Blender Archives

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Turning Material Zones into Vertex Colour in Blender and ID Maps in Substance Painter

I was wondering if I could use Blender to make my Substance Painter selections a little easier. I wanted to avoid importing the material zones into Substance, while retaining this information at the same time. Turns out there is a way to do this, but it needs a little manual labour. Josh explains it in …

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Stencil Painting in Blender

Texturing 3D objects is surprisingly easy in Blender. Essentially we’re using a 2D image that will be gently rubbed onto the surface of a 3D object, thereby creating a texture. Let me show you how to do it. Let’s use Blender’s default cube and any image of your choice. If you no longer have him …

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Projection Painting in Blender: The Basics

Blender allows us to project regular images onto 3D objects from any angle onto a temporary UV space, from which we can then transfer such projections onto the “real” UV space. If this sounds like science fiction, bear with me – it’s a tad complicated and I thought I’d take some notes while the process …

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Importing a whole Synty Level from Unreal Engine into DAZ Studio

The other day I thought it would be a hoot to bring in some of the wonderfully modelled low-res Synty Assets and use them together with the high-res characters in DAZ Studio. With access to the source OBJ files this worked out rather well, but it’s a time consuming process importing, shading and saving each …

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Pixel Crab: Creating a Voxel Effect in Blender

Voxels have become a popular way to show off pixelated 3D shapes. For years we’ve been trying to make things look smooth and natural, but with retro being a thing right now, voxels can do the same for your pristine 3D objects that Lomo filters can to pristine photographs: make them look a little weird …

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Installing the DAZ to Blender Bridge

I have to be brutally honest with you: last time I’ve tried the official DAZ to Blender bridge I didn’t have a great time. But, a lot of time has passed and several updates have been released, so I thought perhaps I should try again with version 2.3.9. The first hurdle was of course to …

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How to point a light source at an object in Blender

DAZ Studio has a helpful constraints function called Point At. With it we can point eyes at the camera, point a light at an object and do all kinds of other things. Blender also has this concept, but it’s called something else: Track To. Let me show you (and my future self) how to set …

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Checking out Cycles X

I’ve spent some time this week putting Blender’s new Cycles X engine through its paces. The team have written about their plans, I’m excited about it and I appreciate the efforts it takes to make this work. I’m already very happy with the current implementation of Cycles, and with a bit of time on my …

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What’s a good configuration for a 3D/Rendering/DAZ Studio computer

I’ve had various requests and discussions with supporters recently about what might be a good configuration for a DAZ Studio and/or rendering computer. It’s a good question, and with so many systems and components on the market, I thought I’d compile this article as a starting point. Feel free to ask specific questions in the …

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How to change any Blender viewport to full screen

I always forget how to do this: most viewports can be changed into full screen mode by hovering over a window and selecting CTRL + SPACE BAR. This works great for 3D and node views, less so for things like the timeline or the outliner.

Importing animations from Marvelous Designer into Blender

I’ve been able to import Marvelous Designer animations into Blender for rendering! Here’s a short video I’ve tweeted showing my inflatable boat in action: This is how we make it happen in principle. In Marvelous Designer: animate your garment export an OBJ from the first frame export the animation as MDD using the same settings …

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How to setup Normal Maps in Blender

Normal Maps contain data rather than colour. Even though we can see something like an image, and it’s technically a picture, the RGB values of each pixel are not treated as visuals by the render engine. To use a Normal Map in Blender’s node editor, do the following: create a texture node and open the …

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How to break or remove a Node Connection in Blender

Unreal Engine has a nice feature that allows us to break a connect between nodes. Blender does too, I just never knew it existed. I had always assumed that deleting a node and re-creating it would be the only way. Turns out there’ a better way: To delete a connection between nodes, CTRL + Right-Click …

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How to extract a UV Template in Blender

When you’re done with UV Mapping in Blender, you may need to save out a template of your hard work so that you or someone else in your team can get to work on some fabulous textures. In case you ever need to save out such a UV Template, head over to the UV Editing …

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How to create animated dust particles in Blender

In this episode I’ll show you the complex process of setting up animated particles in Blender. I’m doing this for an Eevee render, but the principle will work in Cycles just as well. They can be used to give atmosphere and depth to your renders, or to create other exciting effects like bokeh. There’s a lot going on in this video, so I thought I’d provide some written instructions in this article too. Here’s what’s coming up:

For this whole project I’ve used Blender 2.83.1. You can see an example of the effect in action on my Sad Robot animation. My wonderful Patreon Supporters have access to the scene file I’m building for dissection, study, amendment and commercial use.

Enjoy!

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How to rotate a HDRI in Blender

I always forget how to rotate HDRIs in Blender. It’s really not that difficult, but somehow this information doesn’t seem to save in my brain. I’ve given up trying understand why, so I thought I’d write it down for a future visit. At least I know where to look now 🙂 In the Shading Tab, …

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How to use TeleBlender 4 by mCasual / Jaques

Getting characters and scenes from DAZ Studio into Blender is one of the toughest things to get right. It’s an endlessly time consuming, confusion and generally un-fun process. Several scripts exist to make this happen, yet many of them fail to make it a one-click solution. Jacques aka mCasual has been working for years on something called TeleBlender. Steve aka Backdoor 3D recently did a live stream on the process, and I finally had a chance to try it out myself.

In this article I’ll show you the workflow that I found worked best for me. You may know a better way, and perhaps it’s not the intended way of working, but it thought it might come in handy (since usage instructions on the download page of TeleBlender are literally non-existent).

I’m using the following versions, which will probably no longer exist by the time you read this article:

  • Blender 2.83.1 LTS
  • DAZ Studio 4.12.1
  • TeleBlender 4 (Beta 06252020)

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Importing Genesis into Blender via Mixamo

I’ve just been experimenting with uploading a Genesis 1 figure to Mixamo, and importing the animated figure into Blender. There are several trillion options what with the combinations of tick-boxes and values. Thankfully, nothing is documented, just the way I like it. I thought I’d quickly post a screenshot of what actually works – for …

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Using Non-Linear Animation (NLA Features) in Blender 2.8

Many animation apps have an exciting feature that lets us re-use a group of keyframes in a more convenient way to build larger and more complex animations. They’re commonly referred to as non-linear editing. A popular example includes setting up an action as keyframes once, and then looping it using an NLA bock of sorts (like a walk cycle). Better yet, animations can be combined and transitioned without interruptions or ugly pops. We can even overlay several actions, such as a walk cycle, an eye blink and a waving hand gesture.

Blender has these features, and while difficult to grasp at first, they’re surprisingly simple to use once you grasp the concept:

  • setup an animation using regular keyframes, or import it from a service like Mixamo
  • turn this group into an Action Strip (that’s what Blender calls an NLA block)
  • add this Action Strip onto an NLA track, repeat it or combine it with other strips
  • add transitions in between blocks to seamless motion
  • add tracks to combine animations

Here’s how it works for me. This might not be 100% accurate, but it’s good enough to build seriously cool animations with ease. I’m using Blender 2.82 for this example, and I’m expanding on principles I’ve briefly touched on in my previous article about looping walk animations.

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Switching between Cameras in Animations with Blender 2.8

If you have multiple cameras in your scene, chances are that you may want to cut to another one during the course of an animation. I’ve often wondered how to do that, but only finding outdated material on the internet, I decided to poke around myself. Half an hour later I had it sussed out …

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How to render with the current Viewport Shading in Blender

Although I like Eevee, sometimes I’d like something even faster for animatic previews. Eevee still requires lights to be setup, whereas with the regular “material preview” setting in the viewport, we can see things just fine before we bring in our lights. It would be nice if there is a way to use the same …

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Rendering with Transparency in Blender

I’ve encountered a small puzzle recently in regards to rendering the alpha channel of PNG images with transparency. I didn’t quite understand the complex setups I’ve read about, nor could I reproduce the results. Thanks to some hive-mind thinking, we could figure it out on my Discord Server.

Here’s how to do it, both for Eevee and Cycles.

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How to loop Walk Animations with Blender’s NLA Editor

In my previous article I’ve explained how to import Synty characters into Blender, and how to apply animations from Mixamo. Now that we have an animation in there, we may want to play it more than once. In a walk cycle, we’d have to play the walk loop multiple times to create the illusion of walking. I’ll cover how to do that in this article before I forget again.

PS: These are just notes, not exactly a tutorial. I’ve only just discovered the basics of the NLA Editor, so if I’m mis-describing anything and you know better, or something isn’t working, please leave a comment so I can correct this article.

Here’s what we’ll do:

  • if necessary, remove the forward motion from the current animation
  • turn the keyframe animation into an Action Strip (that’s an NLA Block)
  • add the Action Strip to an NLA Track (that’s a special timeline)
  • modify the Action Strip to repeat
  • apply forward motion with two keyframes

The concept of the NLA Editor is similar to aniBlocks in DAZ Studio, or the NLA blocks in Carrara. We start with regular keyframes, turn them into a block (or Action Strip as Blender calls them), and then we mix and match them on a special timeline called the NLA Editor. If you’re curious, NLA stands for Non Linear Animation. Action strips can be mixed and matched to blend in, so there’s no popping when one animation ends and one begins.

The NLA Editor can be used in conjunction with regular keyframes. For walk cycles, it is common to exclude the forward motion from the Action Strip and instead replace it with a linear motion. If the forward motion is included in the Action Strip, the character would reset to the beginning rather than continuously move forward. Hence I’ll use a combination of the two.

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Using Synty Characters with Mixamo and Blender

I’ve just worked out how to import Synty characters into Blender via Mixamo. It’s a somewhat complex process with a few pitfalls, and while it’s all fresh in my mind, I thought I’d best write it down somewhere. The workflow is similar for both the SimplePeople and the Polygon City characters, and I would imagine other Synty characters will probably work with these instructions just as well.

Note that I’m only using Blender and Mixamo, no other plugins or game engines. I’ll also explain how to add textures while we’re in the process, because that’s not exactly intuitive. Here’s the step-by-step outline:

  • import Synty character into Blender (as FBX)
  • correct pose and apply texture
  • export as FBX (see settings below)
  • import into Mixamo
  • apply desired animation and export (as FBX)
  • import into Blender and see the animation

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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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