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stylized tree - shading

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Hello everybody. 🙂


I'm trying to create stylized trees in C4D.

I want them to look kind of like the ones in this video, but I'm struggling with the shading/lighting.



It's basically just a plane with a leaf texture&alpha, cloned around a sphere. But unfortunately for me it looks like the image below. Is there a way to get rid of the very dark shadows in the center and the bright edges pointing towards the camera? Some kind of hidden switch somewhere? 😄 Is this even possible in C4D, using the standard/physical renderer?




I know there is a way in Maya to get these kinds of objects to accept the shading from another object. (like telling it to behave like a sphere)

This guy is doing it around the 2 hour mark:



I hope this isn't super obvious. I have only been using C4D for less than a year. So I apologize if this is a dumb question. 🙂

I have attached the project file, in case anybody wants to take a look. Sorry if this has been asked before, I tried the search and couldn't find anything. I've been banging my head against the wall for a couple of hours now, google didn't help either. 😕

Any tips are very much appreciated.




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 You may be falling into the 'alpha trap'. Trees particularly can cause this because the camera ends up looking through loads of layers of transparency. If this is the case, there probably isn't enough ray depth in your render settings (options tab) to get through them all - try doubling what is there and see if that helps.



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not really the issue here. there's several at play.


1. you should rather work in the luminance channel for something like this.


2. your geometry with the flat planes cause issues in combination with the cel shader. the cel shader cares about normal direction, and if your normals are facing the wrong way, the behaviour of the cel shader gets inverted. the way you arranged your flat planes makes it so in some areas, we naturally see the backface of your planes. to work around this you can add just a tiny bit of thickness to your planes by extruding them a little with create caps ticked. you need another entirely transparent material then for the extrude-edges, otherwise there will be lines around your planes.


3. i wouldn't create the canopy that way, your shading always can be just as good as your model, so i would recommend putting a simple leaf model with some  thickness into a cloner instead.


4. AFAIK there's no shader in c4d where we can project a shading from a more simple model to a more complex one. for your case, what you can do is to use a proximal shader, with a proximal object in a spot that matches your light direction. combine this with a posterize and colorize effect, maybe put a subtile ambient occlusion shader on top, and you're pretty much there.


CleanShot 2021-07-13 at 16.37.25@2x.png


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Hey, thanks a lot for your help! 🙂

I've played around with proxima, colorize and AO and getting pretty close to where I wanted it to be!

I chose to do the leaves this way because I wanted to keep my polygons to a minimum. I need to make a couple of those trees and they'll be part of a larger scene with a lot more stuff going on. But I think I'll try to make one with single leaves, to see if it works better. 🙂





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What you can also do, which is the standard way game engines solve this issue for foliage:

This should give you the exact result you're looking for, even without Cel-Shader.


Result looks something like this: 


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