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Cell Shading Effect

A Tutorial for Counter-Strike: Source

Cell Shading

Now before I start, you have to understand that this cannot be used on large scale maps as you will not have enough brushes available to make it, the compile WILL fail. Small maps are the only way to go. GG_WMD_CELLULAR came in under the brush limit but just barely, so you can see what I mean by small maps. This effect will hog the resources you have tremendously. Optimizing and removing effects where they are not needed is a must, just like using nodraw on unused brush faces, while tedious, it will help in the end. Alrighty then, onto the show eh?

INTRO:

Things you should know how to do before starting with this effect, Vertex Manipulation Tool, Texture Application Tool, Clipping Tool ( minor ), Displacements and Sewing, if your comfortable with all those tools then we'll move on here.

Basic Breakdown:

If your first trying this out I'd recommend sticking to the basic shapes for as much as possible. you don't want to stress yourself out more than needed with things not showing up correctly. We'll start off with the normal cube shape. For this tut I've made mine a standard 64x64x64 box textured with the Dev crate for it respectively. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Now copy that same cube and make it larger in all directions to the original box, in this case I moved it 8 units in all directions. Use the texture application tool and apply the invisible tools texture on it. Type "Tools" in the filter option to see all tool textures. it should now look like this: Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Right Click on that new invisible box and select "Make Hollow" and make the value "4". You should have space between the inside of the hollow cube and the outside of the original box. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Now comes the part where you are going to add in the cell shading :P In the 3D camera with the texture application tool open move the view so that you are inside the original cube, it should now just disappear and all you can see is the inside of the hollow cube. Now while Holding CTRL select each of the 6 inside faces of that cube. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Select browse on the texture window and once again type "Tools" into the filter if it isn't still there. What you are looking for is the "toolsblack" texture this time. Or you could alternatively type "white" into the filter and select any one of those too for a different type of shading effect. Click apply and you should now have the entire inside of the cube black ( or white or whatever you selected for the outlining effect ) Now, if you move the camera outside the cube you can see the outlining effect, but we are not done yet, as you can see there are obvious errors in the outline. we have more work to do. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Fixing it: Select the outer box and ungroup it if you haven't done so already. We are going to select one of the sides at a time and fix it. all we are doing is lining up each of the inside corners for each face. so there should now be a 4 unit gap between the black face and the inner cube. It should all look like this now: Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us This, while usable atm for a complete cell shade effect is not recommended to leave as normal brushes, this will cause huge compile times later on for vvis, and you don't want that. So, you have the option of tieing the entire thing to an entity with CTRL+T ( like the default func_detail, works fine and everyones happy ) or you can do only the inside cube as detail and make the outer shell an illusionary entity, the illusionary one will allow players to walk through the black outline and be stopped by the cube. The option is yours. Now if you want to change the shape of the box while retaining the same width for the effect on all sides, your going to have to dabble in the vertex manipulation tool Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Your going to have to select all the points for a single side at once to retain its shape and move them. I recommend using the top view for most changes and then either of the side ones to change hight. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us I wouldn't recommend trying to change it by selecting individual sides as you'll make mistakes more than you fix them. Vertex manipulation for this purpose is your new best friend and you will use it constantly throughout making a cell shaded map. That concludes making a cube, you can go nuts with them now :P *note for my map, the space between inside cube and the black faces was 2 units to give it a slight line and not a fat black line, I'm just using general numbers to better show it in this tutorial.

Cylinders:

Alright, make a cylinder, any shape or form, recommend that you keep it the same width and hight for the round face. makes life simple. Keep the number of sides down as you need to save brushes wherever you can, I've gone with 6 sides. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Now, same as before, copy and paste a new one overtop of it, 8 in all directions as its what we used for the cube too, make it invisible and hollow it out again :P Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Now this is useless to us in its current state as you can tell from the screenshot. The effect will be jagged :( . Vertex manipulation time again. Line up the points with the vertices's of the inside 6 faces. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Time to ungroup that one as well. What you need to do now is select the long faces only and leave the "end caps" I guess you can call it, alone for teh moment. What you need to do is move those longer faces so that they just touch the inside face of the end cap. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Same as the cube, go inside with the camera and select all the inside faces and texture them black. Now you have a perfectly good cylinder for that one as well. Tie them to entity's and use them in your map now. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Spheres:

Please Read the following tutorial if you do not know how to use displacements:
Displacements - Blend - Sewing and minor Subdiv
If you understand that then we can move on with making spheres. You need to know that you can ONLY make the cell shade effect work on spheres if they are displacements, making a brush one will look horrible or you will spend a few weeks with vertex manipulation moving things around to work perfect. and you don't want to do that so displacements is the way to go. Alright, so to start off with we need to make the inside part that is going to be the visible sphere. Create a normal cube. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Select the entire cube, click on the texture application tool and create it into a displacement, power of three so theres no real noticeable edging to it, hit the subdivide button any your good to go :P Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Without clicking off of those faces hit the ol subdivide button. Congratulations, you have a smooth sphere. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Now comes the other half, making the shading effect. This part starts off the same as making the other ones, create a cube around it with the inside faces all touching at the edges. I've textured it invisible for the purpose of the screenshot, its not necessary. Select the 6 inside faces only and texture them black and while on that menu, same as before, click the Displacements tab and create with a power of 3, subdivide and your final product should look like this. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Now, before you run off and compile your map, go back into the displacement window while you have the outer black shell selected still. You will see some check box's lower right, Check off the "No Hull Collision" "No Physics Collision" and the "No Ray Collision" while your at it, no point in processing light data on a displacement thats solid black now is there. What we have just done there is make the displacement NON-Solid, yes you heard me, non-solid to both players and entities, this will help keep servers stable and remove that nasty problem of dropping a servers tick/lagging it out completly to under 10 ticks when a player overlaps an displacement face from the backside.

All other shapes:

Use a box as your template and use vertex manipulation on the entire thing to make it fit, thats the best way to go about making wedges etc that you need. even just taking the cell shade shell and making them fit around an already created object will work as well. Short I know but its the way to do it imo :P If in doubt about something, download my cellular map to see how things are set up.
wmd_cellular
or download and use the Reference vmf file for over a dozen connections and shapes.
Cell Shade Official Reference
I can update this Tutorial as requested with more info but for now I think this should allow people to start getting into it. More advanced geometry I can talk about in later releases. Questions and/or problems post here, my profile, or HLS studio and you should get an answer quickly, Lost,
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  • Matr!X7689 avatar
    Matr!X7689 Joined 9y ago
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    6y
    Logan, could you please re-upload the tutorial images?
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    Posted by scorch94 First of all, great tutorial, but I have a problem. I made a map using the cell shading effect, but when I shoot the ground or a crate or anything else that I used the effect on, there wont appear any bullet holes. What am I doing wrong? Ive looked at your map to see how you did it, but I dont see what Im doing wrong =(
    Depending on how thick your effect is bullets will not be able to penetrate through the outside brushes, info on bullet penetration can be found here: Dev Wiki.
    Structural Designer / Dad :)
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  • scorch94 avatar
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    First of all, great tutorial, but I have a problem. I made a map using the cell shading effect, but when I shoot the ground or a crate or anything else that I used the effect on, there wont appear any bullet holes. What am I doing wrong? Ive looked at your map to see how you did it, but I dont see what Im doing wrong =(
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    Posted by Lost
    Posted by A.Werner Very good tut, excelent explanations and pics. Just one quick question: I make a shaded floor then a put a shaded crate on it, but it wont blend. The invisible textures seem to make the inner black faces invisible as well. How can i fix that?
    its an issue with the overlapping faces, best way to fix it - one that will be included in a V2 of this method - is actually to not bother making a bottom brush to add the black outline to the crate but rather use an overlay with the toolsblack texture and stretch it to match the size of th outline you need (overlay applied to floor underneath crate). If the crates rotated at all I'd recommend making it match the grid first to line up the overlap all nice and then select all and rotate as needed. Also helps with the 'floating' effect objects then get as you can leave the crate sitting directly on floors etc. Make sense?
    Another way I figured but it's not as good as your method is to clip a part of the invisible brush on the surface where the crate will stand. It won't overlap textures but the number of brushes increases dramaticly and won't work that good with rotated crates. Anyway, thank you, and once again, great tutorial.
    A penny saved is ridiculous.
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    Posted by A.Werner Very good tut, excelent explanations and pics. Just one quick question: I make a shaded floor then a put a shaded crate on it, but it wont blend. The invisible textures seem to make the inner black faces invisible as well. How can i fix that?
    its an issue with the overlapping faces, best way to fix it - one that will be included in a V2 of this method - is actually to not bother making a bottom brush to add the black outline to the crate but rather use an overlay with the toolsblack texture and stretch it to match the size of th outline you need (overlay applied to floor underneath crate). If the crates rotated at all I'd recommend making it match the grid first to line up the overlap all nice and then select all and rotate as needed. Also helps with the 'floating' effect objects then get as you can leave the crate sitting directly on floors etc. Make sense?
    Structural Designer / Dad :)
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  • A.Werner avatar
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    Very good tut, excelent explanations and pics. Just one quick question: I make a shaded floor then a put a shaded crate on it, but it wont blend. The invisible textures seem to make the inner black faces invisible as well. How can i fix that?
    A penny saved is ridiculous.
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    Fantastic +Fav I'll remember to credit you for my maps :)
    mytankisfight
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    Pros: Well Written, easy to follow, with a cool effect. Cons: none Improvements: add demo map as an example
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    Hate Me, Love Me, You Need Me.
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    12y
    Posted by Lost
    Posted by [Mapper_Lewis] Omfg dude you gotta stop writing *:P* that its gay and a really stuid habit
    So is bad grammer and spelling but I don't bother making a deal out of it ;) Kinda unnessasary to comment soley on that and nothing about the tutorial itself, Could at least try to be a touch contructive.
    Yeah your right sorry , i was just really annoyed wene i couldnt do one of the shapes
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    Posted by [Mapper_Lewis] Omfg dude you gotta stop writing *:P* that its gay and a really stuid habit
    So is bad grammer and spelling but I don't bother making a deal out of it ;) Kinda unnessasary to comment soley on that and nothing about the tutorial itself, Could at least try to be a touch contructive.
    Structural Designer / Dad :)
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