[Bf-interface] Multi monitors

Sidney Moraes Jr moraesjunior at gmail.com
Tue Nov 7 17:34:24 CET 2017

Hello UI team.
I'm following (as everybody else) the development of 2.8 and this is
exciting! So much things to come and an even better Blender experience.
I don't remember to see something about multi window and proposal for that,
so, if you may I, I would like to address it, the problems in the current
version and suggestions based on a daily work with it.

Nowadays are common to see artists using 2+ monitors to work and we know it
is needed  in a range of workflows full of tools, buttons, setups, views,
etc. that we use in Blender or other creation software. Animation is a huge
example of it: we need the 3d view, property bars, camera view, dope sheet,
graph editor, timeline, rig UI, etc.

Solutions used for multi monitor:
Older versions of Blender didn't have multi window option, but it was
possible to fullscreen or enlarge the window to the whole 2 displays
resolution (We used to have here screen layout for 2 monitors as well).
Different resolution height between displays was a problem for that, making
part of the Blender content be hidden;
Current versions we can pop up a window and fullscreen it in the other
monitor. It would be perfect if wasn't the usability problem with the
current solution.

Problems with current multi window:
- Most OS use 'click to focus' a window by default and not 'mouse over to
focus'. Blender let the system be responsible to manage the new window and
it gives strange behaviours clicking in an unfocused window:

   - Clicking using modifiers (Ctrl, Shift, Alt) doesn't work: It is not
   possible to pan or zoom using Shift+MMB or Ctrl+MMB. Oddly the scroll works
   - Editing a text field and focusing the other window won't deselect the
   text field. And it doesn' t happen in a single window environment. Not
   deselecting the field text is a good behaviour when Alt+Tabbing between
   applications, but strange between multi windows of the same Blender file.
   It makes possible to select the same text field in 2 different windows,
   change the value in one and confirm, go back to the other text field and
   confirm the old value, 'undoing' the change;
   - Shortcuts doesn't work with mouse hovering an unfocused window. It
   includes Esc to cancel the selected text field in another window as well.
   Having to click in the window before doing a shortcut is really counter
   intuitive and an unnecessary step;

- Counter intuitive to create a new window (Hold Shift+LMB at the corner
and pull): IIRC it was addressed already at some point, but I will leave it
here as it is part of this problem;
- The new opened window is independent from the main window: in other words
and technically, there is no main window:

   - If you close your 'main window' the second window will still opened.
   And if you save your file in this window and close, you will lose the main
   window layout next time you open this blend file. It is possible to recover
   disabling 'Load UI' in the open file screen, but it is not the ideal;
   - Minimizing and restoring window follows the same rule. If you are
   working in other programs as well and need to go back to Blender you need
   to click on each window to bring them to front. And it doesn't happen in
   other softwares like Krita, Inkscape, Gimp, Photoshop, Maya, etc.

This proposal is quite simple to explain, doesn't mean it is simple
technically. And probably part of this proposal is already addressed by the
2.8 UI proposal. But I hope there is some information about multi screen
that could be relevant to it:

   - Each instance of Blender have only one window (main window) and the
   other pop up windows to be a sub window like any other creation software:
   Krita, Gimp, Inkscape, Maya, Adobe Softwares, etc. With this we take the
   window manage from the OS and give to Blender, solving the unfocus
   problems, shortcuts, close and save, minimize/restore, etc.;
   - Sub-windows are always on top of the main window, so we never lose the
   track of them;
   - Minimizing/restoring the main window all the sub-windows follows;
   - Minimizing a sub-window acts like retracting a panel, moving it to the
   bottom left corner of the current monitor. This is not a new design and it
   is well known in other softwares as well.

Final thoughts
It is well known the non overlapping paradigm. It makes Blender well
structured. But what I see is Blender growing  up in features every year,
every month and those new features and workflows have to adapt to the way
Blender are structured, but it should be the way around: Blender adapting
itself to the new features and workflows. I can't help stop thinking about
'The cathedral and the bazaar' in its simple concept but now applied in the
UI field: Blender has grown as a bazaar but Blender UI is a cathedral. And
rules like non overlapping could be just a convention for the most cases,
because we know there are features that not following this convention would
be the best choice. 2.8 UI proposal are the best example of it, Blender
101, workflows, etc. So I ask you UI team to consider the possibility to
Blender have in its core subwindows/popup windows integrated to be an
option to be used in the new ways to work with Blender. This proposal is
about fixing the multi display workflow, but the solution could help even
other areas as rig interface, specific toolbar for addons, etc. More
freedom in new workflows.

P.S.: I was in doubt to write this e-mail because you guys probably already
talked about most of (or even all) the subject here, but I decide to humbly
post it intending to may be help in any way to the final proposal, even
being a bad example. :)

Best regard

Sidney Moraes Jr - aka mangojambo
Animator & 3D Artist
+55 43 988133399 <(43)%2098813-3399> <http://www.oniria.com.br>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.blender.org/pipermail/bf-interface/attachments/20171107/d1273e2f/attachment.html>

More information about the Bf-interface mailing list