Blue Pencil (Legacy)

Sketchpad for Maya

Note:  Blue Pencil 2 is now available for Maya 2017 and newer.


Draw, sketch, paint and animate. Create thumbnails, block shots, track motion curves and review scenes. With Blue Pencil, the creative possibilites are endless.

Plan and communicate ideas quickly. Make notes directly on a work in progress instead of having to do it in a separate place. Sharing is simple since all Blue Pencil data is stored directly in the Maya scene file.


Designed to be easy and intuitive, Blue Pencil provides a familiar toolset with many of the features found in popular paint programs. Drawing tools include the pencil, brush, eraser and eyedropper. Configurable options include color, line thickness, opacity and hardness.


Block out shots with responsive drawing and real-time playback, Blue Pencil removes the need for playblasting. Quickly create new frames with the included auto-key feature, display neighboring frames with the lightbox (onion-skinning) and quickly navigate keyframes with Maya's timeline hotkeys

Blue Pencil makes it easy to adjust the timing of drawings. The keyframes are visible in the timeline/graph editor and can be retimed using the same methods as regular keys. For advanced retiming operations Blue Pencil includes a custom retiming tool.


Blue Pencil layers add an extra level of control to drawing. Animation layers are keyable for drawings that change over time, draw layers are static and display the same drawing on every frame and fill layers display a solid color or imported image.

Layers are flexible and can be added to any camera. They can be hidden, repositioned, above or below, other layers, and easily moved to different cameras.


As a native C++ plugin, Blue Pencil is fast, clean and integrates seamlessly into Maya's dependency graph. It does not require any 3rd party libraries, supporting scripts, hacks, or complex setup steps.

The Blue Pencil node is non-renderable. Drawings are displayed in playblasts if they are visible in the viewport but are not included in rendered images.

Additionally, Blue Pencil provides a robust set of MEL commands allowing for the creation of custom tools and utility scripts or for integration into a production pipeline.

Feature Comparison

General Blue Pencil Maya Grease Pencil
Supported versions Maya 2011+ Maya 2014+
Familiar 2d tools
Independent image resolution
Layer types (draw, animate and image)
Transform Tool
Retiming Tool
Right-click context menu
Drawing data stored in Maya scene file
Multiple drawing tools
Eyedropper tool
Adjustable color and line thickness
Wacom support
Layer manager
Independent layer opacity
Move layers between cameras
Translate, rotate and scale full image
Translate, rotate and scale selected area
Cut, copy and paste selected area
Straight line between points
Add/remove keys
Duplicate previous key
Auto-key Maya 2015+
Lightbox (Onion skinning)
Lightbox color override
Cut/copy/paste keys (current camera)
Cut/copy/paste keys (between cameras)
Cut/copy/paste keys (between layers)
Retime in timeline or graph editor Timeline only
Advanced retiming tool


Blue Pencil may be downloaded and evaluated for free (with some limitations). However, a license must be purchased for continued use.

Note:  Blue Pencil 2 is now available for Maya 2017 and newer.





A complimentary Blue Pencil license is now included with the purchase of Blue Pencil 2.

After purchasing Blue Pencil 2, please use the contact page to send a Blue Pencil license request (including the email address provided when purchasing Blue Pencil 2).