Learning texture painting mask with the help of Blender official User Manual... nah... just kidding ;-)

In the Texture Paint mode, "painting slots" are displayed in the tool shelf of the 3D editor (1). Entries seems to be images (3) associated with material textures (2), provided they have a UV mapping associated with.

If this is the case, is there a reason for having them listed at two locations under two different names?

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I see a possibility to associate a different painting mask to each "painting slot" (masking is actually the topic I'm trying to understand). But as it would be possible to have this mask defined in the Property editor without adding another concept, I'm a bit perplexed...

Using 2.79.

I've read this page, but it doesn't help for this question.

  • $\begingroup$ Paint slots are not datablocks listed in the Properties editor > Materials tab. There can be one material listed in the Properties editor. But there can be multiple paint slots listed in the Toolshelf for that material. In other words, paint slots correspond to image textures you have in one material. But you can have multiple textures for one material, as well as multiple materials with multiple textures for each of them $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Jul 20, 2018 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ @MrZak. Thanks. I think this is what Craig wrote in the first paragraph of his answer. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jul 21, 2018 at 8:22

1 Answer 1


A texture painting slot is how you can control which is the active target for paint without having the node editor open to hunt and find that corresponding image node to click it to make it active, nor having to find the corresponding texture in the material texture properties.

The origin of the texture slot panel was actually a GSOC adaptation of the Texture Paint Layer add-on that offered similar functionality in the N Panel, and it also gave the ability to not need the properties editor to be open to determine which image texture was to be the target.

Masking is much more than the Stencil type that is normally used between image textures, and the actual mask tool is very powerful and I have explored it a few times on my youtube channel. You can utilize a different UV projection for masking, or you can use the same as the existing UV mapping for the target image.

  • $\begingroup$ Ok, that makes sense. After a few exercises, the slots benefit is obvious. One more question... what do you mean here when you say: "There is more than just that..."? While I've not doubt I'll see more in the video linked to your answer, I don't get the difference between the painted mask at the beginning and the mask loaded from the file (women face). Nice channel by the way, thanks for sharing your skills. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jul 22, 2018 at 9:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "More than just that" referred to using more complicated images as masks, and also that you can use different UV mappings that orient based on a different image texture slot already available, or maybe a view projection or even a uv reset that then places all the faces in one place so that the mask exists per face. Any image loaded into the UV Image Editor or into the texture slots can then be called up as a mask to be used to paint through. $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2018 at 23:02

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