Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Comic Shading

Found a neat article here which discusses the unique look of the Champions MMO.

I thought this quote was kind of telling:
Colin: What can you tell me about comic shading and how it differs from cell shading?

Jim: We’re trying to go for the look you get in a comic book. But comics don’t transfer directly to real time 3D very well. Cell shading often looks really bland and has very little detail in it so we have decided on a more realistic lighting model.

If something is bumpy you’ll see the bumps and you’ll get highlights and shadows and that kind of stuff. But on top of that we have an art style that’s similar to comic books with bright colors and things that aren’t necessarily realistic. And then also we have an outline effect that outlines things that are near to the camera and adds to that comic-book feel.

We wanted to make this distinction because cell shading has taken on an almost negative connotation within the industry of looking boring. Artists get upset about being labeled with this generic term. It implies similarity to games that really aren’t similar at all.

It's something I've noticed in reactions to my own Poser work. People seem really enamored with some 3D work which shows all of the figure's textured pores as if somehow the wall between reality and 3D illusion has finally been broken. I've always felt it was a road not really worth following. I think the reality gap is just too wide. That's why I tend to prefer a cel-shaded look to most of my own work. Recently I jumped from trying to emulate the flat lighting in comics and older cartoons to embracing more complex 3D lighting in my renders and I really like the results. I just found it interesting to see an MMO's creative direction mirror my own.

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