Thursday, February 4, 2010

Themes UI

The nice thing about Blender 2.5's new 'Themes' editor in Preferences, is that you can get a much better overview of your colors than before. In Blender 2.4x you could only edit one color at a time, and you had to navigate through a menu based hierarchical system, making theme editing slow as molasses. 

The new spacious Preferences window has allowed for a more flat, direct list of colors. This is very nice, though the layout is a little messy looking. The list on the left is pretty wonky, with it's center aligned text and 3D appearance, which doesn't really work vertically. It all makes sense from a code standpoint as these are just standard radio buttons, but it doesn't look pleasing. The lack of any spacing also makes it look busy.

The new UI layout engine in 2.5 is really fantastic for many things, but unfortunately makes this kind of layout here a little hard to do. Even so, I'll dive in to the Python script and give it a go to see if I can match the mockup below, more or less.


  1. How do you make your mockups? Do you just copy paste a lot in gimp or photoshop? Do you have a library of widgets you could share?

  2. Nice idea merging the alpha slider in the color picker window!

    And nice work in the hierarchy between the top header and the left panel. Now it's easier to understand that the left panel is inside of the top header. =]

  3. I admit that it's pretty easy to improve the layout here in theory. The hard part is actually making it happen with the layout system, the controls and all. Hmm...

    Sean: I like to use Apple Keynote for the mockups. The nice thing with Keynote though is that you have many canvases (slides), the vector lines are always pixel aligned and the fonts are gorgeous, using the built-in font engine of OS X.

    However, almost any vector app would do just as well. You could use Photoshop, but it'd take ages, cutting and pasting little bits together. I used to do that and it took forever to do even simple stuff. Could even just use a pen and paper really, though it's always nice to have something that looks real - it makes it easier to imagine.

  4. A good improvement over what is now available in 2.5. I epsecially like the way the alpha value is being displayed.