I am interested in everything related to this kind of effect (modeling, game engine, animation). What sort of stuff is needed?

Here are some sample images of what I mean:

a town in Ni No Kuni enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ It seems like a real shame to have a selection of cel-shaded screenshots and not include The Wind Waker \$\endgroup\$
    – Paddy
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 8:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ sorry for that. I do not play these games either Just watched animation and googled some pictures. But if you want You can edit my question ;) and add the image \$\endgroup\$
    – Csabi
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 8:38
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ It wasn't really meant as criticism, sorry. The Wind Waker is just a much loved, controversial title because it was cel-shaded. Undoubtedly Ni no Kuni and Borderlands 2 are beautiful but there's something about the Wind Waker's simple, bold aesthetic... \$\endgroup\$
    – Paddy
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 8:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Here is a related question: gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/68401/… \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 6:07

1 Answer 1


Cel shading / Toon shading

There might be something more to it, but in general, all of your examples use Cel shading to some extent.

As for your question, whether there are any engines that support this. Well, that should be possible in every engine out there. The ones that aren't hobby projects should actually have such shader available in their standard assets (Unity3D has those dupped Toon shader).

But, the power behind the cel shading is shaders.

2D Games

For 2D applications, using software rendering, you could achieve this by applying a per-pixel modification. That won't be nowhere near fast, but it's doable.
Though, for a software rendered application I'd suggest that you ask your graphics artists to make such sprites out-of-box.

A quick google search gave me these results. There has to be more.

3D Games

As for 3D applications, rendering is done either by OpenGL or Direct3D. Both of these have shader languages implemented, that can do your kind of manipulations and many others.

OpenGL has GLSL — OpenGL Shading Language.
Direct3D has HLSL — High-level Shading Language.

As for tutorials and guides, there are plenty (GLSL, HLSL), due to the release of Borderlands and huge amounts of Indie studios started the past years, the information available about cel/toon shading is aplenty.

There is a specific question on GLSL cel shader right here in GameDev.SE: Is there any opengl cel shading tutorial out there (without GLAUX)?.

Borderlands A screenshot of Borderlands

That should be enough information to get you started with.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi thanks for your answer, it was really satisfying, can I ask if Maya 3DsMax supports this shading? \$\endgroup\$
    – Csabi
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 7:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Of course - such a big 3D tools like Maya and 3DS Max can do everything. Just google it up. Actually, in video games, particular effects are harder to pull of because of realtime rendering, so, whenever you think whether Maya can pull something off, the answer is yes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 31, 2013 at 7:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks again, I can not wait to try it out on some of my animation. bye \$\endgroup\$
    – Csabi
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 7:15

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