It's always tricky to look for something when what you need is the name. I'm working on a videogame and I'd like to give general instructions for sprites.

This is an example of the style I'm talking about:

enter image description here

The defining traits are:

  • Black outline, often fairly big
  • Flat colors, generally one color by material + one simple layer of shading
  • Lighting only when necessary (shiny surfaces), if so it's one shade and/or white
  • No gradients

You can almost see the graphic tablet pen line sometimes.

Maybe there's a single word or term I'm missing, but I'm not a native English speaker and neither is any of the team members.

  • There's not a specific name for everything. There likely isn't a specific name for this "style" Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 20:18
  • @ZachSaucier I know it's not really a style, but using very little colors + a simple shade could have a name. Many animated shows use something similar. Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 20:31

1 Answer 1


If you are starting with a 3d model, then the term would be cel shading. The style emulates cartoons or comic book illustrations.


  • I'm not! It's all 2D. I think I would have referenced the Sly series or Borderlands in that case. Thanks though. Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 20:26
  • 2
    Its still called cell shading in 2D because thats the name of the method used by hand animators... which obviously is 2D.
    – joojaa
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 6:32

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