Random 2.8 thoughts and feedback

The following is feedback of various features and changes in Blender 2.8 Beta. Feedback was assembled over the course of a couple of weeks of use in different versions, but all of my feedback is relevant to the latest version as of the date of this post:

Date: 2019-1-11
Hash: f98e4cbedbb7
Windows 64 bit
Factory Settings Loaded

Feedback is given in no particular order. Sorry if this should have been posted elsewhere.

  • This is really nitpicking as it really only effects users the very first time they open Blender, but in object mode and edit mode the selection tool is set to box selection mode by default. Wouldn’t the regular selection mode be preferable since this more closely resembles behavior in 2.79?

  • In the 3D viewport, binding “tab” to cycle between one object interaction mode and edit mode seems redundant, and perhaps even a waste of a key since “ctrl+tab” opens the object mode pie menu. I feel the object mode pie menu should be bound to “tab” as that was already the case in 2.79 when pie menus were enabled.

  • In edit mode, when you hover over the vertex/edge/face select mode icons there is a tooltip that gives some general information… It would be a good idea to add a note about the “1”, “2”, “3” shortcuts here, as there doesn’t seem to be any other place where these shortcuts are referenced. I didn’t know about these until I went looking into the keybind preferences for the old “ctrl+tab” call menu.

  • The quick favorites menu is not immediately clear on how to use it. It says “right-click on buttons to add them to this menu” but does not specify which buttons can actually be added to this menu. The user is left to just right-clicking on things at random to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Not a huge issue, but I wonder if it’s something users may easily forget about if they don’t know how to take advantage of right away. Maybe at some point the quick favorites menu can highlight usable buttons when opened, as an option enabled by default. Just something to consider.

  • I don’t know if it’s a good idea to change existing pie menu shortcuts from 2.79 where not necessary. For example, in the shading pie menu (“z”) wireframe mode has been moved from the right side to the left side and solid mode has been moved from down to right. It may be better to have them as similar as possible where possible. Not really a big deal though.

  • “W”, used to toggle between selection types in various editors seems redundant and maybe a waste of a key, as typically border select is available via “b”, circle select is available via “c”, and lasso select is available via “ctrl+right mouse”. Also, it currently just returns an error message in 3d viewport modes where the selection tool isn’t available.

  • “W”, used to toggle between selection types, does not work in non-3D Viewport editors where it is avaiable.

  • Why does “ctrl+n”, in all editors, open a new file? Is anyone opening new files so often that it needs to be bound to a shortcut? “Make Normals Consistent” in edit mode has been changed to “shift+n” as a result. I really feel like this sort of needless change just causes confusion for old users and should be avoided.

  • In the shader editor, the shortcuts for adding reroute nodes to links and cutting links were both changed from “left mouse” to “right mouse”. I don’t understand this change, especially when considering the move to left-click selection by default and how “shift+left mouse” and “ctrl+left mouse” are unused here.

  • There are inconsistencies in key bindings of similar actions that really need to be addressed. For example: In 2D viewports pan view is bound to “middle mouse” as well as shift+middle mouse, but in the 3D viewport pan view is bound only to “shift+middle mouse” and “middle mouse” is rotate view.

  • Another example would be that in the 3D Viewport while in box select mode (the one invoked with the “b” key), “shift+left mouse” is box deselect, but with “Select Box” (the one you enable via the icon in the toolbar) “ctrl+left mouse” is box deselect and “shift+left mouse” adds to your selection. Also, these two box select methods are inconsistent with their default selection in the 3D Viewport. While “Box Select” (“b”) always ADDS to your selection with “left mouse”, “Select Box” (toolbar) CHANGES your selection with “left mouse”. On top of that, in the Shader Editor “Select Box” ADDS to your selection rather than changes it like it does in the 3D Viewport and “shift+left mouse” does nothing.

  • In the shader editor both the regular “Select” mode tool and the “Select Box” tool uses box select on “left mouse”. It seems kind of redundant. And with the regular “Select” tool enabled, you cannot box deselect with either “ctr+left mouse” or “shift+left mouse”. This seems like it may lead to confusion. Also, for the record, that makes three different box select methods for the Shader Editor.

  • I know “ctrl+s” has always been bound to save file by default but I find it a little weird that the “s” key is also home to stuff like scale, to sphere, shear and the snap pie menu. I personally disable this to avoid accidentally hitting it by mistake and overwriting a save file that I don’t want to save over (something I actually managed to do in a test file). At the very least, maybe the “check existing” option in the Keymap preferences should be on by default so users get a confirmation popup.

  • About the measure tool, currently there does not appear to be any way to remove an angle on a ruler once it has been created.

  • I’m not sure I like the specials/context menus being on “right mouse”. The thing is, it isn’t really context sensitive like users might expect. Meaning it doesn’t matter what you are right-clicking on, it will only bring up a menu for what you have selected already. For example, in the node editor if you have one node selected and right-click on another and click delete, the one selected is deleted, not the one you right-clicked on. Or in object mode, you right-click on a lamp expecting lamp properties to show up, but unless you already selected that lamp you will get whatever context menu of the object you do have selected, even if it’s not on screen. To me, this is… unnatural. It just doesn’t feel right. I think a lot of users, especially new ones, will feel the same way.

  • This was also the case in 2.79 but it amazes me that it’s still a thing… When you open up the console then go to close it like you would with any window, by clicking on the “x” in the upper right-hand corner, it closes Blender entirely. No warning or anything, just closes Blender. It’s an easy way to lose all of your work if you don’t know any better.

