Sketch & Toon - Lightwave


I’ve been a Lightwave purist for years and love the application to death, I take the good with the bad. And I realize that people make the argument it’s just an app yada yada and its all about the artist but actually I have issues with that. Some times it is all about the app and in the case of celshading / toon-shading and inklines it seems the Newtek either doesn’t have the time to address their dinosaur plugins or even care about this feature of the application. I know this has been beat to death but you have to ponder the thought why? Wouldnt you think it’s because people actually want the damn functionality and better options? :shrug: Just hear me out…thanks.

   While other apps [color=SandyBrown]( XSI / C4D / Maya / A:M / Poser etc) are pushing the envelope in the areas of toon-shading Newtek's application is just gathering dust. I remember when Lightwave used to be the defacto standard for celshade as far as I'm concerned.[/color]
    Now please dont mistake this for a negative bitching session against Newtek that's not my intent although it may sound like it. Its just a feature enhancement cry for help [color=SandyBrown]"Please address the areas of [b]Sketch and Toon[/b], [b]Celshade[/b] and [b]Ink lines[/b]". When I see what other apps are doing with that technology it just makes me sick with envy. For example C4D Sketch & Toon is just  unbelievable and I mean wow. This below is a 3D model created in C4D with varying Ink lines...I just didn't realize stuff like this was even possible and the person that created it just started messing around with tool...wonder what the capabilities are once he actually gets good at it? Scary eh?[/color]
 [C4D Example by a new user]( [color=SandyBrown]( Not my work )
    And from our own LW community the model [b]"Morfi"[/b]  from Johnny Gordon's book ended up with[color=SandyBrown] [color=Silver]a C4D[/color] sketch and toon treatment as  well....[/color]
    [C4D Morfi Example ]([color=SandyBrown]( Not my work )
  [/color]   And don't get me started talking about  [color=SandyBrown]XSI please dont....[Appleseed]( So I don't even want to hear that there isn't a market  for celshade artist or projects or that the market is niche.[/color]
    You know if Newtek even thought about employing the services via  outsourcing to the likes of [color=SandyBrown]David Gould maker of Illustrate it would be a start. But hopefully since the SDK has been opened up a little more we may see other toon type plugins but I fear that Newtek may have missed the boat on that all together, oh well I guess time will tell. Hell even built in shader nodes would at least give us customized options of our own.[/color]
    Honestly though, I'm probably just a little miffed because the reason I even bought Lightwave is for it's celshading capabilities but I didn't realize it would left to friggin rot :rolleyes:. But for the time being I will continue to use LW for my celshading projects based on what I have seen [color=SandyBrown]Jennifer  (Celshader) & Shade01 do with it but there is still so much more that could be done. Eventually I am looking to move on to other application possibilities in the near future.[/color]
    LOL, but I saved the best for of my best  friends [color=SandyBrown]Rick Wade (Darkskills) and I both got into CG heavily at the same time years ago. I wanted to learn how to model, texture, animate you know the whole nine. He just wanted to jump in and start making stuff appear on screen with no hassle. So I stuck with Lightwave and he moved to Poser for his career  development.[/color]
    Well we all know how [color=SandyBrown]Poser gets a bad rap but  honestly its because people just don't know how to use it, even me. But Rick is  truly a pro at Poser, not only does his models not look like Poser models but he  was able to develop his own customized celshading pipeline in Poser to create some  awesome celshade that pissed me off :) [/color]
    Here is a link to his work....
     [](   His Gallery
    []( His  current project Transporters.
    So "Community"...What is a Lightwave loyalist to  do? :shrug:


What can I say…If celshading is that important to you stop waisting time and energy waiting on newtek and move on to greener pastures. There’s no point in sticking with Lightwave if it doesn’t fit your needs anymore. Once you get over the fact that you were not loyal to newtek you’ll feel much better.


You really dont know how much I would love to do that LOL. The problem right now is about money and the learning curves involved. Aside from the celshading Lightwave is just kicka$$ where I need it to be such as rendering and modeling etc. And I’ve gotten very good and comfortable with the tool.

So to make the [color=YellowGreen]thousand plus dollar jump to another application and tack on purchasing training materials etc for the sake of celshading doesnt make sense to my credit card if you know what I mean. The best way for me to even justify the switch is to land a project that would pay for the move :shrug: Yet am I wrong to request an enhancement to a feature that a tool offers?

