Maya-like shelf?

I’ve been using blender for about 5-6 years now and I got a job in gaming industry where I had to learn Maya. Despite how much I think Maya has so many features that are way behind Blender functionality, I think shelf is an awesome thing for new comers :slight_smile: Some of my colleagues started being interested in Blender but I’ve noticed how big learning curve is it at beginning to remember all shortcuts and now I see and appreciate Mayas shelf.
Is there a addon for blender that works like it? A custom shelf/toolbar that allows you to add your favorite functions/shortcuts so user has a quick and easy access to it.
I don’t personally need it but I want to spread the blender love to others but I understand their struggle now :slight_smile:
I’ve been looking on google many times now for such addon with no success…



There isn’t, and it’s hard to find someone that wants to do something similar, I’m in the talks with some kickass addon devs but haven’t seen the light at the end of the tunnel yet to get them to create something like this.


I just found this old thread. It’s been a number of years. Hope someone can point me to an cool addon.

TLDR: i’m looking for an addon that gives Blender a “Maya/Houdini”-like shelf. Where you can create custom shortcuts. I’m know about the Pie Menu Editor but would like something with icons and buttons.

I’m a new Blender user. Been using Maya and adding Blender for obvious reasons… :wink: The 2.8 release makes the UI very mature and easy to get into Blender. Therefore it’s time to fully incorporate it into my workflow. Blendermarket is great and helps me add those small things I’m used to.

After about two months there is something I keep searching for on Google but can’t find. Maybe I’m using the wrong keywoards?? I’m looking for an addon that adds a Maya-like (or C4D/Houdini-like) shelf to the top of the viewport. With shortcuts/buttons/icons. So that I can easily add shortcuts or scripts for common-used operations. Offcourse I can use Pie-menus and Keyboard-shortcuts but if you’re using multiple apps remembering shortcuts isn’t always an option.

Hope someone has a nice suggestions. Thanks already!



While not elaborate as Maya’s shelf(s), Blender has the “Quick Favorites” menu (I’m surprised no one has piped up about that in all this time). Right-clicking any menu item gives you the option to add it to “Quick Favorites”. Then whenever you press “Q” all those menu items you added show up in a pop-up menu. Obviously (AFAIK) you can have only one “Quick Favorites” menu (no icons, you have to read) as opposed to Maya’s endless shelves full of moveable icons.

I bet you like MS Word’s Ribbon Bar, too. :rofl: I KID I KID! :v:

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I don’t believe I’ve seen an addon that adds a customizeable shelf. The closest thing that is customizeable would be the Quick Favorites or Pie Menu Editor.

bforartists is a fork of blender that does have a shelf bar but I think you can only choose from some existing options to put in it rather than add your own custom shortcuts (someone can correct me if I’m wrong; maybe you can define your own bfa toolbar in python). See the icons along the top:


Thanks for both suggestions guys!! I’ll look into this :slight_smile:

@gtomorrow MS is the best! :wink:

I’m surprised Tiles kept 2.8’s vertical toolbar in place, it almost looks like a duplicate (but far more limited) toolshelf using his design (which to note, actually is kind of like a toolshelf, but without the tools being invoked as soon as you click the button).

If you intend to use the fork though, fortunately for you, it is just Blender with a different UI (so your knowledge will transfer easily). The original goal of it was to school the BF on what Blender could’ve been, but entirely new features, enhancements, and overhauls (such as the idea to replace all of the custom code with QT buttons and graphics) are still out of scope.

Maya’s ability to quickly add/modify performed actions as a single button onto the shelf is hugely useful for non-programmers… and they’ve had that for at least over a decade. I really wish to see this in Blender.


I really like the shelf a a lot. Arguments against it are simply answered with…

Hide it.

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I too come from Maya and have custom shelf’s for specific tasks (rigging, modeling, organization, etc.) It is one of the things I miss the most in Blender. I agree, being able to toss some MEL into a button for quick macros is very powerful.

Recently I bought Pie Menu Editor because it has a macro feature. I was trying to select a empty, have it select the children, then duplicate to maintain hierarchy. Got tired of doing all the menus, so I was able to make this macro very easily in Pie Menu Editor and mapped it to CTRL+Shift+D.

It’s also nice being able to add common tools to a pop-up pie menu. Worth taking a look!


Even before using Blender, I thought that the shelf system was used as a crutch to address Maya’s lacking UI design. Yeah, it works, but not really the kind of user experience I enjoy.

