- Free • Open Source
What is Freestyle?
Freestyle is a software for Non-Photorealistic Line Drawing rendering from 3D scenes. It is designed as a programmable interface to allow maximum control over the style of the final drawing: the user "programs" how the silhouettes and other feature lines from the 3D model should be turned into stylized strokes using a set of programmable operators dedicated to style description. This programmable approach, inspired by the shading languages available in photorealistic renderers such as Pixar's RenderMan, overcomes the limitations of integrated software with access to a limited number of parameters and permits the design of an infinite variety of rich and complex styles. The system currently focuses on pure line drawing as a first step. The style description language is Python augmented with our set of operators.
Comments and Reviews
Freestyle isn't a stand-alone app any more. It's been part of Blender for a number of years now. I'm fairly familiar with it as a Blender extension and it's a strange combination of good, bad and downright ugly.
Too many people have fiddled with it without (apparently) understanding what the idea of non-realistic rendering and outlining is about or, for that matter, applying their improvements to actual art!
This is a classic case of bit-rot and the core of Freestyle is still excellent, if unloved and in need of development and even performance enhancement. The afterthoughts should probably be shut away in a drawer because they simply don't work as advertised and drain time and effort from the artists who be making really great work with it.
However, it doesn't deserve comparing with 3D modelling or rendering engines because while it is technically capable of rendering art, it can only "do" line art based on existing models and needs a "proper" rendering engine to do a lot of the heavy lifting.