Organizing scenes with the outliner


I have to start with an apology: I come from Maya and other industry standard tools and I’m new to Blender. I try to make up for this by reading the manual and watching tutorials.

My biggest pain point right now is the design of the Outliner. In my point of view, it does lot of things I don’t need, and non of the things I am used from other applications. (Even when switching into scene hierarchy mode) I believe most of the missing features could be straight forward to implement without side effects to existing users:

  1. There should be a command “Group” [Ctrl+G] that creates a new empty, re-parents the selection under the new empty, and select it. (Please don’t tell that this can simply be done by doing XYZ or purchasing one of the AddOns like “Quick Instance” or “GroupPro”. I already looked into the work arounds and find them slow, cumbersome and non-intuitive).

  2. There should be an “Ungroup” command that reverses the above.

  3. SHIFT+LMB should select the range of items:

  4. Some people suggested to use the Box-selection [B] mode to do 3. Which select somehow (blue) but not the way you need for regrouping:

  5. Clicking on the outliner background should deselect everything.

  6. Dragging selected objects onto a new parent should reparent all selected objects, not just the first one.

  7. After dragging into an Empty, the Empty should be uncollapsed by default,

  8. I personally find four independent selection states very confusing. I am not convinced that this is justified.

  • Current / last selected (orange)
  • Selected Object (Red)
  • Selected Element (Blue)
  • Outlined icon (not sure why this can be active, if there is no last orange selection)
  1. Duplicating a parent should also duplicate all its children by default.

Blender is a super powerful tool with a lot of experienced users that grew up with the way it works. But I believe that aligning its default behavior a little bit closer to learned patterns (like “duplicating something that looks like a folder also duplicates its content”, which holds true on all applications and file across all platforms), would greatly increase its user base.

I have some background in user interaction design and learned of the years, that you can only do good design be user testing (not with experts of average people with some domain knowledge). I can only encourage the designers of Blender to do more of this.

But despite all my complains, thank you for all the hard work and making Blender better.



did you test the lastest alpha build from and read to threads at
By the way blender its blender, the generic argument(that appear all the time) “every dcc in the industry does the same. … blender should do it because . . .” does not work to get something done actually its really frustrating argument, even more if you are barely starting to use the tool, the outliner topic (at least many of the point in the list) was beautifully handle by a Nathan Craddock (@natecraddock , and i can’t remember who was its mentor . . .sorry ) in a google summer of code project, a few months away and was months of work test and reviews and its already in trunk, not something as straight forward as it sounds, in this same forum in the development section it is the tread of the development, where people was testing and following its development, many of the things you mention were tackled and others are being talked about or in progress.

Most of your points are valid and they are already in 2.81, only ‘duplicating a Parent should also duplicate all its Children’ it works for Collections though and (Un)Grouping will be missing.

1 Like

Wow. That is great news. Thanks!

@NahuelBelich I am sorry for causing you frustration. I want to contribute to the Blender community but I’m still learning my ways around the Blender eco-system. I have been looking for a high level roadmap to see if the Outliner has already been addressed, but was overwhelmed but the amount of sites and information. So I am still figuring out, what would be the best way of contribution besides complaining that “Blender does not feed like Maya”.

That a thing that i learned years ago when jump from max to blender, a dcc its not something little, its actually very complicated and things that may look simple often are not because there are other twenty things that needs to be aligned too, you may notice that when new features are added in maya and seemingly unrelated things get broken or bugged.
all its in everything you can follow the development minute by minute there and here links to each module projects more or less planned, usually there are surprises during the development, being an open source project at any time someone can appear with a new patch or feature that wasn`t planned, then reviewed and merged