Art-directed Watercolor Rendered Animation

[Montesdeoca et al.] - Henry © Oculus Story Studio

Art-directed Watercolor Rendered Animation

NPAR’16 Proceedings of the Workshop on Non-Photorealistic Animation and Rendering - The Eurographics Association, 2016, pp. 51-58

Presented at Expressive 2016


This paper presents a system to render 3D animated geometry as watercolor painted animation with art-directed control. Our approach focuses on letting the end user paint the influence of the modeled watercolor effects in the 3D scene to simulate the characteristic appearance of traditional watercolor. For this purpose, it performs an object-space simulation and makes use of the user-painted influences to control and enhance image-space watercolor effects. In contrast to previous approaches, we introduce specialized watercolor shaders that are adjusted and deformed according to the desired painted effects. We further present novel algorithms that simulate hand tremors, pigment turbulence, color bleeding, edge darkening, paper distortion and granulation. All of these represent essential characteristic effects of traditional watercolor. The system performs in real-time, scales well with scene complexity and is fully implemented in Autodesk Maya.

Expressive Presentation


@inproceedings {exp.20161063,
  author =     {Montesdeoca, Santiago E and Seah, Hock Soon and Rall, Hans-Martin},
  title =      {Art-directed Watercolor Rendered Animation},
  booktitle =  {NPAR’16 Proceedings of the Workshop on Non-Photorealistic Animation and Rendering},
  year =       {2016},
  editor =     {Pierre Bénard and Holger Winnemöller},
  pages =      {51-58},
  publisher =  {The Eurographics Association},
  ISBN =       {978-3-03868-002-4},
  DOI =        {10.2312/exp.20161063}
  type =       {Conference Proceedings}


  • Honorable Mention
  • Best Presentation


* This is the authors’ version of the work. The definitive version is available at