Normal Spherizing using Abnormal

Get your characters toon-shading ready! Cleaner shadows! Cel-Shaded look!

What the heck is a Normal?

Each vertices on a 3D model has a vector that influences how lighting is displayed on a 3D model, that is called the normal vector. The BNPR Abnormal plugin for blender users to easily adjust normal vectors and perfect a toon-shade look! This kind of shading is compatible with 3D game engines as well, as long as you import the vertex normals (This is different than a normal map seen on more realistic / photorealistic 3D models). Unreal Engine 4 : Tested OK! Unity: ?

Those shadows are awesome! How do I get these kinds of shadows?


  1. get the Abnormal plugin from the git-hub repository located at this link. Follow the instructions on the repository to install it onto your blender.

  2. Have a 3D model that is separated, each part of the body should be it's own mesh for convenience. (I highly recommend keeping the head and body separate for a more anime-styled shading.)

  3. Select the desired mesh, open the Abnormal panel and click on Start Normal Editor.

  4. Press A twice to select all vertices (If you have the meshes separated), or Press C and use Left Click to select the vertices you wish to modify.

  5. Find the Sphereize Normals button on the left side of the panel (You may need to collapse some panels), Click it.

  6. Now a huge transparent sphere will appear, the Normals of the mesh will now mimic the Normals of a sphere, which is exactly what we want for our desired NPR look! (This might look weird on more realistic 3D models.)

  7. Use G to move the origin of the sphere to modify the Normals to your liking. (Don't worry! I will show an example of this.)

  8. Press Confirm Changes on the right side panels. Enjoy your toon-shader!

Step by Step Example # 1 For Complete Beginners :

For this section, I will document a workflow from the perspective of a fresh Abnormal Installation, with minimal node set up for a toon shader (aka. a person who just downloaded blender and wants to edit normals). I will explain some of the intuition involved in editing normals for this section. (Warning this section is very long with lots of pictures and information)

You're done! You can tell if the normal editing worked if the shadows on the 3D model has a gradient-look. This is intended! I borrowed Kiry's Toon Shader to demonstrate our new shading!


Hope this helped! Good normals is only one part of a myriad of techniques to making great NPR scenes, keep on learning! Sincerely, ebisuamagi Last Updated 11/7/2020

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