I am trying to make an anime shader kind of like the one in the video below https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m52k-WP5HHQ&t=128s However I want it to react to external lighting unlike what is shown in the video

I want it to be able to show the shadows of whats over it like how shadows of the hair will appear on the face when the strands are hanging down in front of the face.


This is the setup I have tried but when I use it I only get this

enter image description here

How do I make the shading to the spotlight I have on the left here?

  • $\begingroup$ Hello :). The get shading, you need to run the color output through a Shader. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 5:18
  • $\begingroup$ Didn't work Or I can't understand what you are saying Changed the mix color node to a mix shader node and there was no difference $\endgroup$
    – A guest
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


In your tree, the 'True Normal', (which is the unsmoothed, geometric normal in World space), is being used as the color of a Diffuse BSDF, before the light-response of the BSDF is extracted as a color, put through a B/W ramp, and used as a mask.

The True Normal is the direction of the geometric normal at the shading-point, encoded as a color in this case, and will not change with the light. It's in World space, so it will change when you rotate a non-spherical object shaded with it.

The BSDF will respond to the light, but by that time it's been colored, and the response will be affected by the color (which will be black, over a lot of the surface).

For NPR shading, you often do want to manipulate the the normals of a surface, but you would typically use the 'Normal' (which is smoothed) rather than the 'True Normal', and manipulate it on the way into the Normal, not the Color, input of the BSDF.

If you plug a color straight into a Material Output, it will be treated as if it went through an Emission shader, strength 1.


Unplug the Geometry node, color the BSDF white, and then you will find the light response of the surface acts as a mask between your two textures. The contrast of the mask will be controlled by the color-ramp. The textures will use the active UV map of the shaded object, unless you specify another.

I'd recommend installing the shipped add-on Node Wrangler, so you can ctrl-shift-click nodes on the way down the tree, and see what they're doing.

  • $\begingroup$ Simply unpluging the geometry node doesn't seem to work as it still only shows one color if I mess with the color ramp $\endgroup$
    – A guest
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Aguest Debug. Work your way back. What happens if you temporarily unplug the textures, too, and test the mask between two colors instead? What happens if you plug the BSDF straight into the output? Is the sphere shaded at all? Is the light strong enough/too strong? etc, etc. It's a process of elimination. Node Wrangler speeds that up a lot. $\endgroup$
    – Robin Betts
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ Unpluging the texture is color 2 does nothing,Unpluging the texture in color 1 makes it take on whatever color that color one has without a texture which I left alone so its white. Pluging in the diffuse for the sphere though I found that the diffuse actually wasn't working either. After checking things out from there I found that the average lighting from a spotlight wasn't enough for the color ramp to work. Happy to know this but is there a way to lower the required level of strength for the lighting so that it still works with the usual amount it has? can't fix with coloramp $\endgroup$
    – A guest
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @Aguest, there are many variables, here. If you share your file on blend-exchange.giantcowfilms.com, packing any (reasonably-sized) textures needed, and give an explanation of what you'd like to happen, I'd be happy to help put something together. $\endgroup$
    – Robin Betts
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 3:58

I am going to give you some links that have some amazingly advanced NPR shaders

  1. (From Lightning boy studio ) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TpWI2rU8iF0
  2. (From Creative blends) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=o6CUFjOzrT0

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