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latest mario's games lighting model

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i'd like to set up a scene with lighting similar to what you can see on recent (wii) mario games

i'm not referring to the rim/fresnel effect, easily obtainable either with shaders or the envmap trick
what i'd really like to understand is how they get this flat/saturates/toony lighting effect

i know for sure (cause i have extracted source models) that they are baking AO at the vertex level
so could it be that there are no lights at all, ambient light is pure white, every model has colors and shades just from texture + vertex color?

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sorry Kryzon, I didnt got notified of your answer 

 

let's start with my attempt to replicate the feeling of a mario galaxy world

 

image2im.th.png  image4xy.th.png
 
lighting is rather dull. there is something missing
 
lets now take some smg screenshot
 
supermariogalaxy10.th.jpg  supermariogalaxy2y.th.jpg 
 
so the first thing i'm wondering is: are they using any directional or spotlight at all?
maybe they are just precalculating and baking some ambient occlusion lighting
 
all in all, smg seems more flat, which gives a more cartoon effect, which is exactly what i want
 
all the tip/advice/whatever you can think off will be precious

 

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