Stylized Rocks in Blender Tutorial

Who doesn’t love an excellent stylized rock? You probably stumbled upon this tutorial because you’re out on a stylized rock mission of your own, and you want to create it in Blender. Luckily for you, this tutorial is probably the most in-depth stylized rock tutorial for Blender you will ever see. I cover several different ways of creating those sharp but beveled edges we all love.

What is a stylized rock?

If you don’t actually know what a stylized rock is, it’s basically taking a typical rock and turning it into something less realistic. It does not mean it’s supposed to look cartoonish, although you could go for a stylized cartoon look. Let’s take a look at some examples of stylized rocks.

Stylised Material & Rocks
https://www.artstation.com/artwork/9AgRy
Stylized Rock Sharp Tile
https://www.artstation.com/artwork/3qaVOY
Stylized rocks
https://www.artstation.com/artwork/X1Gr13

As you can see, stylized rocks can have a wide variety of appearances. There are really no set rules for they should look, it’s completely dependent on your own art style. Some artists like their rocks big and blocky, with not too much detail, while others will crank up the details and textures to a maximum.

3 ways of creating a stylized rock

There are probably hundreds of different ways of creating a stylized rock in Blender, and each artist has their own preference. I will cover the three different ways I will create my rocks:

  • Sculpting – Good if you want to put your own touch on it
  • Modeling – Good if you don’t have sculpting skills
  • Procedural – Good if you need to make lots of rocks at once

These all have their strength and weaknesses, there’s no single best way, but there are definitely easier and harder ways of creating a non-realistic rock.

1. Sculpting

This is probably my favorite way, but it can also be the most time-consuming of them all. Sculpting is not for everyone, but I dare to say that everyone can sculpt a decent-looking stylized rock, even with no prior sculpting experience.

To get started we need a quad sphere, you can do this by subdividing a cube or using a free addon called Round Cube. We do this to have even topology across the whole model, a normal sphere gets pinched at the bottom and top, which would be pretty much impossible to work with. I recommend adding a Multiresolution modifier and cranking up the values for the initial sculpt, we can lower it later on.

Our quad sphere.

When you have your quad sphere, jump into sculpting mode and find the brush called “Scrape”. It’s the last one of the 4 orange brushes. Scale it up and down by pressing F, and change the strength by pressing shift+f. I recommend starting out with a bigger brush with a pretty high strength value, something like 0.7. Now just click a few times on different spots and you will start flattening these areas, the more you do it, the more flat areas you will get, thus creating a rock.

Ta-da, a stylized rock created in less than a minute.

Now, this is just the beginning and there are tons of stuff you could add, but if you like the simple style you don’t really need to do much else. If you don’t like the rounded corners, going over them with the pinch brush is a good way to get sharp and crisp lines. See my example down below.

After using the pinch brush the edges are much sharper and cleaner.

If you still want more detail or want some inspiration, I can recommend taking a look at BrainchildPL’s video where he shows a timelapse of him doing a detailed sculpt of a cliff. He shows his workflow of adding a more gritty look to the rocks with more surface imperfections and cracks (although that can be achieved with textures too).

2. Modeling

Modeling a rock, at least for me, is the most boring way to create a rock. But hey, you might just like this way the most. It works really well if you’re into low poly stuff. Like with sculpting, you can model it in many different ways, either doing it all by extruding and manually moving faces around or by using the bisect tool. There isn’t really much else to it, just remember to use reference photos.

Using the bisect tool you can get clean-looking rocks in a matter of minutes.
BrainchildPL yet again with a video about rocks, this time modeling them by hand.

3. Procedural generation

Another way to create a stylized rock in Blender is to do it 100% procedurally, it can be quite fun too. You can do it through geometry nodes (something I haven’t tried yet) or with the help of modifiers. One might think that using a procedural approach will give you less creative freedom. That is true somewhat, but there are people that have created some really neat stylized rocks with just nodes and modifiers, that looks a lot better than some sculpted rocks.

So, you’re ready for some procedural goodness? Since this process is more of a step-by-step process than a creative one, I have created a list of all the steps.

  1. Start with a quadsphere
  2. Apply a “Multiresolution” modifier and subdivide it a few times
  3. Apply a “Displace” modifier
  4. Create a new displace texture
  5. Head over to the texture properties and choose “Voronoi” as type
  6. In the field labeled “Size”, type 1.5 (or whatever you want)
  7. You now got a basic rock, congrats!
The procedural Voronoi-rock

If you want to go even further, I recommend checking out the video below. It gives a really good-looking stylized look to the rock. You could either follow all the steps or just apply some of the modifiers to slightly alter the appearance of your Voronoi rock.

There you have it

So there you have it, three different ways of creating a stylized rock in Blender. If you want to add some broken edges, I can recommend checking out an addon called One Click Damage.

Which way do you prefer the most? Do you have any other tips? Please share it with me in the comments, I love to see what you guys come up with.

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