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Gigayoda

2D Cell Shaders

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Hi Guys,

I'm working on a piece that requires 2D (comic frame by frame other artist) and 2d cell (3d - me) and regular 3D backgrounds (me). I was wondering if any of you have animated something similar to this:

Animatrix -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exEO94Nflng&feature=related

or

(disregard the sound track)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83O79Iq8jRc&feature=more_related

I have the DVDs for this series and my understanding was that XSI was one of the main3d apps with 2d cell rendering used.

Or the Gorillaz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw8PpYBiDsc

(guitar closeups and drummer)

If you have animated something similar, my question is for modeling and rendering. On the modeling front is it safer to model a character like SouthPark / paper cutouts? Or is it fine to model the full 3d element with volume whereas the 2d cell shader and outline assists in the look. How much of the look is in post? ( I know I saw a sketch robot in the gallery that has blue print turn into 3d with 2d cell, curious about the techniques used in that one)

In some cases it seems like an after effects 3d layer composite.

In the animatrix case my question is the cell "look" that the 3d objects cast in the beginning of the pyramid down to the street level and in the second clip the camera flythrough of in the begining showing the army and the robots (the robots cell / phong looking shader with outline on).

What additional shaders if any are recommended for EI, or what plugins do you all recommend that may ease producing this kind of effect?

I'm sure you all have busy schedules but any tips are very much appreciated.

Best regards!

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Hi Guys,

I'm working on a piece that requires 2D (comic frame by frame other artist) and 2d cell (3d - me) and regular 3D backgrounds (me). I was wondering if any of you have animated something similar to this:

Animatrix -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exEO94Nflng&feature=related

or

(disregard the sound track)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83O79Iq8jRc&feature=more_related

I have the DVDs for this series and my understanding was that XSI was one of the main3d apps with 2d cell rendering used.

Or the Gorillaz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw8PpYBiDsc

(guitar closeups and drummer)

If you have animated something similar, my question is for modeling and rendering. On the modeling front is it safer to model a character like SouthPark / paper cutouts? Or is it fine to model the full 3d element with volume whereas the 2d cell shader and outline assists in the look. How much of the look is in post? ( I know I saw a sketch robot in the gallery that has blue print turn into 3d with 2d cell, curious about the techniques used in that one)

In some cases it seems like an after effects 3d layer composite.

In the animatrix case my question is the cell "look" that the 3d objects cast in the beginning of the pyramid down to the street level and in the second clip the camera flythrough of in the begining showing the army and the robots (the robots cell / phong looking shader with outline on).

What additional shaders if any are recommended for EI, or what plugins do you all recommend that may ease producing this kind of effect?

I'm sure you all have busy schedules but any tips are very much appreciated.

Best regards!

Hi,

like the Animatrix stuff. Although some of the more gruesome stuff slightly nausea inducing despite animation. The one when the girl goes to find her cat and they find a glitch that allows them to play in zero G is rather charming.

Been playing with hand drawn look for a while now. The observations below may not be a solution but might cut down the leg work.

If you look at older Dysney stuff the characters are actually coloured alot flatter than you think, at least to my eye, and the shadow lines / areas move much less realistically than you think once you analyse it. At the same time there is great control over the lines and silhouette. This kind of economy of style gives a beautiful final result.

This is where 3d cell look really falls down. The shadow areas are far too smooth and realistic crawling backwards and forwards across the surface of your model / character. Also you have almost no control over any line, again autodrawn lines crawl backwards and forwards and appear and dissapear in a way that you just wouldn't draw it. The human brain is extremely good at pattern recognition and picks this kind of thing up instantly.

In the UK Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam have just gone fully 3D/CGI. If I ask my work colleagues who have young children and have nothing do with computers what they like, I often get ' the old stuff is good but the new stuff is rubbish.' When you try and draw out what is rubbish about it, it is all the things that CGI is good (and bad) at - crisp clean colours, smooth movement, lack of real texture, repeating texture, lack of finger prints and bent bits of animation clay, bright lighting, dramatic cinematic camera angles.

So, cell look is a tough sell.

I find characters brought in from any SSD modeler like Silo really disappointing. You can control the flat cell look but virtually nothing else, the shadows and lines bounce about. You can try baking the shadows onto your model in some way then animating it. Despite seeming unrealistic this actually gets you alot closer to the original 2D look but obviously really falls apart if your model turns around or you rotate the camera alot; and you still really have no line control. You can get some control over lines if you carefully break your model along the lines where an illustrator might draw them ask Camera to shade these edges, but this works quite badly with SSD type models.

NPR shaders - in my experience this works for print only. With every frame the texture is redrawn significantly different, so in animation it just boils. This really jumps out.

One solution I have found with mechanical characters. Build them in EIM, in simple wireframe mode you get an idea of where Camera will shade the edges. Try and do very little cutting, this just seems to add extra loops which get shaded - try and build as much from artful primitives as possible. Add fake npr lighting with textures or other shaders to stop boiling. Animate like you are telling a story in an old platform game - little camera or in camera rotations. Render an edges layer and a texture layer if possible, then comp.

