I've been trying to produce an outline in blender render (Simmilar to this- from the show RWBY)

enter image description here

I am trying to do it using this technique: Duplicating an object, scaling it up slightly, giving it a black texture, enabling backface culling. However, this never apears in the render as it's aperently just used for the 3d view (as far as I know). I need help getting blender to render backface culling within the "Blender Render" engine, not cycles. I was wondering if anyone had tips, or perhaps a script that could help me solve this problem. Thank you

  • 1
    Have you tried creating the outline in freestyle? – cegaton Aug 16 '15 at 3:34
  • Yes, and it didn't work in a way I could use; the lines were all over the place for some reason, and they were way too thick no matter what thickness I set it to. – Cell Head Aug 16 '15 at 15:37
  • Related: blender.stackexchange.com/q/31191/599 – gandalf3 Aug 27 '15 at 19:57
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The way they achieve the outline in the show rwby is unique in that it is not rendered at all.
They use what are called "playblasts" which is a feature in maya where the animation is recorded in real time and not rendered. This is why yours is not coming out right the outline will only appear in the texture view of blender. I like to animate in this style because you can have good looking low poly character but anyway how you achieve this is:

  1. copy object in object mode
  2. scale the object up slightly and while in edit mode press w and select flip normals(this will cause only the inside faces to show)
  3. give the main object a skin color and make sure the shadeless option is selected
  4. give the outline mesh a black shadeless color and adjust in edit mode where needed

It will not come out in rendered view and will only show in texture view (still pretty cool though)

  • Is there, perhaps an alternative way of actually "Getting" the footage without rendering then? – Cell Head Aug 20 '15 at 5:59
  • well i know that maya uses the play blasts... the equivalent in blender would be openGL render i believe. you could try that. also try different methods of cel shading this method is just one way the people over at RT do it but it is not the only way. you can use nodes and scripting to get an outline as well thought its much harder unless you know the scripts – Antonio Garcia Aug 21 '15 at 1:16
  • Thanks for the tips with open GL, I would use nodes, but I really don't know enough about how to use nodes or python scripts. – Cell Head Aug 21 '15 at 1:27

I have been able to achieve this in the cycles renderer using this node setup for the outline object's material:

blender internal

I haven't been able to figure out a way to do this with blender internal renderer, but you can use the opengl render mode to pull it off.

Here are the steps:

  1. Create an object and give it a material

  2. Duplicate the object

    1. Enter edit mode, select all vertices

    2. Press alt+s and scale the object up slightly

    3. Press w and flip the normals

    4. Go to object mode and delete the material

    5. Give it a new material and make it shadeless black

  3. In the 3d window, press n to bring up the right panel

    1. Go to the shading tab and enable 'Backface Culling'

    2. The outline object should now be just an outline

    3. Go to the display tab and enable 'Only Render'

  4. Render the movie

    1. Make sure your settings are correct in the render panel (frame rate, etc)

    2. Go to top left corner of blender's user interface and click 'Render'

    3. Select 'OpenGL Render Animation'

The best way to achieve this method is the Solidify Shell method of outlining. It is the same concept as Antonio Garcia's answer, but is more dynamic as it is done through a modifier.

Here is a guide: http://blendernpr.org/solidify-modifier-contouroutline/

And a sample file download: http://blendernpr.org/toonery/files/SolidifyOutline.blend

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