Blender 2.50 new feature: Grease pencil can draw on object surfaces

One of the coolest features of Blender for team work or reviewing projects is Grease pencil, which allows us to add small notes or draw on the 3d view, and highlight parts of the project for review. The downside of the tool is that all notes and lines added with the Grease Pencil were only aligned with the 3d view. If we rotate the view or change the camera, all notes and drawings became useless due to the fact that they work only for a single point of view.

An upgrade made to the Grease Pencil tool in the last commits to the Blender 2.50 development, add the possibility to change that. Now, we can draw and add notes aligned with the 3d surfaces of an object. If we select the Grease Pencil and choose an option called surface and start to draw close to a 3d model, all lines will be created aligned to the face. The tool now can use the 3d depth of the scene to correctly create 3d notes.

Here is a video that shows a small demo of this new feature, created by Campbell Barton and posted a few days ago. He explains and demonstrates how to use this new feature.

An important thing to remember is that we don`t have this feature in the Blender 2.50 Alpha 0 release. You must use a newer version to be able to use this feature in Grease pencil. I just got a build based on the rev 25797 and it already has the upgraded Grease Pencil.

I don`t have to say how important this tool is for architectural modeling and scenario design, because of the easiness to add notes inside the model to remember details or changes required for the project. Without this new feature, we would have to add a grease pencil layer for each camera or view, and turn on and off each layer to review each part of the 3d model.

In a world strongly based on offshoring, it will allow team members based on different countries or cities to change information about a project without the need to add lots of grease pencil layers, for each camera or view.

And, the last benefit will be in the educational field, where teachers and instructors will be able to review all student projects directly on the Blender file.

Blender 3D Architect Pro


  • Jasper

    This is so cool !
    I hope you can also put it in your render as a kind of stamp-layer!?

  • Moris

    I love the grease pencil, and this new functionality sounds great.
    I do have one problem with grease pencil though. You can’t render it out. In my case (as an animation director) I was viewing animations as quicktimes in the sequence editor. I was commenting, drawing directional arrows, and what not, only to then discover I couldn’t output what I did as a quicktime, still, or rendered frames for the animator to see.
    Adding this would expand the functionality of the grease pencil.

  • Benjamin Bailey

    Awesome! I just got a new build from GraphicAll (I think it was 25788,) but I may try out a >25797 version soon, to try this out. 😀

  • Viralata

    To Moris:
    What you can do is export the grease pencil to a curve with the button “convert to …” and then choose “active layer to Bezier”.
    Then you just draw a small bezier circle, and use it as bevobj for the “grease” curve. You can also put a material with no shadow, and here we are.

    Anyway, I’m so happy with this feature I was waiting for for a long time.

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