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Sometimes, I find that it is useful to do a Clay Render for my model, where all of the materials render with a single common "clay"-like material (see example image below). In the past, I have done this by:

  • Selecting all of my objects by using the A hotkey
  • Manually deselecting the World object, camera, and lights in the Outliner
  • Linking materials using Ctrl+L
  • Manually setting to the same material in the Properties>Materials menu
  • Render like normal

When I was done with my Clay render, I would revert to the old version by pressing Ctrl+Z a few time. However, this is a rather clunky solution, since I can't make any edits in the clay version without losing my old materials/textures data.

Is there a better way to do Clay renders, either with an addon or through some other technique such that I can make edits to my model and not lose my materials? If at all possible, I would like a single setting that allows me to quickly toggle clay-mode on and off in the same file.

Example "Clay Render": enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I think clay render is also available for cycles, it's already included in recent blender version and it's easier to use than the wireframe addon. BTW Gwenn did you answer your own question? $\endgroup$ – micgdev Jun 28 '13 at 5:17
  • $\begingroup$ @micgdev It's perfectly fine to ask and answer your own question(s). $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Jun 28 '13 at 23:12
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In the Properties area, Render tab, Layer group, there's a setting to override every object's material:

Material Override

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  • $\begingroup$ Note that this only works in Blender Internal. In Cycles, there is no 'Light' option, and the 'Material' option ends up overwriting Emission shaders. $\endgroup$ – Gwen Jun 27 '13 at 2:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Gwenn, unless your using regular lamps instead of emission shaders. I use this method even in cycles. $\endgroup$ – CharlesL Jun 27 '13 at 12:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Gwenn It also does not override environment lighting (coming from HDRI enviroment map for example). $\endgroup$ – Róbert László Páli Jul 14 '13 at 23:23
  • $\begingroup$ You can use an "Ambient Occlusion" shader fot the clay material in Cycles. Mesh based lights might get lost, but since "Ambient Occlusion" does not use lighting, you still will get a nice geometry preview. $\endgroup$ – Róbert László Páli Jul 17 '13 at 12:44
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The short answer is that it depends on which render engine you are using.

Cycles: Wireframe addon

The 'Wireframe' addon will allow you to toggle clay materials on your objects using the 'Object Tools' panel.

To use the addon:

  • Download the addon from this site
  • In your User Preferences>Addons view, choose 'Install from File' at the bottom of the screen and select the addon file
  • Select all objects by pressing A then deselect emission lights in the Outliner
  • In the 'Object Tools' panel on the left-hand side of your screen, scroll down to 'Setup Wire Render'
  • Check 'Selected Meshes' then press 'Apply Materials'

Result: enter image description here

Blender Internal: Clay Render addon

The 'Clay Render' addon adds an option in the Properties>Render menu that allows you to quickly toggle clay on and off.

To use the addon:

  • Download the most recent version from this site
  • In your User Preferences>Addons view, choose 'Install from File' at the bottom of the screen and select the addon file
  • In the Properties>Render>Render menu, check the box titles 'Clay Render'

Result: enter image description here

Needless to say, Cycles is better.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think clay render is also available for cycles, it's already included in recent blender version and it's easier to use than the wireframe addon. BTW Gwenn did you answer your own question? $\endgroup$ – micgdev Jun 28 '13 at 5:17
  • $\begingroup$ Answering your own question is just fine on SE. $\endgroup$ – A Wild RolandiXor Jun 12 '14 at 18:44
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For Blender Cycles you can try this method. You don't need AO or lights. You only have to set a white diffuse material to all objects and use this node setup for your world:

enter image description here

This is the material for your objects:

enter image description here

So you can get a clay render like this:

enter image description here

Go to Properties >> Render Layers Button >> Layer Panel and select that clay material in the Materials list appearing there. That's all.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've only skimmed your article, but unless I'm mistaken, you have to manually replace all materials with clay with this method. (Then afterwards undo to get your materials back.) $\endgroup$ – nik10110 supports GoFundMonica Feb 20 '15 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ No, you don't. There is an option which replaces all materials at once. Firstly, you have to create the clay material in any object. Then go to Properties >> Render Layers Button >> Layer Panel and select that clay material in the Materials list appearing there. That's all. $\endgroup$ – Elbrujodelatribu Feb 23 '15 at 8:17
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Why dont you just select everything, copy it to a new file, make everything the same mesh (Control+J) (and of course excluding the lights and the camera) then make that massive mesh have the clay material? That way youre not doing anything to the original file

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