Cannot find Background Images feature to add in a photo in Blender 2.8

Where is it?

  • $\begingroup$ Blender 2.8 is not ready for production or end user testing yet $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ It is back actually in the camera section. $\endgroup$
    – Hitokage
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 20:32

4 Answers 4


Background images are gone in Blender 2.8+, at least in the traditional pre-2.7# sense. The old system was aging and prone to failure as described in the Proposal: Replace background images with Image Empties in 2.8x, and it has been retired due to inherent limitations.

Information was stored as User Interface data, as such if you opened a file without the Load UI option checked they would appear to be missing, when in fact they simply weren't loaded.

Saving the file would then silently erase them, without warning or explicit user intervention leading to permanent data loss.

They were also hard to manipulate and had duplicate functionality, having thus been replaced by more modern and robust solutions.


  1. Either use them as Empties like you could before, if you are using them as reference images to model over. This allows for greater control of size, position and display options.

  2. Use them in the newly added Camera Background feature, if your goal is aligning a camera to an existing photo or matching perspectives, for later compositing a 3D scene over existing footage.

  3. Import them as planes using the Import Images as Planes addon like in previous versions


You can now add most background images in Blender from a dedicated entry in the 3D View > Add > Image menu.

enter image description here

Three options are available if you manually activate the Import Images as Planes addon from Edit > User Preferences > Add-ons > Import Images as Planes). Background and Reference Images are basically different presets for the same underlying tool.

  1. Reference - Act as regular objects, visible from both sides, non renderable

enter image description here

  1. Background - Can be set to display always in front or background, non renderable

enter image description here

  1. Image Plane - Actual renderable mesh with geometry and a material

You can control visibility settings from the Properties Window, like making it visible only for orthographic views, display always in front, adjust transparency and control backface culling for empty based solutions.

You can also use them from the new Camera Background feature, available in the Properties Window > Object Data > Background Images for any currently selected Camera object.

enter image description here

If you require a background image (other than an Image as Plane) to be visible in your render, either set it up a world shader, use a Spherical HDR as an environment map, images as planes for actual geometry, or render with a transparent background and overlay the result over your image through post processing using either the Blender Compositor or any external image editor.


Now Blender uses Empties to Add Images as Backgrounds

Go to the Orthographic View in which you want to add the background image(Top,Front, Side etc)

In the Object mode you can go Shift + A and Select Image

Adding Images as background[1]

Now select Background and it will open the file browser so you can chose your Background Image from Files.

Now switch to the next orthographic view (i.e.: Front, Back, Right, etc) and repeat the process and this time select Image which is appropriate for for selected view.

These Background Images are only view-able in Orthographic Mode and could be scaled, moved and rotated according to your taste.

The section below has been merged from the @l0lock comment:

And don't forget to uncheck "display perspective":

enter image description here


Press Shift + A go down to Image.

You can also do it on the camera by selecting it and adding a background image, or adding image as plane (must turn it on first) or add node with image.


If you go to any orthographic view then press Shift + A > Image and add a Background (not Reference) image to your viewport, that image sticks to that ortho view only, just like the old system.

You can make a collection to store all of them. Also remember that it is the Background not the Reference one you are looking for.


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