modernizing the tool panel

So I’ve always loved the tool panel since its release in 2.50 however, I think it has more potential. Having 0 coding knowledge I just hoped someone else would do it (not likely to happen any time soon) so I finally decided to take a swing at it… Within a few hours I had something I was actually pretty happy with.

I would love to hear peoples thoughts on it.

Keep in mind it’s still a very rough idea of what I’m hopping to make it once I get some more coding knowledge.

Here’s the demo.

I like it, and I’m glad you took initiative to even make it real - that is pretty cool! I think it works well from the video you posted - do you have a version for when you swap to edit mode as well?

I’m currently working on that.

My thoughts are:

I think it is AWESOME that you took the initiative to learn. When I first started with blender, the senior members (whom I respect and trust) would say that customizing the blender interface is really easy and after doing some research I agree.

As far as the progress you have made I believe it is a matter of what works best for YOU. I mainly study modeling and animation so my customizations have to do with that.

Keep learning to customize and ultimately what works for you is what is most important. What works for me or anyone else for that matter depends on the person and what as well as how they use blender.

It is not normally recommended that you waste any of your valuable time trying to learn what works good for someone else because everyone has their own individual workflow as well as uses for blender.

If you can customize the interface in a way that makes your life easy than by all means do it.

I have found that customizing the inteface doesn’t interfere with the overall performance and functionality of the program. The interface is only a GUI meant to serve the functions that are currently available.

Customizing the interface is one of the many advantages of Blender especially because it is open source. Most proprietary programs such as Maya can only allow you a limited amount of customization because the source is not available to the public so you might as well take full advantage of this unique feature that Blender has to offer.


I like the idea and implementation for a few reasons, main one that it seems to answer a need for people that rely on visual information rather than written info. Another is that the options fit side by side so there is a compactness to the layout. I do believe this is a valuable improvement for new users first learning the interface, since it may enable faster understanding of the functions available. Kudos

Thanks Craig! This is exactly the reason why I wanted to do this. That and I think it makes the initial glance at the program feel a little less foreign. After all we live in a visual age and most people that use a primarily graphics program are probably also visually orientated.

Yes, those also not familiar with the language might also pick up faster with the pictures represented in the icons - I see all kinds of signage that I recognize faster than the written word at times. I didn’t get it to run in my script window, but maybe has to do with the method I copy and pasted in my browser. That said, I really look forward to seeing this combined with the work Harley has done with the UI.

edit: It seems it worked after I refreshed my file, and it is very nice to work with! Thank you for sharing this, and I hope more people try it out and get you some positive feedback

As I mentioned in the other thread you linked the video/blog post to - I really like this. Having since had a look at the code, I can see that the small buttons is something inherent to the underlying UI code, not your script. I’m looking into how we might fix that.

Hey guys I don’t think I’ll be able to finish this (at least not without some help). In order to add icons to every button, blender will need some new icons in its system. I can and would be happy to create them but the only way to get them into blender is to compile it yourself, something I don’t know how to do.

If any one knows how and would be willing to help me get more icons into blender I can finish putting the code in place to make them appear in the tool bar!

That said I have done a little work on it since the last posting (Mainly organization) but I also added the ability to use box selection!

Grab the code here.

And to try it for yourself simply past it into blenders text editor and hit alt p.

Also does anyone know where I could learn how to turn a script like this into an add-on?

You may be interested in ack-err’s gsoc project: