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Outliner Collections Interaction Design
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Description

Improving the interaction design and layout of the View Layers and Collections in the Outliner.


Outliner layout

For Blender 2.8, we've introduced the concept of Collections to replace the limited layers we had in the past. This means that users are more likely to use the Outliner, and som we want to make some improvements here.

First, we want to make it easy to add new collections. We will do this by re-arranging the Outliner header, and adding a Plus button for adding new collections:

If users want to search, they can press Ctrl+F, or pick Search from the View menu. This displays a search field below the header, like so:

Outliner features

There are several features we want to make easier to do in the outliner, by making things more consistent with the rest of Blender. Here are some features we will add to the Outliner:

Move item to CollectionDrag LMB
Add item to CollectionCtrl + Drag LMB
ParentCtrl + P
UnparentAlt + P
DeleteDel
DuplicateShift + D
Duplicate LinkedAlt + D
Local View SoloAlt + H
Local View ExcludeH

Local View

Another thing we want to improve is making it easier to visualise which items you have set to Local View. The highlighted items are set to Local View, and the headphones icon lets users toggle it off and on. It also makes it possible to include or remove items from your current local view:

3D View mini-Outliner

In each 3D View, we will be providing a mini-Outliner in the sidebar (N key). This gives users access to the same settings as in the Outliner, but is useful if the Outliner is not visible, or when working in full screen mode. This list only shows users a list of collections. Individual objects are not included, in order to keep the list concise. If users want to have different visibility for 3D View, they can 'unsync' the view visibility.

Details

Type
Design

Event Timeline

After trying out the Outliner I also want to suggest 2 possible improvements:

  • It would be great once you select an object in the scene, the object get's always highlighted in the hierarchy of the outliner. So far you can only see a selected object that is in a collection or parented to another object if it's one of the first few icons in the list:

But once the scene get's bigger and more complex it would be great to always see where the selected objects are in the outliner by highlighting them similarly without switching the filtering to selected or using "show active".

  • Another helpful thing is to be able to drag & drop between multiple outliner windows. This way you can have one outliner open that is set to "View Layer" and another set to "Orphan Data" or "Blender File" and drag collections that are missing from the view layer into it from outliner to outliner.

This could speed up the process of organizing the view layers a lot.

It would be great once you select an object in the scene, the object get's always highlighted in the hierarchy of the outliner. So far you can only see a selected object that is in a collection or parented to another object if it's one of the first few icons in the list:

It sounds like you're talking about a direct correlation between hightlighted and selected objects. If so, I wholeheartedly agree. It's a major usability issue right now with Blender's Outliner.

For the outliner repetitive elements, @venomgfx and I came up with this design: