[Floating Windows] The missing feature of blender 2.8 ✅ RELEASE

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Hello and welcome.

this addon is avaible now on the BM or gumroad with
Back Me Up and The Custom Launchers will follow next week!

Features:

  • Transform any windows into a “floater”, a blender window that is always on top of other windows, without the need of an external exe what’s so ever.
  • Dupplicate the context area into a “floater” quickly.
  • Hide/Unhide all of your floaters instantly, really handy for cleaning up your view in a second.
  • Invoke one of your custom floater from one of your 8 custom floater slots.
  • Customize your floaters size, location of spawn on a xy coordinate or on cursor, floater name and editor.
  • Some floater editor will have deep customization features like the 3d view floater. I will progressively support more and more customizations on popular demand.
  • Some floaters can be “Special” floaters, for example, i created a “Camera&Light” floater, that automatically set your future floating window to the selected camera or light view, with tons of settings to choose from. I will progressively add other useful special floaters like this.
  • Choose how you want to use floating windows: pick between a pie menu or a regular menu, and many other preferences.
  • if you opted for the 12$ option you’ll recieve a custom made .exe that can set any windows into an always on top floating state, it can work with any applications, any types of windows what so ever.

big thanks to @iceythe deep customizations possibilities wouldn’t exist without his precious advices. and thanks to @crazycourier for his post witouth him i’d never had the idea of integrating this concept into an addon.

THIS PRODUCT WILL ONLY WORK FOR WINDOWS OS












MANUAL

00 - INSTALLATION.

the addon install like any other addons, i tested several blender 2.8 builds, everything works fine.

you can change the keymap of the main menu
you can change some ui settings for the menus ( from a pie to a traditional menu, from a red/green icon to pin/unpinned incon for the floating state, from a normal to a “fat” pie)

install only the .py file of course.

01 - MAIN MENU.

The main menu contain and will contain every current and future operator of this addon.

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02 - OPERATOR 01 - Set a window to a floating state.

this operator is the first, very basic operator of my addon, you’ll see that you will not use it that much because the operators ahead do this action automatically.

Once windows are in floating states, they will be tagged as a “floaters” and the hide/unhide all floater operator will hide/unhide every floater of the .blend, it doesnt matter if the floater in question is floating or not.

On each new session you’ll need to take an extra 10second to reset all your floater to a floating state.

A floating window have an “always on top” ability, inside and outside of blender. if you are annoyed by a floater, just make him disappear instantly with the hide all floater operator.

03 - OPERATOR 02 - Duppli-Float.

Dupplifloat will dupplicate the area where your mouse cursor is into a new window setted automatically to a floating state.

04 - OPERATOR 03 - Pop-up a Custom Floater.

" Pop-up a Custom Floater" will bring you either to a pie or a menu (depending on your preferences) with 8 totally customizable floater slots.

by default, your custom floater will pop-up at your last defined cursor location.
the cursor location is defined when calling the main menu.

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Basic customization of your floater

In the addon pref editor, some basic customizations of editor, size, name, and position of your future floaters are avaible.

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Configuration trick.

Pro tip:
By calling a custom floaters, you are basically doing a “Duppli-float” operation then changing the editor type.

So your future floater will be configured the same as the related editor of the area, this give you a possibility of customizing your future floater by setting up correctly the editor of the correct area. (more customizations options are coming really soon on the first or second update of the addon).

Example: if you work in the 3D view and you always want the same image editor set-ups for your image, change your editor to images and configure the aspect of your future window.

Deep Customization for some Floater Editor

Some Editor have a lot more options than others.
For now only the 3D view have some deep customizations, but i will support more later.

"Special"Floater

Some floater are “Special”.
For example i created a special camera&light floater that is extremely handy for quickly having a rendering window, setting your camera, playing with your lights, and many more possibilities. Proof in images.

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05 - OPERATOR 04 - Hide/Unhide all floater.

Once a window is set to a floating state, it will be considered as a “Floater”.
You can hide/unhide toggle instantly all floater from your .blend with this operator.

