Outputting Layers

I’ve probably missed something very basic, but can’t work out how to do this. I want to output a render as a layered image file (TIFF, PNG). Say an office interior, with walls and furniture on different layers, so that I can later composite (in image editing software) photographs of models into the layered image so they are in front of some elements (rear walls) and behind others (eg furniture). I could render each layer as a single image and later composite them all in the image editing software, but am wondering if there’s a way do do most of the work in Blender. I did try the multilayer output format, but all I got was a black image.

An image I’m working on at the moment is the interior of a room with windows. I want to have someone looking in the window - behind the building but in front of the sky. If I could have the sky (and stars) on a separate layer in a TIFF or equivalent it would be great.

To the best of my knowledge the only multilayer format supported by Blender is OpenEXR. This is the image type that gets saved when you use the “Multilayer” option in the render Format panel. The trouble is it is really only useful when using Blenders on Composite nodes. I do not think any Image editing software can read the Multilayer OpenEXR format used by Blender.

So your options are, 1 use Blenders Composite nodes to insert the 2D images you want between your rendered layers. Or 2, Render each layer as a separate PNG and load the separate images into different layers in your Image editing software.

Thanks Matt. I’m currently using the second option, but perhaps when I become more familiar with Blender I might change to Option one.

Well, when you want to get your feet wet with the composite nodes, just let us know. I find them really easy to use. You just have to think of layers as more of a flow chart then a visual stack (as in PS or Gimp). It would be simply to load your Render layers and an outside image(s) into the composite nodes and use Alpha over to layer them in the order you want.