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Allow users to have vertical nodes in the node editor
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Authored by Isaac Weaver (wisaac) on May 19 2016, 1:09 AM.



This patch gives users the ability to make vertical node graphs in the node editor. It's still a WIP but I wanted to know what people thought about it before I got too carried away with it. You can still have horizontal node graphs like before, but you can also have horizontal node graphs or a mix of the two.

Here is how it works:

  • Press "Ctrl Alt V" to toggle between vertical and horizontal nodes
  • When nodes are horizontal they can be toggled between hidden and regular just like before

This was inspired by this proposal:

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like

Diff Detail

rB Blender

Event Timeline

Isaac Weaver (wisaac) retitled this revision from to Allow users to have vertical nodes in the node editor.
Isaac Weaver (wisaac) updated this object.
Isaac Weaver (wisaac) set the repository for this revision to rB Blender.

Would it make more sense to have the H hotkey be cyclic rather than having the Ctrl+Alt+V hotkey? E.g. Press H it hides the node, press it again it makes the node vertical, press it again it resets it back to a normal node.

Am quite skeptical of supporting multiple directions to draw, these kinds of options end up giving us problems supporting them long term (supporting all combinations of options).

So either the default for nodes changes, or we get feedback from experienced users that this is an important option to support.

Otherwise suggest to reject this patch.

Sergey Sharybin (sergey) requested changes to this revision.Jul 14 2016, 3:34 PM

Since there's nothing to be really reviewed from code yet, marking as changes required so we can move forward.

This revision now requires changes to proceed.Jul 14 2016, 3:34 PM

My opinion is: reject. I am working with nodes in Substance Designer daily, have a 16:9 monitor, work on characters, and never found horizontal nodes showstopping.

The main reason why vertical nodes would be useful is that they take up less space than horizontal nodes which could be important in some situations (e.g. stringing together lots of math nodes to create a simple math formula). It's also worth mentioning that node-based software (Houdini, Nuke, etc.) tend to use vertical nodes.

It's all about freedom. The user should not be restricted to work horizontal or vertical, that's against the whole concept of working with nodes. This patch is a giant step to get it into a real node editor.

The current limitations lead into messy node setups, see the classroom scene with just basic compositing:

Implementing both directions, definitely would lead into clearer, more readable node setups and finally due the freedom, the editor would be more artist (and workflow) friendly.

@Isaac Weaver (wisaac) Thanks, great work!

This could be useful for everything nodes like displaying bone hierarchies parent/child relations in general.

However, the concern about corner cases and maintenance is legitimate as the argument about more options for the user (for instance, an node editor window layout that uses the whole height of the screen but not much horizontal space - something like an ad hoc outliner with nodes).

One way around the clutter would be implementing the idea of wi-fi / teleport nodes that link nodes together without drawing the noodles between them, node snapping on the grid, limit the size to a fixed width/height, search nodes by type with highlighting). But those are some ideas to make dealing with big trees more easier and out of scope of this patch.