[[quoteright:312:[[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cel-shaded-animation.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:312:Picture taken from [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cel_shading Wikipedia]], representing a spacesuit from ''Franchise/{{Tintin}}''[='=]s "Destination Moon" saga.]]

Cel Shading is a style of computer rendering that replaces the shading gradient of conventional rendering with flat colors and shadows (as seen at right). In layman's terms, it imitates the look of hand-drawn artwork and animation. The style was codified with the UsefulNotes/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. ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'' or the 3D ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' 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 that hand-drawn cartoons were traditionally painted on. {{Chiaroscuro}} is an oft-used visual effect.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Appleseed}}'' -- The 2004 movie and its sequel, ''Ex Machina''.
* From the same production team, ''Anime/{{Vexille}}''.
* ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' had a 2012-13 movie trilogy adaptation which tried to blend lots of 3D character models and objects for the big army and action scenes with traditional 2D animation, using shaders to make the colors, shadows, and textures look more two-dimensional.
* ''Anime/Berserk2016'' is a hybrid between 3D CGI and 2D hand-drawn anime. The 3D characters and objects are filtered through a cel shader that turns the shadows into solid blocks of color instead of smooth gradients to make them look more like 2D cartoons. A particular feature is that the shadows are filled with a linear hatching effect which simulates shading with a pen or pencil, and the same hatching effect is applied to the shadows that appear on any 2D models to create a more uniform look.
* ''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.
* ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' used excellent cel shading on the CG Tachikomas. Other CG vehicles tended to be rather more {{conspicuous|CG}}.
* ''Anime/FreedomProject'', which had character designs by Creator/KatsuhiroOtomo.
* ''Anime/CodeGeassAkitoTheExiled'' uses cel shading on its highly detailed Knightmare Frames with very good results.
* ''Manga/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.
* ''[[Manga/TwoThousandOneNights 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.
* ''Anime/{{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]].
* In ''Anime/SailorMoonCrystal,'' the switch to 3D animation used for team shots during the opening and for the heroine's TransformationSequence is cel-shaded, but that doesn't prevent it from being fairly ConspicuousCG, due to the flatter aesthetic of the traditionally animated NoodlePeople character designs. Complaints about this causing UncannyValley lead to [[AuthorsSavingThrow Season 2 and beyond switching to using traditional animation completely]].
* ''Anime/SuzysZooDaisukiWitzy'' employs this trope so well that it is impossible to tell that it's actually CGI without checking the credits, or catching several very small quirks (ie, the characters turning wouldn't be that fluid if it was 2D animation).
* ''Anime/{{Macross}}'' series from ''Anime/MacrossFrontier'' onward use this to render the mecha. It's relatively well-done, if still somewhat conspicuous.
* Creator/PolygonPictures uses this for the second ''Anime/GhostInTheShell'' movie, ''Manga/KnightsOfCydonia'', ''Manga/{{Ajin}}'', and ''Manga/FistOfTheBlueSky''. They're also responsible for the cel-shading of American animated shows ''WesternAnimation/TronUprising'' and ''WesternAnimation/TransformersRobotsInDisguise2015'', as well as the less obvious ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' and ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars''.
* ''Manga/LandOfTheLustrous'' uses this and is considered one of the best examples of cel-shading in anime ever. Possibly in part because it gives off an intentional UncannyValley to the characters, who are either gems that just so happen to physically resemble humans, divine ghost-like beings, or [[spoiler:an android]].

