Convincing 3d that looks like 2d.... Wow

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polycounter lvl 8
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Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKGPhKu3jNg&feature=youtu.be

F**king magnets how do they work.

Seriously how?

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  • xrg
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    xrg polycounter lvl 5
    Wow. That's pretty convincing. Even the animation has a slightly choppy look as if it is animated on twos.
  • ErichWK
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    ErichWK polycounter lvl 7
    This...may be one of the nicest looking fighting games I have ever seen. Wow.
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Studying it, the amount of tech that went into that animation system is rediculous, it's all about the motion.
  • bounchfx
    xrg wrote: »
    Wow. That's pretty convincing. Even the animation has a slightly choppy look as if it is animated on twos.

    this is exactly what confused me about it, I was torn on whether or not it was 3d, because it really shares many aspects of both... they did a great job. Can't wait to see more.
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    If you notice though its not as simple as making the animation just on twos though, Its very pose based, so it jumps between major keyframes and snaps.
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 6
    It looks amazing. So hyped for new Guilty Gear!
  • Xoliul
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    Xoliul polycounter lvl 8
    I saw this too, was hoping for a topic about it. Don't care much about this game, but wow, some phenomenal tech achievements here. There is NOTHING that gives it away as 3D, until they turn the camera around the characters.

    I hope these guys ever do a breakdown and reveal some of their tech!
  • EmAr
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    Whoa. That's without a doubt the most impressive attempt at making 3D look 2D (in real time) I've ever seen. Hopefully this tech finds its way into more games in the near future.
  • cptSwing
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    cptSwing polycounter lvl 6
    While it's impressive tech, I'm surprised they don't show it off more - with what they're showing, regular 2D might have been less labor-intensive (assuming they spent a lot of work tuning that fake-2D look)?
  • 3DFM
    Such an amazing accomplishment! I'm almost jealous.
  • pior
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    pior ngon master
    I think that it's one of these cases where while it does look like a crazy technical achievement ... the secret sauce actually lies somewhere else.

    This is the 6th installment in a long running 2d series ... I think that is key to this look. Basically they have a lot of readily available animation data to work from - in the form of traditional 2D sprites :

    http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters3/sol-a.html

    So I think it was just (!) a matter of closely matching the 3D characters to that reference material. I wouldn't be surprised if even for new characters specific to this new game, they are going to go the long way and animate them by hand in 2D first !

    Of course this is in no way downplaying the achievement - as a matter of fact this is even more impressive seen from that angle, I think :) These guys are awesome ...
  • RyanB
  • Funky Bunnies
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    Funky Bunnies polycounter lvl 11
    I agree with pior, i'd love to discover that there's some magic tech to make this look awesome, but after obsessively watching it in slowmo today it looks like they're treating it like 3d sprites almost - then with fairly low framerate it's possible to do most everything pose-to-pose, just probably with a ton of bones and really solid highrez models to achieve the look they want.

    i think it just looks awesome because these guys are mega badass, here's hoping the west starts trying harder to attempt such things! :D
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Ryan, Well there are a ton of reasons, 2d sprites are actually far more intensive to draw at the same resolution as an equally good looking 3d model, so being able to do this in 3d is amazing in that way. Think about it animated characters can have thousands of 2d sprites, and when they are all >1024x1024 per frame that's a shit ton of memory.
    On top of that you get all the benefits of working in 3d.

    Pior, motion aside there is some amazing tech at work here. I don't know if the character shading is dynamic or not as it only changes at keyframes, but all the angles and places where they are shaded look like they were applied artistically.

    I get the feeling that they hold the lighting per pose, or something along those lines, of they swap an unlit texture out for a new one each pose. (which just seems insane).
  • chrisradsby
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    chrisradsby polycounter lvl 7
    This is really really impressive stuff :D
  • Xoliul
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    Xoliul polycounter lvl 8
    Pior aside from the animation, I think you're underestimating things like the shading. There's been so many attempts at cell-shaded stuff, anime implements 3D often for vehicles and it's never remotely as good as this. Same for their effects (the sword slashes), it's all so seamlessly integrated.

