Fake-bpy-module

Code autocomplete greatly simplifies writing scripts or developing add-ons for Blender. One of the best autocomplete modules for today is developed by Nutti. Last updated 20190718.

The project is hosted on the author’s GitHub: https://github.com/nutti/fake-bpy-module

The modules are distributed via pip or as a pre-generated-modules. Author also provides a module generator with which you can assemble autocomplete modules yourself.

Decorators for node tree updation delay

When we create a field on the add-on interface panel, the value of which changes something in the node tree, each time the user changes the field value the node tree recompiles. If the user changes the value in that field by holding and moving the mouse, too frequent node tree recompilation will cause Blender to hangs.

This problem can be solved using decorators for deferred updating of the node tree.

Code by Skarn.

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Class for creating nodes by type

Class for quick node creation by their type.

Code by Skarn.

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Changing objects visibility in the viewport and while rendering

The easiest way to hide and show rendering objects is to assign animation keys to them. To do this, move the cursor over the eye icon (visibility in the viewport) or camera (visibility when rendering) in the Outliner window, press the “i” key and then manage the created condition in the Graph Editor like the ordinary animation keys.

But this method is not always available. For example, we cannot assign visibility animation keys for collections, Blender will generate errors like:

“hide_viewport” property cannot be animated

or

“hide_render” property can not be animated

However, using the Blender Python API, we can control the visibility of such objects.

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Blender autocomplete modules

Nutti, the author of the “fake-bpy-modules” project, has made the installation of the Blender Python API autocomplete modules through the pip platform. Pip installation is faster and easier, but sometimes we just need to copy the autocomplete modules to our project but now they are not included in the Nutti’s GitHub.

Copies of the autocomplete modules for Blender versions 2.79 and 2.80 can be downloaded directly from here: https://github.com/Korchy/blender_autocomplete

 

How to get global vertex coordinates

To get the vertex coordinates in the scene global coordinate system when the object’s scale was not applied, we need to multiply the local vertex coordinates by the object world transformation matrix:

Add-on preferences panel

When developing add-ons it is often necessary to give an ability to set a number of parameters that affect the whole add-on work to the user. For example, the user can specify a directory for saving/loading files, set some default variables or switch between add-on modes. Of course, the interface for setting such parameters can be placed in the add-on panel, but it is better to place it in a separate add-on preferences panel, which is located in the “Preferences” window under the add-on installation panel.

The main advantage of the add-on preferences is that they don’t reset when Blender restarts. The user does not need to configure the add-on preferences each time, it’s enough to set the necessary parameters once, personalizing the add-on for convenient work.

Let’s create an add-on and define a parameter, placing it in the add-on preferences panel.

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How to check what version of Python interpreter is used in Blender

To find what Python interpreter version is used in current Blender version type the following commands in Python Console window in Blender:

It means that the version of Python used in Blender is 3.7.0.

To make it more readable type the following command:

or with full info:

Porting add-on from Blender 2.7 to Blender 2.8

In the latest version 2.8 of Blender developers have made many changes in API, so all the scripts and add-ons written for earlier Blender versions (2.7 and below) have stopped working. To run your add-ons in the new Blender 2.8, you need to port them – correct their code to work properly with the new Blender API.

To enable your add-on in Blender 2.80 you have to make the following changes in code:

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Using Microsoft Visual Studio Code as external IDE for writing Blender scripts/add-ons

Blender has its own built-in text editor for writing scripts and add-ons, but it’s much convenient to develop them in external IDEs that provide the user with more features such as autocomplete, syntax highlighting, integration with version control systems and other tools that make development faster and easier.

One of these IDEs is Visual Studio Code from Microsoft. This is a free universal environment that supports development with various programming languages, including the Blender API language – Python.

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Learning loops

In general, the “loop” is usually a sequential selection of several points, edges or polygons of a mesh.

