Installing the Contrib/Testing Addons in Blender
Sometimes it may seem odd when you realize some of the addons you remember having in Blender, no longer existing in your addon list. Addons like Atomic Blender, Auto Save Render, BProjection, Edge Tools, Extra Tools, Quickprefs, and a lot more. A lot of the time, this is because those addons were part of the “testing” branch, which are not packaged with the Blender releases, but are with release candidates, test builds, and daily builds. Let’s go ahead and look at how reinstall these addons, so that Blender can use them once again. To victory!
First, visit the Blender Developer’s Corner, where we will download a daily build. This is where we are going to steal the testing addons to put with our Blender install. After extracting the daily build of Blender to a folder of your choosing, we are going to go into the newly extracted folder. Inside that folder, we want to go into the “version folder” (2.76 at the time of this writing), then the “scripts” folder. Inside that folder, you will see the “addons” folder, as well as the “addons_contrib”. Easily enough, the “addons_contrib” folder is our testing folder (Mac users look in OSX section).
Highlight that folder and press Ctrl + C to copy the folder. Now it’s time to visit the same folder in our Blender install. It’s time to go to C:\Program Files (unless 32-bit build, in which you will go to “Program Files (x86)”), then the version (2.76), and again scripts. You should notice the addons folder, but not a single addons_contrib. Hover your mouse over the files in the directory, and press Ctrl + V. Done!
Similar to the Windows process, you will need to add to copy the files to the scripts folder for the installed version of Blender. To access the addons_contrib folder in OSX, you have to do something a bit different. After downloading the daily build you will not have the same folder, but instead you will have a Blender and Blenderplayer application. To access the internal scripts for Blender Right-click or Command-Click the Blender file (Blender.app), and then choose Show Package Contents (Show Contents pre 10.12). In the new window shown, navigate the folders to Contents > Resources > Blender Version > scripts. Voila, the addons_contrib folder! Highlight the folder, and press Command + C to copy this folder.
Now go to your Applications folder to access the installed Blender file, or navigate to the folder you have placed the copy of Blender you use. Like the daily build Right-click or Command-click the Blender file, and again choose Show Package Contents. Just like before we will navigate through the folders to Contents > Resources > Blender Version > scripts. You will see an existing addons_contrib folder, but if you look you will find it is completely empty, so hover over the opened scripts folder press Command + V to paste the copied folder. Done!
Now, for the Linux copy. Now, you know your desktop environment better than I, so if you want to use your folder manager to move these files, awesome, but if your Blender install is somewhere outside of your home directory, you need to make sure that you use gksu, or kdesu to start these file managers in Super User mode, otherwise you’re not copying anything. With that said, make sure you know exactly where the Blender install folder is. Usually it will be installed in /usr/share/blender-<version>, or if you are running from an already compiled download, it just may be in your home folder. Just make sure you know where these folders are first. So, with the addons_contrib folder still in our clipboard, we need to navigate to the Blender install folder, then version (2.76), and then scripts. Press Ctrl + V and watch all of the files start flooding in.
If you want to copy via the Terminal (my preferred method), you can use the following command, with the folders changed to the correct folders (remember you have directory Tab completion in the terminal):
cp -R ~/Downloads/blender-version-hash-arch/2.76/scripts/addon_contrib /usr/share/blender/2.76/scripts/
Now that the testing branch of addons are installed, let’s open Blender, then the User Preferences, and on to Addons. On the left side under the search, you will see show the three branches of support levels: Official, Community, and Testing. While holding down the Shift key, click Testing. Now you should see all of the testing addons as well as the other two branches now. You can tell the difference by the icon next to the name of the addon. The testing branch has a stick of dynamite to show that it’s unstable, and could cause crashes. This is true for some addons, but most of the time it means they are no longer developed, or kept up to date.
So, now that you have all of the addons installed, you will no longer have to worry about them until the next release, in which you will have to copy them from your previous version’s folder, into the next version’s folder.