Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Advanced Tutorials/Introduction to Freestyle

New in Blender 2.67, the Freestyle renderer adds a whole range of non-photorealistic effects to the Blender Internal renderer. It seems in some ways like the decades-long quest for photorealism in computer graphics has come full circle, and people are now deliberately seeking how to achieve more cartoony or line-drawing-style effects!

A Simple Freestyle Example


Start with a new Blender document. Delete both the default cube and the default lamp. In the World   context, check the Environment Lighting box and set its energy to 1.0. This will give your scene a flat, shadowless light that suits a cartoony effect.

Create a Circle mesh object.  TAB  into Edit mode; all the vertices should be selected, so you can add a face joining them all just by pressing  F . Next, select just one vertex with  RMB . Go to the Mesh → Snap menu and select “Cursor to Selected”.  TAB  out of Edit mode, and go to the Object → Transform menu and select “Origin to 3D Cursor”. Putting the geometry origin at one edge of the circle, rather than its centre, makes it easier to apply the upcoming transformation via an array modifier.


 TAB  back into Edit mode. Select two vertices equidistant from the one you used to position the geometry origin. Turn on proportional editing (Mesh → Proportional Editing → Connected). Now press  S  to scale the two selected vertices closer to each other, and use the mouse wheel to regulate the proportional-editing falloff to get a reasonable leaf or petal shape, as at right.

Once you’ve got a decent shape, select all the vertices and rotate them by a small angle, say, 5°, e.g.  R   Y   5KEY   ENTER . This will keep the overlapping copies of the object from running into each other and producing some unpleasant rendering effects.

 TAB  back into Object mode. Now add an Empty at the current position of the 3D cursor. Rotate it about the Z-axis by 60°:  R   Z   6KEY   0KEY   ENTER . Since this shares the same geometry origin as your circle, it can be used to apply a rotation to the latter without it turning into a spiral.

Select your circle again. Add an Array modifier: uncheck Relative Offset (and ensure Constant Offset is off as well), and turn on Object Offset. Click on the field for entering the object name, and in the popup menu that appears, select the name of your Empty (it should be called “Empty”). Set the Count to 6. You should now see a leaf-like or flower-like arrangement of 6 copies of your circle. While you’re at it, give it a suitably plant-like colour, like leaf green.

Now go to the Render Context  . Look for the “Freestyle” checkbox near the bottom, and check it. Switch to the Render Layers Context  , and you should see that a “Freestyle” panel has appeared. Click the “+” button next to the “Freestyle Line Set” list to create a new entry. You can leave all the settings for the new Line Set at their defaults.

Now hit  F12  to render, and you should end up with something like this:


See Also