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How to achieve anime, but non toon look

Discussion in 'General Graphics' started by Stranger-Games, May 31, 2016.

  1. Stranger-Games

    Stranger-Games

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    Hi,

    I notice a lot of japanese games like this. Notice the 3D art that look like anime, but does not seem to have any toon shader. What do you think? Does any one know how this is achieved?


    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Most effects are a combination of custom shaders and artwork made specifically for the style.
     
  3. dmitsuki

    dmitsuki

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    P3P is only a diffuse shader.

    You don't have to do anything to get it to look like that. Just use a unlit diffuse shader and paint the model to look how you want it to look in game.
     
  4. Stranger-Games

    Stranger-Games

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    Thank you! I guess the textures has a great role in this. I am a programmer and not an artist, but want to create models like those in Daz3D for example or another 3D software that makes it easy for non-artists to create 3D models.
     
  5. Stranger-Games

    Stranger-Games

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    Sounds interesting. Then I guess I have to do the textures in a certain way.
    I have this art, which does not satisfy what I want to do.
    I guess I have to edit the textures, and switch to unlit shaders?
    upload_2016-5-31_20-12-2.png
     
  6. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    An unlit diffuse shader means you would have to draw the shadows onto the models wouldn't it?
     
    Stranger-Games likes this.
  7. dmitsuki

    dmitsuki

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    Yes. Here is an example.



    Yes. That will never look like anime because fundamentally it's just some realistic looking dude with colors to look realistic and not stylized. Not only that but I don't think normal mapping really helps for the technique you are trying to go for.
     
  8. RichardKain

    RichardKain

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    For an example of how to do this "right" I would point to the latest entry in the Guilty Gear series. (Xrd Sign) In this game, they've gone to great lengths to emulate their 2D hand-drawn style using 3D models.

    However, it is worth pointing out that Guilty Gear has a distinct advantage. Their game is designed to be seen from a single perspective. This gives them far more control over how the models are viewed. They can tweak the shading and the lighting given a largely fixed perspective. Having this level of control over the lighting is a huge advantage for attempting to achieve this effect.

    Painting the shadows onto your model is one approach. But it is also one of the least flexible approaches, and won't take advantage of dynamic lighting. Your best bet is to write some custom shaders. This is a much more technically demanding solution, but it will offer you the best results. The objective should be to translate shading into ramped tones of the underlying UV map colors, as opposed to hard shadows.
     
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  9. Stranger-Games

    Stranger-Games

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    @dmitsuki Thank you for the valuable information!
     
  10. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Persona 3 does not have any sort of toon shader. Highly detailed artwork (including intro sequence) you see is hand-drawn.

    Persona itself uses standard vertex lighting and pretty much it.

    This will never look anime, no matter what you do with the textures, because facial proportions and character style are wrong and do not match anime style. Anime characters have less facial details, different eyes, faces, etc.

    For example:
    https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/18705

    For references see guilty-gear games, Valkyria Chronicles, etc

    The model you posted won't even work in "realistic" anime style (see ghost in the shell, and patlabor).

     
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  11. KnightsHouseGames

    KnightsHouseGames

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    If you want your game to look like anime, just cut as many corners as possible, make the story convuluted, but lack any actual substance, usually by having the protagonist trying to achieve a vague goal that is likely unreachable, and make the english voice acting sound as awkward and censored as possible.

    Job done.
     
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  12. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Stranger-Games likes this.
  13. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    I want to elaborate on that, it's one hour video, the relevant part start at ~20:00

    Their creation steps:
    1. flat colors
    2. color shift (big soft grandienty subtle random shape)
    3. grunge (add grit and details)
    4. ambient occlusion
    5. sketch mark (automated)

    automated step -> with normal map
    1. glowing edge filter
    2. invert image
    3. desaturate
    4. boost level (first line work stage)
    a - Masked with ambient occlusion
    b - boost level
    5. subtract from first line work stage

    Ambient occlusion is generally baked from hi poly, with the absence of hi poly you can baked the hi poly, then find the normal map ambient occlusion and blend the two.

    Shader can be ndotl masking a pattern projected base on screen UV, then multiplying the result with the diffuse. I advise having a step based fresnel (ndotv) -> if fresnel > threshold then show diffuse else show white. You can also use a ramp to control both the fresnel and the diffuse (basically a texture with a height of 1 and as long a width as you want for storing the gradient, you can store the diffuse ramp and the fresnel ramp on a 2 pixel height, the use the height 0 for applying the nodtl and the height 1 to control the ndotv). Ramp are basically using the dot result as an indexing, You need to scale the ndotl though to get the full range, ie it normally range from -1 to 1, generally clamp between 0 and 1, we need to offset first to the range 0 to 2, then bringing back into the 0 -1 range by multiplying by 0.5. So it will index the UV width (which is in the 0-1 range) with its result, 0 meaning away from light and 1 meaning directly in front, so the texture beginning is away (generally shadow) and the end is front (lighted part), the middle being the transition.

