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Cutout shader style

Table of contents
  1. Style breakdown
    1. Papers
    2. Cutout Stencils
    3. External Lighting
  2. Tutorials
  3. Attributes
    1. Invert
    2. Distance
    3. Drop Shadow
    4. Drop Shadow Radius
    5. Outer Bevel Shadow
    6. Outer Bevel Highlight
    7. Outer Bevel Radius
    8. Cut Highlight
    9. Cut Opp. Highlight
    10. Gradient Shade

Back to Cutout Features

Style breakdown

The cutout shader style emulates traditional paper cutout animation in 3D, without using scissors and hundreds of paper sheets. No more trees or fingers are harmed when animating.

There are three fundamental elements within the cutout shader style which need to be controlled:

  • Papers
  • Cutout stencils
  • External lighting

Papers

The top and bottom layers of paper (canvases) are controlled respectively by the Main canvas and Alternate canvas attribute groups. There are over ten distinct canvas textures (heightmaps) to choose from and you can even add your own. These can be customized in color, scale, rotation, roughness, shading, and tiles. See the canvas documentation for a description of these attributes.

Cutout Stencils

The cutout stencils are created through the cutout material, which can easily be created and assigned using the material presets. Each cutout material automatically creates a stencil of the object it is assigned too. The cutout stencil can further be controlled and art-directed using VertexFX and NoiseFX.

Cutout controlled through NoiseFX.
Cutout controlled through PaintFX.

External Lighting

External lighting affects the cast shadow (drop shadow) and bevel of the cutout, together with the overall shading of the paper sheets (canvases).

Lighting is controlled globally through the canvas light defined by the Canvas Light Tilt and Canvas Light Dir attributes.

Only the two sheets of paper need to be lit within the cutout shader style. There will not be any shading control within the cutout material assigned to objects in the scene.

Lighting affecting the Cutout stylization.

Tutorials

Cutout 101 - How to use the cutout style in Flair/MNPRX
Cutout 102 - How to stylize an animation with the 3D Cutout style

Attributes

A series of cutout attributes are provided within the globals node to control and refine the style.

Style attributes
Style attributes in the globals node

The cutout style also requires a custom cutout material. The cutout material is documented here.

Invert

Invert the cutout effect. This attribute is useful for emulating simple, two-layered paper cut animation, instead.

Inverting the cutout effect.

Distance

Distance between the two canvases (papers). A longer distance will increase the offset of the cast shadow.

Varying paper distance between 0 and 6

Drop Shadow

Intensity of the cast shadow.

Drop shadow between 0 and 6

Drop Shadow Radius

Radius of the drop shadow in pixels. This modifies the shadow casted by the top canvas (paper) on the bottom canvas.

Drop shadow radius between 1 and 20

Outer Bevel Shadow

Intensity of the outer bevel shadow (paper curving away from the light).

Outer bevel shadow between 0.0 and 1.2

Outer Bevel Highlight

Intensity of the outer bevel highlight (paper curving towards the light).

Outer bevel highlights between 0.0 and 2.0

Outer Bevel Radius

Radius of the outer bevel in pixels. The outer bevel simulates the paper curving near cut edges.

Outer bevel radius between 1 and 25

Cut Highlight

Intensity of the cut edge near the bevel shadow (cut edge facing the light). A value of zero means that the cut edge is invisible.

Cut highlight between 0 and 1.0

Cut Opp. Highlight

Intensity of the cut paper edge near the bevel highlight (cut edge turning away from the light). A value of zero means that the cut edge is invisible.

Cut opposite highlight between 0 and 1.0

Gradient Shade

Intensity of the gradient shading effect. The gradient shading is a lighting gradient overlaid on the image and oriented towards the direction of the light.

Gradient shading between 0 and 1.0. The gradient follows the direction of the Canvas Light attribute.