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ArtZone Heading
Creating a Toon Shader
Added on: Sun Oct 29 2000
Page: 1 2 4 

The Flat Shading

To get rid of the smooth diffuse to ambient shading on the surface and get that banded "toony" look we need to put a "Gradient Ramp" map in the first slot of the Falloff map, the slot for the white color. This will replace the white color with a colored gradient. These are the default settings for the Gradient Ramp:

When you move the handles, you move the colors. Double-click on the handles to change colors. Change the interpolation to "Solid" and the Gradient Type to "Lighting", and set the colors something like this:

Now, this will separate the material into three bands, one ambient, one diffuse and one specular section.

The four "handles" for the ramp controls the colors and positions of the bands. The leftmost handle adjusts the color for the ambient band, the second handle from the left sets the color for the diffuse part of the material and also by moving the handle left and right you control the placing of the ambient band. The third handle controls the color of the specular highlight and also the size of the highlight. By setting the "Gradient Type" to "Lighting" the gradient will align itself to face the lightsource.

Note that this isn't the optimal way of creating this banding effect. It would be best to "clamp" the colors created by standard diffusion but that's not possible in Max (I think), so we will have to resort to this "trick".

Also note that this gradient-map isn't very accurate. The specular highlight doesn't seem to point exactly towards the lightsource. But the biggest drawback is that using multiple lightsources is really hard without getting poor results.

Now, the material still looks a bit "iffy" that's because there's still some diffusion on the material. That's easy to remedy, just set "Self Illumination" to 100 and you're more or less finished.

Adjustable outline, color and thicknessNeeds high-res models to look good
Adjustable Specular, Diffuse and Ambient color as well as sizePoor outline-quality. Based on camera-surface angle which makes for inconsistent width
Fast renderingInaccurate specular placement(bug in the Gradient Ramp map?)
Doesn't handle multiple lightsources at all well
 Aliasing artifacts, "jaggies" in the transitions between "bands". Remedied with "supersampling"

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