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A few tips on Freestyle rendering

Posted by Marius Oberholster on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 Under: Tutorials
Hey all!

Firstly, thanx to all those who visit regularly. I hope you find the information here useful!

Anyway, getting on today's post; Freestyle! :D

Just to show you I know a little about it, I put together a collage of renders:

Freestyle, as you all know, is that feature (now in Cycles too), that allows you to add outlines to 3D shapes, like cartoons.

I've been working with freestyle for a while now and have it to the point, where I just adjust line thickness and then that's it, so, today, I want to share with you how you can approach your next NPR project.

Firstly, consider what it is that you want to achieve. Do you want an anime look, simple outlines, wire-frame, or what? Secondly, you need to also consider if layering is needed (do you have different colors for example). And lastly, how thick will those lines be and how much detail your scene has.

Now let's take these one by one, as it relates to anime:
- Our outlines are very simple and they just need to be there to pool colors if you will. We have some variation in color, when you look at the sheen on hair and on some water effects, so we will need some layering, but some of it we can simply add as a ramp and we can leave freestyle out of it. So, we are left with two freestyle elements:
   > Simple black outlines for characters
   > Simple white or blue outlines for water effects
- For layering, we already saw we can do that with ramps, so we can ignore layering for this as far as single characters go. If you do mix water into the scene, the water will, in some cases, take precedent; it depends on camera angle, but thankfully, freestyle has layering based on depth built-in (coming soon or already available, not sure, but you can see it here), so that should take care of itself in this case.
- How thick will our lines be is clearly not absolute! We should, imo, always be set to relative. Not just for test rendering, but also because you get a consistent result, regardless of what you do with your resolution. Now, depending on the style you are going for, you can curve your line's thickness. What I do, is I set mine to start at a minimum of 1 and end a max of 3, but, the lines will be approximately 1.5 at it's thickest point, because the curve bends halfway through the curve field or box. This gives me something similar to stretched droplet or oval and it works perfectly with any drawn-effect that has been finished.
- Detail can be a monster when it comes to Freestyle. Personally, I know my PC can't handle a massive scene and give it freestyle edges as well. It just doesn't go together. So, as we're looking for an anime look, only our actively moving elements (even this not always) get outlines. To make this work, all you need to do is use what is known as render layers. Yes, that means you're going to have to learn to use the compositor if you don't already. In order to isolate freestyle to your active objects, the will have to be on a scene layer of their own and only that single layer goes onto a render layer that masks anything out that does not get 2D lines (this also prevents the bleed-through problem freestyle sometimes shows). Then, on your background objects, you need to also have your toon objects, without freestyle, so that you can add things like Vector blur and have your shadows appear consistently.
So, to sum it up, you will have 2 layers and this is what they will contain:
> Layer 1 - Freestyle turned on with only the toon shapes and the scene lighting
> Layer 2 - Freestyle turned off with all the scene elements, including the toon shapes and scene lighting

And then finally, you can do your compositing of these together, so your outlines make it to the final render (I recommend using material index - that's how GOD taught me to do it).

Now, I want you to go and look at something that you can use freestyle in and see what is needed for your settings and try them.

Have a great one!!

Thank YOU!!!!!!

In : Tutorials 

Tags: jesus  god  blender  freestyle  style  outline 

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