Can I render just the Diffuse Color Pass in Cycles? I tried to check just Diffuse Color Pass, but it rendered the whole image anyway.


To the best of my knowledge, it is not possible to directly render only a single color pass in Cycles. However, after rendering your image, you can access the different color passes by using the compositor.

Before rendering, make sure to go to the Render>Layers menu and select "Direct", "Indirect", and "Color" for the material type you want to single out. This makes sure that you have all the necessary color passes when you get to the compositor.

In the compositor, instead of using "Image" as input to the Composite node, you want to combine in some way the three color passes "Direct", "Indirect", and "Color" for your material type. In the example below, I used two Color Overlay nodes as shown in my compositor setup.

My original image:

enter image description here

Diffuse Color Passes only:

enter image description here

Glossy Color Passes only:

enter image description here

My Compositor Setup:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Alternatively, if you aren't interested in preserving lighting and shadows, you can just use the Diffuse Color input directly to your composite node. $\endgroup$ – Gwen Jun 14 '13 at 3:32
  • $\begingroup$ I know how to work with passes. My question was, if there is a possibility of rendering just one particular pass. I can see now, that it is not an option. Anyway, thanks for help. $\endgroup$ – wlosokjan Jun 14 '13 at 7:47

Turn off "Combine" in the passes panel.

Then use diffuse as compositing output.

  • $\begingroup$ That doesn't work. It still renders the whole image $\endgroup$ – wlosokjan Jun 13 '13 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ @wlosokjan what do you mean by the 'whole image'? Upload a picture of how this looks and share the link. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Jun 13 '13 at 17:18
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ You will always see the 'whole image'. You can access the individual passes from the image editor or the compositing node editor. $\endgroup$ – Mike Pan Jun 13 '13 at 17:32

(Ok, lets see if i can write a proper answer)

With this render machine you will have to activate the render passes of your choice (in your case the three under Diffuse) and in compositing you will have to combine them ((Diffuse indirect + Diffuse Direct)*Diffuse Color) together, sorry if this is not much of help, dont really work with cycles, i think Bartek Skorupa have some really good tutorials in compositing on Blender cookie for cycles, check them if you want a deep explanation :)

Edited: Sorry, i explined for the wrong render machine

  • $\begingroup$ Basically what i want is result similar to render with shadeless shaders (solid color). I know I can replace materials with shadeless materials, or write solid color shader, but i have scenes with a lot of materials and it seems, that rendering diffuse color pass is easier. Here link is the result i want (image on top is full render, image at bottom is what i want). The main problem is, that even if I check just diffuse color pass, it renders the full image first (top image). I just realized, that it is probably not possible, but i want to be sure. $\endgroup$ – wlosokjan Jun 13 '13 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ Hi !! Yeah, what you want is the diffuse color pass (This pass is used by the program to multiply the light that impact a zone in your render), to obtain this pass just click "Color" under "Diffuse" in the Render Passes Panel. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Sander Jun 13 '13 at 21:25

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