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Creating a cartoon style
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Path Styler Pro is not just for creating styles with shiny plastics or dark metals. In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a cartoon style. You'll learn how to use the Light Incidence map with a solid material to create a custom shader. You can download the supporting ZIP file for this tutorial here. It contains files for both Photoshop and Illustrator.
Getting started
In Path Styler Pro, make sure that you start with the default style by pressing Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac OS). Then, reduce the size of the edge to 11 pt (1). Now click the triangle next to the title of the material item (2) and select Solid. The material now has a solid orange fill without shading. This gives us a clean base to create our own shading effect.
The Light Incidence map
To create a custom shader, we need to use a Light Incidence map, which generates values based on the angle at which light strikes a surface.
Click the triangle next to the title of the material item (1) and select Map Color from the menu. Then, click the map preview (2) and select Light Incidence. By default, the map uses light ball 1 and the diffuse shading range. You can now adjust the gradient to set the colors for the shading. We have used a light blue color (3) and a dark blue color (4).
Using the Contour Editor
In a cartoon, usually only two shades of a color are used, a dark shade and a light shade. You have selected the colors for these shades in the previous step. Now we are going to use the map's contour to make sure that only these two colors are used for shading, and not all the colors in between.
Click the contour of the Light Incidence map. In the Contour Editor, add a new point in the middle of the contour and drag it all the way to the top (1). Add a second point just to the left of the point in the middle and drag it all the way down and to the right (2). Now only the bottom and the top of the range are used.
Adding a highlight
To add a highlight to the shading, we are going to use another Light Incidence map. We could have created a highlight by adding a white color stop to the gradient of the existing Light Incidence map (see the "Custom Shader" style preset for an example). But, by using a separate map, we can control every element of the shading individually.
First, click the map preview of the existing Light Incidence map (1), and choose New Layer. Then, set the blending mode to Screen (2). Now click the map preview (3) of the new map layer and select Light Incidence. Finally, set Range to Highlight (4).
Getting a sharp highlight
To get a cartoon highlight, we could adjust the contour like we did with the color shading. But you can also use the gradient to get the same effect.
First, drag the black color stop to the right (1). In the map preview, you can see the highlight getting smaller as you drag. You now have a small highlight, but it is still too soft. To solve this, simply drag the white color stop towards the black color stop (2). The closer the white stop gets to the black stop, the less soft the highlight gets.
Adding an ink outline
For the ink outline, we simply use a separate surface with a solid black material.
First, click the New Surface button (1). Then, turn the material of the new surface into a Solid material (2) and set the color of the material to black (3). You can now use the Size parameter (4) to set the width of the ink line. We have set it 3 pt.
You have now created a custom shader. You can see this when you adjust the position of light ball 1. The shading on the object is adjusted accordingly. Note that changing the color or the intensity of the light has no effect. This is because the Light Incidence map only uses the angle of the light.
Below you can see some styles that were created after experimenting with the custom shader. For the first style, we changed the contour to use three shades of the color. For the second style, instead of using two shades of the same color, we have used two different colors. And for the third style, we went a few steps further by adding more map layers with different blending modes, like Lighten and Color Dodge. It shows that a custom shader is a powerful tool to create a lot of different effects.
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