There is a small tutorial to show how we make these nice architecture props for the social project colled Lovely Farm (c) Mail.ru games.
This tutorial is more for beginners who have just started with visualisation. But it also could be useful if you have never engaged in cartoon style render.
Before we start talking about render, here are a few base principles for making game art in this style.
1) Use bright, saturated colors
2) Use outlines for increased detail
3) Use toy proportions, don't use proportions directly the from real world.
That's all I guess. )
For our every day work we use 3Ds Max for modeling and V-Ray for visualisation. V-Ray's got a very useful plug-in called Vray Toon that produces cartoon style outlines of objects in the scene. You can find it in the Environment dialog of 3dsmax.
Rendering --> Enviroment --> Atmospere Effects (Or use shortcut "8" on your keyboard)
Unfortunately this plug-in has got a limited amount of settings. For example you can't set different colors and thicknesses for every objects in the scene. It also can't be use for non - photorealistic render, so if you want to create a cartoon shader you have to do it in material editor. Vray toon is only for outlining.
Let's start from the very beginning. I've got this sketch made by my colleague Natasha.
This is a palace for the east set. And it is looks really nice, doesn't it?
And I made the model. I didn't care much about the number of polygons, because I only wanted to receive a good 2d picture.
Now I have to assign materials on my model and begin to setup the render. Here is the default "scanline render" with no light, and It looks pretty ugly.
Now turn on V-Ray
Choose Render setup dialog--> Assign render --> V-Ray
Note: V-Ray doesn't come with 3Ds Max so you have to install it on your computer if you want to work with it.
After that go to Vray dialog (on the top) and turn on GI Environment (GI means Global Illumination)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_illumination). This is skylight. Here you can also choose its intensity and color. I have left color on default. And Multiplier(intensity) can change depending on the scene. I usually use something like 0,5.
I usually choose "Low" and "Very Low" for previewing.
Well, now I turn on show calc. phase - It's not nessesary, but this option let's you see the calculation of render. So it isn't as boring waiting for the result =)
Let's see what we have now:
In practice that's all you need to make a pretty good render 8) That's why I love V-Ray - you just need to push a few buttons to receive a good result. But of course it is not the end of the tutorial.
Next I create lights.
Here is the light scheme in our game:
And sometimes we add blue reflex in shadows. Like here.
So this is how my light scheme usually looks in 3Ds Max:
I use the Target Direct as the main light and Vray Light for creating blue reflex (here is some of their settings - LINK). For this object I also add four small Omny Lights to imitate candles in the tiny pagodas near the stairs.Here the result with light:
Now it's time to turn on VrayToon. As I have mentioned earlier you can do it this way:
Rendering --> Enviroment --> Atmospere Effects --> VrayToon
And after that you can see dialog with settings
Mostly I use these two which I have marked.
1) Line color. It's normally darker than the object color.
2) Pixels means the width of the outlines in pixels. Usually its value changes from 0.7 to 1,5 depening on the situation. For dark objects the outline is usually thicker than for light ones.
And as I have already mentioned - you can't set different colors for outlining so If I need a dark red outline for a carpet and light beige for a white stone I have to do a couple of renders and after that combine it with photoshop.
And sometimes I use the options Hide inner edges - it can be useful if you dont wan't to outline inner edges but only silhouettes. That picture shows how it works.
You also can Include/exclude objects in the scene for outlining.
Other settings that may be usefull (but normally I leave them on default.):
Opacity - opacity of the outlines.
World pixels width - this is the width of the outlines in world units. The Lines closer to the camera will be thicker.
Do reflections/refractons - this will make the outlines appear in reflections/refractions
Here is the result with outlines:
Note: For better anti-aliasing please choose the same Background color as the Line color
Environment dialog --> Common Parametrs --> Background--> Color
That's all about VrayToon I guess, but not all about render. You may spot that the colors in Pixar movies are very saturated and cast bright reflexes on each other. Let's do it on our render.
Indirect illumination (in top)--> Post-processing-->Saturation
Set it from 3 to 6 - it makes the picture more colourful
The last step - I go to Photohshop to make color correction and add some details, bushes and flowers.
That's it !
And thanks for reading! =)
PS. Main stages in one picture - LINK