Layered Painting in Blender 2.72

Posted by Aidy Burrows on August 22nd, 2014 | Comments (27)

One of the most underrated parts of Blender has undergone a huge improvement! Grab a build here

Helping to demonstrate this improvement we have a great new tutorial on how to 3D paint a simple toon style cactus prop.


Now I say simple, but this is something that is surprisingly difficult to achieve.

Layered painting is not something we’ve seen done too often as it’s historically been a little tricky to setup. The new Blender 2.72 paint slots update makes painting with alpha layers a lot more straightforward.

Also check out the new Fill brush, color palettes, gradients and more besides!

The completed cactus blend file with paint layers all setup and images packed can be downloaded here, the PSD while packed into the blend can also be downloaded separately here

 Layered Painting Blender 2.72

If you liked that, why not try this >

Game Dev #2 : 5 Blender Viewport Tips

  • Marc Clint Dion

    Wow, this is an excellent video to showcase what Texture Paint can now do. Thank you.

    • Aidy Burrows

      You’re welcome! We’re hoping to bring many more! – Aidy 🙂

  • Spirou4D

    Dear Aldy Burrows,

    Your tutorial is excellent! That’s a long time ago I search this kind of tutorial and now Blender 2.72 can help us to paint very well with the job of Antony Riakiotakis. I love your tip to create stencil! +1

    I have a remark: how many time do you must save each image (lol)? I want a save button for all open images because I have horror to lose my job and my time! You understand me, I mean!

    Bye bye Spirou4D from France

    • Aidy Burrows

      Thanks Spirou4D! You are very welcome, Martin has done a great job putting this video together, and of course Mr Riakiotakis has knocked it out of the park once more with these awesome tools!!!

      As he mentions in his comment there is in fact a ‘save all edited’ option that can be found in the externals section of the toolshelf. That should really help things along with that! 🙂

      – Aidy.

  • Psy-Fi

    Nice tutorial and glad to see the tools in action! This is already a bit dated, display should now be correct with transparent images on viewport even on solid or textured mode. Material display mode is exactly like GLSL textured and the GLSL option doesn’t influence it. There is also a way to save all images at once (“Save all edited” in the externals panel) but you need to have saved generated images at least once.

    • Aidy Burrows

      Hi Psy-Fi! Glad you liked it! And again thanks for the awesome development you’ve put into this, it truly is a standout feature! Regarding the display, this has been checked in a most recent daily build and the slight artifacting still seems to remain as in the video, is this something that is better checked in a graphicall build perhaps? Thanks for the ‘save all edited’ tip! Also, the Material display viewport type i’m not clear on what this is for when it seems to be a duplication of the GLSL mode. Is the GLSL mode destined to be moved from there or is this just convenience of adding useful aspects in multiple places to allow for different types of workflow? Anyway, thanks again, fantastic work all round! – Aidy. 🙂

  • James Sky

    Way to go CGmasters for putting out so many great tutorials lately! I’m really loving the quality of these tutorials; very in depth, always thorough yet succinct, and this tutorial is no exception! I look forward to the future of this site and these – if I do say so – splendiforous tutorials 🙂

    • Aidy Burrows

      That’s very cool that you think that James!! 😀 Thanks so much for the encouragement. We’ll definitely be keeping it up, there’s a whole lot more lined up! – Aidy. 🙂

  • Byron Kindig

    Thanks so much for this great in depth tutorial.

    • Aidy Burrows

      Thanks, glad you liked it! – Aidy 🙂

  • Thiago Kolb

    upload start file .blend


    • Aidy Burrows

      We will be uploading that very shortly! – Aidy 🙂

  • Rai

    How would i go about using this to do the projection paint and quick edit option in the clone brush?

    • Aidy Burrows

      By quick edit, do you mean the quick edit option to edit in an external application? In which case before pressing the quick edit button you’ll need to set the material to transparent (with an alpha of zero) and we’ll drive the alpha from the relevant texture instead so have it influence the alpha as well as the diffuse. Then turn all the other layers off before doing the quick edit.

      Hope that makes sense. I guess it’s a bit hacky at the moment, i’m not sure it’s really setup for that sort of workflow yet. It would be great to include that level of interaction with it though. 🙂 – Aidy.

      • rai

        thanks it worked 🙂

        • Aidy Burrows

          awesome! – Aidy 😀

  • Lois Hunt

    Excellent tutorial, love how everything is explained in depth, thank you so much!

