Decoupling x-ray and limit selection to visible

It appears there has been significant regression in terms of “Limit selection to visible” feature. While in 2.79, you were able to choose if you want to select only visible faces or all faces in the selection box, in 2.8, this is no longer possible. Instead, there is a very odd feature which combines Xray mode with “Limit selection to visible”.

This means that the only way to disable “Limit selection to visible” option is by entering the Xray mode which makes complex scenes much much less readable.

Xray and “Limit selection to visible” need to be two separate options. Both have their use cases, and they can be sometimes used together, but it’s quite inconsiderate to assume every user will always want to do both of these at once.

An ideal solution for me, and many others would be to simply make it behave like it used to in 2.79. To always Xray only the selected object.


Ideally, you could control select-through, the display of backfacing geometry and occluded wireframes all separately.

I already posted about it in the design task, but it appears I was a month too late over there, so I’ll quote it here:

@Rawalanche, if you want it to behave exactly like 2.79, doesn’t setting X-Ray alpha to 1.0 accomplish that? Then X-Ray has no effect on the shaded geometry, and only in edit mode will it show you otherwise occluded vertices and edges.

@MadMinstrel, by backfacing geometry, do you mean the occluded geometry? The use of the term backfacing in this context is unclear to me.

Limit selection to visible as in 2.7 affects both the drawing and selection of occluded vertices and edges. When you say see-through and select-through should be decoupled, are you saying that there should be a decoupling between these?

  • X-Ray drawing of the shaded geometry
  • X-Ray drawing and selection of the vertices and edges

If these were decoupled, would you expect limit selection to visible to be an edit mode only feature again, not available in object mode?

By backfacing geometry I mean faces on the other side of your mesh, that you couldn’t normally see. So yes, I suppose shaded occluded geometry is a better term. I’ll use it from now on. However, I mean faces only, and not edges or vertices which make up wireframes.

Yes, the limit selection to visible option in 2.79 affects both drawing wireframes and the behaviour of the selection tools. I’ve always felt this was insufficient. The behaviour of the tools should be an independent setting from drawing options.

The reason is that when you draw occluded wires or shaded occluded geometry on top, meshes become very difficult to read and evaluate aesthetically. That forces you to switch to xray mode, do your selection business, and return to normality as quickly as possible.

What I’d like is to view the model normally, but be able to use select through for a longer period, without switching. Most of the time users are aware of where their own geometry is, and where to draw a bounding box to make a good selection, even without xray mode. And if a mistake is made, it’s altogether less bothersome to undo, than to keep switching view modes back and forth - because undoing is only contingent on making a mistake, and it’s only one action, while switching draw modes must happen every time, and is two separate actions.

I’m saying three things should be decoupled into three separate settings:

  • selection of occluded geometry
  • drawing of shaded occluded geometry
  • drawing of occluded wireframes

Currently, while the latter two are reasonably separated by the various drawing modes, they are always conflated with the selection behaviour. Let me emphasize here: I do not mind that xray or wireframe modes turn on select-through automatically. This is fine and logical and expected. The issue is that you can’t activate it separately, in solid mode, without xray or wireframe. Likewise, it’s impossible to force it off in xray mode.

The solution that comes to mind is to keep the current xray/wireframe behaviour (or restore the 2.79 way), but to also create a separate select-through override (which would be a tool option, not a view option) with three states: Auto (exactly how it behaves now), force on, and force off.

This separates the selection behavior without forcing users to always throw two separate switches when they just want the default behavior like we had up to this point.

In addition, in Edit mode, it’s not always beneficial to xray the whole scene. Most of the time, in Edit mode, you just want to xray your current mesh. Whole-scene xray in Object mode is fine, I think.

And no, I would expect selection tools to work consistently in edit mode and object mode. In object mode, that would mean box select would catch objects hidden behind other objects while Limit selection to visible is off. While this would be my first intuitive expectation, Object mode selection behaviour is not that important to me with this. They can just continue to behave like they do now. Object mode works fine.

I’m sorry if my post is unclear. I’m really trying to be as clear as possible, but there’s all these terms that have extremely specific meanings in blender and some that have now changed meaning from 2.79 to 2.8 (like xray), so please bear with me here. And please pardon the wall of text.


oh I would welcome this change very much.

