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Screencast Keys addon is removed #b3d


This may be important news if you create videotutorials: the Screencast Keys addon has been removed from Blender as it was missing some hard to implement features. I asked developer Campbell Barton for some more background information.

Campbell writes:

While this addon was handy for quick modeling tutorials, its limited to a single viewport, and it didn't work properly with modal operators.

Resolving these issues would need special callbacks into Blender's event & drawing code, then expose to the Python API for screencast keys to use.

If this was an important feature for 3D software we could spend time on it, but showing keys on the screen is something 3rd party utilities already
do better.


About the Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Gottfried Hofmann on

    I often noticed that many strokes where not recorded by screencast keys - seems like using external solutions is the better option...

  2. I've noticed a couple of add ons that have been removed actually, one of which is the render time estimation for animation. This one in particular was in 'Testing', but still, I found it extremely useful and miss it quite a bit...

  3. Maxim Tkachenko on

    Sad to hear it...
    What cross-platform external tool can show pressed keys to the given region on the screen?

  4. Dolf Veenvliet on

    Well... important is relative... to me personally it really is quite important! I'm really sad to see this go... and think it's something that really could have added something to Blender...

  5. I really don't get it. Screencast is an add-on, so noone is obligued to use it - You are (or was, actually...) free to switch it on or off. Why Blender developers want to decide for users, what is good for them? Why remove something only because it doesn't fullfil THEIR needs? Why not to leave it like it was, just mentioning it's not feature-complete? C'mon, lots of Blender funcions are not future-complete (like Cycles baking) and noone removes it. Weird, isn't it?

    But as I watch the Blender's development for some times now, I've seen such a weird aproach many times, when features were disabled just because some of devs didn't feel good about them, leaving users no choice to decide if they want to use the function "as is" or not.

    • Campbell Barton on

      If users really want they can keep the script around, anyone can maintain outside of Blender's main repo.

      not-feature-complete is different to being buggy/broken, if something is broken, and nobody intends to fix or rewrite a version which works properly - then we're providing really sub-standard software. If this feature were essential to getting 3d graphics work done, we would probably look for a maintainer. But many successful graphics applications don't have such a feature, and there are tools available that do better then this one.

      • Ok, but in the script base inside Blender there are plenty of experimental, alpha version or very feature-incomplete ones, and it's not a problem for anyone. Why not just mark it as "incomplete" and leave it as it was? Sorry, I don't get the official explanation, cause it's inconsistent with how You treat other scripts. It feels very arbitrary, to say the least.

        EDIT: Plus, as I mentioned: Cycles baking is even less developed and it still is in the main package, switched on by default. Same with fracturing add-on, for example. No offense, but for me is totally inconsistent approach.

        • While I don't agree that it necessarily needs to be removed (I didn't really feel it was buggy), the difference, as Campbell stated, is that there are coders working on the features you mentioned. They are being worked on and will at some point be complete, so it is more acceptable to include beta versions.

          The status of the current add on is that it will forever remain in this state because there are no developers working on it. It will never reach that feature complete/fixed state (again, I don't actually think it is broken, but I think this is the current reasoning).

          Personally, I think it's great that a 3D program has this feature, it helps teaching and learning. But I understand it's not the target of blender to teach, but to create. I'll just keep the script file around for if I ever need it.

      • C'mon Campbell. I love Blender, but there are lots of features that are not complete and you don't remove them.

    • I think the point is, if the add-on isn't being maintained, Blender will eventually get to the point where it's incompatible with the latest release. When that happens, people will file bug reports because it's not working and the choice will be to either start maintaining it again (even though there are more useful parts of Blender a developer could be working on) or to remove it from trunk...

      I think it's best to remove it now, while it's still working at the level that it is. Removing it from trunk is an indication that it won't be worked on anymore and so it'll give users a chance to look into other add-ons or possibly an external application for displaying keystrokes, while still having the ability to re-install the add-on in the meantime.

      Makes sense to me...

      • Well, to be fair, one could just let it ride out as long as it lasts, with the general heads-up that general development of the add-on stopped and a point of incompatibility was expected. Just a little information goes a long way.

        Though, I think perhaps a better reason for keeping the add-on around as long as its compatibility will last is to keep around something that perhaps someone else might want to pick up and polish.

        • I agree. I could understand if the add-on wasn't enabled by default in Blender, but removing it totally doesn't make sense to me. There are quite a few add-ons in Blender that are REALLY buggy, like the tree sapling add on.

          I don't want this to come off sounding the wrong way, but it's Python. You can't tell me it would be that difficult to update the code to output the key presses. I think the Blender team could have done a better solution instead of just totally removing the add-on.

  6. hm. so is there a better workaround for laggy viewport reactions?

    i have the problem that my viewport updates only if i cklick something,
    for drop-down and hover menus this is really a problem. my workaround is
    to enable screencast keys, if enabled, no lag occurs

  7. Any suggestions/recommendations as to what external solutions we could use instead?
    Preferably easy to use, open source and free :-)

  8. by writing a bug report, it absolutely wasn't my intentions to start that kind of reaction.
    my intention was to initiate an improvement.
    hey sorry for that :((
    maybe next time i should keep quiet :|

    • don't worry nobody blames you. it is not your fault that Screencast Keys was removed. this was probably one of many issues reported with this feature. your bug report was just simply sighted in this article (one of two), if it wasn't you probably somebody else would of submitted an issue (as they should). maybe this is just temporary, and the developers of the addon will go back to the drawing board and create something better in the near future.

  9. "but showing keys on the screen is something 3rd party utilities already

    do better."
    I have a news for you, there are tons of software that does things better than Blender in each particular case.
    Not that i need this addon but logic behind removal is wrong. Blender has ALOT of addons that don't always work/barely work/dragged to be in some workable state yet have zero improvements and/or bug fixes and most of those addons must be core features but noone gives a damn about them and on paper Blender has some features via addons while in real world noone is using them because they're not even close to be production ready, completely non reliable.

  10. Moisés Corrêa da Silva on

    Let's please do not downgrade Blender's funcionality and its tutoriability, as paid software enterprises would adore to see! Remebering that Blender has a beter kind of seed in it's development, and they know it has a future they doesn't. So let's please be carefull to do not cooperate with tho$e corrupting enterpri$es that would dream with the unreality of Blender's extinction. For Blender is unique it the kind and it's up to uso to defend it from those jealous "counterparts". I am begining to study blender's python to join cooperatively.

  11. Yeea gettin rid of another useful addon they did th same thing with the stars option just took it away cause a couple people thought it wasnt needed .. I like'em i usse them i guess that dosent f.n matter. i use them all the time

  12. Mark Verhoff on

    While I can KIND OF see their logic...who here can point to ANY video tutorials that use ANY other programs to display keystrokes? Blender is one of THE MOST hotkey intensive programs I have EVER used. Screencast keys is THE ONLY THING that makes MOST tutorials at ALL watchable. An entire generation of blender users owe their ability to use the program to Screencast Keys.

  13. can you guys revisit screencast addon i realy need it badly this addon is very useful to me aside using it for tutorials it makes you know what you press

  14. I agree to have back into blender this useful add-on: I beg blender devs to inserte it back into blender please.

  15. Did anybody find any working alternative for this addon? I have tried so long to find some good alternative for this, but everything I've tested is lagging something I need.

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