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Blender 2.8: More Pie Menus
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Description

Blender 2.8 now includes pie menus enabled by default for some key features. Pressing the Z-key opens a pie menu with viewport shading options. We also use pie menus now with the tilde key to set the viewpoint.

Because 2.8 makes pie menus a default UI paradigm, it's a good time to review other areas where we might want to use them.

About pie menus

Let's briefly revisit why pie menus are in interesting UI concept.

First, they allow us to map a setting, such as viewport shading, to a single key shortcut, rather than several ones for each type. It means we can make more efficient use of the keyboard, and we can free up keys for other useful things.

Second, they make features easier to use, because the user only has to learn and remember one shortcut for a given feature, rather than several.

Third, pie menus are fast, because you can use them via a gesture. Hold the key, swipe in the direction of the option you are looking for, and then simply release. We take advantage of muscle memory to allow quick interaction. With pie menus, we can surface more features via direct shortcuts, which are faster to execute.

Now that we've started to include some pie menus by default in Blender, it's time to review some other places where it would make sense. Here's an ongoing list of features that would work well as a pie menu:

Pivot Point

The Pivot Point setting is a perfect candidate for a pie menu.

In the 3D View, we have 5 types of pivot points, and one pivot option.

Currently, two of the five pivot point settings are mapped to comma and period, respectively. The two next pivot point settings are accessed by holding Ctrl and pressing comma or period. The last option is accessed by holding Alt and pressing period. This means users have to memorise five keyboard shortcuts for one feature, and we take up a large portion of the keymap for just this one thing.

This is ripe for being converted into a pie menu, like so:

  • Only one key to remember
  • Only one key used (if we map this to comma, period can become free)
  • Fast access, with no need to hold modifier keys to access the various options

Transform Orientations

Currently, setting the transform orientations is done with Alt+Spacebar. This displays a list menu with the various orientations. This can be improved. The simple menu isn't very fast, because you cannot use muscle memory and just use a gesture. Also, the Alt+Spacebar is not as fast as a single key shortcut.

As a pie menu, we could make this faster to use, by leveraging the gestural aspect, and mapping it to the now free period.

Proportional Editing

Currently, switching Proportional Editing types is performed with Shift+O. Rather than opening a menu, it just cycles through the various options. This is extremely slow, because you have to keep cycling through all the options to get to the one you are looking for, and even worse, if you tap Shift+O one time too many, you have to cycle through all the options again.

We could make this a pie menu, which is both clearer and much faster:

Other candidates for pie menus:

  • Snapping
  • Snap To

  • Merge (Alt-M)
  • Grease Pencil Stroke Placement
  • Grease Pencil Drawing Plane
  • Etc

Pie menus could be added more places too - suggestions welcome

Event Timeline

William Reynish (billreynish) renamed this task from Blender 2.8: Adding more pie menus to Blender 2.8: More Pie Menus.Sep 23 2018, 3:22 PM

it would be useful to have a pie menu for the snap menu with a shortcut (and also a better management system that I am currently unable to imagine) more immediate because it is currently very slow and uncomfortable

Amon: Yes. I added it to the list.

Amon: Yes. I added it to the list.

I had not read well

thinking better ... no, it's not entirely true that I can not imagine a better snapping system :D

That kind of thing is interesting, but is a big feature, requires careful design, and is outside the scope of this topic.

That kind of thing is interesting, but is a big feature, requires careful design, and is outside the scope of this topic.

I am aware that it is not in topic, I just threw the stone into the pond ^___^

Bastien Montagne (mont29) triaged this task as Normal priority.Sep 23 2018, 4:42 PM

on my Italian keyboard the symbol "tilde" (I read around also in other keyboards in other countries) does not exist, so the combination "ctrl + tilde" does not work for the camera walking mode, I would suggest using a pie menu with a shortcut more standard to select the various navigation modes ... fly mode camera, walking mode etc ...

edit:
also in general, without the numpad on laptops and short keyboards, navigating through the various views is a pain in the ass
especially the damn absence of "numpad dot" to focus an object
hehehe

I love using pie menus, exactly for the reason where multiple options are available under a single key. It's very fast and avoids tiresome finger acrobatics on the keyboard. Great to hear they are becoming a default.

