View Full Version : Toon rendering

01 January 2002, 05:07 AM
Hi folks. I thought it was time to start a thread concerning all things Toon.

Have any of you used the XSI Toon Shaders? Are any of you involved in cel animation production? What kind of work do you use these tools for?

01 January 2002, 06:31 AM
hi Michael

i was using toon shading, it was just for contour rendering, then the character was 2d painted and integrated with 2d characters and background,.i haven t see the composite, but the 3d toon
rendering was cool, it was difficult to get the details such as the
muscles when they were facing the camera, but with some mesh tweakink, the result was ok :P

so what s about tekkon kinkreet, do you know if they finally start
the movie? i really loved the pilot (i saw it at Annecy animation festival 3 years ago) but they were searching for money...

01 January 2002, 08:13 AM
We're currently rewriting and reboarding TEKKON KINKREET. Hoping to get restarted later this year. Nice to hear that you liked it - it was really a labor of love. For the moment, there's some information at

Interestingly enough, this was not done with the Toon Shaders. I wrote quite a different set of tools for this show. If you look closely you may notice that there are no contours on the TEKKON images.

Annecy was such a great festival. Some day I'd love to go back.

01 January 2002, 06:00 PM
Glad to hear that TEKKON KINKREET is still in the works. Would you mind elaborating a little on how the style was achieved? Also, are the backgrounds painted and composited? I've not seen the pilot, but color integration looks fantastic. Whatever tools you wrote to achieve this look great.

Mahlon Bouldin

01 January 2002, 06:34 PM
The entire show - characters and backgrounds - was created in 3d using SI3D version 3.8.something; everything rendered in mental ray using the shaders I mentioned.

7 of us spent a year building an office from scratch, writing software, teaching a few "newbies" on the staff (folks with traditional skills), and then finally designing, modelling, and animating.

We rendered in layers, when possible, and saved all the elements until the last days of the production for a compositing marathon. All of the 2d work was done in Photoshop and Aftereffects, in NTSC or Hi-def resolution.

Thanks again for the compliments.

01 January 2002, 07:02 AM
Hi Michael, congratulations about TK, i saw it a few years ago and was very excited about it. Specially love the color design and layout. It was, in my humble opinion, the perfect integration of 3D desing with cel animation.

Great to hear about these news and great to have the new set of tools for XSI v2. I will definetly give them a try as i was working with those shaders for the last 3 years intensively.

take care

01 January 2002, 11:02 AM
there is a big subject on toon shading in productions on but it is in french, if someone have time to
the direct link

01 January 2002, 03:25 PM
I've been able to work with the softimage toon shader on the last project I worked on... It was a tv series called Inuk... The first tests were done with the built in toon shader... I liked it a lot... Gives very nice results... Unfortunately, it rendered a bit too slowly. So they hired a guy that came in and coded a special toon shader that rendered faster, but alse matched the style of the artist that had created the show... We needed thickness variations that were different on the interior line and the interior line. But i wunder... Why arent studios exploiting the toon shader more... Woudnt they save time and money in the end if they were able to produce a feature or tv series in full 3D but toon shadered...

01 January 2002, 08:40 PM
In my experience, one reason people do not use the Toon Shaders and similar tools more (as a replacement for hand-drawn cel animation) is that, in the end, cel animation is fairly inexpensive to produce, with very well-understood production methodology, and a large pool of talented artists all over the world (capable of drawning anything). Conversely, CG can be expensive, risky when "unknown territory" is involved, and there are very few truly talented character animators capable of the kind of expressive performance that cel animators often specialize in.

Whenever the Toon Shaders have been used on feature films (Prince of Egypt, El Dorado, Princess Mononoke, , etc.) it has been because they offer the filmmakers a way of reducing the huge amount of manual labour required to animate complicated effects or large numbers of characters by traditional means (crowd scenes in the Dreamworks films, for example).

There is some more information at

01 January 2002, 06:36 AM
It is interesting you say that because i agree 100%, educating the production people and adjust the production pipeline to the new needs of a 3D environment is not easy at all.

What really was difficult in my experience was to make them understand that the preproduction is the key of the project we need some time to start to produce, while they simply start to draw. That was the key.
By the way, i have to admit too that in the 3D arena we play with advantage in some cases but not in others, plus that drives me to the real problem.

Should we change the way cartoons are animated? should we limit the project because or time, money and technology lacks? if so, we are going to face a major problem; Educate the audiences too.

And i would say No, and No, to the last paragraph, then, once they are ready, let's go to change the animation itself.


PS. And let's hope the companies have learn something from the 2D collapse in Europe and America in the 80s.

02 February 2002, 06:42 AM
Some amazing new work done using the XSI Toon Shaders. I believe this is the first in a series of spots.


02 February 2002, 11:54 PM
Although the style they chose for the animation is not something that really apeals to me, It is very consistant and well executed. The whole thing holds together very strongly. The naration, music, and animation create something that is beautiful and enjoyable, even for someone like me who does not really like that kind of line or shapes... I'm talking about the humans mostly. I hope that the Ad will be succesful enough for them to make a series concept out of it.

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