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Blender Grease pencil

Posted on August 6, 2011  8 Comments
Filed under Animation, Education

Even if you are a regular Maya, 3dsmax or XSI user, I think you should check out the following videos as I am sure you will be able to find a use for Blender pretty fancy tools.

The first one I want to demonstrate today is the Grease Pencil, a nice feature that allows you to draw on the 3d viewport and write notes but also make quick thumbnails animation! Sorry for the low framerate, I realised it too late but will record an other animation example very soon.

As you will quickly realise, I don’t have much experience with Blender but I keep wanting to discover more, remember Blender is a free software and the developers keep updating it to make it more user friendly. Version 2.5 has integrated a lot of improvements and the software will get better and better from that point.

Towards the end of the first video I am getting a bit lost trying to find how to enable the Audio Scrubbing so feel free to jump to the second add-on video so I can avoid embarrassment ;-)

To Blender experts reading this, how would you go about exporting the grease pencil notes/sketches to a video or even just an image sequence automatically?

So far I have two techniques that are not very user friendly but at least they work and will generate an image sequence which you can import into any 3d or editing software:

1. use a software like IrfanView to take a screenshot automatically every second and manually jump from frame to frame
Quickscreenshots might be an other simple alternative with an incremental saving hotkey CTRL + ALT + w

2. use the Blender Screendump function. Press CTRL + F3, press the + key to increment the file name and press Enter to Save.

[update thanks to Ljoel] Forget about all that exporting nonsense above, the solution is to use the OpenGLviewport capture ;-) Here is where you will find it


8 Responses to “Blender Grease pencil”

  1. leon on August 6th, 2011 19:44

    man looks wicked not sure why maya cannot add a grease pencil, I tried blender years ago, and For me i did not find it user friendly but again that was a while ago, wonder how it is now

  2. Olivier Ladeuix on August 7th, 2011 02:22

    hey Leon, well that’s what happen when companies get too big, they don’t have the “fire” anymore which is why the users should always see what else is out there. Same for me, I tried Blender before 2.5 and wasn’t impressed but 2.5 has addressed a lot of issues. Some tools like the Grease pencil, animSculpt, the Multires sculpting feature, the compositor, the game engine have no equivalent in Maya and make it a very serious contender to all commercial 3d softwares. I am not jumping ship yet but I keep trying it.

  3. Adhi Hargo on August 8th, 2011 04:30

    The easiest way to export the whole 3D viewport, including all grease pencil annotation, is by clicking the rightmost button in the viewport’s menu (with clapperboard icon and “OpenGL render active viewport” tooltip). The result shares some settings with regular render in the Properties window -> Render tab.

  4. Olivier Ladeuix on August 8th, 2011 05:33

    thanks Adhi, I already added an update at the end of the original post. Cheers!

  5. Tim Sormin on August 8th, 2011 05:56

    This is an awesome feature of Blender. Jason Schleifer made a rough grease pencil tool for Maya years ago and someone (username rbublitz) took it a step further and turned it into China Marker available on creative crash.–3
    It’s a bit clunky, but it’s possible to get the same workflow out of it.

    Note: if you try it out and you can’t get anything to draw, it might be because the invisible NURBS plane that it creates to draw on is way too small – weird quirks like that are things that make me wish Autodesk would create and official grease pencil feature.

  6. Olivier Ladeuix on October 8th, 2011 19:15

    well well well…. Today I had to do some planning work and used Blender to write some notes over my video then realized that the “OpenGL render active viewport” doesn’t capture the background video!!! Dam, how useless!…. if only 3d application programmers listened to animators…

  7. Pablo on September 23rd, 2012 05:03

    Don´t worry, you can set a super fast and shadeless image plane mapped with your video or image sequence, I will render on the playblast. I´m not sure but I think then you can use the same video (already on blender as a texture) to render the sound at the sequence editor. Or use the same method, maybe you should also try the sound objects. :) Thanx for the video, it was helpful!

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