Tag Archives: Blender open source

Back at it Again (learning animation)

0268

After a long debate with myself, I lost by the way, I decided I would share my adventure in animation over the past few week. I picked up using Makehuman 10.2 with the MHX2 Add on and blender version 2.72. I’ll explain a little more about each later. I jumped into blender with the hopes I would come up with a two minute story but my imagination was on vacation. so little by little I started just posing a make human character working on some basic movement. I have really had a problem mastering the walk cycle and I was not happy with few attempts.

So I decided to go on and work on some other poses. I got some audio from 11 second club and did some rough blocking no real polished animation. I am a new to the craft and I just wanted to establish a workflow. I looked at it and thought well okay so so.  Now do I let anyone see it ?  Sure why not. After telling someone else  “You should not have any fears. you have a least satisfied a few rules of creativity 1. you did something. 2. you shared it.”  Here are my rough animations.

So I will continue my quest to learn animation, until my next post in which I will go into the mhx2 add-on .  Take care all.

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The Quest For Photo Realism

 

TRASH ALLEY 1

For a long time now I have attempted to render a photo realistic 3 D scenes in blender.  Until recently the formula for achieving this feat had eluded me.  I tried in blender internal and failed miserable.  Then Blender developers introduced the cycles rendering engine and getting real world results was still a daunting task even with the more accurate cycles engine.  I played around in the node editor and tried many effects.  The secret just remained well hidden from me. The more I modeled and rendered the more I failed.

I got to be pretty good at texturing objects in the process of finding photo realism. I also learned some cool modeling tricks. In the end my renders still looked fake or they just wasn’t what I was expecting out of blender.

CLINGING IVYIn the above image I textured the building facade and added ivy with the ivy generator, textured the ivy, set up my lighting, and added a environment texture to the world, yet the image lack realism to me.  The color saturation seemed to deep and even cycles seem to miss the bounced lighting. So I figured pretty much it isn’t blender,  it has to be me.

Here are a few things I picked up along the way that helped me alot that I would like to share with you. These are not the absolute holy grail of achieving photo realism and they are not in any particular order but they all should be considered.

1. Modeling

You should strive to make and accurate clean model of what your trying to replicate. Use reference images so that you have a good ideal of what your trying to show. Look at lots of pictures and work from there. your imagination is good but sometimes it can lead you astray.   Here is an old tutorial but it is a good example and it should work in current blender versions.  Always try to use good textures, Normal maps, Bump maps, Specular maps.                                                      http://www.the-blueprints.com/tutorials/blender/

2. Composition

What is you audience going to see? What is the subject of your image?  What are we looking at?  These are questions you should ask yourself when creating a 3d image in blender. What to want my eyes to focus on? The main subject of the image is important, you dont want your viewer to try and look at to many things at once, besides the human brain gets frustrated and will not make sense of any of what the eyes are showing it. Pick an object as the focal point of your image and let everything else in the image point to it.  Knowing a little about photography helps.   These thing are important in an image

Framing                    ( your main subject)

Perspective          (where am I looking from or what am I looking at)

Space                         ( create closeness or distance)

Balance                    ( how much is in frame and what is important )

Color                        ( what drives a viewer to or distracts them from your subject)

Try the rule of thirds it helps you to follow the above five principles.

http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds/

Jonathan Lampel explains his secrets to a more interesting render.

3. Lighting

Is it day or night is it inside or outside? Light your scene and subjects based on the environment you put them in. Try to understand how lighting works in the real world. Look at the differences between hard and sof shadows. Learn how bounced lighting works and it influences othe objects.  Learn about 3 point lighting and also learn how to use HDR images in projects. Hdr images can provide the correct environment effects to your images. You can google Hdr lighting in blender and also three point lighting.

This is just a short list of helpful tips to improve your renders. I left out post processing basically because that is a subject unto itself. There are lot of things you can do in blender compositor but the key is learning what each node does. I suggest you look at painting and professional photos to get an ideal of what a good image should look like.  Also look at images on some of 3d forums to give yourself something to shoot for.

Thanks for reading. Always learning and always sharing.

Additional reading

 

http://www.blenderguru.com/articles/achieving-photorealism-in-blender/#.U_jtAHVdUgF

http://digital-photography-school.com/5-more-elements-of-composition-in-photography/

 

RENDER OF THE WEEK April 6

ONEWAY_StreetThis weeks render was a modeling exercise where I created building facades on planes and added a few small assets to complete a street scene.  I also tried a color management to achieve a photo look. As always all work done in Blender this render in 2.70.  Enjoy see you for next weeks render.

A Guide To Preforming Better in Blender For Begginers

Blender
Blender Default Screen

You are sitting there looking at the Blender default screen wondering what to model. You look through some photos for inspiration and the discover you have no clue where to start. You begin to search for tutorials and you discover hours have past and you have rendered nothing and worst of all  tomorrow it will be some of the same as you have gained no experience. How am I ever going to do anything with Blender. Should I just quit. The short answer is no. Believe me Blender takes a long time to learn and added to that the fast development of the ever evolving software makes it ever important to stay in tuned to the changes coming through the development pipeline.

