With Blend 3, we have made the Blend UI much more configurable. Panels can now be docked and undocked, and the panels can be set to “auto-hide”, which means that they are minimized and automatically pop-up to their full size glory as you hover over the tab that represents the minimized version.
Of course, you can create and save your own custom panel arrangements and configurations, which we call workspaces.
In this quick tutorial, I show you how to create a custom workspace with most of the Blend UI hidden away.
In pretty much any serious authoring tool there are tasks where you just need a subset of the overall functionality the tool has to offer. And it is nice if everything else goes out of the way.
To begin with a prototype, you usually don’t need much. The art board, the SketchFlow map, and the toolbar get you very far, and you get a nice clean and uncluttered environment this way.
Enough of the introduction. Let’s make a minimal custom workspace just for SketchFlow…
This tutorial assumes that you have the public RC of Blend 3.
To make the workspace, open or create a SketchFlow project. You can for example use this one from the Samples tab of the Blend Welcome screen:
After loading the project, the default Design workspace should look roughly like this (the content of the art board and the SketchFlow map may vary, depending on the project you loaded):
Now we can begin to remodel the workspace.
First, let’s close the SketchFlow Animation panel, which is located right above the art board. Click where the red arrow indicates.
Next, let’s make all other panels auto-hide. To do so, click the little push-pins for the other panels:
This will collapse the panels into minimized versions that pop up when you hover the mouse over their minimized representation:
This is how the workspace looks overall. As you can see, it is very minimalistic – all you see is the SketchFlow Map and your art board, which is pretty much what you want to focus on during prototyping.
Let’s save this workspace, using the Window menu:
Enter a name in the dialog that follows:
You can now switch between the new workspace you created and the default workspaces using the Window menu:
Workspaces are persisted across sessions in Blend – any workspace you set up once is available in any project, until you explicitly delete it.
Pinning the Asset Panel
If you work a lot with assets in your project, it is often nice to keep the asset panel open. You can re-pin the asset panel:
As I said in the beginning, you can also undock and re-dock panels pretty much anywhere you like. This is beyond the scope of this brief tutorial, but if you want to try, just drag a panel out of its place by dragging the header area or the tab. To re-dock a panel drag it over possible dock positions, and you will see blue-grey highlights to indicate possible dock positions.