Blender node tree feedback

My two cents on some user feedback for Blender.

After a two and half years of my last serious project using Blender, I am ready to dive into it again.

I am interested in creating content using procedural methods rather than directly through the modeling
or layout editors. Same goes with procedural textures and materials.

Now that I have discovered the addons of animation nodes, Sverchok, and Sorcar, they are just the tools
I have been wanting to use in addition to the procedural shader node editor that comes with Blender on
which to create art and animations experiments and projects. Hearing about the everything nodes project,
all the more reason I want to get back into using Blender now that I have finished a prototype voxel
project I have been working on.

I am not a highly experienced user of Blender of late, but when I go to use it I find there are bugbears that
still exist in Blender that make it frustrating to use, and seem so obvious that need addressing, yet are
seemingly ignored, and have been for years.

The frustrating issues I immediately find and have are these.

1: One can create a node tree but cannot delete it when it is no longer required. I have not found one google search that explains how this can be done.

2: One can create a material, but cannot intuitily delete it when no longer required from the materials panel. It seems, one has to go to the outliner and select orphaned data to delete the unwanted material(s)

3: One cannot export/import a material that one has created as an individual material file that is outside the .blend file. Thus one cannot create a repository of materials to be easily accessed and used in any blender project.

4: One cannot export/import node trees that one has created as a node tree file that is outside the
.blend file so to create a repository of node trees to be easily accessed and used in any blender
project that has the same node editor installed.

A solution to 1: exits within the Animation Nodes editor where there is a remove button to remove an existingnode tree. I have looked at the code to do this and it does not look too difficult to implement.
Why is this feature not included as standard in at least the shader procedural node editor ?

A solution to 4 is demonstrated in the Sverchok addon where one can export and import Sverchok node trees as a .json file.If this developer can find a solution for his addon, why does not a similar solution exist for the default blender application?

I have read and watched many videos over the past 12 months that have got me exited in using Blender once again. But these issues above can be a deal breaker as I do not want to spend many hours learning how to use these tools, and then after spending more hours creating node trees or materials that I want to save and use in multiple projects to only find that there is no easy method to do so, or none at all to save my work.

I have seen some posts that this kind of thing is “the blender way” of doing things. Well, perhaps “the blender way” of doing things is tolerated by many of its users as it is free and gives excellent results, but in the world of professional 3D graphics where time is money, it may not be. For Blender to be taken more seriously in the 3D industry, issues like this need to be addressed and should not exist.

Why do these kind of things exist? Is it something to do with the design of blender, and its code making it not possible to rectify? Or is it that this is not considered as an issue and one just has to accept that this is the “blender way”?


I can’t add much insight on most of your thoughts but maybe these two things still can help you:

(2) - materials are deleted upon exiting Blender when they are not connected or marked as ‘save’. It’s a quirk one gets used to but to this day I also find rather dangerous. In fact everything that (for example in a dropdown list) has a ‘0’ next to it isn’t currently connected and will be discarded upon closing the file.
(3) - this might also be remedied in the “Asset Manager” being worked on for this year:

(4) -
Blender comes bundeled with an Addon that ‘kind of’ does that. I’m not sure if it’S enough for what you have in mind, though.

3 & 4: File menu → Append. :hugs:

Note: Although they are labeled “Node Trees” when linking or appending, they are actually “Node Groups”. So in your library file you have to group them together as a Node Group first.

I have looked at node presets, and yes, it is not what I had in mind.

And I had noticed the asset manager proposal and watched a youtube video of a blender user/developer who has created a prototype of an asset manager in a forked version of blender of his before I made my post. Impressive if Blander has something similar. I did hope that materials will be a stand alone asset, in any asset manager that is created, but that remains to be seen.


I am aware of this method of saving node groups, but it is messy and cumbersome. The main problem is managing a collection of node groups by such things like categories, sub categories and the like would not be easy. Everything like objects in a .blend file is put into one directory and I have made many a mistake copying the wrong item because of so similar names or not remembering the exact name.

1 and 4 was in sverchok from beginning
glad you found them