All of the most powerful texturing applications require a color ID map (Substance Designer, Substance Painter, Quixel DDO). I've been using a Maya plugin called Nightshade Blockout to export color maps for use in these programs. Nightshade may be one of the most-used plugins for texture artists abroad, simply because it's referred and linked by those giants.

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I would hope it's as simple as assigning a material color and baking the texture, but it's safe to assume such a map wouldn't come with edge padding (extending the boundaries of each color island by a certain number of pixels, to hide seams during the texturing process).

If there is a Blender workflow/plugin for this, I would love to know about it!

Thanks for reading,


  • $\begingroup$ There is an option (somewhere) for edge padding $\endgroup$ Apr 12 '15 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ Would you like the steps for internal or cycles, they are a bit differnet $\endgroup$ Apr 12 '15 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ edge padding, really? Excellent! Yes, I would love how to know how to do it in cycles please :) $\endgroup$
    – allen
    Apr 12 '15 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ If blender has an edge padding option then that means there's a workflow specifically for this? :D $\endgroup$
    – allen
    Apr 12 '15 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ no not quite... $\endgroup$ Apr 12 '15 at 15:59


You will need to add a special material for each section of color in Color ID map. To create these materials, you need to create an emission shader with a strength of one, and set the color to whatever you desire. Then use the assign option in edit mode to attach it to the face.

enter image description here The material will be applied to all selected faces

Target Image

The way cycles handles the target image to bake to is plain terrible. You will need to add it as an image texture node in the material, and have it selected, you will have to do this for each and every material.

enter image description here Note the orange boarder, the node must be selected


The bake panel in cycles is at the bottom of the render tab.

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Change the bake type to emit. You can then set the margin, which will cause the color to bleed outwards from you UVS in order to stop gaps from forming at the edges.

Now you can hit bake, and you will have you Color ID map.

  • $\begingroup$ Sounds painful, but it works. Thanks for the help :) I'll do this and see if I can come up with a fast workflow. $\endgroup$
    – allen
    Apr 12 '15 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ @allen It may be possible to write a simple script to do this faster, think something down the lines of Photoshop actions, I'm just too clumsy with python and the blender API to pull it off. $\endgroup$ Apr 12 '15 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ I'll try to get something working $\endgroup$ Apr 12 '15 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ If you do keep me updated. I haven't fully grasped Python yet, i'm a Unity game programmer :P But I see the value in Python! And I would love to have a nightshade counterpart in Blender. I'm just not sure how useful the addon would be to the average Blender user, the field is a lot narrower. Still I appreciate your input and help! :) $\endgroup$
    – allen
    Apr 12 '15 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ @allen alot of blender users work with color id maps, I've begun to use substance designer etc... I've already gotten stuck adding a UI, but maybe by tomorrow I will have been able to get some help writing it. $\endgroup$ Apr 12 '15 at 17:14

It's possible to export the ID color map straight from UV/Image editor without baking it by using this addon. It's fast and writes the UV layout into a png file, filling the polys with the color assigned in the viewport color slot:

  1. Set the viewport colors for all materials:

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  1. Go to UV/Image Editor > UVs > Export Colour Layout:

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Original thread (www.polycount.com):

Blender Export Colour Layout Addon - This is an addon for Blender that enables the exporting to png the unmodified diffuse colors of applied materials using the meshes uv map as a layout. In essence it generates a colour ID map for use in applications such as Quixel Suite DDO. As it does not use baking it is easier and quicker to generate colour ID map, it also (appears) to work the same regardless of whether you are using Blender Renderer or Blender Cycles. It is heavily based on the original UV Layout addon and is still a work in progress, but it exports the colour map just fine. In the future I'd love to work out a method of assigning DDO colour link id's to Blender materials and export those, instead of having to set the materials diffuse colour. The download has a brief read me with more details in it. If you have any problems with the addon feel free to post them in this thread and I'll see if there is anything I can do to help. I'm unsure if not going the baked approached means that something important is missing. As far as I can tell uv islands are not anti-aliased, but materials that share the same edges are and that appears to work fine within DDO.

  • $\begingroup$ does it able to project high poly diffuse/ vertex color to low poly UV map? $\endgroup$
    – Ari
    Sep 11 '18 at 10:36

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