There are still quirks in the current Blender UI that are a bit underdeveloped, but the base is pretty solid for building upon. The one aspect of the current Blender UI that I find pretty lacking is the add-ons list. That could have been a lot better designed.

“Macros”, that’s what I was looking for.

For me, I don’t think it’s the shelf design itself is what I really care for. Blender could do really well to have very easily built/editable/understandable macros, and some constant, easy way to always access them. I’m thinking floating windows, preferably with collapse ability.

The Blender way, currently, is moving away from the trend of customizable interfaces. The Blender UI tries to solve a very complex problem or everyone. And it fails. Because you can’t do that.

You can’t say, “There will be no floating windows because we think it is best”. Because there will be just as many people who want them, as those who don’t. And then some, who at times want them, and at times, don’t. It is equally annoying always having floating windows.

The current solution to this problem is breakaway floating windows that can be docked. This design is very successful and is getting more implementation. It has basically become the standard now.

A shelf is nothing more than a way to store large icons. It can be an option, how it is in Maya. You can turn it off and also customize and make your own.

And just like floating/docking windows, no one side should win the argument when it is so easy to please everyone.


+1 for a Maya inspired shelf. Sometimes I jump around five different art packages in a day. There is no way I’m going to remember each packages unique hotkeys

I respectfully reply: you gotta draw the line somewhere otherwise you are just aimlessly adrift. Trying to please everybody you please nobody. Sure you don’t like some of the UI choices in Blender…you could say that with any application.

In any case, I agree with @Frozen_Death_Knight. I see this shelf thing as kind of a crutch as well. I personally like how Blender has always relied on a keyboard-shortcut discipline. Hey, but that’s my opinion, fwiw.

I don’t even know you and I give you more credit than that. :smile:

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Properly implemented floating windows needs to happen, and I think it’s on trajectory to eventually happen. I remember there being tasks to make the current popup windows always on top, I guess it’s just been side-tracked.

Dockable, too, YES. I haven’t heard a real argument against having them except to say “I don’t want the option”, which is just ridiculous. It makes UX far more superior. The only thing I’d really like with the is maybe a separate history stack for UI changes so you can always undo UI mistakes.


I’ll bet your are happy with the new ctl Space Bar for full screen :slight_smile:

Its gonna be a stretch. But they’d get my vote on WER.

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I feel the same way. Actually. I still think this is one of the most powerful things about Blender.
It has taken quite a few arguments and re-evaluation on my part to come to the conclusion that some people will never see it this way.

And as I have the opinion that I want as many people coming to Blender from all walks of life, I am completely behind any effort to make Blender more accessible to more people. And forcing people to adhere to our way of thinking and doing things, is a very limited approach to that. It took me a long time and a lot of discussions with other people coming to Blender to come to this. I also have artists in my studio that insist on making Blender as much like Maya as possible. So I have had to learn to be tolerant.

And again this has also been my opinion for a long time. But again, I have found it is only valid up to a point. And then you have to realize that feedback is still valid.

And I can also appreciate this. Actually I have said almost the same thing before… lol

Anyway, as this thread is about shelves. I like them. I think they are very convenient. And cool. And they are a nice addition to any app.

If you are one of those people who think it is silly, just turn them off. Problem solved. Why spoil the fun for the rest of us? And also why knock down an idea that will attract more people to the software you love?

And most importantly, a lot of artists are visual. And this is the world they live in. And it turns out to be a very useful and helpful feature for a lot of people.

Grey says: R 255 G 255 B 255
Richard says: #ffffff


But (isn’t there always a “but”?)…

  1. The problem is coming from another software package and expecting (insisting) Blender to work like package X. That’s just so unrealistic, especially for a 3D package where none of them work the same (they’re all weird! :laughing:).


Not saying that Blender couldn’t/shouldn’t make the transition easier, but then we start talking about drawing that line again. I like Blender’s “voice”. I don’t want Blender to become a clone of Package X. Nine times out of ten when someone says Maya/3DMax/C3D does X ultimately translates to “I don’t want to learn Blender.” This unfortunately includes the aforementioned artists in your studio, but that’s for you to assess.

  1. “Don’t use it.” You’re absolutely right. I’m not trying to force anybody to do anything. But you’d have to agree that coding a similar UI change takes manpower away from the main Blender development and maintenance. It’s not part of the “core” and it’s so low-priority.

OMG THIS POST IS SO LONG! tl;dr: maybe some enterprising third-party would create a add-on that creates this shelf thang…?..that I could ultimately not use! :rofl: