16 Materials/Mesh limit

Is there a reason this limit still exists? Is it impossible to change this limit, or is it just not important enough?
I think the technical reason is the “colbits” vector which is 16 bits long, but this could be changed… there are only about 40 lines containing “colbits” in the whole blender code, after all. Or would this break existing .blend files (I am not sure I understand SDNA)?

Can someone enlighten me on this?


I doubt that a vector would have anything to do with it. I thought it was just one of those arbitrary limits that crop up everywhere. I thought it would be more to do with interface design than anything else because they’d need to implement scrollbars or something. Also, if you use the nodes panel, there is no limit on the number of texture nodes you can use for a material. Of course more people would probably use the node panel if it didn’t have an arbitrary zoom limit and instead of embedding the properties inside every panel slowing down the display it just used one panel showing the properties of the selected node.

It has indeed to do with the number of bits in the colbits variable. The limit can be removed if mesh to material references are stored different. Requires some changes in the code (and breaks forward compatibility), just nobody did it yet. If someone submits a patch fixing this, that will probably be committed to bf-blender cvs.

Yes! Absolutely! The whole nodes UI is… not designed specifically for me, to put it mildly.

workaround: separate your mesh and parent the pieces together. easy to do, and probably why >16 never made it to the top of the heap. Also simpler to keep track of fewer colors. And you have colorbands to introduce any sort of color span.

Aha, this sounds like a perfect time to get rid of material links to datablocks and link them to object blocks.

Yeah, I don’t know what they’re thinking with that. What’s annoying is the rest of it is done so well. The connecting lines are so smooth and update well but when you can only fit like 90 nodes on screen at once in fullscreen, it’s a bit pointless. I can get about 140,000 nodes on screen at once in Shake. Not with my computer of course but theoretically.

Shake has a zoom limit too but because the nodes are simplified, it can get away with a much higher limit and the nodes still remain functional.

16 is a lot of materials, what could you possibly want more for?

henrymop: I am sure you remember what Bill Gates said once …

yeah i agree.

i hit the old lamp limit once… i think it was about 256. then i pointed it out and it was fixed by the next release, along with a whole pile of other limits including shadow buff size…

all limits are progressively being coded out of blender.


i think i remember this blend file. you were never able to render it because of the complexity :slight_smile: so limits can be good thing too. i personally like them.


You must be thinking of another file, coz this one was awsome :stuck_out_tongue:

should have been part of Elephants Dream those renders :wink: