Blender 2.8 Defaults
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Description

This is a list of things we should change about Blender's default settings and behaviour.

The list will grow and change over time.

Commits:

Preferences

  • Python tooltips OFF
  • Auto Perspective ON ***
  • Navigation Manipulator ON ***
  • Region Overlap ON (Could be removed completely, now that it's optimized) ***
    • To make transparent toolbars work better, we would like to:
      • Make the toolbar region height be limited to the contents.
      • Make the toolbar region a separate theme

Default Settings

  • Default Shader should be set to Principled BSDF
  • Default Lamp increased strength (10x stronger)
  • Playback set to AV Sync
  • 3D View Lens = 50mm
  • Camera film size = 36x24mm Full Frame
  • Camera Focal Length = 50mm
  • Render Size Percentage = 100%
  • Render Display = New Window
  • Scene Units = Metric
  • Color Management View = Filmic
  • Workbench Object Overlap = ON
  • Absolute Shape Keys Interpolation = Linear

Default Renderer

  • Viewport = Workbench + Studio Lighting

Layout

  • Headers on top for all editors, except the Timeline at the bottom
  • Default Properties tab = Object Properties

New Objects

  • Generate UV's = ON

Default Theme

  • Flat
  • Dark UI Chrome
  • Universal widget radius
  • Transparent header in 3D View
  • Transparent toolbar area in 3D View

Tools

Vertex Slide:

  • Correct UV's = ON

Extrude Along Normals:

  • Even Thickness = ON

Laplacian Smooth:

  • Lambda Factor = 1.000

UV/Image Editor

  • Normalized Coordinates

Cycles

  • Dithering = 1
  • Image Sequence Auto Refresh = ON

New Objects

  • SubdivisionSurfaces = ON (via OpenSubdiv)
  • Shade Smooth = ON (Wait till we have OpenSubdiv)

Preferences

  • Compute Devices ON (Postpone until we can detect crappy GPU's)

Text Editor

  • Line Numbers ON

Addons

Details

Type
Design
There are a very large number of changes, so older changes are hidden. Show Older Changes

An outsiders opinion if I may:

Bevel

  • Clamp Overlap ON

Rationale

  • When a new user is trying to explore Blender by himself, going through toolbar and trying various tools, after the bevel tool is activated the user tends to drag the mouse rather fast to learn what the tool does. As the bevel tool is very sensitive, the mesh will overlay resulting in user's confusion about the tool's purpose.
  • Even though, I personally in my workflow don't have a use for clamp overlap being off, I am certain that some power users do. However, their Blender knowledge is most likely sufficient to enable it ON if needed.
  • Even though this is not totally comparable, but 'Clamp' is already set to 'ON' by default for other tools, such as 'Loop Cut' and 'Edge Slide'.

Clamp Overlay OFF

Clamp Overlay ON

-L0Lock- added a comment.EditedMay 25 2018, 9:32 PM

Make default's viewport simplify settings actually simplified. Like 0.1 of particles, 1 or even 0 subsurf, ...

I consider counter-intuitive that those settings are set at the highest level while they are meant to do the opposite.

Also, this has nothing to do here but maybe it would be nice to have something in the UI constantly warning that the viewport is being simplified. Maybe a simple "*Simplified*" under the "*User Persp/Ortho*" in the viewport.

I noticed: "Pie Menus, Switching modes" is listed.

Does this mean tab key always opens a pie menu instead of toggling edit-mode?

From discussion w/ @William Reynish (billreynish) I was under the impression this was not desired behavior and pie menu should only be enabled using sticky keys (hold tab shows pie menu, click to toggle editmode - for eg).

I believe this should be the behaviour for modes, and hopefully many other things that can be grouped like pie menu for pivots.
in any case, I feel that using the numbers or whatever other combination for modes makes no sense first because blender uses a lot of hotkeys and taking out up to 6 of them for the modes seems bad, while you could have one pie menu.

thanks!