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Pro tip: use the windows shortcut [WIN TAB] to quickly unminimize a specific floater.

06 - NOTES - Blender Limitations.

Blender 2.8 handle its windows in a weird way, the trace of the old 2.7 layout system is still here, hidden in the interface, and it cause quite some specific “problem”, that i cannot correct through my addon for now.

Blender save every screen inside of the .blend.

when you create a new window, blender register and save a new screen within the .blend

import bpy
for window in bpy.data.screens:
    print(window.name)

the code above will print every screen that is saved within your .blend
don’t be afraid, this native behavior don’t cause any problem except for the next one.

Your are limited to 16 local view

while working on an auto toggle-local-view option for the 3D view floater, i found an unusual error message.

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so until i find a way to remove unused screen from the .blend file, try to not close a floater with a local 3dview in it too often (not for camera local view, only with the “/” operator)

New windows and workspace change is not very well done..

each workspaces have a different set of screens, when changing from a workspace to another, blender make every screens change for some reason…

Because of that floater are not able to stick around when switching from workspace to workspace.
Not until this question have a solution…
https://devtalk.blender.org/t/how-to-prevent-a-newly-create-window-to-change-its-content-when-switching-between-workspaces/7906
https://blender.stackexchange.com/questions/142854/how-to-prevent-a-newly-create-window-to-change-its-content-when-switching-betwee

Blender don't automatically set screens to active.

This is a common annoyance that every multi-monitor users face constantly.
When moving your cursor from a window to another, every keyboard inputs are still stuck to the active window, and not on the window where your cursor is pointing.

i implemented an external exe support to remedy this “problem”.

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07 - NOTES - Blender native UI

Use thoses functionalities as you wish, but just keep in mind that the native way how blender divide it’s workspace is really good. While Floating windows are amazing for quickly invoking an editor or doing things that weren’t possible before (like having a preview in a full screen node editor for example) For tasks that are persistent in time i advise you to still use the native UI system.

08 - NOTES - Erased the keymaps ?

If you did erase the keymap by mistake here how to get it back.
just create a new keymap in the window category.

operator name : float.callpie

a little gif to help you if you never did this before.

EXTERNAL EXE MANUAL
  1. launch the exe.
  2. the exe will land in your “mini” toolbar.
  3. hit [CTRL WINDOW A] to toggle the always on top floating state ON/OFF.

When multiple windows are set on top they behave like normal windows within each others.

So for example if you set the main blender window always on top with the exe, the floaters will not be floating like expected. That’s why I don’t allow the main blender window to be on top within the plugin.

There is only one always on top level. It’s not possible to be always on top of always of top already windows.

22 Likes

Hi !

Sorry but I don’t get the difference between your addon, and hitting SHIFT+CLICK in top right corner, which open a floating window within Blender … ?

Hi!

The windows is not “floating”, as soon as you click on the main windows your newly created editor is gone, you cannot have multiple windows open at the same time, blender don’t allow that due to its interface policy.

Photoshop, Max, Maya, any other software allow this kind of ability but not blender.

i need to do the marketing once the add-on is done ^^ its an wip

3 Likes

Ah ok, so your addon is a way to “force” the overlapping, without setting the context to background window each time you click, am I right ?

In fact I use 2 windows on 2 screens, that’s why this comportment suits me :slight_smile:

yes, if you ever try the “always on top” feature of the task manager, that is basically what im offering for windows within blender :slight_smile: but for windows OS only

more to come next week

(inserting some random wording to bypasss errors) I SO MUCH NEED THIS IN MY LIFE!! TAKE MY MONEY NOW! I TOTALLY NEED THIS!

2 Likes

im also looking for this kind of addon ( always on top )
make it reasonable / fair $ price i will buy it

1 Like

hi, it depend how much work i’ll have to work on it :slightly_smiling_face: but it won’t be exensive

Update Time

Everything is working fine :innocent:

The first operator i use is called “Start Floating”, it make your windows stay on top.
The second is called “Duppli-Float”, it make a dupplication of the windows where your cursor is and make it float.

