Draw, Paint & Sculpting Keymap Proposal - Feedback Request

Goal

This thread is to show and discuss all planned changes to the default keymap for Blender 4.0.

Draw, Paint and Sculpt modes are the main target (any mode with brushes).
The changes can be summarized as:

  • Stronger standards for Left & Right Click select and 3 Mouse Button Emulation
  • Remove all brush shortcuts
  • Use a selection pie menu on A instead of many shortcuts
  • Sync up standard shortcuts in all Draw, Paint & Sculpt modes
  • Avoid unnecessary inheritance of transform opertors on G, R, S, Shift W, etc

New features, shortcuts and design decisions will be kept to an absolute minimum.

Feedback wanted!

Feel free to leave any feedback or suggestions in this thread!
Below you can download pre-made keymaps to test the changes (although some shortcuts are not fully supported yet).

Prototype Keymaps for Testing

Download and use these prototype keymaps here:
https://projects.blender.org/attachments/df0c79ef-cc03-44ee-9100-e44a981a1192

How to use the keymap

  • Duplicate your Blender .config folder for safe keeping
  • Copy & paste the contents of one of the keymap folders into your .config folder
  • Start Blender

Overview of Changes

This is an overview of all changes.

Expand for the full list

3D View Keymap Inheritance

Various transform operators will be adjusted in the keymap so they don’t appear in Draw, Paint or Sculpt modes unless they are needed:

  • LMB Drag = Move
  • G = Move
  • R = Rotate
  • S = Scale
  • Shift Alt S = To Sphere
  • Shift Alt Ctrl S = Shear
  • Shift W = Bend
  • Ctrl M = Mirror
  • Ctrl A = Skin Resize

Left / Right Click Select

Left Click Select:
Alt LMB and Alt Shift LMB will be used for individual component selection while a brush is active.
This ensures that Shift and Ctrl are not blocked for important brush operations.

Right Click Select:
Lasso select operators will be consistent across modes.

See reference table
Action LCS RCS
Context Menu RMB W
Set Selection Alt LMB RMB
Extend/Toggle Selection Alt Shift LMB Shift RMB
Lasso Select Ctrl RMB None
Lasso Deselect Ctrl Shift RMB Ctrl Shift LMB

3 Mouse Button Emulation

Individual component selection will only be accessible when switching from a brush to a selection tool in the toolbar.
Once any selection tool is active these shortcuts become available:

  • LMB on Press to set a selection
  • Shift LMB on Press to extend/toggle the selection

To ensure that bone selection is possible in weight paint mode, Ctrl Shift LMB is also used to set a selection.

All Draw, Paint & Sculpting Modes

  • Remove all brush shortcuts (free up space for user customization)
  • 1 - 3 = Switch selection/mask modes
  • Shift LMB = Smooth Brush
  • Ctrl LMB = Inverted brush effect or erasing
  • Alt E = Stroke Method Menu

  • A pie menu for selection operators

    • For consistency and easier access to common operations
    • Free up all other selection shortcuts
    • Alt A is available for the auto-masking pie menu
  • Weight Paint Mode will gain additional options in the pie menu for bone selection

    • Easier to operate on all bones (like resetting a pose)

Sculpting

  • E = Face Set Edit pie menu
  • Ctrl E = Grow Active Face Set
  • Shift Ctrl E = Shrink Active Face Set
  • Shift E = Expand Face Set
  • Shift Alt E = Expand Face Set
  • Alt 1 & Alt 2 = Decreasing and increasing Multires levels
  • Ctrl R = Dyntopo Flood Fill (if Dyntopo is enabled)
  • Swapped H & Shift H shortcuts in sculpt mode
  • X = Swap primary/secondary color
  • Removed Alt Ctrl R for Quad Remesher
  • Removed Ctrl D for Dyntopo toggling
  • Removed Ctrl M for Mask Overlay toggle

Painting

  • Shift LMB = Blur Brush
  • Shift X = Sample Color
  • Ctrl X = Set Color

Weight Painting

  • Shift LMB = Blur Brush
  • Ctrl LMB = Inverted Brush
  • Shift X = Sample Weight
  • Shift Ctrl X = Sample Vertex Group
  • Ctrl X = Set Weight

Grease Pencil

  • Alt I = Delete Active Frame Menu in grease pencil Draw Mode
  • Removed “Delete Active Frame” shortcuts
  • Removed all “Line session” shortcuts on the Draw Tool
  • X = Swap primary/secondary color (Vertex Paint)
  • Shift X = Sample Color (Vertex Paint)
  • Removed `Shift L for Alternate
  • L, Shift L & Ctrl L for linked pick and select linked shortcuts like other mode (still needs implementation in Blender)

More Info

For more detailed information, read the design task and the included spreadsheets:

3 Likes

I don’t know if this fits here, but with increasing use of touch screens comes the problem that some operators like the ruler that uses snap works on the premise that the user can first hover the cursor to see the snap icon, then click to start the operator. It would be nice to have a touch screen mode or maybe a separate keymap that changes this.

