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Todilo

Prerender vs Vertex Shaders

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Todilo    122
I would like to hear your thoughts about prerendering cel shading vs using vertex shaders in the engine. The reason I ask is that well my vertexshading skills are poor and if there is an easier, and hopefully a more effective way to get the same result I would like to use that. Please do not hessitate to state your thoughts

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jpetrie    13153
Cel shading in the vertex shader is about as trivial as you can get, at the basic level. By reading up on one or two of the available vertex shader tutorials, you should be able to pull it off.

"Prerendering" your models (I assume by this you mean making them look cel shaded in the modeling package and exporting them this way) can work, but while it gives you more flexibility in some ways, you lose a lot in others. In particular, it can be very tricky to get the model to look nice when animating or from different views.

This is because cel shading is an illumination effect, and an objects illumination depends on the light sources its near. In a modelling package you won't have the same lights as, presumably, you will in your game.

If you are careful and know the viewing restrictions your model is going to be under, you might be able to bake the illumination information into the textures, but in the long run it will probably be more work and look worse than simply learning how to pull the effect off in a shader.

Shaders are worth learning anyway because they are the Wave of the Future. ;P

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I've been working with NPR shaders for quite some time now, and in my honest opinion it is far better to use shaders for cel-shading dynamic objects and then falling back to baked-in ('prerendered') textures for your world. This works especially well if you're using global illumination i.e. directional light.

It helps you to save on processing power, and it still looks fabulous. As an example, Nintendo took this approach with Wind Waker and it looked spectacular.

If you need any help with your shaders, just give me a shout. It'll be worth learning.

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