Please make the defaults have better contrast and clarity. I have checked the currently available themes and many are way too low contrast.
For example make the selected tab/toogle button instead of this


more like this

Also toggle buttons could use some 2D/3D effect to emphasize their state.

Yes, I agree with Mongo, I don't know if there is a voting system to raise the relevance of certain ideas.

In any case I also feel quite lost in this new interface, what disturbs me the most is to have the name of the variable outside its label.

For people with asperger syndrome in particular, it will be much more difficult to find their way around.

Here is what you currently have in place :

Here is a proposal that seems more readable to me :

@yoann (softyoda) about the vertically centered position of "Location", "Rotation", and "Scale" in your example, i disagree, what if there are more than three values? Lets say 4. Where to put it then? Beside the second? Beside the third? Between the second and third value? This will look really messy! What if you have even more? 15 for example. This would make you scroll down to see what the numbers belong to. My understanding is that we are moving to a cleaner, more organized, and grid based layout and your suggestion would make it worse. You made the X, Y, and Z the same brightened color as the fields you can interact with, suggesting that you can click on them and something happens. Which is not the case afaik. So this makes it even more confusing.
About a subtle divider line, yeah, this could work, maybe as default or as a themable option.

Edit: This discussion seems off topic anyway, no?

also it would be really nice and useful to be able to select the attribute (not the value) and to be able to sync it with the graph editor, timeline and dopesheet, so if i select rotation x, it would only show rotation x for the selected object in the mentioned editors, that would ease and fasten the workflow of editing the intended attributes by a lot.

I know it doesnt seem like much but if i have 10 bones selected, having to go and select the property in the graph editor for each one of them and then having solo them to just edit the intended curves takes quite some time.
with this you could just select what you need and edit the keyframes in the synced timeline or graph editor directly.

Vyacheslav (Ghostil) added a comment.EditedMay 31 2018, 4:51 PM

You can not make a way to work with subobjects to activate the highlight of the active object?
2 options with connections,
1 only the side stroke of the object, now it is only in object mode.
2 stroke mode and solid illumination.
This mode can be turned off by default.
Colors and thickness should be customizable.
It would look nice and maybe it was.

Preview options and Selection options
Selection previews highlight in yellow, and actual selections highlight in blue. There are two checkboxes for each of these states:
Overlay When on, the highlight includes a translucent overlay on the object. Default=off.
Outline When on, the highlight includes an outline of the object. Default=on.
Turning off both checkboxes for both options is equivalent to turning off the main Selection Preview Highlights checkbox.

Vyacheslav (Ghostil) added a comment.EditedMay 31 2018, 5:18 PM

There are two checkboxes for each of these states:
Overlay When on, the highlight includes a translucent overlay on the object. Default=off.
A similar option I would like for a blender.
This box select in 3ds max and true 2 settings.


If the similar is already in 2.8 it will be very good.

Make the VSE strips use AlphaOver instead of Cross by default, so transparent areas don't show up black. (suggested in the forums)

Not sure it fits the defaults settings, but could it be added an option to keep duplicate windows on top?

Since, now, the render is in a new window, it could be useful to keep it visible with an option in the preferences.

Not sure it fits the defaults settings, but could it be added an option to keep duplicate windows on top?

Since, now, the render is in a new window, it could be useful to keep it visible with an option in the preferences.

Definitely. Floating windows needs to stay on top.

They should, yes. Currently, Blenders has no way to distinguish the various windows, but we are aware of the issue, and it can be solved.

They should, yes. Currently, Blenders has no way to distinguish the various windows, but we are aware of the issue, and it can be solved.

Great news.

Cheers...

They should, yes. Currently, Blenders has no way to distinguish the various windows, but we are aware of the issue, and it can be solved.

What would be the logic for solving this?

For preferences it's obvious, for two windows each the same size on a different monitor - its not. maybe this should get its own design task.

They should, yes. Currently, Blenders has no way to distinguish the various windows, but we are aware of the issue, and it can be solved.

What would be the logic for solving this?

For preferences it's obvious, for two windows each the same size on a different monitor - its not. maybe this should get its own design task.

