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a new client wants an animation which explains the order process of his new business idea, it´s a special kind of courier service. they want the animation to look like it´s a real cartoon, but it should also look modern & stylish. so right now i´m trying to find a style that looks like a hand drawn cartoon, but also modern and somehow hip & cool...

 

i just took a character i had and retextured him (the characters in the animation will look different) and modeled a few props and buildings. it´s more about the general look and the render style first.

 

any suggestions what might get it look even more cartoony?

 

david, if you´re reading this: what would be the proper setup for perfectly round arm and leg bows with the squetch-rig?... i can get it only 95% round, there´s always a slight kink in it, no matter how i weigh the cps... right now the splinerings of the arm from upper to lower are weighted like this: bicep bow1, bicep bow2, 70%bicep bow3/30%forearm bow1, 50%bicep bow3/50%forearm bow1, 30%bicep bow3/70%forearm bow1, forearm bow 2, forearm bow 3.. i guess i´ll have to add either more splinerings or delete two of them, so that there´s only one splinering left around the elbow, but then the arm will always have a bow.... but for a cartoony character that might work. i´m just asking in hope you might have a magic trick for that up your sleeve ;)

cartoontest.jpg

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convincing toon look is a tough job.

 

I would surface the character to be very flatter shaded and have more obvious toon lines and animate it at 12 fps whenever possible. I would not do a lot of polished CG moving holds and eases.

 

To keep a ring from squishing you will need to have it on its own bone or smartskin it to correct the squish.

 

I'd also make the limbs thicker. Even "rubber-hose" style arms and legs weren't that thin. There should be some area for the color inside the toon lines.

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david, if you´re reading this: what would be the proper setup for perfectly round arm and leg bows with the squetch-rig?... i can get it only 95% round, there´s always a slight kink in it, no matter how i weigh the cps... right now the splinerings of the arm from upper to lower are weighted like this: bicep bow1, bicep bow2, 70%bicep bow3/30%forearm bow1, 50%bicep bow3/50%forearm bow1, 30%bicep bow3/70%forearm bow1, forearm bow 2, forearm bow 3.. i guess i´ll have to add either more splinerings or delete two of them, so that there´s only one splinering left around the elbow, but then the arm will always have a bow.... but for a cartoony character that might work. i´m just asking in hope you might have a magic trick for that up your sleeve ;)

 

It all depends on the spline layout, Sebastian. I'm thinking you probably need a few more spline rings in there.

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@ robert: thanks for the tips. but i don´t want to have outlines, i want the no-outline cartoon look... ;) i was going for a look similar to the short"salesman pete" or something like that, which isn´t all flat shaded but still very cartoony.

regarding the character: it´s not a character that will be in the video, but i guess i could make the limbs a little bit thicker anyways.

 

@ david: thanks.. that´s what i suspected...

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That is rather unlike any animation style I've seen in A:M.

(A good thing in my opinion)

 

It might be good to slow down the audio/foley of the board hitting the railing a little to keep it feeling in sync with the slow down of the imagery.

There was/is something about the imagery proceeding normally and then going into slo-mo that could use an echo of sorts in the audio.

(Note: I'm not talking about slowing down the music... that's fine... just the sound effect of the board/rollers)

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rodney, the sound is slowed down 400%, just like the animation... go on youtube and search for skateboarding and grind, you´l notice that the sound of a grind is much much brighter... ;)

 

what do you think of the sketchy look? i´m not 100% there yet, the models and the textures still need tweaking

thebaldandthepussy.jpg

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thanks. the best Thing about this style is that it renders really fast. this scene with 10 models in it took only 1 min 6s in 720p, 5 passes. but i will render it at double size with 4 passes to get the depth map smooth. that will take a little bit longer, but 3-4 min per frame is still pretty cool. i'm wondering why the multipass can't be applied to the depth map, too.

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what do you think of the sketchy look?

 

I love the sketchy look! (although I'm inclined to call it 'painterly') ;)

 

 

the best Thing about this style is that it renders really fast. this scene with 10 models in it took only 1 min 6s in 720p, 5 passes.

 

Nice. The benefits of avoiding too much realism in animation are many aren't they? :)

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if i may be so bold, love the look could not resist

for the fun of fit sound fx track

 

nice... the sound is better than the original one... i didn´t spend much time on finding the right audio, i just took the first grind i could find on youtube...

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if i may be so bold, love the look could not resist

for the fun of fit sound fx track

 

nice... the sound is better than the original one... i didn´t spend much time on finding the right audio, i just took the first grind i could find on youtube...

