Grease Pencil frustration

Putting this here because I couldn’t find a separate place for Grease Pencil topics.

I’m attempting to use the Grease Pencil for drawing an animatic (in Blender 2.79). I never extensively used GP before and the experience is proving rather frustrating, and it would be great to get some help.

  1. This is a big issue. I was expecting to be drawing things in 3D space, but I’m running into an issue of struggling with painting things to correctly obstruct other drawn elements. Here’s a .gif to hopefully easily convey my problem:
    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/mHj_n2ug3S5lSKXEw-JDcF6meGsH7gQSrCbLPbhzKv2sP-gs6EbJoAGZPfw7lCFG-dS4tZdKkmLGxYUde5PC46LA35MgxsU9n0zI6WfhIaJb0NYYfW82ac0aStcU2Q8qBr5AMakxYw=w517-h387-no
    As you can see, from the front, the drawing looks fine, but when rotating around, the drawn elements’ 3D position is ignored and you see the same drawn order being preserved. I’ve tried drawing on new GP layers, turning off X-ray, but nothing’s working.
    As I’m drawing, I’m constantly toggling “Draw on Back”. This works okay along the same plane of drawing, but 1) it gets old fast, 2) the order still looks wrong when drawing in 3D .
  2. One thing I’m feeling very limited by is not being able to freely paint with any color. Instead, I seem to have to create a new stroke/fill combination every time. Is there a way around this?
  1. though I cannot see the gif, I understand what you mean. For things to appear correctly in 3d, the only way to achieve this now is to draw in separate GP objects. Unless in the future there will be an option that ignores the xray function of strokes and the order of the layers.

  2. I guess that’s just because it’s vector based drawing. Pros and cons. The good thing is at any time you can adjust each material colour that is in use. There is a way to copy the materials from one GP object to another. So in theory you could create a library of colors /materials and copy it over, it’s a bit tedious in practice. Perhaps there’s an easier way

Hey, thanks for your input, Sago.

I updated the link so it should work now. How do you draw in separate GP objects? I tried creating a new instance of Grease Pencil Layers and it makes the previous one disappear from the view port.

To be frank, I think it’s more of a bad UX design. Illustrator is a vector-based program, and yet the user can easily create new lines in different colors unhindered. And just as easily, modify the colors after the fact.

At its current state, Blender’s Grease Pencil is a bit tedious, as you said.


Gah, spending so much time hacking away at using Grease Pencil and VSE for animatics, though finally I feel like I have kind of a flow… fingers crossed. Due to the clunkiness and buggy behaviors, I’ve wasted so much time. Boss is not impressed, haha.

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Are you sure you are in Object mode? In object mode you can add 3 types of GP objects: Blank, Stroke and Monkey. By default, they respect each others placement in 3d. Unless you change the ‘Depth Ordering’ in the Object Data settings.

Regarding the colour/material creation, let’s hope they will improve the functionality & usability over time. These posts might provide the feedback they need. We can also help with making suggestions.

Hey just a heads up, as per this, I’ve gone ahead and moved this thread to the support section. :slight_smile:

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Ah, I should’ve clarified, I’m using 2.79 due to 2.8’s VSE lagging horribly when a scene is added. I checked and your suggestion does work for 2.8, but I don’t think I can do this in 2.79.

I’m kind of surprised I can’t seem to find anybody… ever… complaining about the issues I’ve run into in just a couple of hours of extensive usage. Makes me wonder if I’m not using Grease Pencil for the correct purpose, or with the correct method, or it’s just simply not where it needs to be.

Got it, thanks!

GP improvements are happening non stop since 2.77. So, people are trying to stay up-to-date and not really inclined to complain.
GP never was intended to be a double sided mesh. You are supposed to create new GP frames while rotating camera view.

1.So, by default new added stroke is above older ones.
But since 2.78, there are Arrange Strokes operators.
https://en.blender.org/index.php/Dev:Ref/Release_Notes/2.78/GPencil#Arrange_strokes

So, at frame when it become problematic, you can duplicate GP frame and rearrange the strokes by passing through Grease Pencil -> Arrange Strokes menu or Edit Strokes panel of Toolbar in edit mode.

  1. You have to create several combinations to display and render several colors.
    But you are not forced to anticipate that.
    You can draw every thing in one color.
    And, the same way you can rearrange strokes order afterwards.
    You can move selected stroke to an active color created after.

