Yearly Archives: 2016

Why I joined The Blender Cloud

Blender LogoYesterday, while I was receiving my 13th chemotherapy shot at the hospital infusion suite, I’ve spontaneously joined The Blender Cloud.

Full of pride I mentioned this on Twitter, and Ton Roosendaal asked me to sum up what got me on board in one tweet. That’s not an easy feat, considering what the Blender Cloud has to offer, and the more I thought about it, the more reasons sprang to mind.

Here’s why I did it (in slightly more than 160 characters).

Continue reading Why I joined The Blender Cloud

How to create a transparency shader in Blender (Cycles)

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-14-03-09

Texture files can have a transparency value, and as such we’d like to use it on occasion with 3D objects. The above image is created using flat square leaves, onto which an image of a leaf is projected. Outside the leaf, the area on the PNG file is transparent.

Here’s how to create a Cycles Shader in Blender that will show only the leaf and not the surrounding area of the texture.

Continue reading How to create a transparency shader in Blender (Cycles)

How to turn an Image Sequence into a Video in Photoshop

In this episode I’ll show you how to combine an image sequence into a video file using Photoshop CC 2017.

This is helpful if you’ve rendered a series of still images from a 3D application and would like to create a video file from them. I’ll go over how to import the whole sequence, duplicate it a few times and even add a fade in and fade out.

Enjoy!

Catch this episode on my 3D Podcast:

How to render an image sequence as video in Photoshop

Up until now I had always used Premiere Pro to assemble image sequences of a rendered animation.

I’m still using Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and I’m not currently subscribing to the whole Creative Cloud package. As such, my version of Premiere is stuck somewhere in the past, when 4K was barely an idea, and 1080p was the highest result you would ever need.

The trouble is, I was working on an animation whose resolution was larger than 1920×1080. While Premiere Pro CS 5.5 can handle this and higher resolutions for editing, there doesn’t seem a way to export it at anything above¬†1920×1080.

My editing needs were moderate at best: assemble 250 frames, repeat those several times, and add a fade to black either end. Which application would be capable of doing this swiftly and efficiently, I wondered?

Photoshop CC can do it! Would you believe it?¬†Here’s how.

Continue reading How to render an image sequence as video in Photoshop

How to make a texture repeat in Blender (Cycles)

Sometimes we need a seamless texture to repeat on an object without the help of Photoshop. That’s possible in Blender’s Node Editor, albeit not exactly intuitive.

We need to add both a Texture Coordinate node, as well as a Mapping node to our shader to make this happen.

Here’s how to do it:

  • setup your texture map as usual (Add – Texture – Image Texture) and plug it into the Diffuse Color Input
  • your texture does not repeat at this point
  • add a¬†Mapping Node (Add – Vector) and plug its vector output into your texture’s vector input
  • in the Mapping Node, select Texture.¬†The X and Y¬†Scale¬†value below one determines the repetition of your texture
  • however, your texture does not show up at this point
  • add a¬†Texture Coordinate node (Add – Input) and connect its UV output to the Texture Coordinate node’s Vector input
  • now your texture shows up

Here’s what such a shader looks like:

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-07-18-38

How to grow grass on a landscape in Blender

I have previously grown some grass on a terrain¬†in Carrara, and thought I’d try the same in Blender. I didn’t know much about how to do this, but the approach is very similar in Blender.

Like with my Carrara approach, I’ve modelled a few grass stalks from a cylinder first. Those are then replicated over a larger terrain. Neither a replicator nor a terrain generator exists in Blender, so here’s how I did it. Continue reading How to grow grass on a landscape in Blender

How to flip or rotate a texture in Blender

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-10-39-11

When you’re UV unwrapping in Blender, it can sometimes happen that a texture doesn’t show the way you had intended it to. Instead it may appear rotated or mirrored (flipped).

Take the above example of a simple frame with a picture in the middle. When I originally added the texture file after unwrapping, the crab was displayed upside down, like so:

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-10-38-29

What had happened? The UV map looked OK, did I make a mistake? Did Blender make a mistake? Nah, neither was true. I used the Pack Islands feature though, and in that case Blender may rotate islands randomly to maximise the space of the UV Map. Blender only did what I asked him to do.

Fixing rotated textures

It’s very easy to fix rotations: select the faces in question (either in the 3D view or the UV view), then hover somewhere inside the UV view and use the standard rotation command: R X 180 (followed by return). This will rotate the selected faces by 180 degrees, turning them upside down.

Fixing mirrored textures

Blender may also flip or mirror textures when packing islands, in which case my picture could appear like this:

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-10-50-02

We can fit this phenomenon with the scaling command: S X -1 (followed by return). This will scale our selected faces along the X axis and inverse-stretch them, thereby flipping the image.

Notice that the UV map as such does not change visually, nor should it: we want our texture to remain in the same place. Also, when issuing those commands, make sure you position your mouse inside the UV view, NOT the 3D view – otherwise you’ll¬†change the actual geometry instead of the UV coordinates.

 

How to rename Parameter Dials in DAZ Studio

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-18-22-57

Parameter Dials are everywhere in DAZ Studio. But sometimes they’re not in the right place, or they’re not called what we’d like them to be called. For example, if you bring in a Morph Target via Morph Loader, DAZ Studio will create a folder by that same name.

It’s easy to change most Parameter Dials. Here’s how to do it. Continue reading How to rename Parameter Dials in DAZ Studio

How to add margins between UV islands in Blender

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-11-02-46

When UV islands are packed too tightly together, there’s little to no room between them. That’s great because it makes use of every available pixel on the UV Map, however when it comes to texturing in Photoshop, selecting separate islands is very difficult.

Blender has a nice feature that lets us add a margin in between UV islands. It’s a little tricky to find. Here’s where to start looking for that menu.

Unwrap your object. Use the UV Editing layout for this, or have a 3D View and a UV Editor showing side by side. Select all islands in the UV window, then hit CTRL + P to pack those islands. The menu is also available from the menu: UVs – Pack Islands.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-10-58-50

By default the margin between islands is very small. To change it, bring up the Tools Palette in the 3D View by pressing T. It’s the pane that comes up on the left hand side of the window. At the very bottom of it you’ll see the Pack Islands window, and a margin property you can set. Try 0.02 for a slightly larger margin (I believe the default is 0.001).

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-11-00-53

If you don’t see this window, watch out for a little plus icon at the bottom of the Tools Palette – it maybe collapsed (it does that sometimes).

How to turn a mesh into a path in Blender

Not all 2D shapes are created equal in Blender: create a circle via Add РMesh РCircle and it will be fundamentally different to creating one with Add РCurve РCircle. Even though, they look exactly the same in the viewport.

The trouble begins when you want to do path related things on 2D shapes, such as turning a path into a pipe. That’s not possible with 3D meshes (and the first circle we’ve created is seen as a mesh, even though it is only two dimensional).

To alleviate this problem, Blender can convert a mesh into a path, and a path into a mesh. This can be done with Object РConvert To. The handy keyboard shortcut is ALT + C.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-07-43-07

All paths can be converted into meshes, but not all meshes can be turned into successful paths (for example, when they’re not two dimensional).