How compatible are Blender 2.79 and 2.8?

I’m working on an animation project with several animators. Some of them are fine with using Blender 2.8, while others would prefer to stick to 2.79 (and use 2.8 for rendering only). Question is, would that impose any restrictions on our workflow? How compatible are the two versions with one another? Can you seamlessly import motion data and all the other assets from one into the other?

(I hope I worded the question well; I don’t actually know the first thing about Blender. I’m only the producer.)

2.8 will open Blend files saved in 2.79 no problem. It’s not the case going the other way though. A file saved in 2.8 won’t open in 2.79. You can however Append stuff from a 2.8 Blend file OK.

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I recommend that you stick to a single version, area of rigging is a fragile matter atm between versions.

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Another reason you should be wary of mixing versions because there are still many addons (user developed plugins) that the 2.79 guys might want to use that are not ported to 2.8 yet. The list of compatible ones is growing, but I’d check first

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What I recommend you is this. Stick to 2.79. If you are dying to get your stuff rendered in Evee, then you can export your anims as Alembic caches and do your renderings that way worse comes worst.

Or glo slow with the production, get all the models etc done in 2.8, by the time you have your assets 2.8 might be out.

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Whereas I now would today offer an opinion opposite of kkar’s. A particular reason is that – at this writing, at least – the “Blender Internal (BI)” render engine which was a mainstay of Blender until 2.8 is gone completely in 2.8. And the Eevee render engine is introduced for the first time.

Even though I have “legacy” projects which use the BI engine and – at this writing, at least – will therefore be forced to keep 2.79 around in order to support them, I believe that it is utterly clear that “Eevee is the renderer of Blender’s future,” and that even Cycles will quickly begin to fade in practical importance because of it. Its ability to produce very high quality renders, literally in a matter of a few seconds (in most cases), is a game-changer.

As others have said, it is very important that all of you standardize on one version or the other. Not only because of file compatibility issues, but because they render in now-incompatible ways.

(Note: if you happen to want to comment about my comment regarding Cycles – and it’s quite up to you – please start a new thread.)

In 2.8, UI and Viewport are different with different gizmos, display options and workspaces properties.
Scene management is different with viewlayers and collections instead of sets of 20 layers visibility bits.
Grease pencil workflow has been tremendously changed.
Animation system is different with a different depsgraph and updated names in code.
It is not just render engine that is different. Every area of the software is different.
Some are slightly different, Some are a lot different.

Spring Team started its work in 2.79 and continued it in 2.8.
They are working in same building than developers. They had to wait green light from devs to make the jump and they are working with a new 2.8 build, everyday, updating their blend files while discovering issues with official devs ready to solve them.
That is a unique case and nobody should try to reproduce it because official devs can not be at disposal of everybody wanting to make an animation. They will thank you if you find a bug in 2.8. But that does not mean that they will solve the issue in priority for the day after.
2.8 is a work in progress and you can face a bug in every area of software that have been modified. That means anywhere.
2.79b has bugs, too, but they are known as non critical, with possible workarounds.

EEVEE is render engine of future. It means that is not the one of present. It is rendering movies or image sequences as animated textures, since yesterday. Before, it was not working at all.
It means that, maybe, bugreports related to that feature will come up in upcoming days.
EEVEE as Cycles is not rendering particles as Halos or Billboards. But point density texture is working with Cycles.
EEVEE does not have a dynamic Indirect Lighting.
It will not be able to render scene as heavy as the ones that Cycles can handle.
It does not do baking.

EEVEE may be sufficient if you don’t need that. But it is new engine and as the rest of 2.8, you may discover bugs by using it.
2.8 is a beta. And officially, you are using it at your own risk.

If you use 2.8 in production today you’re making a mistake. It is beta code and should not be used for serious studio work yet.

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