WISH: Enhanced Text Mode in GH2

I know the list of work being done on the Alpha is quite long, but I wanted to share some feedback.

As a long-time “text only” user of grasshopper I would like the Display Names feature to show names within the node and replace the icon entirely.

I know the out of the box nodes follow a clever logic, but if the GH1 add-ins are any indication, user plugin icons won’t be as clever as @DavidRutten’s work. I’ve tried several times in GH1 to work with icons and find them far more difficult. For what it’s worth, I tend towards command names over icons in Rhino as well and when not in GH, I’m using python. Different learning styles, maybe?

Especially now since there’s a bug with the Display Names feature, it’s very difficult for me to use GH2. Sharing here to see if I’m alone or if there are others who would see this as a huge hurdle for learning and testing GH2.

Example of names in GH1 vs GH2 below. The code logic isn’t exactly the same, I just wanted to show something of similar density.


Since I really dislike vertical text, if this option were to make a comeback in GH2 it would mean the component grow a lot more in the horizontal direction. Would that still align with what you’re looking for?

If I can add something from me, I prefer the hybrid approach and using Sunglasses in Grasshopper 1. I like that it’s subtle. The current GH2 solution is a little bit too crowded to my taste with all these acupuncture bubbles. I perceive these name bubbles as small objects on top of the bigger ones (actual components). Almost like there are more components than there really are. I hope it can be toned down a bit.

Sunglasses GH plugin showing nicknames on top of the components


In addition, the speech bubbles are used to express a comment/thought of a character, something of a particular moment, not for a title or name, which is something static. It would make more sense if they were used to inform about errors/warnings or component messages. It has too much presence even it make you feel that the component is on a layer behind it, and also forces the size of the text to be reduced. It doesn’t really work, something as simple as what Sunglasses does, but in a native way so that, among other things, groups take this into account, seems the right solution.

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I toned them a bit with the latest release by only drawing the fills and the text, not the edges. But it’s a pretty minor change. Or did you already refer to this new style? I can make the bubbles optional, I’ll see if I can make it look good with only text…

This is what it looks like in the current build btw:

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Is this an internal release? I have a Dec 8 release from package manager. I have “Include pre-releases” checked.

Oh thanks for the photo – I find this is significantly easier to read. Easier than the old version and also easier than the sunglasses style. If you’re opposed to vertical text, I see how this is the only/best option.

There is a public release (in fact several over the past few days), which require Rhino 8 SR3. At least they’re supposed to work on SR3, is that not the case?

That’s on me — I only have Rhino 8 on an IT controlled setup so I haven’t updated to SR3

I already saw the new ones, they are better. @Dani_Abalde has a good observation about what bubbles usually express.

My propositions are not deeply thought out and may interfere with some of your GUI concepts. One more thing I don’t like about the bubbles is that they don’t look attached sturdy enough. GH Components are dynamically dragged around the canvas and bubbles are barely stuck in they might be just blown off! :slight_smile:

  1. Just as with Sunglasses, the Nickname is very light and it’s something of a different nature than the component which is a solid object. This makes the least amount of trouble, a nickname can even extend to the sides of the component and there is no problem figuring out what to do with the background. It might need a thick enough font.

  2. The top bar is equally wide as the whole component which makes it a bit simpler and the whole component appears much more solid in my opinion than the one with the bubble.

  3. A bit more pillowy and underneath the component (for those who think no. 2 is too top-heavy). The pillow shape slightly separates itself from the component but still, it’s firmly attached.

  4. What I don’t like about this proposal is the disconnection of two forms, similar to the bubbles, but the bubble arrows were too aggressive for me.


Installed the new release. I’ll let @Czaja lead the feedback about bubbles vs headers, I don’t have a dog in the fight if they’re not vertical. I didn’t realize before, but I suppose that’s what I was asking for, for the display names to replace the icons entirely similar to GH1. Renamed this thread to “Enhanced text mode” to better reflect the direction of conversation.

Two comments:
Animating the bubbles appearing and disappearing while panning is too much visual complexity for my eyes. I like the effect, but would much prefer that the appear/disappear animation was reserved for the global “Show Names” toggle and when a new node is placed. I’d love to have this hotkeyed – Maybe Ctrl D and call it “Display Names”? I use Ctrl D in GH1 for “Display Full Names” and i dont believe it conflicts with anything.

Dark mode is a bit too low contrast, probably hard to see on some screens. Apologies if you realize that already.

I’m not a user of GH2 (yet), but I really like options 1 and 2. I’m not sure if this is the case in GH2, but in GH1, some components use something similar to option 2 below the component to display specific settings. I’m thinking about the “Tree Branch” component that displays either “Maintain” or “Renumber”. If tabs below the component are still used to display additional information, then I think something above the component makes the most sense.

I know a lot of people like the text option, but like David, I hate vertical text, which is why I exclusively work with the icons. If there was a way to use the text horizontally, I might use it.

I’m going to try and come up with a name-drawn-in-capsule-as-horizontal-text layout mode, probably trying to reduce the width by aggressively breaking the names into lines. Shame there’s no commonly available method for inserting correct hyphens into English words…

I can also add a second option to the balloon text label to affect where it is drawn (above as balloon, above as bar, below as bar, below as balloon), that should be pretty trivial to add.

If you’re worried about the component name length being wider than the component, then maybe default to the component nickname if the name is wider than the component itself. For example, CCX could replace Curve | Curve Intersect. I guess that would only work if every component had a nickname, which I don’t know is true.

This is no longer true in GH2. The nickname is empty by default and must be set by the user. If it is set, then it should be displayed instead of the regular name though.

In lieu of a proper Settings UI I’m forced to put these into the main menu for now, which is not great. But if there’s an overwhelming consensus on a single one of these being the best it can become the new default.

Do note that the second option (bar above) will be occluded by warning and error icons, and as such is already a bad choice in my opinion.


I would agree with those GH1 users who feel that anything below the component refers to a setting of that component rather than its name.

I also agree that speech bubbles denote speech, so I would vote for 2 - the bar above.

Couldn’t the warning and error icons be moved up a little so they’re above the bar?

Man this makes it look really boring…


love it

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It might be boring, but it sure is legible and explicit. Maybe the font and colors could be tweaked, but I’d love to have a display option style like this!


I agree this is exactly what I’m looking for, but also agree it waters down the aesthetic. Highly legible --a mode just like this would improve my usability, especially if it can be hotkeyed or easily toggled.