Discussion on how Blender manages textures.

Hi everyone,

How do you manage your textures when using Blender and Cycles?

Textures are extremely versatile and are used for a variety of purposes from materials, to compositing, to sculpting brushes, to governing particles and hair, to applying modifiers and simulations. Blender’s method of creating, accessing and editing these textures can be tricky.

Using Blender internal we’ve gotten used to the janky way of accessing certain textures depending on which tab you navigated from.

In Blender Internal:
Want to access material textures? Select your object, find its materials, then click the textures tab.
Want to find particle textures? Select the particles tab and THEN click the textures tab.
Even with the desired object selected, going from the World tab to the Textures tab won’t find your objects textures.

Ok, so its a little headachy to find these textures, but not impossible. However, if you’re using textures applied to modifiers or simulations, what do you do? Well, afaik, you need to add these textures to a material (making sure to switch them off, so as to not ruin your material) and edit them from there.

These problems stem from once-upon-a-time when Blender only used textures for materials. These workarounds have been fine for Blender Internal, but now we’ve moved onto Cycles, our textures tab isn’t as helpful anymore.

In Cycles:
Try creating a texture to alter a modifier or affect a particle system. Easy. Now try and find those texture properties. Unfortunately the only way to see these texture properties is to set the whole system to Blender Internal, make changes, then back to Cycles for render. Same goes if you’re using a texture as part of a compositing setup. Want to edit that texture? back to BI you go. This is a terrible system.

So, what do you do? Got any tricks/addons you use to make this workable?
What would you prefer instead? and developers, what are your plans for the future of textures?



Well, that’s a clear usability case to solve a.s.a.p :slight_smile:
Next week’s focus is on the release and bugfixing though, so it would be 2.67 then (april).

Don’t have clear answers for good UI solutions yet. Needs a bit of investigation.

Well, textures for modifiers in BI just add a Paint texture, the one with the pencil icon.

Remember, clicking the icons to switch textures modes, Particles, materials, world, and paint

Yes, accessing textures when using BI has been doable in the past. The problem is Blender’s new focus on Cycles has replaced the standard material and texture tabs and in doing so, has blocked access to the texture properties. I’m pleased Ton’s going to take a look at it.

Ideally, what I’d like to see is the texture tab becoming a texture manager with creation, editing and assigning all easily accessible. So with that tab open you can drop textures into the cycles node editor or compositor. However, this also has its issues as you’d need to move away from the modifiers or particles tab to see it, when it’d be best to be able to see both. Hopefully it’ll get sorted for 2.67 in a few months time.


I think that “breadcrumb bar” in Blender’s properties editor could be clickable.
You click on the scene it takes you to scenes tab, on the object, and it takes you to object tab, etc.
Maybe like the Windows Explorer breabcrumb, if you clicked the little arrows it shows the siblings of that element, and from there access to other textures/objects/watever would be available, like modifier, or particle textures?!

I don’t know, just a though…

oh my i’ll be excited if someone addresses this! don’t we just need to port over those toggles from the BI textures panel? cycles has a variation of it with a categorized (material/world/modifiers/particles) drop down menu, the problem is just that its a drop-down of pre-existing textures, with no option to add anything new.