Textures for lines and shading - hmm, actually rather difficult. Draw something in Anime Studio Pro, colour it with a nice real world texture and animate over a scanned paper background and everything looks rather crisp and gorgeous. Now try and repeat this process in Animator and you spend a very large amount of time just trying to get those textures mapped and right. Also, in my experience all the crispness rapidly falls apart too close or too far away from your model limiting the value of doing it in 3d in the first place, because you have to lock down the camera alot.

Painting high res hand drawn look texture maps in something like Carrara or Bodypaint can work quite well, but again works best for shots where the camera positions are relatively locked.

Another solutions is to use a style that is hand drawn ish - gives that feel without trying to be too accurate, but is internally consistent to itself. The little character on the attachment is a first shot at dino/monstery type thing that my son might scribble on a bit of old lined paper (no eyes yet I,m afraid). I'm trying to give the feel of hand drawn while using Animators strengths. There is a base shape with a paper texture made entirely from shaders. The scribbles are all wobbly lines drawn in Illustrator, export in eps, output from EIM as wires and then shading broken by applying something like Eroded. The advantage of this setup from my experience is that it gives a much crisper render that remains over a very considerable range of camera angles/positions. Also shaders are very flexible.

This little character seems to animate well with bones, everything staying in registration, although you have to be a bit careful how EIM puts out the geometry. Less successful with deformer type rigs.

Sorry so long.

Hope some of this helps - sorry if any falls in to the sucking eggs category.

All the above just experience and opinion about the difficulties with process, not a slag off of EI, which I rather like by the way. If you have solutions, love to hear them.

Building my little monster to test some rigging and animation ideas - rather inspired by the rig interfaces in Pepe's TD showreel over on CGTalk.

Regards, Rob.

post-156-1326939374564_thumb.png

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Hey Rob,

Wow! I thought I was good at writing the long books. Greatly appreciate your insight on this. Question, do you have 2 parts for the legs meaning if the camera where on either side of the model do you have a left and right leg? I noticed there was a toe that was higher than the other but didn't know if that was just one object or 2.

As to your shadow and line crawling I've seen this in the past but haven't rendered anything recently with v8. That is part of the reason I posted the question I used a sphere with EIAS v4 and back then the term was faking it. I had better results rendering without shadows, compositing the foreground object with an expanded drop shadow creating an outline effect (BTW animated outlines in AE generate some odd noise).

Thanks for your input and your shader recommendations. I will try to render my current model and post some of my test. I'd still welcome any tips or advice on modeling rendering.

I was cruising the EIAS3d on Vimeo and found these clips that lend shed some light on the possibilities.

tolerable crawling outline

The robot portfolio piece is from:

http://www.guet-apens.fr/

Any information on the space ship would make sense. I guess Rob described well formed geometry that the render can detect easier will help.

My apologies for not using names on the creators of these pieces, I know I've seen them around for a long time.

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Having just finished up something vaguely similar to this, I'd say you may want to try rendering in layers and creating the look in post.

The project I was working on needed to have that Sin City hi-con look, but technically this has similar problems. Doing it in-camera is going to lead to crawling/boiling/etc.

Our solution, not the best, but it worked - everything was rendered as passes with a fairly simple color and shading palette, then the Maya guys had a script worked out that would render matte passes for all the parts we needed to effect differently (if necessary). This allowed for a ton of control in AfterEffects, both scene-wide, and then on a part-by-part level by using the mattes. There are plenty of good techniques to get various looks in post. We were mainly just using levels and curves to hicon things selectively.

One of the guys on the project had actually worked as a lighter/comper on Sin City, and he described some of their techniques - lots of projection mapping onto geometry. This worked quite well, and could work for your project too. Requires more prep, but I think ends up with a simpler pipeline.

Hi Guys,

I'm working on a piece that requires 2D (comic frame by frame other artist) and 2d cell (3d - me) and regular 3D backgrounds (me). I was wondering if any of you have animated something similar to this:

Animatrix -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exEO94Nflng&feature=related

or

(disregard the sound track)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83O79Iq8jRc&feature=more_related

I have the DVDs for this series and my understanding was that XSI was one of the main3d apps with 2d cell rendering used.

Or the Gorillaz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw8PpYBiDsc

(guitar closeups and drummer)

If you have animated something similar, my question is for modeling and rendering. On the modeling front is it safer to model a character like SouthPark / paper cutouts? Or is it fine to model the full 3d element with volume whereas the 2d cell shader and outline assists in the look. How much of the look is in post? ( I know I saw a sketch robot in the gallery that has blue print turn into 3d with 2d cell, curious about the techniques used in that one)

In some cases it seems like an after effects 3d layer composite.

