I want to do flat 2d shadows on a 3d mesh for that cartoon effect in blender. The problem is, from my research, is the human eye can always detect when the shadow wraps perfectly around the mesh, giving it a 3d look and this becomes more obvious when it is animated. I first thought of using the shrink-wrap modifier to make a plane stick to another mesh's body then manually changing its shape based on camera angle to make it look flat, but that would become tedious the more shadow shapes that I need. Then I thought of rigging a texture or making a shadow texture on a mesh that changes shape based on lighting, but I don't know how to go about that....

Edit: I was going to ask 2 separate questions for this, but since they are related, I’ll put them both here. Here are two post inspirations I found for what I am looking for: https://twitter.com/rukikuri/status/1227302701672935424 I wanted the cast shadows to change shape according to the lighting as well. https://www.reddit.com/r/blender/comments/pa0dp8/i_made_a_100_procedural_and_realtime_sketch_like/ The sketch effect made the outline more streamlined, but it is still look too sketchy for what I am looking for, nevertheless still a start.

Model looks more 2d looking than the first enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here Notice how the models look flatter or more 2d after the edit. enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here Another point is, I want the inside to sort of lag behind or go in the opposite direction of the mesh volume like it is reluctant to part with the camera front view. This post Animated texture that depends on camera perspective shows similar to what I want for the outlines/some shadow behavior as well, but instead of fully being projected or fully biased to camera front view, it also follows the mesh, just more slowly/half way/reluctantly so it is not completely static when animated. This effect I want with the outlines, any textures, shadow shapes, or any mesh shrink wrapped to the surface of the main mesh.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you just looking for a Toon/Cel Shader effect? If not, could you add some images to illustrate the effect you're trying to achieve? $\endgroup$
    – taiyo
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 6:27
  • $\begingroup$ Sinc you have not provided any images, I am not sure if this is what you want. You can use toon shading along with custom normals. Only thing is custom normals is a lot of tedious work. Basically you would need to make sure that all the normals create a shading that resemble an extremely smooth surface. This will remove, say, some bumps (can I call it?) and give you a shadow shape that is flat-ish(like something that is not wrapped around a 3d surface). People who do anime stuff in Blender usually have to go through the torture of custom normals. Believe me, I am one of them. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ I edited the post so hopefully you guys get what I mean. Sorry for not making it clear before. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ The entire reason that your first link talks about proxy shadow casters is because the author wants manual control of the shadows. You've tried this and found it tedious to control them manually-- yes, potentially, it is tedious. But if you want to do it procedurally, then the trick is fully describe how you want them to change. We could make procedural shadow meshes; we could convert these to spline if desired; we could cast these onto the clipping plane to make them flat if desired. But there would be no reason, because these would be the same shadows we'd get with rendering techs. $\endgroup$
    – Nathan
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ I think the reason why I wanted to emulate the post is because of the different shadow shapes you can achieve with it, as a problem I had with following anime style models is that the shadows look good in one pose, but when you ball a hand into a fist for example, it doesn’t look hand drawn. The question I ask myself is how would this shadow look if I drew it instead, and unfortunately I haven’t seen a way to do this even with normals( it becomes obvious when your animating the body). The edits I made were from 2d style films, but that 3D look is still there. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 16:14


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .