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Behind the Scenes: Photo-realistic and Anime style sci-fi city



Hello everyone! I am Masato Oka from Kyoto, Japan.

I usually work in image processing in the apparel industry. Starting around 2020, I began creating 3D works as a hobby on my days off. I am self-studying my skills through YouTube.


I've always liked sci-fi works with the theme of the near future.

In today's world, the genre is called cyberpunk, and movies like "Blade Runner" and anime like "AKIRA" have had a strong influence on me.

These works are expressed in live action and anime, respectively, but I thought I would try to create both expressions in one work.


Most of this work is done in Blender, and the textures are photo textures from (For the flying car, I used Substance Painter.)

I followed a tutorial by Ian Hubert, a creator whom I highly respect, to create this building.


From here on, I will focus on how to use photo textures to create anime-style works.

To give an anime-like look to a building created using photo textures, set a bright background color and a bright sun.

In this work, I set the blue sky and yellow sun, but if you change it to a different color like the one you are trying in the YouTube video, it may result in a more impressive expression.

Then set "Freestyle" to outline the building when rendering.

At this time, collect objects that you do not want to draw outlines for, such as hologram advertisements and distant buildings, in one collection folder and select "exclusive.”


For rendering, I used Eevee.

By using Eevee, the photo textures become a mellow expression, and Freestyle makes it even more anime-like.


You can render it as it is, but I added effects for this work.

I like anime works from the 80's such as "AKIRA", so I used "Compositing" to add colours and bleed like nostalgic film animation.

Here are the compositing nodes.

Composition before and after:


The method described in this article works fine for still images, but can cause some problems for animations.

Objects with movement can look like paper crafts because the moving light reflections and shadows are drawn realistically.

To solve this, I added the following nodes to the "flying police car" material only.

This is a method a friend told me about, and it renders the surface of objects with anime-style reflections and shadows.

I asked a friend to find out the source of this node, but I lost my bookmarks and was unable to do so. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the person who originally came up with this node.


In this work, by using photo textures, it is possible to create two types of expression in one work: live-action and anime-like. 

Thank you very much for reading this article! I would be happy to help you with the production of your work.

And I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Alina and the staff of Blender Nation for giving me such a wonderful opportunity.

Thank you and have a good day!

About the Artist

Masato Oka from Japan, a 3D artist only on holidays.



About the Author

Avatar image for Alina Khan
Alina Khan

A self taught 3d artist, who seeks to excel in the computer graphics field. Currently a student, freelancer and the editor for the 'Behind the Scenes' at Blender Nation.

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