Texture Paint workflow improvments

Im using blender for a long time now and i always felt that something in the texture pipeline is really weired but could not point to it. So i started to write down all the little things that i and my coworker noticed while working with some complicated material texture setups and using a lot of texture painting.

It turned out the reason why i could never point it out was because it is not one issue but a lot of small ones that combined.
So here is the list i put together that i believe could improve the usability and work flow a lot. It should also help make it a bit more logical for the end/new user to work with material/uv textures.

The main problem i see is that the uv textures and material textures are split apart in 2 independent systems which is very confusing for new and sometimes even advanced blender users.

I would like to know what you think about these points and hope this will result in more defined solutions to the situation. And maybe you noticed some issue that i have not listed below.

1. material selection should be available from the texture tab. a lot of times i find myself switching back and forth between the material and texture tab only to switch to different textures that are assigned to a object with a different material. it would be very useful to be able to switch the materials in the texture tab.

2. when selecting a material texture it should be active for texture painting like in the paint layer manager addon. at the moment one has to enter edit mode and assign the texture to paint to the desired uv map of the object, this becomes increasingly complicated when working with multiple texture channels (diffuse spec bump,…)

3. having save option only available from uv edit and not from material texture panel? why is it not possible to save a texture from the materials texture panel?

4. FIXED: saving will not take image texture name automaticly and one can not see the selection in the export helper so if one can not remember cancel is the only option

5. saving texture default set to PNG. when saving a picture the default format is always set to .png. so every time one saves a image this needs to be changed manually. here we need a option to set the default format we want to save the images.

6. when creating a new texture it assigns png type to it which is then also used as default format to save as. there should be the choice what format the texture should be which then would define the format to save it. this might solve point 6?

7. always need to go into uv/image editor to choose target bake texture. baking to a specific texture is a very tedious task, one has to make sure everything is setup correctly, to make it a bit easier point 3 might help a lot since one could save the step of going into the uv editor, switching to edit mode selecting the desired verts and assign the target texture to bake on.

8. its impossible to switch directly to the textures of an object without going to materials first this might have been solved already. when changing objects one had to go into material tab once before even seeing the textures that were assigned to the material on the object, might get a bit more complicated with multiple materials on the object.

9. uv space scales to image size depending on assigned image.if i see the complete uv space on one object with a small texture and switch to another object with a large texture i find myself looking at a small portion of the uv space and first have to scale out to see the complete uv space again. if i change the object again i then end up with a rescaled view again. the uv space should not scale when changing to objects with different sized uv images\

10. uv modes are very confusing and needs improvement as training new blender users i noticed that this is one of the most confusing things for them to understand and remember. i don’t know how to improve this but maybe someone else has some good ideas.

11. pack island margin option should be in uv editor this option should be visible in the uv editor and not only in the properties shelf in the 3d view.

12. when assigning 2 textures to 2 different parts of the same mesh there is no way for me to either select the vertices assigned to that image or visualize them, unless i use some crazy setup with vertex groups. maybe some list like for the uv maps would be nice to able to have a bit control over multiple textures that are assigned to a mesh.

13. texture images are shown in the texture brush selection window (texture paint brush selection)

14. texture names are cut off. maybe a second line for the texture options like fake user, multi user,… would be a good idea so one can read more than the first 3-4 letters of the name?

15. FIXED: why is cloud default image type?

16. texture names need to be set in too many different places?

  • material texture name
  • image name
  • file name

I think this should probably be posted on the bf-funboard to put it in the view of people that actually have the ability to implement some of the needed changes.

if thats where devs hang out that might be a good idea, is this also on blenderartists?

im amazed that there is no feedback on any of the points… so is just nobody using texture painting or am i the only one with the opinion that these things could be improved?

Cycles texture does not seem to be independant datablocks like blender internal ones. I tried to pin one texture in Properties editor but I obtained a pinned material. And it seems to have a bug in outliner. Things goes wrong with a material in second slot of material’s list.

It seems logical in texture paint mode. It works like that in 3DView for Cycles. And it does not in UV editor.
But you may only want to see the result of an UV modifier. So, I think that it should be restricted to behaviour of Texture Paint Mode. I think nobody wants an automatic switch to texture paint mode.


OK. You mean that we have to press Home and we should not.

There is nothing called UV modes in blender.
Are you talking about UV selection modes ? It seems easy to understand when UVs are explained as an unwrapping.

You have to use F6.
I think devs are aware of that. It is a recurrent complain about blender’s UI. Look at GSOC’s toolbar thread.

Maybe I am wrong. But I think devs want to abandon that ability to assign 2 textures to 2 different parts of the same mesh because it is the reason of your point 2.

It seems logical. A brush can use images as brush texture. You want a special exclusion for texture image used by a material.
It could be problematic if you want to use these kind of textures in sculpt mode.

+1. especially in modifiers using texture.

There is batch rename datablocks addon if you want to use same name.
I think it is a plus to be able to keep an Image datablock with a name that make sense and to be able to load another file.
And this Image that have a meaning fullname can be use for different purposes which can be reflected in different textures names.
It is more important in Blender Internal with its Colors panel. In Cycles, you can put sense in node label.

This may be a good place to pose this question thats been on my mind, since it can relate to improvements within the texture painting workflow.

The question is then this: is it possible to have multiple brush engines (open source and GPL 2.0 compliant) for use with texture painting like we do with render engines? This may be seen as controversial to some extent (for some), but I would like to see if 1) it is possible and 2) whether such a move would be acceptable.

To illustrate this point, here is a rough mock up showing the ability to select different brush engines:

I don’t understand; why would it be problematic for sculpt mode? You already load the textures in a brush context. Screenshot. It’d be nice if the brush texture pickers filtered to just those textures, rather than pulling in diffuse, normals, specular, etc.

I wish it could be possible so much that I always forget that sculpt mode is not able to use UVmapped texture.

At some point Nicholas Bishop was interested in porting the MyPaint brushes in the Blender paint engine :
http://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg00846.html
Could be interesting if someone can take over, having more brushes systems is always good.

bf-funboard is short for “blender foundation functionality board”. It’s a mailing list that deals with the overall functionality of Blender. Usually ideas are hashed out there, and then proposed to bf-committers, which is the main developer board.

I’d also like to bring up that a revamp of the texture workflow has been brought up a number of times, but nobody has fully jumped in because of how big the project is. Some of your suggestions might be a good jumping off point.

Relevent links: