I recently discovered the Manuel Bastioni LAB add-on for Blender. Judging it only by the title you’d never guess it’s an extravagant people generator of the highest caliber! Bastioni was working with the folks from MakeHuman for many years, but The LAB is his own project.
In a nutshell, it creates ready-to-use characters, complete with poses and morphs, as well as many other complex goodies. And as with many complex things, rendering can take a while. I tend to prepare a scene on one machine, transfer it to a faster system and let it render while I setup the next scene.
This workflow usually works a treat with .blend files, but not necessarily with those containing Manuel Bastioni characters. Turns out the skin has a good chance of looking alien purple. Quite a nice effect, but perhaps not all the time.
Lucky for us, knowing why this happens will help us understand how to fix the problem. It’s not a bug, just a question of which box to tick when saving those files. Let me show you which box that is and how to avoid the purple skin effect.
Did you know that Blender has a built-in video editor? We can use that to turn an image sequence into a movie file. I’ve described how to do this Photoshop here, but I thought it would be fun to try the same thing in Blender.
Hooking is a technique with which you can attach one vertex to follow another object. This can be useful if the outline of an object (such as a plane) needs to be distorted when it follows tracking markers.
Here’s how to do it:
select the the object you want to track (such as an empty that follows a track)
now SHIFT select the object that you want the previous object to follow
switch into Edit Mode (TAB) and select the vertex you’d like to follow
now select CTRL+H and choose Hook to Selected Object
The selected vertices will move with the hooked object.
By default all our 3D objects are opaque, meaning light does not pass through them. Like a brick wall. But many objects in reality let some amount of light through, like a piece of paper or a glass of lemonade. This partial transparency is called translucency.
In the picture above, light passes through the leaf, partially illuminating the ground underneath it. We can setup such a shader in Blender like this:
in between the Diffuse and Material Output node, connect an Add Shader
create a Translucent Shader and connect its output to the second input of the Add Shader (top or bottom does not matter)
connect the Color Output of your texture to the Color Input of the Translucent Shader
Here’s what such a shader looks like:
In the above image, I have combined this translucent setup with a transparency shader, so that the leaf can be “cutout” using the texture’s transparent background. Here’s what that looks like:
Setting up a Shadow Catcher in Blender is a bit more tricky than in other applications, but nevertheless straightforward if you know what you’re doing. I certainly did not when I first tried it, but thanks to this short YouTube video by Nonsense Blender Tutorials, I was able to set this up.
Yesterday, 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.
@versluis Fantastic 🙂 Can you share in 1 tweet what reason or content got you on board? Thanks!
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.