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2.8 UI Tools: Top Bar, Tool Properties & Toolbar Update
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Description

For Blender 2.8, we want to make some changes to how Tool Properties and the Top Bar features work.

First, we've identified a few issues:

  1. On large monitors the top bar wastes a lot of unnecessary space, leading some users to want to hide it
  2. When the top bar is hidden, there are some controls that users cannot easily access.
  3. Changing from Data Properties to Tool Properties is too much of a hassle
  4. Command Settings dropdown in the Top Bar was too far out of the way, and too much work to engage, always requiring a click to access
  5. When users have a long list of custom brushes, the toolbar makes it hard to quickly access them all

For this reason, we want to make some changes to these features.

1: Top Bar

The new philosophy for the Top Bar, is that Blender should be fully useable if it is hidden, so that users with large screens can hide it away without issues.

This makes the Top Bar simpler too: It now only contains Active Tool settings.

2: Tool Properties

To make Tool Properties easier to access, we will add them as the left-most tab in the Properties Editor instead.

Also, the Tool Properties will will always display the same settings as in the Top Bar, so that the Tool Properties will work for all tools.

Additionally, users will be able to access the tool adjustment settings for adjusting the tool result here too.

3: Command ‘redo’ Tweak Options

Rather than using a popover in the right-most corner of the Top Bar, we’ve decided to handle Command Settings in a different way:

When activating a Command (Subdivide, Remove Doubles etc), we will display the tweak settings directly in the Editor view in which you initiated the command. This way, they can appear inside any Editor, and it will display even if the toolbar is hidden. They appear immediately, and don’t require a click to open. This way, they will always appear close to the area in which you used the command, and they can appear in any Editor with commands that have settings associated to them.

Normally, the command settings will always appear when you execute a command, if there are useful settings to tweak, but if the user minimizes the Command Tweak Settings, these settings will stay minimized for the next executed command too.

Additionally, we will add a global method to turn tweak settings off for users who prefer to use the F6 popup for tweaking.

4: Toolbar

We want to add some additional enhancements to the toolbar.

First, we would like to make it possible to add tools and brushes to custom tool groups. This makes it possible to create categories of brushes, especially useful for sculpting where you can have hard surface brushes, organic brushes, skin detailing brushes all separated into separated categories. This is also useful for other modes, as a way to group favorite tools.

Second, we are working on more readable, flexible icons, which work better at smaller sizes. These icons are vector icons and can be themed inside Blender, so that they always appear clearly defined.

5: 3D View

The above changes have implications for the way we display certain settings in the 3D View. We've found a way to group items in a logical and hierarchical way, like so:

The items on the left correspond to the active mode. When switching mode, the toolbar and the menus change.
The items on the right are view settings, and are independant of the mode. They also will not change position based on the active mode, so that the same settings stay put.

Details

Type
Design

Event Timeline

There are a very large number of changes, so older changes are hidden. Show Older Changes

The Tool Properties as the left-most tab in the Properties Editor is a very wise move. Thanks devs.

Now about the toolbar, we will be able to fully customize the tools displayed there or the custom tools can only be added as custom tools groups? Like, can the custom tools be added in any position on the bar and in a expanded manner without being part of a closed dropdown menu?
Also, will we be able to remove some of the default tools we don't use too often in the toolbar?

Cheers...

I see that many N panel data like normal display etc is now inside the overlay menu which is super useful for faster and more logical access
making it easier to find tools.

Now regarding when working in full screen what speaks against using the old properties panel for tool data instead of added it / adding it only to the main properties button menu?

One of the biggest annoyances of Blender in fullscreen is having to access things like modifier and then we always need to exit full screen.

Maybe modifiers could be added via toolbar but then the added modifier can be adjusted in the n panel.

I last year wrote a UI that displayed the modifier list inside the toobar so one can do all this from within fullscreen

I would like to see tool bar icons are on top bar its easy to access at least for me.



You (Blender Devs) are awesooommmee....
Thank You for everything guys.....

LOVE all of this soon much! Great work guys. Can't wait to see the implementation.

