Blue Pencil 2.0
Under the hood of Blue Pencil 2.0 is an updated drawing engine that takes advantage of Viewport 2.0 and the new drawing APIs that were first released with Maya 2014. Along with full VP 2.0 OpenGL support, the updated engine includes a number of performance updates and enhancements available using the new APIs.
All of the tools and advanced features found in earlier versions of Blue Pencil are included in the 2.0 release. And, the changes to the underlying engine will provide the foundation for new features that are planned for upcoming 2.x releases.
Because of the considerable number of API changes in Maya 2014, and the limited use of VP 2.0 prior to Maya 2014, Blue Pencil 2.0 is only available for Maya 2014 and newer. For earlier versions of Maya, updates and bug fixes will be applied to the Blue Pencil 1.5 branch.
Blue Pencil 1.5
The Blue Pencil 1.5 release is a mix of new features and streamlined workflows. At the heart of 1.5 is a new layering system that allows users to create and manage multiple layers.
Blue Pencil 1.5 introduces three new layer types (animation, draw and fill). The animation layer provides keyframed drawings, the draw layer is a single drawing that is always displayed (e.g. tracking arcs) and the fill layer displays a solid color or imported image. Layers can be created, deleted, hidden and reordered as needed.
- In a multi-character shot, an animation layer is created for each character allowing for separate drawings and timings.
- A supervisor creates a separate layer to make notes without altering the drawings and notes of the artist.
The Layer Manager provides independent control over each layer and its properties. Layers can be created, deleted, selected, hidden, reordered, and moved between cameras, from a single interface.
Each layer has a set of properties determined by its type. Common to all layers are name, camera and visibility. The Layer Properties dialog allows for modification of these properties and eliminates the Active Camera dialog that existed in 1.0.
The Toolbox has been streamlined with the removal of the Draw button. The draw context is activated by simply clicking a tool. With the new layer system and Layer Manager, the FG and BG buttons were no longer necessary and lightbox options can now be accessed through the right-click context menu.
Viewport Context Menu
A new viewport context menu is available when the Blue Pencil draw tool (context) is active. This menu provides layer switching and quick access to the Blue Pencil toolset from within the viewport.
Blue Pencil 1.5 provides a more customizable environment. The Preferences dialog allows users to change the default layer properties and modify the drawing behaviors.
Blue Pencil 1.5 includes a demo mode that allows users to experience many of the features available in this powerful plug-in. The plug-in defaults to demo mode when a license is not installed.