  • Darren Cook

    I am unable to repeat these steps using Blender 2.72b. Switching to Texture Paint mode does not seem to create a new blank material. Ok, no big deal, so I create a new Material myself in the Materials panel on the right.Then I switch to the Texture panel and add a new texture. I see no way to add a new texture, so I go back to the Slots tab on the left and switch the Painting Mode to Image. Somehow I was able to finally create an image in the Slot tab that showed up in the Textures panel on the right. However, even after doing this, there was no check box to switch between the “texture layers”. Anyone have any tips on what I might be doing wrong?

    • Aidy Burrows

      Thanks for the comment Darren! It looks like the default process is slightly different now, i’ll have to do a little digging to see if the process is planned to change anymore.

      Although a little daunting is does look like the process is slightly more explanatory for most cases let me walk through what happens for me now.

      From a new file (using blender internal), with the default cube selected in the viewport I switch to texture paint mode.

      In the toolshelf I get 2 warnings and options to sort this out, first thing is it needs uv’s so if you haven’t got any you could just use the add simple uv’s button next to the warning. First problem solved.

      Second warning is to do with not having any texture slots. There’s also an ‘add paint slot’ button to fix that too. I’m going to paint a diffuse color so i’ll choose that slot from the menu.

      Now i’m ready to paint in the 3d view!!!

      Having a look in the image editor shows the image hasn’t shown there yet, you can either double tap the tab key to jolt it into place or just select it from the drop down using the image icon next to where it asks for a new image or open an image in the footer of the image/uv editor window.

      I can then switch from view to paint if i like and paint in there too.

      Hope that helps!!! Hopefully the rest of the video helps clear up any other issues! 🙂 Aidy.

      • Darren Cook

        Thank you very much for the response! Unfortunately, I still have not had time to sit down and revisit this workflow as I have been tied up with other obligations. I will be forced to get back to it soon, though, and I really appreciate your help with this.

  • johantri

    is there any workaround to convert all the paint slot images into .psd / .xcf and vice versa?

    • Aidy Burrows

      I’m sure someone would be able to script this making use of the link potentially already established in the ‘image editor’ in the file tab of the user preferences. Currently though if you have begun in Blender and painted a whole load of stacked images (and then saved them all in one go using ‘save all images’ in the Slots tab of the Toolshelf), I would be tempted to just open one of the images (using Gimp as an example) and then select File > Open as layers and then shift select all the other saved layers and then you’re pretty much there.

      Going the other way Gimp > Blender as separate images I guess you could set some sort of batch operation to save them all out. (That may take a little googling though)

      🙂 Aidy

  • Prince Saa`i`D Yohannes

    Hi sir I can not do the mask paint part of your video. I try to turn on the mask after i select everythign but when i go back to texture paint mode the line are not there likein your video. Now if i have nothing selected in edit mode all the lines are there which does me no good because it still will not let me paint. Very frustrating how many hicups i have had on this part so far i have not painted anythign but the base mesh. here is a link with my workflow

    • Prince Saa`i`D Yohannes

      Just found out that your version does not have the same as the new version it has now changed and you can not paint with the lines on there anymore.

      • Aidy Burrows

        aha! Yes I see what you mean, something has changed there hasn’t it?

        We have a few tutorials coming out on texture painting within Blender coming soon. Hopefully these sorts of things if not covered can be added to help!

        To be able to paint and see the wireframe at the same time in recent blender builds, you would need to set things up like in this picture…..

        Reading from left to right you can see that…
        The mask isn’t on.

        The viewport properties sidebar display setting is not set to ‘only render’
        I’ve switched off the display of the grid and the axis lines.

        And the most important bit on the right is setting the display to show the ‘wire’ and ‘Draw all edges’.

        Hope that helps! 🙂 Aidy.

        • Prince Saa`i`D Yohannes

          Thank you sir. I am new to texture painting and I am very bad at drawing. It seems you need to have a na ground in digital art to make things look decent with texture paint is this true?

        • Aidy Burrows


          On a 2d canvas you will need to render form, light, perspective and texture in your painting, in 3d if you’re painting a 3d model then the first 3 things on that list there are kind of done for you so I think you’ll have a great head start in creating some cool stuff in 3d!

          Hope that helps! 🙂 Aidy.