the Blender Velvets

Space Sequencer – Modified version



Back to homepage


Introduction to the Space Sequencer

When we think of a computer program, we think of something finished, closed. You click on it, it opens and, once inside it, you use it to do your stuff. Seen like this, programs are made to work always the same way, executing always the same functions, inside the same interface. If everything works, we are happy; if they don’t, we curse.

Blender changes this conception radically by transforming the logic of how software works. A good example of that is that the program’s own interface – or, in other words, everything we see when we use it – is created at the moment we ask it to run.

It is as if we had a terrain full of scattered material and an entrance gate. When we open that gate, all columns, bricks, glass and tiles that were sparse would start moving about quickly and, almost magically, would put themselves into place. Suddenly, we do not have an empty terrain anymore, but a full house.

By the same example, if we changed the material we have in hand or the architectural design we’d change the final form this house would present itself to us, once it finishes assembling itself. Blender works exactly this same way. At startup, it runs a series of Python scripts that will dictate how the interface is put together. If we change the code inside those scripts, more specifically of a file named Space Sequencer, we’ll have a whole new interface – in our case, one that is more adapted to video editing.

How to change to the modified interface

The first step to install the modified interface in Blender is to download it. Click on the link below to go to the Download Area of the website.



Addons last update Nov 4, 2017 Go to the Download Area


Once downloaded, the file with the new interface (space_sequencer.py) is inside a zipped folder, together with the other Blender Velvets addons. Open it as you would with any regular .zip file and extract them to some place of your choice (for example, at the Desktop).

Notice: On the images and texts below, the used Blender version is 2.72 (highlighted in bold on the text). This number will change as new updates of the program are released.

space_sequencer_install01
Image 1: To keep Blender always up to date, it is recommended to download it and run it directly from the downloaded folder. Navigate to the directory where the program is.

On Linux and Windows, follow the folder structure as seen on the image and find the one named “bl_ui”.

For those that use MacOS, you have to click with the right mouse button on Blender’s icon and choose “Show package content” to open the hidden folder. When inside it, the path will be something like “Contents > Resourses > 2.72 > scripts > startup > bl_ui” (see image here for MacOS with Blender 2.73 example).


space_sequencer_install02
Image 2: Once inside the “bl_ui” folder, find the file named space_sequencer.py. Rename it to space_sequencer.py_orig or any other inexpressive name. Make it so that the termination won’t be .py anymore.


space_sequencer_install03
Image 3: The result will be similar to the image. Notice that when we remove the .py termination, the file is no longer recognized as a script by the system.


space_sequencer_install04
Image 4: Open the folder where the Blender Velvets addons are. Inside it, there is also a file named space_sequencer.py. Copy it or drag it to the “bl_ui” folder, as seen on the image. That’s it; the new interface is ready to be used. Start Blender.

Differences of the new interface

At first glance, the differences between both interfaces seem few. However, the more you use Blender as video editor, the more they will make sense. On the original interface, you have to access the Sequencer properties panel constantly to change an effect value, animate the frame, insert keyframes, change audio volume or panning. Since all those controls are spread out, you have to scroll up and down and look for them frequently. Blender also controls the Sequencer timeline via another window called “Timeline”, something that doesn’t make much sense when we want to insert or remove whole sections of our narrative line at every moment.

space_sequencer_comparison01b

The original Video Sequence Editor (VSE) interface,
highlighting the sections that will be altered

space_sequencer_comparison01a

The modified Video Sequence Editor (VSE) interface,
highlighting the sections that have been altered