Paint Over 3D Render

3d paint over
It is no secret that I used Blender3D in my landscape artwork and here is a brief walkthrough on how I apply the 3D render into 2D painting.

3D Models

Start the process by preparing all the necessary 3D models in this scene. All these assets are model with Blender3D. By using 3D, these assets can go into your stock library to be reuse in other projects.

3d assets
You can render these models with simple material and light setup. Since I am doing a sunset settings, I will render them with one default material, a simple hemi and sun light to cast the shadow and highlight.

Blender3D render
All the assets are also render in different alpha PNG so I can seperate them in different layers. The layers will help a lot when we are doing the painting and animation.

3d assets

Sky color

The first thing to paint are background sky color. You can do this with the gradient tool, or paint with the soft round edge brush.



Add another layer on top sky layer, and paint the clouds. Paint the clouds in different layer so it won't mess up the sky gradient.



Add another layer and paint the distance mountain/trees. I paint them with 2 custom brushes I made.



Add another layer and use the soft round edge brush to paint some fog/haze to simulate depth. You can try to play with different blending modes for the layer.



Add more layers again for sun glow. Glowing effect usually can be easily achieve with "add" or "screen" layer blending mode. Sometime I will use multiple layers for the glow/ray, so I arrange the glow behind or infront of certain layers.


Color Adjustment/Grading

My 3D render in this artwork are just gray color everywhere because I didn't spend much time on the material. To quickly adjust the color, you can make use of color curves or levels.

  1. Original
  2. 100% Color Photo Filter, preserve lumo.
  3. Adjust blue level output, so the dark shadow area will be blueish.
  4. More adjustment on the RGB levels. Increasing the dark, and bright area.


Adding in the highlight and specular. This step look simple, but it will add alot of "painterly" feel to the 3d render.


More details

We can always paint more objects into the scenes beside of the 3d renders.

In this artwork, birds are draw with hard edge round brush in Photoshop. igns are rasterized text and distort to match the perspective. Electric pylon was my old 3D render drag from another Photoshop file (That is what I said about reusablity of 3d assets).


Below are the final artwork and a new version I did in 2015.

3d paint over 3d paint over
TOP: 2013. BOTTOM: 2015


DeviantArt Construction Site
DeviantArt Construction Site 2015
Pixiv Construction Site 2015


  1. Hi. Thanks for the tutorials!
    If I feel like I don't want to put down the hours into 3D-blend, starting from scratch with the models etc., and I just want to test colouring already existing models, is it possible find models, like the one you use in this tutorial, and copy/paste into Photoshop?


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