Working on new UI icons for Blender 2.8, I'd love to contact with Tools icons designer. Standard practice is to design the smallest icons first and interpolate the style to bigger pictograms to maintain consistency. Those tiny bits have hell of limitations, thus it's important to pin down basic design principles and guides to follow in various scales.
Tools icons are fine IMHO, but I’d use lines instead white filled polygons. This way, main part of a pictogram (the most informative part) would become more clean cut. Regarding small size of UI icons, it's not efficient to use fills all around, cause those itsy-bitsy would become 16x16 pix blotches. Going linear is a must in such tight space.
Check out my gimpy efforts: New icons for Blender 2.8

Really really cool concept I hope to see it as soon as possible!!

hey, nice work guys. keep it up.
just for the suggestion ;

  1. if the Properties editor's tab will be on the right side instead of the left it will be good

and

  1. it will be much easier and faster if the clicking is removed means just by hovering the mouse or as zebus (ofuscado) said by mouse wheel to the Properties editor's tabs (Render, Modifier, physics etc) it will open the relative tabs settings.

I fully agree that the property tabs will look better vertically but on the right side, as suggested by DIGVIJAY (DJAY) and be able to switch between them with the mouse wheel.

With the new flat style icons you might also look better on tabs that are desaturated and only the active tab has color in the icon.

Djay: I don’t think hover to activate will work. It’s too error prone. If you just move your cursor over the tab, it will switch. Even worse, if you have to move your cursor to a different Editor, it will activate a tab on the way out. Also, when hovering to read the tooltips, the tab will then activate, which you really don’t want.

The current Top Bar design is basically "stuff on the left" + "stuff on the right". On large screens that means having to reach farther into the corners of the display to get at both sets of stuff.

Could we have an option to center both left stuff and right stuff together in the middle?

I feel like this would make it easier to find things visually (not having to search both corners when learning where things are) and also make the thing easier to reach when you've found it.

Thanks for all the amazing improvements!

Thank you!! Please don´t forget the RENDER REGION is a *MUST* for heavy scenes. I´ve cited it here: https://blender.community/c/rightclickselect/zCbbbc/render-region-on-2-79

Also let´s not forget about parameter information on the status bar or directly over the viewport: When calculating heavy scenes on render, there should be a way to know how much memory and GPU+CPU is doing the computing. It´s very important for simulations, fluids, fractures. *Please consider this*

I don´t want CODE QUEST to END! :D

hey, nice work guys. keep it up.
just for the suggestion ;

  1. if the Properties editor's tab will be on the right side instead of the left it will be good

and

  1. it will be much easier and faster if the clicking is removed means just by hovering the mouse or as zebus (ofuscado) said by mouse wheel to the Properties editor's tabs (Render, Modifier, physics etc) it will open the relative tabs settings.

I agree, for single workspaces this very logical to have the buttons on the right...
A concern for me is dual monitor and mouse over events...I tend to have mine on monitor 1 with it dressed to the right...if I move to my second monitor I may accidentally activate an unwanted property mode....
I still agree with them being on the right though.

Summary: separate properties icons into 3 groups.

There is a small space between the Tool Properties icon and the other icons, which makes sense, as they are qualitatively different. Perhaps it would make sense to also add a small space before the Object Properties icon, to separate all the object properties (object, constraint, modifier etc.) from all the non-object properties. This will help to group them logically, and with all the properties icons becoming vertical instead of horizontal there is now plenty of room.

zebus3d (ofuscado) added a comment.EditedJun 11 2018, 10:49 AM

a generic sprocket icon for the buttons where you choose the type of panel I think could help to be more intuitive

Michael: Yes, that might be a good idea.

Zebus: We've thought of the Editor selectors, and have some ideas here. When you've set up your UI, they do currently take up a lot of space, which is esp a problem when you have little space, such as in the Outliner.

One solution is to simply have a global toggle to turn them off. This way, you can turn them on while you are creating your workspaces, but then turn them off to gain more space while working.

William Reynish (billreynish) renamed this task from Top Bar, Tool Properties & Toolbar Update to 2.8 UI Tools: Top Bar, Tool Properties & Toolbar Update.Jun 11 2018, 12:57 PM

hey, nice work guys. keep it up.
just for the suggestion ;

  1. if the Properties editor's tab will be on the right side instead of the left it will be good

and

  1. it will be much easier and faster if the clicking is removed means just by hovering the mouse or as zebus (ofuscado) said by mouse wheel to the Properties editor's tabs (Render, Modifier, physics etc) it will open the relative tabs settings.

I agree, for single workspaces this very logical to have the buttons on the right...
A concern for me is dual monitor and mouse over events...I tend to have mine on monitor 1 with it dressed to the right...if I move to my second monitor I may accidentally activate an unwanted property mode....
I still agree with them being on the right though.

There is a lot bigger issue at hand. There's a scrollbar on the right. It would clash with the buttons. Half of the times when you'd want to click the button you would active the scrollbar instead.

that's logical, but I never actually use the scrollbar...if I scroll my mouse is just inside the panel somewhere....anyway...enough noise from me.

