Tool selection vs. selection and transform

I do not want it to sound like I am picky or entitled, but I simply need to put it out there somewhere in hopes somebody will find it and consider… The 2.80 approach to tool selection is in my opinion a huge step back in vertex-level geometry editing and I would love it to be reconsidered, as it is so easy to make it work for fans of the old as well as the new solution.

I would assume most of us base our mesh editing on choosing some vertices and moving them. Until now it was very simple. I used LMB to select areas (it was assigned to lasso selection with addition as the default mode) and transformed them by R, G, S keys or moving the gizmo. To select or deselect a single vert I used RMB, to deselect areas, shift+LMB (lasso deselect)… It was soooo simple. When I wanted to do something additional, like subdivide, loop cut, knife, you name it, I simply chose the right tool, performed the action and was back to selecting and transforming.

In 2.80 to select and transform I need to shift between two tools constantly with no justification. Workflow has become much more clumsy and switching tools makes it much less streamlined. If I have a cube and want to cut it, I usually want to make one cut and go back to selecting and transforming. Why do I have to re-choose the selection tool if it is by far the most useful and common tool in the box? I do not expect other tools to remain active after performing their action. They should be a one-time operation. On the other hand, the selection and transform tools should be active all the time, as these are the most used of all the actions. They can also function seamlessly - when I select something the transform gizmo can simply be there, as it used to in previous versions. It does not interfere in selecting or deselecting vertices and makes transformation quicker, or you can hide it and use R, G, S instead - quick and simple.

What would be the solution?

  1. I would propose giving users the option of making the tool choice permanent - the current solution, or to revert to selection after the action is finished or cancelled - like in previous versions.
  2. I wish the selection tool was always active when no other tool is selected. In this case the selection tool button would just change the mode of selecting verts - either lasso, border, circle, or brush (the “c-key” counterpart), which would be a nice improvement from 2.7 where all those modes had to be set up separately.
  3. I would love the transform tool to be active just as selection tool. Its button could include all four current options (transform, move, rotate, scale, and scale cage) and give users the possibility of displaying the kind of transform gizmo they like, or hiding it if they prefer keyboard shortcuts - just like in blender 2.7.

I am so sorry for the length of this post. I just feel with all my heart that these functions are going in the wrong direction and the solutions I propose here would greatly benefit the users, both old and new. Please, tell me what you think about it. Am I the only one terrified with the new ways? What can we do to put this topic under developer consideration?

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Maybe this would help you in the proposal

In the modern world of active tools, there’s no “going back” to “selecting and transforming”, this is an obsolete workflow. But if you want to stick with this archaic workflow, you can have any of the transform tools active and use modal shortcuts for everything else.

The selection tools were poorly designed, they don’t have gizmos so I don’t recommend using those tools.

You don’t actually have to keep switching tools if you don’t want to. You can enable the Move tool gizmo, and still keep working, subdividing, cutting, doing whatever you like.

It’s really not as different from 2.7x as you might think. There you would also enable the gizmo, but use hotkeys and other ways to perform commands while that gizmo was active. Same thing in 2.8.

To make it even more flexible and powerful, the one change I think we should do, is to allow for more Drag Actions for the tools that have gizmos. This way you can make a gizmo active, but still drag in the viewport to select, for example.

“The modern world of active tools” is not of any interest to me. Neither was it for Blender devs for a long time. One of the biggest things about blender was having its own solutions. I have read plenty of comments and threads on different topics and the only conclusion is that it is impossible to make everybody happy. In this case I believe it is quite easy to make it work for both sides - just allow users to choose if tools switch permanently or for one-time use and make selection and transform tools active simultaneously with the mode choice available…

Inability to select multiple verts when a different tool simply breaks the workflow…

I’m trying to follow:

It’s not clear to me what you mean here. You can already either use the active tools for things like Move, Rotate, Scale, Knife, Loop Cut etc, and we also still have the modal operators. You can hit the K key to do a Knife cut, while the Move tool is enabled, for example. So we do have both. It’s not clear to me what you mean then.

Not entire sure what this means either. Isn’t that the same as the configurable Drag Action for tools with gizmos?

This also seems not so clear. You can already, just like in 2.79, keep any of the gizmos enabled, but still use any command and modal operator. For example, while the Move tool is active, you can still use B to Box Select. So again, it’s not really clear to me what this request means?

I think you guys are going to need a sticky for how to use the keymap with a few commonly requested examples. Definitely on the BA forum at least.

Go into each tool you want this functionality for, change it from tweak to something else if you need to drag, like for lasso. If you want to do minimal changes, just leave the original tweak alone, and set your lasso to tweak on a SHIFT-LMB or something.The ones you probably want are move, scale, rotate, and maybe transform. I prefer box select myself but you can obviously do both at the same time. Add another tweak for CTRL-LMB for box and tweak LMB for lasso, anything you want. Just go in the keymap.

To keep the original functionality of dragging around to move, scale, rotate you just change it to something like CTRL-RMB and set it to release. That way you don’t have to hold anything down. I think CTRL-RMB does something else by default, just set that to something else, whatever it happens to be you will likely run into conflicts that need remedying.

