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I am normally using Cycles to render large quantities of images and I'm getting the depth-values by linking the depth-output of the renderLayer-node to the alpha-input of the Composite Node. I then usually save them to openEXR. Since I am stuck on much worse hardware, I would like to debug my program with the workbench-engine in the foreseeable future, but the render node in workbench does not have a depth-output. Is there any way to get those values in Workbench too?

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Im afraid it's not possible without modifications. As stated in the manual, the workbench purpose is to provide a fast visual output for animators.

The Workbench Engine is a render engine optimized for fast rendering during modeling and animation preview. It is not intended to be a render engine that will render final images for a project. Its primary task is to display a scene in the 3D Viewport when it is being worked on.

The only options you have is to use the regular viewport color, metallic and roughness value or any of the display methods to show random, object or vertex color . Since those can not be filled with a map (to be used with a view dependent gradient to simulate a z-pass) you have not much options. The only rough approximation possible, would be to use vertex paint, paint the distance into a gradient and render this in workbench, with vertex paint mode on. But that is dependent on mesh density and also not dynamic.

You can however define a render in cycles or eevee, without any lights or shaders evaluated and just render the depth, this should be very fast, and deliver the result you are looking for !

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  • $\begingroup$ "vertex paint" Hmm. Wonder if there'd be some way to vertex weight prox (camera)->data transfer VC to get a depth map in VC (which can be rendered directly in WB without vertex paint via rendering settings). Not really dependent on vertex density, since depth interpolates linearly across vertices (faces are flat). But personally, I can't imagine why I'd go to such trouble, when it would be so much easier to get a depth map out of Eevee. $\endgroup$
    – Nathan
    Mar 2 at 0:53

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