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For Windows 10 environment.

I draw graphic novels/comics. I want to create environments, mostly city scapes, buildings, towers, that I can import as simple black and white line art into my comics backgrounds.

Sketchup is user friendly, but it doesn't give me the line quality that I like though. Its lines look digital(?), not clean.

Is there a free (or inexpensive) software that can do that? Hopefully an online download?

Noob here. Thanks for your time.

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Blender is a tremendously powerful 3D editor/creator for multiple platforms. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility / learning curve. Blender was created by sofware engineers to convert 3D imagery to motion pictures (generic term) aka, animation.

As part of the feature set you can export your 3D creations in a multiple of file types. One aspect of Blender is that, depending on the skill of the artist, the imagery is or can be quite lifelike, very much the opposite of the severe constraints of Sketchup.

I've used both Blender and Sketchup and agree with your "user-friendly" assignment to Sketchup. It's quite the opposite for Blender, but for your requirements, you may be able to learn in short order those features you require for your objective.

You'd be able to ignore the aspects of the program that involve animation, although some of them may facilitate your comics production. I can't confirm but I suspect that you'll be able to render your images precisely as you require (black and white line art) once you become familiar with the program.

There is a Blender StackExchange should you decide to take this path, as well as other Blender support forums.

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Blender is free (open source), runs on Windows, is available for download.

It has a Freestyle mode, which you can activate in the render settings.

Freestyle mode in

Once activated, it will give outlines to objects.

Freestyle activated

If shadows are too realistic, you can turn them off in the lamp settings.

Lamp settings

Shadows turned off

Making the lamp brighter does not necessarily affect the object, because it depends on the material of the object

Brighter lamp

Giving it a diffuse color of white in the material settings makes it even more black and white

Material settings

Whiter color

Lastly, if those lines are too straight/computerized, you can change all kinds of settings, e.g. variation in thickness. You find those settings in the layer settings

Line modifications

Thickness variation

You can even choose to include or exclude single lines:

Example

Pro:

  • once you have modelled a city, you can use different cameras to get different views. You can pan and zoom etc.
  • You could even render a background video by animating the camera.

Con:

  • doing and learning all that can take a while.

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