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Empty image improvements to replace background
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Based on T52668, background images have been largely removed, to use empty-images.

There are some remaining TODO's though, this task is to keep track of those.

Each could be its own task, but not sure it's really needed.

Empty Image Tasks

  • Update Add menu to have options for reference image, background image and image as mesh.
  • Single sided display (to show only in front/back view).
  • Option only to display in ortho axis-view.
  • On adding, align image rotation (and scale?) to current view.
  • Dedicated entry in the Add menu (under sub-menu)
  • On adding, open the file browser (thumbnail view/image filtered)
  • Pivot of the image should be centered (image offset -0.5, -0.5)

Camera Image Tasks

The existing logic for background images has been kept only for camera view.

  • Background option not working (working with the draw manager needs investigation)


To Do

Event Timeline

Closing this task since background images will use image empties (except for camera view)

Re-opening, will use this as TODO for background images.

This comment was removed by -L0Lock-.

On previous Blender versions, with background image enabled, when you drag'n'drop an image file (whether from your OS's file browser or from Blender's Image Editor) to the 3D viewport, it will add this image as background image.

Since background images are going out for 2.8, would it be possible to keep this drag'n'drop import behavior in order to still allow to quickly import images inside the 3D viewport?
(And maybe, if necessary and not dev-expensive, make that we have somehow the choice between importing the image as mesh plane or empty image, i.e. via holding shift to with what's going to be done or open a dialogue box).

Kinda new here, so hope I'm posting this right! :-) Will custom ortho views be supported? (for visibility options) I work on some surfaces that are not xyz aligned in a more complicated model. Plus, maybe align to the current orthographic view and auto set visibility for just that view. If in perspective mode, maybe make a real-time snap to face at cursor? (Probably wouldn't hurt to offset the selection from the cursor if still showing the drag/drop file icon, so that it doesn't obscure the view of the highlighted face.) So perhaps like this:

  • From Perspective View
    • Drag and drop on grid/quad-tri of some object. ->Get planar alignment to grid/quad-tri. View remains unchanged.
    • Drag-Press X, Y, or Z and drop on to grid. ->Get planar alignment to orthoview of matching key axis, plus visibility set to match same orthoview, sets view to that orthoview, previews with x, y, or z line and empty on that plane.
    • Drag-Hold Alt and drop on grid/quad-tri of some object. ->Get planar alignment to grid/quad-tri, creates ortho custom view from that surface, sets view to that newly created custom view.
  • From Ortho View
    • Drag and drop on grid. -> Get planor alignment to current orthoview, plus visibility set to current orthoview. View remains unchanged, unless current view is custom ortho view, then create a new custom ortho view.
    • Drag-Hold Alt and drop on grid/quad-tri of some object. ->Get planar alignment to grid/quad-tri, creates ortho custom view from that surface, sets view to that newly created custom view.


Is there plans to make it possible to have these empty images show up in renders? There doesn't seem to be a task for that. Yes, we can use planes with textures for that, but I think for many cases it'd be much more convenient to be able to make these renderable. Without materials/shadows, of course, in GP style.

Maybe just have an "include in render" checkmark in the image panel with the rest of the options?

@Aleksi Tuomela (aleksi1) we could, but think this is fairly low priority compared to getting viewport options working nicely.

Also, once this is working, users may want materials, or some way to shade then. So unless this is limited to very basic behavior, would avoid rendering then. (You can always OpenGL render them)

@Campbell Barton (campbellbarton) Thanks for the reply! I understand that there's other more urgent things for these image empties, but I just want to emphasize that I think this would be a really good feature for adding graphics to animations, even without shading! In fact when I saw the new add image option and saw how easy the process was, I got really excited because I thought I'd get to use this for my commercial work where we often need to add lots of symbols/icons in the animations :)

I'd say it's logical that these image empties wouldn't have materials/shading in the render, and if you want that you can make a traditional image plane.

Just my little feature request among a thousand others, though :) I know how it is...

I think items 1 and 3 from the Empty Image Tasks are done. The only one missing is "Single sided display", which is imho the only feature missing to make image empties work great as background images.

Brecht Van Lommel (brecht) renamed this task from Empty/Background Images (TODO's) to Empty image improvements to replace background.

I don't know if it is a bug, or just a feature not yet implemented, but video playback on empty or importing as an image on plan does not work.
Should I report a bug?

-L0Lock- added a comment.EditedMar 22 2019, 5:52 PM

On previous versions, background images would remain displayed when entering local view /. In 2.8, image empty get hidden like any other unselected object.

I think it would be nice to have a checkbox option to force display in local view.