Tag Archives: Cycles

How to create a translucent shader in Blender (Cycles)

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-14-24-08By 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:

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-14-20-21

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:

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-14-23-49





How to create a Shadow Catcher in Blender (Cycles)

shadow-catcher

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.

Here’s how to do it:

Continue reading How to create a Shadow Catcher in Blender (Cycles)





How to create a transparency shader in Blender (Cycles)

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-14-03-09

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.

Continue reading How to create a transparency shader in Blender (Cycles)





How to make a texture repeat in Blender (Cycles)

Sometimes we need a seamless texture to repeat on an object without the help of Photoshop. That’s possible in Blender’s Node Editor, albeit not exactly intuitive.

We need to add both a Texture Coordinate node, as well as a Mapping node to our shader to make this happen.

Here’s how to do it:

  • setup your texture map as usual (Add – Texture – Image Texture) and plug it into the Diffuse Color Input
  • your texture does not repeat at this point
  • add a Mapping Node (Add – Vector) and plug its vector output into your texture’s vector input
  • in the Mapping Node, select Texture. The X and Y Scale value below one determines the repetition of your texture
  • however, your texture does not show up at this point
  • add a Texture Coordinate node (Add – Input) and connect its UV output to the Texture Coordinate node’s Vector input
  • now your texture shows up

Here’s what such a shader looks like:

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How to use Normal Maps in Blender (Cycles)

When we setup a standard material for Blender’s Cycles render engine, it’ll start with just a single diffuse node like this:

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To add a Normal Map to this setup, we’ll need to add two things:

  • a new Texture Map node (Add – Texture – Image Texture)
  • a new Bump Map node (Add – Vector – Normal Map)

Open your normal map in the texture node, then connect its colour output to the Colour input of the Normal Map node.

Now connect the Normal output of the Normal Map node to the Normal input of the Diffuse node and see your bump map applied to the model. Change the viewport to Rendered to see live results.

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To change the intensity of the Normal Map effect, fiddle with the Strength value in the node.

If you want to apply both a normal map and a bump map, apply the bump map first, then connect the normal output of the Normal Map node to the normal input of the Bump node (because the Normal Map node doesn’t have a normal input, but the Bump node does).

Here’s what my cube looks like with just a normal map applied:

normal

There are a lot of other options you can use in regards to Normal Maps. Check out Wayne’s article for more details:





How to use Bump Maps in Blender (Cycles)

When we setup a standard material for Blender’s Cycles render engine, it’ll start with just a single diffuse node like this:

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-12-43-50

Feel free to change the diffuse colour or add a texture map to it’s colour input.

To add a Bump Map to this setup, we’ll need to add two things:

  • a new Texture Map node (Add – Texture – Image Texture)
  • a new Bump Map node (Add – Vector – Bump)

Open your bump map in the texture node, then connect its colour output to the Height input of the Bump node. If you don’t have a black and white bump map and use a colour map instead (like a diffuse map), choose the Alpha output and connect it to the Height input.

Now connect the Normal output of the Bump node to the Normal input of the Diffuse node and see your bump map applied to the model. Change the viewport to Rendered to see live results.

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To change the intensity of the bump effect, fiddle with the Strength and Distance values. Here’s what my cube looks like with a bump map applied:

bump





How to apply textures in Blender (Cycles)

Adding textures in Blender depends on which render engine is used. In this article I’ll discuss how to do this for Cycles. I’ll explain how to do this with Blender Render in this article.

First we need to make sure that Cycles is our render engine. Select it at the top of the app. This will change how materials work, so if you’ve got anything interesting setup with Blender Render, you’ll have to rework it all.

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 18.12.24

Now select the object you’d like to assign a texture to and find the Materials Tab in the properties palette (it’s the little orange round checkerboard icon). By default the material only has a diffuse colour assigned.

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 18.16.28

Under Surface, select Use Nodes. This will require us to work with the Node Editor in another viewport. I understand that there’s a different way to setup materials and textures in Cycles, but I find the Node Editor much easier to grasp.  Continue reading How to apply textures in Blender (Cycles)