Rabbit Hole of Free Add-ons

Last week or so I went into the rabbit hole of forgotten Blender add-ons. On GitHub, Gumroad and Blender websites, I’ve discovered surprisingly useful addons that only have a couple of downloads, some of them have been submitted to be added in default Blender in community addons but they’re not there. So I’m sharing these add-ons to spread the word and help you discover them too. All of them are free, of course, and tested by me on 3.4

General:

  • Shape Key Keeper (applies modifiers while keeping shape keys intact)
  • Align and Distribute (quickly align and/or distribute selected objects)
  • Font Selector (preview and select fonts from local libraries without manually loading them in .blend file)
  • Shape Keys + (adds new Shape Keys panel in data properties, which has folders system)
  • Synced Modifiers (synchronizes modifiers for selected objects)
  • Purge by Data Type (completely remove userless data and files from .blend file for selected data types)

Interface:

  • ReView (somewhat better version of Saved Views included blender addon. Cleaner, less bugs and more functionality)
  • Show Weights (in Edit Mode → Sidebar → Edit you can see vertex groups and weights for selected vertices)
  • QuickRef (shows fully visible image inside View3D, size and position can be controlled)
  • Selection Sets (save & load object selections in 3D viewport)
  • Hide Steps (alt-H unhides objects you hid last, not everything. Steps can be changed)
  • Align Viewports Views.py (adds operator in View > Align View that aligns view in every 3D View window opened)
  • Visual Axis (you can turn of/off axis for any vertex, edge, face, or object)

Modeling:

  • Select Sim (more advanced select similar faces tool than default Blenders)
  • N-Gon Loop Select (lets you select edge loops around n-gons in single step)
  • Vox Cleaner (cleans topology of mesh, leaves only faces that are necessary for keeping shape, and removes everything else)
  • Grow/Shrink Visibility (shortcuts to expand or shrink faces hidden)
  • Mesh Check (you can turn on overlays that shows you ngons, tris, e-poles, n-poles, and etc.)

Animation:

  • Onion Skinning (Animation Extras has best onion skinning imo. GPU based, doesn’t create meshes or materials in the .blend file)
  • Wiggle (geometry nodes-based substitute for adding noise modifier on loc/rot/scale axis to get wiggle effect. Controlled from sidebar and includes pulse option)
  • Frame Ranger (fit frame range to keys, exportable frame range sets and markers and many more)
  • Retime (better scaling tool for graph editor and dope sheet)
  • Timeline Scrub.py (standalone version of timeline scrub feature from Grease Pencil tools addon. Tweaked by me to support 3.4 and higher)
  • Claymation (similar to Keymesh, but quickly manipulates shape keys (instead of mesh data) to create stop motion animations)
  • Animation Step (Ctrl+Left/Right skips number of frames in timeline, you can set number of frames in header)

Rigging:

  • Armature Layer Presets (gives you ability to save armatures skeleton layers as presets)
  • Rigflex (one click soft body/wiggle effect for bones)
  • X-Ray Weight Paint (little addon that lets you paint weights through mesh (on backfaces) with single click)

Sculpt:

Nodes:

  • Node Presets (advanced version of node presets addon included in blender)
  • Node Sharer (lets you copy & paste materials as text strings. Useful for copying nodes between .blend files)
  • Bake-A-Node (bake groups of nodes into images, useful for speeding up workflow in complex node setups)
  • Faster Normal Map (replaces normal map with custom node group for faster viewport Eevee display)

Camera:

  • Lattice Magic (has incredible feature camera lattice. Hard to describe, check out yourself)
  • Overscan (adds overscan feature in Output properties. Scroll down for the latest version)
  • Camera Planes (lets you add series of 2D images as planes and tie them to the camera, for 2D animations)

Render:

  • Render Animatic (lets you render only keyframed or marked frames. Regular or viewport render. Lots of other options too)
  • Dupe Render (skips rendering identical frames and instead uses one image twice)
  • Render Auto Save (automatically saves images in computer after rendering. Can be turned on or off, has more settings. in Output properties)
  • DuBlast (easy playblast feature with clean UI and top-notch customization)
  • Image Sequence to Video (can generate video from rendered png’s in output panel. Can render it out as video, gif, or add it into the sequencer as strip)

Baking:

Texturing:

  • Flow Map Painters (add-on + node setups that let you create flow maps by simply painting on the image texture)
  • Quick Roughness Layers (lets you set up folder for surface imperfections, choose one on the fly and adds it as layer of roughness)

UV:

  • UV Drag Island (alt+LMB to move entire island, ctrl+LMB to rotate. In UV editor)

Import-Export:

  • Super IO (this is more known add-on, but in case you don’t know - copy and paste objects into the blender and more)
  • Import Vector Files.zip (Import .svg/.pdf/.ai files)

Scripting:

  • Class Viewer (in Text Editor context menu you have list of definitions, classes and comments you can use to jump ahead easily)
  • UI Classes (in Text Editor sidepanel you have the option to display every UI class in your blender in a separate text file)
  • Indent Guides.py (sadly I forgot where I downloaded this from. It adds indent guides, whitespace, and more to the text editor. Visibility can be controlled and switched off.)
  • Node to Python (generates python script of shader or geometry nodes)
  • Expand to Brackets (Alt+A expands selection to the nearest brackets)

