I've rendered a character in Blender and created a multi-layer EXR, which I want to edit and color in Photoshop. I separately rendered different body parts like arms, shoulder armor, the head etc.

Sadly, Blender rendered all of these things COMPLETELY, so now the whole thing is jumbled in Photoshop since they're just 2D images now.


Is it possible to tell Blender to ONLY render the part of the objects that are visible from the camera's point of view and leave out the ones that are hidden behind other objects?

This would be a great help. :) Someone got an idea? As of now, it looks like this. Pretty messy since nothing fits together anymore.

example image

  • $\begingroup$ You can configure certain render layers to be 'excluded' form any others, virtually making them act as masks to parts of the image $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ That sounds like it could help, can you roughly explain how and where to do this? :) $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ Not very versed in the use of render layers myself, but there seems to be a good answer bellow already $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ Make it in comp: blender.stackexchange.com/a/42209/31447 $\endgroup$
    – brockmann
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


Separate the object you want to render by layer.

  1. Place the render object on layer 2. (e.g. Torus)
  2. Place the masking objects (all other objects) on layer 1. (e.g. Cube)
  3. Make both layers visible in the Scene's layers.
  4. Set the Layer to layer 2 in the render layers tab.
  5. Set the Mask Layer to layer 1 (or more) in the render layers tab.

The objects on layer 1 will now act as a mask.

enter image description here

Compositing in Photoshop

Sadly, stacking these image on top of each other messes up the premultiplication / alpha / hard to explain.

Here's how to composite these two layers in Photoshop.

Basically, we add all akphas together, add all colors together, then use the alphas as a mask.

  1. Create layers containing only the alphas.
  2. Set the lowest alpha layer to Normal blending mode, the others to Add.
  3. Merge the alpha layers creating an alpha for all layers together (you could also render this from Blender).

enter image description here

  1. Create a group (folder) for each layer. In each group add a black solid layer below the imported image.
  2. Set the lowest group's blending mode to Normal and all other group's blending modes to Add.

You should have the original image infront of black now.

  1. Group all existing groups into a new folder. Set the alpha mask for this folder.

enter image description here

Although this setup is tedious, you can now edit the individual parts, while previewing the final result.

  • $\begingroup$ It worked, thank you so much! Sadly there are veeery small seams of empty space between each layer, but I guess that's just how it is. Again, thank you. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ I know what you mean, but the "seam" isn't exactly a random gap between objects. The objects can be composited together exactly as if they were rendered combined. Where are you combining the objects? Blender or Photoshop? $\endgroup$
    – Leander
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ Mh, the scene consists of 6 layers. One has the head, one the arms, one the legs and so on. I link those scene layers to the render layers and use the masks as you told me. I then render it, open the EXR in PS and then these very small gaps between the layers are visibible, they are like 1pixel but they are visible with a white background. I'm not sure if that is what you asked. :-\ $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ @DoomedtoConsume I have updated the answer with an explanation of compositing the layers in photoshop. Does this help? $\endgroup$
    – Leander
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ Okay this kinda broke my brain, I will have to fiddle around a bit till I get what you mean. :D But I really appreciate your effort to help me, thanks! $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 10:08

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