September 15th, 2011 § 15 Comments
As you might know, we are using Blender’s new render engine Cycles for ManICan. Since all of this is so new I think it’s better if we start from the basics. So for starters here’s what I know about correctly setting up bump maps. I’ll assume you have a basic knowledge of Blender and the Cycles render engine. Also, Cycles allows to setup basic materials using a property interface, however I’ll be using only the node tree for clarity
First step is to create an Image Texture node and connect it to the displacement socket in your material output. This will inmediatly show some result acording to the image and the mapping coordinate you pick. In my case I’m using UVs
A word about Gamma:
Your monitor does not display colors how they really are stored in the image files. It actually distorts the image’s gamma with a curve. It is important to input images in the correct gamma mode to cycles. For example an image you use for coloring your model would probably be brought in as sRGB space, which means you want Cycles to render it just as you see it in your monitor, distortion and all. Why? because you created it that way, if the image looks good to you in your monitor you want to keep that result. How ever in the case of a bump map cycles should import the image just as it is in the file, ignoring all the correction workflow designed to compensate for your monitor. Confusing? lets get back to this in a later post, I’m really oversimplifying here
So anyway, in practice changing the color space is really easy. Open the N panel, set the image to Linear and see how the resulting bump effect changes!
I noticed a little glitch in the circles caused by the automatic subdivision of the UVs by the SubSurf modifier. Let’s turn that off
Now, as you can see, the Displacement socket of the output node is colored gray, this means it should receive Value lines. It’s a good idea to listen to that and convert our Color line (Yellow) to Value with a convertor node. This can prevent problems in more complex shaders (mixed closures). Just drag and drop a new RGB to BW node into the existing line and it will connect itself in between!
Controlling the strength of the bump effect is as easy as multiplying that value to the amount you want, let’s reduce it to only 10%
Much better. A Final touch can be grouping this bump map’s “treatment” nodes since we’ll likely be using them a lot all over the scene. This way reusing the same setup over and over becomes really easy!
Edit: someone asked how to tile textures in cycles! It’s very simple, just add a Mapping node and set scale higher than 1
September 12th, 2011 § 15 Comments
You don’t have to Build Blender to use it! You can get a copy of a supported, fully working copy at Blender.org. Or grab the latest Builds from GraphicAll.org. This Tutorial is for those that want to try and Build their own Blender.exe application form source files.
The Set up:
Download and install the following three applications to your PC ( I am using Windows Vista).
Follow the linked image and install TortoiseVNC on your PC. I am running Windows Vista SP2 at the time of this article. We will use this program to collect all the needed files from Blender’s Repository so we can Build Blender. You can get it here.
Step one: Getting the files.
Now that we have the SVN tools needed (TortioseSVN) we can now connect to the Blender foundation Repository.
Step two: Get the LIBS
Now we need a set LIBs (libraries) to aid CMake and Visual C++ 2008 Express as they attempt to build Blender for us. To do this just right click on your desktop and do another checkout with SVN, but this time change the URL of the repository to https://svn.blender.org/svnroot/bf-blender/trunk/lib/windows and the Checkout directory to C:\Blender\lib\Windows
Because building a 64bit version of Blender requires a patch to work, I will be building a 32 bit version. But if you want to build the 64bit version you will need the 64 bit LIBs. You can get those here: URL of the repository to https://svn.blender.org/svnroot/bf-blender/trunk/lib/win64 and the Checkout directory to C:\Blender\lib\Win64
Now back to our 32 bit build….
Once you have download all the files from the Blender repository you should see the following file structure on your C drive:
Step three: Using CMake
Open the CMake application from where ever you installed it and you should get this nice window.
Step four: Using Microsoft Visual C++
Finally: time to enjoy Blender!
To find your new Blender.exe just navigate over to C:\Blender\build\Bin\Release, there you will find
your brand new Blender.exe! Enjoy!
Final notes: Keeping up with new builds:
The Blender coders commit all the time so you may want to up date your Build. To do this just right click on your Blender repository copy (remember C:/Blender/Blender ?) and select SVN Update. Check out you LIBs too just to be safe.
Now start at step three above to rebuild a new solution for MSVS. Navigate to your Blender.sln and double click…
Problems with MSVS: call Support at 800-936-4900
Problems with CMake: Support is Here
Problems with TortoiseSVN: Go Here
Problems with this tutorial: Leave a comment.
Problems with to much money? Send some to us!
Special thanks to Mike Pan for his help with this and the guys in IRC #Blendercoders for their help!
September 6th, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Cyber studio back bone:
Ok, so the fact is we are a cyber studio and we will someday all meet, but as it is now we have to share files remotely or this will be a huge mess.
While Daniel is working on setting up the animatic and Milan is making Models we need to share these files and not step on each other toes by breaking what the other guy does. What we are using is an SVN server to store the files and each person can go in make changes, add files and get new copies to work on. Each of us is on a different Operating system also. Daniel is on Linux, Milan is on Mac OSX and I am on Windows and Mac OSX.
In order for us to share these files we need a server!
