[[quoteright:312:[[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cel-shaded-animation.jpg]]]]

Cel Shading is a style of computer rendering that imitates the look of hand-drawn artwork and animation. In layman's terms, it replaces the shading gradient of conventional rendering with flat colors and shadows (as seen at right). The style was codified with the SegaDreamcast game ''VideoGame/JetSetRadio''.

While the style is not exclusive to VideoGames, it is often used there since this is the only way to produce a hand-drawn look via computer polygons. In other media, Cel Shading can be useful to render specific items in a hand-drawn production, if a given scene would be too difficult to animate by hand, such as a rotating object or an EpicTrackingShot traveling down the length of a massive vehicle. There are also animated series produced exclusively via cel shading, usually for similar reasons. When mixing cel shading with traditional animation, it's important to calibrate the renderer to avoid [[ConspicuousCG visually clashing with the rest of the production]] (i.e. being ''too'' detailed or smoothly animated).

Be careful when tossing terms around; Cel Shading applies first and foremost to the way the ''lighting'' is rendered. Conventional rendering can still utilize solid colors, simplistic textures, and cartoonish caricatures (e.g. ''TheIncredibles'' or the 3D ''SuperMario'' games). Likewise, Cel Shading can be as realistically-proportioned and textured as any hand-drawing. ''Actual'' hand-drawn media is never an example, for obvious reasons, nor are cels drawn on computers in a manner similar to conventional animation.

The name comes from the cels hand-drawn cartoons were traditionally painted on to. {{Chiaroscuro}} is an oft-used visual effect.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''{{Appleseed}}'' -- The 2004 movie and its sequel, ''Ex Machina''.
* From the same production team, ''{{Vexille}}''.
* ''Anime/DawnOfTheSeeker'' (also by the same people) uses cel shading for the human characters but photorealistic rendering for the environments and the monsters.
* ''Anime/TransformersEnergon'' used cel shading for the CGI transformers. How well they did [[SpecialEffectsFailure is a whole other matter entirely]]. Occasionally, the CGI would be replaced with traditional animation, creating an even worse jarring effect -- and worse yet -- it blew the CGI out of the water.
* ''GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' used excellent cel shading on the CG Tachikomas. Other CG vehicles tended to be rather more [[ConspicuousCG conspicuous]].
* ''FreedomProject'', which had character designs by KatsuhiroOtomo.
* ''CodeGeassAkitoTheExiled'' uses cel shading on its highly detailed Knightmare Frames with very good results.
* ''InitialD'' Fourth Stage uses cel shading to great effect, compared to the ConspicuousCG of earlier stages.
* Envy's true form in ''[[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood]]'' is cel shaded CGI. Also the various animated suits of armor.
* ''Anime/{{To}}'' (a two-episode anime that can be found on Netflix) is animated entirely with cel-shading, and looks very similar to ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'''s artstyle.
* ''{{Kakurenbo}}: Hide and Seek'' is mainly cel-shading.
* Some scenes in ''Anime/KirbyOfTheStars'' are rendered in cel-shaded 3D. [[ConspicuousCG The show alternates between traditional animation and cel-shading a lot]].

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[[folder: Live-Action Television ]]

