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Blender 2.8 Splash Screen Design
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Description

For Blender 2.8, we want to make some improvements to the splash screen.

One of the main things we want to do here, is to provide an easy way to get started with various types of projects. You'll want a different setup if you are doing a 2D animation project, than if you are doing sculpting. That means, both some different objects in your scene, but also a different starting Workspace, and perhaps other things too.

The other thing we want to include, are links to tutorial videos about learning Blender, and also about new features for each release.

Lastly, Blender has many obscure features that even many seasones Blender users don't know about. We want to surface those by showing users various random tips.

Visual Example:

First Launch Setup Screen

The splash screen could also help making the setup process smoother when first launching Blender. There are several options and settings that users will want to easily configure once, such as the keymap, the language and GPU rendering. We want to make these settings more discoverable and accessible.

This means we can remove these items from the normal splash screen, to make it cleaner and simpler.

Pressing the Done button would lead users into the regular splash screen.

Outline:

Visual example:

We could then lead new users to a screen with several links to start learning Blender:

Details

Type
Design

Event Timeline

Hi.
Where "Build number" item appears, could it be a button that "directly copied to the clipboard" some short useful information for when you report a bug? (version/build/hash and maybe some very short information about System and GPU/CUDA/OpenCL/OpenGL).

I really like the proposal. An "Open" button below recent files section to open files when you don't found what you are looking for in the list could be very handy

One option that is missing in the current splash is to be able to remove a recent file from the list. It's very annoing to have the recent list full of files that opened only once, and you must open again the "most" used files to keep your recent list clean. This feature is available for example in VS2017, where you can remove a project of the recent opened projects.

It would be great to have a Pin button for files, to keep them always in the recent list. Thiis very useful when you have a main scene file, and you open different props files, you always wnt to keep the main file in the recent list.

Really like the 1st mock-up. Everything looks nicely compartmentalized into their own block sections. Also, visually communicates the different templates with their own respective thumbnails (easy to click), etc. Looks more Modern too. :) Main thing it does well is, it visually communicates each section clearly. I think that's important on a Splash Screen. For example in an Image/Video Editor. If you have a splash/startup/new project screen with thumbnail versions of different layouts/templates vs a list version of them. The thumbnails easily win. Clear and Distinguishable. Even for someone who finds it difficult to read. (Language, Poor Eye-sight, Screen Size, Etc.)

The alternative one looks a bit like a webpage or blog section and feels like it takes too much vertical space. And severely limits awesome splash art(s) to either conform or crop to fit into a weird vertical aspect ratio.

Also agree with YAFU. Clicking on the Build Data and Copying it to Clipboard would be super useful. And maybe have a link to Report Bugs on the splash itself? Preferred behavior would be to have a bug report form/window we could fill, sign and submit. But that's too much work. So a link which directs users to; https://developer.blender.org/maniphest/task/edit/form/1/ would be great! :)

+ for suggestions by @Matias Mendiola (mendio) @Antonio Vazquez (antoniov) Open Button makes a lotta sense. Recent files list can only hold so many entries. Also having to go into config folder to clear Recent files list is annoying. Lol And being able to Pin files is perfect. Great suggestions guys.

Updated mockup to include suggestions from Matias & Antonio

@William Reynish (billreynish), the splash screen looks nice, though I doubt we will have time do redesign it for the beta.

In the UI meeting we agreed on start with an empty scene + some buttons per workspace to create an initial setup. If we want to go a different way with the splash screen and application templates that can work as well, but then we need to revisit this topic next week..

Updated mockup to include suggestions from Matias & Antonio

Perfect. :) Btw, William. What do you think about using 3D Modeling or Modeling vs Poly Modeling? (just brainstorming ideas)

Also wouldn't it be better to have 3D Animation right there in the main list rather than in the 'More' section? 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Modeling, Sculpting, Tracking -or- Texturing?, More (+)

Blender has become quite appealing as a 2D Animation tool after the new Grease Pencil update. (it always was since Hero, but now it's just more!) Should totally use the Splash to show that off at launch. :)

Also a user on BA Forum suggested if we might have the functionality to have a Custom Templates button under More section. (for advanced users)

And maybe someday even be able to re-arrange template list or pin most used ones to the main row (squares). Kinda like what firefox does on it's homepage with top sites row. Just bouncing off ideas.

