Light Placement Tips

Placing lights in blender can be a bit difficult at times. One very handy way of simplifying placement, is to make your light the active camera and then switching to camera view. Once in camera view, you can very easily pin-point camera location, but this technique really shines at orientation. Use Axis double clicks to constrain transform to local axis. To put it simpler, if you want to tilt the camera, press R-X-X to rotate around local X axis.

When you are done placing your light, make sure to select your camera, and make it active again else the view will be rendered from the light’s view.

You can also use this technique to adjust the SpotSi (SpotSize), and SpotBl (SpotBlur) values very accurately.

Keystrokes:

Cntrl-0 (Zero) to make selected object active camera.

Axis double click to constrain to local. (G-X-X; or R-X-X; G-Y-Y)

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Knurling

Knurling is a manufacturing process, typically conducted on a lathe, whereby a visually-attractive diamond-shaped (criss-cross) pattern is cut or rolled into metal. This pattern allows hands or fingers to get a better grip on the knurled object than would be provided by the originally-smooth metal surface. ^

This tutorial will show you how you can create several styles of knurls in Blender.

After you have completed this tutorial, you should have no problem recreating an object like this:

KnurlRender

Continue reading

Posted in Intermediate, Knurling, Tutorial | 3 Comments

Shrink-Wrap

This tutorial will demonstrate the technique of creating clothing for 3D characters. I will be creating a tee-shirt for the “George” character available from here.

Start off by creating a very simple, extremely low-poly tee-shirt for your character.

Make sure that there is no mesh sticking into, or intersecting with the character.

swt_img14533

swt_img1453fh3

Now at this point, most people will slap on a shrink-wrap modifier, see the strange/weird/terrible results, and call it a failure. You will get the same results with the mesh that’s in the above images. Why? The answer is very simple. It’s because your mesh is too low-poly. Everything is still going how it should, but you can’t make clothes out of planks. Fabric bends at a microscopic level, that’s why it can fit around objects so well. You could select your mesh in editmode, and press ‘W’ and Subdivide it, but adding a subdivision modifier is a much easier to work with, and you have much more control over it. (you can enable/disable the modifier for the interface, increase/decrease subdivision amount, etc)

Add a level 2 Subdivision modifier so that your mesh looks like this:

SWT_img03

Select your characters mesh, press N to bring up the transform panel.

Hover your mouse over the ‘OB’ field, then press Cntrl-C to copy the objects name

SWT_img04

Now select the shirt mesh again, and add a shrink-wrap modifier.

Hover your mouse over the ‘OB’ field, and press Cntrl-V to paste in the characters object name.

SWT_img06

Now you should see something similar to this:

swt_img09

You can see that the shirt mesh is fitting the character very well, albeit somewhat too well (too tight).

To fix that, increase the OffSet number in the shrink-wrap modifier to any value that makes the shirt offset from the character enough that it doesn’t overlap with it.

0.01 to 0.02 worked great for me.

The result being this:

swt_img08

The result is very nice, and completely usable, but you will rarely get everything perfect the first time you create a low-poly base mesh. Don’t worry, you aren’t the only person experiencing problems, it happens to everyone.

One very common example of a shrink-wrap problem is stretched artifacts, something like this:

SWT_09

This happens all the time, so how do you get rid of that ugly mess? Let’s look at one easy way of fixed it.

First, enable the little button shows in the next screenshot:

SWT_img10

That allows us to see the modifier’s effects directly on our mesh while in editmode.

Before enabling the button, our mesh looked like this:

swt_img11

Now it looks like this:

swt_img12
It becomes very evident what the problem is. There are a few vertices that are a position where Blender doesn’t know what to do with them.

Select the offending vertices, and move them downward, away from the chin.

That fixes the problem right away. The mesh now looks like this:

swt_img13

Remember, you can use this technique for any tweaking on the mesh. If you don’t like something, you can move the verticies around till you do.

In that case, it’s a good idea to have a Mirror Modifier so that our mesh doesn’t become lop-sided. If you do use a mirror modifier, make sure that it is the top-most modifier on the stack. If it’s not, it will cause problems.

I hope that you found this tutorial easy to understand, interesting, but above all, useful. If you have comments, suggestions, or anything else to say, please drop a few comments to this post!

Posted in Clothing, Modeling, Simple, Tips, Tutorial, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Tips for Website planning with Blender.

It may have crossed your mind at some time or another that since you are an artist, you should have your own website. But you can’t afford Photoshop, Gimp is too confusing, and paint, well, you just think that it shouldn’t be called Ms Paint, but rather Ms Pain. But you know blender and wanted to use it to sketch your self a showstopper website. Here appears a bit of a problem; Blender is designed to create 3D scenes/objects/what have you, so how do you “downgrade” Blender 3D into Blender 2D without using a certain far flung Blender branch?

Here is an example of what you can do with blender while ab/using it in the way I will show you:

SiteRender

And here are a few tips that will get you on your feet, and well on your way to designing a great website.

  • Before you start, make sure that your scene is completely clear of any objects.

Background Object.

  • Add a plane to your scene and scale it 1024 on the X axis, and 768 along the Y axis.

PlaneScaleUp

All you are doing is giving this plane the correct aspect ratio for our website. We don’t actually want it this big.

  • Scale this plane down, roughly to the size of the default cube. I scaled mine down to .001.

WPB_img6


Camera.

  • Create a new camera, leave it’s default rotation, but move it a tiny bit along the Z axis. (doesn’t matter how much, just so that it’s at a positive z location)
  • Go into the render buttons, and set the Render Size to 1024×768.

WPB_img3

  • In the camera properties, set your camera projection type to orthographic.

WPB_img7_Ortho

  • Now we need to set our camera’s view to match the size of our plane.

You can either scale the plane to fit, or you can adjust the camera Scale value shown in the above screenshot. (Note that using the S won’t achieve anything)

I chose to adjust the Camera’s Scale value till the background plane filled it’s view like in the following screenshot:

CamScaling

Now we are ready for the fun part, the actual artwork. At this point we won’t really be needing to change any of the camera’s settings so you can hide it by selecting it and pressing the ‘H’ key.

Materials.

  • Whenever you create a new material, the first thing you should always do is to set it shadeless.

Material_SetShadeless

This tells the render engine to render this material, and the objects that host it, with it’s absolute diffuse color. In other words, it will completely disregard shading so you will able to see it in it’s true color even if there are no lights, or overly bright ones.

Text.

  • You can add and edit text objects right in blender without having to use textures.

WPB_img91

  • If you have some awesome font you want to use, you can do that as well by selecting your Text Object, hitting Load, and then browsing to the location of your font:

Text_LoadingA_Font

Miscellaneous tips.

Before starting to design your website, it’s a good idea to collect some reference material, and/or styles that you want to follow. I usually use Colorotate.org/ to create color schemes to use for the site that I’m working on.

To make it very conveniant to pick colors from your scheme, split the buttons window at the very right, and load a small screen grab of the scheme into it.

Like this:

WPB_img95

Now you can use the Color Picker tool to select colors from your scheme.

ColorPickerSampling

WPB_img96

  • Make sure that Your Z-Order is correct

That is, make sure that your objects aren’t coinciding. Images that should be shown on top of others should be moved slightly upwards along the z axis.

  • Make sure that no form of Ambient Occlusion is enabled.

It adds a great amount of time to the render but does not change the looks of it whatsoever.

_________________________________

Credits:

Golf Ball and Red Glass Apple images used on example site are from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benklemm/306943061/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/8011986@N02/2748116045/ respectively

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