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Graphics Software

Can't Draw? You Need The Inkulator 9000. 215

NTK was kind enough to point out the Inkulator 9000, software to render pen-and-ink style drawings from 3D meshes. NTK also points to a number of other handy tools and papers.
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Can't Draw? You Need The Inkulator 9000.

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  • tell me when (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    it's the other way around.
  • So... (Score:3, Funny)

    by wicka_wicka ( 679279 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:04AM (#10542623)
    This means I can...draw extremely complicated polygonal meshes...and then have a computer ink them for me.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Osty ( 16825 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:11AM (#10542644)

      Face it, your computer's a tracer

      • Re:So... (Score:3, Funny)

        by Fjornir ( 516960 )
        YOUR MOTHER'S A TRACER!
      • Hmm..i'm missing the joke. What's a tracer?

        • watch Chasing Amy.
        • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

          by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:30AM (#10543316) Homepage Journal
          "Hmm..i'm missing the joke. What's a tracer?"

          As others have mentioned, it's a reference to Chasing Amy. The basic gist of it is there is a comic book artist in the movie. Somebody else did the drawings, and he went over it in ink. Nobody, however, was impressed by this because they thought inking was just tracing. The artist in question found this quite offensive.

          Sadly, as an artist, I sympathize with him. Inking is an art-form just like drawing. It's not something anybody can run out and do. Nor, for that matter, is it all that easy for a computer to do. Many have tried to make 3D renderings look hand drawn, and it is quite challenging.

          Gotta say, though, I like the results on the website.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Spy Hunter ( 317220 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:14AM (#10542655) Journal
      This means you can "draw" your character once in a 3D program and then produce a million drawings by simply posing its skeleton in different positions or moving the camera to arbitrary angles. Especially interesting is the ability to produce unlimited in-between frames with simple 3D interpolation of object positions instead of expensive, laborious hand drawing.
      • This means you can "draw" your character once in a 3D program and then produce a million drawings by simply posing its skeleton in different positions or moving the camera to arbitrary angles. Especially interesting is the ability to produce unlimited in-between frames with simple 3D interpolation of object positions instead of expensive, laborious hand drawing.

        Unfortunately, simply "betweening" produces rotten motion. Robotic: constant speed from one position to another, then a discontinuous change to
  • w00t (Score:3, Funny)

    by cloudkj ( 685320 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:05AM (#10542628)
    Here comes the surge of a new generation of animated pr0n artists!
  • can't code? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:05AM (#10542629) Journal
    You need Visual Basic... conveniently converts images of windows into working programs!
  • High poly count? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FiReaNGeL ( 312636 ) <fireang3l.hotmail@com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:07AM (#10542632) Homepage
    I think you would need very high poly counts on your mesh to achieve a level of detail good enough to look like professional cartoons. If it's just to do an image (or a few), I don't think its worth the effort. For animation tough, it looks like a wonderful application!

    But nothing will ever beat SouthPark characters... so simple, and so much personality!
    • Re:High poly count? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tonsofpcs ( 687961 )
      Not really, this program may support curves [be they subpatches, or auto-created based upon user input], and the need for high poly count is removed
      • Wrong, sort of. Patches are converted to polys at rendertime (at least with all the renderers I know about). It's still a high polycount, but you don't have to deal with it onscreen.
    • Re:High poly count? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:41AM (#10543335) Homepage Journal
      "I think you would need very high poly counts on your mesh to achieve a level of detail good enough to look like professional cartoons."

      Nah, not really. Modelling for toon shading is a different technique, though. It's about creating edges so that the inking software can figure out where to draw the ink. Normal 3D rendering is about creating polygons to get the right shading per rendered pixel. (Not to mention, you also need good textures, lighting, etc etc.)

      "If it's just to do an image (or a few), I don't think its worth the effort. "

      Not true. A stylistic choice from photo-realism to this sort of inking would result in a great deal less work. As I said before, you don't need as much polygonal detail. (You need good edges, though...) You also don't need a lot of lights or textures. It doesn't take many data points for software like this to generate an outline.

      "But nothing will ever beat SouthPark characters... so simple, and so much personality!"

      That's entirely up to the artist. Go over to www.cgtalk.com and look at the gallery. Though this sort of rendering isn't done so often there, I think it will better punctuate my statement about it being up to the artist.
  • by oostevo ( 736441 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:10AM (#10542640) Homepage
    I should point out that Alias Maya [alias.com] has a vector renderer, which is able to give almost exactly the same effect. And it comes integrated with it by default.

