version of 3ds max, another new range of questions. Here we go again!
This one makes use of 3ds max 5’s new Ink and Paint material,
which allows you to create a variety of flat cell-shaded effects,
but are mainly all solid colour. Mixing various maps in with the
main material, we can create additional styles, from gradients to
diagrams normally take on the form of the “Thick & Thin
Line Technique”, and there are basic rules to govern this.
Unfortunately, due to the new material’s limitations, some
of this theory will not be relevant as we won’t be able to
create all of these features. However, we can create the basic concepts
of this effect, if not bending the following rules slightly. The
basic rule is that a thick line encompasses an object, and the thin
line picks out the relevant detail on the object. Additional line
styles can be introduced to illustrate fictitious outlines, imaginary
intersections, break lines and hatching. Several versions of the
same material can be created with various line widths to create
the thick & thin line technique, and to illustrate material
changes using varying degrees of hatching, but for this example,
I shall just cover the basics…
material will take the form of a solid white colour, with medium-grey
colour and width lines to create the detail, and lighter thin line
hatching to generate differences in material types, but for this
example we shall use it for the shaded areas. This might sound slightly
complex, but the method is very straight-forward. After the Ink
and Paint material is created, we have to drop the number of Paint
Levels down to 1, else the white spaces between the hatching will
appear shaded in darkest shadowed areas. To create the hatching
effect, we could either use a procedural map, such as a repeating
gradient, but for this example we shall stick with a trusty bitmap.
Unfortunately, this bitmap will wrap itself around the object and
will also be visible in lit areas, which, for this example, is not
the effect we are after. Additionally, the colour of the main material
needs to be white. Therefore a Falloff map should be created in
the Lighted slot, checked to Shadow / Light and ensuring that the
Light swatch is set to white. The bitmap should then be loaded into
the Shadow slot. Again, we have the problem of the texture wrapping
itself around the object. To solve this, set the mapping to Screen
Environ mapping. The map is now stretched right across the screen,
so increasing the tiling to 10 for both U and V will add more lines
and also make them thinner. The hatching should also be at an angle,
so enter -30 in the W Angle spinner to slightly rotate the lines.
A quick test render shows our effect is working, yet the hatching
fades in and out. Amending the Falloff map’s Mix Curve will
solve this to create a harsh line where the hatching begins; this
curve can be amended and positioned according to taste. Next, we
need to change the colours of the lines used to pick out the detail
in the object. Amend the line width to 1 and the colour to a dark
grey and copy this colour from the Outline swatch to the Overlap,
SmGroup and Mat ID swatches. Change the background colour to white
and render. You will notice that some detail is picked out more
than others. This can be easily resolved by using smoothing groups,
especially if you’ve used a finishing tool like Meshsmooth
on your object. Amending the smoothing groups will create extra
lines and can add additional detail in your image. Finally save
the image out using a bitmap format with an alpha channel. In Photoshop
(or equivalent), load the selection of the alpha and Stroke a thick
black line around the rendered object. This stroke method could
be recorded as an action if you decide to render out an animated
up a scene and set the Environment background colour to white.
Create a new Ink and Paint material in the Material Editor.
Note that there are 2 levels of shade set as a default; amend
this value to 1 else the hatching will be shaded further.
||Add a Falloff
map in the Lighted slot and amend the Falloff Type to Shadow
/ Light. Ensure that the Lit swatch is set to white and amend
the Mix Curve as shown to remove any gradient from lit to shaded
||Add a Bitmap
map in the Falloff map’s shaded slot and load in the “cross-hatch.bmp”
file included on the cover cd. Set the mapping type to Environ
– Screen and enter 10 in the U and V Tiling spinners.
Rotate the map by entering -30 in the W Angle spinner. NOTE:
To change the hatching to material type, simple remove the Falloff
map and the entire material will be hatched.
Outline swatch colour to a mid-to-dark grey and copy this colour
to the SmGroup and Mat ID swatches. Set the Ink Width minimum
to 1. To increase line quality, increase the Ink Quality spinner
to 2 or 3, but beware: this will greatly increase render times.
set or reset smoothing groups in your geometry to define lines
and / or add material differences that could be used for additional
hatching with other materials later on.
rendered image as a 32 bit TGA file. Open it up in Photoshop
(or equivalent) and load in the selection of the Alpha channel
to create a selection area around the rendered object. Stroke
the selection with a black line with a width of, say, 3. If
required, this can be recorded as an action for animations to
batch-process the individual frames.
and thick line have been added in Photoshop. Technically inaccurate
because the thick line should encompass the individual objects,
but line thickness cannot be easily set within the material
get the full benefit of this Q&A, and to understand the limitations
of the material and how to get around them, it would be advisable
to do a little bit of background research into technical drawing
and CAD, if you have no prior experience of the subject. An excellent
start would be at http://www.cadinfo.net/icad/linewt.htm which illustrates
the types of lines used in technical illustration.
because 3ds max 5 now has a cell-shader, it doesn’t mean that
other third-party cell-shader plugins are now obsolete. Illustrate!
from David Gould is an excellent, and fast cell-shade renderer compared
to 3ds max 5’s material, and comes with a host of features
to enable you to create this effect properly!
the image by creating an engineering background image to composite
the rendered diagram onto. This may have to be done in post if the
render is an animation as some elements may pass over the backgrounds
reduce any inconsistencies and to remove the effect of the animated
object “passing under the hatching”, create several
versions of the hatching, each slightly offset, and load them into
the hatching map slot as an animated sequence. Also, try using multi-level
Falloff maps to create cross-hatching for darker areas of the object.
World magazine, Issue 31, November 2002.
Draper, November 2002. Reproduction without permission