Poll: Cel-Shading is ugly


Jack of No Trades
May 16, 2008
cel-shading is an aesthetic thing so it's going to be different for each person.

Making a statement like "cel-shading is ugly" holds no sway over your audience then saying "I'm hungry"

The answer is simple - if you don't like cel-shading, don't play cel-shaded games.


don't upset the insane catgirl
Apr 11, 2009
I guess it's a matter of opinion, but no. It doesn't look ugly.

Most attempts at 'realistic' graphics look much, much worse to me.

Especially when the novelty wears off and you start to see the truth of what it looks like. (Eg, when the games are no longer new and the graphics start to look dated.)

Cell shading doesn't always look great, but in many cases it still looks good a decade later, something which really can't be said of graphics designed to look 'realistic'.

But as with anything, some are better at it than others.
It can go badly, but on average I find the results more consistently appealing than the alternatives.


New member
Jul 20, 2009
DoPo said:
Mirror's edge looks really good normally, but the cutscenes were even more amazing

Mark of the Ninja was all cel-shaded and it was awesome
Those are not cel-shaded, they're just regular 2d animations.


New member
Sep 15, 2010
Blood Brain Barrier said:
I can't understand how any developer thinks this looks good. What do you think?
I think you picked two of the worst examples of cell shading to attempt to make your point, and even the second one of those actually looks quite good.

The poll agrees - you are very much in the minority on this point. Cell shading makes things look better, not worse. If you don't like it... fine. Everyone entitled to an opinion and all that. Just know that you are very much in the minority.

Demon Messiah

New member
Jun 22, 2009
Cell shading can be done well. I think Borderlands looked pretty sweet once I got past my initial distaste for newness. The Walking Dead also springs to mind as looking well done. And the TF2 art doesn't look half bad.

BUT, some of the other instances of cell shading, especially ones that people have posted pictures of in this topic look absolutely horrendous to my eyes. The glowing child, cherry blossom and (omg!) that boat one look like they've been vomited onto the screen by someone who can't really draw properly, let alone shade.

In the end the question comes down to a question of aesthetic tastes though. No ones going to agree on EXACTLY what is beautiful. The poll really does seem to tell me what I've grow to believe over time though. The majority of people really do like what I'd consider to be garbage. I also despise the art style of anime though, which there seems to be a lot of supporter of in here.


New member
Jun 3, 2010
I find cel shading to be a nice change of pace from realistic graphics as well. It was part of the reason I was immediately attracted to Sly Cooper when I first saw it. It matched the comic book tone and I think it looks wonderful.

Other than that, everything else has already been said.


Feb 9, 2009
New Jersey
United States
A lot of the cel-shaded games from the last console generation(Wind Waker, Okami ect) still look better than a lot of the games coming out today. I would go so far as to say they're pretty much timeless. So no, I have to respectfully disagree. It all depends on how it is used.

I honestly think sprites from the 16 and 32-bit eras look better than most modern games too.(Oh what I wouldn't give for an HD remaster of the first 5 Mega Man X games -drool-)

Atmos Duality

New member
Mar 3, 2010
All of it? Fuck no!
Like any rendering system, it depends on how it's used.
I remember several instances where it was used to great effect (Killer 7, Jet Set Radio and Okami especially).


New member
Mar 1, 2011
Well, I haven't played many games that use it, but it looks awesome when done well eg Jet Set Radio, TF2 (and so many other awesome examples mentioned above). Borderlands 2 doesn't do it particularly well, even Borderlands does it better, IMHO. But the half-assed cell shading of Borderlands 2 will look better and less dated in 5 years than the attempted photorealism of many other games.

Aurora Firestorm

New member
May 1, 2008
Cel-shading is a tool like anything else, and it's an art like any other kind of art. There is sucky cel-shading and good cel-shading, and some series/media/etc. are more suited to it than others. I think putting Zelda in cel-shading was a tragedy (though no one ever agrees with me), but anime is centered around the style, and certain games are quite fine in it, and I've seen amazing cel-shaded art. Hit up DeviantArt for it.