In the animatrix case my question is the cell "look" that the 3d objects cast in the beginning of the pyramid down to the street level and in the second clip the camera flythrough of in the begining showing the army and the robots (the robots cell / phong looking shader with outline on).

What additional shaders if any are recommended for EI, or what plugins do you all recommend that may ease producing this kind of effect?

I'm sure you all have busy schedules but any tips are very much appreciated.

Best regards!

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Hello Gigayoda,

I can only answer you on the robot work as I have done it. If my memory is OK, I have made the animation by only rendering one big image of the model which had the Cell Shader applied to it and the Silhouette Outlines activated in the Material parameters. This image have been then imported inside Illustrator to autotrace all the curves, then each curves has been copy-paste to After Effects masks to allow me to animate the path creations.

I used these paths to reveal the original image. All other movements are AE base. Your work seems complex but EIAS has certain possibilities by using these tools (Cell Shader + Outline). You can't follow my pipeline because it is way to long, but try to make some tests inside EIAS to see if you are able to do what you want directly from the application.

Have some fun.

S.

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Hey Rob,

Wow! I thought I was good at writing the long books. Greatly appreciate your insight on this. Question, do you have 2 parts for the legs meaning if the camera where on either side of the model do you have a left and right leg? I noticed there was a toe that was higher than the other but didn't know if that was just one object or 2.

As to your shadow and line crawling I've seen this in the past but haven't rendered anything recently with v8. That is part of the reason I posted the question I used a sphere with EIAS v4 and back then the term was faking it. I had better results rendering without shadows, compositing the foreground object with an expanded drop shadow creating an outline effect (BTW animated outlines in AE generate some odd noise).

Thanks for your input and your shader recommendations. I will try to render my current model and post some of my test. I'd still welcome any tips or advice on modeling rendering.

I was cruising the EIAS3d on Vimeo and found these clips that lend shed some light on the possibilities.

tolerable crawling outline

The robot portfolio piece is from:

http://www.guet-apens.fr/

Any information on the space ship would make sense. I guess Rob described well formed geometry that the render can detect easier will help.

My apologies for not using names on the creators of these pieces, I know I've seen them around for a long time.

Hi,

my little creature has two legs - I'm shooting for stylised cutout type character but I want to try animation with Jurassic Park Raptor real world weight and camera moves.

I imagine a combination of camera mapping and illumination lists that tie lights to specific objects and move with the animation would tidy up the shadows and allow alot more to be done in camera. Again probably good for a character walking in one direction without lots of rotation that make the shadows look in the wrong place.

Other possibility - if you can get your animation out of EI and in to Carrara - Carrara's NPR shader is very flexible. You can set it to give a nice sketchy/line effect that looks good in animation and comes out with a good quality alpha. Lots of shading possibilities depending on the brushes you choose. Also you can purchase Vectorstyle 2 which outputs rather good swf and illustrator files with that flat shaded look. Just not enough info out there to make me want try rigging anything complex in Carrara. You can pick up C7 for about a fiver off ebay - magazine freebies, but you get the pro version without the baggage.

Attached - couple of bits from an old project still in development hell. R2 style robot made in EIM for outline shading only really. Black background from Animator, white background a more sketchy feel done in Carrara7. Overall project was to generate an animated outline that could be layered over an old blueprint paper type so that I could play with interaction of 2d and 3d shapes - finish some day.

Regards, Rob.

post-156-13269393747023_thumb.png

post-156-13269393747464_thumb.png

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anyone try this AE plugin before?

http://www.minning.de/software/normality

Normality3test.jpg

Hello, here is a test that I have done with Normality pluguin: it is just one render that comes from EIAS with a Normal Map, and all variation are done in AE positioning different lights.

This is a fantastic Plugin for music work, you can change the lights on stage and synchronize with the music of a very easy way.

Cheers

Diego

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Normality3test.jpg

Hello, here is a test that I have done with Normality pluguin: it is just one render that comes from EIAS with a Normal Map, and all variation are done in AE positioning different lights.

This is a fantastic Plugin for music work, you can change the lights on stage and synchronize with the music of a very easy way.

Cheers

Diego

Thanks Diego

I read that Normality have some kind of Toon shade features, is it usable?

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Hello, I've seen some Toon look made with Normality, I think you can get something interesting on this way and now that the plugin is CS5 64 bits ready, is definitely an option I would contemplate if I had to do something toon looking .

Cheers

Diego

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Diego & Scott,

Thanks for your expertise guys. I'm currently implementing a projection approach similar to what you described Scott. Post is where I'm more comfortable in creating the "look". I took some clips out to Flash since it has a similar look to Illustrator to autotrace. In any case there seems I have to stretch my workflow to accommodate for a) pre sketched projection maps b) layered After effects with levels to push brightness contrast (technique used to toon in photoshop) c) the lighting plugin that has been mentioned holds potential I'll have to install and test.

Thanks for your responses guys. Scott Sin City is a good comparison with the exception that I am looking to colorize the white ink. Texture mapping is a distant option as that is my current test.

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