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Pixel Art Basics
How to render a scene as pixel art in Eevee
To render standard pixel art, it just takes changing a few settings:
- Use a low output resolution (depends on how blocky you want your pixel art - the examples in this page are 96x96)
- Set Render Properties>Sampling>Render Samples to 1 (Gives crispy 'aliased' pixels)
- Disable bloom
- Set Render Properties>Color Management>View Transform to 'Standard' (Renderer does not mute colors)
You may notice that there is still a gradient of lighting on the side of the cube. Although you're now rendering at pixel-art levels of resolution, another common feature of pixel art is that it uses a limited color palette. To achieve this, have all materials in your scene use hand-picked RGB values instead of BDSFs. Below are some examples:
Some pixel cubes and a sphere
A cel-shaded Suzanne
The cel shader
By setting view transform to 'Standard' before, the colors that you chose in the shader editor will be the exact same colors that show up in the render.
Following the previous steps will output low-resolution images; this is the output of hand painting pixel art too. If you want to use pixel art outside of game contexts (such as sharing online), you'll want to upscale it so that the image isn't really small. Most painting programs allow for easy upscaling of images on export, but Blender unfortunately does not, so there are a couple ways to work around this.
This is the method you'll probably see the most online when searching for tutorials on making pixel art in Blender.
- 1.Instead of rendering at a low resolution like previously instructed, render at whatever resolution you want the final image to be: in the case of the previous images on this page, 960x960.
- 2.In the compositor, use Scale and Pixelate nodes to shrink down and then scale back up the render, turning it into pixel art.
Using Blender to downscale then upscale the render in a pixel art fashion. Make sure to render at a high resolution (eg 960x960) when using this method
If you are familiar with a raster painting program like Photoshop/Clip Studio/Krita, or better yet a pixel art program that supports animations like Aseprite, you have a bit better control over how to upscale.
- 1.Export your low resolution pixel art as png (or png sequence for animations).
- 2.Import the png (or png sequence) into your program of choice.
- 3.Rescale the art in your painting program.
Upscaling the render from 96x96 to 960x960 in Aseprite
The first method is good if you're working solely in Blender. It's faster to set up.
The second method is good if you plan to do compositing or edits in another program. The fact that you are rendering at a lower resolution speeds up render times (important for animations) and also makes changing freestyle line width more intuitive.
At this point, you are ready to start making pixel art 3D renders!