Animation tips & tricks, Artist showcase

3-D Illustration & Stylisation

I came upon this tutorial of converting 2 dimensional art into 3-D illustration by student Mark Lee. He takes an illustration done by TB Choi and bases a 3-d model on it. Whilst some of the techniques he used are counter productive to animation, with his end result not being required to move, it does have some very god tips and interesting things in there.

He brings up briefly the concept of allowing props and geometry to be crooked and irregular, something that gives the models a lot more character and interest.

I had a chance to listen to Moran Tennenbaum’s technique about modeling environments and props while I was taking Stylized character creation class at Gnomon.
What I was inspired from her lesson was that every objects we see is never perfectly straight nor symmetrical, so it’s ok to push vertices a little to give more variances in shapes.

Mark Lee

However the part of his tutorial that interests me most is his stylised texturing done with a mixture of Substance painter and Mudbox. His intention is to match the textures as closely to the original art as possible and the result is this wonderful flat and painterly stylisation.

I wanted to make the final render more like 2D illustration, I give a slight gradation to all texture maps. Having too much gradation makes it look like hand painted textures for games, but doing it slightly gives a nice cartoonish look to the textures.  

Mark Lee

This flat shading from the 3D model is something I am interested in, it’s amusing to me that he eventually lost a lot of this effect in his final result in making the image shaded to emphasize volume. Whilst this may be to differentiate his work from the original more, I can’t help but feel he lost something of the quality in the final result. Not to say the final results were bad, just that for the time being the painterly quality interests me more than the 3-d results. I am considering adapting the workflow to create an animation that has this 2-d style influence, something not quite cartoony but not entirely 3-D.

I am currently prioritising Pixar’s Renderman as my primary renderer which handles diffuse maps particularly well. The fact hasn’t escaped me that I want to remove one of the best features of the renderer to create my idea, although having something that doesn’t finish looking like a Pixar product could be very interesting.

Here is the finished results from Mark Lee. An incredible piece of work nonetheless