Well, why overcomplicate things? The base window sits at the bottom and everything that comes after that sits on top of that, no?
I don't care too much about floating things on my main window ... but it would be nice if Blender could work on multiple screens without the windows disappearing behind each other and the need for occasional double clicks when switching windows.

They should, yes. Currently, Blenders has no way to distinguish the various windows, but we are aware of the issue, and it can be solved.

What would be the logic for solving this?

For preferences it's obvious, for two windows each the same size on a different monitor - its not. maybe this should get its own design task.

I think what most people request is a simple window parenting. The first window which opens after launching Blender executable is a parent Window, and any window opened after it is a child window. Children windows have following behavior:

1, They are always displayed on top of the parent window.
2, Their focus is defined by the focus of parent window. If parent window is in focus, all children windows are in focus as well. This also solves the dual monitor issue.
3, Closing parent window closes all the children windows as well. Therefore, closing the parent window exits Blender instead of keeping the children windows open.

I don't see how floating user preferences window is any different than large window on a second monitor. If you move floating user preferences window to a second monitor and maximize it, then that's precisely the same thing.

Animation Timeout for pies should be lowered from 6 to maybe 2 or 3. Since the gesture can be done fast there are cases when the pie is still expanding in the animation, which can look a bit messy.

+1 for a fix on floating windows ^^

Could it be possible to add an option to show directly the HSV?

Ill have to say that search should be spacebar again, its the only way that no matter what keyboard youre in, youll have it in front of you, it was one of the first things everyone teaches including me to their students because you can use it to learn hotkeys, or to find obscure things that regularly dont use.
with the tilde key that you chose, in my spanish keyboard i have no access to spacebar by default and i bet it happens to many other people.
also having that toolbar in the spacebar is very very very reduntant.
thanks guys. loving 2.8

@Luciano Muñoz Sessarego (looch) I think your comment about search is more related to this task: https://developer.blender.org/T55162
I've made a proposal there to give it more discoveravility in the UI

First time poster here.
I was absolutely shocked to see that you had made 'metric' the default unit system for Blender 2.8, and I was wondering if that decision was really final and widely approved by everyone, or if there was still a chance that you might change it back.
In my opinion, the metric units only require the user to do unnecessary calculations in their head, and they make typing very confusing. For example:

  1. type "1000", press Return, get "1". (km)
  2. type "0.001", press Return, get "1". (mm)

I am bombarded with a range of different units. km, m, cm, mm.....
If I wanted to work in millimeters, I'd have to calculate the correct decimal number in units in my head and then enter that, or I'd be forced to actually type the letters "mm" each time I change a value. Why would I ever want to type letters into a number field anyway?

I'm a game developer. Like most 3D artists, I think in abstract units. A unit can be anything I want. A tiny minority of blender users are architects who may approve of metric units as the default. Why cater to them and basically ruin usability for everybody else? (At least that is how I feel about this.) IMHO the only way to go are Blender units as the default setting. And wouldn't it also be a good idea to get rid of those excess decimal places when they're all zero?


(I don't know how to best make myself heard in this place, so I made that clickbaity picture for you. I'm sorry.)

@Chris (gobb_blend) As to if the metric system being the default; probably.

As to the units; it starts here:

1 In the new version, can presets be saved for default settings in all sections?
2 when resizing for example by cm, the dimensions will always be measured in cm, and not as now 100 cm automatically converted to 1 m?
3 Can I fine-tune the accuracy of a semi-comma
1.0cm 1.00cm 1.000cm size?

And (in my view at least) it ends here:

For units, there could an additional option for a preferred display unit (so that it e.g. always uses cm unless the number is outside the 0.0001cm to 10000.0cm range and it becomes ridiculously long). But that's not a change to the default setttings and seems off topic here.

Happy Reading!!!

RGB color can be made as in all editors by whole values?
Red 255
Green 255
Blue 255 = White color!

@Vyacheslav (Ghostil) only when it's 8bit/channel then.

