Skill Level Intermediate
- [EJ] Welcome to Motion Graphics Weekly, where you up your Mo Graph knowledge one week at a time. I'm EJ Hassenfratz, let's get our learn on. In the very first Mo Graph Weekly that I did, I showed you how you can apply cell shading without the powerful toon renderer called Sketch and Toon that is included in the Studio and Visualize versions of Cinema 4D. Well what if you do actually have one of those versions? Well that's what this week's Mo Graph Weekly is all about.
Applying cell shading to your 3D objects using my favorite renderer, Sketch and Toon. So here is a simple scene setup without any materials at all, and to apply cell shading to make our 3D object here look like a cartoon object, we're going to go and double-click in this Material Manager here to create a new default material. I'm going to double-click on this material again to bring up the Material Editor, and I can now rename this. So let's make this the red lollipop color, and you can see by default we have some diffuse, shading, and a specular highlight on my material here.
So I'm just going to go and apply this to my object. And what I want to do is actually turn off this diffuse shading that's coming from the Color channel, as well as the specular that's coming from the Reflectance channel. So what I want to do is live in this Luminance channel here because if you notice when I turn this on it's actually not going to respect any of the lighting in the scene. It's not going to have any 3D diffuse shading. It's almost like a flat color applied to our objects, so we're getting close.
So what I'm going to do now is use one of the powerful features in Sketch and Toon that allows you to apply cell shading to a 3D object, and it is aptly named Cell Shader. So I'm going to go all the way down to my Sketch and Toon menu, go to Cell, and apply that. Now one gotcha with the cell shader is that what you see in your viewport is not what you're going to see when you render. If I go ahead and click this Render View button, you're going to see that our specular highlight is completely different from where it was in our viewport before.
To be able to see exactly what your cell shading is doing as you're adjusting and manipulating your cell shader, we're going to go ahead and click on this little button here, our Render button, and go all the way down to Interactive Render Region, and what this allows you to do is manipulate a bounding box view that is going to show what your object looks like, or what your scene looks like when it's completely rendered. And you can drag and drop this little arrow here to adjust that quality of that little render preview in the viewport.
So I'll bring it all the way to the top so we have nice high quality, and now you can see exactly how this cell shader is going to look when we render. Now I'm going to go ahead, click the cell shader button and bring up the cell shader options here. So you can see that the cell shading is actually driven by this Diffuse gradient, and the default light source is actually our camera. So it's almost like headlights are casting a light from our point of view onto our objects.
And how the gradient is applied across our object is by the positioning of these knots. So if I drag this knot to the left, you can see you're seeing a lot more of that color show up on our object. And I can also go in here and change the color as well. So if we want to make this red, we can easily do that. And just have different shades of red. Maybe something like that, and we can also add shadows in specular if instead of using the camera as the light source we actually use lights as the light source.
So I can turn the Specular and Shadows on and you're going to notice that we have no lights in our scene here. So what we're going to do is go and create an Infinite Light, and an Infinite Light is like a sun. It's a massive light source that casts parallel light, and I feel it's best used for cartoony things like this. So the thing with the parallel light is that it's not adjusted by moving it in the scene.
You can see that adjusting the position of this light is not changing how it's casting light on our object. How you adjust the parallel light is by hitting the R key and rotating this around. So now you can see using this parallel or infinite light I'm not adjusting how this light is being cast. So again it's like, what direction is the sun in the sky? And that's going to kind of drive how that light is being cast. So let's go back into our red material here, and one thing I like to do is instead of adding different shades of color to this gradient knot like I'm doing right now, is I go ahead and change this to a bunch of grayscale color values.
So maybe a medium gray here, and then for the darker color, I make it a darker gray, so I have a now grayscale, fully grayscale value happening in our diffuse. And what I can now do is go into the color channel here and select a red hue, maybe something like that, and what's great about the cell shader and just the color system in Cinema 4D is we can utilize mix modes or blending modes that you might be used to in After Effects or Photoshop, and I can take this cell shader gradient and use a mix mode like Multiply to multiply that cell shader on top of whatever color I have defined here.
So, this is way easier to be able to setup the cell shader gradient like you want, and maybe adjust these grayscale values here to get however bright you want your color to be. And I can easily say, make a different color by Command + Click + Dragging. Going to, maybe making this yellow, and just simply changing this hue to yellow and again having that cell shader just be multiplied on top of it. So I can easily create different colors.
Maybe if I want a different yellow color on that ring, but it's just easier to adjust that versus going into each of these gradients and changing them to some shade of yellow. All right so, we have our cell shader here. We have Shadows enabled, but we don't have anything for our object to cast a shadow on to. So let's create a simple floor by using a disk object, and I'll just go ahead and move this down, scale this up, and let's apply this yellow texture to that disc.