However, pie menus as currently in Blender are incomplete in certain ways. For example, there is a pie menu for pivot point, but available only for the 3d view. Pivot points are used in UV and Graph editors as well and it feels inconsistent these editors lack pie menus and use other means to change the pivot.

The new default pie menus should thus not be limited to the 3d view when other editors offer same / similar functionality. Like these two:

Pivot point
3d view
Graph editor
UV editor
Movie clip editor

Proportional editing
3d view
UV editor
Graph editor
Dope sheet

In addition, I would like to propose putting the hide functionality in a pie menu. It's another one of those multi-key-combos (H, SHIFT+H, CTRL+H) that could simply be mapped to a single key (H). I'm currently using this setup and it works great.

Hide
3d view object
3d view edit mesh
3d view edit armature
3d view edit pose
3d view edit curve
3d view edit metaball
UV editor
Graph editor
Sequencer (mute) strips

Right, clearly they should not be limited to the 3D View.

Note that Blender doesn't use pie menus for pivot point by default. That's partly what this document is proposing. Probably you are using an addon.

As Yafu pointed out in Devtalk, not everyone find himself comfortable with pie menus, would it be possible to have them in blender as a configurable add-on (just as the old ones, but active by default)?
If one disable a specific pie menu the result of the shortcut would then be a regular vertical-aligned menu.

About this:

Also, the Alt+Spacebar is not as fast as a single key shortcut.
As a pie menu, we could make this faster to use, by leveraging the gestural aspect, and mapping it to the now free period.

I think that Alt-spacebar is way faster, since it's closer to the natural position of the left hand, while with period one have to raise the hand and also look down to find the right key.

Right, clearly they should not be limited to the 3D View.

Note that Blender doesn't use pie menus for pivot point by default. That's partly what this document is proposing. Probably you are using an addon.

Yeah, I'm using an addon for the pie menus. I mentioned it specifically because it's the official pie menu addon that comes with Blender and it didn't take into account other editors. Good to hear this will now be taken into account, thanks.

This is great! Any chance to have the drag-triggers-pie behaviour Campbell implemented for a while during the code quest back? I think the Ideal would be able to assign one of the options of each pie menu to it's trigger key, and only have the pie menu show when dragging, so for example if a user tends to use mainly, say, "smooth" falloff in proportional editing, he/she might set the "o" key to togle between proportional on with smooth falloff and proportional off, and use o+drag when he/she needs to set other types of fallof.

@Alessio Monti di Sopra (a.monti)
I answer right for deduction
I think the old "blender 2.7" mode except in the most essential cases will not be influenced and in any case if you do not like some shortcuts you can continue to use the classics menus or at the limit set personal shortcuts

Having said this in general, the localized and synthetic pie menus are a big step forward

I think this suggestion by @zebus3d should be taken into consideration or at least an efficiency study should be done

so link this here
Suggestion or request about the pie menus

Amon: That is already the case. If you hover over an item and release they key, the pie menu item is accepted.

I just checked that on my stupid laptop if I hold down the z key this locks the pad, strange because if I press the keys alt or ctrl or shift + pad scroll works ...
I do not know why, I could not verify with a mouse or my graphic tablet what happens because at the moment I have not at hand

Amon: With pie menus, you do not need to click. Just hold the key, move your mouse or stylus, and release.

Amon: That is already the case. If you hover over an item and release they key, the pie menu item is accepted.

It should disappear if you release the key even if you don't want to hit any of the options, if you pressed by mistake it doesn't make sense to change to any other option nor does it make sense to click to cancel the pie menu.

Zebus: That is also the case. If you move your mouse cursor to an area which doesn't invoke anything and release, the pie menu is dismissed.

zebus3d (ofuscado) added a comment.EditedSep 23 2018, 10:45 PM

Zebus: That is also the case. If you move your mouse cursor to an area which doesn't invoke anything and release, the pie menu is dismissed.