    Good call on the per pose-shading, but it's hard to tell, especially with the cloth swaying so much on one character (side note: wonder if the cloth is keyframed? probably..) I'm also very curious on how they do their outlines. It's better than anything I've seen so far, exactly like 2D. That alone is a phenomenal achievement!

    Oh and regarding the idea that they might as well have gone for 2D: they're making so much use of it with all those different camera angles and closeups!
  • praetus
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    praetus polycounter lvl 11
    Saw this on Reddit, but someone posted a side by side of the 3D to 2D of Sol Badguy. Pretty neat.

    http://i.imgur.com/BzOfvAy.jpg
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 6
    Yeah his moves are pretty much the same like in previous GG. There are some small differences. Weird thing is that during fight they have really smooth silhouettes. There are prerendered parts where you can see some polygon corners.

    I hope we will get PC version. For now it's just Arcade title. Won't stay on arcade only but I hope PC will get some love.
  • wccrawford
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    wccrawford polycounter lvl 4
    Wow, that is pretty insane. It doesn't *quite* look hand-drawn, because of the perfectly clean lines, but it definitely looks 2D, like modern anime. It's quite inspiring.
  • nksilver5
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    nksilver5 polycounter lvl 4
    Return of the Kings ! YEEEEEEAH ! GOD EXISTS !

    Been waiting 10years for this, my life is now complete. All Fighters should look like th ! 3.3 remake with this style / tech would be a bliss, not tt actual sf4, meh...

    I'm an old fighter ( only 23 but sill ), and nowadays I still play on my ps2 for GG / 3.3... on a cathodic tv !

    Awesome Job ASW, Daisuke did awesome ! So hyped, was jumping in my room like a retard and replaying the video like 45x times. Also the framerate on niconico is better, shows actual 60fps, much faster ( the way its supposed to be ).

    Launch it with the current roster, add some new char's if possible, maybe new costume in DLC I dont care, on Steam would be the best, and I will spend the rest of my life on it...

    Day one ! On all platforms x) !
  • Ace-Angel
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    Ace-Angel polycounter lvl 6
    Great to see another GG game in the works, but in terms of 'tech', it's not that "WTFBBQSAUCE" awesome that people are raving it about to be.

    Let us just that, in terms of 'games' for the adult market in Japan, both pre-rendered or real-time wise, there are actual products creating true 2D shaders for 3D models.

    It's all about interpolating mutiple textures at different angles pending on where the light source is coming from, it also helps if you manually create the outlines for you models, instead of using a fresnel as an end all to everything.

    Also, the latest Beserk (anime/movie?) has some impressive 3D to 2D shaders, I think 90% of the show is 3D, but you can hardly tell apart from a few places where the animations are skipping frames.
  • Eric Chadwick
    The fights are in 3D, but looks like the cutscenes are all done in 2D.
  • Xoliul
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    Xoliul polycounter lvl 8
    Ace-Angel wrote: »
    Great to see another GG game in the works, but in terms of 'tech', it's not that "WTFBBQSAUCE" awesome that people are raving it about to be.

    Let us just that, in terms of 'games' for the adult market in Japan, both pre-rendered or real-time wise, there are actual products creating true 2D shaders for 3D models.

    It's all about interpolating mutiple textures at different angles pending on where the light source is coming from, it also helps if you manually create the outlines for you models, instead of using a fresnel as an end all to everything.

    Also, the latest Beserk (anime/movie?) has some impressive 3D to 2D shaders, I think 90% of the show is 3D, but you can hardly tell apart from a few places where the animations are skipping frames.

    I'm not sure if i understand much, if anything, of what you're saying...

    I won't claim to watch much anime, but I've always been able to tell when it's 3D. Are you saying there's other realtime solutions like this that look as good?

    And what do you mean with interpolating textures?
    With manual outlines, do you mean "pushing" the model out, inverting normals and then using a black shader? Again, this looks much better than the average use of that technique.

    Any info on that "Beserk" thing? Can't find much...
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Ace do you actually have some references to back up what you are claiming?