Hi. In some last blender dev videos I saw nicely implemented idea of switching between modes with 1,2,3.. buttons.
Where 2 was edit mode. And after entering edit mode 2 became v/f/e switcher...
So ...

Don't think it will be implemented, but... while working my modeling I was never setisfied with TAB switching between v/e/f.
3ds max solution 1,2,3 was used about 3 month, but did not become main... because of 3 buttons need to be reminded...

But what if EDIT MODE will be a TOOL in 2.8 meaning. Think it is not only easy but leat with main new UI concept.
Let me explain. My main thought was that 90% of time left mouse button is not in use. The second one is that more evident button must be used for more often operations. And what is the most frequent action - of cource switching between v/e/f.
And switching v/e/f may be a TOOL and it may be DEFAULT tool.

So many words, but in practice it is very simple and straightforward:

  • hit 2 to switch edit mode
  • in edit mode press LMB to cycles between v/e/f (for example alt+LMB- cycles backwards). Since people used to Click/doubleclick LMB you will see how it easy to learn clicking once to switch from ver to edge, doubleckick to v->f
  • hit G, S, Shift +R or whatever to do staff
  • press enter or space to finish and automatically switch to v/e/f switching mode with LMB.

I am using this approach about 6 month and really really do not want any other

  • in edit mode press LMB to cycles between v/e/f (for example alt+LMB- cycles backwards). Since people used to Click/doubleclick LMB you will see how it easy to learn clicking once to switch from ver to edge, doubleckick to v->f

That is probably by far the worst solution for mesh element switching anyone has proposed here so far :)

The current top toolbar has a big problem on the monitors with 34inch as myself or even 27inch.
I think the top bar needs to be customizable as in my case and other people who have bigger monitors.
Is unhealthy for your eyes to look up and also a stress after a while.
So the solution is customization, and not to be stuck with the menu on top where now is your most important tools, and to be able to put it on the bottom as well.

Blender was always customizable, but with 2.8 this change goes in the other direction.....

  • in edit mode press LMB to cycles between v/e/f (for example alt+LMB- cycles backwards). Since people used to Click/doubleclick LMB you will see how it easy to learn clicking once to switch from ver to edge, doubleckick to v->f

That is probably by far the worst solution for mesh element switching anyone has proposed here so far :)

About 99% of time in edit mode left mouse button click is not used. And in 1 % it is used for set cursor.
In 99% we position cursor with Shift+S menu.
May be it is the worst solution ever, but do not using MOST usual button in one of the basic (i mean modeling) features of the program is ... strange first of all.


One more reason why top toolbar needs to be customizable as in a scenario where an artist wants to sculpt in a window and have something else in another window, he will be constrained to move with the mouse on top just to change the settings for his brush, so will become an unnecessary effort.

And you can't force him to sculpt on top side because in this way the windows customization will become useless.

@pistol ioan (pistoltoto)

One more reason why top toolbar needs to be customizable as in a scenario where an artist wants to sculpt in a window and have something else in another window, he will be constrained to move with the mouse on top just to change the settings for his brush, so will become an unnecessary effort.
And you can't force him to sculpt on top side because in this way the windows customization will become useless.

If you hadn't already noticed, all the Tool Settings which are available in the Top Bar for all different modes & tools, are also available at the Properties Panel to the Right-Side. :) Which can also be customized to be placed where ever you like, even as a floating panel. (Ctrl Alt W - New Window. Collapse everything else and keep only the properties panel. Scale window to fit size. Voila. Floating Tool Panel.)

The devs have been tirelessly working towards creating a UI where you can Comfortably work even in full-screen with all the Tool Bars, Top Bars, Properties Panels, Etc - Hidden. And still be able to easily reach & use all the important Tools & Settings in each of the different modes & variety of tools.

Hope this gives you a little more faith on what's been done so far, and what is to come for the future of the Tool Settings Interface. ;)

I think that "pistol ioan" means that he wants to use horizontal Top Bar "concept", but it can be more configurable and have more possibilities in terms of it position, for example be able to place the bar just above 3D View in the screenshot he showed.
This could be achieved by "Top Bar" being a complete new "Editor Type", or it belonging to 3D View Editor. Or maybe it's some kind of detachable panel.
And I agree with that, just making TopBar hidden does not solve the problem for people who like the concept of Top Bar, but they just want to place TopBar where they like best.

