composite node tests (cartoon shader)

Edit : see a the end of the thread for final result

I finally managed to understand how nodes work in blender, and wow… It’s great.
Seems perfect to get non photorealistic renders.
So I’m making various random tests that I might share in that thread if it’s of any interest.

That first nodes setting gives interesting results in order to get a sort of “illustration like” shader. Still need some tweakings but I think it is worth showing.

avi test


further test


one more test.


Loving it! Any way you’d post a screen shot of the node setup, or post an example blend?

Here you are.
I must warn you the node setup is insanely complicated, and not finished yet.

Blend file


Wow!! The last one is realy great! Reminds me of a npr shader i saw 4 maya years ago. Please dont stop, experiment more. For instance, i would love to see a cloth screnshot with this shader, how the different heights of the folds are coming through. Nice work!

Modelled quickly some clothes to see how it works.
Well, as you can see the shader works fine with bright colors, but darker ones make too contrasted shadows.
Also shrinkles on the shirt doesn’t show up on the clothes. Still investigating !

Edit : ok, finally you can see the folds, but there’s one big issue with close ups. I’m must find a way to “smooth” the edges depending on the distance from the camera. Anybody has an idea ?


Nice node setup.
But your .blend crashed my blender 2.45. (start rendering).

I get “Error: Node type Invert doesn’t exist anymore, removed” in the console. (on loading)

Blender 2.45
P4 3GHz

Oh, maybe that’s because I use an experimental build from
There is probably a way to delete that “invert” node, with the same results. Will have a look

wow drbouvierleduc! the full body test really gives a nice overview of the shader, and i like the contrasty style of the trousers. if you have some time you could check out the maya npr shader tutorial i was mentioning previously, and share your thoughts. is this possible to achieve with blender nodes? thanks in advance…greg.

Restarted from scratch.
Will post the blend file tomorrow.

@-> gaalgergely : It might be possible to have the same shader, I think. Complicated but possible. I don’t know if I’ll have time to mimic it, but feel free to have a look at the blend file, change a few things here and there and you might get it.


your last picture is fantastic! i think you have cracked it, dont worry about the maya shader, this is it! well done, eagerly awaiting the .blend file for testing :slight_smile:

Looking great! I wish I had the general understanding to create complex node setups. I am looking forward to learning from this setup.

Here’s the blend.
Glad to hear some feedback on those tests.
@PhilBo : basically, nodes work just like photoshop layers. It’s really not that hard once you find how to use them.

So that setup gives a sort of cartoon shading wich should work on most cases.
Just put a light source in your scene (with shadows enabled) and you’re done.
Also use rather large models, because otherwise close ups may show artifacts.

Basically it’s just a mix of three passes : plain color + shadows + edges.
That last one is the most difficult to use because it produces a lot of artifacts.

Et voilà !


Great, it works now with 2.45. :slight_smile:
Thank you for sharing.

Another update : added a few subtle effects.


This is very good stuff. I dint realize how powerful blender
can potentially be. Thanks for keep me informed and sharing
your wonder work.

Cool!! DrBouvierLeduc, thank you for sharing all this interesting stuff! Please keep on! :smiley:

VERY cool! Kinda a watercolor-ish look on that last one.

I’d love to see this with animation…

Thanks for your interest !

Still working on it.
So I tried to get a more “sketchy look” : added some soft sketch lines in the shadows, and some variations to the outline (see last attached image).
Here’s a small animation test. (fixed link)
I don’t post the blend file yet because there are still a few issues I have to fix.

For instance, to make the sketch lines in the shadows I used a texture with regular vertical lines, that are displaced according to normals. But I can’t figure how to make a procedural texture with vertical lines (a procedural wood texture produce non-vertical lines). So I have to use an external jpg texture file, and I’d like to avoid that.

Another issue : I can’t get the world color to show… So if I don’t put a white plane behind the model, the background is all black, though I pressed the “sky” button in the render layer.