Is Grease Pencil the name for 2D animation in Blender 2.8?


I am as excited as everyone for the new 2D animation feature coming in Blender 2.8 and just had a couple or three questions. The first about the Grease Pencil and second, is it relatively easy to create 2D animation compared to 3D animation, and the last question, do you recommend a graphics drawing tablet for Grease Pencil?

Thank You for reading :slight_smile:

Grease pencil is the original name for drawing tools in blender. Now it’s splitted in two : annotation (former grease pencil, to add quick note to your work) . And Grease pencil is indeed a more advanced drawing tool to make animation and such.

There are two type of 2D animation :

  • traditional animation where you draw each frame by hand, it’s quite easy technically but rely solely on your drawing skills and animation knowledge.
  • puppet (cut out) animation , which look more like 3D , you have a 2D rig and you animate similarly to 3D.
    You can look at the addon COA Tools , to see how this is working inside blender.
    I guess with 2.8 we can have a kind of mixed workflow, that use some grease pencil drawings rigged like a cutout rig. But as there isn’t much experiment done with it we are in unknown territory , we don’t know yet how easy it can be to make animation with that system.

And of course, if you’re serious with CG you should get a tablet. For drawing, sculpting, and many things it’s a must.
For drawing you’ll have precise drawing and pen pressure …


and add to @sozap notes, even the Annotation tool can be used for planning your animation or quick tests, and has the possibility to snap it to a surface in 3d space, very handy for critiques. also u can use it in most editors to take notes of course it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles Grease Pencil has…so yeah Grease Pencil is the full fledged system.

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I did not understand the second way of creating a 2D animation. Could you explain a little more about the puppet animation please?
@sozap, @Zino.G
Can you tell if this is hand drawn or a cut out animation? I ask because it looks very pretty and almost 3D.

It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to change the name. Obviously, ‘Grease Pencil’ is a rather terrible name, because it’s entirely misleading and about as wrong as it could be.

it gives you the complete wrong impression of what the feature does - grease pencils are used for temporary notes and scribbles. Animators would use them to draw helper notes on their displays - not the animation itself.


the characters are obviously 2d, and the background has mixed elements both 2D and 3D, looks cool though…
EDIT : quick search i found the making of, it’s in japanese/french but the visuals are there.

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can’t at least on the interface for end users, like for example, Anim2D for Object, and Blender2D for the template which will have 2D Animation,Storyboard,Animatic…etc fo workspaces.

I have a curiosity about why you have the doubt posed in the title of the thread.
Where did you read or hear about “that” new 2D drawing feature in Blender 2.8 without being associated with “Grease Pencil” words/name?

This is a good one for the “Did you know that…” for splash screen that you proposed.

Did you know that Grease Pencil is…

Change the name is the way to go.


Maybe “Blender” name too. When I search for videos on YouTube with “Blender” word then it results in recipes for preparing smoothies in an blender appliance, or some “beauty blender” sponge used for makeup.
Or maybe it’s better not to make so much trouble for these minimal things.

For marketing purposes, changing the name would help. People don’t relate grease pencil with a 2d animation system. So yeah, they should consider changing the name, for the good of blender. :v:


While we are here, I guess it’s a bad move to hide something as import as the new 2D workspace.

Agreed. Same goes for video editing/motion tracker. They should also be part of the general. :frowning:

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it’s on the splash screen, 2d workspace needs to setup the GP object, hide other objects…etc and i think the splash will have a better format showing each template and what it does with probably gifs.

Personally I find something so minimal and irrelevant that I do not care if Joshua and Antonio or any other Blender developer decides to change the name.
I think that in cases like these the situation is exaggerated a bit. If this had for example “2D animation” name, it is not that the new user will open Blender program, will find that “2D Animation” name and will start making Miyazaki style animations. This is not intuitive at all, and anyway user should look first in manuals and tutorials to see what it is about. Most new users interested in 2D drawing feature will come to Blender because they heard about that Grease Pencil feature. If feature is good enough, they will use it and be happy no matter what name it has.
(Sorry for the English, I hope it is understood what I wrote)

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My point exactly. See? You even described the hassle to get to the point.

Do you know what’s the answer of a maya user when I’m trying to introduce GP to him? The answer is “maya has it”. You need to do a lot of effort to explain that GP is a full blown 2d animation system (because makes no sense). This is what happens when things are wrongly named.
There’s a reason things needs to be named logically. Like sculpting for example. Try to give the sculpting system a weird name and see what happens. :v:

And sorry as well, non english speaker here too.

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Really? So you just told him: you see, Blender has Grease Pencil? Why did not you tell them that Blender has and advanced mode to perform 2D animations in a 3D environment called Grease Pencil? Is not difficult. And people are smart, they will know that it is not the same as they see a video. In the same way that we can know that Blender “Sculpt” mode is not the same as zBrush just watching a video showing zBrush capabilities.
I still think it’s irrelevant, so my last message here.

I can’t believe you can’t see the barrier. I feel sorry for you. :v:

In mutafukaz ( :+1: ) characters are hand draw, I’ve looked through the trailer and the making of , they seems to use 3D in a lot of place : some character are 3D , some vehicles too, and some background are 3D with drawing projected on them as textures.
Another approach, that they could have used, is to hand draw animation over a 3D object , kind of like the sets in this demo :

For puppet / cut out animation, it’s a very different approach , some example here :

For the last one, there is no need for grease pencil, some 2D shape (mesh or curve) can be enough.

To sum up, traditional animation, is what we think 2D animation is in the first place, puppet animation is more like south park, but that can lead to very good result when done well .
It’s more common to use puppets in series because it’s cheaper to do, and you can store various rigs of the characters in different positions and reuse them through the show.