But it doesnt hurt to ask I guess, even if Newtek never addresses it hopefully 3rd party developers like Mark from EF9would finish his LineFx plugin and others follow suit with plugins in that area. Right now thank God for plugins like Unreal. Like i said towards the end of my first post…I may proably end up switching but it chaps my backside personally considering the money invested via software and training over the years. Just remember that what may not be important to some could mean the world to someone else.[/color]


I’m quite impressed with the LightWave Celshade work that the japanese studios do with the Unreal Shader. I’ll quote celshader by saying “there is no one click solution for good cel shade, you have to have a model built properly and understand your settings.” Some of the best Cel Shade work I have seen has come from LightWave. Just look at the work from Gonzo, Production IG, Cel Shader, Studio ArtFX, etc.


Building the model properly and understanding the settings is not the problem. The problem arises once one understands what you need to get “[color=SandyBrown]decent celshading” and you are able to see the limitations within your solution. Secondly, it’s not all about celshading either…alot of artist seek “Sketch & Toon” options for print work such as comics and Illustrations that call for its usage.

So I might have skewed the conversation a tad by favoring “Celshading” over the other possiblities and outlets a “Sketch & Toon” solution allows one to explore. True enough people have posted work arounds and hacks if you will on how to acheive such looks but in all honestly the majority are either counter productive or counter intuitive.

If you tried a few other applications then you would know how close some are coming to a one click solution. Although that could be perceived as an asinine statement it was intended to suggest that the base one starts with in other apps is better than what you get with LW.

On a final note…Production I.G doesnt even really bother with LW as much anymore regarding celshading as Studio Ghibi has adopted the usage of XSI, plus it employed Illustrate for G.I.T.S. So as studios progress and the app doesnt in certain areas then it isnt the what is reached for first.[/color]


FYI - Your buddy’s site doesn’t work for Safari browser. I had to use IE. Mac guys hate to use MS stuff. It makes us feel… dirty.


[color=SandyBrown]Zarathustra - LOL sorry about that man :slight_smile: So what did you think about his Poser celshading?[/color]


Yeah, it looks good. As you’ll see in that SC thread you linked to, I wasn’t contributing because it’s not my thing. I don’t do cute characters, cell shading, space ships, etc. so I feel it’s not my place to comment. I’m also very Jesse Helms-ish when it comes to anime (I don’t know much about it but I know what I like) so I generally avoid the whole thing altogether.

I don’t see it as being wrong, though, to post frustration for a lack of something in LW that you’d like to have. People will poop on you because you’re blaspheming the sacred cow, but I don’t see the problem with voicing concern over bugs, shortcomings, features you’d like expanded or added. I know I don’t have money to afford every app out there so naturally I want LW to do everything. Maybe that’s unrealistic, but it’s natural to wish for.


If so then so be it :shrug: Regardless Id be the first to recommend Lightwave to anyone, so I hope that Im not perceived as a blasphemer in that regard. Not having legit Sketch and Toon options doesnt make Lightwave a bad program by any stretch. For what the app is intended for it speaks for it self every time it collects all of those Emmy awards each year.

But for me its like buying a highly rated sports car and then the A/C goes out on you. I mean hey you love your car and everyone else has envy and wants one too but damn it would be nice to get that air fixed. :scream:


Hi all.

Please let me add my 2 cents to this conversation.

First as I have said on a number of occasions on cgtalk and other formus, LW is more than capable of producing great cel shaded works. All you have to do is visit celshader’s site or Shade01’s site or any number of other great artists, and full commercial films that have used it.

BUT having said that, the creative options and styles for inking in particular are not innovating as quickly as in some other apps like Sketch and Toon.

The only cel shaders for LW that are being updated to my knowledge are swift 3d LW v3 and unreal extreme, both 3rd party plugins.

Part of what dissapoints me is that cel shading is an advertised feature in LW which in the core hasn’t seen any updates in years. I like Kid Mesh bought LW in large part because of the cel shading features which I assumed would continue to be developed and innovated. That hasn’t been the case.

In my case (my case is unique I admit…) I am developing a work flow to achieve a more comic book style of cel shading for interactive comic books I am producing. Part of this requires me to have some creative options for organic variable ink lines which I just haven’t been able to achieve in LW. Perhaps I am dense and just couldn’t figure it out? In any case I decided to purchase c4d and sketch and toon and in all honestly I am very glad I did. I am now able to achieve the looks and styles I want. I still use LW for some things and I find I am using c4d more and more for stuff so I happily use both applications.

I guess as artist we have choices. No app is perfect so we have to find and use the best tools for the job at hand.



