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I'm learning how to separate renders into layers, which are then combined in the Compositor. However, in researching the literature I see references to View Layers and Render Layers. It seems they might be the same thing, but I'm not sure. Are they? If not, what's the difference? Thanks. Blender 3.1.2, Windows 11.

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    $\begingroup$ Is "View Layers" not the new name of the former "Render Layers" (of 2.7)? It looks like "Render Layers" are still used for the Compositor though $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 15:01
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    $\begingroup$ Hi :). Yes they are the same thing, although the naming isn't consistent in the UI :)) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the responses. I used to create UIs and write software documentation and using different names for the same thing is a big no-no, but Blender is an evolving product, so there you go. :) $\endgroup$
    – WilburPost
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ @moonboots, you should make your comment a question so WilburPost can be solved on this. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 15:25

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View Layers are the new name of the former Render Layers of 2.7.

The way you use the Compositor is now different, you need to create several view layers, activate or deactivate the visibility of your collections in each view layer, render with Film > Transparency, and at last in the Compositor load your view layers in some Render Layers nodes and mix them with some Alpha Over nodes.

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Here's the version 2.79 manual page for Render Layers. It says

Render layers allow you to render your scene in separate layers, usually with the intension of compositing them back together afterwards.

Here's the version 2.80 manual page for View Layers. It says

Renders can be separated into layers, to composite them back together afterwards.

One could simply say that View Layers are simply a renaming of Render Layers; but there is a bit more to it than that. Render layers were part of a system that had an actual set of layers that one chose from to select what was included in the compositor:

layer panel with layers highlighted

That layer system was removed in 2.80; Collections were introduced and the way to specify what was included in a particular render changed from selecting layers with the toggle switches to enabling layers in the new layer panel.

So not only the name changed, but the way of utilizing the layers changed.

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