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  1. #1

    How to select multiple objects using the outliner

    Hi,

    I am trying to learn how to use Blender, but its unintuitive interface is starting to get to me. Maybe people who designed this are Photoshop fans I really don't understand why wouldn't developers stick to the conventional ways of doing things. It would be intuitive, if I could left click onto an object in the outliner to select it, and then Shift-LeftClick onto another object down in the list to select all the objects between the two, wouldn't it? Isn't that how we do selections in all other software? Why can't I do so in Blender? Or why can't I just drag an outline around the names of the objects I'd like to select, and if I do this while holding Ctrl, they would be added to the current selection. Wouldn't that be intuitive, too?

    Anyway, I looked in Blender wiki, online training videos, Google search, but cannot find the answer to how to do this. Hopefully there is a way that I cannot seem to be able to find. How can I select multiple objects using the Outliner, other than clicking on them one-by-one?

    Thanks.



  2. #2
    I'm looking for an answer also. Is it possible?



  3. #3
    Member eppo's Avatar
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    Most of the other software don't really care of what was the first or last selected object. In blender, it does make a difference. That could be reason why.
    If you want to select a group of objects, make one beforehand (3d view, select by any means and Ctrl-G), then select it by switching Outliner to Group view or selecting in menu if one object from that group is selected already.



  4. #4
    Shift+LMB multiple selects objects in the outliner as well as box selecting with B and RMB / select



  5. #5
    Thanks for the replies, but looks like I could not explain what I mean. Maybe this example will clarify:



    I expanded one of the parents for you to see how much stuff is under one. Now, let's say I need to select coil10 to coil 36. How can I do this from Outliner, without ever using the 3d view? In any other program, I left click onto coil 10 parent, hold shift, and click onto coil36 and voila! If there are any among them I don't want, I could hold CTRL and click them to deselect them. Now how can I do this in Blender?

    Thanks.



  6. #6
    you can press A in outliner to deselect
    then press B and drag a box
    then right click > select

    it is almost ok...



  7. #7
    And what if the number of objects you need to select is too many that it fits into several screens in the outliner? Then the B will not work.

    I know this is a Blender forum frequented by Blender fans, so at the risk of talking like a troll, I'll say that if this is the only way, and it does not work as I described, I am sorry to say this but it is kind of retarded.

    I really want to support Blender, but if it's like this, then I would have to give credit to people who told me "rather than wasting your time trying to learn Blender, pay the money and get Cinema 4D, it's worth the money".



  8. #8
    Member eppo's Avatar
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    Not that i feel you're trolling in any way. This probably is a special (not necessarily, but, let's assume it is) case. You could go around with just some script lines, executed right in the console window at your hands (get them a bit dirty).
    Now, take what it costs, go pay for That Other Great and ask That Big Company write one, special case scenario, for you.
    Feel the difference?

    Oh, and thanks, people, newer new there are so many ways to select in Outliner!



  9. #9
    there's a filter textbox in outliner, use that or 'select pattern' to select by name... if you now group objects you can later just Shift+G to reselect
    outliner can improve a lot but it's powerful as it is -see all display modes for instance-



  10. #10
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    In any other program, I left click onto coil 10 parent, hold shift, and click onto coil36 and voila! If there are any among them I don't want, I could hold CTRL and click them to deselect them. Now how can I do this in Blender?
    It's not at all intuitive, but in the outliner the object names and the gray strips they inhabit behave differently for selection. You can highlight or unhighlight multiple objects by left-clicking the gray region to the right of the object or mesh name (no need to use shift or ctrl when the items are separated). Then right click on one of the highlighted gray regions, and choose "select" from the dropdown menu. Your objects will be selected in the 3d view. Notice you can change the objects' visibility and selectability from this menu as well, so be careful. As liero indicated, you can box-select in the outliner as well, but you then have to use right-click to actually make the selection.

    I agree, this approach is totally idiotic with respect to how we use the 3D view or our brains, and as far as I can tell it's undocumented.

    ps That file looks familiar!

    Edit: Oh if you want to make something the active object, left-click its name in the outliner last. Oy vey.
    Last edited by CD38; 11-Apr-12 at 08:50.



  11. #11
    Thanks for the answers, but when I click the grey areas, looks like I still need to highlight every single one of them one-by-one before I can right click and choose select. Am I still missing something? I was asking whether there's a way to select multiple ones between two, SIMPLY with two clicks (ok, three, if you count shift).

    And, out of curiosity, I downloaded and installed Cinema 4D Demo, and guess what, you can select objects from the outliner EXACTLY as I described; an intuitive interface, what a surprise



  12. #12
    Member McBuff's Avatar
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    Honestly what is all this about unintuitive.

    The best thing about blender is that most shortcuts and hotkeys do the same in different panels. Using B to bounding box select is one of those. Yes you need to learn to work with blender, but don't you need to learn how to work with cinema4D as well?