@YAFU (YAFU) Yeah. I wasn't trying to deny his thoughts regarding the top bar, but there are still a lot of users who haven't realized everything that is in the Top Bar and the Tool Settings panel (2.79) can also be found in the new Tool Settings Tab in the properties panel . :)

I do agree with you, in a sense that Tools Must Be Accessible. Especially the stuff you have to use and switch between multiple times while working. And there should always be more than one way to access those tools. Not just shortcuts but also visually.

You can save so much time not having to move the mouse/pen all around the screen trying to complete the very basic of functions. (Switching Tools, Toggling Settings, Changing Values, Etc.) Those should always be readily available at your finger-tips or at least, closer to your work area. (3D Viewport)

I think the devs have done a pretty good job so far, and trying to streamline the UI/UX of Blender and make it more accessible and encourage faster workflows. There is still a lot more work to do. But it seems to be going in a very positive direction. :)

Even I'm curious to see the potential of what could be done, if the top bar was converted into an Editor Type Area.

Don't get me wrong, Top bar in any application will always have its uses. Every software has one in someway or another. But I think whats important is to have the rarely used or general functions in a top bar. So you change a setting and you can hide it and continue your work.

But for tools like brushes and mesh modeling tools, etc. Those are functions that we switch between so frequently, and the top bar just seems too much of a hassle to keep moving your cursor To-&-From repeatedly. Wastes a lot of time working that way. And in Blender where Vertical Screen Space is a commodity. Anything that can be removed or streamlined to save more space, is always welcome. :)

So until we can get editor type panels inside the 3d viewport to change tools & settings on the fly. The Tool Settings Tab in the properties panel seems to be in an OK location. Better than having to keep visiting the top of the screen for every small thing. :D

Just to be able to flip the bar like we used to have before to the other bars


And is more relaxing to look down, for some users?

Just to be able to flip the bar like we used to have before to the other bars

Yeah. That seems like it could work too. :)


Will it be interesting to show changes in the videos here?
Hotkeys for selecting objects will also be assigned by default as in object editing mode?

@Campbell Barton (campbellbarton) @William Reynish (billreynish) Hope you guys are having a good weekend. :)

Been seeing a lot of fuss about the Top-Toolbar, Bottom Status Bar, Etc. (On DevTalk Forum, BA, Right-Click Select. Literally Everywhere. Lol)

Didn't wanna add to those arguments, but thought I'd share some ideas with you guys. Hope it makes sense. :)

So Autodesk Maya has this feature where it actually displays some scene related info on the actual Titlebar for the application itself.

Nothing as elaborate as Blender, but stuff like "App Name/Version, File Path, Selected Object(s) Name(s)". (Image from Google)

So here's my suggestion to incorporate something similar into Blender. And hopefully if it's possible, it can end this war on the bottom status bar. :D

Note: I was checking out the User Interfaces/Workspaces for many 3D Apps before making the mock-up for my suggestions. And this much I can say with confidence. --- Blender has such a Clean, Open and Freeing User Interface compared to most other 3D Apps out there.

Most of those Apps feel so Bloated & Cluttered in so many ways, that you immediately feel Claustrophobic just looking at the screen. --- Really love the Minimalistic but Functional approach Blender has taken towards it's UI/UX. <3


And as for the Top Toolbar. I really don't get why everyone is making such a massive fuss about it.

(The following comments are for the Users rather than it is for the Devs.)

#1) It's still under development. --- No changes are set in stone.

#2) I do agree, it does take up some amount of space. (32 px) --- But I also remember the devs mentioning in some design tasks, that they're planning to add some Context Sensitive, Mode/Tool Specific Buttons/Functions/Menus to it. So that will definitely make it worth keeping. (If you want to work that way.)

#3) Personally, I can see the goal for 2.8 design is to give users Multiple Ways to achieve the same Functionality & Interactivity with the Tool Settings. --- You can use the Top Toolbar (Top), or the Tool Settings Panel (Right), or Floating Tool Settings Panel (3D Viewport)

#4) It's always good to have more than 1 Hard-Set way to achieve (get to) something. And I think 3-ways is a safe number. Depending on a User's Screen Setup & Workflow Needs. They can choose which method is the most accessible.

If you're a person who likes to (Ctrl + Shift + Space) and work Pure Fullscreen then having the Tool Settings be a Floating Modal Panel which pops-up at your mouse pointer, or be a movable panel makes sense.

If you're a person who likes to hide the Top Toolbar for extra vertical space. Then you can still access the Tool Settings from the Floating Panel or Properties Editor Panel.

