Colored Wireframe discussion

In Blender Today Live #026 (Approx. 35.00 min) Pablo seems to be postive about adding custom coloured wireframes - if I understand him correctly.


FWIW, it kind of sounded like Pablo never thought it was a bad idea in the first place. He’s practically arguing what we did when Campbell got shut down the first time. The argument we couldn’t have coloured wireframes because, at some point in the hypothetical future someone might actually get around to making a cooler rule’s based colouring system never made sense.

Incremental improvements have been the primary means by which Blender has improved over the years (as with all OSS projects to be honest). It sounded then, and still sounds, like the kind of excuse a project manager throws out to justify not doing something they really don’t want in the first place. Which, if you go back to the original threads on the subject, was not missed then either.

However, that was from July and coloured wireframes are still not in there. Best case scenario, someone can convince Campbell to put it together again. Which would be bloody hard given last time he got vetoed.

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The argument that a .blend file color coded relatively to one user theme could be totally unreadable with same colors if it was open by a user using another theme is valid.

Wireframe mode was not initially planned. Under pressure of users, it was restored. So, it is relatively new.
But it is there. We have it. And we could expect improvement for it in future.
Random Color display idea have same problem as argument against wireframe colors.
We could imagine a custom Random Color range.
And if it will work for solid, there will be no reason to put a veto to another custom color range for wireframe mode.

Same argument could apply for custom icons and yet I’m working on a patch for that as it has been stated brecht will accept a patch for that feature.

Though, honestly, the argument didn’t really carry much weight then either. You could turn off coloured wireframes, which meant that regardless of your theme, the worst case scenario was exactly what it is now. The problem then was pretty clearly a/the key stakeholder planting their feet and refusing to accept it. Left-click select has shown that veto has less influence than it used to and so, gods willing, I think the real problem with getting coloured wireframes adopted is already behind us. :wink:


I think down the road in the 2.8x release cycle, when the developers get around to implement specific templates - then they really will be hard pressed to justify not including custom coloured wireframes.

Here I especially are thinking about a CAD template (suggested as a possible template by BF).
Custom coloured wireframes are just a standard part of the workflow for architect CAD programs (at least the ones I know: Autocad, Rhino & Archicad).
Just listen to the problems this Blender user expresses in the 2014 bconf developer AMA.

But this is of course just my gut feeling - FWIW.

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  1. Amazing to that colored wire-frames still are not a thing, but nice to see some hope.

  2. Why was this split-off thread placed in off topic chat? This discussion is relevant to Blender 2.8+.

It is not surprising that colored wireframes are not yet a thing in Blender. I haven’t seen a sound concept for it yet. Even though many want it, there is no agreement as to how it should look exactly as there are plenty of use cases. Some people suggested to use layers to color the wireframes even though layers have a clearly defined purpose. Thanks to the collections, there might now be a better way for this particular use case.

The discussion was about left click select in 2.8. That’s clearly not related to wireframes.
Edit: Sorry misread. Splitting it made sense, but the off-topic section does not make too much sense indeeed.

Per layer only is annoying. It needs to be per object. It is really not difficult. Just let the user decide which color an object should be. It is a completely trivial issue.

Per layer override optional is fine if course.


What about objects which have multiple materials? Wouldn’t it be nice to have wireframe colors per material.
And should the colors be theme based, palette based, custom or any of them?
In 2.7x, layers would have made no sense, because they had another purpose. Only from 2.8x on it can start to make sense to use collections for those.

Besides what you mentioned, there also seem to be users who want to randomly assign colors to more clearly distinguish objects/materials/… . How would you deal with that?

I am not saying at all that it can’t be done, but saying it is not difficult is not true from my point of view. There are many use cases to be considered and I don’t see a straightforward way to make all of them easily available in the UI. And it is highly likely that it would be too much to consider them all.

Here is the patch that Campbell put together a while back:

There are always corner cases, but should we really let the perfect be what blocks the good? incremental improvements are awesome!

A theme/rule based coloring system would be awesome, per material would be awesome, per layer would be awesome, and all of those could build off of a basic user selected , per object wireframe coloring system. Having something basic (and well executed) to build off of is good.


I agree that incremental improvements are awesome if every step is well planned. You still have to consider the use cases, because you don’t want to break the compatibility with every change. Instead you want a solid basis which can be extended. Someone as experienced as Campbell would have been perfect for that.

Would be nice to have optional? Sure. Give us per object colors and after that improve as much as you want. Everything is better than what we have now.

I am one of those users. Smply give each object a random color on creation. The user can then either leave it, change it to whatever color he wants or turn it black and have it the way it is how.
Like above. Give us the possibility to change the colors. If we want a “randomize colors” button I volunteer to write a Python script for that.

There allready is a patch that makes it possible to have colord wireframes. We don´t have to consider each use case. Give us the possiblity to change the color and users will script addons for specific use cases.


What would be nice is custom wireframe thickness (along with color) per object :frowning: I know we will never get

That’s just not how software should be developed which is used in productions. Once a feature is in an official release, that should be a commitment. “It works” is not good enough.

Ah… No thickness on lines/edges. Sad but true.
After all these years…

At least something like what fjuhec did with his pigeon build would be nice. The build that made me stay. It has wireframe colors and so much more… IT’S IN THE DETAIL

Perhaps not in general but in the case of colored wireframes making the bare minimum -which is coloring individual objects differently - is not something that gets in the way later. It is the foundation on which everything else can be built up on.
It is good enough in all other software so it would be good enough in Blender. It is a tried and true concept and has been so for many many years.

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If it is a tried and true concept that has been so for many many years, it should be a piece of cake to write it down in a way that works within Blender.

Edit: There is never an excuse for not thinking a concept through. Even very simple things can easily backfire. The internet is full of this kind of stories and every developers has some stories to share too!

Ok, here it comes:

  • Make it possible for the user to change the wire color of each object
  • Make a button that opens a color swatch in the objects panel where the user can select this color
  • Make it possible to access and manipulate this color via Python

That’s nowhere close to being good enough and I seriously hope you know that. Sorry, not interested in wasting more time on this.

Why not? Serious Question. I have worked with these options in other programs for ages and never missed anything.