    Well anyways, selecting a bunch of objects with B, scrolling down, selecting more etc etc etc is pretty fast to begin with. Only when you start going over 1000 objects ofcourse. But at that point it's better to put objects in layers and selecting them through their layer.
    What I mean to say is that it all depends on your workflow in blender. If you work in a clean and organized way, blender will show you love. If you throw everything in there like 1 big soup blender will visit you on the day and claim your firstborn child.

    I'm not insinuating anything.
    "Put Smarties tubes on cats legs make them walk like a robot"
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  13. #13
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    I was asking whether there's a way to select multiple ones between two, SIMPLY with two clicks (ok, three, if you count shift).
    This is 3 or 3.5 steps in outliner:

    B-key
    Left-click and drag
    Right-click, choose Select.

    Originally Posted by McBuff
    The best thing about blender is that most shortcuts and hotkeys do the same in different panels
    "Most"...that's my point about the outliner. It doesn't make sense to use LMB to select something in the outliner, but RMB to select the same item in the 3D view. But then B-key selection works the same way in both? Then there's the whole gray-area business to make multiple selections... there must have been a reason for all this, but it escapes me atm.

    I've worked with the file GT-Force is using, and it's very well-organized as it's the output of a conversion script for biomolecule data. It was still pretty painful to navigate until I figured out the different ways to make selections in the outliner.
    Last edited by CD38; 11-Apr-12 at 11:58.



  14. #14
    Member karlis.stigis's Avatar
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    Sorry people, but I agree with GT-Force. Every time I stumble on something unintuitive and illogical in Blender and write about it in forum, hoping that maybe someone will hear me and maybe help in some way to improve Blender, like open community should, all I get is some more workarounds and bad attitude from Blender worshipers. Blender has to be improved and changed over time, that is rule of evolution.. so be more open minded. We don't have to always invent a weel again.

    One of problems I see in Blender development is, that it focuses on BIG projects.. like Cycles and Bmesh.. and other features..and that is GREAT, but small things are somewhat forgotten even if they actually are as important as big things, because we use them every day.

    And as for "unintuitive"..there is such profession as interactive designer.. it's all about Intuitivity. Maximum usability without too much thinking and learning, that's what it is.
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  15. #15
    Member eppo's Avatar
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    Thanks, Karlis, for showing how to make this even more easy. You now really don't need to scroll your mouse wheel to the final damage to get to the end of this list. But i wouldn,t agree with that Intuitivity thing. That could not be so intuitive to, say, martians. Just because billions worth enterprise put so much R&D value into it and made sure 98.7% of users are accustomed with principle and trained their motorics. There are OSes, using mouse with just one button only, can you imagine that? Dead already? No surprise, happens. Here, in this part of world, for me it's unimaginable how people get their meals done using just two sticks only. That's clearly not quite motoric and intuitive for me...Lots of them are still alive, not starving, because of such oddity.
    Enough.
    There are ways to do things in blender, i learn and use what's there or not use it. If i develop it, which i don't, i do things my way however crazy they might seem to others. I like it that way.
    Reason for being like it is could be patent issue also. Thanks, we still have mouse click freely usable.
    Peace.



  16. #16
    Member vklidu's Avatar
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    @karlis.stigis : thanks for this words



  17. #17
    In Blender 2.49b is was able to drag with the LMB and selecting this way (I guess it was also possible to select lower as the visible area).

    The Usability of the selection in the Outliner in Blender 2.6 is definitily not really good for fast selecting alot of Objects.
    I guess for a Developper it would be very easy to get back the functions of Blender 2.49b.

    Kind regards
    Alain
    Artwork - Farnsworth House
    Equipment - Intel Pentium 2.8 GHz 2 Cores, 8 GB RAM, GeForce GTX TITAN 8GB, Blender 2.72, Win 7 64 Bit, NVIDIA Driver current version



  18. #18
    I am glad to see that I am not alone in this matter, indeed.

    I can only wish that a developer will hear this outcry and do something about it.

    Cheers.



  19. #19
    Originally Posted by eppo View Post
    There are ways to do things in blender, i learn and use what's there or not use it. If i develop it, which i don't, i do things my way however crazy they might seem to others. I like it that way.
    Kudos for your Blender enthusiasm, and I hear you saying beggars can't be choosers. BUT I used to code, too, and I always wanted to make my programs easy to use for OTHER users. Because, if I am the only one who likes using it, I would most likely end up being the ONLY one using it; then I would have failed as a coder (obviously, unless my sole purpose for writing that code was for my own use)!

    Keep in mind that the more people use Blender, the better for Blender community; and the developers are a big part of this community. If you make something intuitive and easy to use, then more people will use it; it is a very simple fact. And the easiest way to make code user-friendly is listening to those users, another simple fact.



  20. #20
    Member karlis.stigis's Avatar
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    @eppo There we go again.. (: We are not martians, we are human, so what are you talking about?
    Another thing.. No offense, but I looked at your posts.. hmm.. it seems to me, that you have never made in 3D something commercial in your life. So what do you know about tight deadlines? In real world you want to do everything as fast as possible and make no mistakes in the middle. Illogical things makes probability of mistakes sooo much higher..
    P/S It's interesting to meet someone from my own country here. Labdien!
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