So don’t fret when your render results don’t look like the one’s in the tutorials.  It may not be entirely on you as some tutorials are not well done, skip some steps, and face it not very well explained. so be mind of the tutorial source as their experience level as advertised.

Remember the old saying you have to “crawl before you walk“. Well it is true. Instead of your first goal being to model an epic scene with Blender. It should to learn your way around. Knowing how to navigate through the software, and how to use the available tools are a must before you can create anything. Think of carpenter who has no clue what a hammer is for or a photographer who doesn’t know what a shutter is. To master a trade you must first master the tools.

computer
hardware

Hardware

The type of computer you have isn’t the most important aspect of using Blender but being able to optimize it for what you have.  I know for a fact that performance will vary  from machines and operating systems. The key is to make Blender first work well on your machine before investing a chunk of your hard earned money on the newest and latest systems. Here is an example if you can’t model a decent scene on what you have currently why spend 750 dollars on the Nvidia 780 ti. The only thing you’ll accomplish there is bad renders faster and now your poorer.

Now let’s jump into getting better. A good place to start is here  Blender Basics – Introduction for Beginners  

This six part course covers everything from downloading and installing to rendering with cycles. This series should give you the understanding to go and conquer Blender.   Andrew Price of Blenderguru.com gives his take on becoming a better artist in  this Blog entry  7 Simple, Practical Tips to Becoming a Better Artist   I am working on applying these to my own learning experience.

sea side
sea side

Imagine, visualize what you want to do,

Learn, get all the tools to bring the scene or project together.

Create,  make your project the best you can.

That is my motto for 2014 Learn, Imagine, and Create. Now go arm yourself with knowledge, put it into practice and help someone else.

Photo credit to Nick Ares

www.flickr.com/photos/aresauburnphotos/2487801979/

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007HCCNJU/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B007HCCNJU&linkCode=as2&tag=newart2000-20

How To Create Textures Maps In Gimp

How To Create Texture Maps In Gimp

You just modeled the perfect scene and the only thing left is texturing and lighting. You get some great textures from cgtextures.com and apply it only to find your image still doesn’t quite have that pop. The reason for this is, that an image texture is merely a flat projection on your model. It is the same as putting a picture on a wall the photo is only a flat projection. The texture needs some depth and definition. To give the texture what it needs is simple a matter of adding a few things to give it more realism.

Your texture needs a normal map, a specular map, and some displacement to give it the detail it needs to mirror realism. If you have gimp you have the power to generate these maps within that one little program. Gimp can generate normal maps ,bump maps, displacement maps, and even specular maps. You can do it pretty fast with some short and simple steps.

I use a normal map and spec map with my textures. I use the spec map for displacement so I only need to generate the two maps.     

example 0

Creating the Normal map In Gimp:

  1. Open up your texture in GimpScreenshot from 2013-07-27 19:04:55

  2. Select color scroll down to desaturateScreenshot from 2013-07-27 19:27:05

  1. Select filters scroll to normal map in the normal map tab just click ok.

Screenshot from 2013-07-27 19:12:51Click file export, select your texture folder and click export and your normal map is ready to use.

Creating the Specular map In Gimp:

  1. Open up your texture in Gimp

  2. Select color scroll down to desaturate

  3. Select colors scroll to levelsScreenshot from 2013-07-27 19:39:59

  4. adjust the input levels towards the middleScreenshot from 2013-07-27 19:42:23

Click file export, select your texture folder and click export and your spec map is ready to use.

 

Fyi

You may want to put your textures in a folder for example brick texture and place your textures in with names such as brick.jpg, brick_normal.jpg and Brick_spec.jpg. This way all your texture maps are in one place.

Bonus Time

Here we have a basic plane with a diffused textureexample 1

Screenshot from 2013-07-27 18:12:24

Now we add a mix shader and a glossy shader

Screenshot from 2013-07-27 18:14:48

Now we have this

example 2

Now if we add the spec map and a color mix node we will put the texture in the top , set the bottom to black and change the blend mode to multiply then  put that in the factor input of the mix shader.

Screenshot from 2013-07-27 18:15:59

Now we this

example 3

Now let select the specular texture and the color mix node duplicate it and place it in the displacement socket

Screenshot from 2013-07-27 18:18:04

you have this

example 4

Then we add our normal map as an image texture connect it to a normal map node the connect it to the normal input of the glossy and diffused shader

Screenshot from 2013-07-27 18:22:16

Which gives us  this result

example 5

example 1example 5








On the left just a plain image texture on the right our better texture. Which do you prefer?

Additional Resources

The Secrets of Realistic Texturing

 

Introduction to Texturing with Cycles in Blender