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About the Author

Adam Phillips

Adam Phillips




Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Adam Phillips. In this series, we'll look at the brand new Volumetric Lighting features in Toon Boom Harmony Premium.

This first video will go through the new nodes available in the Node Library.

In order to apply Volumetric Lighting to a 2D drawing we need to somehow give it depth and volume, as if it's being thickened or inflated. So Harmony Premium does this by bevelling the edges of the drawing. And you tweak the height and smoothness of that bevel to simulate volume, so the drawing no longer appears flat. Harmony Premium's Volumetric Lighting is based on the silhouette of a drawing. But as we know, a silhouette is strictly 2D and it contains no depth or volume information. So with this limitation in mind, we can take extra steps if we want to add extra details within the silhouette, like a nose bump or eye sockets and things like that. So let's step through the individual nodes and talk about what they do.

In the Node Library, you'll see Shading in the list. And these nodes, each contribute to a Volumetric Lighting setup.

First up, let's look at the Volume Object node. It's the first required node in the setup and you'll plug your drawing into it. It gives your drawing or animation layer a unique object ID and that ID will be referenced in other nodes.

The next one is the Normal Map node and it goes in underneath the Volume Object node. This is the one that gives volume or thickness to a drawing layer. The values here will give the appearance of depth with a bevel effect, just like the bevel in other graphic applications, like Photoshop, etc. After the ID value, there is the Bevel Size field. The Elevation value determines the height of the bevel. And the Elevation Smoothness softens it. You can experiment with each of these values for different results.

And as you can see here, below, the values may be animated over time, using the multiplier fields.

Now in the lower half of the Normal Map properties, there is the Override Modeling by Colour section, but this is for more complex and varied Volumetric Lighting. So we're going to skip it for now and talk about it in a later video.

With these first two nodes set, we're already able to preview the volume that's been given to the drawings. So the result of this network and its setting so far can be seen by plugging the Display node into the Normal Map node and going into Render view. You can watch the volume update as you manipulate these values. The Light and Tone Shaders apply light and shadow to your drawing. Now they're very similar, the two of them, but one applies light and one applies tone. So we're going to just look at the Light [Shader] here. The Normal Map plugs into the middle port and the Volume Object plugs into the right port. So there's a good number of settings here that allow you to control the Type, Intensity and Colour of the Light and many more. Some of these values are sensitive to the Type of Light too. So we'll look at them more in the next video.

The direction and position of the light is calculated using this Light Position node. It plugs into the left-most port of the Light Shader. Or the Tone Shader, if you are using that. And there are peg inputs at the top to control the position of the light and also its target.

Oh by the way, you're not limited to a single light in each scene. You can have many lights in a scene, each affecting different drawing layers. Or you can have several lights affecting a single drawing layer.

But in the next video, we'll set all of these up on a drawing layer and play with the settings to see how they work.

Next: A Simple Setup