How to drastically improve Blender’s modeling workflow

I have two requests that in my option would make Blender’s modeling workflow friendlier and way way faster.

  1. The 3d cursor should not be attached to a mouse button, but only be available after entering a hot key. I almost never use the 3d cursor. In place of the 3d cursor, Blender should default to “Select with” Left Mouse and also have the “Emulate 3 Button Mouse” feature selected.

  2. When making selections in the edit mode, Blender should default to clearing your selection every time you select new components (vert/edge/face), unless a hot key is selected, such as “Shift” to add to the selection.

Hopefully I have overlooked some features and someone can point out an existing way that matches my workflow requests.

I have been doing 3d for 20 years and think that Blender is the best thing that has happened to the 3d community. So, I would love to see these requests in Blender to make it even better.

If there are any engineers that can make this happen, I would be willing to help in any way I can.

Thanks.

Welcome to the forums!

At the moment, (from what I gather) a lot of that stuff is coded straight into Blender, meaning changing it isn’t as simple as it could be. However, the rewrite of 2.5 will allow custom hotkeys and such, so at a guess, you will be able to change this easily yourself and others who are used to the way it works already can keep using it as such.

Cheers,
Ben.

Yes and lets throw in transparent navigation of 3D space in an ACTIVE command with orbit/turntable on mmb and put axis constraint on shift+mmb or similar? You can zoom on the wheel, pan on the mouse button but not orbit / turntable on mmb in an active command??. Or am I missing something with user prefs?

But your post title is a bit OTT ‘drastically improve’ come on… go check out ‘Creature Factory’ or something , having 20 years experience in 3D doesn’t necessarily mean ‘so that makes it right’ you could have been using 3DS -> Max all that time :-), check out how well established blender artists work.

These are not workflow points, these are very primitive things…

I will be happy if I have only these primitive problems with Blender. :slight_smile: (I am happy with Blender of course. I have real problems and really missing features in Blender that I need to my professional* working.)

*yes, professional

Omg. 20 years. Please show us some old stuff. Its not often we have celebrity here. From 1988. How did that even work with those ancient computers?

  1. The 3d cursor should not be attached to a mouse button, but only be available after entering a hot key. I almost never use the 3d cursor. In place of the 3d cursor, Blender should default to “Select with” Left Mouse and also have the “Emulate 3 Button Mouse” feature selected.
    personally I use the 3d cursor all the time when working with blender. so much that working in a program without one destroys the speed I can work at. having to press a hot key to move the cursor would also be counter productive.
  1. When making selections in the edit mode, Blender should default to clearing your selection every time you select new components (vert/edge/face), unless a hot key is selected, such as “Shift” to add to the selection.
    It already doze.

these days I hardly ever use the mouse for anything except blender, so the default bindings don’t bother me.

oh man… 3D cursor is awesomness! give him a chance… you’ll see :wink: I’m very happy that there is already a 2D cursor available in UV/image window too…

and when you select vertex(edge/face) A and then select vertex(edge/face) B without ‘shift selection’ ypu end up only with B selected so what’s the point? :slight_smile:

(btw you can setup your mouse in settings for leftclick selecting if this is a case)

personally I use the 3d cursor all the time when working with blender. so much that working in a program without one destroys the speed I can work at. having to press a hot key to move the cursor would also be counter productive.

Apologies in advance as my modelling experience with blender is just architectural.

I think it must depend on the type of modelling because I rarely use it myself, probably only for changing a objects center point which is a PITA as it stands, into edit mode -> highlight vertice -> shift s cursor to selection -> object mode -> center cursor in buttons panel PITA. Long for a ‘snap center point to an edge mid point, vertice or whatever in object mode’ one key press + dynamic snapping. Need some transparency between edit and object mode for some of the basic stuff the way dynamic snapping works. That would be fast and intuitive. shift s dance to accurately position the 3D cursor is counter intuitive and slow?

How do you position the 3D cursor accurately like to another object or grid without having to press TWO hot keys, those being shift and s + a menu option following that? Am i missing something?

3d_Cursor_Menu

Selert something, Shift+S, “Cursor to Selection”. OR with nothing select, roughly place the cursor, Shift+S, “Cursor to Grid”. THATS why the cursor is super useful.

As someone who has used Blender, Maya, and 3DS MAX, I still come back to Blender every time I need to do any kind of polygon modeling. Now were we talking about NURBS, I may go with 3DS MAX. But if it’s poly, it’s blender for me.

I’m gonna have to agree with yellow on this one. To have the 3D Cursor bound to a mouse button, esp. the left one, is a total waste of the most important user-input action on a seldom-needed function. Seriously, how often do you actually click the 3D Cursor into a (random) position with the mouse, then actually snap geometry to that position without “tweaking” the cursor’s position for accuracy first (except on placing new objects and operating on large numbers of verts at once - which still needs some accuracy beforehand, usually)?

Snapping should be dynamic on a mouse-cursor-hover: if the mouse cursor is over a vertex, the interface gives a visual indication (highlight) of said vertex as being the snapped-to location (likewise with edge midpoints & face center points, etc.) like 99.99% of CAD apps do it. This dynamic snapping should apply to placing the 3D Cursor, too, avoiding the shift-s menu altogether in many cases!

Theeth’s work in this direction has been wonderful (and close to adequate) but it does need to “flow” between edit mode and object mode more smoothly (tho I don’t think thats really possible with blender’s architecture.)

Meta-Androcto

Thanks for the insight :slight_smile: and the link to the script. I’ll give it a try.

.:|shADoW|:.

Yep, but I think dynamic snapping of the cursor and for setting the pivot/center point of an object without doing the shift s stuff is more intuitive, faster and would be more flexible across the whole app.

mzungu

I’m gonna have to agree with yellow on this one
painful as it is to do so. :slight_smile: hi, you mentioned the dreaded word but i think you got away with. :slight_smile:

theBANG’s a bit quiet, sort of arrived with one and left. :slight_smile:

That’s true. Many new will at first use the mouse buttons to do something. I’d rather have the space key than a mouse button to add the 3d cursor somewhere.

btw I have the left and right mouse button switched with each other. So I can still work with other software without getting confused.

hi yellow.
the 3d cursor menu script is a valuable tool.
the added right click functions, cover most hot keys so, it’s much faster.
also it’s quite nice having a menu.
not to say that the hot keys are not useful.
i believe it’s all about more choice.

I use the 3d cursor for architectural stuff all the time, like to snap object center to a reference point on another object, lining up verts in a coordinate direction to the cursor, not to mention all the modeling tools like spin and stuff that use the 3d cursor. In fact most of blender’s modeling is predicated on the use of the 3d cursor, IMO.

I agree that tying the left mouse button to the 3d cursor is a waste, but I am too used to it by now.

I don’t think it’s a waste. Once again I think too few people actually understand why something might be done. The left mouse finger already does a collossal load of work, handling all the menus and buttons. Having the right finger work all the modelling functions splits the workload and increases efficiency while reducing the chances of repetitive stress injuries and stuff. I mean, I didn’t have this statement handed down to me personally from Ton or anything, but it seems fantastically self-evident to me.

hi wizofboz

I think this illustrates something I have been thinking since Theeths work with dynamic snapping and that is that dynamic snapping introduces a different way of working to blenders shift s, it is not always now necessary to snap an objects reference point to another object you can just grab the object and snap it to another with the dynamic snaps holding down the ctrl key again lining up verts probably can be done by dynamic snapping + axis constraint maybe needing PET as well? Being able to shift or select a temporary objects snap point / center point using dynamic snaps would be good, no need set it with shift s at all then.

Grabbing something and moving it then deciding what and where you want to snap it is dare i mention it how CAD works, it’s intuitive, you don’t have to think in advance where do I need to position the center point of an object, where do I need to put this 3d cursor and then go through the pain of shift s and in and out of edit / object mode to achieve what grab -> dynamic snap edge,vert, face whatever -> job done does.

Another example if you want to move an object to another to another object blenders ‘old’ way of doing it is as you describe, you go zoom to the location of the object you want to move another to which means you generally navigate away from the one you’ve then got to go back to to select again to then snap to the 3d cursor which is unituitive, then decide where to stick the 3d cursor, shift s it there, then go back to the other object select it shift s again and snap.

Try doing that with dynamic snaps and you come up with the next outdated design feature, mmb won’t let you orbit/turntable, to get to the location you want to dynamically snap an object to, sure you can pan, you can zoom on the scroll wheel but try orbiting, it constrains the axis instead, you’re robbed of transparent 3d navigation in an active command, try extruding by dynamically snapping to another point on a object where you need to orbit in between to get the best view of snap position.

Intuitive transparent 3D navigation is another basic CAD function. CAD gets a bad rep here and yet there is a lot of cross over in legitimate functionality at a very basic level.

Do blenderers use the dynamic snaps?

I too agree that associating the positioning of the 3D cursor with a mouse click is largely outdated and pretty useless. Now, I must stress that the 3D cursor is a great tool and must remain: those who don’t use it much are missing on something I’m pretty sure.

It has been suggested at least once that the 3D cursor should actually become a real object with special properties like being modeless for Object and Edit mode. IMHO, it makes a whole lot of sense and would add a lot to its usefulness.
Just imagine being able to activate it by selection.
It would also allow to use the magnetic snaps that Theeth created to position the 3D cursor to a vertex, the center of an edge, of a face or of a multiple selection just by dragging it.
We could even have more than one 3D cursor at the same time with only one active at a time.
The 3D cursor could receive properties of material, texture, IPOs whatever, not to modify it of course, but which could determine on what subset of objects it would operate.

Jean

For the record I strongly agree with the original poster. The 3D cursor is very useful indeed, but I almost never set it by clicking a mouse button in space, it’s by snapping to something else. That mouse button could be used for so many more useful things. In my perfect world, there’s select on the left click and a customisable, context-sensitive radial menu on the right click, for fast access to tools.

I use the 3d cursor all the time, it’s one of the most useful features blender has to speed up modelling, and I think the left mouse button is the perfect place for it. It just seems to make sense to me, and makes changing pivot points quick and easy, which speeds up workflow a lot.