Scientific Publication: Deep Normal Estimation for Automatic Shading of Hand-Drawn Characters by Trinity College Dublin

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M Hudon, R Pagés, M Grogan, and A Smolić at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) published last September a beautiful paper: "Deep Normal Estimation for Automatic Shading of Hand-Drawn Characters" and they decided to use the hand-drawn sources of Pepper&Carrot to run their test and illustrate the paper. I was very flattered to see Pepper and Carrot featured in this well-made study! This research made me think of the 'Illuminate 2D shape' GMIC filter we have already in the FLOSS community since May (something I never really played with).

While this new auto-shading method might not be useful for me for shading characters (I prefer to do it myself), it might be super useful for a large scene with crowd, particles (stones, drop of water, magical effect, clouds), or many small objects (like my episode with hundreds of flying potions). In the conclusion, the authors wish to see their method (with more training of the neural network to reach a higher quality) being incorporated into the animation pipelines to increase productivity of high quality series and movies. For sure, these types of tools have a lot of potential.

You can read the full paper as PDF, watch a demo video and see the code (open-source but proprietary license) at this address:

Link to the full publication:


link Baptiste  

Ca a l'air très intéressant

link guruguru  

You are featured in yet another paper from Japan, too.

link Hello  

Hi David,
Does this mean that digital colouring is automated?

link David Revoy  

Hi, it doesn't mean anything in itself; it means a couple of researchers trie to emulate 'shading' (the process of adding shadow and light) to a drawing. We are still really far of full automated coloring and shading ; and by the way I see evolution of automation, algorythm and neural network, we will wait for decades before looking at a code knowing how to replace the job of a beginner colorist. But this researchs are nice; and a small step on a long long road. I appreciate scientist who are brave enough to enter that challenges!

link David Revoy  

Oh, thank you @guruguru; I'll have to turn this one into an article soon :)

link Brian Jack  

If this can be implemented as a graphics pipeline shader it may be possible to use it for 2D games using cutout animation.

link David Revoy  

Yes, I read this article about it:
Very interesting way to shade 2D sprites.

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