The Transcendental GUI

Troy Rollins troy at
Sat Oct 12 16:15:01 EDT 2002

>> If you know of an application that is popular, runs on at least two
>> platforms, and takes significant liberties with the native UI, I'd love to
>> take a look at it.
> Does Bryce count?
> Judy

Personally, I would say Bryce counts, although I'd add that I don't believe
that its interface is very good, or that it can be attributed to its
success. In fact, Kai Krause, while he is undeniably a true artist, is a
perfect example of over-doing an interface. Many of the programs that came
from that company were not usable in a practical, professional environment.
While the underlying engines had remarkable power and capability, I have
never before experienced such lack of usability.

We constantly joke about that sort of design mentality - "of course it makes
sense that if you want to rotate the background you have to wiggle your
mouse back and forth over the little 3D pyramid that only appears after the
program thinks you've become a level 2 master of psychedelic gradient
blends." The interface itself is a true obstacle to productivity.

Bryce has any level of success because it is powerful - and despite its
interface. The same can be said for Poser and its ilk. None of those
programs are recognized very well within the professional graphics community
- even though they have technology and horsepower that says they could have
been. Those professionals who do use them... generally do so "on the sly",
because they are considered "consumer software" - due entirely to the
non-standard interfaces they have. The interface itself presents an
inhibitor to professional workflow.

Yes. I would say that Bryce is a perfect example. Great software, beautiful
artistic interface. Under recognized for what it can actually do. Which is
too bad, because the results possible from those tools are quite amazing.
Tools like that, with the same capabilities, but with a more standard
interface would do much better in the professional graphics communities.

My $.02
RPSystems, Ltd.

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