 

 

use it if you like...

again the over all look is cool

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I hope this isn't too late, Sebastian...I think I have a fix that will improve the knees and elbows for extreme stretches. I'll need a couple of days to work out one issue, but, if you send me your character, I think I can resolve the problem you were having. Once I get it done, I'll roll it into the next rig release.

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thanks...

 

robert, i was actually thinking about that, too... i will tinker a bit more with the lighting later on...

 

david, for this character i propably don´t need a perfect round knee and elbow bow, since it´s gotten more sketchy, and not so much vector-illustrative now...the new character has only one splinering as elbow and knee, so i don´t know if your fix would be practicable on this one... but i´d be interested about that fix anyways... i´ll send you both characters via email... thanks so much for your help. :)

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i like that look so much that i´ve decided to do a little short...

 

here are two 360° spins of the two main characters.

 

Awesomely awesome. :)

 

Any time we can break the typical CG look the better I say.

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thanks guys...

 

here are some testrenders of the sets with characters, still need to model some additional props and tinker with some decals. i´ve downloaded some files from the a:m ressources forum and modified them to my needs, thanks for uploading these.

 

still very happy with the rendering times. those shots took between 1.20 min and 2.50 at 720p, 5 passes, depth and normal buffer activated:)

 

things to do: additional props, modifying decals, model the waitress, modify an existing model of a fat guy who will sit at one of the tables in the back. and of course: animation, sounddesign etc ;)

 

i have some issues with the depth maps: everything with a transparency set is always white in my depth maps, is there a setting i´ve overlooked or is this a bug?

settests_c1c.jpg

settests_c2c.jpg

settests_c3c.jpg

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i have some issues with the depth maps: everything with a transparency set is always white in my depth maps, is there a setting i´ve overlooked or is this a bug?

 

White would signify infinite distance, so what you are saying is that there si something behind the transparency that is not infinitely far away?

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i have some issues with the depth maps: everything with a transparency set is always white in my depth maps, is there a setting i´ve overlooked or is this a bug?

 

White would signify infinite distance, so what you are saying is that there si something behind the transparency that is not infinitely far away?

 

yes. everything set with transparency is completely white, no matter how close it or what´s behind it is to the camera. i always had this issue, so this is not just happening in the current version of a:m. i always used the workaround of simply just not using tranparency when using a depth map, but it´s time to find a more satisfying solution ;)

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yes. everything set with transparency is completely white, no matter how close it or what´s behind it is to the camera. i always had this issue, so this is not just happening in the current version of a:m. i always used the workaround of simply just not using tranparency when using a depth map, but it´s time to find a more satisfying solution ;)

 

It may be a limitation of the way depth maps calculated.

 

What if you used the fog method fro creating a depth map? Does that have any more correct result?

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i suppose fog would work, but that would mean i´d have to render everything twice, i want to avoid that. for this particular project it isn´t cruicial, since it´s toon and i don´t have to have tranparency set on anything except the windows in one shot, and the DOF is´nt that significant. but usually it´s the characters eyes that make problems with depth maps, because the cornea has a transparency. is it happening on windows, too? i don´t have a a:m version for windows running anymore, so i can´t test it.

 

thanks, mark... i´m usually not a big fan of toon-render either. but lately i discovered some shorts that really blew my mind, and i thought "i need to do that (or something half way close to it, i´m just one person, not a studio or collaborative) in a:m".

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Here's a quick test of what i think you are describing...

 

-On the top, this square grid has the left side is set to 0% transparency and the right side is set to 100% transparency

 

-in the middle is the final render that looks correct

 

-on the bottom is the depth TGA from that render. It seems to appropriately regard the transparent section as "not there" for distance purposes.

 

100percentTransparent.JPG

 

If I set the transparency to the right section of 50% the depth map regards the whole square as "there" with no difference in the depth map between the left and right sides of the square. That would be the correct assessment of "depth"

 

I haven't tried this with an OpenEXR render to see what that depth buffer does.

 

 

Here's the PRJ you can try and the render settings I used...

DepthmapTest.prj

 

TestPreset.pre

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this is really really weird. i tested your prj, and i get the same results you do... i dropped a character in that chor which i had this problem with in the past, and it works, too... but why????

 

then i opened my current project again, and rendered the scene out where i had the issue with the windows. and it´s still there, all the windows are white, but they should have the same grey value as the walls around them. look at the depth-map of that scene i attached.

 

my suspicion was that in this case it could be that the problem is caused because the transparency isn´t set in the properties of the group but driven by a transparency map. i made a copy of the opaque left side of your testmodel and decaled it with that transparency map, and then again i get something different: the geometry is completely ignored as if it was 100% transparent, but it´s not, as you can see. but: it´s not competely white either, like in my other scene (in that particular scene there´s geometry right behind the windows). i don´t get it! nothing of it.

settest_camone_DepthBuffer0.jpg

depthtesting_transparencymap.jpg

depthtesting_transparencymap_DepthBuffer.jpg

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You want the windows to have the same depth as the walls? Try making them 99% transparent instead of 100% transparent and see what happens.