@Brecht Van Lommel (brecht): In that case I misunderstood the conclusion of the meeting.

As I understood it, the idea was that we'd have these 'templates' (maybe internally they are just operators), which would give the user a better starting point for various types of tasks.

If the user wants to start doing 2D animation for example, currently they have to go through a bunch of steps to get to a state where they can begin. I thought this was what we agreed we would aim to do?

We could also somehow give users access to the same operators if they go to 2D Animation Workspace with no GP-object in the scene. But the issue is then where to put it? It'd have to be somewhere super obvious to be useful. I can't think of a really great place though, other than an obtrusive popup or floating thing in the viewport?

Even if we do that, it's still more work in the end for artists who just want to start doing a 2D Animation (for example)

@Brecht Van Lommel (brecht) Hey Brecht. There's a lot of fuss about the General workspace being replaced. And Modeling with No Timeline, being the new Default. Since that's the first thing a new user sees when they launch Blender. Argument is, it's better to have timeline available rather than having to specifically switch to an animation workspace. So a new or existing user who wants to do some quick animation can do so in the default workspace, without the hassle of switching to a dedicated animation layout. (which can also visually look complex for someone starting out or un-necessary if you just wanna do quick animations in viewport.)

Also in Blender opening up a new panel isn't as simple as Window > Timeline in other apps. Gotta split view and change editor type, etc.

I personally hide the timeline cause my focus is on modeling/sculpting. But for the masses, I hope we can get the Timeline back in a Default Tab. And let the users who don't want/use it like myself just hide it themselves, or just use the specialized layouts. :)

PS: You need to get in front of the Camera more mate. More interviews with Pablo. :D Thanks for all the hard work.

Already set up different workspaces this is a great option. Because there will be no need to configure. If someone needs something of his own, he will simply create his own workspace.
P.s. First Splash Screen Design is perfect.

@William Reynish (billreynish), we could do the application templates, it's just different than what I noted down. There might have been some objections that I don't recall. I think one concern was that it would be a bit annoying to go the splash screen to be able to access the different templates easily, but we can solve that by putting all the application templates under File > New > .. and Ctrl+N.

@Gibran Kaleel (razgriz286), it's best to leave any feedback about what you think should be in the workspaces here, that's what Pablo is creating/tweaking the workspaces based on:
https://devtalk.blender.org/t/call-for-content-workspaces/1175/165

Just a thought in terms of implementation:

This could actually be really simple. Rather than launching full-on application templates, these buttons could run a simple operator. Eg, for the 2D Animation template, it would do the following:

  • Close the Splash Screen
  • Switch to 2D Animation Workspace
  • Add GP Object
  • Switch to Draw Mode

@William Reynish (billreynish) Maybe we could make more customizable if we assign a python script to each button. In this way we can change settings without recompile. Maybe press button would be:

  • Close Splash
  • Run predefined python

Antonio: For sure, that's essentially what I meant. Makes sense to just do it in Python I think.

I adressed this before, and I will write it again: Please let the layout of the splash screen be *easy* to be customizable by the user. Either by placing it via a template or as a self designed layout using a common code design tool (wysiwyg online editors for css /joomla/wordpress come to mind)

I vote for the LONG vertical design. It was my original proposal some months back.

And yes, please allow space to customize a startup workspace for custom Application Templates.

Thanks for keeping up the good work.

I just wanted to say I like the first horizontal design a lot, especially with the strip of templates with quick visual representation of the different modes. It actually stirs in me the the desire to want to get into the program and work/explore, which is a huge plus.

The vertical design is cool because it's different, but I think horizontal aspect ratio will lend itself better to accommodate the typical framing of renders.

In the UI Workshop Write-up it was mentioned that the splashscreen could be a multi-page quick configuration wizard.

Will this also be included in the new 2.8 splashscreen (for the first release or later) ?