However, there is an element in the mesh structure, which is also called a “loop”. It is a combination of one vertex with one edge of the mesh. Let’s try to learn what these “loops” are for.

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How to pass command line arguments to a Blender python script or add-on

When starting Blender from the console it processes all parameters passed through the command line. However, some scripts and add-ons for proper work may require specifying their unique command line arguments. If you specify such additional parameters in the command line, Blender will also try to process them, which is likely to result in an error. Blender provides a special way to exclude such arguments from own processing.

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Creating radio buttons in the Blender add-ons interface

State switches so-called “radio buttons” are used in the case to limit the choice by one value from several available ones. There are a lot of such buttons in the Blender interface, for example, switching between RGB and BW rendering modes or setting the texture mapping mode. Such buttons can be created in the Blender add-ons interface too.

Let’s create our own radio button switcher.

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How to programmatically check if the operator is registered in Blender API

Single add-on or script can contain several different operators, and not all of them may be registered in the API by the register() function. To verify that the required operator is registered in the Blender API, run the following command:

Where:

_operator_bl_idname_ – the text value of the bl_idname operator property.

For example for an operator:

the command will look like this:

 

How to programmatically check if the Blender add-on is registered

To start working every Blender add-on must be registered by setting up the checkbox before add-on name in the User Preferences window – Add-ons page.

To programmatically find out if the required add-on is registered, run the following command:

Where:

add-on_name – the name of the add-on file (without the .py extension) or the name of the add-on package, if it was installed from the package.

How to install and uninstall Blender add-on via python API

Blender add-ons installation and uninstallation can be managed through the python API. Use the following commands in a script:

To deactivate the add-on:

To uninstall the add-on:

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Mesh Custom Properties editing through the Blender API

New mesh Custom Property can be created through the Blender python API by executing the following code:

with:

  • object_name – name of the mesh
  • property_name – new custom property name
  • property_value – value of this new property

After executing this command, the new property will be created and will be available in the Properties window – Object panel – Custom Properties sub-panel.

Like any object custom properties, the created property has a number of parameters that can be accessed by clicking the Edit button. These parameters can also be changed through the API.

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Working with UV-Maps through the Blender API

Active (selected) UV-Map:

Access to the active UV-Map by its name:

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Creating pop-up panels with user UI in Blender add-on

In addition to common panels (N/T/Properties) and their sub-panels, to display the user interface elements while developing Blender add-ons you can also use pop-up panels appearing on the screen when a user presses a certain key combination or perform any action. The simplest example of such panels is the panel that appears when the f6 key is pressed immediately after adding an object (shift+a) to the scene.

Blender API provides developers the ability to create such panels for their add-ons. Let’s consider the creating of a pop-up panel as an example of the “Message box” window.

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Active objects access

How to access the active (selected) objects through the Blender Python API from scripts/add-ons:

  1. The active window (in which current action occurs):

  1. The active scene:

  1. The active (selected) mesh:

  1. The active (selected) material node (in the NODE_EDITOR window):

  1. The active (selected) material node (in the COMPOSITING window):

  1. The current text in TEXT_EDITOR window:

  1. The active (selected) UV-Map:

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Working with MySQL database from Blender

Storing data in a remote database has become common practice in the development of software products. Blender is no exception. Writing scripts and add-ons, the developer may need to access the database to retrieve from it or write to it the necessary information. MySQL today is one of the most common and widely available databases and is well suited for working with Blender.

The interaction between Blender and MySQL database through the Blender Python API is not difficult, but it needs some preparation before stating:

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Binding to timeline frames

Sometimes when creating an animation it is necessary to perform some actions according to the timeline or, the same, to the current animation frame number. Binding animation to timeline frames in Blender is possible using the built-in Python API.

As an example, let’s make a simple animation which turns one of the letters of any text from lowercase to uppercase in series.

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Deleting nodes from compositing via script

To clear compositing window (completely remove all nodes from it), run the following code: