrade our window/event system and unify access to tools.

In the course of the past 2 years, more (sub)targets have been added, but mostly related to the above:
Technical targets

  • Replace the old IrisGL window wrapper (’94), which was wrapped with Glut (’98), and got wrapped to Ghost (’01)
  • Create a new and decent Window Manager, with better area-subdivision support, allowing multiple windows.
  • Create an event system based on dynamic lists of event-handlers
  • Make sure the event system has proper support for more advanced events, for external devices, drag&drop, etc.
  • Make a tools system that allows uniform usage for hotkeys, menus, buttons, python, macros
  • Implement a library for uniform access to editable data (RNA): for buttons, lists, drivers, Ipos, expressions and Python.
  • Enable UIs to be more flexibly designed and customized, preferably via Python.
  • Make it simpler to add new options without breaking or polluting UI designs.
  • Have large parts of the Blender Python API to be generated automatically, revise Python API itself.

End-user targets

  • Allow custom sets of hotkeys, editable inside the UI
  • Have more freedom in defining hotkeys, including (modifier)key-order, and any-key-modifers.
  • Enable tools to be combined into Macros
  • Tools should be able to redo (with different properties) or to be repeated.
  • Allow any user-accessible option to be animated
  • Allow the UI to be more flexible to optimize for specific workflows or creation targets.
  • Provide improved navigation in the UI, a well designed consistency to find options and tools.

Not targets (yet)

  • Improved Dependency system. Parts of this might be part of the RNA, parts of it are for later.
  • Construction history (tool stacks). Problem here is that selection in Blender remains OpenGL based for a while, so they won’t be included in history.
  • A complete new and glorious UI! Although there will be work done on improving the UI and presentation, the project focus will enable it, not result in it. Much of that work will be done later too.

Not targets (at all)

  • Redesign Blender’s internal DataBase or data handling.
  • A complete new updated animation system
  • The Render-export API
  • Making everything Nodes, Node-tool trees, or Node-Modifier trees.
  • Allowing Blender to become configured like Maya, 3D Max, etc. You can try of course, but our focus remains on Blender artists, and giving them the best 3D tool possible.

As such I am actively trying to get as many non blender users aware that this massive project will bring Blender more in line with the understanding of Industry standards.

Please take your time if you haven’t already and get behind this project by either supporting the BF through the Blender shop found here http://www.blender.org/e-shop/

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