Well, is it possible that this happens even without moving the mouse, that if these were in not a valid option, even if you do not move the mouse and release the key, the pie is canceled?...

@William Reynish (billreynish) I can confirm what Amon said, there are strange behaviours with laptop pads and pie menus, if mapped to a single key or to shift+key the cursor gets locked.

About zebus' post in right click select, he probably talks about what happens if you press the key without immediately move your mouse, in that case the pie menu doesn't disappear on release.

@William Reynish (billreynish) I can confirm what Amon said, there are strange behaviours with laptop pads and pie menus, if mapped to a single key or to shift+key the cursor gets locked.

About zebus' post in right click select, he probably talks about what happens if you press the key without immediately move your mouse, in that case the pie menu doesn't disappear on release.

Exactly that's what I mean, and I think it's pretty annoying, especially when you accidentally press and you're forced to click out of the options or give escape to remove the menu. Thank you for understanding me.

I had understood quite another thing: the functionality that if you keep the shortcut pressed and move the cursor, the functionality is automatically activated when the shortcut is released ... (and consequently, if you release the shortcut without moving the cursor the pie menu vanishes without any other function being activated)
but since my stupid laptop does not allow me to check this functionality due to the pad lock, can you confirm if it works like that already or not?

I had understood quite another thing: the functionality that if you keep the shortcut pressed and move the cursor, the functionality is automatically activated when the shortcut is released ... (and consequently, if you release the shortcut without moving the cursor the pie menu vanishes without any other function being activated)
but since my stupid laptop does not allow me to check this functionality due to the pad lock, can you confirm if it works like that already or not?

See in the options of your operating system that when it is being typed, do not block the touchpad

Exactly that's what I mean, and I think it's pretty annoying, especially when you accidentally press and you're forced to click out of the options or give escape to remove the menu. Thank you for understanding me.

If you just click in the center of the pie menu it closes.

the ideal would be:
if you just press and release the shortcurt quickly, activate the "pop-up pie menu and activate function at the click of the mouse"
if you hold down the shortcut, the mode "activates the function when the shortcut is released without the need to click with the mouse"

.... but maybe it works like that already and I'm turning the wheel like a hamster :)

@zebus3d (ofuscado) ..yea I'm already cursing to try and disable the pad lock

Exactly that's what I mean, and I think it's pretty annoying, especially when you accidentally press and you're forced to click out of the options or give escape to remove the menu. Thank you for understanding me.

If you just click in the center of the pie menu it closes.

It's just what I don't want, when you release the key this should disappear, it's these little things that make you have a feeling of finished product, not a half software that is not polished or finished.

@zebus3d (ofuscado) I think you're right, the pie menu for how it is composed, I mean the animation and the effect ... tends to inspire "the operation of holding down the shortcut and at release disappear" ... it is what the mind is expecting

Having said that, in the end, functioning is a political choice
there is a hybrid between two types of functionality

as far as my suggestion is, just because I felt good when I played at deus ex mankind divided <3 I would prefer a pie menu that would make the whole area selectable instead of the expansion animation of texts ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei5rbZ6OLwU

Hi.
I know Pie ​​Menu is very required by users. But I do not feel comfortable with it, I make many mistakes for example with that "fast move" selection in direction to de item. Maybe I am not very brain capable for this kind of features, I do not even have a good memory to remember the position in which an item is. My request is, please, think about the users who are not very capable to use Pie Menus, like me. Those fancy features like selection with fast movement in one direction, or hold a key, then move to a direction then release the key, etc... all that seems very complicated for me. As I said, surely this is for lack of my ability, not for Pie Menu failures. So for not capable users like me, it would be good from User Preferences to be able to disable all that fancy features from options boxes, with the possibility of Pie Menu acting just like a floating Menu that appears when you press shortcut, and you make the selection only when you click "exactly over" the item you want to select.
Thanks

Yafu: the nice thing is that you don’t have to use them via a gesture. If you just tap the key like normal, the pie menu opens and waits for you to click on an item. They only become gestural if you hold down the key.

