Animation:Master Features/Rendering/Toon Render
Animation Master’s Toon Render has a lot to offer. This topic is dedicated to providing the Animation Master Community with an in depth examination of Toon Rendering.
Of the many properties for surfaces, Toon Lines and Toon Shading control how surfaces render when Toon Render is ON in the Rendering Options window.
To turn Toon Render ON, click Tools on the menu bar and select Options, or press Ctrl+P to bring up the Options window. Click on the Rendering tab, make sure that Advance is checked, and click on the OFF next to Toon Render to turn it to ON.
If you open up the Toon Render menu, you will see three different selections: Lines Only, Override Lines, and Override Shading.
If Lines Only is turned to ON, there will not be any shading for the scene that is being rendered. Lines Only cannot be used with Override Shading. If none of the models have Toon Line properties set, all of the lines in the scene will have default values.
For the examination of Toon Render, frame 175 of the project Toys will be used.
This is what is rendered when Lines Only is turned ON with default values for Toon Lines.
The outlines of surfaces are now the only visible definition of the original render. Lines Only is a very simple rendering option, and has no other features inside of itself.
When Override Lines is set to ON, every surface's lines will be rendered the same.
Note: When Lines Only is set to OFF and Override Lines is set to ON, an option called Render Lines appears in the Override Lines menu. If Render Lines is set to OFF, and then Lines Only is set to ON, the render will produce no visible lines.
There are three different settings for Override Lines: Color Method, Thickness, and Toon Line Bais.
The Color Method sets what color the lines will render. There are two Color Methods: Specific and Percent Underlying. The default Color Method is Specific Color.
When Specified Color is selected, the Color Method menu shows a color value. Specified Color for the Lines Only image is set to black, but it can be set to any color. The background color is the color of the camera’s background color, so you can make any combination of color with them.
When Percent of Underlying is selected, the Color Method menu shows a Percent value that can range from 0%-100%.
The default value is 20%. This is what is rendered for Percent of Underlying.
This may look like the Lines Only render, but under a closer look, the lines are not the same color. This is what is rendered when the percentage is increased to 100%.
Now the lines are colored the exact color of their surface’s diffuse color. The blocks, spaceship, and crayon box have a white diffuse color, and that explains why they only have a grey outline of their edges.
The Thickness sets the width of the lines. The value ranges from 0 to 20 with 2 as the default. This is what is rendered when the thickness is set to .5.
The lines are much finer, and details that had once been covered up by large lines have come into view. This is what is rendered when the thickness is set to 10.
The thick lines have covered up much of the detail in the scene. If the lines were any thicker, it would be difficult to tell what was in the scene.
Toon Line Bias
The Toon Line Bias sets the amount of line detail for a surface. The smaller the value of Toon Line Bias, the finer the detail that is rendered. The values range from .01 to 1000. This is what is rendered with a Toon Line Bias of 2.
The thickness of this render was set to .5. Far more detail is visible now with a lower value for Toon Line Bias. This is what is rendered for a Toon Line Bias of 500.
Only a small amount of detail is left around the outsides of the main models. This is what is rendered for a Toon Line Bias of .1.
An incredible amount of detail is now visible; however, because there is so much detail, the scene no longer has the look of Toon about it. This would be better used for a stylized look rather than a cartoon.
Override Shading does exactly what it says it does. It sets the shading for every surface. Remember that you must have Lines Only set to OFF in order to use Override Shading.
There are four different Methods for Override Shading: Standard, Toon, Toon with Fallof, and Toon Gradient Only.
The Standard method takes the original background, and simply overlays lines onto it. Here is what is rendered with Standard Method.
The Standard method does not have gradients like the other three methods, so the only thing left to do for renders using Standard is to adjust the Override Lines.
When you select one of the other three Methods, you get another option.
Gradients control how surfaces are shaded, but there is a lot to gradients, so those will be discussed in the next section. The Toon method, in version 12, only renders ambiance with lines, so if you want to use this method with little to know ambiance values, you will have to use lightly colored lines. Otherwise, you will have to turn on Global Ambiance, or set the individual Ambiance Intensity; there are faster ways to do this with other methods. This is what will render if you simply turn on the Toon method, and do not change the Specific Color Method Color.
The Spaceman is barely visible. This is what is rendered with any gradient will render with the Toon method that has a white color for the Specific Color Method.
Toon with Falloff
This Method is very similar to the Standard method, except that now you have a gradient that tells how the shading of surfaces will be rendered. Like the Standard method, Toon with Fallof method uses the diffuse color of models as well as the diffuse color of lights to create the color layer for a render.
