Node Editor Basics Concepts? for Dummies!

Is there any basic introduction to Node Editors,

not specific to any software, eg Sketchup, Maya, Blender,

just what is their logic ?.. all the YT videos I seem to find delve straight into the application specifics

PS I did work thru the tutorials… I just can’t grasp the underlying logic and structure of nodes…

why are they better than conventional programming?

There is no written help except on this dedicated forum!
And the few tutorial graphs!
So you have to take the plunge and get your hands dirty!
You can follow the following thread to understand the concept of nodes in Trimble Creator.

3,2,1, GO ! :rocket:


To me, visual scripting is a more advanced form of programming pseudocode flowcharting. Just as flowcharting uses a set of symbols representing logical operations that are connected in a way that shows the flow of logic, visual scripting uses a set of symbols (Nodes) that show and perform operations and connect them together showing the flow of logic.

A node editor is where the visual scripting is written (like how graph paper is where pseudocode flowcharts are written). “Graph editor” is close to being a synonym for node editor.

The logical operations (of/in nodes) can be different based on what nodes are available and needed in a given program. Usually a search feature shows which nodes are available (and which are not) to connect logic.

I think a Live Components manual including nodes and what they do would be useful. In the meantime, check out visual scripting and graph editors to get an idea of how they are used.

Here is an example of “Bolt”, used for visual scripting:

What Is Visual Scripting & How It Works (

And here is some Trimble software:

Visual scripting and Tekla software


Thanks James for that explanation and references,

I was struggling on the why? logic not the what?

jumping from conventional programming to nodes is a bit of a mental mind flip at my age !

Hi Gary,

One rationale I have heard is that ‘visual scripting’ helps non-programmer artists create and communicate with programmers in larger team projects.

I’m not very experienced but my impression is that visually-oriented people benefit by having their algorithms symbolically represented.

I think this makes fairly good sense for SketchUp users who are, after all, creating 3D models. Even if not apparently ‘linear’, the process of creating models is ‘visually’ algorithmic. Line by line, shape by shape, so to speak.

John McClenahan’s excellent post shows a more, linear, verbal approach to using/learning Live Components. I think it’s a perfect example of that ‘mental flip’ because he’s walking us through the graph and nodes to make a shape (or a shelf actually).

Getting started with Trimble Creator to make a Live Component - Technical Problems / Live Components & Trimble Creator - SketchUp Community

As a sort of funny aside: I showed my brother who is an electrical engineer/programmer a Dynamic Component I had made. I knew that I had made an almost ridiculously nested function but when he saw it he said, “Don’t be afraid to make intermediate variables”. Well, I needed to nest everything so I could see what I was doing :)!