Thursday, February 15th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Blender plugin InkTool turns your 3D models into brush paintings

Part of the launch video for InkTool 1.0. Watch the full video on X.

Artist and researcher Zhihao Yao has released InkTool, a new Blender plugin that can generate renders mimicking the look of traditional ink paintings from simple 3D geometry.

The Geometry Nodes-based add-on, described as a “toolkit for creating 3D ink paintings”, also lets users create freehand 3D strokes mimicking 2D brush strokes, complete with drips.

Paint brush-and-ink paintings freehand in 3D
InkTool provides a number of ways to recreate the look of ink paintings in 3D.

The most direct is to use its Inkbrush feature to draw the strokes freehand, with InkTool automatically generating a realistic-looking brush stroke following the resulting 3D curve.

The plugin generates drips at the start of the stroke, as if the ink were running under gravity, with the stroke thinning and fading over distance, as if the brush were running out of ink.

The process is non-destructive, with users able to edit the form of strokes after they are created.

Also generates non-photorealistic brush-and-ink style renders from 3D scenes
It’s also possible to create images using a non-photorealistic rendering workflow, with InkTool’s Inkedge system generating outlines around 3D models that resemble brush strokes.

To fill in the outlines, InkTool’s Inktexture system converts the model’s existing textures into ink textures, with users able to control the results using Blender’s vertex painting tools.

Comes with readymade plants and rocks and a built-in paper texture
The plugin also comes with readymade presets and generators mimicking elements from traditional Chinese paintings, including bamboo, other plants, and rocks.

To complete the look of the image, InkTool includes a built-in rice paper texture for the background, and a Distress setting, which gives the final render a subtle aged, discoloured look.

Price and system requirements
InkTool 1.0 is compatible with Blender 3.6.4+. It supports both the Eevee and Cycles renderers, although Eevee is recommended. It costs $15.

Read more about InkTool in the plugin’s Blender Market listing

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