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[Tutorial] Surface Painter – How to install & use

This is installation & usage tutorial for Surface Painter 1.0.0


Installation of Surface Painter is very simple and is the regular installation of addon. Just open Blender, go to Edit -> Preferences -> Addons, click Install and find the .zip archive with the addon. Double click on it and the installation is done.

Enabling Pillow

Surface Painter, like our other addons, is using Pillow library for faster images previews. It is not required, but it’s highly recommended to install this library. You can do that by opening Addons Preferences and clicking ‘Install Pillow’ button

Painting the surfaces

Surface painter is very simple addon, that uses the selected surface type and paints it on the desired area with using the selected color. You can access the addon from the Toolbar or from the Surface Painter panel, though I recommend to use the first option.

To access the Surface Painter tool, press P or select the tool from the toolbar in the object / edit mode (if you don’t see it, press T)

Now, when you’ve accessed the addon, let’s start painting your first surfaces. In this mode selection is done with clicking, and all other operators should work.

Add default cube and add some default material to it, otherwise all settings will paint the whole object. Now, when Surface Painter is enabled, select the desired surface type, palette and color (you can also use your custom color if you wish).

To paint the selected surface on your cube select the cube and press CTRL + LEFT MOUSE BUTTON over the desired face. By default, this area will be limited with the sharp edge with 30 degree angle. Of course you can change this settings, but we’ll get to it in the moment.

The Surface Painter tool is also available via the Surface Painter N-panel. It works the same way, but you first need to activate the operator, by clicking Start Painting!

Paint Modes

There are several paint modes in the addon. By default, you will be using the second one, which is the area limited with the sharp edge. But let’s now get into another limit modes.

Paint single face

This mode is the most basic one, and it simply paints the desired surface on the one selected face. It’s more recommended to use this one in the edit mode, where you can see the wireframes.

Area limited by sharp edges

This mode will paint your surface on the area, limited by the edges with the specified angle (30 degrees by default).

Area limited by material

In this mode, you will replace the selected material with your surface. This mode has two submodes:

When the first one is selected, Surface Painter will replace materials only on the connected faces using the same material.

The other one will replace the whole material slot, that is using the material from the selected face.

Area limited by linked shape

In this mode, Surface Painter will paint the whole subobject within the selected object. So for example, if you have two separate cubes within one Blender object, the addon will paint only one of them.

Painting the whole object

The last mode allows to paint the surface on the entire object. This will remove and replace any other materials, that are used by the selected object.

Paint on Selected

By default, work of the addon is limited to the selected objects. You can always modify your selection set with LMB or expand the selection with Shift + LMB. You can also switch the selection lock off and paint on any accessible Blender object, but the unexpected results may occur, particularly in more complex scenes.

Notice! You will not see this setting in Edit Mode, because you will be painting only on the selection set by default.

Remove Unused Slots

When this option is enabled, the addon will remove the unused materials from your object, when the painting operation is done. It is recommended to keep this on, especially when you are trying to find the best color for your object, and paint the material with dozens of options.

Using Favorites

In Surface Painter, you can store your favorite colors on separate palettes. You can do that two ways – by saving the local favorite, linked only to the selected scene, and by saving the global favorite, that will be reusable in any other Blender project.

To save the favorite color, simply select the color from the palette or pick custom color, and press one of the buttons.

Save to Global Favorites:

Save to Local (Scene) Favorites:

Remove selected favorite (works ONLY for favorites):

Moving favorite colors to another Blender version

What is important feature – your global favorites WILL NOT disappear when you will re-install your addon. You can also easily move them to another Blender version (for example when you switch from 3.1 to 3.2. When you will switch between minor version, eg. 3.1.0 to 3.1.2, you don’t need to take action.

To move your favorite colors palette, you will need to copy the special folder from your addons location into the new one.

Go to your addons location.

Windows users:
C:\Users\{your_username}\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\{blender_version}\scripts\addons

Mac users: /users/{your_username}/library/applicationsupport/blender/{blender_version}/scripts/addons/

Linux users:

Then copy the entire SP_Custom_Palettes folder. Now go to the same directory, but for the newly installed Blender version and paste this folder out there. Your favorites should be now available in your new Blender version.


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I'm the founder of digital.ARCH and all our products. I work with Blender since about 2008, and this time help me to gather a lot of experience with this software