TextureWatch

by Michel's add-ons & more in Scripts and Addons

TextureWatch is a small Blender add-on to automatically synchronize textures used in your .blend file if they change on disk. This simplifies working with external programs like Gimp or Substance Painter because TextureWatch can automatically update those textures when you save your files without the need to go through all images inside Blender one by one and selecting reload. This saves time as well as guarantees consistency.

The full documentation is also provided as a PDF file in the distribution package.


TextureWatch user manual

TextureWatch is a small add-on to automatically synchronize textures used in your .blend file if they change on disk. This simplifies working with external programs like Gimp or Substance Painter because TextureWatch can automatically update those textures when you save your files without the need to go through all images inside Blender one by one and selecting reload. This saves time as well as guarantees consistency.


Changelog


Version

Date

Comments

201807141126

2018-July-20

Initial BlenderMarket release


Installation

First time installation

Installing TextureWatch for the first time is simple:

  • Unpack the .zip file 

you probably already have done that as it contains this document (TextureWatchUsermanual.pdf) and the add-on itself (a Python file, texturewatch.py)

  • Select File → User Preferences ... → Add-ons from the menu

  • Click ‘Install from file …’ (at the bottom of the screen) and select the file texturewatch.py

  • Click ‘Install from file ...’ (at the top right of the screen)

  • Check the enable check box to the left of the add-on you just installed

The add-on will add an Image → Add Texture Watch Entry to the Image menu in the Image/UV-editor.

The TextureWatch management panel will be available as a ‘Texture watch’ tab in the tools region of the Node editor (if the tools are not visible press ctrl-T) and in the Texture options.

Installing a newer version of TextureWatch

If you want to replace a previous version of TextureWatch you have to remove the old version first. To do this, go to File → User preferences … → Add-ons and either search for TextureWatch or go to the ‘Import-Export’ category where it will be located. Click on the add-on and then on the ‘Remove’ button. After removing the old version follow the instructions above to install the new version.

Workflow

If you have enabled the add-on and kept the default configuration any texture in your scene that is not packed will be automatically added to the watchlist and then monitored for changes on disk. There are however several ways to add and remove textures from this list manually.

Adding a texture to the watchlist

If you have an image texture in the UV/Image editor and you want to keep it up to date if it changes on disk all you need to do is select Image → Add Texture watch entry and it will be added to the texture watch panel.

The texture watch will only be enabled if the image texture is not packed and if the texture has at least 1 user or has a fake user.

The texture watch panel itself offers more options to add or remove textures from the list and new textures can be automatically added as well (if enabled, see Automatic addition of entries).

The Texture watch panel

The Texture watch panel can be found in the Toolbar of the Node editor (press Ctrl-T if not visible) and/or in the Texture options, depending on your choices in the add-on preferences.

The panel shows a list of all textures that are currently monitored for changes on disk.

Adding/removing entries

You can add a texture to this list in several ways:

  • by selecting Image → Add Texture Watch Entry from the UV/Image editor

This will add the texture visible in the editor. This menu entry is only enabled  if the texture is not packed and has at least one user or a fake user.

  • by clicking on the  symbol

This will add all textures present that are not packed and have at least one user or a fake user.

You can remove an item:

  • by clicking on the  symbol

This will remove the active watch entry from the list. It will no longer be monitored for changes on disk but it will not be deleted from the scene.

  • by clicking on the X symbol

This will remove all entries from the watch list.

Automatic addition of entries

If the option automatic addition is enabled in the add-on preferences any image texture that is loaded from disk will be automatically added to the watch list and enabled.

Textures that are added automatically will not be added again when removed by hand.

Enabling/disabling entries

Enable/disable a single entry

By checking/unchecking an item in the watch list you can disable the monitoring of on-disk changes without removing the texture from the list entirely.

Enable/disable all entries

All items in the list can be enabled or disabled by clicking the  or   button respectively.

Automatic disabling of entries

Textures that have zero users and no fake user are disabled automatically, as are packed textures and textures that do not have a corresponding file on disk.

If the option automatic delete is enabled in the add-on preferences any entry that is automatically disabled will also be removed from the watch list (but not from the blend file).

Add-on preferences

You can customize the behavior of  TextureWatch with several options in the add-on preferences.

Visible in Node editor

If checked, the Texture watch panel will be available in the Node editor toolbar.

Visible in Texture options

If checked, the Texture watch panel will be available in the Texture properties toolbar.

Automatic addition

If checked, new textures will be added to the list of watched textures automatically. Only textures with at least one user or a fake user will be added, and a texture should not be packed.

Automatic delete

If checked, watched textures that become invalid because they have zero users and no fake user or are packed, will be removed from the list automatically.

Repeat

The number of seconds TextureWatch will wait for a texture to stop changing. If a texture is changing on disk, TextureWatch will check every second if it has stopped changing. If it has stopped changing or it took more than the number of seconds specified with this option, the texture will be reloaded.

The default of 30 seconds is more than enough for most scenarios. Only if you use an external program to edit your textures and writing a single texture takes very long, you might need to increase this value if you don’t see your texture being updated automatically in Blender.

Timeout

The number of seconds TextureWatch will wait before checking for new changes.

You might increase this value if your .blend file contains a very large number of textures and you experience performance issues. 

Trace

If checked a lot of debug information is logged on the console.




When I add a texture from the UV/Image editor, it is disabled immediately, what’s wrong?

Nothing, your texture is probably packed or has zero users and no fake user. Packed images are stored inside your blend file and not on disk so they cannot be changed by an external program. Therefore it makes no sense to watch them. If you have enabled automatic addition in the add-on preferences (on by default) the texture will be enabled as soon as it is unpacked to disk.

Will this work with program X?

If your texture is stored on disk it doesn’t matter which program is used to change the texture. As soon as you save/export your image or texture set to disk, TextureWatch will detect the change and update the texture inside Blender.

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