Tag Archives: tutorial links

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/

 

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animating a 2d Photo in Blender

I am always looking for interesting ways to be creative with Blender and make my projects look decent. I found one way of doing this is with animated photos. There are several ways of achieving a photo animation ranging from camera mapping to compositing animated 3D elements into a photo. Camera mapping is the most common which involves mapping 2d images to 3d geometry. I have also used the blender smoke simulator to created a moving atmosphere in a 2d photo.

Animating 2d photos can be helpful with motion graphics, creating an establishing shot for a film project or animation. It is often less expensive to go out and take a photo as opposed to shooting on location.

I ran across a great exercise for animating a 2d photo on YouTube I wanted to share with you. The exercise is pretty straight forward and it will give you the experience of using some of the modifier tools available in Blender.

I am very grateful to Sardi Pax for allowing me to share his work with you. He has a lot of helpful tips and tricks available on his you tube channel. I hope you visit him on youtube and find something that can help you become better using blender.

I ask him how he got started in blender and he shared his road to using blender with me.

His Answer

I’ve been interested in 3D art since the early days of home computing. I started by coding (in Z80 machine code) an attempt to display a rotating cube on a very old computer called a Sinclair ZX81 (my pride and joy at the time).

Much later I acquired a PC (somewhere around Windows 3.1) and simple home 3D software started to become available. It would still take hours to render something that today would take seconds.

I dabbled with 3DS Max, Cinema 4D, Bryce 3D, Poser and Lightwave and learned many of the basics with those packages.

I actually encountered blender several years ago at about version 2.4 but back then it was not such a friendly interface for the novice and stayed with 3DS Max.

About 18 months ago Blender underwent a big change at around version 2.55 (or possibly 2.6) and became much more newbie friendly.

I couldn’t get Cycles to work at all to begin with, just got the typical black screen. So I started watching Youtube tutorials (for example the excellent Andrew Price), and realised Cycles was all about Lights (eureka moment).

I then spent (far too many) hours playing with particles, juggling vertices and working out what Normals were and around a year ago, decided it might be a fun way to motivate myself to learn more by making simple tutorials. And I’ve learned a great deal along the way.

I try to post a tutorial every week, as well as find time to make images and videos for my own pleasure. Most often my subscribers want a tutorial for any new video I post so they help a lot with deciding the subjects.

This tutorial introduces the Wave modifier and shows a way you can integrate a 2D photo into a 3D scene.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and the insight of the featured artist in this post.

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

Blenderguru xmas tree tutorial results

christmas tree

I rarely do a commentary when I post results from tutorials I try but this one I felt pretty good about. Why you might ask, well I,ll tell you. The first thing for me is the fact I finished the complete scene. For me that is an accomplishment considering how critical I am of myself and how easy it is for me to find something wrong. Secondly I modeled everything myself except the paint splash picture on the wall, And lastly Blender didn’t act to crazy on me this time.

I encourage you to check out the Christmas tree tutorial at Blenderguru.com and hey have fun with it. I think blender is a great tool once you harness the understanding to make it do what you want or need it to do.

Happy Holidays everyone. put Blender down for a little while and enjoy the season and those you love

Matte Painting In Blender

Matte Painting in Blender

Matte painting may not be a beginners topic but it is an
interesting one for intermediate Blender user. Matte Painting why whatever
are you talking about? Matte painting is a painted representation of
a landscape, set, or distant location that allows filmmakers to create
the illusion of an environment that is nonexistent in real life or
would otherwise be too expensive or impossible to build or visit.
Similar to camera mapping this can be done in 3d software such as Adobe
After effects, Maya, Photoshop, Gimp, (yes
Gimp
) and you can even do it in Blender. By making use of the
tracking tool and compositor you can create any virtual world you can
imagine. Just by taking elements from 2d photos and combining them
together and fixing the color, you can have a believable scene in no
time. Well in a little time and with some effort.  If your building a
backdrop for an animation or incorporating  cgi elements into live
footage matte painting and camera mapping could prove invaluable to
your digital arsenal.

0066

my
basic example
A more advanced example

Resources

This is a great presentation that explains matte painting in more
detail by Ryan Johnson


http://prezi.com/p_afct6djie-/vfx-matte-painting-and-set-extensions/

A great tutorial by Andrew price on camera mapping

http://www.blenderguru.com/videos/camera-mapping-tutorial-v2/

Another interesting tutorial on camera mapping an island

http://cgterminal.com/2013/02/22/blender-camera-mapping-island-tutorial/

This is a great example of what you could come up with and it was done
in Blender

http://www.blendernation.com/2011/07/15/3d-camera-mapping-scenes-for-the-documentary-motalko/

Also see animating a 2d Photo in Blender.