Smoothing groups will not add normal as in 3d max?
If you make a model in some kind of game, these groups are often used, and they are not normally exported from the blender.

Yo @Campbell Barton (campbellbarton) and @William Reynish (billreynish) Can we have a brush as an active tool in sculpt mode instead of the cursor as an active tool?

The 3D cursor tool will be removed from Sculpt mode.

The 3D cursor tool will be removed from Sculpt mode.

Please don't remove it yet, let wait till Grease Pencils lands in Blender2.8, we sculptors like to use GP as a tool in sculpt mode to define some forms, if using GP will need the cursor, removing the cursor will be a lost. This is what I m talking about https://youtu.be/714RowiBKsk

YAFU (YAFU) added a comment.EditedJul 1 2018, 2:18 PM

Hi. I think that Translate/Move widget should be by default instead of Cursor. Sorry if that was the plan, but I found nothing about it above.

Edit:
I did not mention Transform widget because it could be a bit heavy for the view to have it by default.

Just a small suggestion about the cycles rendering performance settings: It would be great to have different default tile size when switching the device (CPU <-> GPU).

I suggest to have, in the user preferences, Zoom to mouse position active:

  • beginners can move around without learning how to pan (they should but right after...)
  • experienced users, coming from other software, can recover what they already know ( it is a standard behavior for 2d and 3d software to have the mouse zooming towards his position)
  • experienced Blender users often activate this option
  • about usability: you merge two actions (zoom and pan) into one.

I can't see any particular side effect on having it on by default.

Thank you,
Riccardo

The Cursor tool should be indicated in the interface on start. Right now when you start blender, Cursor is the active tool, but the tool isn't highlighted and the settings aren't displayed in the top bar.

A few suggestions if I may. They make sense for my use cases, but I'm not sure how they alight with the global vision or everyone else's workflow.

  1. Empty object size to smaller value - Maybe 0.1 units for both empties and group instances? Working with the (officially recommended ?) metric scale where 1 BU = 1m, I rarely need empties that large, even for a human sized character or say a car.
  2. Consistent shader node options - Properties for Cycles nodes added through the Properties Window > Materials don't match the same node added through the Node Editor, for example glossy roughness is 0 for the former but 0.2 for the later. This was already implemente, thanks a lot.
  3. Consistent add slot behavior - When adding a new particle slot no new particle system should be created automatically (like no materials are created when adding material slots), particle systems are more critical for being resource heavy and potentially slow, so care should be taken not to add them lightly. It also quickly pollutes the list with useless stubs when there is a button below for this purpose.
  4. Always respect the Link Materials To: option - When adding a new material to an object without slots directly through the + New button in the Properties Window the option set in User Preferences > Editing > Link Materials To: Object is not respected and materials are always linked to Object Data regardless, unlike when adding an empty slot first. Maybe materials could actually by default be linked to Object anyway, since it is the most flexible option.
  5. Particle Scale 1 - By default particle size is set 0.05, assuming the user didn't model them to scale, which if he did will either get too small or be invisible, misleading the user to think it is not not working.
  6. Auto Offset nodes to the left - The reason being node trees flow from left to right where the rightmost element is generally the "output" (Materials for shader trees, or Composite for post production), which is the immutable part of most trees, being there 99% of the time; unlike the rest which may grow or shrink and vary wildly between trees. By offsetting to the left instead the common outputs part will in all likelihood remain at the same relative spot in "Node World Space" between different trees, if unchanged by the user. This can be extremely convenient when switching often between similarly structured trees (like materials) leaving related elements at about the same place, potentially greatly reducing the need to constantly pan and adjust the view back and forth.

I'd like to hear your opinions. Not sure if everyone else agrees with these, or even if they are feasible or easy to implement, so I'll leave them for your consideration.

The Cursor tool should be indicated in the interface on start. Right now when you start blender, Cursor is the active tool, but the tool isn't highlighted and the settings aren't displayed in the top bar.

This is a bug, rather than a default.

