Art-directed watercolor stylization of 3D animations in real-time

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Computers & Graphics, ISSN: 0097-8493, Vol: 65, Page: 60-72

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Montesdeoca, Santiago E.; Seah, Hock Soon; Rall, Hans-Martin; Benvenuti, Davide
Elsevier BV
Engineering; Computer Science; Watercolor; NPR
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article description
This paper presents a direct stylization system to render 3D animated geometry as watercolor painted animation. Featuring low-level art-direction in real-time, our approach focuses on letting users paint custom stylization parameters in the 3D scene. These painted parameters drive watercolor effects in object-space, managing localized control and emulating the characteristic appearance of traditional watercolor. For this purpose, the parameters alter the object-space geometric representations and are rasterized, to coherently control and enhance further image-space effects. The watercolor effects are simulated through improved and novel algorithms to recreate hand tremors, pigment turbulence, color bleeding, edge darkening, paper distortion and granulation. All these represent essential characteristic effects of traditional watercolor. The proposed direct stylization system scales well with scene complexity, can be implemented in most rendering pipelines and can be adapted to simulate a wide range of watercolor looks. The simulation is compared to previous approaches and is evaluated through a user study, involving professional CG artists spending over 50 h stylizing their own assets and sharing their feedback about the watercolor stylization, the direct stylization system and their needs as artists using Non-photorealistic Rendering (NPR).