* In one episode of ''{{Warehouse 13}}'' featuring a virtual reality game, the "in-game" scenes were subtly rendered with cel shading techniques to help distinguish them from the outside reality.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''{{Goosebumps}}: Attack of the Mutant'' is one of the earliest and most primitive uses of this technique, actually [[OlderThanTheyThink predating the usually-cited TropeMaker by three years]].
* ''VideoGame/JetSetRadio'', and its follow-up ''Jet Set Radio Future''. In fact, the first ''Jet Set Radio'' [[TropeMaker developed the basic technique for cel shading in videogames for the first time.]] It was the earliest true 3D game to deliberately incorporate manga-esque cel shading into its graphics engine.
** ''VideoGame/SonicShuffle'', released around the same time as ''Jet Set Radio'', did the same.
* ''TheSimpsonsGame''
* ''RedSteel 2'' does this, which actually makes the game look better on the Wii than if they were to go for a realistic style.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' [[TropeCodifier famously used this,]] (although it was mixed with slightly realistic lighting and effects as well as relatively detailed textures) causing a huge backlash from the {{Fandom}}/FanDumb before and shortly after release, when some games grew fonder of the style. Nintendo used a similar cel-shading style with the Nintendo DS Zelda games, tailored for the DS's lower hardware capacity.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' also has a cel-shading style (made to look like an impressionist painting rather than a cartoon), but set on characters with proportions more in line with ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]''. [[HistoryRepeats It got the same initial reaction]].
* ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn]]'' both used cel-shading in cutscenes that at times looks almost exactly like traditional animation.
** ''FireEmblemAwakening'' does this even better. A still from one of the cutscenes could pass for hand-drawn animation.
* ''VideoGame/CelDamage''
* ''[[ChoroQ Choro Q Works]]''
* ''MusashiSamuraiLegend'', loose sequel to ''BraveFencerMusashi''
* ''VideoGame/DarkChronicle''
* ''RogueGalaxy''
* ''VideoGame/{{Killer7}}''
* ''LemmingballZ''
* ''FutureBoyConan''
* ''{{VideoGame/The Wolf Among Us}}'' does this in a manner similar to a graphic novel, mostly so it can look like its source material, ''{{Fables}}''.
* ''Franchise/SlyCooper''
* ''SteambotChronicles''
* ''VideoGame/ViewtifulJoe''
* ''VideoGame/StrongBadsCoolGameForAttractivePeople'' adopts the style of its parent web animated series ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner''.
* ''{{VideoGame/XIII}}''
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' and both ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' games.
* ''DragonQuest'' entries ''[[VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII VIII]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/DragonQuestIX IX]]''.
* ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' [[VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle and its sequel.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 3}}'', done to hide the fact that the models are almost PS1-quality. All subsequent ''WildArms'' games utilize it much better, however.
* ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersia2008'', another painted-style approach.
* ''BreathOfFire: Dragon Quarter''.
* ''VideoGame/UltimateSpiderMan'' used a version that looked a bit more like a comic-book rather than a cartoon.
* ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders: The Second Runner'' used a subtler version to give the visuals a unique style.
* The ''Franchise/{{Naruto}}: Ultimate Ninja'' series
* The ''VideoGame/DragonBallZBudokai'' and ''[[VideoGame/DragonBallZBudokaiTenkaichi Budokai Tenkaichi]]'' series, starting with the second one. (The Gamecube version of the first ''Budokai'' had something ''like'' cel-shading, though.)
* ''VideoGame/BombermanJetters.'' Interestingly, the Japanese version of the game ''wasn't'' cel-shaded.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}: Shattered Blade''
* ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'': Looks like a chiaroscuro drawing painted with watercolors.
* ''VideoGame/PunchOut'' for the Wii features this look.
* ''VideoGame/ChromeHounds'' uses cel-shading in a subtle manner, similar to ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders 2''.
* ''Film/UnderTheSkin''
* ''{{Futurama}}''
* ''VideoGame/RobotechBattlecry''
* ''Anime/DigimonSavers: Another Mission'', [[MarketBasedTitle released in English as]] ''DigimonWorld Data Squad''.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManXCommandMission''
* ''AutoModellista'' is notable as one of the first auto racing game to use cel shading.
* ''Drift City'', an auto racing MMORPG
* The second ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'' video game uses cel shaded graphics and looks a lot better for it.
* ''VideoGame/{{Atelier Rorona|The Alchemist of Arland}}''
* ''[[VideoGame/TheFairlyOddparentsBreakinDaRules The Fairly Oddparents: Breakin' Da Rules]]'' used this.
* ''VideoGame/NarutoClashOfNinja''
* The MMORPG ''[[MabinogiFantasyLife Mabinogi]]''
* Another MMORPG, ''VideoGame/DreamOfMirrorOnline''
* Done very well in ''VideoGame/ChampionsOnline''.
* ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'': Made to look more like Hindu and Buddhist art than a Cartoon, and not quite as pronounced as other examples, but it's occasionally noticeable.
* ''VideoGame/TheDarkness 2'' has a cel-shaded look, apparently to remind players of it's comic book origins.
* ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3''
* ''SealOnline''
* ''PennyArcadeAdventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness'' (the first two episodes, anyway)
* ''VideoGame/PokerNightAtTheInventory'' uses this on the [[WebAnimation/HomestarRunner Strong Bad]] and [[Webcomic/PennyArcade Tycho]] models.
* ''VideoGame/EternalSonata'' uses very thin outlines around the character models.
* The Franchise/TalesSeries uses this frequently, perhaps most notably in ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'' and ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Klonoa}} 2: Lunatea's Veil''
* ''VideoGame/GravityRush''
* ''FurFighters''
* ''NiNoKuni'', the art for the game was done to such an extent to mimic hand-drawn animation. Given StudioGhibli had involvement, it makes sense.
* ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear Xrd'', uses this in place of traditional 2D sprites. In addition to cel shading the character models, Creator/ArcSystemWorks also animated them with minimal tweening making them move just like traditional 2D sprites would (or as close as is possible with 3D models).
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros 4'' has this for the Nintendo3DS version. This had previously been used for Toon Link from ''The Wind Waker'' in ''Brawl''.
* The PC version of ''VideoGame/SheepDogNWolf'', although mostly just for the characters and some of the objects.
* ''VideoGame/AHatInTime''
* ''VideoGame/GanbareGoemon: Toukai Douchuu Ooedo Tengurigaeshi no Maki''
* ''VideoGame/VectorThrust'', possibly the only example for this in a flight simulator.

