Blender Backgrounds - Easily Add Background Images  

by Matt Hawkins, 24/02/2012
Categories : Graphics : Special FX : Tutorials & Guides

One of the first things I wanted to do with Blender was include an image in the background. It wasn't easy to find a simple explanation of how to do this. Things didn't improve when I then wanted to include that background in the final scene render.

Once I worked out how to do it I decided to write this tutorial for others searching for the answer. I spent way too much time wading through books and wikis that seemed to dive into meshes,nurbs,bones,UV and other stuff before dealing with the basics.

So the instructions below will tell you how to add a background image to work against and how to include that background image in the final render if required.

Adding A Background Image To The Viewport

With the mouse over the viewport, Press [N]

This will reveal an additional panel to the right of the viewport. At the bottom of this panel is a section called 'Background Images'.

- Expand the 'Background Images' section
- Check the box
- Click 'Add Image'

This will reveal additional options.

- Click 'Open'
- Browse to an image
- Select image
- Click 'Open Image'

You will notice this image is set to 'All Views'. By changing this drop down and using the 'Add Image' button you can add multiple images and apply them to different views. This allows you to add different images for each view. This is useful if you want to load images of an object you which to model.

- Press [NUMPAD-0] to switch to 'Camera' view.

Your image should be visible in the background.

Include Background Image In Render

- Highlight 'Camera' in the Scene Tree
- Click the 'Textures' icon in the Toolbox

There are two icons just above the list of textures. A globe and a pencil. Make sure the globe icon is selected.

- Click '+ New'
- Set 'Type' to 'Image or Movie'
- Under the 'Image' section click 'Open'
- Browse to an image
- Select image
- Click 'Open Image'
- Under the 'Influence' section uncheck 'Blend' and check 'Horiz'
- Click the 'World' icon in the Toolbox
- Under the 'World' section check 'Paper Sky'

Now you can render the scene :

- Press [F12] to render your scene

Your image should be visible in the render as a background.

The 'Paper Sky' setting stretches the image to fit the camera view. The aspect ratio (shape) of the rendered view is set under the 'Render' settings. That's the little camera icon in the Toolbox.

Author : Matt Hawkins  Last Edit By : Matt Hawkins
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