Working with Nodes

Overview

A node is a basic unit that is used to create a project in Screenberry.

Although all nodes have unique and different functions, they are operated in a common way, making the user experience simple and intuitive.

Project creation in Screenberry is the process of adding/linking nodes and modifying node parameters. It is done in the Node Graph tab of the Screenberry Panel.

Node Structure

Node Header provides the following information:
– the execution order number (the number in the upper left corner),
– the name of the node (or label),
– the node status indicator (the colored bar on the right side of the Node Header). See Node Status.

Node Body contains names of input parameters (on the left) and output parameters (on the right). When a node is selected its parameters are displayed in the Settings panel.

Node Graph Structure and Data Flow

The Node Graph is created by adding and linking nodes. Data flows from left to right through links between right-side output pins and left-side input pins of the nodes. The Node Graph is a visual representation of data flow and processes which result in the rendered video, images, and audio.

Example of the Node Graph

Links between nodes are displayed as gray lines. Links to selected nodes are highlighted in green. If data is being transmitted (for example, timecode is being sent), the link becomes animated.

Adding Nodes

To add a node, right-click an empty area in the Node Graph window to open the Add Node dropdown menu and do one of the following:

  • Start typing the node name in the Search box at the top of the menu, and either select it from the drop-down list, or press Enter if the required node is at the top of the list.
  • Select the node by the Category or Tag.
  • Select the node from the Recently Added Nodes list.

A node is added to the Node Graph at the location where the Add Node menu has been invoked.

Node Classification
For convenience, all available nodes are grouped into categories, as well as assigned one or more tags. The node selection can be carried out either by Category or Tag interchangeably.

Note:
Display and Patch type nodes are also automatically created and added to the Node Graph when new displays or patches are created in the Display Editor and the Patch Editor, respectively.

Nodes Execution Order

The order of the execution of the node is determined automatically based on the links between nodes and the execution order number of the node.

Node Status

The node (as shown by the node status indicator) can be in one of three states:
enabled and activated (green),
disabled (gray),
enabled, but not activated (red).

To disable or enable a node, right-click on a node and deselect/select the Enabled checkbox in the dropdown menu.

Selecting Nodes

To select a node, left-click on it in the Node Graph.

Multiple nodes can be selected by Shift-clicking on nodes in the Node Graph, or by left-clicking and dragging a marquee around them.

If dragging is done from right to left, all the nodes touched by the rectangular marquee will be selected.

If dragging is done from left to right, only the nodes inside the rectangular marquee will be selected. This function is useful when selecting the nodes that are part of a complex node tree.

Double-clicking on any node will select all the nodes connected to that particular node.

Moving Nodes

To move a node, left-click on the node and drag it. If multiple nodes are selected, then clicking on any node in the selection and dragging will move the entire selection.

Copy, Paste and Cut Operations with Nodes

To copy and paste nodes in the Node Graph, select one or more nodes and do one of the following:

  • Right-click on a node (or a selected group of nodes) and choose either Copy or Cut and then choose Paste from the dropdown menu.
  • Use the following keyboard shortcuts: Ctrl + C to copy or Ctrl + X to cut and Ctrl + V to paste.

Note:
The nodes from one Screenberry project can be copied and pasted into another.

Deleting Nodes

To delete a node or a group of selected nodes, right-click on a node (or a group) and select Delete from the dropdown menu, or press the Del button. Deleting a node removes any links attached to it.

Arranging Nodes Automatically

To align the nodes in the Node Graph, right-click on the nodes and select Auto-Layout Nodes from the dropdown menu (or press the L key). If no nodes have been selected, using the Auto-Layout Nodes function will align the entire node tree.

Changing Node Size

To resize a node, select it and drag any one of its corner handles (which become visible on mouseover).

Node Parameters (Pins)

Node pins are a graphical representation of its parameters.

Data (gray pin   ) parameter contains simple data (number, string, timecode) or a pointer to Screenberry internal resources (i.e. image).

SmartLink (blue pin  ) establishes a transaction of a process between linked nodes.

Action (orange pin  ) supports the creation of multiple links to one input. The value of each resulting frame will be determined using logical OR for all input values.

Messages (pink pin  ) also enables the creation of multiple links to one input. All incoming messages will be queued on the input.

Creating Links Between Nodes Automatically

To create a link between nodes automatically, select one or more nodes and, while holding Ctrl, left-click on the target node — the system identifies parameters of the same type to establish the links. This is the fastest method of connecting nodes.

Creating Links Between Nodes Manually

To manually connect nodes, left-click the input or output pin on a node and drag the link to the side of the node you want to link it to. The link will automatically attach to the appropriate pin of the target node and will be established upon releasing the mouse.

Note:
The link is possible only between pins of the same type.

Note:
More than one pin may be available for a given link. Drag the link along the side of the target node to view all valid connections.

Note:
When creating several links to a single pin, depending on the type of parameter, a new link will either replace an existing link or be added to an existing one.

Removing Links Between Nodes

Right-clicking on the link or node pin (or its parameter name) and selecting Unlink <parameter name> will remove the link.

Alternatively, Shift-clicking on the pin and dragging the link to an empty area of the Node Graph will also remove the link.

Rearranging Links Between Nodes

To move a link (or group of links) from one pin to another, Shift-click on the pin and drag the link(s) to a new pin or node.

Reestablishing Links Between Nodes Automatically

Left-click an empty area of the Node Graph Editor to deselect all the nodes. Holding Ctrl, select the nodes you want to connect, one by one, in the order in which they should be executed. The appropriate links between the selected nodes will be created automatically and any existing links that conflict with the new ones will be removed.

