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Three ways to create objects

The examples covered so far show that object can be created from Python using different paradigms.

Data method

The data method closely mimics how data are stored internally in Blender.

  • Add the data, and then the object. For a mesh:
me = bpy.data.meshes.new(meshName)
ob = bpy.data.objects.new(obName, me)

and for an armature:

amt = bpy.data.armatures.new(amtname)
ob = bpy.data.objects.new(obname, amt)
  • Link the object to the current scene and make it active. Optionally, we can make the newly created object active or selected. This code is the same for all kinds of objects.
scn = bpy.context.scene
scn.objects.link(ob)
scn.objects.active = ob
ob.select = True
  • Fill in the data. In the mesh case, we add the lists of vertices and faces.
me.from_pydata(verts, [], faces)

In the armature case, we switch to edit mode and add a bone.

bpy.ops.object.mode_set(mode='EDIT')
bone = amt.edit_bones.new('Bone')
bone.head = (0,0,0)
bone.tail = (0,0,1)
  • Finally, it is usually necessary to update the modified data. In the mesh case, we call an update function explicity.
me.update()

The armature is implicitly update when we switch to object mode.

bpy.ops.object.mode_set(mode='OBJECT')

Operator method

The operator method adds an object and a data block at the same time. The data block is currently empty, and needs to be filled with actual data later.

  • Add the object with the bpy.ops.object.add operator. This automatically takes care of several things that we had to do manually in the data method: it creates object data (i.e. the mesh or armature), links the object to the scene, makes it active and selects the object. On the other hand, we must now retrieve the object and its data. This is straightforward because bpy.context.data always points to the active object.
    To add a mesh object, we do
bpy.ops.object.add(type='MESH')
ob = bpy.context.object
me = ob.data

and to add an armature:

bpy.ops.object.add(
type='ARMATURE',
enter_editmode=True,
location=origin)
ob = bpy.context.object
amt = ob.data
  • As in the data method, the actual data must be filled in and updated before use. For a mesh we add the verts and faces:
me.from_pydata(verts, [], faces)
me.update()

and for an armature we add a bone:

bone = amt.edit_bones.new('Bone')
bone.head = (0,0,0)
bone.tail = (0,0,1)
bpy.ops.object.mode_set(mode='OBJECT')

Note that we do not need to explicitly enter edit mode, because the armature entered edit mode already on creation.

Primitive method

If we want to make an object of a primitive type, there may exist an operator which creates the primitive with the desired properties.

  • A cone is in fact approximated by a pyramid.

To create a pyramid mesh with 4 sides:

bpy.ops.mesh.primitive_cone_add(
vertices=4,
radius=1,
depth=1,
cap_end=True)

whereas the following code adds a armature with a single bone;

bpy.ops.object.armature_add()
bpy.ops.transform.translate(value=origin)
  • As in the operator method, we then retrieve the newly create object from bpy.context.object.
ob = bpy.context.object
me = ob.data

Comparison

The primitive method is simplest, but it only works when a suitable primitive is available. Even in the example program, it creates a pyramid mesh which is slightly different from the other two methods; the base is not a single quad, but rather consists of four triangles with a common point in the middle of the base. The other two methods are more or less equivalent.

A primitive does not need to be particularly simple; there are primitives for creating a monkey mesh or a human rig. But the primitive method is always limited to prefabricated objects.

We use all three methods in the examples in this note. Code Snippets Objects.png

#----------------------------------------------------------
# File objects.py
#----------------------------------------------------------
import bpy
import mathutils
from mathutils import Vector
 
def createMeshFromData(name, origin, verts, faces):
    # Create mesh and object
    me = bpy.data.meshes.new(name+'Mesh')
    ob = bpy.data.objects.new(name, me)
    ob.location = origin
    ob.show_name = True
 
    # Link object to scene and make active
    scn = bpy.context.scene
    scn.objects.link(ob)
    scn.objects.active = ob
    ob.select = True
 
    # Create mesh from given verts, faces.
    me.from_pydata(verts, [], faces)
    # Update mesh with new data
    me.update()    
    return ob
 
def createMeshFromOperator(name, origin, verts, faces):
    bpy.ops.object.add(
        type='MESH', 
        enter_editmode=False,
        location=origin)
    ob = bpy.context.object
    ob.name = name
    ob.show_name = True
    me = ob.data
    me.name = name+'Mesh'
 
    # Create mesh from given verts, faces.
    me.from_pydata(verts, [], faces)
    # Update mesh with new data
    me.update()    
    # Set object mode
    bpy.ops.object.mode_set(mode='OBJECT')
    return ob
 
def createMeshFromPrimitive(name, origin):
    bpy.ops.mesh.primitive_cone_add(
        vertices=4, 
        radius=1, 
        depth=1, 
        cap_end=True, 
        view_align=False, 
        enter_editmode=False, 
        location=origin, 
        rotation=(0, 0, 0))
 
    ob = bpy.context.object
    ob.name = name
    ob.show_name = True
    me = ob.data
    me.name = name+'Mesh'
    return ob
 
def createArmatureFromData(name, origin):
    # Create armature and object
    amt = bpy.data.armatures.new(name+'Amt')
    ob = bpy.data.objects.new(name, amt)
    ob.location = origin
    ob.show_name = True
 
    # Link object to scene and make active
    scn = bpy.context.scene
    scn.objects.link(ob)
    scn.objects.active = ob
    ob.select = True
 
    # Create single bone
    bpy.ops.object.mode_set(mode='EDIT')
    bone = amt.edit_bones.new('Bone')
    bone.head = (0,0,0)
    bone.tail = (0,0,1)
    bpy.ops.object.mode_set(mode='OBJECT')
    return ob
 
def createArmatureFromOperator(name, origin):
    bpy.ops.object.add(
        type='ARMATURE', 
        enter_editmode=True,
        location=origin)
    ob = bpy.context.object
    ob.name = name
    ob.show_name = True
    amt = ob.data
    amt.name = name+'Amt'
 
    # Create single bone
    bone = amt.edit_bones.new('Bone')
    bone.head = (0,0,0)
    bone.tail = (0,0,1)
    bpy.ops.object.mode_set(mode='OBJECT')
    return ob
 
def createArmatureFromPrimitive(name, origin):
    bpy.ops.object.armature_add()
    bpy.ops.transform.translate(value=origin)
    ob = bpy.context.object
    ob.name = name
    ob.show_name = True
    amt = ob.data
    amt.name = name+'Amt'
    return ob
 
def run(origo):
    origin = Vector(origo)
    (x,y,z) = (0.707107, 0.258819, 0.965926)
    verts = ((x,x,-1), (x,-x,-1), (-x,-x,-1), (-x,x,-1), (0,0,1))
    faces = ((1,0,4), (4,2,1), (4,3,2), (4,0,3), (0,1,2,3))
 
    cone1 = createMeshFromData('DataCone', origin, verts, faces)
    cone2 = createMeshFromOperator('OpsCone', origin+Vector((0,2,0)), verts, faces)
    cone3 = createMeshFromPrimitive('PrimCone', origin+Vector((0,4,0)))
 
    rig1 = createArmatureFromData('DataRig', origin+Vector((0,6,0)))
    rig2 = createArmatureFromOperator('OpsRig', origin+Vector((0,8,0)))
    rig3 = createArmatureFromPrimitive('PrimRig', origin+Vector((0,10,0)))
    return
 
if __name__ == "__main__":
    run((0,0,0))