Scripts

Operators for globally hiding objects in all project scenes

To hide an object in the 3D Viewport window for the current scene we use the “object.hide_view_set” operator, which calls when we clicking the icon with an “eye” in the outliner. However, to hide the object in the viewport for all scenes of the project at once (clicking on the icon with the “monitor” image) a special operator is not provided. We can make it ourselves.

 

Compiling a video from a sequence of frames using the FFmpeg codec

Rendering directly to a video file in Blender is not always useful. More often, a sequence (a set) of frames is received after render, which then, for example, after additional post-processing, must be assembled to the final video file.

We can compile a sequence of frames into a video with Blender itself, with the Visual Screen Editor (VSE). Or we can use third-party codecs, for example, FFmpeg.

Objects pointers brokes if undo/redo operation is used

In Blender 2.8x the undo/redo operation system (ctrl+z / ctrl+shift+z) has been completely rebuilt. One of the results of this API change is when the undo operation is performed, all objects in the scene are fully recreated – the current object is destroyed, and a completely new object is created instead. Pointers to the old objects (before the undo operation) now point to invalid objects that can no longer be used.

Global materials override for the Blender EEVEE render engine

Some times we need to make a render of the scene with the single material, for example, for clay or wireframe renders. Blender has the global materials override option for the Cycles render engine in the “View Layer Properties” – “Override” but not for the EEVEE render engine.

Quick materials override for the EEVEE rendering engine can be made with a small script, as shown in the following video:

Script and video by Vitaly Sokol.

Setting operator parameters features

When you make a button in a custom UI to call the operator with passing the necessary parameters to it, pay attention that only the parameters specified explicitly will be sent to the operator. Other operator parameters will remain with default values.

For example, we need to execute the “transform_apply” operator – applying object transformations with applying just the scale.

If we call the operator as follows:

But all transformation (scale, rotation, and position) will still be applied to the object.

How to check the direction of a Bezier curve

The direction of a Bezier curve, visually indicated by its normals slope, can be checked by the indices of its points.

The Bezier curve points indices always ascending in the curve direction.

So, having two points on the curve we can get the direction through their indices:

 

Calling functions by pressing buttons in Blender custom UI

The button click is basically connected with the operator calling in the Blender user interface. However, some times actions, that need to be performed when a button is pressed, are quite simple and do not require a separate operator for them. And it makes no sense to fill a registered operators stack with a multitude of specific operators designed to perform one highly specialized function. It would be much more convenient to associate a button press with a separate function call but the Blender API allows to associate buttons only with an operator call.

To solve the problem of creating a separate operator for each button we can use the fact that the operator can be called with the input parameters.

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.

Class for creating nodes by type

Class for quick node creation by their type.

Code by Skarn.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.