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Viewport and Widgets#

The viewport is an area of window space designed to display user interface elements that are called Widgets in Clarisse. Most of the time, widgets are viewers or editors such as the Image View, the Attribute Editor or the Layer Editor. Viewports are the user interface entry point to create a fully customized layout.


New widgets such as third-party widgets can easily be added using the Clarisse API.

An empty viewport

An empty viewport

(1) Lock Selection (2) Select Sticky Selection Item (3) Widget Evaluation Controls (4) Widget Selection (5) Viewport Splitters (6) Widget Display Area

A viewport consists of a toolbar that has quite to few controls to manage its layout as well as the displayed widget.


If you wish to save extra space, you can minimize the toolbar of the viewport by clicking on the small arrow pointing up located left to the Lock Selection button.

Managing Viewports#

Viewports can be split, maximized/minimized or closed using the button displayed in (5)

Icon Description
Split Quad Split the viewport in four both horizontally and vertically
Split Horizontal Split the viewport in half vertically
Split Vertical Split the viewport in half horizontally
Maximize Maximize the viewport. Please refer to Maximizing Viewport for more information.
Close Close the viewport and all its widgets.

Once split, you can resize viewports by dragging the horizontal or the vertical split bar.


To clear all viewports of a main window, using the application main menu bar go to Layout > Clear All Viewports.

Maximizing Viewports#

Viewports allow to instantly maximize the visible space of a widget without changing the whole layout. Switching off maximized mode leads back to previous viewport layout, without any change.

To maximize the viewport, click on the button located left to the Close Viewport button (5), or using Shift+Space keyboard shortcut while the mouse pointer is over the widget. Press again Shift+Space to go back to the non-maximized state.

Displaying a widget#

You can use the main application menu bar to display a widget using the Windows menu and selecting the widget you'd like to display. This will create a new floating viewport containing the selected widget.

To display a widget in a viewport, click on \(+\) button (4). When clicked, a menu displaying the list of all available widgets pops up. click on the menu item to select your widget to create a new tab displaying the widget you selected.


There is no limit to the number of widgets displayed in Clarisse. You can display as many widgets as you like.

Default Widget Association#

When you double-click on an item using the Browser or the Explorer, Clarisse will try to open the default widget associated to the type of the item. For example, double-clicking on a Texture Operator opens the Texture View.

Using these widgets, it is also possible to Right Button on the item and choose one of the associated widgets using the Open With... menu which displays the list of the associated widgets. The widget association for items type can be modified in Clarisse using the Choose Default Widget... which opens a dedicated window to manage the association.

Default Widget Association Manager

Default Widget Association Manager

(1) Class Hierarchy (2) Enable Association (3) Widget Name (4) Widget Description

Using the class hierarchy buttons you can decide for which class the widget should be associated with. For example, you can decide to associate the 3D View for the Combiner class or for all items of class Scene Item.

To associate a widget to a specific class, select the class with the class hierarchy button and check the corresponding widget. Press Make Default, if you want the item to be opened with a specific widget each time a user double-click on it. Pressing Save All saves the current settings in the configuration file. Cancel cancels the association.

Widget Association Configuration#

You can find the default widget association configuration file used by Clarisse in the directory where you installed Clarisse binaries. This file, called default_associations.cfg, is always read when Clarisse is launched.

New widget associations defined by users are stored into associations.cfg that can be found next to Clarisse configuration file. For more information about configuration files location, please refer to Configuration and Environment.

Using Viewport Tabs#

Viewports can handle multiple tabs, each one having its own widget. This offers a great flexibility since it allows to switch between multiple widgets regrouped in the same Viewport with a single click.

Tabs order can be reorganized and even moved to another Viewport by just dragging-and-dropping tabs to another viewport. It is also possible to undock a widget from a viewport. Right Button on a tab and select Undock from the pop up menu.

Closing Widgets#

To close a tab, Right Button and select Close from the pop up menu or simply Middle Button on the tab to close it.

Changing Widgets#

To change a widget with another one, Right Button on the tab to display the pop up menu and choose the widget you'd like to display.

Managing Widgets Selection#

By default, widgets are synchronized to the application selection (aka global selection). Each time the selection changes, widgets synchronize to the new selection and update accordingly their display. For example, when a user selects a box object in a Browser, the Attribute Editor displays the attributes of the box.

However, users may want to keep the selection sticky (to perform drag a drop...) or make the selection of editors synchronizing themselves with each other. This is why Clarisse allows widgets to manage their own selection to let users control, locally, how selection behaves.

A 3d view with a custom selection

Viewport Selection

When a displayed widget reacts to the the selection, the Lock Selection (7) button systematically appears in the viewport toolbar. Clicking the Lock Selection button (7) enables the local selection of the widget.

In this mode the widget manages its own selection (Local selection) and gets disconnected from the application global one. To manage its selection, the widget gets its own Selection Toolbar that is very similar to Clarisse main window one. In this mode, widgets can still retrieve the content of application selection by clicking on the Synchronize Selection button (10) or by hitting F5.

The widget selection toolbars offer 3 different modes that can be changed using (8):

  • Local mode, the widget has is own selection
  • Global mode, the widget is synchronized to the application selection
  • Slot mode, widgets sharing the same slot share the same selection. This mode links the selection of a widget with any widgets using the same selection slot. There are up to 8 selection slots available.

It is also possible to inject to the global selection the selection of the widget by clicking on the Synchronize Global Selection button (9)

Sticky Selections#

Some widgets such as the Material Linker, Image View, AOV Editor or 3D View support a sticky selection. A sticky selection, keeps the latest meaningful item selected in the widget.

For example, when you select an image in Clarisse, by default, the Image View will automatically display the selected image. However, if you select something else like a geometry, the image view will keep displaying the previously selected image until a new image is selected. This is what is called a sticky selection in Clarisse.

Sometimes it can be useful to reselect in the application global selection items that are in the sticky selection. For example, you might want to reselect the image displayed by the Image View. To do so you simply have to click on (2).

Evaluation Controls#

By default, Clarisse automatically updates widgets to react to the selection or attribute changes in order to provide real-time up-to-date feedback. For example, the 3D View always react to selection and item changes to potentially update what it displays.

However, as Clarisse evaluation engine is on-demand, updating the display of widgets can lead in potential additional loading time during the evaluation. For example when geometries are selected, Clarisse will try load the selected geometries to display them properly in the 3D View or show their shading groups in the material linker.

While this is not an issue for simple scenes, it can quickly become one for scenes with massive assets since that implies long loading times. Of course, if you need to work on the real deal, you’ll have to wait the data to come in anyway at some point but in many cases such as when editing attributes or debugging the scene, this waiting time isn’t necessary.

This is why it is possible to pause the automatic evaluation so that you can manually trigger evaluations to update the content of widgets.

Using the dedicated evaluation controls (3) located on the the top left of the viewport toolbar, you can control how widgets should react to changes needing an evaluation. Like the Lock selection toggle, the evaluation controls are per widget. The buttons do not control all the evaluation states of all widgets displayed in the viewport.

Icon Description
Play Set the widget to automatically update its display to reflect any changes needing an evaluation.
Pause Set the widget to pause in order to not react to changes needing an evaluation. To update the display you must manually press the Refresh button.
Refresh Refresh the widget and trigger an evaluation once.


It is possible to control the evaluation state of all widgets by clicking on the gear icon located at the bottom right of Clarisse main window status bar. For more information please refer to Evaluation State