WIP Len CMV (Character music Video) anime-style

hey guys,

I finally have something to show for my cmv (character music video) that ive been working on for many months now. This is a few seconds from when I start using 3D models in the animation and is a good example of what i’ve managed to do so far with the anime shader settings, nodal texture animations, Freestyle toonlines and the rigged model. Theres still a few little things i want to finish and fix with the shaders and the eye textures (i’m halfway through having the eye textures controlled by a bone in my rig), but the model and these are at least 85% complete.

Whatcha all think^^
(click to be brought to the Youtube video, dont worry, its short)

Some tech details:

  • hair highlight done by textures in nodes.
  • face textures done by a complex node system with the textures animated using pynodes.
  • lines done by a simple cartoon Freestyle module. no postprocessing (but i made the option so i can clean them up outside).
  • all done as multiple renderlayers saved as alphamapped image-sequences so i can easily postprocess them if needed, and speeds up rendering times by only rendering the layers and frames i need to.

Yet to do:

  • create pynode that lets me move the eyes according to a bone.
  • enhance face shadows using material retouch and external animatable uv maps.
  • Postprocess Freestyle lines when im satified with final animation to take out the extra lines.

Hey that’s a great look you have going on here, can’t wait to see more! Nihongo Wakarimasen!

You know, I think that for something as close to the anime style as this, it might actually make the movie look better to turn down the frame-rate. As it is, really great looking model, and nice job. :slight_smile:

Looks great! What about the blend file?

Thanks guys! I’ve still so much to do to make it more anime-esque looking ^.^ i ultimately hope i can create it to look like something taken straight from an anime instead of having that feeling of being a 3d model, or ending up looking like one of the numerous 3d anime-esque cartoons nowadays.

what do you mean ZJ, i mean, most anime i download nowadays is 29.97 fps, which is roughly what im using for this. or do you mean something else? i know that anime characters tend not to move around so much (to save animation costs), but shes dancing and singing so i cant do that fully ^^

heheh, that would be telling Jonathan ;p Since its not finished and the textures are all handdrawn (and the model is one i made and not complete), i dont want to give it all away just yet until im done with what im doing. I can upload examples tho of what i used in this movie (like my texture animation nodes, or rigsetup in the future, or my shader/freestyle settings). I’ll post up settings or what i did here if you want if theres anything in particular you are after :open_mouth:

I think ZJ does not mean the number of frames per second, but the number of individual frames per second. Especially in older anime, there were often only about 12 fps, each one repeated (once, twice) to give 24 or 30 fps. This is especially noticable when you have a panning background using 24 fps (since panning is easy) with characters moving using 12 fps (since each frame of the character has to be drawn individually).

Well, obviously. That’s why I asked ;).

I personally would be interested in the shader/freestyle settings.

aaah, i forgot about the whole sampling thing with anime. mines too smooth XD i understand what you mean, ill def try sort that out for the next revisions for the CMV, tho im not quite sure how yet :open_mouth:

sure thing, i dont mind sharing my settings and shaders and stuff, its a little different for textures and models y’know^^

Attached are screenshots of the materials and nodes for the hair highlight and shadows, and the face material and nodes(the nodes for this are huge, so its split into 3 images to cover the whole screen. also note these are for a duplicate transparent face that i render to a different renderlayer than the shadow and base colour and alpha over the rest to give the effect of the eyes on front of the hair). (also, the big chunky nodes are pynodes i made for animating textures inside a material node system, i have a thread up about it)

heres the freestyler module im using. i will update it in the future to try vary the line thickness over the z distance from the camera so that closeups have the lines the same thickness as the textures.

#  Filename : cartoonlen.py
#  Author   : Holly Grimes
#  Date     : 12/06/2009
#  Purpose  : draws a simple thick black line around edges, to give an anime look.
import freestyle_init
from logical_operators import *
from PredicatesU1D import *
from shaders import *

Colour_list = [0.1,0.1,0.1,1]#vary for line colour
Operators.bidirectionalChain(ChainSilhouetteIterator(), NotUP1D(QuantitativeInvisibilityUP1D(0)))
shaders_list = [
    pyNonLinearVaryingThicknessShader(1.5, 2.5, 0.2)]
Operators.create(TrueUP1D(), shaders_list)


Hey, it’s me again (telephonedude) =P I think I may have read over it, but I don’t understand how you animated the eyes. I’m still a n00b when it comes to Nodes, and I’d never even heard of PyNodes before this topic, so yeah… Any help you could give me with that would be much appreciated =) It looks great so far though, I love the style you’ve gotten!

hi senshi XD

well, you can animate the eyes several ways depending on where you are using them. if, like me, you want to do it for renders, you can use either of the scripts im gonna talk about below. if its for ingame, look into texturenodes, im not sure how to use them but its the best way.

you can use either pynodes with a material with nodes or use normal material with texture channels for animating the eyes. i have 2 threads showing the scripts i made to do this here(pynodes) and here(material channels and framechange python script).

with either of these, what you do is have all your face textures png files with the background being transparent except for the texture parts (eyes, mouth, etc), and you create a blender texture for each animation-situation (ie, eyes open texture, eyes halfclosed texture, eyes closed texture) and you use either the pynode or the framechange script to change between these blender textures depending on what frame it is. for instance, i would have the eyes open from frames 1-50, eyes halfopen from 51-55 and closed from 55-59 and then halfclosed and open, etc etc. it saves on space and easier to use for large or longterm projects.

