Yearly Archives: 2019

Using Blender on a Laptop with a Trackpad

After futzing CentOS 7 on my old Samsung Q330 laptop, I thought it would be fun to see if the old hardware from 2010 would be capable of running Blender. After all, the team have recently added CentOS as a new pre-built package to the list of downloadable options, and for me that was the perfect opportunity to try it out.

Turns out my Q330 only runs OpenGL Version 2.1, which means it can’t run Blender 2.8+. However it’s still capable of running 2.79, and it made me smile to see it full screen.

Of course trying to move anything on the screen proved to be difficult, because I had never done that before with a standard trackpad. My Mac has one, and it behaves beautifully with gestures out of the box, but I guess Windows and Linux users don’t have that luxury, even if a trackpad is present.

How do we navigate 3D space in Blender then, if there’s no mouse nearby? Well I’ve just found out, and I’d love to share it with you. I’ve only been able to test this in Blender 2.79, but I’m assuming

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Duplicating an object along a path in Blender 2.8

The other day I tried to create a simple necklace in Blender 2.8, only to find out that the way I’ve once learnt from Blender 2.79 and below using DupliFaces no longer works. This feature has been removed from Blender 2.8. Thankfully there’s an easier way to do this, using the Array and Curve Modifiers.

For this example I’ll create a circle for our path, and an object I want to duplicate on it. Perhaps a UV Sphere. Make sure to apply all transformations after any scaling operations with CTRL + A.

Now we’ll select our sphere and add a Curve Modifier to it. You can find it under the little wrench icon, under the Deform category. We’ll select our circle as the object.

Notice that our sphere is now aligned on the path.

Next, let’s make ourselves some more spheres along the same path. Add an Array Modifier to the sphere and add as many objects to the Count option as you like, or use Fit Curve option to have Blender add as many objects as it can on the path. Leave all other parameters as defaults.

Now drag the array modifier above the curve modifier in the list using the little up/down arrows on the right hadn’t side of each modifier. Otherwise, you’ll see your objects replicated in a straight line (which is not what we want in our case).

That’s all there’s to it.

Note: any translations made to the path must also be made to your replicated object, otherwise you’ll end up with unwanted results.

Editing DAZ clothing using a reference figure in ZBrush

Even though I own it, I know very little about ZBrush. It may forever remain a mystery for me – like driving a car or getting excited about Team Sports. It’s just… not for me. Be that as it may, I’ve often wondered how clothing manufacturers use a character as a reference to make or update clothing geometry in ZBrush. Perhaps a jacket that doesn’t quite fit, or some boots that need a quick adjustment.

The challenge here is that both the character and the clothing need to be imported into ZBrush, and we need to be able to adjust the clothing only, while seeing the character in the background as a reference so we can work around it.

While the art of sculpting in ZBrush entirely eludes me, I believe I have finally understood the overall workflow. Before I forget it again, I thought I’d share it with you and my future self. Let’s see how we can transfer a clothed Genesis 3 figure from DAZ Studio 4.11 into ZBrush 2019.1, make adjustments on an item, and then bring it all back with a few clicks.

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Building a scene with dForce Magnets – 3D Shenanigans #23

In this live even I’ll show you how to use the dForce Magnets by Esha and Riversoft. I’ve had this question many times, perhaps my approach to using them helps to inspire you.

I’ll start with a demo of how to add magnets to an plane object and explain how this product differs from a regular rigid follow node. Then I’ll move on to building a bed scene in which I’ll drape a duvet/sheet over a sleeping character.

Enjoy!

DAZ Studio 114: Introduction to Lighting

In the following episodes I’ll tell you everything I know about lighting in DAZ Studio. It’s so much that I’ve decided to split this section into multiple smaller parts.

In this part I’ll explain the different types of lighting we have at our disposal, touch on surface properties as they apply to Iray and 3Delight, and I’ll explain how the default lighting works that we get with every new scene (and also how to remove it).

Going Shopping in Ironman13’s Clothing Boutique – 3D Shenanigans #22

In this live stream we’ll take two Genesis characters shopping in Ironman13’s Styling Clothing Boutique. We’ll build the whole scene from start to finish, including lighting and depth of field. This will bring some of the techniques together that I’ve shared with you recently, including how to spin the sundial.

PS: The stream dropped out towards the end. You can watch the second part here:

Here’s a list of products I’m using in this video:

Measuring DAZ Objects with Blender (Distance and Circumference)

In this episode I’ll show you two ways of measuring the metrics of objects from DAZ Studio using Blender. We can measure the distance between two arbitrary points using the new Measure Tool, while we can measure the circumference of an object with the MeasureIT add-on.

DAZ also offer a plugin to do this, but it’s $50 and looks a tad intimidating to use.

How to bring back Selection Toggling in Blender 2.8

I’m so used to pressing A to select or de-select everything in Blender. It’s been so ingrained in my brain that I cannot easily get used to the new default behaviour in Blender 2.8. Thankfully there’s a simple tick box in the Preferences that will bring this option back, so there’s no need for my brain to get confused any more.

Here’s how to do it:

Head over to Edit – Preferences and choose Keymap. Towards the top you’ll find a tick box called Select All Toggles. It’s slightly misleading to read out loud, as it doesn’t mean “select all toggles”; it rather means that the “Select All” function will now “toggle”, as it did in Blender 2.79 and below.

Now the A key will behave in Blender 2.8 as it always has.

Building the “Fluffy Disco Kimokawaii” Animation in Carrara – 3D Shenanigans #21

In this episode I’ll explain how I’ve made the Fluffy Disco animation that I’ve posted last week.

I’ll start by building the animation in DAZ Studio using aniBlocks, then import the file into Carrara and add the hair. Once applied, we’ll drape it and have Carrara simulate the strands as the figure dances.

You can buy Carrara here (it’s often on sale and available for $60 or less).

Here’s the animation I’m referring to in this stream:

Upscaling while preserving details in Photoshop

I’ve received a great tip from Patrick Schoolderman a couple of weeks ago, about how to upscale images in Photoshop with a new algorithm that Adobe call Preserve Details 2.0. I wanted to make a quick note about how to do this and share it with you.

The workflow is as simple as opening your image, then choose Image – Image Size. The big mystery then is to choose the right Resizing Algorithm at the bottom of the dialogue. Rather than Automatic, choose Preserve Details 2.0.

Enabling this feature

Currently (June 2019) this is a “technology preview” feature, which means in order for it to show up in the above dialogue, we need to enable it first. If you don’t see the option, head over to Preferences – Technology Previews and make sure the tick box is checked. Once enabled, restart Photoshop and try again.

While it doesn’t mean we can now shoot 640×360 instead of 4k images, or in other words “turn lead into hold”, this feature can drastically improve image quality when compared to the bicubic method.

It may even help os cut down on render time. I’m thinking of animations that would take much longer to render at higher resolutions, for which an upscale from 720p to 1080p might work well. I’ll do some tests and let you know.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Patrick 😉