Articles -> Blender: Dynamic Paint Basics

Blender: Dynamic Paint Basics

Creation date: 2010-8-4
Last update: 2011-8-26

Dynamic Paint is a new Blender tool available in versions 2.61 and later. It allows you to use meshes and particles as "brushes" to paint on other objects.

This tutorial shows step-by-step how to set up a simple scene using Dynamic Paint. For a more detailed guide, that explains purpose of all those settings, check my Dynamic Paint Guide.

Check out my blog for more info about Dynamic Paint.

Tutorial contents

1. Initial Setup
2. Canvas
3. Brush
4. Baking
5. Rendering
6. Examples

1. Initial Setup

For this tutorial I have prepared a simple initial scene to begin from.

Download the initial *.blend save.

It has an animated sphere to become a Dynamic Paint brush, and a subdivided Suzanne monkey head to become a canvas.

2. Canvas

First I'm going to set the monkey head to a Dynamic Paint canvas. That makes it receive color from brush objects.

 Canvas Object

Enable Dynamic Paint Canvas

First select the suzanne object. Then go to the "Physics" tab from top of the properties window.

 Physics Tab

Now click "Dynamic Paint". A new "Dynamic Paint" panel will appear below. While "Canvas" selected, click "Add Canvas". This will enable canvas properties for current object.

 Enable Dynamic Paint  Add Canvas Type

Default canvas settings are fine for this tutorial. I will adjust them further in "Baking" section of this tutorial.

3. Brush

Now setup the "Brush" object. In this tutorial it's the sphere.

Select it and add "Dynamic Paint" modifier from "Physics" tab just like before. This time select "Brush" and click "Add Brush"

 Paint Object

Now brush settings are visible. For this tutorial you only have to change brush color.

 Paint Settings.

Click the color selection box and change color to blue. That's all for brush settings.

4. Baking

Now that both brush and canvas have been set you are ready to try it out.

Dynamic Paint is processed real-time as you playback the animation. Click the play icon on the blender timeline or press "Alt + A". You should see blue paint appearing on Suzanne as the sphere touches it.

 Timeline  Suzanne painted

You can also bake canvas, so that current "paint animation" gets saved. To do that, select canvas object and scroll down Dynamic Paint settings until you reach "Dynamic Paint: Cache" panel. Open it and click "Bake".


5. Rendering

To render the result you have to setup a new material that uses vertex colors generated by Dynamic Paint.

Select canvas object and scroll down to "Dynamic Paint: Output" panel. Now click the "+" icon next to "dp_paintmap" box. This will add a new vertex color layer to output canvas results to.

 Add new output layer

Now you have to add a new material that uses those vertex colors.

While canvas object selected, select "Material" tab and add a new material if required.

 Material Tab  Add new material

Now scroll down to material "Options" and select "Vertex Color Paint". This will make material to use vertex colors.

 Enable vertex color rendering

If you render now, you should see paint on canvas mesh. You can also change brush object material to blue. Here is the final render:

Download the finished *.blend save.

6. Examples

Check out some videos of what you can use Dynamic Paint for:

(Comments, questions or discussion about this article.)

Stephen Ashby
Aug-04-2010 15:15
You completely rock! This is an incredibly cool tool!
Aug-05-2010 21:42
So Amazing tool looking forward for more indepth tuts using wetmaps and disp.

Keep it Up!
Aug-06-2010 10:17
wonderful tool

thank you very much and you are genius
Aug-07-2010 22:44
I am new to blender, but thanks to tutorials like yours, i am quickly learning just how powerful an animation tool it is. My goals are to build a game, (of course), but of all the 3d softwares available, Blender seems to be the easiest to learn. and because of Python support, my programming language is chosen for me, no annoying additional skills to learn like with openGL.

This paint build, although the build differs slightly from 2.49, the paint function should allow me to build the pieces, the objects needed to piece together the whole. thanks for the impressive work you've done.

Aug-08-2010 02:00
Wow, this is impressive. I have three recommendations. One, add a way to do alpha for the paint maps, there is a special color wheel in the themes section that might do what I'm talking about. Two, a small tutorial on how to use displacements maps, I use the displacement modifier myself. Lastly, something about what wetmaps are and how to use them.

This is really amazing. Keep up the good work.
Aug-25-2010 20:28
Could the mesh paint modifier be optionally made to generate and update dynamically a vertex group of canvas vertices inside the paint mesh? Oh, please, please, Tell me this is possible!
Aug-27-2010 04:49
Your fantastic! Thank you for this! ;D
chuck norris
Aug-31-2010 13:17
this is the same method to make dirty in smoke simulator ?
Sep-21-2010 18:33

Your work is really impressive. Thank you very much. Keep it up!

Sep-24-2010 01:06
Just dinamically painted wet my pants after testing this.
It SHOULD be on trunk now, you can´t really imagine how impressed I am, now gone to get some dinamic paint towel to clean this dinamic mess :D.
Sep-28-2010 18:47
Very cool stuff.
Would you mind updating tutorial?
I can't seem to get it to work with particles nor can I get the displacements and wetnaps to work.

Your "Just A Cool Paint Test" would make the perfect tutorial. It seems to cover most the process involved.

Oct-22-2010 06:28
Lol eonmach!
pso brazil
Oct-22-2010 13:10
very nice effect! ^^
Oct-22-2010 13:58
Nice feature , which I did not discover jet.

i would, and others too, be pleased, if you could provide a PDF download link for your guides.

thanx in advance

Oct-22-2010 22:28
You got to be kidding!!
Where are you from?
This tool is wonderful...
Listen you do a training material with
this tool and his various application.
and I will be the first to invest in this!!!
This is truly magestic!!! congratulation.
Oct-23-2010 15:01
somebody please help me! I cant find the texture used here. It makes me sad. where do I find that texture?
Chris Clawson
Oct-23-2010 16:22
An important feature, I'd like to try. So far, I haven't been able to make this work. Can you please post a minimum .blend file as an example?
Nov-06-2010 20:59
The tool is great.

