Compositing a Graphic look


Inspired by some cool tutorials on postporcessing archviz illustration styles, I tried my hand at using Blender’s Compositor for creating this type of image. The original tutorial used Sketchup+Photoshop and this I think would be easy to recreate with Blender+ps or Gimp, but I took the challenge to mix it all in the Compositor.
After several attempts I used just three render layers:

1. a base layer, with the whole scene except the guides, layer material set on a darkish clay. On this layer I checked the shadow pass and excluded it from composite, so I could have a completely separate shadow image to work.

2. a layer with just the building, layer material set darkish clay too.

3. a layer for the guides. These were 3d lines I made in the model from an object with two vertices joined by an edge. I set it to a wire material, white and shadeless, so it renders as white lines. I tried to mask this layer with the house layer but didn’t somehow work so I just left all lines to show through.

This is a screenshot of the Compositor macaroni and the render layers in render panel:

I also tried to use a layer with some transparency applied to the building (to imitate the x-ray output from sketchup) but that didn’t look well so I left it out. In the end, not willing to let that go, I decided to take a screenshot of the wireframe 3d window and I blended it just a little for some extra texture.

To get edges rendered just on the building, I checked the Edges in Render-> Postprocessing panel and then I disabled Edge in the first and third layer, leaving it only on the second one with the building. I also disabled Sky on all layers, seems to work better like this.

I chose two grungy textures from CGtextures to apply over it all and made a shadowy smudgy one right in Blender’s Image editor:

This is the first time I try this, worked nice, except I’m not great with the Blender brushes, but my painted smudges were updating instantly in the composited image which was really interesting.

I also made a simple mask to fade the guides towards the edge of the image.

One more thing I tried was to make a bit of glow on the layer with the white edges but it doesen’t show much.

Some other “looks” I got while knitting in the Compositor, I love them all:

Hope you enjoyed this out of the beaten path Blender render 🙂

  • I love the step-by-step. I like all the results, but I would like a bit more sparkle on the lines (just a personal thing, I like sparklies).

  • Carrozza

    Interesting effect there, mama.
    Not my cup of tea because of the dark mood, but definitely something different from the average Blender render.
    Keep it up! ^__^

  • Oana

    🙂 I tried for the sparkle for Maria but the grunge took over! I’m not really a “dark mood” person myself, but I adapted to the look from the tutorial. Different textures and settings can make this a totaly different image in a blink.

  • Rovy

    Nice effect, very useful for project presentation. thanks for the tip!

  • Lawrence D’Oliveiro

    “Macaroni”, indeed! As a programmer, I see node editing as just another kind of programming, albeit a kind that uses data-flow diagrams rather than conventional text. And as a programmer over many decades, I have learned the importance of avoiding “write-only” code—that is, code that you come back to after 6 months or longer, and have no idea what you’ve done.

    Looking at those nodes, I see 4 separate groups to the left and below, feeding into a pipeline on the right. It seems to me you could make things clearer by increasing the gaps between these groups to make them distinct, and swapping the positions of two of them to avoid the crossed wires.

  • Oana

    🙂 It shows I’m not very tidy in real life. Next time I’ll group them better and not try to cram it all in one screenshot! Thanks for the feedback Lawrence!

  • Very nice work… very inspiring… I wished you would put up some of your stuff in a ‘sketchbook’ on Blender Artist for more people to see…