MinusMan already said everything that needs to be said, and I should keep my mouth shut, but I can’t any longer…

 Kid Mesh, the secret to [i]good[/i] celshading is [b]NOT[/b] the celshader. It's never [i]been[/i] the celshader. The celshader accounts for 5% of the illusion at best, no more.
 The links you offered in your first post prove it -- the images in those links [i]almost[/i] look hand-drawn, they [i]almost[/i] look good, but the only [i]good[/i] "drawing" I saw in the lot was Deunan of [i]Appleseed[/i]. The shot in [i]Appleseed[/i] where Deunan weeps over a fallen Briareos blows the rest of those lifeless links away. They are not worthy to share the same screen space as Deunan. Hell, half of the [i]Appleseed[/i] models are not worthy of Deunan's presence -- she looked great; a lot of her fellow character models did not. They looked dead, almost mechanical. Kinda like the [i]Spider-Man[/i] TV series -- Mainframe's Peter Parker model blew every other character model in that show out of the water, including the Spider-Man model.
 Further proof that the secret to [i]good[/i] celshading is NOT the celshader is the gallery on maxon's own [Sketch & Toon website]( From what precious little I know about alternative celshaders, Sketch & Toon seems to be the greatest celshader tool of all.
 But the website promoting Sketch & Toon features some of the [i]least[/i] appealing and/or convincing celshader artwork I have ever seen. Most of it's OK, but some of those examples are absolutely appalling.
This is not Sketch & Toon's fault. It can turn out good work in the hands of someone who knows what the hell he's doing.
 The LightWave celshader may have barely changed over the past few years, but my own celshading [i]has[/i] improved, regardless. The [work I did in 2003]( looks a lot better than the [work I did in 1998](
 99% of my work is still Edges + Super Cel Shader. Rarely do I use anything fancy.
 Yet the work I do now still looks a lot better than the work I did in 1998.

Part of the difference was LightWave – the modelling/rigging tools available have significantly improved since 5.6. My awareness of those tools improved over time, thanks to co-workers like Larry Shultz, the LA LightWave User’s Group Meetings, and I also learned the rules of Edges, and once you understand them, you’re golden.

However, the other difference was me. I know a lot more about drawing now than I did in 1998. I’ve taken classes, I’ve collected books, I’ve studied traditional animation, I read the archives on, I’ve seized almost every opportunity to learn more about what goes into a good drawing.

 My constant studying has paid off -- I would not have been able to model [Lore]( if...
 ...I didn't have a "Larry Shultz" level of control over my geometry
 ...I didn't know the [rules of Edges](
 ...I didn't know what a [i]good[/i] drawing looked like.
 Anyone with complete control over their geometry, who understands their celshader tools and (MOST CRITICAL) [i]knows[/i] what a good drawing looks like can deliver a fine piece of celshading.
 To twist a phrase...

If you are determined to improve your celshading, LightWave won’t stop you. If you cannot improve your celshading with LightWave alone, even Sketch & Toon can’t help you.



[color=SandyBrown]Celshader - I total agree with you am Im not about to dispute someone of your expertise. Everything that you have stated is true, you have preached many times before :).

I personally have studied celshading to death and still havent scratched the surface yet of what I actually want. Also drawing isnt a problem for me and Im confident that I know a “good drawing” when I see one…I have had enough life drawing classes:).

Utilizing the information that has been provided via the web / books / chat with peeps regarding modeling for celshade has taught me alot. Maybe the problem is basically “articulation” on my part so let me clear this up. Yes, you can achieve excellent celshading results with out of the box LW as I plugged you and Shade01 in my first post.

But at the same time, I just find it odd that LW would promote celshading as a core feature and not update it is all :shrug:. The technology in that area has defintely changed and the proof is shown by every other 3D app out there on the market. Celshading is just part of the whole[b] "Sketch & Toon"[/b] genre and there are alot of artist who arent specifically trying to achieve an [b][i]"anime"[/i][/b] celshaded look. It's kinda funny that most people hate anime celshade but will render sketchy stuff all day long.

[/color]Of course in time one could learn to achieve a "desireable" celshaded look but in other applications there a numerous ways to develop (countless) "desireable" looks that are not only pleasing to look at but artist unique....I'm just saying....just because I dont have what's available in other apps dont mean I cant ....ah hell. 

Bottom line I guess is that everyone will have their own opinions and I respect that, but from what I have seen from other apps by actually trying them out…their base solutions give the artist a better jumping off point than what Lightwave has.

Pffttt…I’ll go away now, I got off my chest what I wanted. I like NPR type stuff and celshading isnt even half of what I want / need to accomplish.

