I'm familiar with a lot of the basics of how to model, texture, apply materials, use nodes, basic rigging & animating, etc.

I ran across a YouTube video called "TIE Fighter - short film" from a user named "OtaKing77077" and fell in LOVE with the art style as it reminded SO much of the Transformers: The Movie from the 80's. For reference here's a screen shot from the YouTube TIE Fighter video: enter image description here

So I'm mainly looking for IF this is doable and if so, how would I go about doing it? I'm not AS concerned with the models themselves (unless that is somehow tied to the shading effect), mostly in this type of SHADING.

Another frame of reference would be the recent Transformers: Devastation which is I suppose an obvious answer that this is doable in 3D because it's a 3D game, but I wasn't sure if it was doable in a 3D modeling environment, outside of a game engine with GPU shaders and code and such like what they did for the game: enter image description here

Another note would be I've used both Blender Render & Cycles and prefer Cycles but if this is somehow easier to achieve or of a higher quality in the internal renderer I have no problem using either.

I would appreciate ANY help anyone may have on this topic, and thanks in advance to anyone who responds.

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    $\begingroup$ I think it would be helpful if you try to list what are in your opinion the "key features" of the shader/shaders. $\endgroup$
    – Carlo
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not really sure exactly. Not being an artist I'm not entirely sure how to describe it. I suppose the "key features" would be that everything looks "glossier" than typical cel shading which gives it a more detailed look? But I didn't think if I used a "standard" cel shaded look and just cranked the specularity up that it would create the detailed look it would just make it brighter, right? Cause there seems to be a LOT of different reflections not just like a large area that's shaded but it's a lot of little strands of reflection. Hope that makes sense lol. :P $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ The shaders aren't what's giving it this look. It's the art style and textures. $\endgroup$
    – Anonymous
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Brayden Oh, really? Cause when you actually play the game the reflections and everything moves around, it seemed too dynamic to be from the textures. I mean I understand the TIE Fighter reference cause that I think was done by a 2D artist in photoshop so that I get. But I didn't think the Transformer one could be done with just textures. o.O $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ It's a blend of both. Watch Optimus's legs closely here: youtu.be/EHcBxPJPx10?t=7m25s $\endgroup$
    – Anonymous
    Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 0:24

1 Answer 1


This technique is known as Cel-shading. There are quite a few tutorials on how to handle Cel-shading in Blender; I'd recommend starting here to get a reference on how to get the basics down. Toon Shading in Cycles

  • $\begingroup$ Well I know about cel shading. I've actually tried a few different tutorials in blender that look "good" in that it looks like a "typical" toon shading. But the look in the two references is more detailed somehow. Like there's more detailed reflections and more of them or something that seemed specific to the 80's anime art style. So I was looking more for a way to do that particular form of cel shading. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 21:41

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