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"Arcane" show style material (how much of it is shaders vs texture?)

polycounter lvl 5
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jiggywattart polycounter lvl 5

Currently I'm texturing Jinx's Fishbone cannon from the show "Arcane":

Especially regarding "Arcane", I'm clueless where the texturing ends and the shading begins:

I was hoping anyone experienced in stylized art could help point me in the right direction. (especially the green caption above)

Here's a previous attempt to bake lighting into texture. I don't like how it turned out but I really don't know how to make it look more stylized without using stylized lighting:


  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter

    Well, if you keep asking yourself "how did they achieve that using this or that complex shader", you'll likely go around in circles and won't make much progress.

    Instead I'd say take your current shading, bake it all down to texture, and spend one day handpainting on top of that - reprojecting the concept, and so on. That's the very root of the Riot style after all. Then, you'll be able to play with the balance between the two.

    This might actually mean spending less time and energy on tiny details on the highpoly model. You could get a great result with just a medium poly model without subdivision and just hard edges for details - since the texture will do most of the lifting anyways

    Heck, they didn't even bother with dynamic eyeball highlights on the show and just left them painted in - therefore it sounds really quite unlikely that they'd spent much RnD efforts on complex shaders simulating hand painted work, when they could just ... well, handpaint things easily in the first place. Especially if the concept sheets are well-suited for reprojection.


    BTW, it took me a while to understand what this thread was about in the first place, as your post with the pictures makes it sound like the first image is your work - whereas (if I am following correctly) it is the reference concept art you are reproducing.

  • Mink
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    Mink polycounter lvl 5

    90% of the "work" is in the hand-painting, the rest is modeling and lighting. They may in fact be using a nearly standard PBR shader, and the lighting setup in every scene does most of the heavy lifting.

  • Neox
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    Neox veteran polycounter

    i dunno for sure but here is my perspective (as a character artist) if you look at the faces, all of it is static. every highlight is painted, every shadow is painted. on top you have a pretty harsh dynamic lightsource and shadow. but every inbetween is completely static. if you don't know what i mean

    focus on the nose and shading around the eyes. it all is the same, no matter what shot.

  • Neox
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    Neox veteran polycounter

    https://www.artstation.com/artwork/5BYRbg here is some good thing to analyze, check how the lights and shadows behave

    for instance i guess the blue rimlight is in the material, as from that direction the ear would cast a shadow. or its a lightsource that doesnt cast a shadow.

    while the yellow light does cast said shadow from ear to head

    overall the shading is very flat, but you can see some bump/height/normal stuff happening in the way the paint layers catch highlights from those rim lights

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