    Otherwise the unity toon shader is enough, it give you the outline and you can draw the ramp to get the desired result. If you have a smooth ramp you get smooth shadow, if you make step ramped, it give you stepped shadow, and so on. Control the look with the ramp.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2016
  14. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    JohnnyA likes this.
  15. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    I meant that he can't have anime with his current model and if he don't want to model (he could make a proxy mesh to project the normal and have the smooth lighting of guilty gear for example).

    The basic behind Guilty gear is not very hard either, just clever!
     
  16. RichardKain

    RichardKain

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    The Guilty Gear approach relies on the 3D model itself for most of the detail. I'm guessing that the Guilty Gear approach doesn't use much, if any, normal mapping. They simply throw enough polygons at their character models to provide the necessary geometric detail. The rest is clever use of shaders.

    As I pointed out earlier, this works for Guilty Gear because of the nature of the game they are creating. Only having two characters on screen at one time makes very detailed character models more feasible. For a game with more 3D objects on screen at once, this would not be feasible.

    The real issue you should be addressing is exactly what kind of art style you are going for. I'd sketch up some concepts of what exactly you're trying to achieve, and then balance out your design based on that.
     
  17. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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  18. Stranger-Games

    Stranger-Games

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    @neoshaman Thank you very much!
    I really appreciate the time you took to explain to me that approach.
    I've spent a lot on art and cannot afford making it again, and it just does not look right.
    It's not very good as realistic art and does not look cartoonish.
    I'll apply your approach to the model and the environment and post the result here.
     
  19. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    It won't make miracle but it might be better than just regular lighting ... I hope :eek:
     
  20. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Nice model and texture - minus the awkwardly backwards modeled elbow joints. o_O
    But textures are top shelf.

    Is it just me - the sad face smiley faces look better than the final shaded faces on the right.
     
  21. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    It's taste, the smiley face is relative to achieving the effect not telling you it's bad, from a pure graphical perspective the right one is more readable (better facial expression), there is less visual noise. Make it what you want.

    The main idea is that you can control light and shadow on complex mesh by modifying how they receive light with proxy mesh and normal control.
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  22. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Seems like a heck of a lot of work to make a 3D model look like a 2D one.

    Ever considered just building it with 2D animations?
     
  23. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    It can badly backfire. Consider scenario where you're making a cutscene and suddenly realize that you needed different camera angle. Or that the scene should reflect user's customization choices properly and said choices aren't just restricted to palette swaps. You also will not be able to reuse animations at all.

    Yes, it is a lot of work. But it is worth it, and may be less work than drawing the model.

    Guilty Gear Xrd looks exactly like a sprite game would look. Cutscenes for the most part look exactly like anime would look.

    Speaking of palette swaps, king of fighters XIII (sprite based) featured a system where a user could color individual parts of characters and there were at least 8 of them. Making something like that would be a major pain, compared to doing the same thing in 3d.
     
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  24. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    I'm thinking the time wasted (spent) is made up in the time saved during animation development. Fighting games have some of the largest animation libraries with variances to all animations even at a subtle pvp character interaction.
     
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  25. RichardKain

    RichardKain

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    That's really interesting. They are using normals in the opposite way that they are commonly applied. Most games use normal mapping to add fine detail in the shadowing model. But they are using it to smooth out the lighting, in essence removing detail. Fascinating.
     
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  26. cirocontinisio

    cirocontinisio

    Unity Technologies

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    Very late to the party, but take a look at this website and the content they provide: http://unity-chan.com/contents/guideline/
    If you hit Download Data, it brings you to a page to download the Unity Chan model, the new shader, and the project data for their latest trailer called The Phantom Knowledge. It's a goldmine of resources if you want to do anime.
     
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  27. Shiro_Rin

    Shiro_Rin

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    I had no idea this even existed. Thanks for pointing it out!
     
  28. SnowInChina

    SnowInChina

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    look at the trickery they did for the outlines, its a pushed out geo with inverted normals
     
  29. Just2Ask

    Just2Ask

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    Hello
    Wonderful stuff
    Just to confirm, if I were after a result like this, it would just be textures?
    I had such suspicion, but as a novice, thats all it really is to me without a professionals/experienced persons input..


    Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

  30. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    It looks like both of those are using a ramp shader with a relatively, but not too sharp, falloff and nothing else, honestly.
     
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  31. Just2Ask

    Just2Ask

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    Thank you very much
    Honestly appreciated!
     
  32. Quingu

    Quingu

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    @OP:

    You definitely need a toon shader to achieve anime look. Anime/manga uses comic book style which is defined by shapes and shading. You need to make anime meshes/animations and employ a custom shader which looks like a comic book. Without such shader your models will look wrong.
     
  33. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Speaking of uts 2.0 @cirocontinisio
    Why isn't unity making an english blog version to present it :oops:
    All there is, is a unite japan video that explain the details and subtleties in a language I don't process :(
     
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  34. Just2Ask

    Just2Ask

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    Sorry
    I hope you dont mind me asking
    But what about this style?
    It looks as though it is just a texture; Im quite confused..
    Is this just simply having your character exported with an emit value from blender or not allowing it to accept lighting from the in-game engine?
     