And what I'm going to do is maybe just make this a little bit lighter, and again make sure Shadows are enabled, but nothing's going to happen, because we have no shadows enabled on our light. So what I'm going to do is go to my Shadow drop-down, and the type of shadows that work well with cell shading, you can see we have all of this really hard sharp shading, soft shadows really aren't going to fit that look really well. So what I'm going to do is choose Raytraced or Hard shadows, and you're going to see we have really nice sharp shadows that fit well with our nice cell shading.
So, so far we have this really nice cell shaded lollipop. What I want to do is kind of cover some options of how we can stylize this a little bit. So let's go into our red material here, and go into our cell shading, and notice there is just a sharp change from each shade of color from one to the other. What if we wanted to soften this a bit to get a little bit more stylized cartoon shading? Well you can easily do that by clicking on this little arrow next to our Diffuse gradient, and changing the interpolation or smoothing between knots from None as it is currently, to some other kind, say Smooth Knot.
And you can see what this allows us to do, is to be able to adjust these knots and these little middle diamonds to really have full control over the interpolation between each of these shades of gray. And you can see how this is a little bit more of a stylized look with a lot more control going on here. One thing I'm seeing right now on my lollipop is that we have a really nice highlight here, but the actual specular highlight on our object is down here, and you would expect a specular highlight to be close to the top of this object, right around here, so what I'm going to do to allow me to have further control over, say something isolated like a specular highlight, what I'm going to do is just fold up this Diffuse, uncheck Specular on this red material, and I'm just going to go and double-click in the Material Manager, and just create a specular material.
And how we can do this is by unchecking the Color and Reflectance again, checking on that Luminance, and choosing maybe a light pink color for our specular highlight. Whatever color you want that to be. And instead of loading the cell shader in the Luminance, we're going to use a trick where we actually load up the cell shader in the Alpha channel. So I'll activate the Alpha channel, go to my Texture menu here. Again load up the cell shader, and in this cell shader, let me actually just first apply this specular material on top of both the lollipop ring and the lollipop itself, and you can see that you can kind of see through that red cell shader beneath the overlay here.
So what we can do now is alphas work with grayscale values, so black and white, and all the values in between, so what I'll do is again uncheck this Camera. What I want to do is create a brand new light that is going to drive just this specular cell shading. So I'll enable lights, and I'm going to rename this light Main Light, and then I will Command + Click + Drag to duplicate that light, and I'll just name this Specular.
And now what I'm going to do is say, just use this light to drive this one material. So in this Use Light feature, I'm just going to say Include, and I'm going to say, include just this light. Let's go ahead and change these diffuse gradient values to grayscale again, so we'll have it be very dark, and you can already see that we have this really nice specular highlight coming into view, and maybe we'll have this a two tone specular. So one middle gray and one completely white, and again maybe we'll shrink this specular highlight down a little bit, something like that.
And again, we can stylize this by changing this to smooth interpolation here, and adjusting how this looks so you can see exactly what's going on there. So maybe something like that, maybe just a very tiny highlight, and the power of utilizing and defining individual lights to drive certain aspects, say a specular overlay, is I can go ahead and choose this specular light and rotate this around, and you can see that I'm actually controlling where that specular highlight is hitting on the object.
The only problem is, is you can see that second shadow on the floor because the other cell shading materials here are still recognizing and using both of those lights, so just like we isolated the specular light just to be used by this overlay specular material, what I'm going to do in both of our cell shader materials here is go into this cell shader and actually say, exclude that specular light. So let me just drag and drop the specular light into the red material, and then in the yellow material for our floor, I'll drag and drop the specular light into this as well, and you'll see that'll remove that extra shadow.
We're just using that main light to drive the cell shading and the shadows on both the red and the yellow materials, and we can actually brighten up this floor material as well by moving this brighter shade a little bit closer to the left, and you can see we just brightened everything up, and that's looking really nice. So again, utilizing the light isolation in cell shading to be able to drive and position a specular highlight exactly where you want it to be on your objects is really, really powerful.
One last thing I want to show is the ability to, say go into our yellow cell shader here, and use a different shadow mode. So right now, this shadow being cast is just a different darkness or lightness of the main color we're using for our cell shading, but what I can actually do is say, use the light shadow to actually create the light color, and what that allows us to do is go into our main light here, and it's going to use and sample the color that is in this shadow here.
So if I want to make this say a blue shadow, something pretty stylized, and have control over that, I can make a blue shade. Hit OK and you'll see we have this really nice blue shadow coming from our light object. Hopefully you can understand and see how powerful the Sketch and Toon cell shader is and how much control you have over turning your 3D objects into really beautiful 2D renders.
Don't want to wait until next week to learn something new? No problem, here are other ways to feed your creative brain to keep you busy in the meantime. You can check out my other courses in the library, visit my website eyedesyn.com for more tutorials, subscribe to my YouTube channel to be alerted when I post a new video, join my Facebook page for daily Mo Graph inspiration, and keep up to date on all my latest Mo Graph creations on Instagram. Thanks for watching, and I'll see you here again next week.
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