In this article you will learn what the Blender Media Viewer is and how it uses the concept of Application Templates to turn Blender in to an app that serves a specific purpose.
Application Templates become useful when you need more than just an add-on. With an Application Template you can ship your own keymaps, startup file and user preferences. You can even define template specific add-ons and modify parts of the Blender user interface. And the great thing is that you can easily switch between these templates without overwriting your own personal configuration or requiring a separate Blender installation.
In fact Blender already ships with some default Application Templates that you can access via the File -> New menu.
The Media Viewer came to life because we wanted to have a player that could seamlessly browse media files with the arrow keys for our weekly presentations at the studio no matter if they are video, images or image sequences.
This Application Template reduces the Blender UI to a bare minimum by removing all elements that are not needed. It ships with its own add-on and keymap which add the functionality to make it usable as a media viewer. One important aspect while developing was to be able to use is without a mouse.
Without further explanation check out this quick demo.
The Media Viewer switches dynamically between the Blender Image Editor, Sequence Editor and Text Editor depending on what type of file was selected. A draw handler on the File Browser tracks the selection. The Media Viewer also detects image sequences and loads them accordingly.
Besides that, it adds several features like remembering the last selected folder at a path in the File Browser. Another aspect I like is that it wraps around the frame range when stepping frames with dot and comma. Furthermore, the numpad can be used to navigate the camera of the media view to drop the need for a mouse.
Checkout this video for a full walkthrough on how to install it and some more information.
git clone git://git.blender.org/blender-studio-tools.git
Note: The Blender Media Viewer requires at least Blender 3.0!
In the README.md of the blender-media-viewer directory you can find all the instructions on how to install it. Make sure to read the shortcut section as these are an essential part of the Media Viewer.