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nancy, i just use toon with multiple lights, with the gradient from black to white meeting as hard as possible right in the middle, so it´s as flat shaded as possible (ok, no gradient at all would be even flatter, but that´s not the look i´m going for.) . i "cheat" a little shading back into my scenes in post, just using the normal z-map with 20% opacity of that layer and set to "color burn". i also use light lists for the chacters and a few props to highlight them with a hard kicker, so that they would really pop out of the scene. for the skin i use an orange ambient color set to 20% ambience intensity, that really helps the look, too.

 

You want the windows to have the same depth as the walls? Try making them 99% transparent instead of 100% transparent and see what happens.

 

they ARE not 100% transparent. about 50% i´d say.

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finished modeling, rigging and texturing the waitress. i used cloth for hair, because i couldn´t prevent thick strands of hair not going through head and shoulders. wouldn´t have been a problem with thinner hair, but if you have hair strands that are 10 cm thick and the collision detection is calculated by the use of a thin spline there seems to be no way to get it right. i´m pretty happy with the cloth-hair look for now, but i´m sure i will be tweaking it a little more.

 

i updated the other characters as well, did a little tweaking on the geometry and textures.

 

next steps: modifying an existing model of a fat guy, modeling a cool toon car.

rotation_waitress_low.mov

rotation_cat_low.mov

rotation_baldy_low.mov

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nancy, i just use toon with multiple lights, with the gradient from black to white meeting as hard as possible right in the middle, so it´s as flat shaded as possible (ok, no gradient at all would be even flatter, but that´s not the look i´m going for.) . i "cheat" a little shading back into my scenes in post, just using the normal z-map with 20% opacity of that layer and set to "color burn". i also use light lists for the chacters and a few props to highlight them with a hard kicker, so that they would really pop out of the scene. for the skin i use an orange ambient color set to 20% ambience intensity, that really helps the look, too.

 

Thanks for the info

 

Your new lady model looks terrific as well!

 

 

How are you getting the bendy look on the limbs? (ie could you illuminate some hints on the weighting? geometry rig? or some other magic?)

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nancy, i just use toon with multiple lights, with the gradient from black to white meeting as hard as possible right in the middle, so it´s as flat shaded as possible (ok, no gradient at all would be even flatter, but that´s not the look i´m going for.) . i "cheat" a little shading back into my scenes in post, just using the normal z-map with 20% opacity of that layer and set to "color burn". i also use light lists for the chacters and a few props to highlight them with a hard kicker, so that they would really pop out of the scene. for the skin i use an orange ambient color set to 20% ambience intensity, that really helps the look, too.

 

Thanks for the info

 

Your new lady model looks terrific as well!

 

 

How are you getting the bendy look on the limbs? (ie could you illuminate some hints on the weighting? geometry rig? or some other magic?)

 

 

as you can see in the wireframes, i only use one splinering at the knee and elbow joints. with the squetchrig you can bend the bicep, the forearm, the thigh and the calf, that´s all you need basically. the splinerings on the arms and legs are weighted to the bow-geometry bones. on the right leg from up to down for example they are weighted like this: the cps on the very upper leg are weighted differently, some percentage spine 1 stomach geom, some percentage right thigh bow 0 geom, after that it continues as following: 100% right thigh bow 0 geom, 100% right thigh bow 2 geom, 50% right thigh bow 3 geom/50%right calf bow 0 geom (that´s the knee-joint), 100% right calf bow 2 geom, 90% right calf bow 3 geom / 10 % right foot geom....

 

the simpler your model is, the easier it is to get a smooth curve on the joints. if you have a classical knee joint of 3 splinerings close together it´s very hard to get a smooth curve when bending the leg. it surely is possible, but you will need much more splinerings and quite a bit of time to figure out the correct weighting so the leg will look good i every stage of bending. the solution with just one splinering of course always has a slight curve in it, even if you set the bow to 0%, but since i always want them with a slight bow, there was no need for me to add in extra splinerings ;)

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Looks great Sebastian!

 

If you have a group for the windows, set the density property to .001. Also there must be some kind of geometry behind the window. Exposed camera background will not render correctly.

trans50test000.jpg

trans50test_DepthBuffer000.jpg

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Looks great Sebastian!

 

If you have a group for the windows, set the density property to .001. Also there must be some kind of geometry behind the window. Exposed camera background will not render correctly.

 

thanks, mark... i´ll try that later. :)

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The only problem I see is the lights will not penatrate though the glass, you'll have shadow issues. This may be a problem if you need the shadow lights to light object behind the windows.

