Cel-Shading effects

Wondering how to accomplish a certain animation task? Ask here.

Moderators: Fahim, Distinct Sun, Víctor Paredes, erey, Belgarath, slowtiger

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:14 am
Location: San Diego, CA

Cel-Shading effects

Post by NightmanGX » Sun Jan 14, 2007 2:47 am

Are there any tricks, tools or techniques to create cel-shaded anime characters in AS?
User avatar
Víctor Paredes
Posts: 4981
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 12:18 am
Location: Ireland/Chile

Post by Víctor Paredes » Sun Jan 14, 2007 2:54 am

i have used masks to make something as cel-shading.


this technique is a little dirty, but can give great results. i hope to retake it soon for a new serious project.
Posts: 217
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:19 pm

Post by Bones3D » Sun Jan 14, 2007 4:13 am

While you can use the "shaded" shape effect (with blur set to 0) to achieve the look, using a mask might be the better choice in the long run. That way, you aren't at the mercy of the computer when it comes to keeping the shading areas from looking out of place.

There are some instances where the shaded effect can work, such as a perfect front view of a character's face, since the shading simply has to follow the edge of your character's basic head shape. But, when you start going into things like the more complex 3/4th view of a character, your shading needs to follow the actual contours of the head (as though it was actually a true three-dimensional shape) to keep it looking convincing to the viewer... something the "shaded" effect just can't do by itself.

I believe there is a section on masking in the AS help guide (Help>Help... from the menu bar) under Tutorials/Drawing section.
8==8 Bones 8==8
Posts: 688
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:53 pm

Post by human » Mon Jan 15, 2007 10:56 pm

I have some tips, but only IF you're working on your character outside of AS... using a bitmap prog like PhotoShop or PaintShopPro.

Specifically, let's say that you have a bitmap rendering of your object in which the shading is expressed by a smooth gradient of light, and you want to "cel shade" or "toon" that.

Another way to say it is that you want "clamp" the gradient by drawing an arbitrary (but convincing!) line between light to dark.

The bitmap operations you should experiment with include (either singly, or, more often, in combination):

1. Try sliding the Brightness/Contrast settings to more extreme values
2. Use the Posterize filter with a small number of color steps
3. Use a Reduce Color operation to reduce the image to the 16 basic Windows colors, then bump up to millions of colors again

These filters should find the shadow line you're looking for--with one problem. The line is usually a jagged one at this point.

Now, to smoothen it, you want to make your software do even more dirty-work for you. What you need are the following more sophisticated filters:

4. Photoshop's Photocopy filter, which does a semi-intelligent feature extraction. (There is a similar filter in Corel Painter).
5. Photoshop's unique Cutout filter, which can average out the wanderings of the shadow line (highly recommended, but it takes some experimentation)
6. A Gradient Map filter, which gives you more control over how PhotoShop or PaintShopPro renders the smooth shading info in the picture

I normally use an older version of PhotoShop that lacks the Gradient Map, and it doesn't come with PaintShopPro. One of the miracles of Internet society, however, is the "yes, sometimes there is a free lunch" phenomena.

For some reason, a fellow named Medhi makes several powerful filters ---including Gradient Map and Edge FX-- freely available at www.mehdiplugins.com. These work in both Shop progs.

IF you're designing in a bitmap program, these strategies may help you find your shadow line. However, they won't animate it for you.

As a matter of fact, if you're rotoscoping, the stereotypical behavior of shadows will betray the video origins of your work, because they completely reflect the lighting conditions on the set, not the idealized laws of tooning.

No matter how you decide on your shading contour, you'll still have to create keyframes for your toon shading.
User avatar
Posts: 3379
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: UK

Post by jahnocli » Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:54 am

Thanks for that plugins link -- some fabulous filters there!
You can't have everything. Where would you put it?
Post Reply