* ''WesternAnimation/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.
* The wildebeest stampede from ''Disney/TheLionKing'' was created this way, and took about ''two years'' to animate.
* Creator/{{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.
* "Literature/TheSteadfastTinSoldier" segment of ''Disney/{{Fantasia 2000}}''.
* 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 ''Film/OsmosisJones'', to show that he was a synthetic drug in an organic world.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In one episode of ''Series/{{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.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/AttackOfTheMutant'' is one of the earliest and most primitive uses of this technique, actually [[OlderThanTheyThink predating the usually-cited Trope Maker 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.
* ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsGame''
* ''VideoGame/RedSteel 2'' does this, which actually makes the game look better on the Wii than if they were to go for a realistic style.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** ''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 (namely ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass Phantom Hourglass]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks Spirit Tracks]]''), 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/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild'' is revealed to use a Cel Shading style as well, though it uses a much more powerful graphical engine, stylistically reminiscent of the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gouache gouache]] watermedia.
* ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance]]'' and its direct sequel ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Radiant Dawn]]'' both used cel-shading in cutscenes that at times looks almost exactly like traditional animation. ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' does this even better and based off the trailer of [[VideoGame/FireEmblemFates the next game]] this appears to now be the franchise style in terms of cinematic scenes. A still from one of the cutscenes could pass for hand-drawn animation.
* ''VideoGame/CelDamage''
* ''[[VideoGame/ChoroQ Choro Q Works]]''
* ''VideoGame/MusashiSamuraiLegend''
* ''VideoGame/DarkChronicle''
* ''VideoGame/RogueGalaxy''
* ''VideoGame/{{Killer7}}''
* ''LemmingballZ''
* ''Anime/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, ''{{ComicBook/Fables}}''.
* ''Franchise/SlyCooper''
* ''VideoGame/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.
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' entries ''[[VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII VIII]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/DragonQuestIX IX]]''.
* ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' [[VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle and its sequel.]]
* ''VideoGame/WildArms3'', done to hide the fact that the models are almost [=PS1=]-quality. All subsequent ''VideoGame/WildArms'' games utilize it much better, however.
* ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersia2008'', another painted-style approach.
* ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireDragonQuarter''.
* ''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.) This continues into ''VideoGame/DragonBallFighterZ''.
* ''VideoGame/BombermanOnline''
* ''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''
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}''
* ''VideoGame/RobotechBattlecry''
* ''Anime/DigimonSavers: Another Mission'', [[MarketBasedTitle released in English as]] ''VideoGame/DigimonWorldDataSquad''.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManXCommandMission''
* ''VideoGame/AutoModellista'' is notable as one of the first auto racing game to use cel shading.
* ''Drift City'', an auto racing MMORPG
* The second and third ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'' video games on the [=PS2=] use cel shaded graphics, and look a lot better than the first one for it.
* ''VideoGame/{{Atelier Rorona|The Alchemist of Arland}}''
* ''[[VideoGame/TheFairlyOddparentsBreakinDaRules The Fairly Oddparents: Breakin' Da Rules]]'' used this.
* ''VideoGame/NarutoClashOfNinja''
* The MMORPG ''VideoGame/{{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/SealOnline''
* ''VideoGame/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 VideoGame/TalesSeries uses this frequently, perhaps most notably in ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'' and ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Klonoa}} 2: Lunatea's Veil''
* ''VideoGame/GravityRush''
* ''VideoGame/FurFighters''
* ''VideoGame/NiNoKuni'', the art for the game was done to such an extent to mimic hand-drawn animation. Given Creator/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 3DS version. This had previously been used for trophies based on ''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.
* ''VideoGame/TinyAndBig'', which leverages the effect to emulate comic books.
* ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'' uses cel shading for virtually every 3D model, both in the overworld and during battles, where it's much more noticeable. The ''VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire'' remakes do this as well, since they're based on the same engine.
* ''VideoGame/MadWorld'' combines this with DeliberatelyMonochrome to give the artstyle an overall ''Comic/SinCity''-esque feel to it.
* ''Guise of the Wolf'' uses cel-shaded to provide objects with obtrusive thick black outlines.
* ''VideoGame/MysteryOfMortlakeMansion'' has elements of both this and oil painting.
* A far more obscure game by the name of ''Doctor Hauzer'' for the 3DO is likely the Ur-Example, being released in ''1994'', six years before being codified in video games by ''VideoGame/JetSetRadio''
* The ''VideoGame/{{Neptunia}}'' series uses heavily-shaded models to give the characters an anime-inspired look. This is most easily seen in dungeons where you can play around with the camera. Otherwise, the visual novel-esque cutscenes tend to use either shaded CG stills or sprites.

%%[[folder:Web Animation]]
%%* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}''

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

[[folder:Western Animation]]
%%* ''WesternAnimation/StormHawks''
* Creator/{{MTV}}'s ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheNewAnimatedSeries'', produced by Creator/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''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{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.
* ''WesternAnimation/IronManArmoredAdventures'', whose animation is outsourced to French company Method Animation in cooperation with DQ Animation. Method Animation would later provide CGI to Creator/{{Zagtoon}} shows including ''WesternAnimation/MiraculousLadybug'' and ''WesternAnimation/ZakStorm'', and DQ Animation would later provide CGI for ''WesternAnimation/MilesFromTomorrowland'', ''WesternAnimation/CasparsScareSchool'', and a few conspicuous rip-offs of Disney films.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsCloneWars'': The CGI vehicles.
* ''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 sequel series to ''Prime'', ''WesternAnimation/TransformersRobotsInDisguise2015'', uses more cel-shading than its predecessor.
* 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.
* ''WesternAnimation/TronUprising''. Helps considering that the show takes place in a digital world with digital characters, which helps invoke UncannyValley in a good way.
* ''WesternAnimation/StormHawks'' is an AllCGICartoon, with every character and creature being rendered to look like a 2D cartoon. Animation-wise, the show is one of the best looking examples of its kind.

* A software called [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as1RIDef6fs Dance×Mixer]].
* UsefulNotes/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 ''Series/CanadasWorstDriver'' is presented through this.

[[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. ''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/StreetFighterIV'' has adopted a sort of inkbrush look but does not use actual cel-shading.
* ''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.
* ''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.
* At the time Disney made ''Disney/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
* The Disney short ''WesternAnimation/{{Paperman}}'' looks almost as if it were cel-shaded, but noticeably different; the animation looks traditional, but it is also lit akin to a CG film. The animators actually drew lines by hand on top of the CG models to achieve this look.
* ''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.
* 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.]]
* Toon Link in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosBrawl'' has the exact same shading as everyone else, yet was frequently said to be cel-shaded.