I do agree with @Duarte Farrajota Ramos (duarteframos) , specially point 1, 3 and 5.
Personally I like materials to be linked to data.

Duarte: I agree with most of your points, I will go over them with some of the other guys on IRC.

Any chance of changing the cancerous format known as PNG to OpenEXR half with DWA for default? PNG compounds the accumulating alpha problems, as well as makes things very challenging moving forwards with proper scene referred streamlining.

RGB color can be made as in all editors by whole values?
Red 255
Green 255
Blue 255 = White color!

Except this isn't how colour works, so a Very Bad Idea™.

In the Graph Editor, set the "Only Selected Keyframes Handles" off by default (or, at least in the animation workspaces).

Currently, this option is On, so all the handles are hidden till the keyframe is selected. Meaning we can't select a particular handle and manipulate it in one click. We must select the key first, then unselect the unwanted parts, then manipulate. This is already quite long to do for a single handle, so imagine how it is when you need to manipulate several handles at once. I.E. I want to select all the entry handles of several keys and move them around.

TL;DR, this option enabled makes everything slower.

The only reasons I can think of why this option is On by default is for performance (I guess it's faster to update the Graph is there isn't handles everywhere) and to not clutter the view. And those are considerable choices. But IMO, for an efficient animation workflow, displaying those handles is more important.

Is it possible to have a new Spot Light preset included by default?

In the Graph Editor, set the "Only Selected Keyframes Handles" off by default (or, at least in the animation workspaces).

Currently, this option is On, so all the handles are hidden till the keyframe is selected. Meaning we can't select a particular handle and manipulate it in one click. We must select the key first, then unselect the unwanted parts, then manipulate. This is already quite long to do for a single handle, so imagine how it is when you need to manipulate several handles at once. I.E. I want to select all the entry handles of several keys and move them around.

TL;DR, this option enabled makes everything slower.

The only reasons I can think of why this option is On by default is for performance (I guess it's faster to update the Graph is there isn't handles everywhere) and to not clutter the view. And those are considerable choices. But IMO, for an efficient animation workflow, displaying those handles is more important.

actually yes i think one of the reasons is performans, because its not a marginal hit in it, its actually quite big, a scene that can be running realtime, can easily go down to 1 or 2 fps.
to that I actually use "only show selected curves keyframes" so it will basically filter the curves by just clicking on the channel which is great behaviour.
things that should be addressed are the inconsistency with the channel colors, sometimes its rgb, sometimes some pastel colors sometimes no color whatsoever, it would be nice if XYZ is always RGB always, and W in the case of quaternions would have an other color, because it tends to be confusing and hard to read.

@William Reynish (billreynish) Sorry, I didn't explain it well...
Is a very popular and useful type of light setup which consists of a light and a target object (usually an empty object). That light is always pointing at the target wherever you move the target or the light.


And since this setup is very popular but usually takes some steps to make it, some 3d packages already includes it by default, often they call it "target light" or something similar.

In Blender to achieve this you need to create a light (usually a spot light) and an empty object (plain axis is the favorite for this), then you select the spot light and add a "track to" constraint to it. Next, in the "track to" constraint settings you choose the empty object we created as the target, then set the "To" parameter to "Z" axis, and then set the "Up" parameter to "Y".
After this, the setup is done, but that's quite a lot of steps as you can see, that's why other apps are providing this setup as a separate type of light.
Also when creating this type of light it usually appears more or less in the following position already, with the empty object in the center of the world.

So it would be great if Blender could offer this setup in one click as a light type as well, it's very useful.
I'm not sure if such kind of "preset" system exists in Blender tho... but yeah, would be nice...

@TheRedWaxPolice (TheRedWaxPolice) , what you are asking for is already there. It is just buggy (It does not always work at first try.).
That is the yellow point.


It can be overlapped by cone angle arrow.
That is the first gizmo done to demonstrate them.
Lamps gizmo design should be improved. But everybody agree with that idea of a target for lamp direction.

