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NPR rendering with Blender/Freestyle


Tamito Kajiyama (T.K.) has created some test videos with Blender using the Freestyle renderer and he has come up with some great results!

Tamito writes:

As one of many people who grew up with the influential culture of Japanese
manga and anime, my favorite pastime in childhood was to draw illustrations in
the manga style.

Since I met Blender having a complete set of features for 3D animation, my
major concern in using the software has always been how to create movie clips
with the taste of Japanese manga and anime.

Among the key elements that constitute the Japanese cartoon style, the most
difficult part to produce was solid outlines of shapes. Now that we have the
new Freestyle renderer, however, it is rather an easy task, since in many cases
you just need to specify an appropriate style module and press the render

The integration of Freestyle is really an epoch-making advance in Blender. I
would like to take this opportunity to thank Maxime Curioni for his enormous
efforts to turn this integration into reality.

Although the Freestyle renderer is in an early stage of development, I have
found it very usable and stable enough. I believe many users with a bit of
care and creativity will be able to find ways to exploit the new renderer for
your applications.

I would like to share experiences in using Freestyle with the Blender
community. As a new developer of the Freestyle development team, I would also
like to make contributions toward better usability and stability. I hope I will
be able to give momentum to the project.

Feedback of any kind from users is of particular importance. Thanks a lot for
your cooperation!

Check out Tamito's Vimeo channel.

Tamito has also written up an excellent little tutorial (mirror)on using Freestyle with Blender. I have tried out his for myself and I am definitely looking forward to future releases!

You can follow the development of Freestyle's integration with Blender at Maxime Curioni's blog.

Also see:

A big thanks goes to Tamito for his cooperation and help with this article! Thanks, Tamito!

I am looking forward to the future of Freestyle!

Article submitted by Banor []

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. The translation of the error messages says, "the page is not currently accessible -- try again later." I'm betting the page got slashdotted. Erm, blendernation...dotted.

    If a mirror for the tutorial PDF is needed, email me at kattkieru at yahoo.

  2. I am wondering how you overcame Freestiles enourmous demand for RAM. I tried to play with freestyle before but it eats GiGabites quiqly (Susane takes 1.8GB to render)
    Has the RAM consumption problem been fixed ? I am looking forward to Freestile working without problems. It is very usefull for architecture too.

  3. Wow! That is really good looking. I've been waiting for something like this, because I never liked the way the cartoon edges feature worked. That book with the flipping pages had perfect outlines and shading. I'm looking forward to trying it out myself.


  4. Finally!!! :)
    The inchoate toonshader in the current blenderversion, actually is the only reason, why I still prefer other 3D software for certain projects from time to time. With this awesome extension included in a forthcoming version of Blender, this is most likely going to change :)

  5. Hi,
    how do you get two different coloured toonlines, on the second video the girl has a green outline on the hair but the body has a black toon ouline. Is there a simple way to do this, can anybody help me?

  6. Freestyle for blender is truly awesome, I'm in love, the only reason I wanted to use Cinema 4D was because of the sketch and toon module, but this is on par with that! and not thousands of dollars but free! I used to pirate a bunch of the top names but I finally came to the conclusion that blender was the best choice for me, and now even if I could afford the industry standards I wouldn't want them, I am now commited to learning blender. Looking forward to using freestyle, you all have such a great community here.

  7. This is great stuff! Just yesterday I was showing TK's videos to the students of my Blender workshop in Tokyo and everybody wanted to know whether TK was Japanese. Are you in, TK?

  8. @Tony, thanks for your interest in my videos. It's my great pleasure that
    you picked the videos as part of workshop materials. I hope the workshop
    participants have enjoyed the videos. I am Japanese, although I have no
    account in

  9. marijn wrote:
    "what makes an animation manga-style?"

    "Manga" is a common style of Japanese graphic novel, comic book, or other "image-based literature." There are some loose guidelines that pretty much all manga seem to follow, and some stricter rules to which a lot of Japanese and non-Japanese works tend to conform if they want to be recognized as -- or categorized with -- Japanese manga.

    The third video above shows a very manga-like rendering technique.

    The second video is more "Anime" style. Anime is what happens when you make a cartoon out of a manga. Recently a lot of anime are not actually based on manga, especially in japan.

    If you already knew all that, and are asking "why "manga-style" instead of "anime-style," you're right, since manga are a still media, while anime are animated. On the other hand, CG is useful for creating artwork outside the box; I personally think it's possible to create a "manga-style animation," as long as you go out of your way to make it look like manga instead of anime.

    Both styles are awesome, as are many of the other toon styles and 2D styles that Freestyle seems to support. I can't wait to try it out!

  10. Can this effect be applied in realtime in the game engine? The game Okami (From the now defunct Clover Studio) came to mind.

  11. @KlonoaDreamer, the hair motion test was done by the same style module with
    the anime style movie clip, namely a simple custom module available at:

    The manga style movie clip was made by Freestyle and PyNodes. The drawing
    was made by (with a modification to line thickness), while the halftones
    were made by a custom PyNodes script available at:
    I made 2 sequences of BW still images (one for the drawing and the other for
    the halftones) and combined them into a composite image sequence using
    the video sequence editor. The overall purple color was added afterwards by
    a ColorRamp composite node.

  12. I have been enjoying freestyle since the original OSX-blender build months ago, and it just keeps getting better thanks to the hard work of Maxime Curioni and T.K. !!! cant wait to have freestyle working in render layers, then cool on the fly compositing of freestyle will be even easier(and probably allow for better anti-aliasing).

  13. Wow - I ave to say this looks amazing. Most software that attempts to render as a cell shaded art looks painfully 3D and cheap. Even the high-priced crap looks .. well, like crap.

    But this ... just looks natural. Very well done. I'm extremely impressed.

  14. @Arite: thanks! Sorry I didn't get back in time to reply. I noticed the article was accepted when there were only about 6 comments, but I had to go somewhere. ;( Thanks for helping out. ;D

    Thank you for all the comments and good feedback!

    God bless!

  15. Hi again, I am using the build on XP and I have the latest version of blender installed on my machine. Ok I am clicking on freestyle etc.. but all I get is a blank white screen when I render.
    I have selected the japanese big brush, I have even tried the other styles but all I get is a white render screen.
    T.K please can you help?

  16. the link still won't work, copy/ paste it in and still errors out. SOmeone who can get this file, please post a link that we can use I'd really like to see the tut!!!

  17. @T.K.: you are very welcome, T.K.! Good work!

    People are having trouble accessing the PDF tutorial - perhaps a mirror would be good?

  18. I tried to get the Z depth depending variable line thickness custom style module for freestyle from but I can't get there tonight for some reason, anybody else having this problem? not being able to get to that is.

  19. Great news!

    I have been waiting for Freestyle integration for a veeeeery long time, since I've heard about it for the first time. I don't really have free time to test it, but it's great to know that it's progressing!

    Also, I will propagate the news by writing a post on my website.

  20. Very nice. But what about "painterly rendering" ? i played a lot with nodes in blender, archeving something like this: 
    but still far from what i have in mind... Is it possible to archieve something like psoft liquid+ ? (no sketchy effect, but painterly effect)!!
    I tried a build of blender 2.6.1 from, but all i could get were some nice sketches looking rendering..

  21. the most disappointing part (may be a little bit foolish :P) i dont know how to install it :(. i am using blender 2.61. can anybody help me? thanks in advance.

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