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UI: Add tooltips for modifiers
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Authored by Sybren A. Stüvel (sybren) on Dec 3 2019, 6:16 PM.
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Summary

When adding a modifier to an object, the drop-down select box has the same mouse-over tooltip for each modifier type: "Add a procedural operation/effect to the active object". This isn't helpful when you don't know what the modifier does from just reading the name.

This patch adds descriptions for most modifier types, so that it's clearer what the modifiers do. The text was provided by @Julien Blervaque (werwack) after discussion on DevTalk and taken from the Blender Manual. This process could in a sense be automated and either extract the manual text from the source code or vice versa, but I think it's a better idea to keep both separate. That way tooltips can be altered to make them more succint, whereas the manual text can utilise the larger space available there.

New tooltips:

Not all modifiers have a short one-line description in the manual, hence those are still missing in this patch.

Note that, contrary to operator tooltips on buttons and menus, the trailing period is not automatically added by Blender. Do we want to add those to the description explicitly (easier to do now)? Or do we want Blender to add those automatically (to be consistent).

Diff Detail

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rB Blender

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Is the wording of these tooltips flexible? I'm noticing some inconsistencies with the way most other tooltips read. Maybe it would make sense to do a pass on them for that.

William Reynish (billreynish) requested changes to this revision.Dec 4 2019, 2:41 AM

I don’t see why not to add this.

Only small issue is that I think some of the phrasing is a little strange. For example:
Before:
“Smooths a mesh by flattening the angles between adjacent faces in it, just like the Smooth tool in Edit Mode,while preserving the number of vertices"

Note redundant “in it” and I think it’s not necessary to mention edit mode tools.

Could perhaps just be:
“Smooths a mesh by flattening the angles between adjacent faces”

IMO that reads a little clearer.

But we can also nitpick exact wordings after this is added?

This revision now requires changes to proceed.Dec 4 2019, 2:41 AM

This is sooo nice.

@William Reynish (billreynish) - But we can also nitpick exact wordings after this is added?

But you just blocked it. LOL.

I'd vote for committing exactly as is, and then letting William adjust the text, without further approval, as needed afterward.

Ok, accepting then, can always adjust exact grammar and phrasing after the fact.

This revision is now accepted and ready to land.Dec 4 2019, 6:27 AM

Thanks for the vote of confidence, I appreciate it. I don't mind nitpicking now, though, so that once it's in master it's good to go and we don't have to look at it again.

I've gone through and edited the phrasing on the tooltips. Generally, they are more succinct and more consistent, removing more hand-wavey explanations.

Data Transfer:
Transfer vertex groups, UV maps, vertex colors or custom normals from one mesh to another

Mesh Cache:
Deform the mesh using an external frame-by-frame vertex transform cache

Mesh Sequence Cache:
Deform the mesh or curve using an external transform cache in Alembic format

Normal Edit:
Modify the direction of the surface normals

Weighted Normal:
Modify the direction of the surface normals based on a weighted method

UV Project:
Project the UV map coordinates from the negative Z axis of another object

UV Warp:
Transform the UV map using the the difference between two objects

Vertex Weight Edit:
Modify the weights of a vertex group

Vertex Weight Mix:
Mix the weights of two vertex groups

Vertex Weight Proximity:
Set the vertex group weights based on the distance to another target object

Array:
Create copies of the shape with offsets

Bevel:
Turn edges into a slope

Boolean:
Use another shape to cut, combine or perform a difference operation,

Build:
Cause the faces of the mesh object to appear or disappear one after the other over time

Decimate:
Reduce the geometry density

Edge Split:
Split away joined faces at the edges

Mask:
Dynamically hide vertices based on a vertex group or armature

Mirror:
Mirror along the local X, Y and/or Z axes, over the object origin

Multiresolution:
Subdivide the mesh in a way that allows editing the higher subdivision levels

Remesh:
Generate new mesh topology based on the current shape

Screw:
Lathe the mesh around an axis, treating the inout mesh as a profile.

Skin:
Create a solid shape from vertices and edges, using the vertex radius to define the thickness

Solidify:
Make the surface thick

Subdivision Surface:
Split the faces into smaller parts, giving it a smoother appearance

Triangulate:
Convert all polygons to triangles

Wireframe:
Convert faces into thickened edges

Armature:
Deform the shape using an armature object

Cast:
Shift the shape towards a predefined primitive

Curve:
Bend the mesh using a curve object

Displace:
Offset vertices based on a texture

Hook:
Deform specific points using another object

Laplacian Deform:
Deform the shape based a series of anchor points

Lattice:
Deform using the shape of a lattice object

Mesh Deform:
Deform using a different mesh, which acts as a deformation cage

Shrinkwrap:
Project the shape onto another object

Simple Deform:
Deform the shape by twisting, bending, tapering or stretching

Smooth:
Smooth a mesh by flattening the angles between adjacent faces

Smooth Corrective:
Smooth a mesh while still preserving the volume

Surface Deform:
Transfer motion from another mesh

Explode:
Break apart the mesh faces and let them follow particles

Ocean:
Generate a moving ocean surface

Particle System:
Spawn particles from the shape

Deform the mesh or curve using an external transform cache in Alembic format

Changed to "… external mesh cache…", as the transforms are loaded by the constraint, and not the modifier.

Bevel: Turn edges into a slope

Would it be nice to write "…into an (optionally rounded) slope"?

Sybren A. Stüvel (sybren) edited the summary of this revision. (Show Details)

I think bevel might be better described by "Cuts or removes volume from the mesh's edges and corners" or "Cuts or add geometry to the mesh's edges and corners"

I think bevel might be better described by "Cuts or removes volume from the mesh's edges and corners" or "Cuts or add geometry to the mesh's edges and corners"

I think that's less clear. Edges don't have any volume, so I don't see how volume can be removed there. Also "Cuts or removes" seems strange as they basically mean the same thing. "Cuts or add geometry to the mesh's edges and corners" doesn't convey the meaning of the bevel, as the added geometry could as well be spikes if you only go by that description.

How about "Rounds corners by adding geometry to the mesh's edges and vertices"

I don't think it's wrong to say it adds geometry-- it's in the "generate" category of the modifiers. And although it can do more than round corners, that's it's general use case so I think it's the best way to describe it concisely.

@Hans Goudey (HooglyBoogly) I also thought of other alternatives for the Bevel tooltip, such as using the term 'chamfer', although technically bevel and chamfer aren't exactly the same thing, although they are often used interchangeably.

Re: "Rounds corners by adding geometry to the mesh's edges and vertices" : Only thing is that they aren't necessarily round :)

How about "Generate sloped corners by adding geometry to the mesh's edges or vertices" ?

@Sybren A. Stüvel (sybren)
If you don't mind, I have some small corrections to what I had above:

(removed some redundant instances of 'the mesh')

Screw:
Lathe around an axis, treating the inout mesh as a profile.

Laplacian Deform:
Deform based a series of anchor points

Smooth:
Smooth the mesh by flattening the angles between adjacent faces

Smooth Corrective:
Smooth the mesh while still preserving the volume

@Hans Goudey (HooglyBoogly) I also thought of other alternatives for the Bevel tooltip, such as using the term 'chamfer', although technically bevel and chamfer aren't exactly the same thing, although they are often used interchangeably.
Re: "Rounds corners by adding geometry to the mesh's edges and vertices" : Only thing is that they aren't necessarily round :)
How about "Generate sloped corners by adding geometry to the mesh's edges or vertices" ?

Yes I like it! There's something about fussing over a few words that I find strangely enjoyable : P

This revision was automatically updated to reflect the committed changes.