    On the other hand, this is free and open source, and looks very promising.

  • Replace Drawing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anubis333 ( 103791 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:12AM (#10542646) Homepage
    Programs like this will never replace drawing. 3D Geometry is far too rigid. These types on Non-Photo-Real techniques have been around for years. (Although this is a great attempt). It will be many, many years before we can emulate 2D animation with 3D, and then, what's the point, why not draw it? Not to say that there aren't great applications for NPR like the non photorealistic camera, shown off at SIGGRAPH 2004. It uses multiple flashes and an edge detection algorithm to define hard edges; great for endoscopy and many other functions...
    • Re:Replace Drawing? (Score:3, Informative)

      by LnxAddct ( 679316 )
      Did you see these: talking man [sourceforge.net] walking man [sourceforge.net]
      Those look pretty incredible to me as far as animations go and other then a few minor things too perfect to be hand drawn, I'd be hard pressed to distinguish it from a hand drawn animation.
      Regards,
      Steve
    • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:39AM (#10542750)
      Programs like this will never replace drawing.
      100%? Never. But computer animation has already replaced traditional animation in 95% of animated films has it not? And I can't say I found the characters of "Finding Nemo" or "Monsters Inc" to be very rigid.
      • The animators working for Disney, Sony, and (I think) I.L.M. draw from real live Human figures every so often in order to keep their renderings realistic and believable by their audiences.

        I'm not sure that these people can be called artists or not, but my favorite figure drawing instructor loves quoting from a text that reads "Artists don't find solutions, they find problems".

        I have no idea what that means, but this notion of a computer rendering "perfect" images is utter rubbish. If all you want to do is
        • The "mistake making" feedback loop is still in place. Its the user. Creativity is enhanced by new techniques, not diminished. Photography hasn't obsoleted painting or sketching, but it has made imaging popular for the masses. For good or bad, anyone can have candids of their children and pets now. Soon, anyone will be able to generate semi-pro appearing political cartoons. Its a brave new world ;-)
      • The same boring cycle. First they say it's impossible, then improbable and then obvious and expected. A few years ago people argued with foam on their mouths that 3D animation will not replace traditional animation, that 3D CGI is inferior to traditional effects and computer-rendered movies have no future. They keep saying this (they being the majority of people), because they (same definition) are retarded idiots. People (specifically, the unique American blend of retarded christians) argued that stem-cell
    • by MidnightBrewer ( 97195 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @02:17AM (#10543026)
      Actually, we can already emulate 2D with 3D easily. The software is there, and has been for many, many years. It's finding talented animators (as in any situation, including 2D.)

      If you have actually done any animation, you would know that creating 2D cel-shaded style cartoons in 3D is far faster and far cheaper than the traditional, 2D style. The best part is, you can easily go back and change things without having to painstakingly redraw everything.
    • "Programs like this will never replace drawing."

      Err. Duh. That's not the goal. It's a style, not a replacement.

      " It will be many, many years before we can emulate 2D animation with 3D, and then, what's the point, why not draw it?"

      Eh? 2D animation has been emulated with 3D for a long time now! Don't believe me? Have a peek at Spirited Away or Futurama.

      Why not draw it? I can think of a few reasons:

      - You can get more 2d looking renderings done in the time it takes to draw.

      - Not every 3D person
    • Southpark is done using 3D animation ever since the second season I think and still looks remarkably 2d ... ~ LSH
    • It will be many, many years before we can emulate 2D animation with 3D, and then, what's the point, why not draw it?

      Can you draw it in real time?

      Why would you want to do that? Go have a look at one of the regent Legend of Zelda games - Wind Walker. Think about it.
    • I used to think NPR was really awesome, but I've come to agree with your point of view. Sure, all the SIGGRAPH demos look really awesome for five minutes. But after watching a full length movie of any particular NPR style or playing an NPR game for an extended period of time, it starts to sink in--I'm just watching another kind of 3d rendering, not 2d animation.

      The reason drawings are more appealing than 3d renderings isn't just a matter of graphic style--it's because every human drawn line is an act of

    • I am just going to reply to myself in order to reply to most of what was said here.

      You all talk about things like Tarzan, and SouthPark. These are 2D animated characters placed on flat planes in a 3D environment. Saying Tarzan was 3D is a huge slap in the face to the best sketch artist/animator that has ever lived: Glen Keane.

      You talk about Futurama's use of 3D, and how some things are rigid; yes, disney and many others have moved to using cel shaded 3D for vehicles; this is nowhere _close_ to drawing t
  • The title is wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yomommaDOTorg ( 821912 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:14AM (#10542652) Homepage
    The title shouldn't be "Can't Draw? You Need The Inkulator 9000", it should be "Can't Draw, but you can create complex 3D meshes, and are somehow unable to figure out how to color them? You need the Inkulator 9000" The pictures looked really cool, until I realized that you had to do a LOT of work to make them. This looks like it is much more for the real artist than the average computer geek.
  • by greay ( 462639 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:14AM (#10542659) Homepage
    I can /draw/, I just can't 3D model.

    I'd love something to turn sketches, or a series of sketches, or whatever, into a 3D model.
    • Maybe it's only the tools that are to blame (only this one time, hehe). Might something like Teddy http://www-ui.is.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~takeo/teddy/tedd y.htm [u-tokyo.ac.jp] be better suited to you? You only have to draw the outline, and the shapes are assumed to be round; You can then cut them as you want.

      I've heard Shade (a popular modeller in Japan; Gunnm's author uses it http://jajatom.moo.jp/E-top/Egunnm/3DCG01/cg%20gal lery%20top.html [jajatom.moo.jp]) had a module reminiscent of Teddy in one of its newer versions. Of course, Shade
    • by pipingguy ( 566974 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:47AM (#10542778) Homepage

      I can /draw/, I just can't 3D model.

      I feel for ya, buddy, those of us that *can* draw (with, like, their hands and stuff, with a pencil and paper or a rock and a cave wall) are rapidly becoming obsolete. Very sad, isn't it.
      • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:52AM (#10543362) Homepage Journal
        "I feel for ya, buddy, those of us that *can* draw (with, like, their hands and stuff, with a pencil and paper or a rock and a cave wall) are rapidly becoming obsolete. Very sad, isn't it."

        No, you're not. I'm a 3D artist, and the best thing that ever happened to my career was learning how to draw. The reason why surprised me. Anybody can pick up and use a 3D app. Serious, they're not that hard. Few, though, can actually design with it. Drawings are far better for cooking up interesting new ideas. Not to mention, it's far quicker to cook up a drawing and get approval on it than it is to get a 3D model built and ready to show.

        In short, the explosion of 3D rendering on the market has dramatically increased the need for pencil and paper artists. It isn't killing them at all.
    • In my expirence drawing and modeling are related. I havent seen a good modeler who couldn't draw well. But then it does vary on the type of modeling. Some poeple can handle technical type modeling but not organic character modeling.

      Knowing how to modeling is just knowing how to use the software. Other skills dictate how well you will be able to model. Such as your ability to take what you see and acuratly reproduce it.
    • Have a look at SketchUp [sketchup.com]. It's more intended for technical drawing than artistic, but it does have pretty intuitive interface.
  • This is not new... you can easily do this with a maya shader. Maya shaders are very fexlible in attaining realistic and Non photorealistic renders.
  • hmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by I7D ( 682601 ) <ian.shook@gmTOKYOail.com minus city> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:17AM (#10542665) Homepage
    3D studio max, rhino 3-D (with flamingo) and Maya can do that right in the render. We already have this technology
    • Re:hmm (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No. Those can do cel shading, which is totally different. Follow the link and read about this technology. It's new, and it's cool:

      Black or white is assigned to a plane of a 3D Mesh based on user input. For example, the operator might want the left and bottom planes of a figure to be inked. He can then specify how much "leftness" or "bottomness" is required to pass the threshold and have that area of the model inked.

      This is in contrast to Cel or 'Toon shading based on posterization of calculated light,

      • No, there's nothing new about inkulator, and you obviously don't understand Maya's internals. Maya can easily use what's called "surface-normal reflectivity" to calculate a surface's brightness according to "leftness or bottomness" (or any other directional scheme you choose) before it renders with the vector shader that posterizes everything. Inkulator is a one-trick-pony, and it's an old trick that every good 3D guy knows.
  • It mentions on the website that it uses obj files and works really well with ones created using Poser. The funny thing about that is Poser already has a function to render to 'hand drawn' or 'cartoon' type pictures.

    But I guess if you are using some other rendering program that doesn't have any of these features, you could also run a simple sketch filter in Photoshop(or whatever your favorite imaging program is) . Either way, I'm gonna give this program a try to see how well it stacks up. :)
  • by YouHaveSnail ( 202852 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:20AM (#10542682)
    ...then how the hell are you going to create realistic 3D meshes?

    Sure, you could use some that somebody else made. But then it's hard to say what part of the result is actually your work.

    Or you could take a 3D scan of some objects. But you may as well just take a snapshot of the objects then, and maybe trace the photo.

    No, this sort of software is actually much more useful for people who _can_ draw and/or sculpt, or who at least have a well-developed sense of proportion. Architects have been using this kind of software [nemetschek.net] for years to produce drawings that appear hand-drawn from CAD drawings.

    It's hardly a new idea.
    • "If you can't even draw.....then how the hell are you going to create realistic 3D meshes?"

      Simple. Good reference. Drawing is not a requirement for 3D models. As a matter of fact, I bet you've seen CG work that has stunned you that was created by a person with no drawing skills.

      "No, this sort of software is actually much more useful for people who _can_ draw and/or sculpt, or who at least have a well-developed sense of proportion. "

      I'm not sure I understand this comment. This software is for peo
    • Err... I can't draw for crap, yet I created this [soupisgoodfood.net] highly detailed model of an RC car.

      Drawing freehand and creating a model with 3D modeling software are completly different things.
      Hell, next thing you'll be telling us is that all computer graphic designers are good drawers aswell.

  • Hmmm... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Axem ( 713217 )
    So I can now either:

    1) Draw stickmen for the rest of my life.

    2) "Draw" boxes for the rest of my life.

    Hmmm... those quotes around the draw really make in tempting...
  • Wow! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jameth ( 664111 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:21AM (#10542688)
    The open-source community just discovered cell-shading? I'm ashamed.
    • "The open-source community just discovered cell-shading? I'm ashamed."

      Sorry to take the fun out of your comment, but this isn't cel shading. It's inking. Cel shaders are, in essence, a dumbing down of normal shading. Instead of getting a smooth gradient from light to dark, instead you get a handful of harsh color zones. Inking is the following pass that takes the edges of a model and paints a line on them. It's trickier than it sounds.
  • by atomico ( 162710 ) <miguel.cardo@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @12:38AM (#10542743) Homepage
    Some free advice boys and girls: NEVER attempt to market something called "inkulator" in Spanish-speaking countries!
  • Here [sourceforge.net] (In case it gets slashdotted, it is a hand flexing in a very peculiar manner)

    I'd recognize that motion anywhere.
  • The last thing we need is more help for people drawing furries and "anime" for DeviantArt...
  • NPR Quake (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BinLadenMyHero ( 688544 ) <binladen&9hells,org> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @01:21AM (#10542879) Journal
    Many years ago there was NPR Quake [wisc.edu], a mod for Quake I that adds a new rendering system that looks like hand-made pencil drawing.
    Check [wisc.edu] these [wisc.edu] screenshots [wisc.edu].

    And here [wisc.edu] is a more modern version.
  • LiveArt by Thinkfish (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drerwk ( 695572 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @01:34AM (#10542917) Homepage
    Thinkfish produced a realtime artistic rendering engine ( PC and Mac ) around '97. The drawings generated ranged from charcoal, pen & ink, watercolor, over 30 styles. I was one of the engineers on the project. We did a plug in for SGI Cosmo Worlds, and Painter3D, as well as Archicad. My personal favorite was being able to render a charcoal drawing style walkthrough with QuicktimeVR. Looked very much like the A-HA "Take On Me" music video circa '85.
    see LiveArt [viewpoint.com] IMHO - I've yet to see it done better - especially considering we did it realtime.
    • You know, that sounds familiar. A few years back, I had a Photoshop plugin that did these sorts of effects, I particularly liked the pencil sketch effect that looked a lot like the A-HA video you mentioned. But I lost the plugin and I can't for the life of me remember who produced it. Oh well, it was cheap at about $50. I'd buy it again in a minute if I could figure out where to get it, and if it was updated for Photoshop CS.
  • italians... (Score:3, Funny)

    by an_mo ( 175299 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @01:48AM (#10542949) Journal
    nice name... it will ring great to italians
  • Finding models for the people shouldn't be too hard. What about backgrounds/sets?
  • hey (Score:2, Funny)

    by ZeNTuRe ( 771486 )
    Inkulator in spanish means something like "assfucker", you insensitive clod!
  • This is an interesting tool with potential...but I can't really see myself using it too much. I am already satisfied with Poser and Bryce for my 3d rendered webcomic, I can't really see myself putting in hours of work only to shred it to create a look I was trying to avoid in the first place. To each their own of course
  • by acz ( 120227 ) <z AT hert DOT org> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @02:39AM (#10543068) Homepage
    It is pronounced too much like Enculator 9000...
    which litteraly means Buttf*cker in french!
  • by acz ( 120227 ) <z AT hert DOT org> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @02:49AM (#10543098) Homepage
    There are tons of better software than this
    "inkulator" (which is pronounced like a really bad insult in french, "enculator" [buttf*cker] ).

