Yearly Archives: 2019

How to D-NOISE an image sequence in Blender

I had an image sequence rendered on one of my nodes, and sadly my D-NOISE add-on did not kick in as expected. This was entirely my fault, and I thought I could perhaps just denoise the sequence rather than re-render it. Turns out it works, even though it does not match the results of a regular denoised render.

Be that as it may, let me show you how to use Blender’s mysterious Compositor to denoise a sequence of images automatically.

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DAZ Studio 117 – Global Illumination, Environment Lighting, IBL and HDRI explained

In this episode I’ll tell you much of what I know about the Environment Lighting in DAZ Studio. This technique is also known as Global Illumination. I’ll explain the meanings of such cryptic abbreviations as IBL and HDRI, and how all these pieces fall together to make your scenes look handsome.

This is a continuation of the previous episode about Mesh Lights. If you haven’t already, you can watch it here.

Products I’m using in this video:

Some links to HDRI resources:

  • https://textures.com
  • https://hdrihaven.com
  • https://hdrmaps.com
  • https://www.hdri-hub.com
  • https://hdri-skies.com
  • https://cloud.blender.org

How to make wheels turn in Blender 2.8

I’ve recently built a little animation during a live stream, and Rod’s suggestion was to add NASA’s Curiosity Rover into the scene. It’s a freely available blend file, and I thought it was a great idea. It added a lovely character to the otherwise deserted alien landscape, and I quickly animated it into position.

Trouble was, the little guy was essentially an afterthought, and when I was watching the animation back, it became obvious that its wheels needed to be turning as it was driving around. While I was keen to do this, I had no idea what mechanism I should use for such an Endeavor (har har), or what Blender had to offer in this regard.

My first thought was to simply animate the wheels with keyframes, but this would be a lot of work, and if the rover’s speed were to change I’d have to probably animate those wheels again. There being six and all, I discovered a better way to make the wheels turn, using something called a Driver.

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How to replicate an object along another mesh in Blender

A while ago I wrote an article about how to grow grass on a place in Blender 2.79 using the Particle Emitter system. This process has changed since Blender 2.80, and since it was never intuitive to begin with, we’re all a little confused as to how it works in the new version. While I still remember, let me jot down a note for everyone’s benefit.

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How to replace an object with another mesh in Blender

I’ve been wondering if there was a way to replace dummy objects I’ve placed in Blender with other meshes. Say we do a particle simulation, and during rehearsal it’s all about speed – but for the real render, we need higher resolution meshes that might take a while to render in the viewport.

Thankfully it’s super easy to do this in Blender, here’s how. Let’s replace the default cube with Suzanne.

  • select the object you’d like to replace
  • head over to the Object Data Properties (green triangle icon)
  • at the top of the tab, left of the name of your object, click the drop down and choose browse mesh data to be linked

This brings up a list of items in your scene. Pick the one you would like to use as a replacement – and that’s it.

Note that this will only link the geometry and materials, it will not take across any modifiers.

Thanks to Christina for this tip 🙂

Building JAY PLAYS – a Title Sequence Animation in Blender

In this series I’m building an animated title sequence using a set made for DAZ Studio in Blender. This requires lighting and material tweaks, and messing with textures. It’s not a tutorial, just some dude trying his best at Blender (without knowing much about it, but learning a lot in the process).

The end result is an intro for my my game streams, as well as these new seasons of 3D Shenanigans. Once the set is built, I’ll replace a couple of key textures so that the cinema and screen show something different. It’s a lot of work!

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How to orbit around selections in Blender

While I was deep engrossed looking for a feature in the Blender Settings, I found something else I didn’t know about. It’s a way to always orbit around a selected object, rather than do that awkward thing where the viewport just goes off into oblivion when you least expected it.

I frequently use the NUMPAD + . (full stop) trick to focus on the selected object. This zooms in on the object, centres it on the screen, and as a result I can conveniently orbit around it. However, if an object is framed off centre, or even off screen Blender does something else when you move the camera… and I must admit that I’ve not been able to figure out what it is exactly. I probably never will. B

ut that’s OK, because there’s a simple tick box under Edit – Preferences – Interface that’ll make Blender orbit around whatever is selected, no matter where it is in relation to the screen. It’s called Orbit Around Selection.

When enabled, it behaves more like I would intuitively expect. Another Blender Mystery solved, and it makes me appreciate this amazing work of art even more.

How to enable thicker outlines in Blender

With any software demo (or with failing eyesight as we get older), it’s important to have some visual aides so that your audience knows what you’re talking about. I’ve been streaming some Blender sessions recently, and I usually have my excellent little cursor highlighter tool called PointerFocus active. That’s good for viewers to follow the cursor.

By fluke something nice that’s build right into Blender, and that’s the ability to make outlines of selected objects show up a little bolder. They call it Thick Outlines, and this is what it looks like.

I think it looks quite nice, and I’m sure I’ll forget where and how to set that up so I thought I’ll write a note to my future self (and you, dear reader) in the process. We enable this by heading over Edit – Preferences, then under Interface, there’s a drop-down named Line Width. Set it to thick to get this effect.

There are a number of other good options here to that all improve the readability of Blender on your system. Enjoy fiddling!

How to enable the 3D Manipulator Gizmo in Blender

The other day I’ve been happily using the 3D Manipulator Gizmo in Blender and the world was at peace. The next day, I guess a new version must have come along or some other bit in the matrix was dropped, causing my Blender scene to no longer show that manipulator. Where had it gone? Was I imagining things again?

A quick internet search suggested to enable this option at the top of the screen. However mine was already enabled, and my gizmo buddy still wasn’t showing up. What was going on?

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How to track your GoPro Order

GoPro is one of those companies that’s a bit like Apple: “special” and “difficult” perhaps describes them best. You expect one thing, and they do it a different way. How they deal with their website orders is a good example.

You’d expect that you can login on GoPro.com and under “your account” find a list of orders you’ve placed over the last year or so. Surprisingly that’s not the case, and to the innocent bystander it appears that no matter how much money you’ve given that company, it’s your first visit to their store. Kind of scary when I placed a $400 order recently, without the ability to check what the status of it was.

Thankfully there is a slightly funky tool that lets you hack in your email and ZIP code to get at least some kind of information out of GoPro – and here’s that link, the one that should be on the front page of GoPro somewhere:

Change your locale at the top right accordingly (the above gets you to the US store, I’m assuming this works with other locations). The interface looks a bit like this:

After hacking in my details, I got a page that looks like this:

Admittedly it’s not much, but at least it’s something to prove that GoPro have heard of me, and are doing… something. I guess orders placed longer 60 days ago aren’t retrievable. Who wants to think of past gadgets anyway? It’s the future we’re all living for isn’t it? The moment, the “here and now”, while waiting for that “pending order” to finally arrive.

Don’t ask me what “pending” means, or how long it takes for GoPro to send out an item. I’ve only tried it once before with an accessory, and it was dispatched within 2 days. I received an email with a tracking number and all went swimmingly well. With a more expensive item, like this HERO 8 trade-in deal I made with the devil? No idea. From what I remember, my camera is supposed to be dispatched “within two weeks”, that’s all I know. We’re nearing the end of week two, that’s all I’m saying.

I’ll update this article when this order status changes. Until such time, let’s hang tight and all “be stoked” about it.