  • The background grid in orthographic views is now tied to the floor grid and/or axes lines overlays for perspective view. This doesn’t make sense to me because the orthographic grid is not the same thing as either the floor grid or axes lines, and you can’t have ortho grids without one of the others. In 2.79, orthographic views displayed a background grid, but for perspective view and user orthographic view the floor grid and axes lines were optional. I don’t think this is intended behavior because the tooltip for the “Grid” checkbox reads “Show the ground plane grid in perspective view” while the “Axes” boxes read “Show the (x/y/z) axis line in the perspective view”. Both of them specify perspective view only. In any case I really hope that in 2.8 I can continue to have grids in orthographic views but not in perspective/user orthographic view like I had in 2.79.

  • Splitting and joining windows via corner clicking is now much more difficult because the area you can click on appears significantly smaller and there is no visual indication separating one window from another. I didn’t have any trouble with this in 2.79 but now I find myself creating new windows when trying to collapse one and moving around borders when I don’t mean to. It also seems very unlikely to me that new users will understand that this feature exists as there is nothing there to indicate it.

  • In many places throughout 2.8, tools and properties panels no longer have any clear indications of their boarders making them difficult to manipulate. For example, in the 3d viewport the edge of the tools panel is slightly off to the side of the boxes for each tool. Another example is in the Timeline editor, where the Dope Sheet Summary’s background color is identical to the color used in the timeline for parts outside of the frame range, and the properties panel’s background color is identical to parts of the timeline that are in the frame range. To make matters worse, when open, panels are always there, even in places where they don’t appear to be. This causes a couple minor issues: In the 3d viewport if you attempt to middle click on a seemingly empty area below a panel to rotate view you will instead invoke the pan feature for the panel. Also, if your mouse is right on the hidden boarder of a panel you will click on that instead of any object in the viewport you may be attempting to manipulate. I think it would be a good idea to give another look to all of the tools and properties panels in every editor to ensure that there aren’t any further issues or oversights.

  • As a longtime user of Blender I cannot stress enough how much I dislike some of the changes to key bindings that has occurred. I understand the desire to clean up or improve key bindings for new users, but I feel like this is not going to accomplish anything but force users that already do know the key bindings to relearn them. I, and many others learned to use Blender without major issues, I do not believe there is a barrier here preventing new users from doing the same. And while I realize that there is a 2.79 keymap available, I also know that going forward new features and addons with additional key mappings will undoubtedly ignore this and rely on the 2.8 keymap as the standard. This will inevitably lead to conflicts and issues when using the 2.79 keymap.

  • In Edit Mode, remove doubles can only be accessed via the vertex context menu. This is really, really bad. I very often use remove doubles while editing edges.

  • Some new keybinds seem completely arbitrary and VERY poorly thought out. In edit mode, remove doubles in the vertex context menu has changed from “r” to “d”, and randomize vertices, which previously had no binding, has taken its place. And if that doesn’t seem odd enough, that key binding is only for when two or more vertices are selected… When one vertex is selected “d” is dissolve vertices. If that wasn’t odd enough, dissolve vertices is also bound to “t” when two or more vertices are selected. Dissolve vertices, by the way, has always been available through the more logical delete menu, making those bindings for it in the vertex context menu redundant.

  • Another example of new key bindings seeming poorly thought out: Ctrl+Shift+Alt+C was previously set object origin. Now you must use the right-click context menu for that. Now Ctrl+Shift+Alt+C is copy RNA data path, which is already available with… wait for it… the right-click context menu. So the thing that was always available through the right-click context menu gets a keybind and the thing that had that keybind previously is moved to the right-click context menu. This borders on absurd. And in my opinion, I really don’t think copy RNA data path needs a keybind, especially when you consider how it can be difficult to tell when something has an RNA data path to copy to begin with as there is no clear indication. The right-click menu made sense for it in that regard.

  • In the properties editor, I think the side tabs could be improved by adding some color to the icons to further differentiate scene property tabs (like Render, Output, View Layer, etc.) from object property tabs (like Object, Constraints, Material, etc.). I realize they are already separated into groups, but it’s not very noticeable. Early on, I often found myself randomly clicking through the tabs to try to find what I’m looking for because I still wasn’t used to the new icons… I think maybe some color could help users a little bit. So for example, the Workspace tab icon could remain light grey, while the scene tab icons could have a very light blue color to indicate they are related, and the object tab icons could have a very light orange color to indicate they are related.

  • I dislike that you cannot sort sub-tabs within tabs. This is particularly bad in an object’s Physics tab in the properties panel, where each physics option is its own tab. So for example, no cloth tabs can be sorted because they are technically sub-tabs.

  • Sorting of tabs and their sub-tabs really needs to be nailed down. Everything should be sorted by relevance, importance, by what the majority of users will use, and the order in which they will use them. Most tabs should be closed by default. I’ve always wondered if the sloppiness of tabs in past versions of Blender has contributed to it’s reputation of having bad UI/UX.

  • Some things still don’t have default values (via “Reset to Default Value” in the right-click context menu). Everything needs a default value.

  • Enabling snapping via ctrl and precision via shift does not work when moving things in some places. One example would be with moving and scaling keyframes in the Timeline. In this case I would assume it’s because the Timeline does not yet have snapping options.

  • This was previously the case in 2.79, but I find it really weird the more I think about it… In the Shader Editor, you can change the material of currently selected material slot but you cannot change which material slot you are working on. Meaning you cannot select a different material to work on from the Shader Editor without also changing the material of that material slot. Wouldn’t it be a lot more useful to be able to change which material you are working on rather than change that material altogether?