With the tutorial though, I found a little problem, which is that it doesn't say that the baking outputs an image sequence that has to be mapped to the UVs or that it is usually located in C:\tmp\ . It took me a while to figure out.
Nov-14-2010 23:19
great work !
is it possible to make the "brushed" Colour emitting light ?
Nov-15-2010 20:49
This is the coolest tool, so many effects in one tool, Its more like a box of tools. Thamks
Nov-18-2010 03:46
I am using the latest build for Mac 64 bit from (Blender 2.55 [33134] w/ Dynamic Paint, OpenMP & Collada (64Bit) ). When I try to bake the paint it will not save the sequence. Has anyone had any luck running on the Mac?

Anyway Dynamic Paint looks like a terrific addition for Blender from the videos. Thanks for the all your efforts.

Feb-06-2011 14:53
Hello, MiikaH, I hope you can help me.
I follow this guide, but whem I press "Bake Dynamic Paint" button, I receive "Bake cancelled" message, and nothing happens.
My system is Ubuntu 10.10, 32bit. I tryed different builds from, but every time I face the same problem.
Also I tryed to change DynamicPaint options, to patch official source, to find discussion of such problem by "google", nothing could help me.
DynamicPaint is a great tool, but I can't use it. Hope you will tell me what to do.
Feb-06-2011 15:08

That sounds strange. Cancellation should happen only when ESC is pressed.

Can you run Blender from command line and check if there is any console output? Also make sure you only have canvas object selected when baking.
Feb-06-2011 15:22
console output is "Baking cancelled", no any more information. Canvas object is selected, paint object is added and animated, unwrap done. ESC button is ok and not pressed. I may show screenshots if needed. Thanks.
Feb-07-2011 09:04

Glad to hear you solved it!

Unfortunately I'm still not sure if it was the build or my code that caused this. :x I checked it up yesterday and couldn't find any real reason for that to happen. Perhaps it was a bug I have accidentally fixed in the latest Dynamic Paint version. :p
Feb-13-2011 08:27
has anyone made a tutorial for the rain one? if not PLZ DO!
gus rosie
Feb-13-2011 08:42
youve got some amazing vids, PLZ PLZ MAKE TUTORIALS
Heitor Lobo
May-08-2011 22:27
When you say you need to open "paint0001.png" as an image sequence, the option to do it as a sequence doesn't appear and the file does'nt seem to exist. Is there anything wrong in what I did? Or is it my version of blender?(I downloaded from this site for the dynamic paint)
Jul-15-2011 04:06
Very Fantastis, thanks :)
Jul-17-2011 07:34
(and don't know where are the bake pictures at with this version??)

i figured it out :D
Joel Godin
Jul-26-2011 21:36
At the 'Render' section, I go to open up a file, but I dont' see options in the panel for 'sequence' or 'file', it just opens up to the baked cache, and there is no .png there, just .bphys files. Am I missing something? Thanks
Aug-09-2011 05:06
Oh and sorry, again, but this turorial is soooo old, it really needs to be updated... Ive got the same problem with everyone else, the paint0001.png or whatever problem....cant seem to actually find the image
Yousef Rifai
Aug-10-2011 11:03
I downloaded Blender 2.58.1 r3097 on Windows Vista 64 bit Blender GSoC Carrot Branch (32-bit + 64-bit). I followed your tutorial but when I go to the physics tab I could not see the Dynamic Paint tab. Kindly help.
Aug-21-2011 19:51
This tutorial is now updated to use the new Dynamic Paint version available on Blender "soc-2011-carrot" branch.
Yousef Rifai
Aug-28-2011 09:43
Fantastic,I downloaded Soc-20110-Carrot and it worked, may thanks. I have been trying to do the dynamic paint + indirect light but could not. Do you have a tutorial for that. I am willing to pay for one.
Nov-17-2011 03:36
Impressive job, would be great to paint in real time textures with 3d mesh brushes, can you do it?
Othman Almanthari
Nov-24-2011 18:52
This is Unbelieveable !!!!!
Dec-03-2011 20:24
Could you give us the blend files to investigate how you did the examples? Would be great.
Jeremiah Zepeda
Dec-19-2011 21:40
i dont seem able to pant on cubes and flat surfaces
Jan-03-2012 20:50
StarStarStarStarDark Star
Шикарно. Осталось придумать, где бы это применить :)
Feb-16-2012 08:54
What settings do you use for exporting?
Jun-23-2013 21:07
Hi Miika, and thanks for all these explanations, I'm having some problems when rendering. For some reason, after baking and all, th epaint won't show up on my model. I have aplied a toon shader to it, but I doubt that is the cause.
Jul-03-2013 19:30
StarStarStarStarDark Star
Hi, thanks for this great tutorial!
Maybe you forgot to add that the canvas obj needs a few multires levels for it to render/appear ;)
Jul-16-2016 16:25
IS this Blender Render or Cycles They are very different for Dynamic Paint.
Aug-04-2017 00:09
can you add the dynamic paint effect options to weight mode.
or can dynamic paint paint create verext groups just like weight option.

that would be awesome.

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By: Miika HämäläinenLast update: Nov-07-2014 14:18MiikaHweb | 2003-2021