Electron Microscope Rendering

I’m trying to simulate an Electron Microscope Picture of a pollen grain. If you have an Idea on how to improve the rendering let me know. Thanks.


Well, the best thing to do is look at some real electron microscope images.


From looking at these, you can see they are actually a bit low key (contrast), and very gray. Still, there is an overall light direction and very detailed shadows. There is also very little specular.

Try using Ambient occlusion. I know it’s slow but it should give similar results.

I think only the early electron microscopes had a green tint because of the phosphors displaying the image.

I hope this helps. Check the manual if you need help using Ambient occlusion.


Thanks Kevin, probably I probably had some older SEM images in mind. The images you posted are great! I’d like to imitate images like these:


I don’t know if the difference in scale changes the light distribution.

You’re right, the rendering is more similar to a AO, but in the center the object is often darker then in the periphery, where you see higher contrast.

Thanks for your advice Kevin, probably I had some older images in mind when posting the renders. You are right about AO it certainly will get close to more recent SEM imaging.

I have a reference image:

Which i like to mimic. In some images the central part of the object looks darker than the edges… this doesn’t fit completely into AO lighting… any ideas for that. I thought about a fresnel shader…

here an experiment I did with Yafaray:


thanks for your help… i was thinking of something like this:

AO will do it mostly, but how do I fake the darker area in the center of the object, and the higher contrast ant the edges?

Thanks Kevin, I was having early SEM images in mind. But you’re right lately the images are similar to images created with AO. Thant should do it, thanks. But what about the often seen darker surface in the center of the object and the high contrast and lighter borders? Could a fresnel shader help…?

I probably need a good node setup…

these are my reference images, just for the lighting

Comments are welcome!

Wasn’t there an article on this on Blendernation like a while back?

Seems like it :slight_smile:

Yes Borgleader, but blender was used for post-pro only… it was rendered in Kerkythea. In addition he wanted more sort of an artistic look, I’d like to have more a realistic look… any suggestions to improve the image?

one way you could improve it is add some objects in the background and heavy DOF… almost every extreme magnification picture ive seen has that ^^

Thanks for the comments and suggestions…

I agree that DOF is nice for macro images and for artistic interpretation, but I havn’t seen a lot of electron microscope images at this scale with a pronounced DOF, to show you here’s my reference Image:


But I’ll think about that. I’d really like to use DOF but I wanted to mach reality as close as possible… even if it is less… esthetically appealing… if you have a reference image with DOF please post the link, I’d like to see one…

Hey Efio,
I really like this! If you’re going for a more realistic feel, I think you should add more pollen in the background. It makes more sense to me that someone wanting to see these guys close up would view a whole bunch instead of just one.

Also, here are a couple images with some nice DoF:

This one was posted above:

This one is really cool and has that extreme DoF mentioned above:

This one is closer to yours:

I think for the most part, you’re correct about the lack of DoF, but it certainly does make these pictures look neat!

Hi Adamstox,

thanks for the tips! Give me som time and I’ll follow your suggestions…!

I’ve done some tests with diffrent settings which render do you like most?


hi yogyog thanks, now that link… isn’t useful though… explains post pro, which isn’t my problem. I’d like to find good shader, material and lighting settings… for blender internal…

Nice looking so far, but i think that there should be more edge blurring…The last render in your last post is looking much closer to what you want, maybe the DOF should be a little tighter?

Also, to add to the scale, perhaps add detail to the surface the object is lying on, nothing is that smooth on a microscopic level…

I gave some more DOF on another image I did today…