All these operators are also accessible through DW pie-menu.

Posted a link to a tutorial by Caggegi, for 2.8 beta, its’ a little outdated as beta has changed a bit since the upload, more features added etcetera, but it’s helpfull, for those trying to get to grips with grease pencil…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH3JjpmbyGc

0o00o0oo is using stable release blender 2.79.

My Bad…

Hopefully the intention changes. The way it works currently seems so counter-intuitive. I was so annoyed with having to toggle “Draw on Back” that I was trying to actually draw in varied 3D space instead, and this is where I found Grease Pencil doesn’t care where in 3D space I draw, which was so depressing, haha.

I also imagined creating a rig using Grease Pencil being a possibility, but this limitation puts a huge dent in that thought.

Thanks, maybe that’ll prove useful at some point.

Haha, no problem. Appreciate the effort to help!

If I understood your issue correctly, you don’t want the circles to have angles between them and you want them parallel to each other.

-I would suggest setting your view to front or top view before you start drawing.

-When you want to draw a new object, don’t change the angle, move the view sideways, like in a 2d environment and draw. This way, you will not have angles between objects. 2.8 has a hand icon to move the view easily on 2d environment.

-If you want to put depth distance between objects, draw them on different grease pencil object and move them on x, y or z axis while on object view.

  • Always get back to front or top view (whichever you used at the start) before you draw.

Hey, thanks for the reply. Sadly, that’s not the issue. Not sure what the right way to put this is, but basically, the Grease Pencil drawings don’t respect 3D space obscuration.

As you can see in the animated .gif, after drawing the 3D circles in space, when I turn the camera, the Z-depth rendering of the circles in incorrect.
i.e. Drawings closer to the camera should be in front, drawings further away should be in back, but that’s not the case.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/mHj_n2ug3S5lSKXEw-JDcF6meGsH7gQSrCbLPbhzKv2sP-gs6EbJoAGZPfw7lCFG-dS4tZdKkmLGxYUde5PC46LA35MgxsU9n0zI6WfhIaJb0NYYfW82ac0aStcU2Q8qBr5AMakxYw=w517-h387-no

At first I didn’t see it in your GIF because the rotation was fast, but I’m experiencing the same issue on the latest build.

Antonio Vasquez is developing and experimenting another Depth Ordering of Strokes under greasepencil-object branch.

So, in a recent 2.8 build, situation did not change.

But in greasepencil-object branch, there are 2 modes for 3DSpace ordering :

  • 2D Layers mode same as master behavior.
  • 3D Location mode that is giving priority to locations of strokes and taking into account such occlusion.
    But in this mode, strokes drawn at same location (a stroke and a fill that are overlapping on same drawing plane) are giving an uglier result than in 2D layers. And it ignores layers order.
    GP_ordering0001-0050.avi (873.3 KB)
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Nice, great to see this development! Hope the end result is an easily controllable layer behavior management.

I’m curious about how the 2 modes are toggled currently. Is it per layer basis? Per Grease Pencil object? Per stroke…?

I hadn’t thought about that, but I guess that’s to be expected with 3D strokes respecting z-depth.

I don’t know if this is the end goal, but it would be super useful if, even in the 3D Location mode, new drawings on the same drawing plane have pretty much the same behavior as now: New drawings going in front or back depending on setting.

Currently, it is per object.
You can organize yourself to have planar GP object using layers and a 3D one ignoring them.

Example of limitation of 3D location mode with a 2D Suzanne.


Same problem can exist with Fills drawn on a mesh surface.

I don’t know what Antonio wants to polish before adding this to master.
But having two modes is already a great improvement.

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I had a play with the issue… and the anomaly can be resolved by creating a new grease-pencil object…or by separating your strokes into new objects…

1: Go to edit mode.
2: Select the stroke
3: Right click and then scroll down to separate/ selected strokes a new greasepencil object is created and when you rotate the viewport the draw order in 3d space is displayed correctly… behind or in-front.

Cool, thanks for the visual aid!

Thanks for the suggestion. It’s kind of a tedious workaround especially with a lot of strokes (because it looks like you have to do that a stroke at a time), but good to know for 2.8.

Though sadly it won’t help my situation because I’m working in 2.79. I realize should specify that in the OP so made that change now, haha.

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no worries bud.