It looks like you're using an ad blocker! I really need the income to keep this site running.
If you enjoy BlenderNation and you think it’s a valuable resource to the Blender community, please take a moment to read how you can support BlenderNation.

Eight-Bit Blending


Using the non-photorealistic Freestyle renderer to recreate '8-bit' graphics.

Jesse Werner writes:

My goal in posting this is to give back to the community and encourage non-photo realistic blending, especially in the realm of 2D video game art. These are the methods I have come up with and I want to share them so people can take them and use them in their own work and improve upon them.

I started this blend just to explore rendering in a low resolution, low-bit, retro style for game development. I think that it has come along fairly well and I would like to share it with you all.

I used the Blender 2.63 r46584 Freestyle build from You will need a Freestyle build for this to render properly.

The blend file is available on BlendSwap.

I must conclude that using Blender for 2D sprite generation is an underused method of unlimited possibilities. I hope those of you who download this blend file share your improvements and derivative sprite generation methods for us all to learn from.


  • ThaBear

    Wow, that is pretty cool. Really creative way to use Blender. 
    We need more of that stuff. Personally I'm tired of all those realistic object renderings and archi viz-stuff, which is boring as hell in most cases.  

  • Maenny

    I really think this is great - I also think it highly interesting to explore the possibilities of alternative rendering. It would be nice to have a small tutorial on how you exactly achieved this effect.

  • Brian Lockett

    Man, that's so freakin' cool!  I'll definitely check this out!  Thanks, Jesse!

  • Peter Houlihan

    Oh my god that's fantastic looking :D Straight off the GBA!

  • Sendercorp

    Second childhood :) 

  • JoolsMcFly

    Great! Freestyle offers so many possibilities. Thanks for sharing.

  • Petr Utinek

    I've learnt about some kind of cartoon branch of blender just yesterday from developers meeting overview.I'm really going to try project simple a nice

  • Kirill Poltavets

    I hope for some ScanLine node then ;)

  • Bettflasche


  • Tiroteo

    WOW ! Did you use CYCLES?

    • Tweety


  • GraphicalProblems

    Downloads from keep breaking when only 1 or 3 MB have been downloaded. It has been like that for quite some time. Does anybody here have gotten the same issue?

    • Kirill Poltavets

      Always get the some trouble from some of builds. Clicking again and downloading second time always goes fine (at least for me).

  • Jedismindtrick

    Great work!  There need's to be more Freestyle example's out there on what it can do.  I Want an awesome tut on freestyle too.


  • Coldbanken

    Great!! Thanks for sharing your .Blend file,I love the non-photorealistic animations. 
    Retro Style is SO refreshing in a Photorealistic World ;)

  • Dave H

    Photorealism is always a barrage of compromises, limitations and long hours.  Then you view it at full speed and how much of that detail do you see or remember later anyway?

    Good use of shadows and also softbody/fur, however you actually did it - it's effective without taking a million years.  Eye-catching and fun.

  • ich bins

    This is great and might be what I am looking for . Currently I
     am playing with different types and styles of Indie Games and this really could be something to use. Thank you very much for sharing this.

  • Jerry Perkins

    just what i was needing to see. How fantastic the timing!

  • Ashton

    i can see it now... a paper mario video

  • RonProctor


  • Drunk Blender Tengu

    3D program for 2D works. It is like seeing how Photoshop jumped into the 3D world with that odd plugin thing; in fact this "render" looks like a Photosop work if it wasn't for the .blend file available for download. Not fond of retro but it looks OK.

    PS: I want to punch that eevee, for no particular reason at all.

  • blenderholic

    Love this as a the true retro maniac i am.

  • Joseph Jerome Wan

    Hm, if only Blender came out with this a month back? :P I've been slaving away at pixel art (first time) for a 64Digits comp. We plan to make a MMORPG in 3 months! 

  • Brandon Ayers

    This is great, something I've recently been wanting to try specifically for game. I could do it all by hand in Promotion but speeding up the production with 3d could help tremendously.

  • Arnaud Couturier

    I too use Blender for 2d and pixel art. Definitely underused and underestimated.
    Blender internal + its compositor open a lot of possibilities.
    Especially for animations, since this is difficult to do the traditional way.
    But you need a bit of manual work to clean the pixels at low res.

  • Extensor Jones

    Looks great! Brings me back to the days of doing pixel art for games in DPaint on the Amiga before NES days. Yeah, i'm old. :D

  • Abhishek Gupta

    oh my childhood

  • Sorbus

    Now I've got the New Zealand Story music stuck in my head... :D

  • Rorkimaru

    I think it looks cute but I know 8bit purists would loathe the pixel distribution

    • Daniel Romero

      Well, render the image and refine it? The idea is to save time I guess.

Share this story: