What a mess those new "collections" are

I am so missing the elegance of the old Blender layers . It was so simple and easy before and now It’s a huge source of issues .

Is there a way I could force it to work old Blender style without all that extra puzzles of
“collections” ? I tried collection manager and it’s doesn’t help at all.

Some guidance maybe how to work with them ? How can I select an object in a scene and instantly see in what collections it is in? Like it was with old layers?

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I don’t think you can see it directly as you could in the old layer system.
Easiest is to select an object and press numpad “.” in the outliner.

What are the other extra puzzles?

That dot in outliner is insanely inconvenient when you have gazilion instanced objects and have to scroll the outliner over and over just to figure out in what sub collection it is. And what if your object in several collections.

Other puzzle is those checkbox and eye . Can I have them synced somehow after I accidentally push 123 etc button? Or get rid of those buttons for good? They was super handy in old Blender but now turned into monstrously confusing puzzle

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You can also see it in the n-panel. I forgot about that because I rarely use the n-panel. It is under the view tab -> Collections

I usually disable the 123 hotkeys because they interfer too often with changing from one subobject mode to another.
The checkbox and the eye mean different things, though, and I do not think you can synch them.

The eye is for temporarily hiding objects or collections. They still get rendered if the eye is turned off.
The checkbox excludes the object/collection from the view layer. (View layers are handeled in the drop down right next to the scene drop down and in the properties panel of course. Excluded collections are not rendered. You can multiple view layers and exclude different collections in each one of them. Then you can render all view layers at the same time.

You can turn off the eye and the checkbox under the filters drop down in the outliner. It is that symbol that is supposed to look like cofee filter or somthing like that.

Thank you very much Lumpengnom, Found this collection panel. It provides the info of what collection selected things are belonging to.

It’s still much less convenient then in old Blender . I spend half of my time now trying to figure out why something I see in the viewport is not rendered and vice versa .
I have to spread my attention in between this panel and collection manager at the same time while before it was all in simple single place.

Perhaps, but I think the 20 layer limit was way worse than anything we have now.


I used to think the same, but working with nested collections rather than isolated layers does bring more options and usability.

I’m starting to prefer collections.


I would probably like it too if it would be same simple as Photoshop layers and layers groups.

But this eye vs checkbox vs render button you have to keep track on in several different panes simultaneously is most crazy UI idea I ever see
Wasted a hour trying to find and kill those 1,2,3,4 buttons I loved before now adding to the total mess.

Then you’d have go without quite some useful functionality that is offered by “View Layers” for example.
I don’t think you have to keep track on several different panes. You can do everything in the outliner, can’t you?
And you actually had to do that in old Blender, too with the render layers.

The actual system is really advanced, i wouldn’t call it a mess, I would advice you to keep yourself organized name your collections properly (meaningfully) collection room can have a sub-collection chair and son on …
And about those shortcut keys ( 1,2,3,4,…) they are still functional and if you keep yourself well organized you can still use them :wink:


I prefer collections to the old layer system for many reasons.

  • No limits to how many collections.

  • You can personalize each collection with a unique name.

  • You can put objects in multiple collections irrespective of their parenting, so that you can work with categories of objects.

  • You can toggle whole collections as visible or hidden with a single checkbox.

  • You can toggle objects within a collection to be visible or hidden using the eye toggle (local only) or the checkbox (global).

-You can have collections within collections, to more easily organize your objects.


This reason alone is enough to make the switch to collections. Layers without names were really hard to keep track of after about 4 layers.


Agreed, less intuitive and ultimately I spend more time dealing with it. Also if you try to import an older .blend file that used the old layers it completely breaks it.

It’s no less intuitive than before (not intuitive at all).

If you import an older file into 2.8, it retains the layers as collections, so I really don’t know what you have a problem with, unless you’re trying to load something saved in 2.8 into an earlier version (doesn’t work).

Collections are confusing at first because of all the extra features that come with them in the properties window, but if you just learn the features you need from before, you shouldn’t have any problems and the extras begin to be useful later on.


The old system was instantly self explaining and intuitive . Never puzzled you. A combination of layers and groups was a brilliant idea. One of many that made me go Blender from MAx decade ago. A perfect mix of simplistic elegance and usability comparing to what a bloated mess 3d max is.

I agree having more than 10 + names is somehow better but other than that it’s new system force you to keep track of too many things at once. Outliner is monstrously inconvenient to do so.

At first I was like, oh cool, nested things . That’s before I came to really huge scene with thousands of instances and complicated scene relations. It quickly turns into indecipherable mess with those new collections while I assume they are supposed to be doing opposite.

You can get a simpler version of the actual collection system, check this out -> old_layer_style.blend (809.7 KB)

And there is an addon to simulate the old behavior

Interesting. For me it is the other way around. Large scenes like cities were terrible for me with the old system while they are a lot easier to handle with the new system.


Thanks Eric. That collections panel could be perfectly ok and be an actual improvements over old layers if it has its on/off for “checkbox” . Working in sync with “eye”.

Or better would let you choose to what other things you could sync it with, “camera” “monitor” etc.

And had some color coding indication of something inside a chosen collection be not in sync . still invisible or not render-able , or otherwise if off.

And could be in place of outliner panel.

Dealing with this collection system on your own is tough enough but working in collaboration with other people collections is kind of labyrinth exploring.

Yes having one area of the UI split into boxes corresponding to layers, with a dot in a box if the layer has something in it and the box colored differently if it was selected was not intuitive at all, I could scarcely understand it’s levels of complexity.

I could access my layers without obstructing my view of the whole scenes contents - which I could set to show only the current layer. Now find myself constantly minimizing and maximizing ‘collections’ with seemingly (correct me if I am wrong) no way to only show the layer, or collection, I am working on? Yes I suppose it is more intuitive if you just remove features.

Remember when you could just select an object, press ‘M’ and ‘2’ and it was moved into layer two? Hideous wasn’t it, not remotely intuitive. M for what, move? 2 for what, layer two? I could never remember it.

I much prefer having to create new layers if I need them instead of them already being there, brilliant change. I suppose you have to create them now, because if they already existed they’d clog up the scene tree - which they never did before.

I have since learnt to fix it - when you import a 2.79 file all objects in other layers have ‘visibility in viewports’ disabled. How exactly was I supposed to figure this out? The eye shaped visibility marker on the right, which usually goes from full to empty, e.g. visible hidden, was in the visible shape but greyed out.

How that is intuitive is beyond me. The fact that when I googled it there are multiple youtube videos explaining it would suggest that indeed I am correct - it is not remotely intuitive.

I mean, the problem with the old system was that you could not create new layers at all. 20 is simply not enough for a lot of projects. If you never need more than 20 layers I can see how the old system is better for you but many people need a lot more than 20 layers and the possibility to nest them. Not having unlimited nested layers would be a lot worse than any accessablility advantages a 20 non-nested layers system has to offer.

You could make the old system even more efficient when moving an object to another layer. If there were only two layers you could skip pressing the number after pressing “M”. Pressing “M” would simply move the object to the layer it is currently NOT on.
But of course having only 2 layers would be very bad for a lot of people ( I assume including you).

I agree, though that there should be some indicator for which layer the object is on. Even the collection of the active object displayed in the info bar ( or whatever the thing on the bottom is called) would be ok.