Yes and no. This is a design that solves basically the same things as in that document, without the need for multiple pages.

Update: I split the splash screen in two: The regular splash screen, which displays items relevant for every launch, and the Setup Screen, which would only appear on the first launch.

@William Reynish (billreynish) +1. Setup Screen looks good! :) What do you think of using something other than Input for primary mouse-click? The term Input generally is inclusive for mouse + keyboard input (Hotkeys). Maybe just Mouse, Mouse-Click or Selection? In Blender User Prefs. It's under 'Select With'. Just a thought.

Also in main Splash Screen (One that launches with Blender each time), would be nice to have a 'Show this panel at startup, Show at startup, Show splash screen, Etc.' checkbox as a secondary to having it in User Prefs. Somewhere in the bottom corner maybe?

It could be called Select With, but it's not a completely accurate descriptive of how the left click select feature will work in 2.8. It really means 'favour left click for both selection and tools' or something like that.

It could be called Select With, but it's not a completely accurate descriptive of how the left click select feature will work in 2.8. It really means 'favour left click for both selection and tools' or something like that.

Yeah, Input does fit nicely to the alphabetical/vertical sorting of the labels. So even I like it. Just felt a bit vague cause even hotkeys can be considered 'Input'. But hey, Blender has become synonymous with Right-Click through the years so hopefully people will know why they gotta select their primary mouse button. :) --- I think 'Mouse Input' would be much more descriptive but breaks the flow with the other labels. Hmmm.

Maybe we can leave the labels as is and after the drop-downs have a small (?) which gives a tool-tip popover with a small description of what this setting really does? Can come in handy for Render settings too. As you said, "Favour left click for both selection and tools." --- And if that's too cluttering, have a single (?) button bottom right corner of setup screen, including all labels and single sentence descriptions of what they do.

Here are some mockups I made for a splash screen proposal, which I posted on BlenderArtist some years ago :
(I would have just linked to this, but unfortunately there are problems right now with accessing this particular thread on the new BA).

Main splash screen

Sub-splash screen - settings

Sub-splash screen - help

The idea here is to have 2 'sub-splash screens' - settings & help. Were the user easily can get access to core settings - and find links to learn the program. To get back to the main splash screen, the user would press the back button (upper right corner).
The collection of settings in this mockup isn't that well thought through, just to show that the screen real estate have room for a essential collection of settings.

Anyway, this setup could be a addition to the concept of having a setup launch screen (when the program are started the first time).

Updated - changed name to Input Device.

Updated - changed name to Input Device.

Hmmm. I'll be honest & objective here and say, Input/Input Device still seem quite broad. It's still an all inclusive term for stuff like Mouse, Keyboard, Stylus, Tablet, Etc. But doesn't explicitly say, "This is your primary selection & tool manipulation mouse-button." But if you and the other devs feel it works. Let's go with it. :)

Well, that’s also the point. It could include other input devices here also.

Well, that’s also the point. It could include other input devices here also.

Oh, If that's the case. Then sure, it works. Sorry mate, didn't know you guys were planing to allow selecting other input devices in that setting. Maybe I missed that detail in the task description above? I should check. :) Currently Mouse or Stylus, it's only limited to left/right-click select in Prefs. So thought that was all this setting covered. Good stuff.

I like the idea of "multiple splash screens", I find it to be a nice compromise between everyday usability and welcoming new users.

A way to explicitely navigate between them would also be nice so users don't feel lost or can alter any chosen settings.
Both some sort of tabbed setup, or link with "back" buttons seem fine as shown in the above mockups.

Speaking for myself I would say most users will not use splash screen links that often after first launch, so in an attempt to save space i'd say.

Combine the link to blender.org with the logo on top left (Maybe a hover effect to make it more obvious).

Likewise clicking the version number could take you to the release notes.

As suggested before clicking a build number could copy it to clipboard. Or perhaps pressing Ctrl+C while hovering (like other property buttons) and clicking it would take you to the developer site to report a bug (bonus points if it pre-fills the version number in the template)

This would hopefully leave more space to make other links (like the development fund) more prominent, or have a longer recent file list.

Maybe links to tutorials and education material could be their own category or tab.

Beautiful the initiative of the first start setup and also the "new functions" tour.

a note on this point:
For the new features added with the new releases of blender, just yesterday I walked around the site to refresh and rediscover features that I lost in the past years .. but I noticed that many links of old releases that led to the wiki are broken .. It would be useful if this possibility to explore the new features based on the released versions, and it would be useful and funny if it were listed which features have been improved and which deprecated and replaced.

Even taste just to get a historical overview from where we left to where we arrived. They are very exciting to study and create appreciation, and better focus the trajectory for the future, perhaps rediscovering at the level of ideas some functionality that existed but that over time went into the forgetful.
The 2003 periods with the release of the opensource code, the year of "study of the code", the acceleration of the adjuncts of functionalities starting towards the end of 2004, the first reorganization of 2008 with blender 2.5, the solidification period of the following years until the arrival of the third blender revolution 2.8 ..
A historical archive of functionalities and phases of well-organized and easily flowing evolution will help to improve future versions.

Best regard and thanks for the good work.

I really Like the UI design on the Splash screen.


One suggestion, Instead of having complete theme list please show UI modes in Blender Dark and Blender Light (Just Two Themes).
You can add a Note in the bottom, "You can change these settings in the User Preferences Tab". So that would be very simple and easy for beginners too.

Even simpler: We should remove most of those built-in themes. Most of them are not well maintained, are not readable, not useful and were the result of a few experiments years ago. We could keep just a small handful, or even just ship with the two light and dark ones.

Totally agree! Most of the themes just look plain ugly and dont work for 2.8 at all.
Giving the user 20 bad options to ruin the first experience is not helping.

I like the design a lot. Now that we have this "First launch setup" layout, I think it would make sense to have an homonym operator somewhere* to call it anytime.
*edit: in preferences?

Please put LCS as default, because many people can ignore the First Launch Setup Screen and have the problem of clicking and do nothing. Usually users experienced in other software only look slightly new software that are in the same category and if they find it interesting to see some videotutorial about it. And although Blender is very popular many do not know about it, I recently gave a talk at a university and will be amazed to know that the guys only knew about Autodesk products. Obviously they didn't know that there is software that uses RCS. I explained RCS and LCS with its advantages and disadvantages, but nobody wanted to choose RCS. If you really want to give importance to RCS you should put a link to blender.org explaining the advantages. An experienced user knows how to put RCL. Maybe a vote could be taken in the community to make it more democratic?

I like how the splash screen is shaping up. I saw the following shot on Blenderartists: [image]

Something that could be really useful is adding a small "Why Right?" (or just simply "?") next or below the selection option.
It could pop open a floating text box on hover that quickly explains the benefit of using right-click select. Or play a video on click in a floating box that succinctly illustrates some benefits.

This would be helpful for newcomers who doesn't know why this would even be an option.

Settings for mouse button selection, theme settings, render settings, etc on splash screen, don't make much sense.

for a new user
Because they have no idea what these settings are for, and why they should customize them.

for advanced users
Experienced users already know where these settings are.

for professional users
Professional users are likely to upload the settings file.

These settings are pleasant, but not incredibly useful. And for new users, they will be a bit confused.

@So3Datel (AxelMening): The best way to solve the new user experience is to simply make the best choices for the default experience, as well as easy links to learn how to use Blender. This setup screen is mainly for when you install Blender on a new system and need to set up the basics.

Fusion 360 has a really nice way of handling the input settings on your first launch.

The problem with the design posted here is that only advanced users know what "Blender default" or "Industry Compatible" means, and advanced users already know how to change the keymap in the settings. New users will just guess at which one sounds best, and if they then don't like the keymap they chose, they'll be surprised to find that those "discoverable and accessible" settings are no longer where they discovered and accessed them.

Fusion 360 puts these first-launch settings in a non-modal window that stays open on the side of your workspace and updates your input settings in real time so you can experiment with different settings, and you don't have to dismiss the window until you're convinced you have the right settings for you.