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[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* ''Webcomic/{{Terra}}'' uses bits of this this as part of its art style. Helps that it's drawn on a computer.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Creator/{{MTV}}'s ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheNewAnimatedSeries'', produced by MainframeEntertainment was computer animated, but done using cel shading.
* ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'' had an episode in a game based on ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' and ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' and the entire world was cel shaded, even the main characters when they rebooted into game characters.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheDrinkyCrowShow''.
* ''{{Skyland}}'': A weird middle ground between [[{{anime}} cartoon]] style and {{realism}}, leading down into the UncannyValley.
* The CGI parts of ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', such as the Planet Express ship and the New New York backdrop, are cel-shaded so well that in some scenes, the ''animation staff'' (in the DVDCommentary) can't tell what's CG and what's hand-drawn.
* Because of their bigger budgets, post-revival episodes of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' use cel-shaded CG for things like cars and moving backgrounds.
* ''IronManArmoredAdventures''
* ''TheIronGiant'': The Giant is CG, and fits perfect with the traditionally-animated human characters and landscapes. This is largely because the animation team added subtle imperfections to the Giant's outline and framerate to make it more closely resemble traditional animation.
* ''StarWarsCloneWars'': The CGI vehicles.
* The wildebeest stampede from ''Disney/TheLionKing'' was created this way, and took about ''two years'' to animate.
* {{Disney}}'s ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'' was originally supposed to look like an oil painting on canvas, but the technology was never perfected, so it ended up being done with conventional computer animation. However, the look is much softer and more fluid than any movie that's come beforehand, and the character designs are a very good translation of Disney 2D. That said, the oil painting look can be seen in some of the backgrounds. It's especially evident in some of the forest scenes.
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' is animated in CG, but the overall look of the show emulates elements of both regular CG and Cel Shaded graphics. What is done is in addition to the "hard line" shadow they also added a third level, a reflective highlight to the metal forms, and so achieving a "cel shaded but not quite cel shaded" look to it. The regular humans have a bit more of a traditional CG appearance, but the hard shadow is still apparent and they have slightly exaggerated proportions to better blend with the hyper-stylized robots.
* The 3D segments of ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' use cel-shaded spaceships, planets and stuff.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' episode "Sandy, SpongeBob, & The Worm", this was used in one shot when Sandy & SpongeBob were running away from the giant worm.
* "Literature/TheSteadfastTinSoldier" segment of [[Disney/{{Fantasia}} ''Fantasia 2000'']].
* ''WesternAnimation/TronUprising''
* The Hydra in ''{{Disney/Hercules}}''.
* On ''Disney/TreasurePlanet'', cel shading was used for John Sliver's cyborg parts and for the RobotBuddy character B.E.N. CG backgrounds were specially rendered to look like moving oil paintings.
* Drix from ''OsmosisJones'', to show that he was a synthetic drug in an organic world.