#5) You can choose what to hide and what Toolbars or Panels You want to have open, depending on how You like to work, and what is comfortable for You. --- The Devs are not trying to kill your workflows. They are trying to give you More Options. So You can choose how You want to setup your workspace & work.

@Campbell Barton (campbellbarton) @William Reynish (billreynish) I know you boys don't like applause but, Thanks for all the hard work & effort you guys have been putting in daily. <3

PS: When you guys manage to have the "Tool Settings" accessible in the both, the "Top Toolbar & Properties Editor Panel". Would be cool to have an option to turn off the "Redo Panel" in the 3D Viewport. --- For people who might not want to use it, or have it take up screen space. --- Giving users the option to have something on/off seems to be the safest bet these days. :)

Cheers 'n Enjoy the Weekend.

Hi.

Is the final decision Top Bar to be fixed up there? Is "Top" part of the name limiting the possibility of developing a much more configurable bar with respect to the possible positions on the screen?. If so, maybe rename "Top" Bar for something else. Besides renaming it would avoid people confusing the concept of this Blender Bar, with the TopBar concept of most other software.
TopBar fixed there, is limiting the possibility of different workflows to which Blender users were accustomed.
By the way, I know about "Tool settings" tab in Properties editor, but what I mean is about what had been discussed started by "pistol ioan (pistoltoto)" recently a little above. The concept of that bar is great and it would be good to be able to be more configurable with respect to positions.
Thanks.

@Campbell Barton (campbellbarton) Hey Campbell. Really liking the new Layered Quick-Tooltips for the Active Tools. The misalignment was driving some of us nuts. Thanks for fixing that. :) Small suggestion. Noticed a little inconsistency in the tooltip outline animation. It goes a bit like this;

Mouse Over Icon > Tooltip (w/o Outline) > Tooltip (w/ Outline) > Extended Tooltip (w/ Description + Outline)

Note: From what I've tried, this only happens when moving mouse vertically from one tool icon to another. When you move mouse to toolbar icon from viewport space, it works as intended. That is, Tooltip (w/ Outline) > Extended Tooltip (w/ Description + Outline) --- (Toolbar = Single Row Icons)

Toolbar = Double Row Icons, Moving the mouse around over a single icon makes the tooltip outline blink.

It's a very minor thing so not any immediacy needed. And if it's a limitation of the code, that's understandable. But it is slightly noticeable and thought I should let you know. Again, great job with making this look & work so cleanly. Admire the attention to detail mate. Thanks.

Also feel Bevel and Loop Cut Tools could use a bit better descriptions. Maybe like, Bevel selected edges, Split polygon faces across an edge ring and slide it.

@Gibran Kaleel (razgriz286), the glitch with outline drawing isn't directly related to the new tooltips code.

Some tips in 2.8x don't have drop-shadows (topbar buttons don't, while menu items do for eg).

It's just noticeable when it switching between working and not working.

@Campbell Barton (campbellbarton) Ah, Ok. That makes sense. It was a bit noticeable when moving the cursor from one tool to another. And on dual-column icons with mouse movement the blinking becomes quite erratic. Just thought I'd let you know. Thanks for clarifying. :)

The flickering has been fixed, see: T56752

@Campbell Barton (campbellbarton) Aye. The new Tool-tips & Redo Panel with Pop-over panel styling looks A+. Functional, Sleek and 0 Flickering. Thanks man. Now my OCD can rest for a bit. :) Would be really awesome if we could move the Redo panel around the viewport and place it where it's most convenient for use. I think that was the plan yeah? (Next to integrating it into the Properties Editor > Tools Tab.) --- Have a great week Campbell. Can't wait to see what new goodies you've got for us this week. :)

The UI Changes seems logical. However it would be much more better if blender gives users customizability.

  1. The default properties editor tabs can be on the left. But:

Properties editors tabs could be optionally put in right (vertically) & left (vertically) & top(horizontally) & bottom ( horizontally) according to users customization giving more flexibility for different users and new learners as well as old users.

  1. For example, It would be appreciated if the properties tabs/panels would also have option to placed horizontally for people using it for over 10 years.

Best Regards

Is there an optional way for "Active Tool & Workspace Settings" tab to display all the Brushes in the different modes that Brushes are used?

Those users who did not plan to use the Active Tool panel are forced to use it now.

I see that it's been a while and the new tool system has come a long way. I appreciate everyone's hard work. Also I know that UI is freezed now, but there is a must-known problem that needs to be shared before 2.81 development.

https://devtalk.blender.org/t/tool-settings-are-on-too-many-places/7387/81


(This image is from the link above)