Amon: I’m not sure what you mean, but the pie menus already work like your allustration alludes to. You don’t have to release over the text, it simply looks for the direction.

Amon: I’m not sure what you mean, but the pie menus already work like your allustration alludes to. You don’t have to release over the text, it simply looks for the direction.

yes I have seen, but it is a bit confused, "without the visual feedback that highlights the segment you want to select" it seems that you have to go with the cursor to the texts to be selected and in fact people tend to arrive with the cursor to the text to click above.

while if we had a highlight of the whole segment as soon as we enter the cursor on the segment that interests us, we would immediately understand that the function we need is already selectable and seems to give the impression that the command is more faster to perform ...
but apart from this, mine is just a suggestion of aesthetic detail, at the level of functionality nothing changes from the current situation

in the video of the videogame deusex mankind divided that I have attached you understand better what I mean

Amon: Once again, it already does that. The button is highlighted even if you aren't over it, but if you just move in the general direction.

We can't make it look like your game, because it uses only icons, rather than text, which is horizontal.

I hope this image will clarify what I mean ...
it was better if I worked and did it directly instead of posting examples and many words :)

@William Reynish (billreynish), I generally agree with these. Except I don't think proportional falloff shape deserves a shortcut key in a more minimal keymap, I would be inclined to remove that instead.

@Brecht Van Lommel (brecht): Ok, will do. I sent you a patch for the pivot point for all Editors.

Amon: Added your suggestion of the highlighted wedge, as well as the mentioned oddity with holding a key and not moving cursor.

it was an evolution from the speech we did yesterday ... in fact I would not have discovered on my laptop if I hold down the z key and I try to move the cursor with the pad this does not move...
From there I discovered that all the aera up to the text is clickable and I do not need to get up to the text with the cursor to activate the desired function ...
Moreover, the method of holding down the shortcut + the movement of the tablet pen or mouse = "activate the function" benefits equally from the better highliting ...
I would say it was a good investigation in addition to the personal satisfaction of having given a small contribution ^ __ ^
and I can not wait to see how it works
Best Regards

@William Reynish (billreynish)

I have just done some tests with the pie menu to try and imagine how it works.... and I instinctively press the z key to withdraw the pie menu, and I find that it does not work ...
would it be possible to use a second press of the Z key to precisely withdraw the pie menu if nothing was highlighted or if some function was highlighted to launch the command?
I think it's another good suggestion :)

Yes, that makes sense too. Although you can currently hit Esc to dismiss too.

Pie menus could be added more places too - suggestions welcome

Perhaps Bezier Curve Edit Mode options like Set Spline Type and Curve Handle Type are good candidates for pies, maybe optionally combine them into a single menu.

Are there any technical limitations currently preventing true Press&Hold implementation (rather then Click&Drag) for menus? This could allow simultaneously keeping simple key presses for quick toggles/cycling, and long button presses triggering pies, without the "false positive" issues concurrent mouse movement causes on Click&Drag detection.

@William Reynish (billreynish)
what do you think of a pie menu for the selection tools?
with just one shortcut it would be more faster to access them

I also think that the interchange between them could be faster, for example using select border to select larger parts and then -> pie menu -> lasso or circle to continue a more detailed selection

No because those are not accessed from a shortcut key. That's just the toolbar.

maybe I'm not understanding ...
of course they are accessible with shortcurts
currently B key and C key and for the lasso the comment says spacebar, 2
my proposal meant to use one single shortcut for all them

This comment was removed by zebus3d (ofuscado).

My proposal on the behavior of the pie menu when releasing the key is already done, now just wait and know if you finally like the idea of including it optionally in the preferences of blender.

https://blender.community/c/rightclickselect/bdcbbc/suggestion-or-request-about-the-pie-menus

Thank you all for your patience.

so I just tried to see if it is possible to get back to the old menu. good news because in pie menu when to much text, it's slower in my opinion. but an option to have the chose to change it directly in the keymap would be good
(an option near the tittle "Call Pie Menu")
on: pie
off:menu

(nice scope on design spark snap above noki. it seems almost like IA when you use it ^^)