I'm glad sewing weights finally got added to Blender trunk, but of course getting the cloth collision simulation just right is still tricky.
Freestyle still feels a little under-developed for my tastes. It works great for boundaries between objects and stuff, but the crease-based outlining (checking to see if the crease is sharper than some user specified angle) doesn't work so well for organic objects like human faces.
I spent some time thinking about what kind of thing would work well. Say you shoot a ray out from the camera and it intersects with two outer faces of the mesh (you could just deal with faces with normals pointing outwards, to ignore the inside faces of walled meshes), then measure the distance between those two intersection points. If the distance is great enough (compare to user specified value) then that would indicate that the region of mesh in front is sufficiently 'in front' to need to be somehow outlined compared to the region in back...but I haven't thought through that any further, so I'm not sure how you'd figure out where those lines belong exactly. Maybe I can hack something together using Z distance data to camera and the node editor, not sure exactly.
Anyway, to recap, what I'm looking for now:
- Find a reasonable way to make hair that looks good and doesn't take forever
- Better understanding of how to choose good physics simulation parameters in general, for cloth, hair, etc.
- More NPR line drawing styles...
Just for fun, I played around with this face mesh I've been using, and Freestyle. The use of a high crease detect angle for Freestyle (170-175) gives a nice sketchy effect. I'd like it more if it wasn't the only effect I can get for faces. If I turn down the crease angle I'm left with just the eyes and the central line of the mouth, basically.
Shapekeys are still proving to be quite easy; the above took 5 minutes for each (half-shut eyes, slightly parted smile). These results are helping me keep my sanity while I try to get the rest working.
Edge split modifier on the Freestyle generating mesh can help get a bit: