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I've been using Blender since 2007 and before I've used (in that order) MiniCAD, Strata Studio Pro, Alias Wavefront and Cinema 4D. I love blender and I could never go back to my previous love Cinema 4D because I think Blender is simply better once you get the hang of it.

Now I am starting a 3D project with other people and most of them are using Cinema 4D. We decided to use Blender and I am introducing them to the workflow. A general issue with the interface is viewport navigation. Most of them are used to point and click so I am thinking about writing a plugin for Blender.

Basically what I want to achieve is this:

blender viewport navigation

I have a lot of experience with Ruby and JavaScript programming and I will be able to get into Python really quickly. I only need a few pointers to get me started. So here are a few questions:

  • how can I add such a hanging tab to the 3d viewport
  • how can I activate pan/zoom/rotate of the viewport when the mouse button is pressed
  • is there an existing addon to build on?
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    $\begingroup$ There is a fly mode available using Shift+F shortcut, not the best solution, but if you have some spare money I would suggest to get Space Navigator 3D mouse from 3DConnexion. $\endgroup$ – Denis Jun 13 '15 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ That's not what I am after really. As you should have read, I need a point/click/drag solution. $\endgroup$ – wout Jun 13 '15 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ I know you are asking for a specific solution, but if you are looking to streamline the process consider a pie-menu specifically for those functions. pros 1) Less travel time for the mouse, 2) you don't have to move the mouse into the 20*20px box at the top of the window to start a behaviour. $\endgroup$ – zeffii Jun 14 '15 at 5:59
  • $\begingroup$ There are viewport navigation add-ons here's a list of useful threads: how-can-i-navigate-the-viewport-using-python, how-can-i-control-the-viewport-without-a-mouse $\endgroup$ – zeffii Jun 14 '15 at 6:36
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  1. Download this addon
  2. Blender > File > User Preferences (Ctrl+Alt+U) >
    • Add-ons Tab > Install from file... > Choose the downloaded file > Save user setting
    • Input Tab User Settings Input tab

      Save user settings > Close User Preferences

Now in the viewport you can use

  • touchpad > drag = rotate
  • touchpad > Alt+drag = moving
  • touchpad > Ctrl+Alt+drag = zoom

In the Node Editor you can use

  • touchpad > Alt+drag = moving
  • touchpad > Ctrl+Alt+drag = zoom
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