Ton says yes for better (and possibly the best) toon shader for Blender Internal

Remember our post from last year? BNPR Exclusive: Advanced Toon Here is an update. BNPR went on a covert mission to save Blender Internal renderer.

Journey anyone?

At 4k resolution, with X-Toon, this renders in less than 50s [with 5x FSAA]. Over 60 fps in realtime HD. Journey in Blender anyone?

Time: 0116 (+8GMT)
Date: 29th April 2013
Mission: Sneak into IRC #blendercoders channel and get notice by Ton
Backup unit: LightBWK (Light aka not the Light from Death Note)
Perpetrators: Lee Posey (jikz aka miniTon), Ton Roosendaal (kaito aka THE REAL TON [please stand up]).


Perpetrators: I might put it the wrong way, can’t decide, they looked the same. miniTon is bigger?

Event recorded: The exchange…

[01:16] <jikz> is there room for discussion about an NPR rendering type here?
[01:18] <kaito> hey the jikz!!
[01:18] <jikz> basically, it would be great to get X-Toon into blender.
[01:18] <jikz> Hey!
[01:18] <kaito> i saw tweet, what is this x stuff?
[01:18] <jikz> i will show you:
[01:19] <kaito> too complex!
[01:19] <jikz> i will find links to the code/ demo as well. but this is how i envision it
[01:19] <jikz> basically it takes shades of grey and turns them to coordinates, then remaps 
new values to them
[01:20] <kaito> ehh
[01:20] <kaito> but what if stuff moves
[01:20] <jikz> that is accounted for.
[01:20] <jikz>
[01:21] <jikz> it mainly uses Z-data from cam, or distance from object to make a greyMap
[01:21] <jikz> you use this grey map plus the shader data and combine them to X,Y data and 
then can use a 2D color ramp
[01:22] <kaito> hrm - seems like a toon texture
[01:22] <kaito> or more like toon shader...
[01:23] <kaito> we can easily extend blender internal material editor for nice toon options
[01:23] <jikz> yes-- like another dimension to a basic color ramp
[01:23] <jikz> that would be super awesome.
[01:23] <kaito> now the shader system has hardly no support for toon
[01:23] <jikz> the picture i posted is simply the way I imagined it working in the nodes 
for realtime shading
[01:24] <kaito> well the basics should better be hardcoded, noodling this is clumsy
[01:24] <kaito> just like we have multiple diffuse, spec renders
[01:24] <jikz> oh ok, here is a more formal proposal:
[01:24] <jikz> the trick is a nice clean way to make 2D color ramps
[01:25] <kaito> but ehh this shouldnt be node based?
[01:25] <kaito> this depth-based toon control is very easy to code
[01:25] <kaito> and additionally you need a toon-ramp
[01:26] <jikz> the toon ramp is simple image, or if you can, a vector based gradient system
[01:26] <kaito> ramp, image, all possible
[01:26] <jikz> so yes I had envisioned it in a node, but it could be easy to put under 
the diffuse/spec...etc fields for the material
[01:27] <kaito> kjym3_afk <-- the freestyle dev
[01:27] <jikz> :)
[01:27] <kaito> i think it needs a bit more design proposal work - add a special toon panel 
in materials
[01:27] <jikz> ok. will work on it.
[01:27] <kaito> and once it works in materials, nodes do too of course
[01:28] <kaito> also study other toon renders what they do
[01:28] <jikz> sounds like we have homework XD aye aye captain!
[01:29] <kaito> what's the top cartoon render now?
[01:29] <jikz> not quite sure.
[01:29] <kaito> apart from blender ;)
[01:30] <jikz> here is another vid, from the official x-toon paper:
[01:30] <kaito> with 2.67 having freestyle, i bet we can attract toon render specialist devs
[01:31] <kaito> it's just stuff that needs some experience
[01:31] <jikz> and this is a .blend with a FAKE way of doing X-toon, it works like X-toon would, 
but not as fluid and nice as it should be.
[01:31] <jikz> ok
[01:32] <kaito> also Disney Paperman shading is awesome
[01:32] <jikz> yea i liked that
[01:32] <jikz> the work method was interesting
[01:32] <kaito> jikz: why not hunt university papers about this, and contact students who work 
there for gsoc?
[01:33] <kaito> or ask the professors
[01:33] <jikz> will try! we have an extensive bunch of papers, will try to sniff out the creators
[01:33] <kaito> or post in npr forums where tech people hang out
[01:34] <kaito> also a good reason to keep blender internal working ;)
[01:34] <jikz> :D heck yes!!
[01:35] <kaito> so! the jikz has a mission!
[01:35] <jikz> make blender the best damn toon renderer in the UNIVERSE!!! XD
[01:36] <kaito> and beyond!
[01:37] <jikz> thanks for listening anyways, now i will fly off. ;) cheers!!
[01:37] <kaito> you're welcome here anytime
[01:37] * kaito likes artists kicking coders

Few minutes later…

Better Toon by Ton

Will miniTon find the coder? Will Blender Internal Renderer be forever alone [insert forever alone image here]? Stay tuned for the second part, due in few days, with juicy updates.

Mission log signed by: LightBWK
Approved by: codename BLENDERHEADS

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  • I’m very glad to hear this! I get kind of sick of hearing people claiming that just because Cycles is around, that the Blender Internal has no use and is becoming “obsolete.” Not true at all. I don’t see why the BI has to disappear merely because a new and more powerful option comes along–I like having both options.

    Sometimes, for some things, the Blender Internal is ideal rather than pulling out Cycles–which I do love, very much. I’m so glad to see that BI will be getting a better toon shader. The more NPR options, the better, I say.

    In addition to enjoying the many wider benefits of using Freestyles–which I also love–a new toon shader for BI would allow for some simple but great game engine effects for the BGE (just like the Journey-esque idea was mentioned above), quickly-rendered animations where we want very simple toon-shaded style (the simpler set-up and rendering would be faster than using Freestyle or Cycles, and sometimes, simple is all you need), perhaps a fast way to create new toon-shaded matcaps, and hopefully even some new NPR baking options (baking toon-shaded diffuse maps would be fantastic).

    I like the idea of being resourceful and not throwing out good options merely because new options come along. I hope you guys find a developer and do get things going with this. Good luck, and thanks, Ton and “mini-Ton”!

  • Zauber Paracelsus

    I also like the blender internal engine better for what I’m doing, compared to Cycles. I’m currently working on an art upgrade for my comic, which replaces vector art made in Inkscape with 3D toon-shaded characters made with Blender + Freestyle.

    Although, I still do not have a good understanding of the BI node editor currently, having worked primarily with the Cycles node editor.