^^ i tend to overcomplicate things alot, but i hope i explained what i do ok. its actually really easy, i just create a complex solution so i can adapt it for other situations and animations easier.

At 1.16 AM my mind is slowly getting to comprehending the set-up… =P I love the idea of it, thanks! I’m guessing it would get tricky if you also wanted to make the pupils move though (not looking straight forward). Also, Blender crashes whenever I try to render your example file. I also noticed that I couldn’t add a dynamic node myself (may be a silly mistake) nor did I get any Python outputs in my console (Mac OSX). I was thinking maybe Python wasn’t set-up properly, but I did get the “Checking for installed Python… got it!” message. Anyway, to stay at least slightly on-topic, thanks for the node and this great solution! will try to get it working tomorrow


weird about the whole python thing, 2.5.2 is installed ok? ive only tested this in 2.48 or above, im not sure how this fares in an earlier version.

hehe, i already know how to get the pupils to move >3 im in the middle of getting it working. i made my eye texture setup a lil more complex by separating the pupils,eyewhite and eyelashes into separate textures and layering them correctly. ive already tested the limits of how and where i can move the pupils to make her look in any direction, i just need to get the pynode created now that will read in direction from a bone that the mesh is parented to, and interpolate the pupil position from it against my limits XD ill have that working in the next week or so.

thanks senshi, i hope this helps you a little more in your setup in the future and i hope it works for you soon!

Wow, nice call about the pupils =O About this node: I managed to get it working simply by recreating the node system like in your example. I think maybe last time I may have tried using scene nodes? Not sure what was causing it. The example file still makes blender crash though. =S Anyway, thanks again! I’ll be sure to use this in my next anime-ish animation! (Might even integrate it in my current one…) =)


Hey Holly, love the animation, great use of the freestyle engine. I’ve always loved the anime style, and I think you’ve pretty much got it spot on. Keep up the good work!

update to the animation:

(click image to go to vid or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNL-RCvI-6c)

this isnt a scene from the actual animation, but a test scene taken from it showing a script i made which allows me to control the eye textures location and scaling according to the rotation of a bone (iksolver to another bone/empty to allow me to animate and control it easily). I needed to do this before i can continue in the animation^^

with this done now, i will redo the animation at the top in the next few days and try take into account the feedback on it, and give the next few seconds in the CMV.

Ill put up this script in its own thread later tonight when i clean up the code. i dont know if it will be any use to others straight off the bat, but it would prob help point people in the right way to animate textures using bones. ^^

So kawaii -
Loved this animation test, she seemed so cute looking to everyplace like that :yes:
It seems that someone is talking with her but she’s not feeling very comfortable, maybe because she cares about that person and so she’s trying not to look directly, and in the end she finally looks directly but immediately turn her eyes down like she’s embarrassed, so cute, loved it :smiley:

Edit: Your Nodes are so complex :open_mouth:

new update! i’ve now uploaded the first 2 parts of this cmv (of 4 parts) here

(click image for youtube link)

What do you guys think so far? The entire thing is done in blender and paintshop pro. I’ve still got to finish it with the third and fourth parts. Tech details are below. If you have any questions on how i managed this, feel free to ask but its mostly build on what I’ve posted in my other threads.

I would greatly appreciate any feedback on this, especially the final part with the moving glowing background. I dont know what could be better for that scene. Black background seemed too dull, normal blender stars wasn’t impressive, moving star shapes was too ott. I could do light streaks (see my other thread for an example).

Big thanks to TK for freestyle again XD

Some tech details:

  • hair and eyes highlight done by textures, bones and pynodes.
  • face textures done by a complex node system with the textures animated using pynodes.
  • lines done by a simple cartoon Freestyle module. no postprocessing (but i made the option so i can clean them up outside).
  • all done as multiple renderlayers saved as alphamapped image-sequences so i can easily postprocess them if needed, and speeds up rendering times by only rendering the layers and frames i need to.
  • Eye direction controlled by bones.
  • Face shadows controlled by using material retouching to give an anime look.

Yet to do:

  • Parts 3 + 4 to complete.
  • Possibly redo the background of the cube scene(also affects part 3)
  • Postprocess Freestyle lines when I’m satified with final animation to take out the extra lines.

Hey holly, the latest movie clip looks great! The artwork and the music are well synchronized
and the dance of the character is really cute. I would suggest a much longer exposure of the
character model, especially during the sequence of 4 parts she sings “one day”, “some day”,
“today”, and “let’s go”. More three-dimensional visual effects would also be a plus. Anyway,
thank you for sharing the nice results.

Nice work, Holly!

The 3d anime style really looks wonderful, keep up the good work.

Thanks TK. Thats a good idea to add 3d bits to the final singing parts. when i first started the cmv i had images there so i guess my mindset was just on single images, but it might be better since i have a working model now(next ver!). As for the model exposure, part 3 will be entirely based around the model dancing or other things. part4 is going to be a different model due to an idea i have but the uvmaps are playing up on it^^. 3d visual effects? what kind do you suggest? ^^

Thankies Pyro! XD

By 3D visual effects, I intended to mean something floating or flying around the character,
like stars or flowers going around her or surrounding flows of frames, bubbles, and so on.
I am suggesting this because you have a 3D model and thus it would be easy to add
flying objects that go to the background and come in front of the character (imagine doing
the same things in hand-written animation clips). Any effects that give the viewers a sense
of spacial extent would be of particular interest from the viewpoint of Blender users. I hope
this makes sense.