The Advent of new Modes and Keymap Usage of Numbers 1-0 on keyboard

I’d like to open a topic here just to have the opportunity to chat about the new Asset Creation Pipeline Design and T88071, two topics that share some ground.

The new modes (Keep in mind the names are pending, but functionality wise would be about the same):

I think the idea behind this is very sound. This will unify things like such as texture/vertex/sculpt vertex colors and allow for more flexibility/customization in each mode. I also really enjoyed Julian Caspar’s comment in the blog post: “Most modes will still exist as they are but with a clear design in place to allow them to make their toolset and UI grow and be more focused on the tasks the modes are meant for”.

I’m all onboard for this! The one thing I wanted to bring up is T88071, this is part of UI: Discussion Topics & Possible To-Do’s for 3.0.

I feel that switching modes occurs much less than the operations that lie within each mode. Usually after diving into a mode to get some work done, I feel you don’t switch back out that frequently. This is probably more of a subjective thing, but I feel the modes that require the most switching are between object and edit mode, and between pose, edit and weight painting for armatures. The dance between pose mode and edit mode for armatures is particular busy, as parenting must be done in edit mode, while constraints and the like must be done in pose mode. This can make rigging very busy as you hop from one to another to get the job done. As for the rest of the modes, I feel you don’t switch between them so frequently. Texture paint you will likely dive into a get a large portion of painting done, and maybe pop back here and then to fix a detail or two. Vertex painting is mostly the same, but likely wouldn’t last as long as texture painting, the only time it would need more switching is if you use edit mode to limit the painting to edit mode selections which happens only here and there. Sculpt mode is usually a longer stay inside that mode as well I feel.

So what’s the big deal? Right now 1-0 are used for collection visibility in object mode, and in edit mode it is used to control between vertex/edge/face mode, other modes ignore these buttons. Back as a 3D student, I was using Maya and they used a pie menu to switch between vertex/edge/face mode, this was pretty fast, but still not instant, and MOST importantly brings up a menu blocking the screen for a split moment (longer if you have no muscle memory). It was fast, but I always wanted it to go faster, the less things that get in the way of your immediate thoughts while creating something the better. Sound familiar? Blender has a great thing going with lots of hotkeys, keeping things at your fingertips, it’s easy to just “keep flowing”. I joined the blender-boat at 2.79, and back then I thought "wouldn’t it be great if you could switch between vertex/edge/face mode with 1,2,3? Then came 2.8, doing just that, and I was over the moon. It’s so fast you never have to even think about it. No waiting for a split second for the pie menu, just press 1,2,3 which are conveniently right where your hand rests on the keyboard. This is the tactile response that I love blender for.

This convention is only used in edit mode though, in other modes there is seemingly no need for anything like that, as they are not used. This makes some less than tidy things I suppose. 4-0 are empty in edit mode for instance, and even if you added number buttons in other modes, you have to memorize what each one does per-mode.

As T88071 suggests, turning 1-0 into mode changing would make things a lot more consistent, as the keys become a more “global” action, instead of specific changes in each mode. This is cleaner, no doubt, but I can’t help but feel it wastes the speed of edit modes convention of using 1-3 for vertex/edge/face mode. I feel it would be stronger to keep mode switching to the current pie menu, and use the number keys smarter within each mode. For instance, I’m not too sure where animation lies in the new proposed modes…but I think and “animation mode” would be fantastic. You could use 1 for edit mode, 2 for pose mode, making switching way faster. With better customizability maybe you could get even get better weight paint integration into the particular pipeline.

This may seem as the ramblings of a guy who just really likes the speed of edit mode switching, but like I said before “I feel that switching modes occurs much less than the operations that lie within each mode”. I’m not so opposed of 1-0 being mode switching though, it has advantages, particularly in being neat. If we were to go that route and have 1-0 be mode switching I would prefer if ways were found to keep switching between vertex/edge/face mode as instant as possible, pie menus as just a tad slow for my taste in that respect. I’ve been trying to think of a better way to do this if 1-0 did become mode switching, to keep the speed speed of vertex/edge/face switching, but I have not came up with anything. So I’d like to open the floor to everyone, what are your thoughts on this subject?