  35. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    -Texture + unlit shader + outline post process
     
  36. Just2Ask

    Just2Ask

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    Thanks a million!!!
     
  37. AkiraWong89

    AkiraWong89

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    @Stranger-Games
    Hey, that's one of my favorite game series! :cool: I had spent around 250 hours of gameplay on that before.:p
    I had worked in JP company before as 3D artist. Japanese game industries are impressively strict on art sense and design precision. Nothing rocket science actually, just a classic way by painting shadow, highlight, gradient, ambient occlusion, details and so on by using an unlit / flat shader. They QA the art almost in per pixel size. Sometimes they will make some unique shaders such as Ookami's outlined traditional ink painting style and draw the texture just for matching the shader in purpose.:)
     
  38. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

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    What you wrote was really interesting.
    Especially the part, when you mentioned flat shaders.
    And painting details on the objects.
    I always had a suspicion, that that was how Japanese game devs
    made their game objects and characters. :)
     
  39. SunnyChow

    SunnyChow

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    you have to redo the whole artwork to make it looks like anime
     
  40. AkiraWong89

    AkiraWong89

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    Ya. Back in PS2 / PSP / NDS gaming era, they need to make as optimize as possible due to hardware limitation hence using flat shader a lots with skilled hand painted fake details. Remember this boss? It's Bahamut Fury from FF Crisis Core (PSP). All reflection details are hand painted.


    Ya. Japanese game dev are more about perfectionist which is stressful and tired but they believe quality comes first.
     
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  41. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    That's no mere japanese dev, it's square enix, and the same degree of perfectionism exist in AAA studio everywhere, as long it's a big important project.
     
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  42. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    That's crazy - interesting! But why? There is NO way that is more optimal than an outline shader with frensel falloff. Hmmm - maybe all artists with no shader code knowledge?
     
  43. bgolus

    bgolus

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    Because artists want control, and you can't easily control the thickness of an outline that's using a dot product on low poly geometry. The outlines are also always on the interior surface rather than around the object, and can be trivially scaled to stay a constant(ish) width in screen space.

    Also because on older devices using a dot product would have been slower than rendering the geometry twice.
     
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  44. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Actually fresnel falloff is the least optimal way of doing it:
    - no control over thickness
    - it's slope based, no silhouette based so you have ink bleeding in part you don't want when at acute angles
    - it's hard to add color to specific part
    - it's hard to add expressive details

    The other alternative is post process edge detection:
    - work at the pixel level by detecting contrast
    - can have a lot unwanted noise
    - difficult to have artistic control of thickness, you can have mathematical control with distance fading of the thinkness
    - difficult control on colors unless you start loading the memory with specific buffer
    - difficult to control in general, best is when used with depth buffer with normal buffer to limit bleeding
    - apply to everything in the scene, great for background scenary

    To be frank, inverted normal isn't just inverted and pushed:
    - it's also ONLY pushed in screen space.
    - you can literally paint thickness on vertex
    - you can add color relative to specific part
    - you can use a mesh that is similar but has extra features to add details or expressiveness
    - you can add extra shader details (like fresnel fall off) to control the softness of the line, or create aura effects (using fall off and masking a noise texture in screen space)
    - it's even used to give silhouette rim light
    - thickness can be control by any input, like light, texture, math, distance, position, you name it
    - actually receive light
    - you can do fancy stuff with depth base comparison.

    ex of outline, source https://www.patreon.com/minionsart
    https://c10.patreonusercontent.com/...=7KhVBVdP_YBM_AgSC1Qnxf858YVykkVILnM3lCmOkBw=

    https://c10.patreonusercontent.com/...=7ljhWPucZOoIyee3zLdijMIVY974mW0Lsny9jcpGINY=
     
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  45. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Great details added, very informative! Very useful for all. Thanks @bgolus & @neoshaman
     
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  46. BrandyStarbrite

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    Yeah. Even though I haven't played FF Crisis Core yet, I recognised
    that boss character immediately. :D

    I'm looking at it and I agree, the reflections really do look handpainted.
    Especially on the big wing looking things.
    It reminds me of when, I used to handpaint textures in blender
    to make oil barrels, look brand new and shiny. Those were fun days! :D


    Yeah, I've noticed that for a long time too.

    That reminds me of a documentary, when they were interviewing
    the Japanese guys, who were working on Bayonetta 2.
    One of the 3d modeller guys, working on the Bayonetta costume
    said he was working very hard, for a few months, trying to make
    bayonetta's suit, actually look like real leather.

    Even though that's his job and he is getting paid to do that....
    I was like wow! That is serious dedication, to perfecting details, in 3d art.:D
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018 at 11:46 PM
  47. bgolus

    bgolus

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    Especially since it's hair.
     
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