Navigating Inside the Node Graph

As node trees grow in complexity, you need to be able to pan to or frame a particular cluster of nodes quickly. The Node Graph offers a couple of methods for doing so.

In Mari's Node Graph, you can either navigate from left-to-right (default), also called No Port List, or top-to-bottom, also called Show Port List. You can set the navigation type in the Mari Preferences Dialog.

You can also switch the navigation of selected nodes directly in the Node Graph, either use Shift+S or right-click and select Node Graph > Edit > Toggle Port List.


Panning with the Mouse

To pan with the mouse, press the middle mouse button and drag the pointer over the Node Graph or hold Alt and drag. The node tree moves with your pointer.

Panning with the Arrow Keys

You can pan in the Node Graph by holding Alt and pressing the Up, Down, Right and Left arrow keys on the keyboard. The Node Graph pans in the direction of the arrow you press.

Panning with the Map

If your Node Graph is larger than the visible workspace, a navigator map automatically appears in the bottom-right corner.

The map shows you a miniature view of the entire Node Graph and the red rectangle shows the portion of the Node Graph that you see within the workspace borders.

To pan with the map, drag the red rectangle to pan to a different view of the Node Graph.

When the whole Node Graph is contained within the window border, then the map automatically disappears.

Zooming and Fitting in the Node Graph

To zoom with the mouse, either:

  • use the mouse scroll wheel, or
  • hold Alt and middle-mouse drag left and right.

Note:  In many Linux windows managers, the Alt key is used by default as a mouse modifier key. This can cause problems in 3D applications where Alt is used for camera navigation in 3D environments.
You can use key mapping to assign the mouse modifier to another key, such as the (Super or Meta) key, but the method changes depending on which flavor of Linux you're using. Please refer to the documentation on key mapping for your particular Linux distribution for more information.

To zoom with the keyboard:

  • Press ShiftAlt + Up arrow to zoom out.
  • Press ShiftAlt + Down arrow to zoom in.

You can set whether to zoom according to the cursor's position or the center of the Node Graph. To set the zoom preference:

  1. In the menu bar, navigate to the Edit > Preferences > Node Graph tab.
  2. In the General section, from the Zoom To dropdown menu, select either Center or Cursor.

To center the node tree, press A with the Node Graph in focus. To center certain selected nodes, press F with the Node Graph in focus.

Note:  Pressing F without selecting any nodes produces the same result as pressing A.

Searching for Nodes

Mari allows you to look for nodes that are currently used in the Node Graph. To look for a node:

  1. Press J.
    Right-click the Node Graph and select Edit > Search Node.
    The Search box pops up in the Node Graph.
  2. Enter the node name or part of the node name you're looking for.
    The nodes containing the letters you've entered display in the dropdown menu.
  3. Select the required node.
    Mari takes you directly to the selected node in the Node Graph and highlights it.

Note:  You can also do a wildcard search, which is based on character pattern, using the character *.
For instance, if you're looking for nodes that contain the letters b and d in that order, enter b*d in the Search box, this displays any Principled BRDF, Backdrop, or Object Space Linear Gradient nodes in existence, providing they have not been renamed. Any nodes that you have renamed, which contain the letters b and d in the specified order, also appear in the dropdown menu.

Cleaning up the Node Graph

Sometimes you may find that your node tree becomes disorganized as you’re creating and removing nodes. There’s a quick fix you can use to tidy up your tree:

  1. Right-click in the Node Graph.
  2. Select Autoplace.
    The nodes in the tree are re-organized for clarity.

Tip:  If you make a selection of nodes before using Autoplace, only the selected nodes are re-arranged.

Selecting Nodes

When working inside the Node Graph, you can use keyboard shortcuts to quickly select nodes depending on their position to a selected node or nodes.

  • Up/Down arrow keys - Select previous/next sibling node.

    Original node selection

    Up arrow key selects previous sibling node

    Down arrow key selects next sibling node

    Hold Shift to add to the selection rather than replace it.

    Shift + Up arrow key adds previous sibling node to selection

    Shift + Down arrow key adds next sibling node to selection

  • Left/Right arrow keys - Select the next upstream/downstream node(s).

    Original node selection

    Left arrow key selects the next upstream node(s)

    Right arrow key selects the next downstream node(s)

    Hold Shift to add the next upstream/downstream node(s) to the selection, rather than replace it.

    Shift + Left arrow add the next
    upstream node(s) to the selection

    Shift + Right arrow adds the next
    downstream node(s) to the selection

    Hold Ctrl to select all upstream/downstream nodes.

    Hold Ctrl + Shift to select all upstream/downstream nodes which are part of the current stream.

    Original node selection

    Ctrl + Left arrow selects all upstream nodes

    CtrlShift + Left arrow selects all upstream
    nodes that directly affect the selected node

    Original node selection

    Ctrl + Right arrow selects all downstream nodes

    CtrlShift + Right arrow selects all downstream
    nodes that are directly affected by the selected node

  • Ctrl + Shift + Space bar - Select all of the nodes between the current node selection.

    Selected nodes

    Ctrl + Shift + Space bar adds all nodes in-between the selected nodes to the selection

  • Ctrl + P - Open the Node Properties panel for the selected nodes.