A cool method to Toon Outline

Here's a quick .gif to show a method I've got for making toon outlines without touching the awful toon menu. The basic process is :

- Take the objects you want to have a toon shader around (you have to experiment, don't use the whole model as I have done in my example, I would remove things like eye lashes and stuff for sure - especially since they tend to use alpha too)

- Duplicate said objects, and merge them, hide your original object for now. - Add a Surface shader of whatever colour you want your outline to the duplicate model

 - Take the duplicated, merged objects, go to face mode and select all of their faces (just drag the marquee over, they are merged into one object so it will get them all)

- Extrude these faces, but make sure you go to the face that the extrude tool puts you on and drag out from the face, this will do the same effect on every face (don't click to move tool or scale tool and scale out the faces, just move the individual face so that every face will move out from its normals - very important)

- With the faces still selected from the extrude, hold shift and marquee over to invert the selection to the inside faces. Delete those.

 - Turn on Backface Culling.

 - Go to viewport 2.0 and turn that bad boy on. Up the settings to whatever your computer can handle (mostly Ambient Occlusion and AA).

 - Turn on your original model. You should now have a toon outline.

 - I need to figure a way to actually render these with backface culling intact. But this is mostly designed for video games where polygons are only single sided (double sided = double the polycount)

- There is room to make this even more complex too. The inner bits on the headphones there are getting some black lines, I'd rather they weren't there. So on the toon outline model I could remove those indents by remodelling a bit. This is where it becomes more work, but for better results you'd have to invest that bit more time. But it gives you a lot of flexibility. Same for the nose, you may not want all of the black outlines in there, so with a bit of clever modelling you could make it less harsh.

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I am a video game artist at Dovetail games, working on Train Simulator 2014, 2015 and an unannounced title. I also graduated from the CG Arts course at UCA in 2010 with a First Class. www.jonstewart.co.uk