    It would be wonderful to know how they are actually doing it.
    But i did just checked out the berserk trailer, and i thought it was pretty easy to tell the 3d parts.

    Eric, I'm not so sure about that, pause at parts of the cutscene, i'm pretty sure i can see polys in the shillouette, especially on the coat.

    Xol: I think this is what he is talking about https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwfT_Wh1A1Y
  • Mask_Salesman
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    Mask_Salesman polycounter lvl 7
    Fucking LOVE IT, great keyframe replication, all they need now is the jagged pixel lines... Turn off anti-aliasing I guess haha :D
  • WDewel
    Wow, I love that look! I hope we see more of this kind of thing in the future.
  • JordanN
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    JordanN polycounter lvl 5
    Maybe they rotoscoped it. :)

    Although I think it's their models being "static" that give it the 2D look.

    For example, in the beginning notice how the guy on the left's legs are completely still. You're not really shown any depth.

    However, observe the person on the right whose foot moves in and out and it becomes obvious it's 3D.
  • xvampire
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    xvampire polycounter lvl 10
    yah
    2D and 3D mixed? in certain move and camera 2d sprite replaced by identical 3d character.
    then turned back into 2d, special move drawn in 2d ?

    still super impressive blend in for video game, where usually this technique done in movie post process...


    the background is obviously 3d, the technique has been done right since KOF 99 dreamcast version
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 6
    3d in the new Berserk is really weak sometimes so I can't say it's a good example.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    The outlines seem to just be a screen space effect based on z-depth with something like noise being run over it to give the pencil look. They're also varying the line width based on whether the lines curve is concave or convex to the mesh, and randomizing the result slightly (like by a pixel or two) with a tolerance.

    Shadows are either dynamic or texture based depending on the part, like the guy in whites coat tail/cape is dynamically self shadowed while his shoulder and legs have it painted in directly (though with the legs it seems to swap between two different textures depending on the pose). The red guy uses dynamic shadows on most his body, but it's not as noticeable as the cape because of the pose-to-pose animation.

    The animation uses stepped keyframing, and skips at least every other frame for things that need to be smoother.


    That's just my thoughts on some of what's going on, could be completely wrong.
  • pior
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    I'd love if people could post references to techniques and examples when they are discussing theories. Like the screenspace outlines that polyhertz is talking about.
  • Hazardous
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    Hazardous polycounter lvl 9
    I too fapped endlessly over this.

    For the looks, I just cant believe that this is a simple 'good toon shader'. There's no way to emulate anime in 3d without morphing the model based on camera angle to create the kinds of highlights and cast shadows that are usually hand painted in anime.

    As for the motion everything looks challenging but possible to hand animate by a good team, but the part that totally gets me is the glitchy / flappy cloth. They simply nailed that perfectly. Theres just no way any other 3d attempt has ever remotely come close to achieving that frame by frame hand drawn look to the motion of the cloth.

    I remember being blown away by the naruto game from a few years back, but even then it was easy to see it was 3d trying to be 2d.

    This is the first time ever, in this illustrative style that 3d isnt looking like a poorer cousin to the 2d counterpart. <- thats a phenominal achievement.

    I would say it would be the equivalent of having characters in a video game that looked like ACTUAL real people and not just a 3d model of a person.
  • CowKing
    Muzz wrote: »
    Studying it, the amount of tech that went into that animation system is rediculous, it's all about the motion.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's not that impressive just unique. They probably just stopped the engine from interpolating between keyframes, or wrote a script that made sure each frame had a certain amount of "air time".

    It still looks awesome though.
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    It seems the people who aren't blown away have never tried to do something like this...

    When people like Hazardous, Masksalesman and Xoliul loose their shit it usually means something is up.

    Even simple things like getting the eyes to look right are ridiculously hard, let alone entire characters with this sort of controlled variable frame rate animation. Also there is almost an uncanny valley effect with trying to replicate hand drawn animation, its usually a sense of repulsion i get, but not with this.

    If you are brushing it off as just that then please tell me that you noticed these things.

