That's a bad-ass animation process right there. I'm assuming you could do something similar in Toon Boom Harmony nowadays (as far as rotoscoping the 3d background, vector line widths, etc.), but to be able to do that stuff all in Blender is quite nifty! No idea, though, what all is behind that monster of a shader's setup that he uses to do the rim-lighting and auto-light the 3d background in the video, but there's a TON of those 'noodles' going on there in the first couple of frames of the BG rotoscoping portion. I'd imagine it has something to do with the averaging of the normals of the vector lines/splines of the Grease-pencil though, and their angle to the lighting widget (which I don't think actually can
be done in Toon-boom Harmony yet...), but it's definitely a cool concept and probably would be great if it was something we could all have access to! Either way, thanks for sharing dude!Regarding rendering and the concept of animation using 3d2d sprites:
As mentioned before, I'm not as familiar with shaders as many 3d artists are, but I know what makes 3d stuff tick and how that applies to games efficiency-wise in terms of what's doable in a real-time engine. That being said, I've been struggling between 3d and 2d recently, and this is mostly because of what 2d generally LOOKS like when compared to 3d mimicking the same styles -- and until seeing that Guilty Gear video I linked to above, I wasn't convinced the two could ever be married convincingly enough without A LOT of effort that's, quite frankly, very unrealistic for a small indie team:
Some examples of unrealistic indie 3d2d sprite workflows:http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/info/15th_anniv/2d_dot/creation/http://www.siliconera.com/2012/02/09/the-art-of-blazblue-part-2-animation-phase/
On the other hand, when I saw the video in my original post above for the first time, I had the spark of an idea that it might be possible to create these sorts of 'sprites' in ultra high-resolution vector-style art as 3d models in realtime (if desired) -- and all it would take would be a proper shader (realtime would be ideal) with the proper threshold for highlights and shadows, an AO map (hand-painted), and a 3d model with a texture used only for colors and linework only (as mentioned in the video, using UV maps to control the line width!)
This simple process would obviously need to be tweaked, but if perfected, we could use 3d models directly in games (with linear animation curves) and have 3d2d 'sprites' of infinite resolution that look perfectly like cartoons, and could possibly surpass pixel art in some areas, but without the heavy workload of animating every lighting or clothing change by hand for every single frame, for every single action, and lead to much more varied environments in games that can affect the characters more, leading to more immersion and better-looking 3d cartoon-style games in general, at least in my opinion.
The shader, if created properly, could simulate actual airbrushed falloff in some cases too, leading to the same tools being used for both games as well as film-style animation (such as what Indigo posted) where all the heavy-lifting would be done for you (linework/coloring/shading/etc.) and all you'd have to do is draw over it to simulate your own style. Since Anime, at its core, is the cleanest possible cartoon rendering style (aside from pure black and white!), it would lend itself well to any further shading tweaks/styles that one could imagine, with all the form and coloring intact from the outset!
My personal interest in this is to create workflows that allow 3d models in 3d games to look 2d-rendered, especially when they use traditional 2d-oriented views (particularly side-scrolling and top-down views) so that games with gameplay akin to SNES-era RPGs and Platformers can get the high-res treatment they deserve and also have some fun camera and lighting shift effects to play with in the process. Much of what made those games great came from their limitations -- and with a limited perspective on, say, an isometric strategy game or whatever other type of game you can imagine, when mixed with 3d2d sprites (again, do reference the Guilty Gear video), with each character having their own light source, our games can again resemble the amazing visuals of games of the past -- without having to hand-paint our lighting on our 3d models to make them look as sprites (after all, lighting and shadow do change when sprites move... yet, it doesn't seem to do that on a lot of the 3d DBZ games, does it? [Tenkaichi series, I'm looking at YOU!] )
A pretty decent example of a high-res sprite that could have potentially been better-served as an 3d2d model (the rest of the iOS game looks MUCH worse!