Npr renders are amazing , they are a breath of freshness different from the so common realistic renders you see everywhere. the materials, the shapes, and animation are just different and outstanding, and there so many styles, from cell shading, comic, anime, semi realistic the list can go on forever.
if this is something you want to get into, here are 10 tools and recourses to help you out.
if you want to make npr renders, you have to change how you create shaders, render engines like cycles are designed with a goal to capture the world in the most realistic way, they try to accurately determine how light would scatter and bounce around your scene and from that calculate the shadows, reflections and more. for npr artists you want to break this structure and introduce these engines to a new way of rendering, and that is what stylized shaders 3 does. Stylized Shaders is a powerful tool designed specifically for 2D look development. It offers a collection of 55+ unique Semi-procedural shaders, each with its own distinctive style. This addon is compatible with Blender 4
if you want a mix of procedural stylized and semi realistic materials, saleh afkhami publishes a number of highly detail materials from stylized, realistic and semi realistic. the materials are procedural and come with custom masks to help you add extra detail like wear and tear.
npr rendering is not only about shaders and materials, the shapes are unique too, especially trees and vegetation, and flora paint is a library of any style you may need.
Flora Paint , a comprehensive botanical asset library for Blender
offers over 500 varied resources in more than 10 categories
perfect for creating vibrant, stylized scenes in anime, cartoon, or conceptual art styles.
you can use it to scatter and even customize the look of your assets.
in addition to shaders and npr plants, npr elements like fire, smoke, rain and snow look different from photo realistic renders, they also animate differently, this unique style can be hard to capture, if you want to master it take a look at the elementar fire smoke and rain library.
while this water addon is not focused on npr rendering i just had to add it in here because it looks too good and was just release 3hrs ago, you can create large water bodies like lakes, oceans, with large waves, this is all procedural and Realtime.
if your render needs background assets like clouds, real cloud can turn any mesh you have into clouds, you can then customize the look of the cloud to be as realistic as you want or as cartoonish or npr as you want. the addon also comes with a collection of vdb clouds that you can just drag and drop into your scene. the addon also uses a volume shader that is twice faster than the built it blender volume shader, so that your volume objects dont add more time to rendering.
one thing that screams production value in any render, are caustics, they take too much time to render but just add such a strong vibe to your render that sometimes its worthy the time added, except that with shaders plus you can now get the same effect of caustics in your render in realtime, no more additional render time just additional production value, this also render is cycles and eevee, you can also use it for addition effects like dispersion and thin film.
if non photo realistic rendering is not just a onetime thing for you, maybe you should invest in a longtime solution like this stylized tree asset generator, its a library of procedural trees and vegetation so that when ever you are making anything you can always customize the trees to match what you are doing.
there so many stylized styles and you can even create your own from scratch, this creative shrimp course is a detailed course that can help you with that, the course takes you through 11 styles of npr rendering making them step by step and by the end you will be able to make your own in no time.
if everything can be photorealistic then everything can be non photorealistic, including cars, this is a library of low poly cars that can match most npr render, from anime and comic render, and with a few adjustments to the proportions you can make them for any type of npr render
and if you want more styles, the toonkit tool has you covered. Toonkit for Cycles is based on OSL shaders that are fully interactive and integrated into Cycles Node System and Blender’s Viewport. ToonKit shaders are Lightning Fast and most will converge to noiseless production quality images in only 4~32 samples!
Toonkit for Cycles implements two fast and stable Line Rendering nodes for Cycles with controls of the influence of Normal, Depth, Object Id, Silhouette, and Vertex Color.
and finally there is komikaze,
A huge collection of Shaders, Modifiers, Compositor FX, and assets for creating comics and toon-style art. If you are looking for a Manga, Anime or Spiderverse style, this toolbox will help you achieve it in no time.
Everything runs in real-time with Blender EEVEE 🙂