Dynamic Toolbar

This proposal is a visual tweak to how the Toolbar can not just act as a way to access Active Tools, but also to visualise any shortcuts and other operators. This could bridge the gap between these 2 systems a bit further.

The idea is to visually switch the active tool when an operator or a “press & hold” shortcut is being used.
Let’s say in Sculpt Mode I am holding Shift to smooth.
In that case the Smooth Tool in the Toolbar would become highlighted to indicate that I am using the Smooth Brush. Once I let go it will highlight my Active Tool again.
More examples would be Lasso Select with Ctrl + RMB to highlight the Lasso Select Tool temporarily.
In Edit Mode this can be used to highlight any operator counterpart to the Active Tools.
When pressing E to extrude it will highlight the Extrude Tool. Once the operation is completed or cancelled the Active Tool is being highlighted again.

Other software like Zbrush uses a similar way of visualising the shortcuts, with the difference that it actually changes the tool.
The issue I can see with this visualisation is that the it suggests that the user can also change the shortcut of the operator when RMB clicking on the Active Tool. This would be misleading so the implementation would probably be more complicated than just a visual tweak.

Let me know what you think.


I miss the “holding” functionality for masking. Any idea why it was never implemented? (I tried everything, nothing works) This is highly needed.

About your proposal, it’s not a bad idea. This is how zbrush works, isn’t?

I miss the “holding” functionality for masking.

Sorry I don’t know what you mean :sweat_smile:

And yes this is similar to how Zbrush visualises its Tools & Brushes.

The same way we can hold shift to smooth, we should be able to do the same with the mask hotkey. (similar to zbrush).
Currently we can only toggle it, which is not great.

Good point. I’ve gotten so used to switching to the Mask Brush …
Holding Alt doesn’t seem to be taken by anything in Sculpt Mode. But that’s a separate topic I guess :slight_smile:

For sure, it would help old users to adapt to new icons.

But I would restrict that idea to active tools and a “press & hold” behavior.

Toolbar refers to Active Tools.
It makes sense for Smooth brush. Because Smooth brush always acts the same, as a brush.

But in Edit mode or Object mode :
Active tool may be different than tool called by shortcut.
It uses a widget, maybe different options enabled by default, may avoid to use modal keymap.
If currently, behavior is not the same ; reason is : this is not relevant with a left click workflow and there was not enough time to develop a relevant active tool keymap.

There was a confusion at beta period. Old users thought that they were forced to use active tools.
New users thought that called by a shortcut, tool will act as an active tool.

After 2.80 release, it looks like a bit late for helping old users.
And I am afraid, it will add more confusion for newcomers if it is not restricted to active tools.
People thinking that their active tool was lost or that was a glitch. But also people thinking that their active tool should handle by default same options or modal keymap as shortcut.

So, it looks like a good idea if “press & hold” is used to always call an active tool that always acts the same.
And if people are struggling to build their own keymap, that should not interfere and probably should be easily disabled by a user preference.

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Hello @ideasman42 can we have that functionality? It would be awesome.