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Mango: Compositing Breakdown


Andy shares the compositing breakdown of one shot on the Mango blog. I'm blown away by the insane amount of work that goes into a shot like this!

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. Awesome compositing. I do think that everyone who could literally composite everything, always uses some unnecessary passes XD.

  2. Magiciandude on

    Would've been smarter to use RGB masks for some things...that way you get 3-in-1 :D

    Still...really amazing work! I can't wait to see the final product! :D

    • artificial3d on

      I'm not sure if rgb masks apply, those masks are a result of holdout shaders in the actual 3D scene.
      since most of the environment is linked in as a group from an external file, there's no room for quick material adjustments (although something like automatic material IDs would be a great feature!).

  3. Andrew Curry on

    Fantastic insight into the compositing work on Mango! I'm always amazed with just how powerful the compositor is; for my project I'm using the compositor but nowhere near to this extent. Fantastic work!

    Andy Curry
    Project Lead
    The Journeyman Project: Tribute

      • artificial3d on

        Blender Internal does have a Mist Pass which you can render for each Layer. In Cycles we have to do some trickery with a custom environment shader using the material override function. it works quite well, we're still hoping for volumetrics though!

    • Agree on the photorealistic part. I wonder, since it's a work in progress, if the 3D render is intentionally low quality - just enough to create masks.

  4. rylan wright on

    The Mango team are not playing around.That is a lot of layers/passes.
    Really excited now to see it finished.
    Congrats guys and gals and thank you for the sneak peak.

  5. artificial3d on

    thanks a lot for the plug!

    to clarify: there aren't any unused or unnecessary passes in this composition. most of the "masks" are actually geometry output from blender. they are necessary to split foreground from background and thus make it possible to integrate a flat footage into a 3D environment. the fact that the camera is actually moving doesn't allow any cheats on this. in total that's only about 5 render layers which is normal for this type of comp.

  6. Alexander Zubov on

    Wow, it looks very good, but also looks like insane amount of work as
    far as masks go. Is it natural for every movie that mixes CG set with
    real set?

    How are all these masks done?

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