To continue with the ruler as an example, to first find the snap point could be a click-drag and the operator starts where the click is released. Then the same thing click-drag to find the second point and release to create the measurement. There are probably more operators that could benefit from this.

1 Like

I’ve noticed that the markers’ selection in animation editors are inconsistent in some cases, including between left and right click selection modes:

Box selection

In RCS you can RMB RMB drag in the markers area to do a box selection.
In LCS, LMB LMB drag just deselects markers.

Simple Selection:

Clicking a marker to select it will deselect keyframes, while clicking an already selected marker will keep the keyframes selected.
Not sure if it is best to isolate markers and keyframes selection, but having it both ways doesn’t sound right to me.

Renaming

F2 only works on markers with the mouse cursor hovering the footer of the editor.
I guess that’s because renaming acts on the selected element and animation editors consider by default you are acting on whatever object you have selected. But maybe renaming the selected object isn’t the most obvious thing to do in an animation editor.

I also notice you can’t F2 rename data blocks like actions in the channel list, only objects (or bones).

Multiselection

In the viewport, when ⇧ ShiftLMB LMB to multiselect, it will keep the current selection when you click the void, so you don’t lose your multiselection just because you missed an object.
For markers, if you ⇧ ShiftLMB LMB the space between two markers, it will deselect everything, but not if you click the main area.

1 Like

First thing I’ll do when I’ll download Blender 4.0 is reassign shortcuts for sculpt brushes. I don’t get the reason to remove them. Users always had the ability to change, free up keys or assign them. I’ve changed multiple keys. But not having starting point keymap will annoy new users very much

All the tutorials where they teach you to press G to grab and C to get clay brush will become obsolete and learning sculpting in Blender will become unneccessarily hard. Usually only hardcore users are interested in changing keymaps, new users just learn whatever is there. I did too. Basically after 4.0 any tutorial done in or before 2023 will have to include warning about keys. And every new user will have to assign keys to brushes they don’t understand yet just to be able to follow tutorials or courses. It will just become first thing any course will teach. Just why?

5 Likes

While I do understand the reasoning, I don’t think the impact will be as important as you think. Proof of it is the big keymap cleanup back in v2.8.

Many entries were removed. Some other changed. The default selection click was set to LCS. Many people - including myself - feared that it would cause more confusions because of the obsolete tutorials and the amount of things any new user would need to create new shortcuts for.

But as time went by, I think we can observe a few things:

  • new tutorials were made, so much so that we had enough learning material to learn how to use Blender v2.8 before we even had the first stable v2.80.
    Nowadays, people who still watch old pre-2.8 tuts are either aware of the changes or have been lost on youtube for the 8th hour straight.
  • LCS or RCS doesn’t really make any debates anymore. Tutorial makers tend to showcase the default Blender experience (as it should be done), experienced user know how to adapt, and new users learn the default way and then join the group of experienced users.
  • people found out that, they don’t “need” to have so many things already assigned to a key by default, many key were occupied by things they actually didn’ t use as much as they thought.
    And they have a lot of free keys for customization. And in my personal experience, it’s better to make new keys from free keys than changing the existing ones that make more confusion and sometimes conflict other things in Blender.
  • Since 2.8 we got so many enhancement both in UI and UX that it’s become hard to not find access to things and make your own jam in an instant.
    Every operator is at least somewhere in a menu that makes sense. We now have a contextual menu. A quick favorites menu. A search bar that tells you what you search for and where it is. You can assign new shortcuts just by a right click.
    There are people who have customized their keymap and yet have never seen the keymap editor, this was unheard of before.
    We have an ever-increasing amount of brushed and we can’t have each on a key at the end of the day. We could use a smarter and scalable approach instead. We have proposals on RCS about having a brush selector that could allow selecting brushes by typing short combinations of keys depending on their name and alphabetical positions in the brush list.
    And in the meantime we have the toolbar, plus a brush selector menu, and I think a brush pie menu somewhere ?

So, no I don’ t think there will be a sudden pike in learning difficulty nor a need to put warning in future tutorials.

3 Likes

Blender 2.8 IS the reason so many new tutorials got made and so many new artists got interested in them. Now situation is different. It’s not the major scale update that will change how it looks and behaves. Shift won’t be mentioned everywhere like 2-7>2.8 was. It will be regular small update with just keys changed and nothing more for sculpting. And people will watch tutorials in which interface looks exactly the same and teacher will say press G, they’ll press it and get annoyed nothings happening.