    I have been using illustrate [davidgould.com] for a while and it was used by others to create the original windows XP icons, architecture [davidgould.com] drawings, technical drawings [davidgould.com] and
    many cartoons [davidgould.com] including animated features such as Corto Maltese [davidgould.com]...

    Take a look at the other galleries [davidgould.com], some of the renderings are really impressive.
  • ...albeit shittily [amongthechosen.com] in my case...

    Pencilling, inking, and scanning is ultimately faster than diddling a 3d mesh into a render that's even close to what you have in your head. Not only that, but if you want, say.... variable line weight or a very specific style of hatching, you'll have pages of sequential art done by hand before you can get a single render to look right.

    This stuff definitely has its uses, but it's never going to replace the traditional media, at least not completely.

    Me, I draw all of my hu
  • by Fulkkari ( 603331 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:52AM (#10543238)

    ...why everyone is so negative. I found this project at SourceForge.net a while ago, and I thought it was quite cool and started to follow it's progress. Just because the commercial XYZ app already can do something similar, I don't understand why we need to bash this project down.

  • Do your model in Blender. Follow this tutorial:

    The Anime Shader Tutorial [netscape.com]. (Warning: If you go to that link straight from Google, it will give you a 404 error, but if you cut/paste the URL into a new browser, it brings it up, so it looks like Netscape is playing some nasty referrer games -- they might do the same for Slashdot referrers)

    Need some models? I have a free (for noncommercial use) nude woman model on my site: faemalia dot net, the Blender page [faemalia.net]. Feel free to improve upon her and share improvement
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @06:30AM (#10543525)
    The beauty of the human-driven pencil is that the end image can easily represent dream reality rather than the purely logical reality in which computers are locked.

    --Unless an artist uses very rigid rules of perspective, (which most comics and classic animations I've seen rarely bother with), then information represented visually is unrestrained by 3d physical rules. "Squish & Stretch" in the Bugs Bunny universe only works in a 2d, non-logical environment. EVERY time I've seen eyeballs bugging out attempted by 3d software, it looks scary and unsettling rather than funny. That's only one very small example.

    This is why, while I enjoyed animations like "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo", I found them to be limited.

    Stories bubble up from the realm of the subconscious; the dream world. Stripping them of that quality seems far more a time-saving compromise than it does an artistic achievement.

    But then there are so many people hell-bent on stripping this world of all things non-logical, non-literal, non-material that this latest move to cut out the intuitive aspect of humanity should be expected as a very 'logical' step, I suppose.

    Materialism is what you are left with once you have reduced your sensory inputs to only include those sanctioned by the "Learning Channel" and your high school science teacher.

    Next stop: Voluntary Autism!

    The logical half of our minds, while powerful, is over-used and our intuitive sides are shunned and atrophied. The most powerful people will always be those have the two sides working in concert.

    But of course, I suspect the Powers That Be don't want the populations which feed them to be powerful or aware of any possibilities beyond those within very limited, very strict parameters. This is largely why, I think, computers have been allowed to spread as they have. Computers cannot think Outside of the Box.

    I find it interesting that early on, there were efforts put into the development of analog computers. The theories were sound, but the funding went elsewhere. . .


    -FL

  • To create 3d models it's pretty standard to draw front and side (sometimes top) elevations and use them as guides when making your model.

    However i can still see this being pretty useful when you need to put out a low quality comic week after week - as no animation is involved it's a very quick process just to position characters correctly.

    I would be surprised if there are no similar cell-shaders available already though..
  • by Zaiff Urgulbunger ( 591514 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @08:33AM (#10543727)
    ...software to render pen-and-ink style drawings...

    Thousands of Londoners/Sweeney fans[1] and ex-pat Londoners around the world are wondering exactly what makes it stink[2]



    [1] The Sweeney - a 1970's UK tv drama [tvtome.com]
    [2] Pen-and-ink.... stink.... no? See Cockney Rhyming Slang [cockneyrhy...lang.co.uk]
  • Artists like myself feel that this can only make hand-drawings and handmade arts more valuable and rare, as every shlub can and will do art with the computer. However, since I have done some art with a computer, I feel that I too am a shlub and will eventually use this to increase the value of my own hand renderings by selling limited edition copies of my own works that the computer did for cheaper.

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