Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cole Reed's modifier proposal

Blender user Cole Reed recently submitted a proposal on the modifier system in Blender. Although I've been hesitant in supporting the idea of a more hierarchical modifier UI, this proposal has finally convinced me that it is a good idea. If nothing else, it simplifies working with modifiers.

The physics ones are currently clumsy on a lot of levels: The connection between the modifier stack and the physics properties is not clear. It gets even worse when you have multiple physics modifiers enabled. Plus, you have to deal with the confusing myriad of panels for each physics type which are too easy to mix up with each other.

The added benefit is that we end up with fewer tabs in the Properties editor. You can download Cole's proposal as a PDF here:

Modifier Proposal PDF


  1. Using a list is a good idea but the selection is confusing. IMHO a combination of the list view and modifier settings would be better. Something like the Outliner but a simple tree view with only the Modifier headers and cascaded settings.

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  3. seems like 3dsmax modify panel ,
    good idea ... +1

  4. Another nice one.

    It's also more powerful than max's one, it can show all your modifiers at once, like Blender does now.

    I like the "flavor" in which he uses the full width of the column.

    Having both the list items and the headers of each modifier panel seems reduntant:
    The list-zone has the name and icon which identify the modifier, buttons for renderability and view in 3D viewport, and possiblity to reorder in the stack, and button to remove the modifier.
    All those are repeated in the header of the modifier options-zone.
    Maybe only the icon and modifier's name will do ok in the header of the options-zone, and the rest of the controls in the list-zone.

    Instead of an "Add modifier" button it may be good to make it consistent with the other groups' way to add items.

    Also the collapsing arrow doesn't seem to be needed since the "show/hide modifier's options" is done by selecting an item in the list-zone.

    and a toggle button to select all, thus show all, modifiers could be handy.

    These are just details, I like the general idea.

  5. Actually, the power of max's is that you can bounce modifiers in and out of sub object mode. Make a vert select, add a noise to those verts, then put an edit poly on top to exit subobject mode. it's VERY flexible. That said, if we sway closer to max's UI, are there any IP issues? Can Blender make what the hell it likes without fear of being shut down?

  6. That's more related to the way modifiers work in max, I was referring to how the different elements are presented in the UI.
    But in any case, I think is more constructive if we focus on Blender instead of doing comparisons.

  7. Initially I didn't like this idea, but having read the proposal I'm definately warming to it...

    The only issue I'd have with this proposal is that list boxes aren't currently resize-able.... they seem to have a hard coded set number of entries (seems to be 5 in most cases) which when the contents don't fit they get a scroll bar inside the box...

    I'd love to drag the size of the list view and have it dynamically show however many items fit within whatever size i've given it...

    Same for the materials tab , textures, mesh properties...ESPECIALLY mesh properties!!! dealing woith vertex groups or shape keys gets' very tedious to scroll... why not allow me to expand the list...