Blender's Right Click vs Left Click: Which is Better?

Aug 20th 2019

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Blender Right Click is dead, long live the Left Click?

Now that Blender 2.80 has arrived, the default selection mode for Blender has changed from right click to *drumroll*...left click. (Though there are more new features: read about the top 5 game changers that Blender 2.8 brings).

Having been a savvy right clicker for more than 15 years, I’ll admit that this decision brought a little sadness to my heart. Now, being a right-clicker feels like I’m in on a secret that only a few people know about.

Why has the Default Setting Changed?

It’s simple: to make things easier for new users.

When you are new to software, any hurdle that can be lowered to make the learning easier makes sense. 

You can now select things by default, which is the intuitive way for a new user and solves one of the biggest newbie hurdles.

However, there is an invisible downside to this ‘industry standard’ way of doing things.  

Watch: 30+ free tutorials with awesome Blender tips

The (Not so) Secret History of Blender Right-Click Select

Back in the 90’s, the unconventional decision was made to separate ‘selection’ from ‘action’ in Blender.  Why? Speed and precision.

Switching the selection to right-click makes for much faster workflow. It reduces the amount of time the user spends trying to select the correct thing and avoids accidentally selecting an object when they are trying to complete an action instead.

In fact, urban legend has it that by spreading the number of clicks over left and right can aid in repetitive strain injury recovery and also keeps your mouse alive a little longer. Anecdotal evidence seems to support it...though the jury is still out.

Is "Industry Standard" the Holy Grail of Software?

But there's the thing: just because something is ‘industry standard’, it doesn’t mean it's better. Did you know that you can launch the ‘industry standard’ software and have enough time to make a cup of tea before it actually opens?

Having a variety is crucial. If everyone is thinking the same thing, then some people aren’t thinking - and that ain’t good.

When I started learning Blender there wasn’t a way to switch left-click and right-click; I was essentially forced to learn the right-click method. After so many years, I’m glad I did.

It wasn’t until later that I also started animating using the ‘industry standard’ software and that is when I saw how detrimental not separating selection from action was.

I spent most of my time trying to select the correct control or temporarily changing the tool just so I can select what I wanted. To me, the ‘industry standard’ way of doing things turned into wasted time and it prevented me from getting into a flow state.

Bottom line: once you have experienced the speed and precision of right-click select, any other way seems too cumbersome.

 Read: Top 10 Blender Modeling addons (Starting at $0)

I’m a Right Clicker - What Should I do now?

The default in Blender has changed, but that doesn’t mean you have to.

Formula 1 drivers do not drive in a ‘conventional’ way. They use 1 foot on the accelerator and 1 foot on the brake for 2 reasons. Speed and precision. (Hey, that sounds familiar). Can you imagine if they were forced to use 1 foot because that is the conventional way of doing it?

With the new default, a slower workflow is almost unavoidable. But unless you're ready to separate selection from action, it might seem like that is the right (!) way of working. 

Read: 3 Things Every Blender Beginner Should Model

To Right-Click or not to Right-Click?

Maybe a few left-clickers are interested in extra speed and precision by switching over to the other side. 

So should you change? My advice: even if you're left-clicking like a boss, give the classic right-click method a try.

How long does it take to get used to "clicking the other way"?

That depends on your brain.  It could be a few hours or a few days.  But I would suggest committing to any key change for at least a week before you decide if it's for you.

A few days of inconvenience could be well worth it in the long run.

What about you: are you a rightie or a leftie?

P.S. Looking for a Blender project to cover the essential workflows every artist needs to know? Why not model, texture and share your very own treasure chest! Our most-watched recent tutorial series. 



Wayne Dixon
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