[Bf-committers] Remappable hotkeys/custom keybindings

Matthew H Plough bf-committers@blender.org
Sat, 15 May 2004 11:05:09 -0400

Hi all --

I am strongly against making Blender's hotkeys user
definable.  While mimicking another application is
great for a temporary fix, it does not ultimately
make the user "fluent" in Blender.  What's nice
about Blender is that I can go to my friend's house
and model something just as easily as on my home
computer.  I can also explain to someone new to the
program that Shift+S snaps, Alt+G clears location,
etc.  I can teach Blender effectively because it is
so standardized.

Blender currently has a very efficient set of
hotkeys; while they are not completely optimal, it
is possible to work at lightning speed after a
couple of weeks (or months, if you have less time on
your hands) of learning.  The same cannnot be said
for other applications, even ones with user
definable hotkeys.  

For example, I participated in the 2002 and 2003
Autodesk Award for Visualization contest that is a
part of FIRST Robotics (a very popular high school
and college level competition in the US and Canada).
 As a result, I spent about four months each year
learning and using 3D Studio Max 4.2 and 5.1, an
experience that I do not wish to repeat.  I took one
look at the default shortcuts, and noticed that they
had absolutely no correlation with anything -- the
hotkeys are different in different modes, they make
extensive use of the function keys, and include
modifier keys for even the most basic operations.

In an attempt to make Max more efficient, I mapped
the hotkeys as best I could to Blender's set. 
However, the inherent inconsistency in that
application meant that I could only map E for
extrude for meshes OR curves OR armatures.  That
meant that I could either map other keys to extrude
(which is both unintuitive and wasteful), or go
through a blinding array of rollouts, flyouts,
washouts, spinouts, and whatever else to extrude.  

I did neither: All modeling happened in Blender.

3D Studio Max shos how user-definable hotkeys have
no bearing on how efficient an application might be.
 The important thing is to define an efficient set
and stick with it, and not worry about letting users
make Blender into a second-rate clone.

Matthew Plough