Engineering blog
06 Jan 2021

What is Non-Photo Realistic Rendering?

This blog has been updated on – March 12, 2024

You’ve heard of photorealistic rendering – but what exactly is non-photo realistic rendering (NPR), and why does it matter? A process where the animations are inspired by non-photorealistic sources such as paintings, cartoons, drawings, etc. is called non-photorealistic 3D rendering.

In this blog, we try to understand the various applications and categories that non-photorealistic renders fall under. Read on.

What is Non-photo Realistic Rendering?

This is a relatively new area of computer graphics that uses digital art and other technologies. Unlike photorealism, it focuses on animation painting and drawing rather than pixel imaging. An example would be characters in a 3D video game.

Non-photorealistic rendering blender is a technique used to create artistic renders in contrast to the traditional photorealistic 3D visuals. The creation of 3D visuals has to do with the  origin of 3D rendering, a story in itself.

Applying Imagination

With a sea of photorealistic rendering software out there, the application of artists was somewhat restricted. Non-photorealistic rendering, much like photorealistic rendering, opened the gates to the world of gaming and animation.

It is a digital canvas for artists who want to exhibit their imagination in a more comprehensive way.

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Applications of Non-photo Realistic Rendering

  • Comics and Animation

    An industry that has benefitted greatly from this type of rendering is comics and animation, with enhanced flexibility and precision. Giants such as Disney and Pixar have heavily utilized it to create blockbuster films.

  • Commercial Products

    This rendering is finding its way into product imaging and architectural visualization, where photorealistic rendering cannot be used. It is being used in industries to create user manuals for parts where imaging cannot work. (For example, a user manual for refrigerators)

Categories of Non-photo Realistic Rendering

  • Pen and Ink Illustrations:

    This category uses line art, outlining and cross-hatching to create artworks. Techniques in this category have to do with emulating hand-drawn sketches so as to give the final render a sketched or inked appearance. While doing this, one emphasizes on lines, hatching and cross-hatching.

  • Painterly Rendering:

    Its styles include impressionist, expressionist and pointillist. In this non-photorealistic realistic rendering technique, characteristics of a traditional painting is emulated in a digital or 3d rendered scene.

  • Cartoon Rendering:

    It uses effects like shading and distortion to achieve cartoon-like effects. It is a non-photorealistic rendering technique that creates stylized or cartoon-like appearances in a 3D digital render.

  • Technical Illustrations:

    For technical manual imaging, it uses edge lines and matte shading.

  • Scientific Visualization:

    Splatting and line drawing techniques are used to add precision to scientific 3D visualization.

    This style of rendering is getting better, as we have access to faster and more efficient processors.

    These illustrations use strokes, textures, tones, outlines, scaling, and indications to deliver what we see in many video games and cartoons today.


We hope this blog gave you an understanding of what non-photorealistic rendering is and what it does. If you are looking for photo rendering online, BluEntCAD is a great option you might want to try. It has an adept team of experts in non-photorealistic rendering techniques. Over the years, we have served clients from all walks of life.

Considering view angles, boundary definitions, and interior outlines, we deliver the finest quality renderings. Need something rendered? Contact us today!



Your Citation

CAD Evangelist. "What is Non-Photo Realistic Rendering?" CAD Evangelist, Jan. 06, 2021,

CAD Evangelist. (2021, January 06). What is Non-Photo Realistic Rendering?. Retrieved from

CAD Evangelist. "What is Non-Photo Realistic Rendering?" CAD Evangelist (accessed January 06, 2021 ).

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