Anything new regarding the Grease Pencil tools and its current workflow?

Hey there Blendaroonies,

Been using Blender for a couple of years as an alternative for freelance work and indie projects alongside using Maya.
I pretty much touched every aspect of the software doing modeling, texturing, sculpting, rigging and animation.

Anyway, I mainly work in the animation field(both 3D and 2D) and was thrilled upon discovering the capabilities I saw on this video about the grease pencil:

These series of videos makes Blender seems as a dream tool for animators like looking for animating 2D elements within a 3D vector spcace, I just can’t stop to imagine all of the possibilties available!

A few weeks ago, as I was working on a small animation project I had in mind, I decided that I would use Blender to ink and add basic color over my pencil roughs and then add more color over the whole thing in Krita.

I quickly found majors difficulties while trying to properly draw key frames and drawings with the current Blender workflow and tools available. But since I’m just getting started with the Grease Pencil and whole 2d animation thing in Blender, I thought that it was most likely due to my ignorance with the tools.

My desired workflow would be to:

1-Import scanned roughs pencils drawings as images sequence withing Blender

2-Rearrange and edit the timing of each desired frame (for example, I could empty space betwwen 2 keyframes to add more inbetween frames with Blender GP)

3-Ink the frames

4-Add some basic coloring with the GP layers

5-Add some camera motion if desired

-Render the whole thing and send to Krita

Looks pretty simple right? Well most of the steps are achievable but like I said I’ve had some issues.

1-Whats currently the best way to import image sequences withing Blender and edit them (preferably with the dope sheet.)? Is there a way to have one frame= one key in the timeline/dope sheet?

2-I thought the Grease Pencil was some sort of vector drawing tool, apparently itès not. When I dooly back/zoom out from my painted drawings, it gets all mushy and fuzzy .

3-Is there a way to have more brush available?

4-HUGE problem regarding the add new frame/copy last frame workflow. There should be a better way to insert a new GP blank frame than to always have to check/uncheck the ‘‘additve drawing’’ option box. Having to do this all the time to add new blank frame or to add new frame with existing drawing is a huge pain!!

5-A GP asset library would be nice woudn’ it be?

6-Any way to remove completely the GRID in orthographic view?

Thank you.

Let me also add : most of the brushes availbale have this unpleasant noisy effect whithing each stroke…Any way to remove this?

looks like the GP is going to get some love for 2.8 , check out

I’ve checked this out all of it already .:smiley:

Been binge watching all of the 2.8 grease pencils demos available (and theres quite a few). However, 2.8 might not come out before next year so Iw wanted to know if there was a way to improve my workflow with what we currently have.

As far as the grid goes, the temporary fix is to toggle display only render in the 3Dview. If you want a more permanent solution you could alter (a duplicate) UI theme with the grid colour the same as your theme background.

Agree with a lot of your other points, but don’t have any more answers. I’m storyboarding in GP at the moment too, but just working directly in it. It’s not yet the smoothest experience, but certainly getting there. For me the strongest suit is the ability to incorporate quick proxy set objects to get better ideas for camera placement and movement.

Good luck!

Install the Cutout Animation tools. It provides a handy 2D view, and a simple “Create Ortho Camera” option - using an orthographic camera the grid is invisible.

Image sequences were initially thought as end result of 3D animation.
So, they were thought as already ordered frames with a numerical suffix when imported in blender for compositing or as animated textures.
For them, we just have an offset value that can be increased or decrease. No ability to define several keys that could be rearranged.
You can reorder images in VSE but you can not see the result of this montage, elsewhere (in Image Editor or 3DView).
Only Grease Pencil Frames have a representation in dopesheet.

It is only made of straight lines.
When you draw a curve, it is not a bezier curve that would be interpolated differently according to screen resolution.
All GPpoints and GPedges amount of a line is fixed in 3D space when line is drawn.

You can create as many brush as you want per file but you cannot append or link GP brushes.
So, you have interest to create a 2D animation template and save this startup file with your newly created brushes.

You can create a shortcut for that or add it to a pie menu to be faster.
But I am afraid that the only other choice that exists if you don’t check options of creation of frame before creation is to be able to change them after creation. It would imply that we have a F6 panel option for frame creation. A dev task.

You can not append GP brushes but you can append Grease Pencil datablocks.
Then, you can copy/paste strokes from one datablock to another. So, in a sense, you can already create your own library.
It would be easier in 2.8. Grease Pencil is treated as an object in 2.8. And there is already a 2D Suzanne.

  1. The following setup may work:
  • Use the “Image as Planes” addon to import the first frame as an image in the scene. Ensure you have “Textured Solid” enabled in the Viewport
  • In the Texture properties for that plane…
    • Change the “Source” to “Image Sequence”
    • Adjust the “Frames” setting to the number of images
    • Try animating the start/offset values
  1. When you zoom out, adjust the “thickness change” slider (per layer) to adjust the thickness. In 2.8, this will not be a problem as stroke thickness will be in scene units not screenspace.

  2. In 2.79, there is a now an “Insert Blank Frame” operator that solves this exact problem

  3. One option is to enable the “Only Render” option (though this probably disables a lot of other stuff you still want)

Another option may be to set up an orthographic camera, switch to camera view, then turn off the grid floor options (Display panel in the 3D View’s NKEY region). You may also want to enable the “Lock Camera to View” option (makes adjusting the view/zoom easier). I’d personally recommend this one, as it makes exporting your work more predictable.

  1. You probably want to ensure that the “Strength” setting on the brushes is set to 1.0 and the pressure sensitivity on that setting is turned off. Here, “Strength” == “Opacity”, with this setting getting stored on the strokes not the palette colours.

For existing strokes, use the sculpt brushes to increase the opacity of the strokes to make it less obvious. It won’t be possible to entirely eliminate all problems, due to the limitations of OpenGL (fixed function pipeline strokes). But, the 2.8 ones will solve this problem.

I experiment with grease pencil a bit lately and posted some feedback on twitlonger:
Some more things that annoy me are that when you create a new layer or duplicate a color it’s sent to the bottom at the stack rather than below/above the active layer, you have to then move these layers around. Especially annoying with lots of layers since there’s no grouping yet(?).

@Cyaoeu: Thanks for the feedback. There are some things here that are nicely actionable, and others that are probably bugs we need to find a fix :slight_smile:

Hey thank you guys for the support! Yeh, this helped me a bit to work around some issues!

I found out that you can use compositing for making coloring easier (you can paint shadow outside of the fills and then layer the shadow on the filled area) but I also heard that there will be a more user friendly way to do this in 2.8. Are there any plans/progress on this feature?

Also when is the merge to the 2.8 branch happening? (excited to test new features)