Is there possibility to change Select Linked to Shift + RMB Double Click and Select Linked All to RMB Double Click in case of user-friendly selecting workflow? I mean make it as default shortcuts, because now there is no easy way to discover how to select whole complements of the mesh.

Shift L is used to enable Deselect option of Select Linked.
If you only change shortcut to shift+RMB Double click, you loose the ability to deselect.

Ctrl RMB -> Pick Shortest Path
Shit Ctrl RMB -> Pick Shortest Path Fill Region option
Alt RMB -> Select Loop
Ctrl Alt RMB -> Select Ring
Shift RMB -> Extend selection
Shift Alt RMB -> Extend Select Loop
Shit Ctrl Alt RMB -> Extend Select Ring

It may be weird but it does not hurt to re-use extend shortcuts for that. We could imagine Shift Alt RMB double click to deselect.
But if operator could understand that hovering selected elements means deselect and hovering unselected elements means select and hovering an empty space means select all.
We could be fine with just one RMB Double click shortcut.

Select Linked to Shift + RMB Double Click needed because then you can add it to selection, either way it will deselect everything before it.

TheRedWaxPolice: What you are asking for is not really a default setting per se. It's an asset. When the Asset Manager eventually arrives, we will start to flesh out a system to include built-in assets. But before that happens, we have no built-in way to store and browse them, so we can't include any until then.

zeauro: Nice feature, but quite different from the idea of a target light... But thanks for pointing that out.

billreynish: It can be considered a built-in asset, yeah. Too bad there's not a way to store this type of information built-in at moment. I'm wondering if it could be done with a python script... 🤔

One of the defaults that definitely should be changed for 2.8 is that "Release confirms" in Preferences should be off. Current state has this really weird behavior where if you drag an item, it sticks to your mouse until you click again to drop it. This feels much more like a bug or mouse malfunction rather than a feature.

Ludvik: I don't know what you mean. Release already confirms. If you enable the Move tool and drag, releasing then confirms the movement.

One of the defaults that definitely should be changed for 2.8 is that "Release confirms" in Preferences should be off. Current state has this really weird behavior where if you drag an item, it sticks to your mouse until you click again to drop it. This feels much more like a bug or mouse malfunction rather than a feature.

This feature is actually disabled by default, that's why stuff sticks to the mouse. But yes, it should come enabled by default, as it is really an unexpected behavior.

William Reynish: This seem to only happen when you move things with the RMB.

YAFU (YAFU) added a comment.EditedWed, Oct 10, 1:39 AM

rawalanche , Hi.

If you are referring to Grab and not to Move, there is a MMB and Shift-MMB shortcut for constraint/lock to axes and plane after you start grabbing. If you "enable" Release Confirms (I think that is what you are really proposing) it becomes very difficult to use that feature with mouse, and almost impossible with usual mapping in graphics tablets.

Some things I've noticed that probably fall into this category of fixups:

Render Properties -> Cycles -> Light Paths : The values filled in by default are not part of any preset. This means that if you start switching between the included presets, you won't be able to go back to the default values unless you remember all of them. There should probably be a new preset added which corresponds to these values
Render Properties -> Cycles -> Sampling : The presets do not take into consideration the "Square samples" option. This means that you can select "Preview" or "Final" but the Squared Samples toggle remains set to whatever was there previously. This could be somewhat surprising. Additionally, I believe the presets that exist currently are only for the "Path tracing" integrator, not the Branched path tracer option; new presets are needed perhaps.

Presets in general : Would it be possible to include a "(default)" text next to any preset which is the default. For instance, the Cycles -> Dimensions defaults actually correspond to the "HDTV 1080p" preset. It would be nice if the preset was actually called "HDTV 1080p (default)"

Edit Mode -> Delete -> Edge Loops + Face Split option : Should be OFF by default. The Face split option is already OFF for Dissolve Vertices and Dissolve Edges and it produces more expected results in typical situations

Ludvik: I don't know what you mean. Release already confirms. If you enable the Move tool and drag, releasing then confirms the movement.

