Node Editor

Can someone confirm: left or right clicking in the node editor doesn’t do anything? Thanks:)

(in empty space that is)


Does anyone think that this is a bit of a waste of ‘mouse use’. I’m thinking in terms of workflow, and alternative ways to add/implement the nodes you want to use more quickly??

The whole material creation process seems very long to me (I know it takes time to create good materials lol, but maybe there’s a quicker way?)
One idea I was thinking of for example, was:

  • Everything starts with the shader right?
  • Why not have left clicking anywhere within an empty node space (for a created object) bring up just the shader list; then left clicking on the shader you want to add, adds that shader.

INSTEAD of - navigating down/up to the menu bar, scrolling through the 2 lists to add the shader.
It would be a simple ‘click-click’ within a small space, as opposed to all that mouse navigation as the case currently is.
I mean like this:

Would there be problems with this? Is it a good idea?

I’m not being lazy:D, but when I’m thinking about it, that method would save me a 2/maybe 3 seconds every time I want to add a new shader…over time, hours and hours!


No, because

  • node editor is much more than Cycles material node tree (object subtree), so people don’t just start with a shader when using it
  • clicking does nothing but clicking and dragging does (tweak)
  • nodes can be added from the tool shelf, and shader panel can be pinned so it’s always visible
  • adding a shader doesn’t make material creation especially slow, the problem is that it’s slow to create one. Could start from existing one and/or use node groups, which both can be appended or included in the startup file
  • Node Wrangler addon speeds up node handling, there are also premade materials available on the web and as an addon
  • a custom pie menu could be made to fire shaders on hotkey+mouse move

I’m not being lazy:D, but when I’m thinking about it, that method would save me a 2/maybe 3 seconds every time I want to add a new shader…over time, hours and hours!
You’re not being lazy but very inefficient. An hour would require 1200 node additions at 3 secs an addition !!
Learn to use node groups and a library of material presets.

How many nodes do you really use on a routine basis ? Very few I suspect. Therefore if you want to be efficient set a shortcut per node
1 = Diffuse Shader, 2 = Glossy Shader, 3 = Image Texture Node, 4 = Mix Node etc etc.
Use to create a custom shortcut for how YOU work. To simply do this press T for the toolbar then RMB on the node you want to set a shortcut for and use the ‘Add Shortcut’ option.

Ok, thanks that helps me a bit better. (I have since discovered one shortcut I wasn’t using- shift-select nodes+f to link)

@@Richard_Marklew I guess my workflow probably could be quicker by using more shortcuts, but i think I use at least 9 (to utilize the number system as you suggest) on a regular basis, i.e,

  • the 4 nodes you’ve already mentioned (plus transparent) mixed in all different ways
  • all the procedural nodes 99.9% of the time with a brightness/contrast node
  • the tex co-ordinates node 99.9% with mapping node or the…
  • attribute node, fresnel…(i could got on, but you get the idea)

In one 1/2 day I created 15 materials, combining about 40-50 shaders nodes alone, that’s without all the other nodes I’ve repeated above in correlation.
You couldn’t have shortcuts, for all these different things surely?..nor would not be practical on our memory and more so, it would not save time moving your hands to the different keys on the keyboard? (also, this would be the same difference of navigating through to select different pre-made groups)

I’m trying to think of the quickest possible way to create very different materials (i.e saved node groups not viable/useful) as quickly as possible (if there is one)


  • I know clicking/dragging tweaks connectors and could you not keep this ability, whilst also adding functions (menu or pie pop-ups as you suggest) by just clicking in empty space when nothing selected?
  • you’re other points: pre-made materials/existing ones are limited/not the aim?
  • Also I know everything’s soon nodes, but surely with different panels (materials,rendering,compositing…) couldn’t the left-clicking/mouse buttons bring up different menus in the different panels/kind of like already what happens when you switch between object and world in node editor (for the latter shader options are reduced)

I think the pie option menu pop-up is an improvement.

Also I asked a few different artists, who said they were (erm,…possibly lazy:confused:) and don’t often used pre-made groups. So I wonder, how many people for most of the time find themselves adding nodes by 99% scrolling through the toolshelf menus. This is so slooooowww…?

Also, the left click does things in other windows (moves cursor for the most part in 3D view,timeline etc.) but NOTHING in node editor space, so why not have it do something? It would be possible? Or am I creating a problem where there isn’t one?