How to Create a Sphere With Cell Shading




This little tutorial will explain how to create a cell shaded sphere.

Step 1: Create a Sphere

Simply click the "Build" button in the toolbar and select the sphere from the list on top. Click somewhere in the world to create it.

Step 2: Define the Right Texture for the Sphere

We do not want wood here so go to the "Texture" tab of the edit window and click on the wooden texture. A window will appear which let's you define the new texture. We just click blank as we don't want one. Then choose "Select" to close the window again. If you want you can now choose a different color with the color field but I simply keep it white.

Step 3: Make a Copy of That Sphere

A copy is simply made by holding down the Shift key and dragging the sphere with the mouse at one of the arrows. I used the red down arrow and moved it upwards. Because of the shift key a copy will be created which stays at the original place.

Step 4: Move It Back to the Original Place

As we need the new and old sphere to be at exactly the same position we can type CTRL-Z (or in the menu: Edit->Undo) . This will undo the move but keeps the sphere. After that both should be in the same position (you cannot see though that it's two spheres now).
We also want to make the sphere a little bigger than the other one. To do that make sure the "Stretch Both Sides" checkbox in the upper part of the edit window is checked. This is important so both spheres will have the same center.
Now hold down the CTRL and the SHIFT key. Some handles for resizing the sphere will appear. Drag one of the grey corner handles to make that sphere slightly bigger. Release all keys then.

Step 5: Make It Black!

Now it's time to make that bigger sphere (which should still be selected) completely black. Select the "textures" tab again if not still active, click the color field and select Black from the list. Choose "Select" to close this window again.

Step 6: Make It Hollow

Choose the "Object" tab and set hollow to 95. If you want you can look inside by setting the End cut to 0.5 and setting it back to 1.0 afterwards. You will see the white sphere (here I made the black one a bit too big actually).

Step 7: Make the Outer Texture Seethrough

The last step is to select the "Texture" tab again and select "Select Texture" in the upper part. Then click on the outside of the black sphere.
Now you need a 100% alpha texture which you can get from me in-world (IM to Tao Takashi) if you don't have it already. If I am not online try to ask somebody in a sandbox.
You apply that texture just to the outside and finished is your cell shaded sphere. Just make sure the outer one is just a tiny bit bigger than the inner one.
You can link them now and maybe copy them as shown before to make clouds or whatever.

Have fun!



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    7 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I noticed that nowhere in the instructible did you say what 3D program you were using, so those who aren't familiar with SecondLife wouldn't have a clue how to get to any of those tools and settings.

    Tao Takashi

    12 years ago

    Well, it's as close to cell shading as you can get in SL I think. And actually SecondLife is not a program but more sort of an interactive 3d platform (see so there's probably no way to use that texture idea as you cannot control the texture based on the camera (while you or others walk around that object) and neither can you use any postprocessing on the image as e.g. a posterize filter.

    But thank you anyway for pointing that out! :)

    (and I also have seen some other shapes. There also have been some more ideas floating around to make a toonish style in the secondlife world. If one explores some of the sims in there you will probably find it.)

    1 reply
    Ward_NoxTao Takashi

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    yea i have a cel shaded avitar of stan from south park (there are ones of all 4 of the SP boys) and i also saw a chef kirby cell shaded avatar


    12 years ago

    There is an easier way to cell shade spheres, set the hollow on the sphere to 85% (or prefered ammount). Select the outer face and set to black. Set the object twist begin and end to 180 degrees. Easy simple cell shaded sphere.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    yes but the above trick will work on other shapes aswell your trick seems to only work on spheres


    12 years ago

    im still quite new in Sl and to cell shading but i was wondering if its possible to b able to do cell shading on other shapes such as squares and cylinders. i've tried to do cell shading on sppheres which has turned out quite successfully but when i tried using it on squares and cylinders the effect turned out quite bizzare. can i please haf some proffesional help? thnx in advance :D


    13 years ago

    Ehh, not really cell shading, just outlining (which is a part of cell-shaded style). Cell shading is also when you have one 2 or three shades to show a surface's depth instead of a gradient.

    I don't know how much control you have in this program (Second Life?), but in a general graphics sense, you can either run the object through a posterize filter (like the bad guys in the old Hobbit cartoon), or use a 1d texture (ie 1x128) and position it on the object based on some calculation of the surface normal, vector to the light and camera. has an example OpenGL tutorial (lesson 37), but again, not sure if that's possible to implement in your program. I'm sure there are other ways, those are just the only ones I know.

    Still, good way to outline stuff, looks pretty neat in big blobs like you have here. Does it work for irregularly shaped objects? Seems like it should work ok.