Hey, I mean this option:


When latest 2.8 is reset to factory defaults, this option is off. And then whenever you for example use tweak tool (Drag RMB) the item remains stuck to your mouse until you click again. It also seems to affect "Tweak" tool on a few other places around the UI, I don't know where exactly though.

Suggestion: change the default active tool.

Right now it is set on 3D Cursor, which newcomers don't know and may not understand what's happening on the firsts clicks. And even for regular blender users, this isn't the tool you need right away after launching nor that often while working.
I would suggest something more understandable and useful for everyone, such as the Move tool or the Transform tool.

-L0Lock- added a comment.EditedThu, Oct 11, 12:38 PM

In the Graph Editor, set the "Only Selected Keyframes Handles" off by default (or, at least in the animation workspaces).

Currently, this option is On, so all the handles are hidden till the keyframe is selected. Meaning we can't select a particular handle and manipulate it in one click. We must select the key first, then unselect the unwanted parts, then manipulate. This is already quite long to do for a single handle, so imagine how it is when you need to manipulate several handles at once. I.E. I want to select all the entry handles of several keys and move them around.

TL;DR, this option enabled makes everything slower.

The only reasons I can think of why this option is On by default is for performance (I guess it's faster to update the Graph is there isn't handles everywhere) and to not clutter the view. And those are considerable choices. But IMO, for an efficient animation workflow, displaying those handles is more important.

actually yes i think one of the reasons is performans, because its not a marginal hit in it, its actually quite big, a scene that can be running realtime, can easily go down to 1 or 2 fps.
to that I actually use "only show selected curves keyframes" so it will basically filter the curves by just clicking on the channel which is great behaviour.
things that should be addressed are the inconsistency with the channel colors, sometimes its rgb, sometimes some pastel colors sometimes no color whatsoever, it would be nice if XYZ is always RGB always, and W in the case of quaternions would have an other color, because it tends to be confusing and hard to read.

Yes, I don't say there can't be performance issues, I personally always have such issues as soon as there are a dozen curves displayed, handles or not.
But I can handle that via those buttons :


These buttons are directly in front of my eyes instead of functions hidden in a menu, making them easy to acknowledge and use (just a look and a simple click to toggle them).
And those options don't reduce my efficiency, I work the same way with or without, they just let me do that without waiting for my computer. While the handles hiding option reduces the efficiency a lot: there are numerous actions that you simply can not do with that option enabled, and it forces you to do a considerable quantity of additional actions in order to do something otherwise simple. Unless I really struggle with performances and I'm out of solutions, I let this option Off and play with the other performance functions first. It is a solution of last resort.

If this option is only enabled for the sake of performance, I think it's not worth all the downsides as a default value and there are other functions that should be played with before needing to use it. If people really need that On, they can enable it anyway. But otherwise, efficiency and usability should prevail as long as possible.

Suggestion: change the default active tool.

Right now it is set on 3D Cursor, which newcomers don't know and may not understand what's happening on the firsts clicks. And even for regular blender users, this isn't the tool you need right away after launching nor that often while working.
I would suggest something more understandable and useful for everyone, such as the Move tool or the Transform tool.

I second this, thought I'd say the default should hopefully be a safer selection tool instead, which is the most basic of tasks and probably the first thing new users are expecting to do on click (select and delete the default cube is a very common first step in many tutorials, and so is select and enter Edit Mode).
It is also a "safe startup state" where any misclick or accidental mouse action should be less likely to cause unintended changes or accidental damage; clicking or dragging only selects, unlike transform tools.

Consequently I believe the Border Selection tool (or whichever other "default state" we end up going with) should thus become the first and topmost icon in the toolbar to better communicate to the user that this is indeed a default and safe idle state.

General behavior while this "default tool" is active would also ideally match as close as possible the current 2.7# behavior while no other operators are running. For veterans this would mean a "home to return to" if they don't want to use the new tool system, or prefer the legacy hotkey oriented operators.

I also thought about the *Border select* tool. But the issue is that for now, a simple click only moves the 3D cursor.

Maybe self-collision setting of cloth simulation ON by default?