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Image Layers in Blender


Fabio Russo is working on an image layers feature.

Fabio writes:

I started to develop features for images to create layers in Blender, as in PS and Gimp!!A first implementation was done by KWK (Konrad Kleine)  for Gsoc2010.


About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


    • It just need selection tools to make sharp shapes like squares and perfect circles, (i really don't know if in the Blender UV cand draw straight lines)

      I just use Photoshop for its Blending options like "shadow", "glow effect", "gradients", "outline"
      and very often for its filters and the stuff that looks like the Iwarp in GIMP XD

      I really love this new feature!! but... the texture need be saved in its own format to be re-open with its intact layers again?


  1. A very handy tool too have!...
    Would save having to export to other packages to edit textures or even painting them!...

    Great work, keep it up!.

  2. Il would be greater if:
    -Blender support psd files again and we we can manage psd layer in Blender. For example, we could have a psd fil with a diffuse layer, a specular layer, a normal layer, etc. and tell Blender wich layer use for each channel.

    -Blender export psd files with a layer for each passes. Or export passes in differents jpg (or png) when clic on render button (some people doesn't like nodes....)

  3. Rodrigo Guimaraes on

    This is fantastic. Well done!
    I agree with Kald in regards to the portability. Being able to read and write PSDs or even other formats would be very handy indeed. Especially if it could be hooked up with the text components for the material automatically. Diff, Spec, etc..

  4. This is a great idea, but is there any reason why external programs can't be opened in a blender window? For example I choose Gimp as my 2d application, then every time I need to work on something I simply allocate one of the windows to Gimp?

    •  If I know programs well enough, you can't really put two different programs into the same window. Or, perhaps you could via some fancy hack, but they would just overlap, showing only the later application in there. I see little point in that. Also both programs should be aware of each others, meaning they should be build to co-exist... Kinda like, sharing one body. Also operating systems usually take good care that you can't read or write into allocated memory that belongs to another program, that could also mean the program's viewport/window.

      So, I think realtime updates from gimp to blender could be possible, if the memory is shared via another dll that is supported by both applications. Kinda like... Collada but more direct.

      Fancy idea allright but I think it would be a lot of work with minimal results. It doesn't take that long to press Ctrl+S, switch to blender and reload the image.

  5. I really wish the blender community could code a professional painting tool to take on photoshop.  Texturing would be the easiest thing in the world if there was some compatibility between it and blender.

  6. Very nice! But... if you really want to program image manipulation tools, please go to Gimp and help out the guys. Their tempo is comparable to snails.

    Plus Blender is quite cumbersome when it comes to 2D manipulation. And very slow.

  7. Philip Witte on

    Blender as a painting application? HELL YEAH!

    Just give me Selections, MyPaint brushes, and better Vector tools and I'll never have to use Photoshop or Illustrator again (or Gimp/Inkscape)!

  8. Hello, and thank you for this great work!

    It gives me the opportunity to open a debate. I always found it absurd logic of the order of layers of textures. Why the image above is below the layers? No other software does this logic there, it's very disturbing to work with layers of blender. This is not the time to change that? Or add a preference that reverses the order of layers of blender?

    Again thank you for this amazing work !

  9. Kudos on tackling such a useful feature!  Maybe when this functionality is added, more importance will be placed on speeding up the blender painting system.

  10. With this layer support in Blender, TIFF will be my favorite format from now on because I will not have to destroy the layer structure. Also if Blender supports PSD in the future it will be a dream :)

    Great work Fabio, thank you very much.

  11. thanks a lot for layers order !!! that is something that I was crazy all the time. I hope all blender system of layering order become in the same way. thanks again. 

  12. @Dono : You said :No other software does this logic there...
    Though, it is the way Video Editors work with tracks (equivalent to layers). The top layer track is the lowest track.

  13. useless... always the production pipelines will include tools like photoshop and recreating its functionality in blender is useless... from the other standpoint - amateurs may enjoy that but... they can also use software like gimp or photoshop elements very efficiently. 

  14. I'm trying to donate but I find it very irritating that the PayPal page is in Italian and I can't change it! Please make an English or multilingual page.

  15. A pretty nice feature that from my perspective can open a new and big future possibilities for blender users, and put it on at a level with what Adobe Aftereffects can do with it's 2D layers based interface and power.Imagine those "Blender Image (composition) Layers" are intergrated with a plugin system (presets) dedicated to those B.layers in a new window like those dedicated for modeling, UV mapping, scripting, ..; so (Painting, Animating, scaling, blending, etc,..) for Interacting those layers together is a matter of uploading a couple of media files and few clicks.. Also Imagine It combined with what we already got (the video editor, the node based editing, and sure Blender's Actual power "3D Rich Work space, Tracking, Cycles, etc..". If so; I Think Blender people will no more have to switch to AE to make for example; the Intro of videos, Text based animations, Film Touches etc...and I guess with 10s of presets from free libraries supported by other opensource projects, we could see advanced cinematic visual effects done with only blender itself with it's power of 2D based manipulations of media files. Well, It's Just my Imagination for an awesome blender Roadmap to the industry. :)   

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