Well, I have been working on a tutorial for doing anime style cell-shaded toon renders in DAZ Studio using nothing but freely available shaders, but it is taking a while, so I decided to go ahead and update my blog with some bits of information that I have been learning recently. Todays bit of information is actually quite significant!
When you download DAZ Studio, it only comes with one default shader. It works well, but until recently, I had no idea that you could change the shader, or even what a shader was! I feel kind of stupid about it now, since it is such a huge thing, and kind of basic. For those of you who don’t know, a shader defines how light interacts with a surface, so it determines what the object’s surfaces look like when rendered.
DAZ 3D does not advertise it, but they provide a set of alternative shaders that you can download for free and includes some helpful toon shaders. Actually, to say that DAZ 3D does not advertise it is quite an understatement. The only references or links to it I could find were buried in the forums on their site and in a tutorial created by a user who was interested in cell-shaded toon renders. Richard Haseltine of the DAZ Forum Team and a fellow who calls himself AlmightyQUEST were helpful in pointing them out. I don’t know why DAZ 3D is allowing such an important thing to be so obscure. I think they should distribute this with the standard DAZ Studio distribution package. Oh well. If you are interested, then you can spread the word (and the link).
DAZ|Studio Version 3 changed the scripting in DAZ|Studio in such a way that the old scripts and shader presets do not work. 3D Anime Studio is hosting the version of the shaders that work with DAZ|Studio 3.x, but I do not yet know if they also work with DAZ|Studio 4.x. If any of you know find out before I can test it, please leave me a comment.
These alternative shaders are important, because the toon shaders that are included are more flexible than simply using the “Cartoon” Render Style on the Render tab. If you want to do cell-shaded renders, then this is a huge help! With these new toon shaders, you can adjust the number of Color Divisions, which determines how many levels of color are used for shading light to dark. You can adjust the Blend Amount, which affects how much gradient color is used to blend between Color Divisions, like from light to shadow. You can also change the Outline Color and Threshold. Color is obvious, and Threshold determines, basically, how thick the outline is.
If you have been frustrated by DAZ Studio’s cartoon render, and you don’t have pwToon, then check out these free shaders, and check back here for my full tutorial on anime style cell shading.