I am trying to create an animation with python.

For this I want to keyframe the material slot. So I tried:

matFocus = bpy.data.materials.new(name="matFocus") 

If I execute this, I get:

TypeError: bpy_struct.keyframe_insert() property "material_slots[0].material" not animatable

Background is: I have a scenery with many objects that all share the same material. My animation should highlight (via color) a sequence of objects one after another. So my approach was to assign a "focus-material" to each of them one by one and to keyframe this.

Is there a solution to this?


1 Answer 1


If you cannot keyframe the property from UI, you cannot from python either.

The solution is to have a material assigned to all the object behaving in such a way that its color is not constant but dynamic based on something else. It can be:

  • vertex colors
  • place in UV space
  • object index pass
  • ... (with drivers almost anything, but they don't update always nicely)

Let's use the object index pass, because it is just a single property you can animate, it is unique to each object and you have access to it from the material nodes:

enter image description here

Now if you change it for single object the material on that object will behave differently:

activeObject.pass_index = 1

For Blender Internal the node setup is very similar (switch the material into node material):

enter image description here

There is also another solution available - you can set unique color for every object that is multiplied with the material (to get exactly the color have white material):

enter image description here

You set the color in python this way:

activeObject.color = (1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0)   #RGBA red
  • $\begingroup$ Hooray, this works, thank you! As far as I can see this works with Cycles Render. Do you also have a hint how to achieve this with Blender Render? $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Feb 23, 2019 at 22:25
  • $\begingroup$ Great! Thank you! This also works! It would have taken me years to find out... $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Feb 26, 2019 at 15:30

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