As for too many brushes: No matter how many brushes we’ll install. Are you telling me anyone would remove G for grab? Let’s just have default shortcuts. I have too much brushes? I’ll change it. It’s always easier than starting from 0. And I’ll tell you what, “too many brushes” will always be problem of the few. Majority of novice Blender users are satisfied enough with what’s already there

2 Likes

A lot of those brush shortcuts only work in the tools menu popup. This gives new users the impression that blender shortcuts are broken.

2 Likes

Most of the new keybinds are pretty cool. It will take getting used to certain ones, though I still think default kebinds for basic brushes are still needed. I usually just have all my added keybinds as an addon, but I’ve used blender for quite some time.

The Asset Shelf would ease this issue because they could be set to 0-9 and changed on the fly. However, I’m concerned about not having basic keybinds for brushes before the Asset Shelf is placed inside of MeshSculpt.

Edit: I meant the Asset Shelf not hotbar.

3 Likes

What is the hotbar you are referring to?

Ohh sorry it’s called Asset shelf. Brush Assets Workflow — Developer Blog

There isn’t anything about hotkeys in the blogpost. But who knows, it could be keymapped later.

I only tried the RCS config in Paint and sculpt mode. Also since not all the keys are implemented I might mention stuff that might already be planned.

Here is what I thought.

  • I really miss the hotkeys for the mask and smooth brush.
  • G for move and S for scale should be reassigned, just for the fact that R does not Rotate.
  • Shift E for expand faceset feels very nice.
  • Ctrl E and Ctrl Alt E (grow/shrink facesets) feel inconsistent when compared with mask mode. They should be reassigned, and their functionality added to the face set pie menu similar to the masking pie menu.
  • In fact, the face set pie menu feels very empty. It should have the same equivalent options available in the mask pie menu.
  • C was giving me circle select. I assume unintentionally because it doesn’t select anything.
  • Shift W was trying to do a translate (bend) operation. It can be reassigned to something else.
  • I could not find the context menu (the one with the sliders).
  • X and Shift X for swapping colors and sampling colors feel very nice.

Maybe some brushes like mask and grab could retain their hotkeys.

And also the stroke menu should have a hotkey added somewhere, I personally find myself using it a lot to switch between space and line methods.

It really feels like blender wants me to use the tools menu popup for selecting brushes. The problem with that is it is hard to find the brush I’m looking for. And also hotkeys with the tool menu are awkward because I have to keep holding down Spacebar. It would be so amazing if it was a toggle instead. Then I could actually use some of the hotkeys inside it.

Also I tried hair grooming for a bit, and I would love if select linked shortcuts worked for curve sculpt, curve edit.

Edit: Also the pie menu for selection in hair grooming is really nice.

2 Likes

Tutorials should focus/speak to the tool being used, and move the mouse to the toolbar and click it in the beginning of that step (assuming there is a button on a toolbar), not simply state the hotkey.

If there’s a hotkey combo involved (G/X/X, for example), certainly it will be used in a tutorial, and the author should discuss what they are doing. They should also mention that they have “G” assigned as a hotkey, of course, if needed.

TLDR: Poor hotkey designations shouldn’t be kept until the end of time, due to Youtube tutorials that will exist until the end of time. New users need to learn what the tool is, not just a hotkey.

2 Likes

Proposal to change Cycle Render Slot to [ and ] or Left and Right arrows or something that makes more sense than J and Alt+J.

image

2 Likes

Quick question: is there a preferred version of Blender that we test with? Don’t want to give bad feedback, based on using the wrong application version. thanks!

I would advocate that hotkeys be unique to the workspace “mode” a user enters in Blender. If you can’t wrap your brain around that simplicity, there’s not much anyone can offer here.

What I would suggest as a sculptor. Is keep it simple and relatively relatable across workspaces, but Sculpt Mode should have its own unique set of controls for “fluidity” in terms of ease of use, Sculpting is the 3D equivalent of drawing, and should be easy on the 5 fingers of 1 hand as possible, while the other flicks the wrist and uses stylus pen buttons as a mouse extension.

Any sculpt brush should initialize in the function of “add, subtract & mask”. No if and or buts.

  • Left-Click - Add
  • Alt+Left-Click - Subtract
  • Ctrl+Left-Click - Mask
  • G - Move/Translate
  • R - Rotate
  • S - Scale
  • Ctrl+R - Repeat last Stroke/command/Camera rotation
    Right-Click Select — Blender Community

I don’t use extensively face-sets yet because of not having a predictable “pose” brush available that has polish for easy artist transpose functionality. But as far as other hotkeys are concerned. It seems they can be customized to users preferences. Above where I’ve written, I would argue that those should be the default and would make transitioning to Blender from outside users of ZBrush & Mudbox a breeze.