When several links are connected to the same input pin of a node, they are processed in the same order the links had been created. To change the processing order of inputs, right-click on the input parameter pin or name, and select Reorder Links for <parameter name>. Reorder the inputs in the opened dialog box by dragging the link names or selecting names and using the arrow buttons .

Node Settings

Selecting the node will open its Settings panel where node parameters can be edited.

The change of the node parameter value in the Settings panel is indicated by the  button next to the parameter value field. Clicking on this button restores the default parameter value.

When more than one node is selected, only the parameters common to all selected nodes are displayed in the Settings panel and can be edited. Additionally, information regarding the number of nodes of each type within the selection will be displayed on the buttons at the top of the Settings panel. Click a button with a number to have only the nodes of that type remain in the current selection.

Renaming Nodes

To rename a node, right-click on it, select Rename from the dropdown menu, and enter a new name in the opened dialog box.

Hiding/Showing Individual Node Parameters

To hide a parameter, right-click on the parameter name and select Hide from the dropdown menu. To display hidden parameters, click Show in the Hidden parameters field. The parameters with a hidden status are displayed in italics. To unhide a parameter, right-click on the parameter name and select Show from the dropdown menu. To stop displaying hidden parameters, click Hide in the Hidden parameters field.

Note:
Less frequently used and more advanced parameters for some nodes are hidden by default.

Hiding/Showing Node Pins

In the Settings panel, left-clicking on the dot to the left of the parameter name toggles between displaying and hiding the corresponding parameter pin on the node. A blue dot indicates that the parameter pin is displayed, and a gray dot  indicates that it is hidden.

When a parameter pin with an established link becomes hidden, this link will remain active and be displayed as a dimmed straight line.

Grouping Nodes

To visually simplify and better organize the layout of a node tree, parts of it can be collapsed into groups. To do this, right-click on a group of selected nodes, choose Group Nodes from the dropdown menu (or press the G key), and enter a name for the created group in the opened dialog box. The selected nodes will be combined into a specialized Group node with input and output parameter pins that match the currently linked input and output parameters for the entire group of nodes.

To view and edit the nodes contained in a Group node, right-click on it and select Edit <Group Name> from the dropdown menu or double-click the Group node.

Switching between the contents of different Group nodes and the main node tree is accomplished by clicking on the buttons with the group names that are located on the navigation bar at the top of the Node Graph window (where Root indicates the main node tree).

To ungroup nodes contained in a Group node, right-click on the Group node and select Ungroup from the dropdown menu (or press the U key).

Using Route Pin

A Route Pin is a specialized node used to route links for parameters of the same type allowing multiple input and output connections. It helps to organize data flow and improve the visual clarity of a node graph.

To add a Route Pin, right-click on the link between nodes and select Route Pin from the dropdown menu.

To delete a Route Pin, right-click on it and select Delete from the dropdown menu (or press the Del key).

Nodes Color Coding

Color coding is used to indicate various types of nodes.

The following color scheme is set by default and can be modified in Preferences > Nodes Color Settings.

Color coding is based on the Node Type, Category, and Tag.

To create a new custom Color Theme, press the  button, and assign different Hex color values to the various types, categories, and tags.

Type color settings have priority over Сategory color settings, and Сategory color settings have priority over Tag color settings when the color of a node is assigned. When no color is set in any of these groups, the node color remains gray.

To switch between node color schemes, select their profiles in the Color Theme drop-down list.

A selected Color Theme can be deleted by pressing the  button.

Fit To View For Nodes

To scale a view of one or more selected nodes to fit the Node Graph window, right-click on the nodes and select Fit to View from the dropdown menu (or press the A key). If no nodes have been selected, using the Fit to View function will bring the entire node tree into view.

Zooming and Panning in the Node Graph

Тo zoom in and out a specific area of the Node Graph, move the mouse cursor to the location, and use the mouse scroll wheel. Alternatively, click the button in the top right corner and move the mouse to change the magnification.

To pan a view, do one of the following:

  • Hold the mouse scroll wheel button or hold the Alt key while moving the mouse.
  • Click the button in the top right corner and move the mouse.

Using the Navigator Panel

The Navigator panеl (located in the bottom left corner of the Node Graph window) is a thumbnail display of a node graph. The grey frame in the Navigator panеl is the proxy view area which corresponds to the currently viewable area in the window.

Pan the node graph view quickly by dragging the grey frame in the Navigator panеl.

Zoom in and out of the node graph by using the mouse scroll wheel while the cursor is over the Navigator panеl.

Right-clicking on the Navigator panel toggles between two display modes, standard and enlarged.

To show/hide the Navigator panel, right-click an empty area in the Node Graph window and enable/disable the Minimap checkbox (or press Ctrl + M).

Searching the Nodes

To search for specific nodes added to the project, click the  button (located in the top left corner of the Node Graph window) or press Ctrl + F, and type any part of the node name in the opened search field. Any matching nodes are displayed in the list below. Click on the node name in the list to select it in the node graph.

If more than one node matches the search criteria, pressing F3 will switch the selection to the next node in the results list.

Monitoring Node Parameters Using Tooltips

Moving the mouse over the node parameter name (or the pin) opens an information tooltip displaying parameter properties, including data exchange information in real-time (when applicable). This feature is particularly convenient during debugging, as it provides quick access to the relevant information without the need to refer to the node’s Settings panel.