Remove 'Rigid Body Tools' from the toolbar
Open, LowPublic

Description

Currently there's a panel in the toolbar called 'Rigid Body Tools'

I don't think these items fit into the scope of the toolbar. Here's why:

  • These are not real tools, all they do is change values of settings in Properties.
  • The 'Calculate Mass' item should be placed next to the Mass setting in Properties it relates to, rather than act as a tool in the toolbar
  • It's inconsistent to put buttons to quickly set up Rigid Bodies only. What about all other areas? i.e. buttons to set up a material etc? Where does it stop?
  • These 'quick setup' buttons can be better replaced by rigid body presets inside the Rigid Body properties
  • Some of the buttons in Rigid Body Tools are only there because it's hard to apply properties to multiple objects in Blender. This is a general issue is search of a general solution. Shouldn't be solved by adding lots of special 'apply X to selected' buttons. In the end you'd need one of those buttons for every item.

Details

Type
Design

When Sergej added it, we didn't knew a better place to put it in.

Maybe the vertical tabs can solve this case?

@Thomas Dinges (dingto): It's not just that they take up space, it that I don't think it should be there at all.

For example, the 'Change Shape' tool is the same as changing the shape in the properties. Same with 'Add Active/Passive'. It's the same as picking those items in the properties too.

I would vote that these tools are moved to the properties space under the physics tab. I would put them under the rest of the rigid boy tools when rigid body is enabled for the object (Rigid Body, Rigid Body Collisions). I don't believe these operations exist anywhere else on the UI, so I wouldn't just completely remove them.

The tools don't seem important enough to be on the main toolbar.

I think we should also remove the keyboard shortcuts for adding/removing rigid bodies (variations of ctrl+r). We had even several bug reports where users would add rigid bodies by accident. Not sure if it should be a separate task.

Here's a more detailed explanation of why this doesn't belong in the toolbar:

Things that change settings, such as presets etc belong next to the properties they relate to, not in the toolbar:

@Scott Petrovic (scottpetrovic): It's not just that they take space in toolbar. It's that most of these aren't tools at all, they are just shortcuts for changing properties in the Properties panel.

It's silly to put in actions to set specific properties. We can't have this, because we'd need it for all properties in the end, and we'd get an unweildy mess of duplicated items.

We don't have a button for 'Enable Cloth' in the toolbar either, and we shouldn't. Users should instead go to Physics Properties and set it to Cloth. Way simpler

@William Reynish (billrey) That sounds good to me. I am not very familiar with dealing with physics and rigidbodies in Blender. I haven't really used them in Blender, so forgive me for my ignorance. :)

I need to be careful with what I am subscribing and commenting on. I am currently spending almost all of my time studying the code base (there is a lot!). There seems to be more designers than developers, so I want to only chime in if I think there is an issue I understand and can code myself.

I trust your judgement for the design with this.

@William Reynish (billrey): I agree with completely removing "Change Shape" and "Copy from Active", you can use "Copy to Selected" feature in the right click menu of properties instead. The issue here is that it's anoying to use and many users seem not to be aware of it.

As for the other buttons I have several questions:
How would the user add/remove several rigid bodies at the same time?
How does "Connect" fit in the constraint panel, since there are no Constraints before you click it?

The biggest problem here is that you often want to perform actions on multiple rigid bodies at once. As an example: having the calculate mass button in the rigid body panel seems nice and tidy, but when you want to calculate the mass for 1000 objects (which is common) it's not going to work. It's not obvious for a button in the properties window to work on several objects.
What we could do here is have an option to calculate mass automatically but that needs more thought.

@Sergej Reich (sergof):

The biggest problem here is that you often want to perform actions on multiple rigid bodies at once.

Exactly. This is the issue. I understand why these things were added as tools - mainly to work around the fact that it's hard or impossible to change settings across several objects. This is a fundamental weakness, that ends up adding lots of hacks, compromises and complicated solutions.

For example, we have the Copy menu for copying certain settings from the active to selected objects. You can also right-click on some values (but not all) to copy values from active to selected. And then we have special tools to work around the limitation and apply stuff to multiple objects. All these things are complicated and inconsistent and only work for subsets of the Properties.

Instead of adding tools such as these, I think the fundamental issue should be solved. It's a general problem in search of a good, general solution

Allow editing of multiple objects. Select several objects/bones, and you get this:

Advantages:

  • We can remove the Copy menu for copying only certain settings
  • We can clean up the UI and simplify the workflow by removing unnecessary 'tools', such as most of the Rigid Body tools
  • Applying things to multiple objects is the no longer a separate confusing step. It just works.

@William Reynish (billrey): Yes, having proper editing of multiple properties would solve most of the issues. I've wanted to have that for years. The hacks we use to work around it are annoying.

Then there are still a few problems:

  • Calculating mass will give different values based on the object volume, so representing different property values by a dash will give no/bad visual feedback in this case.
  • "Connect" is actually a tool, it creates (multiple) new objects. I don't think it fits into the properties window.
  • "Bake to Keyframes" also doesn't seem to fit anywhere.

@Sergej Reich (sergof):

Re: calculate mass.
You'd get a dash with multiple items selected if the mass differs, just like any property. But that's the case also when selecting it from the toolbar.

Re:Connect. Yes I guess it's a tool. But it could also be a property? Ie pick an item in the physics properties.

Re Bake: could go inside Cache like we do for particles etc?

@William Reynish (billrey):

What I mean by no/bad visual feedback is that when you have several rigid bodies selected that have different mass, you see a dash. Now you calculate mass and don't see anything change. So the user doesn't know that something has changed. You have the same problem when it's in the tool panel, but it's a problem nonetheless.

I don't see a way of making "Connect" a property unfortunately.

As for "Bake to Keyframes", rigid bodies also have point cache. So this is not equivalent, especially because it works very differently. What it does is stepping through the specified frame range and recording keyframes only for the selected objects and thren removing them from the rigid body world.
Imo this is also a tool and putting it into the properties window would be a stretch.

From my perspective as a user and demonstrator of rigid bodies for user group meetings, sergof's points are important to keep in mind and the multiple rigid body functionality among other things has to be preserved some how.

The properties panel does not seem to be the correct scope to handle multiple objects from my user perspective IMHO.

I completely agree with removing most of these from the toolbar but I believe we should wait until we have full multi-object editing. At that point we can revisit this and find a more optimal solution.

Until then let's leave them (at least mostly) as is.

Jonathan Williamson (carter2422) renamed this task from Remove 'RIgid Body Tools' from the toolbar to Remove 'Rigid Body Tools' from the toolbar.Jan 4 2014, 8:00 PM
Jonathan Williamson (carter2422) lowered the priority of this task from Normal to Low.