Help me choose an NPR shader.

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  07 July 2012
Help me choose an NPR shader.

Hello everyone.

I'm currently making a feature film, and I wish to cel shade my characters, and outline all materials in the scene with lines of various widths for a very "draftsy" look. So think more straight, clean outlines vs. a hand drawn look. I want to use a ramp material on my characters, and I want the highlights/mids/shadows to have a slight blend between them to make for a very smooth almost painted look. Here is a good example of what I'm talking about:

This is almost exactly what I'm talking about wanting to do. Another great example is this:

Notice how the falloff on the skin blends the light and dark areas together.

I'm relatively sure the first example I linked of Cyborg 009 was done using a plugin for 3dsmax called Pencil+. I've played with it's free version a bit, and I do like what it can do with lines, but getting this falloff effect out of the material is baffling to me. I also have been eyeing finalToon, which by looking on the cebas website, it can do some really fantastic stuff with the line rendering, including rendering lines through reflective materials, with fisheye cameras, and also line reflections! Just seeing that it can do that is enough to more likely buy it (since it is both cheaper and probably has a larger English speaking support base). The problem is that cebas hasn't released finalToon yet for Max 2013 (which I have). I wanna try before buy

My biggest question right now, is how do I achieve the type of shading in the 2nd example I linked? Regardless of what I use to process the lines, I need a base shader material that can get me that result, that I can also use a texture map with. I realize I could try and create one natively in max, but I'm not sure how to go about doing that. My thoughts initially were:

Falloff material, light/shadow, with the highlight material being the basic texture, and the shadow material being a multiplication layer of the basic texture. I'm just not sure whether a material would work very well at accepting shadows from the environment/lights.

So, in conclusion I just really only have two questions:

1) If I go with finalToon, can I achieve similar results to example #2?

2) Would I be better off just making my own material to get results similar to example #2?

Thanks for reading my text wall, I would appreciate any kind of input anyone has on using either of these plugins, or specific examples you could show me of what finalToon can do. I pondered over the cebas gallery, but so far I'm not seeing anything quite like example #2.

Thank you!
  07 July 2012
Wow okay, tough crowd

At any rate, I believe I will be going with finalToon. Perhaps I will post some stuff here....if there's interest, lol.

Anyone have any experience with finalToon?
  08 August 2012
There's a procedural method posted in the lighting and rendering forum here that would give you a lot of post control, might be worth checking out.

I looked for the thread but couldn't find it, but have the tut bookmarked. Naturally it can be done in any compositing package and works with animation.

To get the falloff in the outer edges, you could use a falloff map or if it's light based do a threshold on your falloff render and use it as a mask (blurred) for the inner shading.

Should make more sense if you check out the tut.
  08 August 2012
Thanks, appreciate the link! I especially like some of the painterly feel that the guy gets towards the end, though I'm guessing those are basically just some PS filters. I'm just gonna have to get my feet wet and start playing around with stuff after I have some new models.
  08 August 2012
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