Blendering Easier: 1. Commenting Everywhere 2. Better Library system

After the countless hours working on Blender, modeling huge movie sets and working with partners online and offline, I found 2 things keep slowing production (real world production, not fictional) down.

  1. Other team member’s .blend isn’t easy to understand, mostly anyone will miss small tweaks that another has done. There must be a better way to document them.

  2. The amount of objects in my scenes easily reach thousands. With so many people handling the same scene file, I want to know how many of the items on scene are just instances of that one object. What if one member come in and not link duplicate the object, how easy is it to add his changes at the same time retain object organization?

Current Blender Outliner is like a spreadsheet, no way that I want to scan everything after a tasking day. If Blender is to be a full pledge 3D software, Blender should handle these daily headache, and I must say we mustn’t trust on file structure externally, Blender should help us make them easier internally.

Thus I proposed to have 2 major features to be developed into Blender.

  1. Commenting Everywhere


2. Better Outliner aka The Library System

Please review, comment, make enhancement. What do you want to see added into these major features?

Bonus link:

Please keep this thread clean, Blenderheads that work with production handling huge scenes are much welcome to share thoughts, for others please comment if your points/ideas can move these features into execution. Thanks.

Update: Coders who want to make these or already on them, please PM my FB @

UPDATE 11.11.11: (Proposed Outliner)

  1. Commenting Everywhere
    Perfect project for an addon so you don’t need to wait for the core developers to enable it. They have spent huge time and resources to give users the ability to make new tools that fit into their specific workflows. You just need to write the addon yourself or find someone with the neccessary python skills willing to do so for you. You should feedback when you have done so.
  1. Better Outliner aka The Library System
    Covered in many threads on the forums, do a search and contribute to them with ideas and possible solutions.

The ‘Commenting Everywhere’ idea is a good one and I can see where it would come in handy, shouldn’t be too hard to implement with python really… I know how I think I would do it and that would be to store all the comments in a text editor so it’s gets saved with the .blend file. But really, you already have that ability. Anyone can open a text editor and write a few notes. So I’m thinking if people can’t open a text editor and write a few notes now, what makes you think they would use comment boxes in blender’s various panels?

Just my thoughts,

My production team have a habit to write notes passing to each other but when the file is huge and complex, not everyone will enjoy reading everything in a single location in a brain numbing amount. Artists prefer to have small chunk of information to work with. A director’s task shouldn’t be in every artist’s face. Not everyone can handle the load.

A comment layer thing for objects:

I don’t know if you load UI when opening a .blend.
But it is really easy to create a small text editor area (not very much space in screen than a comment tab) and write internal texts saved in .blend.
You are not forced to write one text for everybody. You can write one for each artist.

Your suggestions for outliner give me the feeling that you don’t know how it works in blender.
It can already do most of the things you want it to do.
Did you try system add-ons like Scene info and Object Property Chart ?

That’s cute, but no pop up please. Imagine you have thousand of that hovering in you scene. XD

The idea is to make another clone of Outliner, another program independent of it. If someone is so used to the spreadsheet presentation, by all means please use the original Outliner. My idea is for laymen. Easy to understand. Without too much of the technical stuff. WYSIWYG mentality and paradigm. If the features I mentioned already available, why everyone is having a hard time using them. The idea is to make it presentable for the “noobest” of blender user. Inside one can see the simple stuff and one can dig into the complex by diving deeper. Current Outliner is too deep for a simple glance.

There is an external way of looking through directories and inside .blend files, the name eludes me, but I’m sure someone will know the name of it.

It was used on Big Buck Bunny I believe, and is independent of the Blender version so I think it’ll still work with 2.5x/6x

I’ll have a look through my files later on and see if I can find the name of it.

I do agree with most of your points though, it’s those often over-looked final touches to work-flow’s in Blender that could just notch it up a little further in terms of usability.

The text editor idea is a good one, but it can get out of hand quite easily. EDIT: And I know this because I’ve used this technique on a production and it’s very hard to maintain a single format/ layout and conventions between even just a few artists/ developers.

Perhaps you could look at funding a python freelance developer to add a small add on which is displayed in the scene properties for a global overview of assets and then a small section under the object data area to display information about that individual object, such as notes, version numbers and perhaps a few drop downs to help label what they are I.e. duplicate, single-user etcetera.

I don’t think it would take a seasoned python developer too long to construct something that is workable.

As I said, I think the commenting everywhere is a good idea. So I’ve put a little time into it and have got it working. Here’s a screenshot:

Still lots of work to do with this and not everything I’d like to be able to do is possible. For instance, word wrapping of comments to the next line for when the panel is narrow doesn’t appear to be possible, so currently lines are limited to only 80 characters.

If anyone thinks this is a good idea, please comment. If no one comments, I’ll stop wasting my time.


That’s cute, but no pop up please. Imagine you have thousand of that hovering in you scene. XD

One comment per object.
Appears when the object is selected

Thanks for believing that “Comment Everywhere” is useful. I still remember telling few of my team member to add a certain feature into a scene we were working on. I even wrote a hand note with clear instructions of which reference to refer and when I need it done. Few days later, I found everything not done. I said I did wrote a note, team members misplaced it. That cost me an extra 20K in production fee. They still blame me for it. But I forgive them. Mistake like this happens, but this one just cost me too much.

Thanks MAN!!! I know the comment everywhere is easier to implement. If possible I would love to have word wrapping, feels more natural for artists. Just imagine a comment that sticks to almost everything in Blender. It will be very useful. Looking forward for further development!!!

Blender has been no pop up since NaN. Let’s keep it that way.

and/Or appears when hotkey is pressed…e.g. Show me comments with selected object(s)

Great idea… but how to edit comment?

Your problem is not Blender. Your problem is that you don’t appear to have an effective production management tool. Blender can integrate with that, but it shouldn’t be the sole source of communication between the artists and the director.

What Fweeb said.

Plus Blender has a text editor/grease pencil, people can leave notes that way. I’ve opened a few files from people with a text editor window open giving instructions how to use a rig for example.

Great idea… but now to edit comment?

Properties, Object tab, Comment.

In a production that progresses at 5 minutes render a day, it’s easy to loose track of anything. I know Blender can’t be the sole tool, but at least artists can see the notes/comments. They spend tons of time using Blender, so they should see them more often than other communication. There will also be no reason not to see those notes/comments unless they aren’t working. Human aren’t machines, even machine has hiccups. But with this features I hope injury time will be less, happy artists are happy people in general, don’t make them feel bad.