if you don’t want to go through the whole text, please read the end!
BATS - Blender Artistic Texturing and Shading
is an addon for blender 2.8, that I’ve been working on for the past month.
It allows you to have a substance-painter-like layer system with editable PBR channels and blending modes.
Obviously BATS makes use of blenders new eevee render engine, more specifically the lookdev view.
This means that the speed of which you can work in the viewport depends a lot on your hardware. If you can work smoothly with textured models in eevee normally, you can work smoothly with the addon as well.
The goal with the ui is, to keep it as clean as possible and to have as much space in the viewport as possible.
This is achieved with a workspace, that gets loaded from an asset file, which I will talk more about later.
The Layer Panel is where most of the action takes place.
The first row has two dropdowns to choose the material and the pbr channel your working on currently.
The ghost symbol allows you to toggle a preview mode on and of, which previews the active channel in the viewport.
The second row has two tabs to switch between the layer stack and editing the selected layer.
The third row has the layer operators for adding, removing and moving layers in the stack.
Then there are the layers:
The white dot shows if the layer is selected. All actions performed on a layer will happen accordingly to that selection. Then there’s the name of the layer which can be changed. The material ball icon allows switches the pane to the editing tab, with the correct layer selected. The next icon also switches to the editing tab, but for editing the masks of the layer. The following icon allows you to change the visibility and opacity of the layer or the channel. The last colored part can be used to tag layers with specific colors.
If you select a different channel instead of the layer overview, the ui will look a bit different:
As you can see, the color channel is now selected. This will add a dropdown to every layer, in which you can choose the blending mode for every channel of every layer.
Underneath the layer stack are a few more panels for other options and settings, like removing unused textures, or changing texture resolutions, but those aren’t all there yet. Eventually baking will go there as well, but I will talk about that later as well.
This is the view that you see when you switch to the edit tab.
While the first two rows stay the same, the third row now allows you to switch between editing the masks and the material of the layer.
In material view, you now can choose a shader from a dropdown (currently no shader is selected).
These shaders can be added easily to the asset file, which contains the workspace, as well as node groups, which define materials and masks.
These node groups need to have the corresponding outputs for Color, Metalness, Roughness and Height, which then can be chosen in the material editing tab:
Underneath the dropdown you can see toggles for the individual channels. If a channel is toggled of, it wont be influenced by this layer.
In the shader settings subpanel you can find the inputs of the chosen material node group, as well as mapping settings for the textures of the material.
In the channels view, there is a list of the individual channels. This is where you can choose if the channel should have a constant value, should be influenced by the shader, meaning it’s corresponding output, or by a texture.
The texture can be loaded from a file or created with the pencil icon. This icon will also take you to texture painting mode, where you can paint on your textures and also work with some new features, like inverting textures.
The load textures button will allow you to choose a single image file and will then import the other pbr textures if they are available.
When the mask tab is selected there’s a dropdown for choosing a mask, which can also be defined with a node group in the asset file or just with a texture.
If a node group is chosen, you can also edit the input sockets of this group.
Note that every channel can have a different mask, so therefore this view will change if you select a different channel.
Asset File and Settings:
The asset file can be selected in the addon preferences, which can be found in the preferences (former user preferences).
This file must contain a workspace named “BATS”, which will be imported into every file. It also contains the node groups for materials and masks.
An important feature that’s still missing is baking. This will include baking the full node tree to pbr textures and also baking masks, like bevel or ao.
This would be an active tool when painting a texture and would allow you to paint chunks of the mesh based on uv or normal. I’m not sure if the API for active tools is even there yet at all, but I’ve not found any documentation on it.
If you have any idea about how that works, please let me now!!!
So there you have it: This is supposed to be as good as possible, so if you have any feedback or features that you would like to see, please let me know.
This addon will be paid, as I’ve put quite a lot of afford in it, but it will definitely be easily affordable!
If you don’t want to pay though, I will need a few testers for the addon in the next weeks, so if you want to test the addon and give me some feedback, just let me know, I will choose a few people!
I will probably post a video quite soon which will show a workflow with the addon. If you want to get more regular updates on the addon go here: https://twitter.com/joshuaKnauber