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Making the mode selection dropdown list in the Editor headers consistent across all editors that use them
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The mode selection dropdown lists are inconsistent across the editor headers that use them (3D view, Graph, Dopesheet, Image, MCE, Outliner).

  1. Some modes are called editors (e.g. F-Curve editor). Using the term editor is incorrect.
  2. Most modes do not have the word "mode" after them (e.g. in MCE: Tracking; Reconstruction; Distortion; Mask) while some do (e.g. Object mode). Having "mode" is redundant.
  3. The word "Mode" appears at the top of all lists except the 3D view editor. Inconsistency.
  4. For all editors except the 3D view, a tooltip is not shown for a list item when the list is expanded. Inconsistency and means no guidance for mode selection.
  5. The 3D view list items all have the same tooltip ("Sets the object interaction mode"). Inconsistency and means no guidance for mode selection.
  6. The 3D view shows a partial tooltip when the list is closed (other editors have the full current mode tooltip). Inconsistency.
  7. Some mode tooltips could be improved (e.g Image, Paint mode: 2D image painting mode and MCE: Mask mode: Show mask editing tools). Better guidance for selection.
  8. The main tooltip could be improved - it's a mode selector but the tooltip refers to context (i.e. "Editing context being displayed"). Better guidance overall.

I have started working on this already. A lot of the inconsistency is caused by the 3D view header being called and executed in a different way from the other headers.

The reason why I am raising this task is to validate the proposed changes being:

  1. Remove any instance of editor in list item (done).
  2. Remove any instance or mode in list item (done)
  3. Mode should appear at top of 3D view list (to do)
  4. Tooltips should always appear over list items (to do)
  5. 3D view list items should have their own tooltips (done - see suggestions below)
  6. 3D view mode mode should show current mode tooltip as well (to do)
  7. Suggested list to be provided once first round of suggestions below are validated (to do)
  8. Any suggestion for a replacement or leave as is (to do)

Proposed 3D view tooltips:

OBJECT: "Manipulate objects",
EDIT: "Edit object mesh or armature"
SCULPT: "Edit mesh using sculpt tools"
VERTEX_PAINT: "Paint object's vertices"
WEIGHT_PAINT: "Edit object's vertex weights"
TEXTURE_PAINT: "Paint on object's selected UV Map"
PARTICLE_EDIT: "Edit particle system using brushes"
POSE: "Transform bones in armature"

  • andrew

Event Timeline

Andrew Buttery (axb) claimed this task.
Andrew Buttery (axb) raised the priority of this task from to Normal.
Andrew Buttery (axb) updated the task description. (Show Details)
Andrew Buttery (axb) edited a custom field.

good points here, some things I just noticed in the UV image editor; in the paint and mask modes, and uv sculpt mode; the tools are activated at the bottom of the tool panel, making the switch between modes almost invisible. the user must then scroll past task unrelated tools, to reach the primary tools of the mode. this might be improve with the toolbar tabs implemented though.

also I think a dedicated "UV Editing" mode, would be best, currently the "view" mode is not really adequate: most of the tools in the toolbar are unrelated to UV editing, and the UV tools are only accessible by menus.

I would suggest a separate "UV Edit" mode, with more relevant tools displayed, like sculpt tools and something like this addon here: T37975

Great proposal. I was thinking about something like that few months ago. IMHO this topic is more complicated than just naming conventions and tooltips. We need a hierarchical structure and guidlines for whole blender interface, not just modes. Even for experienced users things can be confusing.
For now there is no strict separation what is editor, editor mode, item type or view type. Not from user point of view. 3D view is most intuitive right now but nodes, image or movie clip editors are very inconsistent across each others.

Also Headers priority is not high enough. In fact from clarity point of view they are most important interface items in blender. Items in headers are not arranged in logical way. Going from left to right we have Editor Type (good), then Editor Menus that are related mostly to mode and then Editor Mode. Changing editor mode alter menu contents but menus are theoretically higher in hierarchy.
Next catchy thing. In node editor node tree types are displayed as icons not as dropdown list. In fact editing materials and compositing are completely different topics, users don't change this modes often while working. Those things need to be displayed as separate editor modes, just like editing F-Curve and Drivers in Graph editor. Same methods but completely different and non strictly related tasks.

I propose to establish a tree structure of interface items that users can easily learn and to be able to translate experience from one editor window to another.

Things should look like that:

  • Editor
  • Editor mode
  • Item type
  • Item

Going this way arrangement of items in Headers should look like that:

  • Editor type
  • Editor Mode
  • Editor specific Menus (To this point user exactly know in which mode he is and what tolls he can access from menus)
  • (visible subtle separator)
  • Type of item to edit (Object/ World materials or Object/ World /Brush textures in node editor. Summary / Filters in animation editors...)
  • Item menu dropdown (Image, Material, Texsture, Text, Action...)
  • View/ Display modes in dropdown menu like in this proposal: T37835 (Viewport Shading, Text display options, Display modes in movie editors)
  • All other tools specific to Editor Mode

With that approach we can achieve logical order of items consistent with all editor types and modes. We first need to create tree structure of editor window typed and editor modes with all interface items and make documentation for users and developers.


Thanks for the thoughts, but I got stuck at #3. The 3D View mode selector uses different code from the others (there's a lot more C involved) and I have less time now than I did in January (my summer). So at the moment I'm on hold on this item.

Good suggestions, but I suspect someone else will need to pick them up and run with them...

Apologies if I got your hopes up...

  • andrew
Campbell Barton (campbellbarton) changed the task status from Unknown Status to Unknown Status.Mar 10 2016, 6:34 AM

No resolution or activity in over 3 months,
archiving, listed in the wiki.
Can re-open when we have time to handle this one.