Sequencer:

  • Shot Detection (automatically detects shots/cuts in the video and cuts them accordingly)
  • Multicam (shows multiple cameras in sequencer preview)
  • VSE Quick Functions (adds parenting & tags to strips, change playback speed, quick cuts, quick markers and many more)
  • Push to Talk (record audio directly inside the sequencer and add it as strip)
  • Highlight Occurances (when text is selected it highlights all the same text in the text file. Display can be modified)

Compositor:

  • Cavity Pass (adds cavity pass to compositor and fakes bevel and light effects)

Image:

  • Extra Image List.zip (in Image/UV window → sidebar → Image adds new image picker with large thumbnails, also adds remove image options in Image topbar, see comment for more info)
  • Tesselate Texture Plane (transforms alpha image planes into geometry)
  • Reference to Image Plane (converts empty image into a plane)
  • Import as Decals (imports images as decals that shrinkwrap around objects, have sliders for edgewear and etc.)

Text Editor:

  • Screenwriter (lets you create .fountain files and automatically translates your writing into proper screenplay format)
  • Text Markers (adds tab in Sidebar where you can mark texts and jump to them)

Misc:

I’ll update this topic every time I see something new, so watch it if you want. And please share similar addons if you have/use them, or made them, and think will be useful for others.

35 Likes

Is this thread open for recommendations from other people? If so, maybe we could try to use Category + Name (as link to repo) + Short description.

If @nickberckley wants, we can make the initial post a wiki- any user with high enough trust level can edit it, and @nickberckley can rollback edits if desired. Up to you :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Sure, lets do it

1 Like

I’ve updated Extra Image List add-on, which was updated by schroef, who also updated it from MeshLogic.

This version 3.0 implements image picker into existing Image panel in sidebar instead of creating duplicate one. Simplified the UI and moved remove image options in the topbar for easier access.

Download from the post

2 Likes

Added New Addons:

  • Shape Key Keeper
  • Quickref
  • Selection Sets
  • DuBlast
  • Onion Skinning (Animation Extras)
  • Wiggle
  • Frame Ranger
  • Retime
  • Pressure Simulation
  • Node to Python
1 Like

New Addons:

  • Node Presets
  • Screenwriter
  • Select Sim
  • VSE Quick Functions
  • Claymation Addon
  • Tesselate Texture Plane
  • Align to Annotation
  • Reference to Image Plane
  • Armature Layer Presets
  • Node Sharer
  • Font Selector
  • Image Sequence to Video
  • Push to Talk

Also Timeline Scrub, which is part of the Grease Pencil Tools default addon in Blender, but separate version wasn’t working on 3.4, so I updated it and also added the feature to select different color for keyframes

New:

  • Rigflex
  • Bake to Vertex Colors

What a useful topic!

May i add …

TextFX
Useful little addon for animating text

Commotion
Animate any number of objects together, then use this to stagger the animation.

1 Like

It’s good Blender Extensions webpage will be launched in 2023 so we have an overview of open source add-ons!

1 Like

Authors must register their own addons there, and pass the review process, so most of the addons listed here now and in the future won’t be there, as authors have mostly abandoned them, or are using just personally. This topic will still be useful after extensions are launched

2 Likes

following fff

1 Like

New Additions:

  • Shape Keys +
  • Animation Step
  • Align Viewport Views
  • Text Markers

And many great utility addons from @Amandeep’s Free Script Sundays

  • Import as Decals
  • Bake-A-Node
  • N-Gon Loop Select
  • Align and Distribute
  • Cavity Pass
  • Scale to View
  • Quick Roughness Layers
  • Hide Steps
  • Synced Modifiers

Added:

  • X-Ray Weight Paint
  • Vox Cleaner
  • Visual Axis

And my own Purge by Data Type add-on, check that out too

1 Like

I feel free to add my addons here:

Development / Scripting

  • Addon Loader - Oneclick install/reinstall addon from external file. Currently used from Addon Loader Panel in Preferences → Addons → Addon Loader

  • Text Manager - Panel in the Text Editor, manage text files in a list, save, save as, make external, make internal, auto run external files, auto run when external file was changed

Timeline

  • Marker Manager - Save/Load sets of markers. Pin marker sets to objects.
2 Likes

Added:

  • Flow Map Painter
  • Import Vector Files (AI/PDF/SVG)
  • PSX Vertex Snap
  • Faster Normal Map
  • Camera Planes
  • UV Drag Island
  • Grow/Shrink Visibility
  • Mesh Check
  • Expand to Brackets
  • Highlight Occurances

instaed of “saved views” you can also use “stored views” addon.

1 Like

Check out Polyblocker by Daniel Boxer.

Addendum: Here it is on BA

5 Likes

Hi,

I tried to message via Blendermarket, but got no reply.

I was just asking if the Retime addon is getting an update for Blender 4.0?

Thanks! :slightly_smiling_face:

It seems abandoned but I’ll update when I’ll have time. Maybe next week or after after