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Video Tutorial/Script: Rendering Wireframe Overlays


adria_solwire.jpgThis is a classic technique to give your renders a wireframe overlay on top of your existing materials. It's been in Blender for some time, though it seems to slip through the cracks every so often. But never fear, BlenderNewbies has a video tutorial on how to do it!

Update [bart]: new script version

You can find it here. And if the process is a bit slow for you, Francois Gueguen (Babynou), has created a neat script that does the work of creating a wireframe overlay on top of an object. The real power of this script is that you can add a wireframe material to all objects, selected objects, or just the objects on the active layer. You can find the script here (direct link to the script). Since everything is in French I did an English translation of the script which you can find here (direct link to the script).

Update [bart]: there's a new version of this script out which is faster and allows you to control the subsurf level.

About the Author


Just a guy really into 3D, especially where Blender is concerned.


  1. Use the Blender, Luke on

    Blimey! I didn't know about the optimal render mode yet. Thought it was only for the viewports.

    Why doesn't anyone document things like that? Those are the features that are needed when doing Real Stuff with Blender, but how should one know how to use it if one doesn't know it actually already exists?

    And ya ain't going to tell me to read the source, Luke. I wanna create fingerlicking graph!cs, not to read these muffy source codes.

    (No flame intended at the developers, by the way. I'm just not really into it ;)

  2. Hey, that's an awesome script! It's an automated version of what my video shows.

    Also, after creating the wireframe overlay, you can adjust the thickness of the lines by selecting the wireframe object and adjusting the shader's Alpha value.

  3. Albrecht Jacobs (LayBack) on

    Great tutorial! I always wondered what the ZOffset was good for -:)

    A minor improvement: link the 'solid' material to the object, not the mesh. When you copy the object use 'duplicate linked' (ALT D) instead of 'duplicate' (SHIFT D). Link the 'wire' material to the new object. Now you can edit the 'solid' object and don't have to worry about the 'wire' object -- it's always the same!

  4. I've tried the script and it works well, except that it looks like it creates a lot of extra geometry just for the sake of the overlay. Maybe a feature like this with a simple toggle switch (wireframe on/off) should be added in a future Blender version? (But without having to add geometry?) The Blender Newbies article mentions that this tutorial is inspired by such a feature in other 3D apps. Thanks to the devs, Blender is on par with most of them for more advanced features, so I would think adding this feature would be fairly trivial.

  5. Cool, I've wondered about Z offsets too.

    It'd be nice if the Wire option was moved out of the Render Pipeline section and into the Material. That way you could mix a solid material with a wireframe one in the node editor. I imagine it can still be done with composite nodes, but that would be more complicated.

  6. Tnx for the tutorial!

    It would be great if u compress audio data in tutorials, it will be much smaller size and more people would see it.
    This one - 90MB/36MB zip - u can compress in few minutes using virtualdub/lame to 30MB/22MB zip.

    Size does matter:)

  7. @tommy5:
    I was going to say you were wrong but, I checked the file and you're right about the audio. Ooop! This is an "older" video and I was still learning (still am) about that. More recent videos use the mp3 audio format with tweaked bitrates, etc.

    When I get a chance, I'll re-render this one with a better audio format. I'll check the others as well. Thanks for pointing that out!

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