This is what is rendered when you use the default Two-Tone (with line) gradient.
The render is much brighter now because of how the gradient is set up. There are also solid lines which indicate where the least amount of lighting is on models like the binoculars. Once again, an examination of gradients will be saved for the next section.
Toon Gradient Only
The Toon Gradient Only method does not use the diffuse color of lights to create the color layer of a mask. Instead, it relies on the setup of the gradient, and the diffuse color of the models.
This is what is rendered with the Toon Gradient Only method with the default Two-Tone (with line)gradient.
By selecting a different gradient, you can get a different shading style. This is what is rendered with changes to the line thicknesses, and gradient is now set to the Preset gradient of Two-Tone(Soft).
Gradients control how shading is rendered in certin Shading Methods. Animation Master comes with five preset gradients. To select a preset gradient, right click on the gradient bar in the Method menu, and select Preset.
When a different gradient is selected, a new set of key points appears on the Gradient bar.
Each of the gradeints renders differently because of the properties of each key point. The construction of a Gradient is not difficult. Start by deleting all of the key points on the gradient map. To delete a key point, first click on the key point, then right click on it, and select Delete Key.
I suggest saving the cleared gradient so you do not have to delete every key every time. To save a Gradient, right click on the Gradient bar, and select Preset, and then select Create at the bottom. Name this gradient CLEARED. If you look at the presets, the new gradient will appear.
Now that the gradient is cleared, new points can be added without being changed by prexisting points. To add a point, left click anywhere on the Gradient bar. The points you add will be set to the default value which is based on the percent the key point is at and creates a grey scale gradient. To look at the properties of the key point, first left click on the key point, then right click on the key point, and select Key Settings.
At the top, you have the Position. This is the location of your key point on the gradient. Setting different values will move the point. The closer the percentage is to 100%, the farther right the key point is, and vice versa for percentages closer to 0%.
The Color has two options: This Color, and Object Color.
If you select This Color, the Gradient will be set to that color at that point.
The Gradient will not change color until you press OK. To see how gradients are rendered, we will make a color spectrum Gradient.
There are five key points on this Gradient: The first one is set to 0% and has This Color set to Red, then there is 25% with Yellow, 50% with Green, 75% with Blue, and 100% with Violet. This is what is rendered with this Rainbow Gradient.
This Color has rendered the frame without any original surface or light color. From this render, it can be concluded that the right side of the Gradient bar controls highlights, the left side controls the darkness, and everywhere in between controls the mid tones.
This is rendered with This Color set to black at 0%, and white at 100%.
This Gradient has created somewhat of a matte white render with lines. This is what is rendered with This Color set to white at 0%, and black at 100%.
The highlights are now set to darkness, and the darnkess is now set to highlights. If this frame is rendered with a Gradient with This Color set to White at 50%, it would look just like a renders in Override Shadding which do not have a gradients on them at all.
Object Color sets the brightness of the tones based on the Gradient bar. A standard render would have the Position percent and the Object Color persent set to the same value. If the Object Color percent is set higher than the Position of the Key point, the render will have darker highlights. If the Object Color Percent is set lower than the Position of the Key point, the render will appear to have less darkness.
This is what is rendered when there is a Key point at 0% with a 0% Object Color, and a Key point at 100% with 100% Object Color with Toon Gradient Only.
If one does not want any lights or darks in the render, the Cartoon preset Gradient can be used. This is what is rendered with the Cartoon Gradient.
The Cartoon Gradient has one Key point set at 50% with Object Color set at 100%. If shadows are desired, the Anime Preset can be used with Toon Gradient Only. This is what the Anime preset will render.
The zig-zagging effect of the shadows in this render are caused by the use of Z-Buffered Shadows.
Mixing This Color and Object Color
Gradients can be made up of both This Color and Object Color settings. This opens many more possibilities for Gradients. One mixture in particular renders quite a stylized look. Create five Key points in the Gradient bar. Set the Positions to 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. Set the 0% Key point to This Color to Black, set the 25% to Object Color with 25%, set the 50% to Object Color with 50%, set the 75% to Object Color with 75%, and set 100% to This Color to White.
Now the mid tons have the only color in the scene, and the rest of the render is comprised of lights and darks. This is what is rendered when the Method is changed to Toon with Falloff.
This opens even more possibilities for Gradients and Toon render.
Hopefully all of these examinations of Toon Render open up some more creativity for future projects with Animation:Master. Toon render is not just used to make scenes look like cartoons; Toon render is also used to set the mood of the scene and can do a very good job of it.