A am aware of Ctrl+R being set for Remesh, but honestly that can be remapped to Alt+R because Remesh isn’t a common function/feature I as a user want impulse hotkey access to. Having to use other tools as a day job for full on production. - It would be cool to have a auto-retopo/remesh modifier though instead.

Thanks for all the replies!

@ecke101 @L0Lock @ZanQdo Many modes and editors are not addressed by this design. This is more specifically about any workflow in the 3D viewport that uses brushes.

@nickberckley I’d encourage anyone to assign their own desired shortcuts for brushes. The issue so far was that there are too many shortcuts assigned to brushes that many won’t use.
We could agree on some essentials like Draw, Mask & Grab. But beyond that it becomes subjective to each user. Some even prefer to access brushes and tools from the Toolbar and just have shortcuts for Clay Strips & Grab or whatever brushes they rely on 95% of the time.
The idea behind leaving brush shortcuts out is that users can incrementally assign shortcuts to the ones they want to use.

Once the Asset Shelf is introduced it would be easy to have the startup file show you the few most basic brushes first. No keyboard shortcuts needed.

@omr Some shortcuts are inherited from other modes. That still needs to be fixed. (G, R, S, Shift W, C, etc)

Grow/Shrink Face Set shortcuts can’t be from a pie menu unless they wait for a click to know the cursor position. But I can look into that.
I’ll also look into what could be added to the face set pie menu. But that can be a separate topic.
The context menu is on W for right click select.
I’ll look into the stroke method menu. It was supposed to be added.
Once the asset shelf is introduced, this would likely replace the need for the tool popup in sculpting/painting modes.
Introducing the select linked operators to the curve sculpt mode can be looked into.

@thorn-neverwake For this thread it’s great to test the included LCS or RCS keymap. The IC (Industry Compatible) keymap will get a separate thread.

@Doowah Each mode will be optimized for it’s own workflow. This design is just an effort to synchronise common standards between them and work the features we have. I agree with your points but the proposed shortcuts are not ideal since they clash with a lot of other keybindings.
Your proposed keymap is closer to the updated Industry Compatible keymap, which has the aim to bridge closer to Zbrush and other painting applications. I’ll share a thread soon about that.
Shift R is also readily available for Repeat Last. No need to reassign remesh shortcuts.

2 Likes

I have also changed brush shortcuts to better fit my needs. C is Clay strips for me, P is paint, instead of clay and pinch. And it is true that people don’t use all shortcuts. But its the choice between do we start with empty keys and assign brushes to them, or keys that already have brushes and we change them. I think changing is better way for new users.

I just think that some sort of general keymap is needed for the sake of communication between users. Especially between teachers and students. Reassigning shortcuts isn’t much harder than assigning. imho. But of course it could be made easier

1 Like

I fixed the issues of the Context Menu not working in RCS.
Also the Stroke Method menu is now available on Alt E.
Other changed mappings:
Shift Ctrl E = Shrink Active Face Set

Also, a separate thread is now open for the Industry Compatible Keymap:

1 Like

“Remove all brush shortcuts” just set them unused but still possible. Do no remove them. (revert how they worked in 2.79 if you really want to improve it).

In general, do not remove old stuff. There is so much stuff in this proposal i hate that im not going to deep dive in it. Ive got weak nerves.

Last Blender release was 3.5 and it is still providing a 2.7x keymap.

That would be simple to propose a 3.x keymap to avoid people to be lost.

The more keymap config contains shortcuts, the more trying to assign new ones may create a conflict.
So, while thinking to a new keymap, that is better to start without brush shortcuts or with the idea of reserving 3 or 4 most accessible keys to most essentials brushes than keeping as many brush shortcuts as old keymap configuration.

In 3.5, in sculpt mode, we have 11 brush shortcuts for 32 brush categories.
We can think that a user would like to use several variants of same brush, and wants to be able to directly call more than 12 brushes.

What is sure is that we will not be able to agree on a perfect brush set.
People are already talking about Grab brush as an essential brush, here.
Personally, I prefer to use edit mode, Grab Tool, Elastic brush or Pose brush, rather than Grab brush.
I don’t mind if it is part of a set of essential brushes with shortcuts, by default.
But lets keep task easy by agreeing on a low amount. At least, not more than 6.

To give space for customization, we also have to avoid to use all keys of keyboard for other things than brushes.

That would be a keymap for Blender 4.0. So ideally, the latest blender version 3.5 or a 3.6 alpha, free of sculpting bugs.

1 Like