What is it about?

Toon shading often gives poor results on 3D characters. Rotoscoped shadows used in film aren't real-time for games. Current toon shaded games use painted/textured/baked shadows that don't change with lighting. Shading Rig is a new workflow to animate artist-defined shading with lighting changes, and preserve art-direction in real-time toon shaded games. We achieve this with a "rig" of shadow editing primitives designed based on fundamental artistic shading principles. These primitives can be animated to achieve highly stylised shading under dynamic lighting.

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Why is it important?

With Shading Rig, stylised games can now offer free camera control and character movement, while dynamically maintaining the visual appeal of hand-drawn concept art. New live digital media benefit in the same way, including virtual production and virtual avatars/YouTubers. Offline 3D animation and also use Shading Rig to minimise post-production time largely spent cleaning up toon shading in 3D animation.


I've always wanted games and animation to have the same charm and visual appeal of their hand-drawn concept art. I think Shading Rig is a first step in imbuing the hand of the artist into 3DCG rendering, dynamically and in real-time.

Lohit Petikam
Victoria University of Wellington

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Shading Rig: Dynamic Art-directable Stylised Shading for 3D Characters, ACM Transactions on Graphics, October 2021, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), DOI: 10.1145/3461696.
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