Multiple windows fighting for focus / non-overlapping rule problems

Nowadays is pretty usual to see 2 or more monitors in graphic computers. Procedures like animation requires so many windows opened that using 2 or 3 monitors isn’t only a quality of life, but a standard. The problem relies in how Blender manage extra windows:

  • The new window requires focus to be able to use shortcuts and others functions, fighting with the main window for focus. That means every single time we need to use the other window we need to click on it first;
    • The only way to make it works is to configure your OS (or OS window manager) to focus on Mouse Over, forcing us to use it for the whole system. Flawed design. I tried it before and there is some unexpected situation when not maximized and other windows popping up when the mouse cursor rest above another window while you see another thing.
  • When you close the main window it closes the extra windows as well, which is good and how it suppose to work (I guess it is a new feature… thanks anyway). But it doesn’t work if you minimize or restore the main window. It is kind of too much work to do for each window;

Other softwares already does it right, like Gimp, Inkscape, Adobe apps, Maya, Krita, etc, etc. The solution is: ‘to create a sub-window/float panel always on top the main one’.
- With this we’ll be able to minimize, restore and close like one thing, one solid window with multiple parts;
- Being a sub-window/float panel it doesn’t need special treat to get focus, so mouse over while in Blender on focus would be enough to be in that area and being able to use a shortcut there without extra clicks;
- It probably would require an option in Window menu to hide/unhide all extra windows or even a shortcut, like others softwares;

IIRC, there is a Blender UI design rule that doesn’t allow it to be a reality, non-overlapping:“It should employ non-overlapping windows in a subdivision-based structure, to free the artists from moving windows around on the screen, and covering up content”. I think it isn’t a smart rule. Every big UI rework Blender had was because new features and workflows were introduced using those restricted UI rules. And to add new features, to evolve, it had to break some of those rules. There is modal in some parts of Blender now that really requires it or that make sense to use it. There is some overlap as well we could say, like the way Panels behave, or even in some add-ons. So why keeping this restricted UI design rule? It shouldn’t be rules, but conventions in a more opened development environment. I mean, other options technically supported than the only way to do. Even the RMB select is gone from default. There is industry keymap as option now! I use the classic Blender since 1999 and I’m loving the new ways! Those UI design decisions, non-modal/overlapping are rules from a Cathedral development in a Bazaar software.
So, as a paper cut, it is really and immensely annoying to use multiple windows in Blender. Making it sub-windows or ‘floating panels’, whatever it is called, would fix this problem and even open an amazing door of possibilities to add-on developers and even for riggers as well. I would love to have a floating panel with my facial controllers, for example.

That is it. I tried to be succinct and unbiased as I could. Thank you for reading until here. Don’t forget to subscribe and click the bell for mor… oh, wait, wrong ending. :slight_smile:


Actually, Blender’s interface design principles come from a book by Jef Raskin titled The Human Interface. It is worth reading.

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This would be good to add, but it’s a bigger project than a paper cut.

If the issue can’t be described in a paragraph or two, it’s probably not a paper cut.

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