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Cartoonish landscapes

by S68
who, in the real word answers to the name of Stefano Selleri


Ok, folks, looks like some of you liked my last entry to the
great F1 contest Chaired by CurtiS. Image was meant to
be cartoonish and funny.

Someone even asked a tutorial to make images like this,

so, here I am. My first tutorial. Please remember this!

Tutorial won't get in the car/driver modeling because
they are really plain subsurfed objects with the easiest
material you can make in Blender (go to the material
window, set the colours, you're done. I never touched
any other slider in this model for actors!)

What you'll find here is how to make a cartoonish world

around your actor(s).

The world
Toons have bold, highly saturated colours, with large uniform areas. Nothing really
difficult to do in Blender. My word was a plain disk (Add a circle, go EditMode [TAB], fill it
[SHIFT+F]) Disks are better than planes, because you get the border to be really all at
the same distance from the camera, and this gives you a better horizon line.

Add a new world, with

a nice blending sky
going from fairly Cyan
to deep Blue.

Add some mist too, just

to blur the horizon. Not
too much (start from
far away) remember
cartoons prefer sharp

The disk should be a nice

saturated green
somewhat reflective but
with an extremely low
specularity, if any at all!

Lights! Lights are an issue.

GI would be best, but the classical way to GI is lengthy and - well - I didn't know it when
I started blending this! So I just used a LightSpot, a ShadowSpot and some lamps

The LightSpot (purple) is veeery wide (120°)

energetic (2) and doesn't cast shadows.

It is very wide so that the whole disk-world is

illuminated uniformly. You may use a sun light, if you

The ShadowSpot is much narrower, and only cast

shadows. BufSize is maximum (2560) Samples=6
Soft=3. This way you don't loose precious samples on zones of the scene where there
are no shadows at all to cast!

Camera is not far from cursor... So you may ask: "Hey, but with that spot how can sun
and clouds be illuminated and looks so cartoonish?" Well, answer will come later.

These spots only: Light world; make specular highlights, shadows and illumination on

Sky Objects
Sun and clouds look flat and
cartoonish... because they are flat!

Switch to a view which is as

orthogonal to the camera view as
you can.

Place a Bezier Circle, in EditMode

[F9] subdivide it a couple of times.
Start moving around vertexes.
Remember to keep it flat! Bezier
Circles are already flat. Don't go 3D

To give the cloud its shape make a long straight bottom line then start playing with
nodes. If you make the Bezier handles very asymmetric (one of the two handles very
next to the control point, the other far away) then it is easy to give the desired cloudy
shape to the curve.

Sunrays are similar. This time I

chosen to use a nurbs circle to
start with, that's up to you!

Good news are that, when

rendered, these things
becomes flat surfaces!

Hence all the toonish tweak

left is on material!

Remember, you can want to play with lights, but Blender is so good at rendering that
you will end up with something realistic. Not toonish!

So, forget light. Play with the Emit slider. All sky objects in the scene creates their own
light. You have no shadow problems, no lack of uniformity. Cloud Emittance in my
scene is 0.3333, Sunrays and Sun emittance is 0.750. Sun itself is a UV sphere, not a flat
disk, for dramatic enhancement (ad a bit of shading).

Smoke, as usual, is done with particles. Problem is that it should look a solid, blocky
smoke, like in cartoons, not a realistic one.

We cannot use the same technique

for clouds. It would be much too
sharp, some transparency here is
nice. Provided that it is very limited.

Smoke is generated by a simple,

horizontal four vertex plane with

I found the settings here in the figure

pretty nice, note the forces along X
and Y to fake a light wind effect, and the randomness values to shape smoke properly.

The smoke material should be a nice,

dull, grey halo. Note that halo alpha is
pretty high. This makes smoke nicely
blocky without making it completely
and hopelessly opaque.
Final touches makes the
difference. Some additional
Shadow Spots might help.

Beware! Shadow Spots have

the unpleasant tendency to
generate artifact rims of

When you use them Keep

SpotBl as high as possible
and play with great care
with ClipStart and ClipEnd.

Some lamps (5 here) will

help in faking GI on the actors without having to do real GI.

Please note the two oblique thick short lines... those are the clouds! And the small thing
top of the cluster of lighs in the center, a bit to the left, within the road borders. That is
the sun! Who as ever said that you must keep right distances and proportions? It is
important that they SEEM in the right place from the point of view!

Ah, yes, and the oil leaking below is made by 4 squashed metaballs with an high Spec
dark brow material...

I intentionally not used toon shading and toon edge settings because I wanted the
scene to look like modern cartoons, whith a limited 3D look, not completely flat, but you
can experiment with both. Good tuts are around.