I just jumped over to my host (Dreamhost, whom I love by the way) and set up an SVN repository with cool log in names and passwords for everyone! Then I passed them out to each person that will need access. Daniel uses a terminal to login and grab his “Working copy” I used an application called Radipsvn and Tortiose to grab my copy and I pointed Milan to a great article on SVN on a mac. I also found this cool GUI application called Versions for him to use but is costs $55 us. We shall see what works best for him
The way it works:
It is rather an easy concept really, one guy makes a file and others in the group can make changes to it. Each of us can see what files have changed and by whom and when the changes were made.
Sharing has never felt so good.
September 5th, 2011 § Leave a Comment
As you saw in my previous post on the forums I have finished a table model based on Luis reference. The task to complete this model was challenging because (for this and every other model that will come in future) I have to think mostly on poly count.
The first part of the table that I focused on was a complicated ones (the ones that should have more faces) and that is the main support of the table and center support of the table.
Next, I cropped the reference image to use it as a guide. I then inserted the image into Blender (by using “Background images” option in Properties panel – N key),
Then, I created only half of the model and instead of using mirror modifier I used what is called a group instances. And that was the technique I used for the rest of the table.
The upper part of the table was made by using a smooth faces function (as well as every other part of the table that has hard edges). So the thing is that before starting on something I add a smooth to whole upper part, and after that play around with loop-cuts and slide function, by adding as much loops as I need, mostly on the ends of the model.
So now the complete table has around 36k ploy, which is quite good, compared to the 500k I had previously.
for people with recent Firefox or Chrome, watch the table in 3D!
August 15th, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’ve been posting progress pics of the 3D character development on the forums and twitter! Since I’m happy with the current stage (unfinished but pretty much defined) of the models I’ll show it here and continue with environment design! Again, this is not finished, textures are quicly mapped using projections and procedural textures and a lot of “ageing and wearing out” has to be done still 😀 What do you think? (click on the image to advance slideshow)
July 20th, 2011 § 1 Comment
It came the time for character design. With a couple of ideas in mind I contacted my friend Luis Gadea. He’s a very talented designer from Costa Rica who is currently specializing in traditional animation at Vancouver Film School.
check out hes blog
and vimeo channel
We started with a proportion study. I was looking for a big head but without making them look like kids. Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy came to mind. He’s able to express complex emotions with hes minimalist design and also, even with hes ridiculous proportions, you can take him seriously.
After an mail with a wordy explanation and a couple pictures Luis came up with this
Perfect! This doesn’t usually happen but he nailed it at the first try. Very happy with the proportions we had enough to start with MIC’s modeling. Now if you’re familiar with the story, the girl is actually made from pieces of office supplies! so the proportion study wasn’t enough reference for modeling.
This one took a bit more tries. First sketch by Luis (oops! Spanish quotations, final sketch is in English for you guys)
Hope you like it. Now to design the environment!
July 9th, 2011 § Leave a Comment
After choosing a design style (more on that later) I have started modeling the main character.
In Blender 2.58 there’s a great way to set reference images with the new empty display type “Image”
What this feature added by coder Campbell Barton does is enabling you to display images directly on empties.
Now it has a couple of secrets in it! Let’s look at the setup.
First a full opacity image empty:
Turn down the Opacity:
The problem with this is that when I start modeling, the model will block the image completely so it will get hard to match the design. So I made a duplicate of the empty in the same place (I have moved it forward slightly in the pic for clarity) and turned down the opacity.
Now to make this lower opacity version stand in front of any model just set the x-ray option on!
Can you say Sweet:
That’s it! see how you can now see a hint of the drawing even over your mesh object
Hope that helps you modelers. Keep tuned for design news!
Oh I forgot! to make textures in OGL look as crispy as this ones make sure to enable Anisotropic Filtering in the System preferences. It really makes a difference!
July 9th, 2011 § Leave a Comment
First post here! I’m very happy to be on the team. It is already a lot of fun! I also have the pleasure to work with some great people, some of them new to the Blender community but you’ll meet them around here soon. Your strength is in your team!
This is how the storyboard (drawn by Sarah) is looking inside Blender. I used my Gimp import addon to quickly load all the layers into textured planes. Then I’m using an animated ortho camera to follow the storyboard’s timing and basic camera pans. Just the first step of setting up the animatic. Now back to work!
June 9th, 2011 § Leave a Comment
May 30th, 2011 § 1 Comment
This sounds a bit lame but so true. ..
This project has just begun but we have already got the storyboard on line and the script is there. Today I set up the last links to FaceBook and Twitter.
The main focus of this project will be to Blog about everything that we come across, problems, triumphs, failures, bugs and everything else. We are hoping this can be a learning experience for others that have the desire to make their own short 3D animation or movie.
We will keep this project as transparent as we can so you can watch the how to as it gets done. You will find video clips, meetings, test clips (and not just the ones that look good) and much more.
We will answer questions and be offering all the assets too.
You can help us by following us and telling others to do so also.
You can read the script on the script page, and see some of the images that inspire this production over on the Inspiration page.
Thank you all,