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[[folder: Other ]]

* A software called [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as1RIDef6fs DanceÎMixer]].
* MikuMikuDance
* Character-poser software such Poser and Daz Studio, and full animation suites such as Carerra and [=3DSMax=], have a cel-shader packaged or available as an optional extra. 3D Custom Girl features cel-shading by default. The last one is used more for producing hentai images, but [[{{Rule34}} so are all the others]].
* The opening to ''CanadasWorstDriver'' is presented through this.

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[[folder: Not cel-shading, but often mistaken for it ]]

* ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' used black outlines and textures with penciled-in lines to give the game a stylized ComicBook-esque look, but the lighting and shading was done realistically.
** Similarly, ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'' has adopted a sort of inkbrush look but does not use actual cel-shading.
** ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'', however, used a combination real-time filter and specially crafted textures to give the in-game world and characters the ComicBook-esque look, but had the lighting and shading exempted from the filter- this allows the characters to look comic book-esque, but keep lighting and shadows realistic, at the cost of high GPU load [[http://www.gamefront.com/how-to-improve-borderlands-2-with-ini-file-tweaks/]]. Gamers have found that turning off the filter (by tweaking the .ini file) reduced the comic book-esque effect to almost nonexistent, but it does make the game run smoother on lower end GPU hardware.
* ''VideoGame/FearEffect'' is an odd example: It used special textures to fake the look of cel-shading, but the characters weren't actually lit by anything. While it uses a completely different technique from cel-shading, in execution it looks identical.
* At the time Disney made ''TheGreatMouseDetective'', a method for placing [=CGI=] directly into an animated film didn't exist. The clock innards were created as wire-frame graphics, printed out and rotoscoped onto the animation cels. Retroactively, this achieves exactly the same look as modern-day cel-shaded animation.
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' uses a lighting system (Phong shading) which falls somewhere between cel-shading and realistic lighting. While the line between lit and unlit is stronger than a realistically-lit scene, it's also fuzzier than a cel-shaded one. The game's shaders also include ones for directional ambient light sources above and below the characters in addition to the standard lighting (ambient lighting is usually just handled by adding a constant amount of light to all lighting calculations regardless of the direction a surface is pointing so shadowed surfaces don't turn out black). This was inspired by, of all things, the advertising art of J.D. Leyendecker, who worked for ''The Saturday Evening Post''. This additionally gives the game a sort of "Americana" feel, like that of a WWII ad, or manly pulp magazine.
* ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' uses a fairly unique rendering method involving flowing liquid shadows (and outlined models) meant to look like ink. Although in still shots it looks slightly similar to cel-shading, the actual technique, and the appearance in motion, is completely different (notably it isn't tied to light sources, instead being closer to ambient occlusion). The same applies for ''VideoGame/{{Okamiden}}''.
* The ''VideoGame/SonicRush'' series (and the DS version of ''VideoGame/SonicColors'') puts outlines around Sonic, Blaze, and other characters who appear in 3D, but the models themselves have little to no shading.
* The Disney short ''WesternAnimation/{{Paperman}}'' looks almost as if it were cel-shaded - the animation looks traditional, but the way the characters' heads and bodies turn make it look 3D. The animators actually drew lines on top of the CG models to achieve this look.
* For some reason, many games running on the Unreal Engine that uses outlined models, such as Trendy's ''VideoGame/DungeonDefenders'', [=SUDA51=]'s ''VideoGame/LollipopChainsaw'' and the aforementioned ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}''. The models may be outlined, but the shading is realistic (except ''Lollipop Chainsaw'', which uses a more stylish shading technique, but it's still not cel-shading). Mind you, this isn't a technical limitation of the engine. Either it is a deliberate technique or a [[Main/LazyArtist reluctance to develop new materials in the Material Editor.]]
* ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear Xrd'' averts this. Most people don't even realize it's an Unreal Engine game (let alone a 3D game at all) unless told otherwise.
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