So you can't say "cel shading is ugly" because really, there are so many huge differences in quality and so many different uses of it that you can't generalize. Also, the example you showed has a very, very cartoony person cel-shaded -- what about more realistic styles? Perhaps you would like those.


Yes.. Swooping is bad.
May 21, 2012
Daystar Clarion said:
I love cel-shading in games.

It's the reason why Okami still looks so great today, or the reason why TF2 still looks great, or why Wind Waker still looks great.

It ages beautifully.
I would just like to say, I just bought a PS3, and I'm really looking forward to trying Okami, thanks in no small part to you, and others here.

OT: Simply have to echo most of these posts and say I love cel-shading. It helps games look good way longer than realistic graphics, as well as just looking really nice. My favorite cel-shaded games are Wind Waker and Tales of Symphonia, which are both getting on in years, and look just as good today as when they were brand new.


New member
Feb 27, 2010
I loved it in Fear Effect and its sequel. The cel shaded characters were able to have a level of facial expressiveness in the (many) cutscenes that would have been impossible using typical video game graphics of the era (1999/2000)

Though that was just the characters, with the backgrounds being pre-rendered, Resident Evil style.

I haven't played many more recent cel-shaded games, though I found the entirely cel-shaded visuals of Champions Online completely overpowering and garish, and not in a good way.


New member
Jul 5, 2009
The only times I've ever seen Cell-shading work has been XIII, an old XBox game (Was it also on PC and PS2?), which was filled with comic...things. Such as "bangbangbangbang" coming from the end of a gun as you fire it, text of sounds as well as sounds, etc. Since then, it just seems to be an excuse for games to look comicy and not look really, really good. The Walking Dead is no exception, although that doesn't change the fact that it's an incredibly good game (In my books, good story/characters/everything else make graphics null and void).

I was never a fan of Borderlands, but the second one was kind of fun. But the cell-shading was constantly distracting me at how much better it could've been. The Darkness 2 is even a better example. I don't care if the game was based off of comics, the first one looked fucking glorious, and was a brilliant game to boot. The second games was alright (Not as good as the first), but the cell shading was disgustingly annoying, sacrificing a decent look for a shitty comic look.

All in all, only one game has ever been good cell-shaded. Everything else just looks shit.

Lunar Templar

New member
Sep 20, 2009
I generally like Cell Shading, the style just appeals to me, not to mention the style looks good for far longer then anything trying to be 'realistic' graphically.

I'll take something that'll likely still look good 10 years from now over something that'll look eh in a year anyday. Plus, easier on the processors :3

Sixcess said:
I haven't played many more recent cel-shaded games, though I found the entirely cel-shaded visuals of Champions Online completely overpowering and garish, and not in a good way.
I hear ya there, that game has always looked kinda 'off' to me.


Indulge in it's whiffy sensation
May 9, 2013
It's all about application. Any style can look ugly when not utilized right. To say that it is only applicable to cell shading is a bit biased.
Wind Waker did it a million times right, and as much as I hate to say it, some of the Naruto games utilize it well too.
Jun 24, 2009
Usually I don't like it. I prefer a certain degree of detail (not too much) in textures, and cell shading muddies that detail. I love it sometimes, when used right. Wind Waker looked great. However, I hate how it looks in Borderlands; it's probably one of the uglier games I've ever played. Also, before anybody says that I am, I'm not a huge fan of ultra-realism either.


Day Pig
Mar 16, 2009
I think it depends on the type of game. I think it looks great in wind waker and okami because those games are stylized and also a bit lighthearted. If a game is supposed to be realistic, serious, or cool, I don't think it would work. God of War, for example, would look bad with cel shading.

One thing it does do exceptionally well is protects a game from aging. I think wind waker holds up visually much better than most ps2 and xbox games that weren't cel shaded.


New member
Nov 23, 2008
Cel-shading can add a timeless slant to the art/graphics in my opinion, far more than graphics that try their darndest to be realistic. When done right, Cel-Shading is gorgeous and using one example and proclaiming you hate all it is foolish.