    *Independent cameras per character. Meaning the perspective on every move is identical no matter their position
    *different parts of the characters are animated at different rates, on the white guys idle his body is frozen but his cloth is blowing.
    *The lighting looks artist directed and changes per pose.
    *The cut-scenes are actually 3d.

    Proof:
    wD6N3.jpg
    Z2w4R.jpg

    I'm also seeing a ton of gradients here in the shadows, but that could easily be screenspace post processing or rendered post.
  • Lamont
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    Lamont polycounter lvl 8
    CowKing wrote: »
    I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's not that impressive just unique. They probably just stopped the engine from interpolating between keyframes, or wrote a script that made sure each frame had a certain amount of "air time".

    It still looks awesome though.
    I am going to say they animated in 3D using more of a 2D style of timing, hand animating the cloth(probably going down to vert level to make sure it had that look)... it is impressive for sure to get that 2D feel in a 3D package. It is hard. Not as simple as cutting frames out/stopping it from interpolating. Getting the right frames, timing and pose adds so much. Has to be gone over by hand.

    This animation has this "human touched every frame" feel to it.

    Imagine if they let the engine decide when to cut frames? It would not look good at all. Horrible and trashy.

    I am sure it will be in the next 3D World book.
  • pior
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    pior ngon master
    Oh Muzz I totally agree - it's just that I think that what sells the very unique look of this trailer is not so much the rendering (even tho there is a lot more to it than what it first seems, of course. Some of the Naruto games were already pushing things very far, and this is even stronger), but rahter, the hand crafted pose-based animations.

    Put differently : If Marcus from Gears of Wars was given this exact same shader and controlled lighting setup, he would still feel 3D because of the way he is designed and the way he moves. Yet, if we were to paint these GGear characters pitch black and just look at their silhouette moving around the screen, they would feel totally 2D (especially because of what you mention about different parts of the characters having different framerates.)

    Now to push the discussion further, here's something else : with this, ArcSW basically found a way to never have to worry about sprite resolution anymore, since these new characters can now scale up indefinitely and will never have to be redrawn from scratch. But that's the head scratcher - despite the great character designs and solid rendering, these GGear characters still move rather poorly... Animation arcs are not following through, some moves have poor weight and feel wooden, and alot of cycles are just made of an animation playing back and forth instead of properly looping. I feel like with this game, ArcSW reached a great pipeline ... but they are kinda stuck now, because of the old GGear animations that they have to accurately recreate.

    The same happened with SF2HD and KoFXIII - great looking HD graphics in stills, but totally stiff in motion because of the source frames not being smoothly animated in the first place ...

    So, besides the technical achievement of making things look totally 2D ... I wonder if the workload required by this process is actually helping the game. I guess I am now mostly curious to see the next games that are going to be produced in a similar style, but made from scratch animation wise...

    This makes my head spin ! haha :D
  • Jonas Ronnegard
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    Jonas Ronnegard Polycount Sponsor
    I worked for CC2 which for example makes the naruto games and the jojo fighting game, which also have this kind of style,

    Ofcourse there is a lot of technical aspects as well, but most of all it's just pure 2 art, a lot of really talented 2D artist here, compared to technically skilled artists.
  • CowKing
    Muzz wrote: »
    It seems the people who aren't blown away have never tried to do something like this...

    When people like Hazardous, Masksalesman and Xoliul loose their shit it usually means something is up.

    Even simple things like getting the eyes to look right are ridiculously hard, let alone entire characters with this sort of controlled variable frame rate animation. Also there is almost an uncanny valley effect with trying to replicate hand drawn animation, its usually a sense of repulsion i get, but not with this.

    If you are brushing it off as just that then please tell me that you noticed these things.

    *Independent cameras per character. Meaning the perspective on every move is identical no matter their position
    *different parts of the characters are animated at different rates, on the white guys idle his body is frozen but his cloth is blowing.
    *The lighting looks artist directed and changes per pose.
    *The cut-scenes are actually 3d.

    Proof:

    *snip*

    I'm also seeing a ton of gradients here in the shadows, but that could easily be screenspace post processing or rendered post.