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as you can see in the wireframes, i only use one splinering at the knee and elbow joints. with the squetchrig you can bend the bicep, the forearm, the thigh and the calf, that´s all you need basically. the splinerings on the arms and legs are weighted to the bow-geometry bones. on the right leg from up to down for example they are weighted like this: the cps on the very upper leg are weighted differently, some percentage spine 1 stomach geom, some percentage right thigh bow 0 geom, after that it continues as following: 100% right thigh bow 0 geom, 100% right thigh bow 2 geom, 50% right thigh bow 3 geom/50%right calf bow 0 geom (that´s the knee-joint), 100% right calf bow 2 geom, 90% right calf bow 3 geom / 10 % right foot geom....

 

the simpler your model is, the easier it is to get a smooth curve on the joints. if you have a classical knee joint of 3 splinerings close together it´s very hard to get a smooth curve when bending the leg. it surely is possible, but you will need much more splinerings and quite a bit of time to figure out the correct weighting so the leg will look good i every stage of bending. the solution with just one splinering of course always has a slight curve in it, even if you set the bow to 0%, but since i always want them with a slight bow, there was no need for me to add in extra splinerings ;)

 

Excellent! Thanks...

 

(Now to figure it out without using squetch rig..but I think the basic info is there. Simpler is always better!)

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as you can see in the wireframes, i only use one splinering at the knee and elbow joints. with the squetchrig you can bend the bicep, the forearm, the thigh and the calf, that´s all you need basically. the splinerings on the arms and legs are weighted to the bow-geometry bones. on the right leg from up to down for example they are weighted like this: the cps on the very upper leg are weighted differently, some percentage spine 1 stomach geom, some percentage right thigh bow 0 geom, after that it continues as following: 100% right thigh bow 0 geom, 100% right thigh bow 2 geom, 50% right thigh bow 3 geom/50%right calf bow 0 geom (that´s the knee-joint), 100% right calf bow 2 geom, 90% right calf bow 3 geom / 10 % right foot geom....

 

the simpler your model is, the easier it is to get a smooth curve on the joints. if you have a classical knee joint of 3 splinerings close together it´s very hard to get a smooth curve when bending the leg. it surely is possible, but you will need much more splinerings and quite a bit of time to figure out the correct weighting so the leg will look good i every stage of bending. the solution with just one splinering of course always has a slight curve in it, even if you set the bow to 0%, but since i always want them with a slight bow, there was no need for me to add in extra splinerings ;)

 

Excellent! Thanks...

 

(Now to figure it out without using squetch rig..but I think the basic info is there. Simpler is always better!)

 

 

hmm, i guess you could just create some bow bones as children of the thigh / calf / bicep / forearm bones and make a pose with a slider where you move them in the z-axis, so they will form a smooth bow...

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as you can see in the wireframes, i only use one splinering at the knee and elbow joints. with the squetchrig you can bend the bicep, the forearm, the thigh and the calf, that´s all you need basically. the splinerings on the arms and legs are weighted to the bow-geometry bones. on the right leg from up to down for example they are weighted like this: the cps on the very upper leg are weighted differently, some percentage spine 1 stomach geom, some percentage right thigh bow 0 geom, after that it continues as following: 100% right thigh bow 0 geom, 100% right thigh bow 2 geom, 50% right thigh bow 3 geom/50%right calf bow 0 geom (that´s the knee-joint), 100% right calf bow 2 geom, 90% right calf bow 3 geom / 10 % right foot geom....

 

the simpler your model is, the easier it is to get a smooth curve on the joints. if you have a classical knee joint of 3 splinerings close together it´s very hard to get a smooth curve when bending the leg. it surely is possible, but you will need much more splinerings and quite a bit of time to figure out the correct weighting so the leg will look good i every stage of bending. the solution with just one splinering of course always has a slight curve in it, even if you set the bow to 0%, but since i always want them with a slight bow, there was no need for me to add in extra splinerings ;)

 

Excellent! Thanks...

 

(Now to figure it out without using squetch rig..but I think the basic info is there. Simpler is always better!)

 

 

hmm, i guess you could just create some bow bones as children of the thigh / calf / bicep / forearm bones and make a pose with a slider where you move them in the z-axis, so they will form a smooth bow...

 

uhh...hmmmm...is right...will have to play around...thanks again!

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thanks...

 

here´s a preview of the car... it´s actually the first car i´ve ever modeled. still a few things to add and fix, and i noticed i got to adjust the lights for the 360° rotation of the car. the behaviour of the shadowing looks odd that way... the lights more from above should do the trick i think.

rotation_car_low.mov

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