Trying to make the switch to 2.8

I’m familiar with some of the new features of 2.8, but I’m just now starting to dive into it and figure out what I need to translate or change in my workflow. This has left me with a lot of random questions that don’t really belong anywhere. I’ve tried messing around with it of course, but a lot of stuff just isn’t intuitive. And searching for answers isn’t bringing up much. So I’m hoping others that have already dived in can help me out with some of these, or link me to existing info.

  1. How do I view stuff that used to be on a hidden layer?
    I have a character from 2.79 that has its objects on layer 1, its rig on layer 11, and custom rig objects on layer 20. I can see that collections have automatically been made from some combination of layers and groups, but I can’t get my rig to show up. I see that it is in a collection, but it is greyed out. Both the rig object and the collection are set to visible. How do I get at my rig? Is there a hotkey to toggle it’s collection visibility the way I used to be able to toggle layers?

  2. How do I control what shows up on each render layer?
    I used to have a layer for the character, a layer for the character’s hair, a Freestyle layer, and a Background layer. I can see my layers still exist in the compositor, but how do I control what goes on what layer now? There doesn’t seem to be any options under render layers anymore. I’m lead to believe this is controlled by collection, but I can’t see any options for it in either the layers or collection settings. And how do I make more layers?

  3. Is it possible to mix Cycles and EEVEE layers?
    EEVEE can do a lot of nice effects like bloom. I’d like to render a cycles layer, and then render an eevee layer for effects, and then composite them together. Is it possible to do something like this?

  4. How do I get Grease Pencil into the compositor?
    I want to paint in some grease pencil and then use it over my Cycles render. What’s the proper way to do this? Can I get the Grease Pencil on its own render layer in the compositor? Or do I save it out to an image or something?

  5. Is W menu the only place to set Smooth Shading on objects now? (Used to be in T panel)

  6. A still selects all, but hitting A again doesn’t deselect. What does?

  7. What’s the difference between Glossy and Specular node highlights? I see that the specular node seems to work like a diffuse mixed with glossy node group. But is the math going into the specular highlights actually different, or is this like the principled shader where it’s meant to be an all-in-one?

I’m sure I’m going to run into a lot more stuff, but that’s enough to get started!

  1. Do you have the “local hide” enabled on the collection? (the icon that looks vaguely like a # sign). There are 2 different viewport “hide” options, one just hides in the current scene, the other (the eyeball icon) also affects the collection when linked.

  2. Put the outliner in “view layer” mode, then right click the collection and go to the “view layer” submenu, there are option for exclude and matte flags and the like there. For more layers, there’s a “view layer” picker in the top right, next to the scene picker. You can add more layers there the same way you add scenes (I felt really dumb when I figured this out too, it’s so obvious you look right over it)

  3. You cannot set render engine per layer, it’s still per-scene. You can mix the same way people would mix Cycles and Blender Internal scenes in the days of old though, by making a different scene for each engine’s layers.

  4. (haven’t worked with the grease pencil, sorry)

  5. It’s in Object > Shade Smooth, the same place it’s always been. The T panel button was just a shortcut that everyone used.

  6. Alt+A, or double-tap the A key.

  7. The specular node is a relic of an earlier version of Eevee’s shading pipeline, before it shared shader nodes with Cycles. I honestly had no idea that node hadn’t been removed yet. I would be surprised if it’s still in the final 2.80 release. (at one point it was going to have “specular” and “metallic” shaders to handle the 2 PBR workflows. Eventually the devs came to their senses and decided that sharing nodes with Cycles as much as possible was a good idea, and the metallic shader was removed in favor of sharing Cycles’ principled BSDF node. The specular node for some reason has just sat there ever since)

The one thing of note with the “specular” shader is it still has a proper AO input. The Principled BSDF node does not have one, as it was originally a Cycles node, and Cycles has no ambient lamps to occlude, and thus has no AO input. There was supposed to be some other solution for applying baked AO in Eevee (an AO socket on the Eevee material output, maybe), but I don’t think it’s been added yet.


Thanks, that’s cleared up a lot. Here’s a new one though:

  1. How is the AO node actually supposed to be used? It only seems to output solid colors. Plugging it into AO inputs doesn’t seem to do anything either. Is it just not working in the current build or something?

It’s a shame you still need different scenes to switch render layers. That was one of the biggest features i had hoped for. Guess I still need to keep using a custom render script to render a layer, switch the engine, and then render the next layer.

The new AO node only works in Cycles right now. Eevee actually did have a similar functionality with the old AO node before it got replaced, so I think it just needs someone to wire stuff up with the new node.

Also, if you have all your scenes referenced by render-layer nodes in the compositor, they will all render when you render the scene with that composite, even if they’re just piping straight into file output nodes.

Not sure it’s easier than your current solution, but there is a built-in workflow for this.

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Moving along, now that I’ve had more time to experiment:

  1. I see that I can convert grease pencil to curves. But it seems I cannot convert curves to grease pencil? And there’s no way to convert grease pencil to faces and thus keep the fill?

  2. It seems I can put materials on Grease Pencil and give them nodes, but the nodes don’t actually do anything. It’s only the color and other properties set in the GP section of the material that matter?

  3. When I draw on the surface of an object with GP, a lot of the strokes seem to clip into the object slightly. This differs from videos I’ve seen of people using it. Is there a way to have it stay above the surface, or do I need a higher quality or something?