Idea Feedback Request: 3D Viewport Overlay for Camera Focusing

Hello! Below is an idea for a new feature that I am interested in developing, but I wanted to get some feedback from the community before asking the devs if it would be a good fit. Please let me know what you think!


When working with depth of field, there are situations where it’s hard to tell if you’ve got the focus exactly where you want it, and sometimes you don’t realize that it’s not perfect until you’ve performed a high-sample render. The “display limits” option for the camera can help in some situations by showing you a cross where the center of focus is, but if the objects you want to focus on aren’t near the center of the frame, that cross becomes less helpful. There are other ways as well (like using an empty as the center of focus), but I feel like none of the solutions give us a good way to visualize the wholistic focus in detailed scenes where rendering is expensive, or during animations where focus shifts.

So that’s why I’ve been imagining a 3D Viewport overlay to assist with focusing! My current vision is that all pixels that are in the center of the focus (for the active camera) would be highlighted in white, everything farther would be in blue, and everything closer would be in red. My mockups below also have slight gradients in the blue and red sections, getting more blue/red the farther away they are from the focus center. The width of the white section would probably be based on screen pixels (so you could zoom in if you wanted more detail).

And that’s it! My biggest questions for the community are:

  1. Would this make setting up complex focus shots easier for you?
  2. Could the visual style of the overlay be improved? Is there a better style of overlay that could be used here instead of 2 colors separated by a line?
  3. Would this be better as something other than a 3D viewport overlay? (such as a view transform or a debug pass)
  4. Does this functionality already exist elsewhere?
  5. Any other feedback you have!

Example Scene

Overlay Mockup (Camera View)

Overlay Mockup (3D Viewport)

“Raw Pass”

5 Likes

Welcome to BA :slight_smile:

This already exists in Blender, just click “Show Focus Plane” under the depth of field options :slight_smile:

Hi! Thanks for replying :slight_smile: Unfortunately, I can’t find a setting about focus planes in Blender or on Google… Is this what you’re talking about? Or could you please give me some more info? Thanks!

Isn’t that a feature of the Photographer addon?

2 Likes

Oh… is it? I didn’t realize :sweat_smile: ok search up “blender photographer addon” and you’ll find what you’re looking for (plus a whole lot more)

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Awesome! This is a pretty cool addon with a nice and simple solution for this problem! I still see some value in getting a feature like this added to vanilla Blender, so I’m going to keep this thread open, but this is a great alternative!

4 Likes

I don’t want this.
I NEED THIS!!! :grin:

To answer your questions: yes, this function is desired. I don’t mind the red/blue/white scheme, but maybe (for some users) it can be interpreted as geometry facing outward/inward from the overlay panels.

If it is based on my own nuke/flame/Lustre experience, the red/blue/white is ok.

When can I test this? I got some case studies up my alley this week.

Cheers.

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Maybe look here:

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I think it’s a great idea. I haven’t used the addon mentioned above, but this sounds good. I have absolutely rendered entire frames with a misplaced focus plane before…

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I’m not sure if you were asking about functions outside of Blender, but Octane (and the plugin) supports clicking on an object and the focus will center itself on that spot.

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As a filmmaker I would love this functionality very much, and I don’t want to download another add-on so core functionality would be ideal. Godspeed friend!

1 Like