The add-on will be ready for next week.

to do list:

  • knowing within the pie if the contextual windows is floating or not.
  • knowing if Floating windows is working ?
  • make 5 operator that will make appear 5 most used editor in floating windows in adaptive sizes.

by the way, its the moment if you guys prefer to have

  • A standard Menu ?
  • Or a Pie Menu ?

0 voters

thanks for the support i really appreciate any comments posted here.

2 Likes

Finally… :clap:

Update Time

there is now a way to see if the window is floating or not:

Red = Floating OFF
Green = Floating ON

should i use red/green ? or Pin/unpin icon? red and green is flash, there’s not a lot of brain activity requier to analyse the icon.

  • PINNED for floating / UNPINNED for not floating
  • GREEN for floating / RED for not floating

0 voters

I would prefer asking the user to make their own shortcut. I have a highly customized keymap, and would probably need to change the shortcut anyway. I think it’s easier for better compatibility.

3 Likes

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i created also a special operator for the ON/OFF toggle, so you will also be able to assign a shortcut for him

3 Likes

You´re doing awesome on this addon! Polling things is getting this to the right direction. I can´t wait to finally have my material shader tree editor FLOATING over a specified segment on TOP of my regular MAXIMIZED blender. FINALLY! I can´t even imagine the joy to animate graph editor with this tool for animation!! I am getting frikken chillz up my neurons…
pair this with an awesome online render farm, and I can get back to blender 2.8 at full production capacity.

2 Likes

this addon work because i created an external .exe (invoking something externally of blender is basically only way to do it) does that pose a problem to anyone ?

edit
*not anymore

There are ways to call native code from Python if you just need to make a few WIndows API calls. One way is with ctypes:

I don’t think .exe files in add-ons are a huge problem (but I’m not an expert there). Some people and some anti-virus tools might take issue with executable code in unusual locations.

You might want to bundle in the source code to the exe into the add-on to avoid any GPL licensing complications.

Something feature wise you might want to look at would be if you do a Save Startup File (or really just save an ordinary .blend) with floating windows in existence, can you (maybe you already do) restore them automagically when you re-open the .blend?

2 Likes

thanks really useful, i need to learn that.

everything will be GPL, i trust the community :slight_smile:
i made the exe it with Auto-HotKey wonderful piece of software by the way (I’ve done some research and yes i can resale the exe), in my addon i basically execute the [CTRL]+[WIN]+[A] shortcut to toggle the windows floating on/off state and add some automatic functions, ect.
i like the external exe, with that we can put any window in the always on top mode. its handy not only for blender.

the first release will be simple, later i will incorpore more features like this, its already in my todo list

2 Likes

Hey, glad to see this issue being tackled! What are the plans of your add-on?

For me, mere floating, always-on-top windows isn’t the only problem. In fact, to make a window always-on-top, it’s easy enough to find a program that will allow you to do it.


What would REALLY be useful is “linking” of windows of the same instance. This is much needed with multiple monitors.

Blender’s current problem when working in multiple monitors is that when the user duplicates a window and places it on another monitor, it’s great… until, say, the user decides to research something on the secondary monitor. Then the duplicated windows disappear behind the browser. When this happens, it’s not uncommon to forget about the duplicated windows.

What’s worse is if the user has multiple Blender instances running and each has duplicated windows. It gets confusing fast which one belongs to which one. This is the single reason why I can’t truly take advantage of my multi-monitor setup with Blender.

Here’s what needs to happen: Any floating window on another monitor, when clicked on, should bring to front any window that’s part of that Blender instance. This is how it works with all my other production programs and for good reason.

Now, if you wanted to go further, it would be neat to be able to intentionally unlink windows, but it should also be just as easy to link it back up.


Sorry for the long post, but the lack of this feature has been quite frustrating for years, haha, and I’m excited someone might actually remedy this issue.

2 Likes

hello

the first release of the addon will be really simple. basic stuff.
but i do plan to do a lot more, i just wrote your idea down in my to-do list.
I also have a lot of monitors it look like a great idea.

1 Like

Awesome, looking forward to it!