Profile PictureCody Claus

Blender To Pixels

$0+
87 ratings

Also check out my latest product:

https://astropulse.gumroad.com/l/RetroDiffusion

Create amazing pixel art images in seconds from text prompts!

What does Blender to Pixels do?

This tool allows you to create and animate 3D models and then easily turn them into pixel art.

Why use it?

I've been creating pixel art professionally for 4 years, and something that always bothered me was the lack of simulation and animation tools. The standard pixel art process is hand drawn, hand animated. There is no doubt that this creates the best results, but it is also extremely time consuming, and making any changes mid-process requires hours of work.

Moving the majority of the creation process into Blender allows for easy animation, editing, and design, while maintaining most of the style and charm of traditional pixel art.

Should I use this for all pixel art?

By no means can this replace good old fashioned hand drawn pixel art, but it can make your workflow many many times faster. Depending on the level of refinement you want, you can use a render as-is out of the compositor, or use it as a baseline for cleaning up and perfecting.

Features:

  • Up to 8 separate color ramps for different materials
  • Automatic dithering
  • Clean and customizable outlines
  • Depth based filters
  • Special effects filters
  • In-editor documentation

Use cases:

  • Full image/animation creation
  • Rapid design prototyping
  • Accurate lighting guide
  • Physics based animations
  • Procedural pixel art designs

Examples:

Traditional vs. Rendered

Hand made pixel art piece. Took ~20 hours from start to finish.

Hand made desert at night scene

Rendered scene with clean up. Took less than 3 hours from start to finish.

Rendered desert at night scene

While there is a clear difference in quality, there is also an extreme difference in time spent. On top of the time saved in simply creating a still image, the rendered image can be animated in minutes, while the hand made piece would take days to animate.

Animation and Modification

Rendered crown with complex rotation in 3D space.

Rotating crown at 64x64

Rendered crown spinning with different style and size.

Spinning crown at 128x128

The complex motion in the first image was made by changing just three values, and rendered in seconds.

The second image uses the same model and materials as the first, but uses a different shading style and pixel resolution. Making these changes took less than 5 minutes.

How is this different from other 3D -> Pixel Art tools?

There are other pieces of software/blender addons that convert 3D into pixel art. This project is actually based on some free tools sourced from https://lospec.com/blender-toolkit/.

What makes this different from other tools is that it is entirely compositor based. You don't need to worry about making special models or custom materials/modifiers. Everything is handled post-render. This means that you can take any 3D model from anywhere, change one value in the material setting, and have that model render as pixel art. As a matter of fact, the crown used in the examples is a free model from the internet. Lots of work has gone into improving and streamlining the 3D -> Pixel Art process, including advanced image clean up, outlining, a depth based fog filter, and a special effect filter. Because everything is Blender Node based, everything can be seen and edited as you wish. I have also provided documentation about getting started with the tool, descriptions of how it works, and best practices for getting the most out of it.

Is this free?

Yes. Many other 3D -> Pixel Art tools are paid, or rely on other paid software. You can download and use this 100% for free, including the software it is made for.

This was a difficult decision for me, after using the tool for a while and realizing how valuable it is, especially to freelance artists like myself, I considered making it a paid tool. But, after all the help and resources the 3D and Pixel Art communities have given me over the years, doing that just wouldn't feel right. If I end up creating more content for this beyond what it already has, I may charge for those, but this base tool will always be free. Just enter a zero in the price box.

If you absolutely love this and want to give back somehow, donations are always welcome.

Contact info:

You can find me on the Retro Diffusion discord server: https://discord.gg/baCV7nJn9g

Want to see more of my work? Head over to my website: https://astropulse.co/

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You will get a .zip file containing a .blend file with all of the custom node groups and documentation described in the product section. Please leave a rating if you want to help out!

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Blender To Pixels

87 ratings
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