    I'm not saying this is easy by any means, but I've worked with the animation system in unreal and you can do some really crazy stuff if you put the right time into it. I guess this is true for almost every engine, but Unreal's is by far the best I've ever worked with (....when it works).

    As far as the hair, my immediate thought would be that they're using planes with a black background and a different material, so that the edge detection wouldn't mess things up.

    I will say that the rendering costs of these characters is probably pretty high, and the people that worked on the lighting model and animation are extremely clever to get these kinds of results.

    The real thing that bothers me is that most of the background looks like it's just planes that were painted to specifically look 3D with cel shading and then a form of occlusion was set up in the material so that when the camera rotates the illusion of 3D is present, but you can clearly see the textures just stretching. Never mind, upon closer inspection that was just my eyes playing tricks on me.
  • bounchfx
    this excites me specifically because it gives me hope for more games with these graphics. I've been dying for a new 2d Castlevania or Mega man, but I know the workload of doing 2d animation for those in full HD would be crazy... if they can simulate that look with 3d like this that gives me hope.

    even though neither company will probably go that direction, bah,
  • tottot
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    tottot polycounter lvl 9
    bounchfx wrote: »
    Mega man


    Why did you have to say this, now I'll continue to hope against all hope.....AGAIN!
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Let me just say that regardless of the techniques used here, this effect is now a precedent of what can be done in the style, so whether the animation system is done through hacks or clever programming is regardless.

    The simple fact is these guys have done something that hasn't been done before, and whether its smart programming or just smart use of pre-made tools it fucking rocks.

    The technical talk is simply because its interesting dissecting whats going on here.

    Pior yeah, resolution independence is amazing! It is a shame to see them not improve on the animations, but perhaps by copying the old animations it meant they could devote more resources to the look and feel. So it will be super interesting to see what happens with it in the future.
  • pior
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    pior ngon master
    Yeah, the amount of work required is crazy ... To my knowledge the only game that came close to perfect fluidity (on some characters ! Not all ...) is SF3 Third Strike ... and this game was running at ... 384*224 !

    chun-li-taunt1.gif chun-li-win2.gif

    Now the question is ... would the GGear tech help artists at creating such fluid animations but at much higher resolution, and faster than before ? Or, is the 3D tech actually irrelevant, and what is really needed is to find Lion King type animators and inbetweeners to create the fighting games of the future ? Only time will tell !!

    The new characters of this Guilty Gear game will be very interesting to look at, since they will have to be created from scratch, without existing animation frames to hold them back ...
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Oh man third strike was so sexy.
    100Stun.gif
  • pior
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    pior ngon master
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Doh :poly127:

    In my defense i've mostly just drooled over sprite packs from the game and not really had a chance to play it.

    I experience games by osmosis sometimes :/.
  • easterislandnick
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    easterislandnick polycounter lvl 11
    Pior, I think holding frames still like they are doing could be a gameplay concession. They could make it fluid and sexy but by mirroring the hand drawn frames a player has more chance of knowing where a character is in an move or attack so making it easier to block or counter? I'm not a big fighting game guy but friends who are know the timings of where a character is by its animation frames.
  • stabbington
    One of the biggest giveaways that things are 3d for me is how the shadows fall and wrap across a surface and they've done a pretty good job here - there's some lovely shaders in softimage developed by the guy that produced the animatrix and tekkonkinreet anime and used by ghibli that uses vertex maps to control how shadows cast at various angles.

    [ame="|XSI Toon Rendering Test for Animation - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame=" Toon Rendering Test - YouTube[/ame]

    Really helps the artist create clean, smooth shadows and avoid those little 3d shading blips that break the illusion. I wonder if they're using something like that? The snappy pose-to-pose animation would really help avoid any mucky shadow transitions as well, I guess.

    I do love me some NPR :)
  • Funky Bunnies
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    Funky Bunnies polycounter lvl 11
    i didnt realize this was being used by anyone in particular in production, stabbington

    I was wondering if it would be possible that - with the rather low framerate - theyd be able to explicitly define the shading with something simple such as vert colors or per-frame maps. I really hope we get to see a breakdown, im amazed by what they've achieved :)
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