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In this 3D Studio Max Tutorial I want to make a cartoon effect with mental ray material and shaders in 3DS Max. We can create this effect with Ink'n Paint material of 3ds max too, but the main goal of this 3DS Max Tutorial is about contour shaders in mental ray and how to make a fake toon effect with Arch & Design mental ray material.

By hani, on March 11, 2011, under 3D Studio Max Tutorials
 

In this 3D Studio Max Tutorial I want to make a cartoon effect with mental ray material and shaders in 3DS Max. We can create this effect with Ink'n Paint material of 3ds max too, but the main goal of this 3DS Max Tutorial is about contour shaders in mental ray and how to make a fake toon effect with Arch & Design mental ray material.

 

Final Result Preview:

 
 
 

Step 1:

 

Open material editor and select one Free Sample Slot. The mental ray is already chosen as renderer.

 
 

Step 2:

 

Click on Standard button or "Get Material" button to open Material/Map browser. Then double click on Arch & Design material. Change its name to "Body Toon".

 
 

Step 3:

 

In the "Arch & Design" material parameters, expand "Mental Ray Connection" rollout and click on the lock icon right to the "Surface" slot in "Basic Shaders" group. The Surface slot button which was gray before now becomes active.

 
 

Step 4:

 

Click on "None" button of Surface slot to open Material/Map browser. This time choose "Falloff" map from list.

 
 

Step 5:

 

Change the colors and type of falloff same as below picture. I have selected "Shadow/Light" from Falloff Type list. So the up color (darker one) will be the place of shadow and darker area of model and bottom color (lighter on) will show in lighter areas. Also sometimes you can try "Perpendicular/Parallel" type which will be change according to camera angle.

 
 

Step 6:

 

Continue in Falloff map and this time in Mix Curve rollout, change the line same as picture below. Change the straight line to the step shape one will help to separate colors and do not have any fading effect between two colors (light and shadow colors).

 

Now if you make more steps, the variety colors will appear in your sample slot. The range of colors is between two chosen colors. You can also define the area of each color by moving steps to the left or right.

 
 

Step 7:

 

Now apply this material to the body of toy plane and render it. The only thing it may need is outlines which we will add with contour shader in mental ray.

 
 

Step 8:

 

Back to the "Body Toon" material and in "Mental Ray Connection" rollout click on the "None" button right to the "Contour" from "Advanced Shaders" group.

 
 

Step 9:

 

From Material/Map browser double click on "Contour Simple" shader.

 
 

Step 10:

 

If you render the scene now you will find nothing changes in final render. The reason is that you need to set contour effect in rendering setting. So open Render setup dialog. In the Renderer Tab and under Camera Effects rollout check Enable in "Contours" group. Now render scene again and this time you could see black contour around toy plane.

 
 

Step 11:

 

Shaders already applied to Contour in Render Setup dialog. You could change them with other shaders. But now I just want to change setting for Contour contrast shader. So click and drag it to one free sample slot in material editor. Make sure you will choose Instance copy.

 
 

Step 12:

 

In the first two fields you can set accuracy of contours. If you reduce them you could see more lines. For more information about this shader you can have a look at mental ray document in 3ds max help. For this scene I changed Z Step threshold to 50 mm and Angle step threshold to 5. Render the scene again and see the result.

 
 

Step 13:

 

Back to our material and Contour simple shader. It has very simple setting. First you can change the contour color and I chose a dark red for it. Second you can set thickness of contour in Width(%) filed and I set it to 0.1 in this tutorial. Render scene again and see result.

 
 

Step 14:

 

I have done the same thing to other part of toy plane and just changed color. you could see settings and color in final scene file which provide along this tutorial.

 

Here is one more tip that I would like to do it with body part of toy plane. if you see Ink'n Paint material of 3ds max you may notice that it contain a highlight (specular). So how could make it in our Body Toon material? it is not difficult and just need changes in parameters.

 
 

Step 15:

 

Back to the falloff map that you applied as surface shader. Right click on its button and choose "Cut". Then again click on the lock icon right to its button to make sure it will look to our material.

 
 

Step 16:

 

Expand "Self Illumination (Glow)" rollout and check it to be active. Paste falloff map in Filter slot. Now you could see the result in sample slot of material editor.

 
 

Step 17:

 

Now go to the "BRDF" rollout. Choose "Custom Reflectivity Function" and change both 0.deg ref and 90. deg ref fields to 1.

 
 

Step 18:

 

Finally in Main Material Parameters Rollout change Diffuse color to Pure Black. Reduce Reflectivity to 0.1 and make sure Highlights+FG only is enable. It will help to create fake highlight

 
 

Final Result:

 

Now you can render your scene. The scene doesn't have any indirect illumination, or environment. So there is not any specific render setting. Just must choose mental ray as renderer at beginning.