top of page
Moped and Dust Cloud Experiment

- An Exercise in Procedural Animation

The Final Scene

The primary goal of this scene was to achieve a procedural "toon" dust cloud effect and deform of the clothing to appear as though it's blowing in the wind. The Secondary goal was to make the final render appear as 2D animation loosely inspired by the art of Jean 'Mobius' Giraud (See my more in-depth 'Mobius' shaders here and here; I achieved this 2D look by use of shaders and a couple animation tricks detailed below.

The character was rigged with a basic human meta rig. I rigged the moped just by parenting the moving parts to some empties and rotating them procedurally with a driver. 

MatCap View

The profile view of the scene without shaders applied

Procedural Wind and Dust Cloud Effects

The dust cloud trail and the clothes in the wind were animated the same way as the explosion and laser effects in my Pop Comic Blaster Scene, i.e. deforming basic meshes procedurally by means of high-contrast textures and controlling the coordinates of those textures with some empties in the viewport, as seen in the clips above. Different textures produce different displacement effects so certain parts of the cloud are using one texture and intensity whereas other parts are using others. The clothes are deformed of course with a different texture and intensity altogether because clothes don't blow in the wind exactly as dust does.

moped side render 000.png
Screenshot 2022-03-02 172530.png

The 2D Effect

Besides the shaders (mentioned above) a procedural outline was given to the models using the "inverse hull" method which is achieved by giving a negative value to a solidify modifier, culling back faces, and setting the material offset to whichever material you want your outline color to be.

One of the biggest mistakes I see from other animators trying to achieve a 2D look in their 3D animation is that everything is too solid and too consistent between frames; to avoid this I also set the outlines to displace on the solid surfaces, such as the moped and the helmet, using the same methods by which I animated the dust clouds and clothing (described above), in order to create some variation of each model, frame-to-frame, as if it's hand-drawn.

Finally to send the 2D effect home, I animated at twelve-frames-per-second. An alternative to the lower framerate would be to bake the animation on twos and then set the interpolation between each keyframe to constant, after baking - but just lowering the framerate was sufficient for this project. 

  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • ArtStation
  • GitHub
  • LinkedIn
bottom of page