So the solution to my problem is Time & Money.


may I be ever so blunt to point out that the difference is ALL in the quality of the models and the lighting (as you said), but the style is very bland and could very easily be obtained with some edge filters in phtoshop or AFX?

there IS a difference between toonshaders, especially in regards to the ink, and as much as it’s the artist capping the quality of the final work, a limited toon shader will restrict you to a certain style.

you happen to be lucky you like the one you get, but if you were after things like:
-precise tapering
-stuttering and broken lines and edges (chalk style)
-shaded ink
-derivative ink colour
you’d be out of luck, and while you pass judgment on the quality of the S&T gallery based on artistic contents, you really should pass it by the VARIETY of styles, and you’d see where the difference is.

or if you wanted a more painterly look… again you’re out of luck, because a normal toon shader (the shading not the ink anymore), is just a shading model shaped to react to light in such a way that it looks toonish, but a proper painterly effect is obtained from much more complex shaders that will take into consideration UVs and flow and shade accordingly with some nice tricks.

can you do some nice work with what you’re given? sure, you could with MSpaint if you wanted
can you do EVERYTHING you could think of? (considering post on animations has its limits)
I don’t think so.

before I’m called blasphemous, maxonhugger or whatever, I -DO- happen to know LW’s toonshader and I’ve also used it a lot, and I DO NOT use C4D or have any allegiance to maxon (but I’ve seen the demos and S&T IS nice).


i agree with Kid Mesh. while many seem to fight what he’s saying. It seemed that LW claims to have this abilty, but havent even added or worked on it for some time. … hell u can better control with “AM” . NT really has to start doing something with their 3D app and rather then worring only about Tricast or VT. No reson y i have to trun to a 3rd party for this since its on there points to buy webpage. hehe


I just wanted to pipe in for a second. I’m a huge fan of anime style celshading, and in fact my anime collection has almost outgrown my movie collection (even as I write this there is more on my anime “to get” list than there is on my movie list). However, I’m also a technical illustrator for an engineering firm. Many of the drawings and illustrations I create every day are not artistic or pleasing the way anime-style celshading is. Sadly, LW has not given me the proper tools to produce acceptable illustrations with line-work out of the box. However, I acknowledge that LW isn’t meant for that and I get around it, producing line work in 2D as a separate layer.

But that still doesn’t stop me from wishing LW had better inking and toon tools to make my technical illustrative life a lot easier (and to allow animations of my technical line-drawings rather than being limited to stills).

So while I agree with you Jennifer about celshading, I am looking forward to better inking and toon tools built directly into LightWave. Those tools may not make the Average Joe (or Jane) a decent cel shader, however they could make the LW inker’s life a bit more pleasant.


Let me add 2 cents to the thread: you can use CINEMA 4D’s Sketch&Toon WITH Lightwave if you want, CINEMA 4D is capable of opening both LWO and LWS files. It could be a good option if you can afford it.


That is defintely an option but I was told you have to purchase a seat of C4D anyway just to use it :shrug: If I am mistaken please correct me.


Indeed, that was my impression too. As such that would be an expensive inking option (too expensive for my tastes).


Well of course, you’d have to buy CINEMA 4D core + the Sketch&Toon module. Expensive for sure, but that’s still an option.


Dispute me! Dispute me! I don’t know everything yet – that’s why I’m still studying!!! :slight_smile:

I have been obsessed with cel animation since childhood, so I have not explored the NPR world all that much outside of celshading. For what it’s worth, LightWave celshading doesn’t restrict you to any one style of animation cels. Lore is not “anime” style, for example – he’s a 3D translation of one of my comic book characters. He’s my style, heavily influenced by both classic Disney and high-budget anime.

However, one day I’d like to attempt to translate Jane Irwin’s lovely Vogelein into a 3D model, and I’m not yet 100% sure how I’d achieve the Vogelein look in LightWave. I haven’t looked too deeply into it, yet, so I am not convinced that Vogelein is impossible to render in LightWave. I have not yet explored the use of Image Filters, unReal 2.0, and post-processing options in Mirage/DFX+, packages that I already own.

One of these days I’ll have enough $$$ to experiment with Sketch & Toon, but not now. I’m tempted by maxon’s generous LightWave Companion offer, which does not include Sketch & Toon. I’m on the edge enough as it is about whether or not to drop $900 solely to experiment with Cinema 4D; I’m far too cheap to shell out the additional $459 required for Sketch & Toon. I can’t afford caviar, so I must avoid getting hooked on caviar.

If you can afford $1359 for caviar, go for it. :wink: