Is it possible to accomplish something like this or this in blender? In this video you can see some results in BI, but I can't (and many other people in comments) render it (you can download .blend in the description and try it yourself, result can be seen only in the viewport). Maybe somebody can show node setup (at least the base of it) for cycles?

  • $\begingroup$ This is definitely possible in the blender internal renderer. Why would you need Cycles for npr? $\endgroup$
    – Bert VdB
    Nov 19, 2017 at 14:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Definitely for GPU rendering of big scenes. The only thing Cyles doesn't have is anti -aliasing, but with some tricks you can get very close to BI result. I believe, with the right settings, cycles is also good for npr. $\endgroup$ Nov 19, 2017 at 14:52

2 Answers 2


I'm aware I'm necroin' a 8 month post, but I'd like to aid any others who happen to come across this post in desperation for a solution.

It took a whole day of investigating and cross-referencing, but another Blender user back in 2010 managed this effect rather well.


Now, the barely readable 480p is not very helpful for those unfamiliar with Blender Render style or Nodes period, such as myself, but I managed to crack the code.

Blender Render settings

And for those who are working in Cycles (as Eevee is a blast to edit this with). I apologize for the slightly clumped Cycle composition, I hope the colors help.

Cycles settings


You can't use this method to "pre-program" how shadows fall, so this won't be great for 3D/live rotation video games. This is a clean up method for specific scenes, if not specific frames in general. You will need to reset the Vertex color base every time you want your shadows to start fresh for changes.

Materials and Render do not match up, do not trust 'em for switchin back n forth.

You can change the black Vertex Paint base to a lighter shade, you just need to adjust the ColorRamps to match.

It's ok if your first strokes are jagged, Blur/Blend in the Vertex Paint will smooth it out, although it'll take some back and forth to get the contour you want.

Depending on your mesh, there will inevitably be spots that don't catch the shader right and cannot be vertex painted. Change your lighting or change your positioning. All tools have limits :(

Oh yeah, and this shader HATES subtle lights. I thought the shader was broken until I shoved a spot at full power in my meshs's skull. Just be aware, if your model in Materials or Render looks like a silhouette colored by your shadow, you either need to shove a light in it's noggin or you didn't connect the Vertex information right.



why am I screaming? Because it took me 15 minutes to figure that out just because someone thought it'd be a good idea to have the node threads use gradients in the video's version of BL. (Also I'm dumb)

Hope this helps any others

  • $\begingroup$ Something to add onto because I continued messing with it: Using the AnimAll addon, you can in fact key-frame the Vertex Paint colors, and shift your "corrections" as your lighting changes. However, on high to mid poly meshes my laptop was unable to do this without crashing, so I only found success on rather low poly meshes to varying degrees of visual success due to the lower polygon surface to paint. However, if your PC rig is better you might be able to handle it. Cheers $\endgroup$ Jul 28, 2018 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ You can't even imagine, how I've been surprised! This is definitely the answer I was looking for, nothing to add, really. Thank you very, very much! I really appreciate that! $\endgroup$ Jul 29, 2018 at 10:12


The fastest/easiest way should be painting Vertex Colors only with black and white colors and use it as factor for Mix Shader:


or Mix RGB:


If it's only for shadows you can use something like this for easier control:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ I've tried all of your setups, but they seem to be not what I'm asking about. Those nodes give you hand-painted shadows for one-shot render, but I've asked about shaders shadows manipulation (ex: delete some shadow areas of toon shader with vertex paint), how to tell blender where default shadows should be and where I want to get rid of them. Forgive me if I did something wrong with your setup and it was made exactly for this, but when rendering I don't get shadows deletion or expansion, I'm just adding new colors to texture different from main shadow color. $\endgroup$ Nov 19, 2017 at 16:50

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