In this simple 'making of' tutorial, we will break down the steps used to render the image above using the toon shader. We will cover how to use the rim_lightingbase_tonemap, specular_tonemap, and stylized_highlight attributes of the toon shader to create a 'painterly' type portrait of our intergalactic hero Sven!

The original Maya scene files for this series of tutorials can be downloaded from Autodesk's Hyperspace Madness production.

Assign Toon Shaders

  • Start off by assigning toon shaders to the head, hair, eyes, and spacesuit. Connect the relevant diffuse maps to the base_color of each toon shader.

Base Tonemap (ramp)

  • Create a ramp similar to the one below and connect it to the base_tonemap of the toon shader assigned to Sven's face.

rampRGB -> base_tonemap

Specular Tonemap (ramp)

  • Lower the specular_weight to around 0.1 and increase the specular_roughness to around 0.7.
  • Create a ramp and connect it to specular_tonemap.

rampRGB -> specular_tonemap

Rim Lighting

  • Create a spot light and position it so that it is pointing at Sven from behind and at an angle. Add it to the Rim Lighting-> Light attribute.
  • Create a rampRGB and connect it to rim_lighting_color.

Light -> rim_lighting

Stylized Highlight

We can use the stylized_highlight to create a cartoon-style highlight on Svens eyes.

  • Create a spotlight and point it at Svens eyes. Hide the light so that it does not illuminate Sven.
  • Connect a circular ramp (similar to the one below) to the stylized_highlight_color of the Eye shader and increase the stylized highlight_size to around 0.8.

stylised_highlight (specular reflection)

Indirect Specular

Indirect_specular (and indirect_diffuse) can have a subtle effect on the appearance of the toon shading. In this case indirect _specular: 0 works better for the eye shader.

indirect_specular: 0

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