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  03 March 2006
Post Illustrate!

Anybody have any experience using Illustrate? I've only played with the demo version of it really, but I was thinking of buying it if I can get it to do what I want...

Share your Illustrate secrets here please, and I'll post some more specific examples of what I'm trying to do once I can get them working. I'm shooting for a cartoony style, (obviously) but I would like to do more realistic looking environment art and keep my characters more cel shaded.

One problem I've run into is that my objects (cartoony or otherwise) don't want to cast shadows of any kind, and that I can't seem to have Illustrate! shaded objects and objects that have original max shaders on them. (I'm guessing I can build an Illustrate shader to act like a blinn shader or such) Any suggestions?

Again, sorry for lack of examples, will post some soon.

Thanks guys.

  03 March 2006
Hey, I use Illustrate. But not to often. Most of the time I use it is just with line and the swf exporter it has.
  04 April 2006
Problem Solved...Kinda

I recently found a tutorial that apparently explains that you CAN'T have illustrate! cast shadows of it's own. This is kinda troubling, but I found a work around in case anyone is trying to use this for 3d cel shading.

1.) Render your objects that will be cel shaded as plain gray objects (so they cast shadows) or you can use the matte material. (make sure you divide your scene up into render layers, foreground, midground, background etc)

2.) If you have anything in the scene that will be "over top" of your cel shaded objects from illustrate!, render them with matte material so they "punch out" the cel shaded objects for later compositing.

3.) Render other layers (I'm using max's ink n' paint for some things in my environments, and plain old blinn etc. for others)

4.) Composite the layers in a program like AE. This also lets you cheat and do depth of field with the layers (instead of spending all that time rendering it out of your 3d program)

5.) Final tweaks in AE.

Why would I do it this way? Why not use ink n' paint for the cel shading? Illustrate! has better looking lines and gradations, and tons more options for how to shade what you want to shade, and it's also a lot faster I've found than ink n' paint objects. (this is kinda negligible though if you're rendering layers with only a few objects per pass) In the end you have more passes, but greater control over the finished frame.

Anyway, this is more of an "I was experimenting and figured this out and thought I'd share" than a "hey, help plz lol keke" thread, so expect more to come as I figure out things...I'm really busy with work right now, so maybe I'll have time to mess with this later...(I'm also about to complete a 4 year fun digital video project that I've been meaning to finish)

Until next time
  04 April 2006
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