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Cartoonish landscapes

with
by S68
who, in the real word answers to the name of Stefano Selleri
www.selleri.org
selleri@det.unifi.it

22-02-2002

INTRODUCTION
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!

SCOPE
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
transitions!

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
around.

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
want.

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
actors.

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
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
particles.

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.
REFINING
Final touches makes the
difference. Some additional
Shadow Spots might help.

Beware! Shadow Spots have


the unpleasant tendency to
generate artifact rims of
shadows!

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.