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  • #14302 Likes: 0
    • Posts 4699

    Hello everybody,

    I need your help and feedback :)

    It’s about the node editor and the tool shelf. Currently with the Blender separation for the nodes you are heavily at tabbing and searching. And this needs a cleanup. There are too much tabs, too much nodes at once, and the important nodes are somewhere in the middle of the not so common used ones. So i have toyed around a bit with the situation by using an addon that i previously made. The nodes icons panel addon.

    I have separated everything into three tabs now. With four panels. And the plan is to make the ten Blender tabs obsolete in a future release.

    I want to have everything commonly needed in the Input common panel. See green area. And this means in best case no tabbing at all. Since everything often needed is in this panel to reach, without scrolling.

    Everything not so common goes in the Input Advacend panel. And everything that you need to modify the shader any further can be found in the Modifynodes Tab then.

    What else would you like to see in the Input common panel? Any ideas how to separate the Modifynodes tab into more panels? I am not so happy here with so much nodes at once. Or shall we leave it this way? Are you green to have two buttons in a row for text buttons? Every idea and suggestion is welcome :)

    You can also download and install the attached addon to see the tabs in action and to play around with it.

    #17313 Likes: 0
    • Posts 1181

    The organization would be a perfect replacement for all the tabs currently there, or the many tabs.

    I like how they are organized to a similar system elsewhere, with common upfront and advanced below that can expand for later if needed.

    I also like how one is input, the other modifiers, then finally relations. The idea of pinning sections if neccesarry, or collapsing sections within the tabs, is actually a big plus. The idea of text/icons toggle also is a huge plus, easy to learn/and or optimize for work, and is language friendly.

    Workflow feels nicer now, which solved the issue of cacophony of all at once.

    1. Adding all the inputs creatively, all on hand – move click repeat

    2. modify them all creatively, all on hand – click to tab, move click repeat

    3. then organize it all with grouping and such, all on hand – click to tab, move click repeat

    Great work!!!!!

    My only concern is that the tabs are only good for the Materials node tree, and those tabs still show up on the other trees. When trying to be used in the other trees, they bring up errors saying those nodes are uncompatible with any other system.

    How would you do this system for Composite and Texture and maybe Animation Node trees (though it’s a third party?)? If you modify the backend of BFA to integrate the concept, would that solve that issue?

    I do think a similar consistent system for the other trees would be great and the perfect solution.

    Thanks again for considering the feedback and taking us into consideration. I really appreciate the hard work a lot.



    #17316 Likes: 0
    • Posts 4699

    Thanks Draise. Great to hear that it goes into the right direction :)

    Yes, this addon is currently just useful for the Cycles material nodes. For the other node trees, i need to have a look at them first. And to figure out how everthing works. I have never used compositing in Blender for example. We will see. Maybe i can even incorporate the other nodes into the addon to create a Blender addon here :)

    What i have noticed though is that the Cycles nodes also shows in other modes, and gives the errors you describe. That’s a Blender issue it seems.


    #17317 Likes: 0
    • Posts 295

    I like the idea to split each category into a most used and advanced section. But I feel, that even two tabs would not provide the best workflow. E.g. getting the fresnel node to add to the shaders I just droped on would require me to switch tabs, and then go back and forth. – I would suggest an improved all nodes menu; basically like you had it, but then cleaned up, by creating the two sections for each category like you propose. With a “more” or “advanced” button under each section, that expands it to reveal the additional nodes of each section. That way you can have a very short list with the essential features only, or lengthen any part of the list like needed. – See the attached image.

    #17318 Likes: 0
    • Posts 4699

    Thanks for your ideas davis.

    Hm, i thought about this too. And i can see where you come from. But then you will start searching in which hidden category your needed node could be. And even when it’s just one line, the subtabs are simply in the way then. I prefer such subtabs for things that you really rarely use. Panels can do the same here. And you can nail the panels that you need. That’s why i am still not this happy with just one big panel for Modify common. I just can’t think of a useful separation here at the moment.

    You say that you need Fresnel often. Then let’s put it into the Input common panel too.

    #17319 Likes: 0
    • Posts 295

    I don´t think you would search that much if the categories are descriptive enough. E.g. Color could be called “color adjustment” to be more clear, which is to long of a name for a tab of course, but would work as a title in the all nodes list. The rest of the categories are quite descriptive already, except “input” is very vague somehow.

    By splitting the lists into basic and advanced it also makes it difficult to look for a specific item, because you have to check two lists and scroll up and down between them. While when you know you need a shader, you go to the shader section and simply expand the panel on the spot if you don´t find it in the basic list.

    It depends on most peoples workflow of course, I would prefer the list, because I can also adjust it on the fly to some extend to work for the specific situation. When starting to work in the nodeeditor, I could simply expand all the sections that might be useful and have a customized list to use.

    Unfortunately I don´t know the available material nodes good enough to say which ones are essential and which ones are not. “Fresnell” is definetely essential though and so will be  the upcoming “Principeled Shader”. :D

    #17320 Likes: 0
    • Posts 4699

    I understand your concerns. But we cannot have both. Either we have a simplified section for easier useage. Or we have the full list, which makes it harder ot use.

    But you can pin panels. And that way you can have everything in one tab when you really want to :)

    #17322 Likes: 0
    • Posts 4699

    Now i remember why i ended in the addon solution. The tool shelf code in the node editor is a can of worms -.-

    And this means i cannot even promise to touch this area. We might end in the addon solution again. But i will continue with some more experiments.

    #17324 Likes: 0
    • Posts 1181



    #17326 Likes: 0
    • Posts 1181

    Just thought to help out with organizing the composite tabs… as there is a lot.

    For compositing:



    • Image (image node)
    • Image Sequence (may be redundant with Image, as esentially same node as Image, but with an import image mode)
    • Mask
    • Movie Clip
    • Render layers
    • Texture
    • RGB


    • Time
    • Track Position
    • Value
    • Multiple Image (may be redundant with Image, as esentially same node as Image, but with an import image mode)



    • Composite
    • Viewer


    • File Output
    • Split Viewer
    • Levels



    • Alpha over
    • Bright/Contrast
    • Color balance
    • Hue Saturation Value
    • Tonemap
    • Mix
    • Invert

    Advanced (clasiffied to node complexity or rarity of use)

    • Color Correction
    • Gamma
    • Hue Correct
    • RGB curves
    • Z Combine



    • Math
    • Set Alpha
    • Seperate RGBA
    • Combine RGBA
    • Color Ramp
    • RGB to BW
    • ID Mask

    Advanced: (classified as least common use)

    • Alpha Convert
    • Combine HSVA
    • Combine YCbCrA
    • Combine YUVA
    • Seperate HSVA
    • Seperate YCbCrA
    • Seperate YUVA
    • View Switch



    • Blur
    • Defocus
    • Dilate/Erode
    • Filter
    • Glare
    • Sunbeams
    • Despeckle


    • Bilateral Blur
    • Vector Blur
    • Bokeh Blur
    • Inpaint
    • Directional Blur
    • Pixelate



    • Map Range
    • Normalize
    • Normalize


    • Vector Curves
    • Map Value



    • Channel Key
    • Chroma Key
    • Color Key
    • Color Spill
    • Keying
    • Luminance Key


    • Box Mask
    • Ellipse Mask
    • Distance Key
    • Difference Key
    • Double Edge Mask
    • Keying Screen



    • Flip
    • Lens Distortion
    • Scale
    • Rotate
    • Transform (does all, scale, rotate and translate – making the other nodes almost redundant unless you want to optimize processing speed)
    • Translate
    • Crop


    • Corner Pin
    • Displace
    • Map UV
    • Movie Distortion
    • Plane Track Deform
    • Stablize 2D

    Group (Relations tab)


    • Make Group
    • Ungroup

    Layout (relationship tab)


    • Frame
    • Reroute
    • Switch (exception, this may be a processing node on Output or Converter).


    The idea is  to combine Input and Output. Combine Group and Layout. Combine two more tabs, one for Upper level image edits and the other for deeper level: 1. Distort, Color, Filter 2. Matter, Vector, Converter (Or have them all in the one and same, just have the lists shown in that particular order or something similar).

    The second option is having the Input and Output also with the Distort and Color, and throw the Filter with the other group.






    #17330 Likes: 0
    • Posts 4699

    Thanks Draise. This is of big help :)

    We will have to go with the same current three tabs and four panels though. It’s one structure for all modes. I haven’t found a way yet to show hide panels dependant of the modes here. Just to show hide the buttons in the panels. And i don’t want to have empty panels really …

    #17331 Likes: 0
    • Posts 1181

    That consistency is good to me. Hope you find the way to have dynamic tabs. I must be possible, as it is functioning like so.


    #17332 Likes: 0
    • Posts 4699

    It isn’t possible. An addon has to use Python. Blender uses C code here. As told, it’s a can of worms ^^

    #17334 Likes: 0
    • Posts 1181

    Animation Nodes addon added two tabs only on it’s nodetree, nowhere else. Maybe there are clues there.



    #17358 Likes: 0
    • Posts 1181

    Gave it another whirl. It’s all looking really good so far. I noticed in the Texture nodetree mode, the Modify Node tab has zero nodes. So.. why not take some of the logical ones from the Inputnode Tab to the Modify Nodetab?



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