I never understood why selecting backfacing elements is coupled with seethrough/wireframe drawing. Both options are valuable, but it shouldnt be forced to use them toghether.

illustration for a simple usecase:


@brecht is this the reason why x-ray doesn’t work in eevee and cycles in object mode only in edit mode because it’s coupled with occluded? it a technicality not having x-ray in both because if one mode can have it why not the other too, so decoupling them gives that possibilty right!! ,the trick i see people will do is this, so they won’t have to change to other shading modes to be able to tweak geos.

I think it would be good to support a select through option in the tool settings. Object mode box/lasso selection operators always select through as far as I know, and would probably need a fair bit of work to support occluded selection. I’m not sure a “force off” case is needed, not being able to select vertices that are clearly visible under your mouse seems odd.

As far as the drawing goes, maybe things are mixed up a bit? In edit mode you get a decent idea of what’s behind when vertices and edges are drawn. In object mode there are no vertices or edges, so making the objects transparent helps you see through. But in edit mode this transparency may just be unnecessary?


Yup, that’s about the gist of it. I agree force off is not essential, and I included it for completeness and pleasing symmetry. But I can live without it if it’s problematic to include.

And yes, I think just turning off transparency in Edit+xray mode for inactive objects would solve the decreased clarity compared to 2.79, but I can’t speak for Rawalanche of course.

@Znio.G, x-ray transparency of objects is not supported by EEVEE or Cycles, it’s a feature of the workbench engine. Decoupling doesn’t really make any difference for that. It could be implemented either way, but doesn’t seem that important to me to justify the work needed.

ah i see not implemented…i thought it was for all 3 engines but because that the other two can’t use it.well we still can use the select menu list in a more dense scene to select behind objects,maybe occluded can be in ALT+Z with x-ray = 1 and x-ray in the pie can have 0.5 so they work in each mode,now if you put x-ray to 1 it works fine in edit mode but not in object mode that if we want occluded to work like in 2.79 ,thanks.

I agree with the idea of simply having “select through” option in the box/lasso select mode. That’s really what’s needed. Ideally if the default value for this option could be simply set up in the input editor so that user can change the default behavior.

I am still very much against this option being ever coupled with any modification to scene shading, regardless of edit or object mode.

and Circle select.
But yeah, that’s what we need

Oh, and let’s not forget the gizmo that is missing at moment. :+1:


I think bringing back the 2.7x button to the edit mode, that automatically does this seems like a good idea to me. Making the whole scene transparent and making occluded geometry selectable are two seperate features, that can be both useful, but do diffrent things…


Any news on this?

Having ability to select geometry regardless of face orientation coupled with viewport shading modifications by default is currently one of the most frustrating aspects of 2.8.

Being able to see though geometry and being able to select all geometry are two very different things, that are not in any way directly related. One concerns mesh element selection, while other concerns viewport shading.


new to Blender, I thought this was just another oddity, the way Blender worked in the first time but seeing now that 2.7 did this in the usual way others software also work , definitely a regression.

This is actually a critical feature. Each modeler will need this back. Also, the current workaround (setting XRay visibility) has an “intuition value” of 0, which means it belongs to the “magic knowledge” database, acquired only via trial and error. This makes of poor UX.

Any news on this?

It’s really difficult to model in Blender without ability to select all mesh elements inside the selection box. Setting Xray all the way to 1 does not solve the problem as Xray value ignores display of the mesh element outlines.

Modeling in Blender has lately turned into annoying barrage of hitting the xray toggle mode all the time, as something like this is just not readable at all:

(That’s Xray at 1.0 for illustration). But at the same time, inability to select through is causing tons of errors, especially when working in orthographic views.

The mental burden of constantly tracking if I am in the mode which allows me to select through or not, depending on the situation which changes constantly and quickly is now offloaded to me, user. That makes modeling quite uncomfortable experience.

There really needs to be another feature to allow user to select everything inside the selection box, regardless of occlusion, which is completely decoupled from the Xray mode, and not using face dots to select the faces. Basically, selection the way it works in all other DCCs.


yep as a power-user this is a must, decoupling it is the way to go.
they can keep the x-ray button in the header and just add another one to the tool settings next to autoMerge.

Yes, this is pretty annoying - adding it somewhere as a mode of the selection tools would be highly appreciated.

Just chiming in because I want that too. As good as Blender is becoming, there are still so many areas that make us do unnecessarily complicated extra steps for really simple things. This constant switch for selecting occluded gemoetry being one of them.
Just a little checkbox in the Active Tool like @ThinkingPolygons said would be enough…