Cut, knife, subdivide, GRS, these things don’t take you out of any tools. When you’re done, it dumps you back to wherever you were.

Here is what I did to get the functionality you said in your first post, drag for lasso, RMB to (de)select, SHIFT-RMB to de-lasso. Gizmo will always be there, and CTRL-RMB will give you the, in my opinion, wonky-assed drag in empty space functionality. I come from maya straight to 2.8, so I don’t really use it unless I want a quick way to snap to a vert. Getting used to using it every once in a while either way. It’s like I have Maya but with even more great tools and way more customization.

Ok, I will try to clear up.
ad1 - tool selection should work the same way when activated through a menu button and a keyboard shortcut. It is not that we have both, it means there are two different behaviours - fans of menus have to accept permanent active tools and fans of keyboard shortcuts need to remember them all to benefit from the other mode (which does not work consistently, yet it is still a beta stage so I am optimistic about that)
ad2 - if you mean you can use the lasso or the border selection seamlessly while other tools are active, yep, call it what you want… If I don’t have to choose the selection tool each time I want to lasso select, it is fine with me… By the way, dragging with the mouse without grabbing the gizmo is pretty useless anyway, why not make it select verts using the mode chosen in the selection tool instead :slight_smile:
ad3 - again, either you have to use the less efficient method of selecting tools, or you have to use keyboard shortcuts only - the tool selection method remains inconsistent, and there are no reasons why it should…

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Well, for many of the tools at least we can’t do that. Tools like Knife, Loop Cut, Cursor, Annotate, Bevel and so on, those tools don’t make sense with a gizmo. The general paradigm therefore, is that the tool controls what happens when you click and drag, just like in any image editor, or 3d apps like Modo, for example.

Also, we used to always have an issue with some tools like the Scale gizmo, where if you can only scale uniformly by dragging from the center circle, it’s very imprecise. Scaling from the center circle at least currently doesn’t work well. So making it possible to drag anywhere to scale makes that tool much easier to use.

In general, the philosophy in Blender, is that you should not have to be so precise - you can drag anywhere to adjust.

That said, I think we could add the concept of the Drag Action to most of the tools that include gizmos, so you can click and drag to select using the left mouse button, for those kinds of tools specifically.

The more options the better. Non-gizmo move, scale rotate has its uses, even for a longtime maya user like myself.

Could you explain what you mean by less efficient tool selection method? I’m new to Blender and always looking for other ways to do things and incorporate them into what I already do.

Icas, I do agree with your previous post, to adapt to the new UI I will have to resort to changing a lot in key bindings and hope for the best :slight_smile: Thankfully, Blender has always offered much in the user customisation field, so I am still positive about the outcome :slight_smile:
When it goes to the “less efficient method…”
When I develop a mesh in the edit mode I select and transform verts hundreds of times. These are the two most common actions in my workflow. But I use knife cutting rarely - when I do it is just to cut certain geometry and get back to other tools. There is no need for the knife tool to be ready for the second cutting operation, instead it should simply revert to the select/transform combo… Even more so in the case of the spin tool - how often do we use the spin tool twice in a row? I know I never do :slight_smile: When I finish spinning my mesh I would expect the tool to revert back to the select/transform combo. I cannot even imagine using the edge slide tool from the menu - when you slide an edge or a set of edges you do not slide again unless you change your selection first. Therefore the “edge slide” tool should revert to the selection tool for me to continue…

Although, I should have stressed that I have always changed my key binding to make lasso select the default behaviour for my LMB - this way I can select quickly and very precisely at any given time between applying different transformations and modifications.


Just set your keymap like in my picture, for say, the move tool. It works like you want. When done with a cut, subdivide, etc, you can select without “entering” a select mode. This was the first thing I went to figure out a couple months ago because it was a deal breaker if I couldn’t fix it like this.

For the picture just disregard that it is set to SHIFT-LMB, you wanted SHIFT-RMB. Whatever you need can be done I bet. Also might need it to be on Tweak instead of just Mouse.

I think that what you call the Drag Action should be a global, rather than per-tool setting. For any gizmo-based tool, dragging outside the gizmo’s active area would use the global drag action, which could be set, say, to lasso select.

Currently it only exists in the Transform tool:

Could be added to the other tools that have gizmos.

It should be left alone, because you can set it to different things on a per tool basis. Being able to have the tweak set to different operators when using different tools is very useful.

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Yep, it surely is. Like I said, customisation is one of the Blender’s strongest sides… It is a shame, though, that after such a huge improvement in the program as the 2.8 version we will have to resort to tweaks and workarounds just not to lose too much productivity… Productivity which was actually there in the first place… I don’t mind pies, right-click, context menus, monotone themes, these are all things to get used to and probably tweak a bit… But the tool selection thing will be a struggle…

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Yes, we have heard it loud and clear, from many users, especially people with a background using Maya.
I think we can/should solve it with the above mentioned solution of using the Drag Action for more tools, and adding things like Box Select to it.