In this episode I’m building several simple grass stalks and replicate them along a plane using Blender’s Particle Emitter. I’ll talk you through the scary options we need and explain some of the concepts in using the Particle Emitter as an Object Replicator.
In this episode I’ll show you how to use the SVG file with curve information and turn it into an extruded logo using Blender. I’ll setup the scene and ground plane, get the camera ready and turn the default light into a strong side light. This will serve as a starting point to creating our logo.
The other day I wanted to convert a logo into a path, so that I could use it as a shape in Blender. It was in fact the WordPress logo that was provided as a PNG or PDF from the WordPress Branding section.
The trouble was, both the PNG and the PDF are rasterised, and as such cannot easily be used for an extrusion in 3D as an SVG file would. The question then was, how do I convert an image into an SVG in Photoshop, so that I could import it into Blender?
It took a bit of fiddling, but here’s how I did it.
Quick introduction to SVG Files
SVG files can actually contain three types of data:
Vector Graphics, such as paths (which is what we want)
Raster Graphics, such as bitmap images (which we have, but don’t want)
What I needed in Blender was indeed a Vector Path. Although the other two data types can be contained in an SVG file, Blender can only read path information at the time of writing. It makes sense too, because really I’d like to the path information available as a curve in Blender, not the potential raster or font information.
I’m mentioning this here because
a.) I didn’t know this, and
b.) importing an SVG containing either fonts or raster graphics will import nothing into Blender – which had me stumped.
To export a single Shape Key as OBJ file, all we have to do is set the desired Shape Key to 1 (or whatever value we like) and use the File – Export dialogue to create an OBJ with the shape/morph applied.
However, if you have several dozen Shape Keys that need to be exported, repeating the above several dozen times can be tedious and error prone. Blender hasn’t got an built-in option for such a batch-export operation, but thanks to a lovely man named TLousky, we can use a handy Python Script to do the job.
Here it is, with minor amendments by yours truly:
Excellent… what exactly does it do?
This script will iterate over each Shape Key of the currently selected object, set each shape key to a value of 1, and export it to the desired path as OBJ file. Feel free to change the scale upon export if you like, and don’t forget to set a valid path for where you’d like your OBJs to be saved.
Awesome… how do we run this thing, Cap’m?
To run a script in Blender, open a Text Editor window (NOT the Python Console). I like using the Timeline Window for that. Click the New button to create a new text file. Now copy the entire code from above into the otherwise empty window inside Blender and hit the Run Script button at the bottom of the window.
Blender will go to work and do its thing. With a bit of luck, no error message will be displayed. Your destination folder should now contain the desired OBJ files.
I’ve explained how to do it all step-by-step in the above video.
Blender stores Morph Targets as Shape Keys. Those can be accessed and created in the palette that resembles the Flux Capacitor icon (it reads Data when you hover over it).
To store one object’s shape in another one as a Shape Key, do the following:
import both objects into Blender
SHIFT-select both objects
make sure that the object you’d like to store the Shape Key in is selected last
using the Specials Menu under Shape Keys, select “Join as shapes”
The Specials Menu is hiding under the little triangle, underneath the plus/minus icon. Note that your master object needs to have a Basis Shape Key defined (you can do that by clicking the plus icon in the same menu).
Now you can delete the second object from your scene and use the slider to morph your master object into your second object.
And finally, both objects need to have the exact same amount of vertex points, otherwise the operation isn’t going to work.
In this episode I’ll show you how to export assets from DAZ Studio to Blender and back, at a consistent scale and orientation. The default Blender export preset in DAZ Studio is broken, hence the workflow requires a bit of tweaking and knowledge on how Blender thinks about units and scale (which I’ll also show you).
In this episode I’ll show you what a Shader Browser is in Carrara and DAZ Studio. I wish Blender had one – perhaps there’s one in the works? We’ll talk about how it could be integrated as part of the Blender Cloud Add-On too.
While we were discussing how to generate a terrain in my previous post, the next question is of course how to we give our terrain different colour values depending on its height.
For example, at the very top of our terrain we may have snow covered mountains. Slightly further down we have yellowish rocks on the steep walls, followed by green grassy planes, and more earthy brown tones further down.
Blender does not have a specific heigh shader like Carrara does, but we can use a Texture Coordinate node, extracting the Z axis value from it and feeding that into a colour ramp node. The result is something like the render above.
Here’s what the Cycles shader looks like:
There are other approaches, and this does not cover how to give each height a distinct image texture, but perhaps we’ll cover how to do that in another article (when I figure out how it works).