In Blender 2.8, the old Grease Pencil feature has been changed to become a separate object type, and a separate mode for drawing and editing. The Grease Pencil object type is designed for 2D animation and illustrations, not note-taking.
However, we still want to keep a simple way to create simple notes and annotations in all our Editors. We call this system Annotation. Here's how we intend to make it work:
The main design goal for the annotation system is for the UI to be very simple and minimal. We don't want to burden users with complex layers and many advanced features while making simple notes. If some users do want that, they can simply use the new GP-objects instead. Think of the Annotation tools as a stripped down, simplified version of the Grease Pencil feature, specifically designed for note taking, without requiring a special object type.
The annotation tools will work as active tools. This kind of tool is exactly the kind of thing active tools was introduced to solve. This way, we can always show the contextually relevant tool settings when a given Annotation tool is active.
As you can see, we can group the Annotation tools in the toolbar like so:
The thickness and orientation will be set in the tool settings, and won't be a layer property. This makes it easier and simpler to use, and for most things users won't even need to use the sidebar.
We may add more Annotation tools, such as rectangles and ovals.
In the Sidebar, we will include a panel called 'Notes'. This replaces the old layers, but is much simpler. This allows users to group different notes, like so:
This will simply allow users to enable/disable various notes.
Annotations will still be able to change over time, so that notes can appear at relevant times in the animation. The keyframes for this can be manipulated in the Dopesheet, just like with the old Grease Pencil feature.
Annotations can be enabled or disabled completely from the Overlays popover.
That's it. For more advanced illustration and drawing, we will recommend users use the Grease Pencil objects instead.