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I've found some neat combinations of nodes to create certain effects, so I'd like to make them a group and then have that node available on my list of available nodes, even when I reload the startup file. How would I do that?

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You can save the startup .blend by clicking File > Defaults > Save Startup File. This will save everything (except for user preferences) to be loaded as the default state when Blender starts up. That includes all geometry, textures, brushes, node groups, UI layouts, the 3D view orientation, etc.

I like to save my node groups in a separate "library" file and link/append them in, that way I don't accidentally lose them if I overwrite my startup file on accident (I've done that before..)

How to embed a node group in the startup file

  1. If you haven't already, make a node group by selecting the nodes and pressing CtrlG (AltG to ungroup).

    enter image description here

  2. Save it (CtrlS)

  3. Open your startup file (CtrlN)

  4. Press File > Link or File > Append. In the file manager which appears, navigate inside the file with the node group, select NodeTree and then select the node group.

  • Linking means the node group is only stored in the "library file" and if you make any changes to it, those changes will carry over to your startup file (also, if the library file is deleted or moved, the node group will be missing in the startup file).

  • Appending copies the node group so it will always work.

    click library file click NodeTree click the node group you want

  1. In the node editor, add the node group (ShiftA> Groups > group name) and press the F icon (F for Fake User) on the node to save the data block even if it has no users. This will ensure the node group is saved even if it is not used in any materials/node trees in that file.

    enter image description here

  2. Delete the group node (Del). Provided you enabled Fake User by clicking the F icon, it will still be in the add menu even after reloading the file. Rearrange the UI how you want it to appear when you start blender.

  3. Save the startup .blend (File > Defaults > Save Startup File).

This procedure should be the same for all types of nodes (Composite, shader, etc.)

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  • $\begingroup$ How can I do this with a single node, and not a group of them? Can I make a group of a single node? $\endgroup$ Oct 7 '15 at 10:33
  • $\begingroup$ @EspenSales Yes, you can make a group containing 0 or more nodes. Not sure why you'd want to though..? $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Oct 7 '15 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ It's because there's this group called "Chocofur" at chocofur.com who have designed custom nodes to make simple shading easier. It's pretty neat. Anyway I have explained the situation before in a question I asked here $\endgroup$ Oct 8 '15 at 6:24
  • $\begingroup$ @EspenSales Those are node groups already, no need to put one of them in another group. You can append those directly (start from step 4 in this answer) $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Oct 8 '15 at 6:43
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    $\begingroup$ @endolith Whoops sorry, in 2.8+ the Shift F1 shortcut was removed and by an awkward coincidence now just changes the active area into a file manager. Try clicking File > Append (or Link) in the top bar menues instead $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    May 9 at 19:48
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I wouldn't recommend to add everything to the Startup File. You could also create a node library (.blend file) to hold all your nodes and link and/or append groups from the library to your current project.

Accessible from the Info Header

  • File Link Ctrl-Alt-O

  • File Append Shift-F1

A nice example library: bwide-nodepack-for-blender

You find the nodes within the .blend file in the folder NodeTree:

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ How can I do this when i only want to add a single customized node, and not a group of nodes? $\endgroup$ Oct 7 '15 at 10:06

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