Using app templates to boost productivity
Making video tutorials? Juggling multiple projects? Ever wanted to switch between different Blender setups without having to remember what preferences to flip every time? Application templates allow you to save Blender configurations and easily swap between them.
This includes different startup files, addons and even splash screens. App templates can also run custom Python code when switching to the template and when changing away from it.
We can pick an application template when we start Blender, through the splash screen or the
File > New submenu. Blender already comes with some app templates of its own, but the real power is always in suiting Blender to your own workflow.
App templates are very useful while working on projects for different clients, and a must-have when recording video tutorials. They are also a great way to test your addons in a pristine environment.
Making an app template
Ready to make your first app template? These guys live close to the addons folder, which will be different depending on your os.
|Windows||C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.83\startup\bl_app_templates_user|
If you have never added an app template, you might have to make the
bl_app_templates_user folder. Make a new folder for the app template, its name will be the name of the template. If you need to add a space between words use the
_ to separate words,
like_this. These are the files that go inside:
|startup.blend||The base blend file for this template|
|userpref.blend||Default preferences for the template.|
|splash.png, splash_2x.png||Splash screen. Must be 501×250 and 1002×500 (for HiDPI monitors)|
|__init__.py||A Python script with register and unregister functions.|
The last three items are optional.
config folder to the new app template folder. Open
startup.blend, change it to your liking and save. Close and re-open Blender, now if you switch to your app template (
File > New > My_template) you should see the same blend you saved.
Note that the startup and userpref files are the default, or “factory” settings. If you save preferences or a custom startup with the app template loaded they will be saved as user preferences in your config folder.
The configuration folder for each app template is in:
|Windows||C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.83\config[app_template_name]|
This also means the when you save preferences, those changes won’t be saved to the
userpref.blend in the app template folder but to app template config instead. If you want to change the Factory Defaults for the app template you can replace the
userpref.blend in the app template folder with the one from config. The benefit of setting factory defaults is that you can keep certain settings even if you need to reset the preferences.
App templates have one limitation when it comes to preferences. Most settings are shared between app templates. The preferences that can be saved in an app template are: Themes, Add-ons, Keymaps and Viewport lighting. If you want to change a different setting for a specific template you will have to do it the Python way. This involves disabling the preferences autosaving and then changing the option. It’s very important to disable auto saving, otherwise loading a template would change that setting for others.
As an example, here’s the script I use for my video tutorials template. I change the UI scale so it’s more visible in screencasts.
import bpy def register(): prefs = bpy.context.preferences prefs.use_preferences_save = False prefs.view.ui_scale = 1.13 def unregister(): pass
Don’t forget that app templates can saved, zipped and re-installed from a zip. So you can carry them around with you, keep backups or even share them! You can find more examples in the manual.
If you want to see my video app template in action, check out this quick tip video.
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