December 16, 2013

Large Hadron Collider - v02 W.I.P. - Larger and More Post Productions

OK, well never content to leave well enough alone, here's another render that I made, spending the better part of yesterday rendering. It's at 1920x1200 (the resolution of my monitor) in case anybody wants to use it for a desktop image. It's still a work in progress, but I think it's cool.

Notice the darker look (I accidentally rendered out in "linear" space for you color geeks out there), and a slight film grain to dirty it up a bit. Also some very slight chromatic abberation, because lord knows how easy it is to go overboard with that sort of thing.

I've been meaning to show my process more, so I think posting unfinished stuff is a good start. Enjoy!

Click to see the full size image.

December 15, 2013

Hadron Particle Accelerator - W.I.P. Test

Here's a little something I wanted to test out today. Using my new 780 GTX graphics card, I was playing around with making the particle accelerator from the famous image HERE.

I'm going for a procedural approach this time, trying to get the modelling to be as editable as possible using multiple modifiers. The metal poles are just a bezier curve and the metal octagonal rings are spun instances using Blender Cookie's awesome technique with the array modifier. The stairs are also multiple instances, and the crappy material on the pipes is Cycles procedural brick material. I plan on making it much more elaborate and detailed in the future. This was just my original inspiration for today.

I think the noise is not too shabby, after rendering only about 1000 samples in 7 and a half minutes. The image is based on a sci-fi script I wrote a couple of years ago. Who know, maybe it'll be resurrected someday... :)

December 14, 2013

Skip Frame Interpolation Test (a.k.a. How to Only Render Half As Many Frames In Cycles)

Hey guys - just tried an experiment with a dry scene in Blender Cycles. I wanted to know if it was possible to save time by rendering at 12 frames per second, and then "create" the in-between frames later using After Effects.

Turns out, it works pretty well! Here's a quick video demonstrating the method. I know as the scene gets more complex, it probably won't work as well. But for fairly simple scenes with a slow to medium speed camera, it looks pretty solid and has a minimal amount of "streaking" (that trail-like effect you see on older consumer video cameras).

The only trick is, when you're in After Effects, make sure to use the TIMEWARP effect plugin and set the "Error Threshold" to "0" so there's no weird chunky blocks. I set it to 50% speed which then equals 24 frames per second.

November 28, 2013

Nice - Demonic Ink Tutorial Just Reached Over 1000 Views on Youtube!

I would say 1030 to be exact. It's nice to know people are enjoying it.

Would also like to say thanks for promoting the video! I'd never heard of your site before. Rock on.

October 29, 2013

New Tutorial: How To Create Demonic Ink!

Whew! This took a helluva lot longer than I expected. Codec problems, rendering issues (I think this took 12 hours to render - too long?), and the final product is far from perfect, but it's here so I'm happy ;)

Presenting my first foray into making a video tutorial for Blender (Best watched in Full HD):

As mentioned in the video, here's the free background texture you may use for any of your projects:

And finally, feel free to contact me if you'd like to take a peak at the blend file that I used in this video.

Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

October 18, 2013

"Demonic Ink" Tutorial Preview!

Hey guys!

I noticed there hasn't been any real tutorials on creating a physically based realistic effect of Ink spreading onto paper. I thought I'd create a tutorial, and, well, one thing lead to another and now it's a spooky Halloween effect!

Oh well.

Here's the preview. I will release the tutorial very soon!

October 17, 2013

Andrew Price's UI Proposal - My Suggestions

Just saw the latest video that Andrew Price came out with for the proposed Blender UI redesign. Really interesting stuff! Don't agree with all of it, but I think it's a step in the right direction.

I added my two cents to the argument, and that basically is the arrangement of tabs at the top that would define the different tasks one would generally want to accomplish. Here's my post in its entirety:

I actually think it would be more intuitive to make the tabs at the top (model, material, texture), organized according to the steps one would take to complete a project. They would essentially replace the "workspace" tab that currently exists.

So, my ideal order would be: Scene, Model, Rig, Texture, Animate, Light, Render, Composite. Sculpt could be a subset of the Modelling tab and Texture and Material could collapse into one. Similar to how you have it arranged now, there would always be an option on the top left part of the horizontal panel to switch to nodes if that is possible. The scene tab would be the area where you'd define the gravity, background color, ambient occlusion, as well as camera tracking.

The modifiers tab would exist as an option in the properties box on the right when you select an object.
As for the particles, hair, physics, those aspects would be available as a right click function when you select an object. It might show a tiny icon ("Make Smoke Flow, Make Fluid, Make Rigid Body"). This would then be available to tweak and adjust in the modifier tab which would now be in the properties box on the right.

As well, perhaps there could be physics objects available to select in the tools panel to get started, say a sphere that has the flow property applied. The bounding box for the fire and the fluid (for water sims) would be automatically generated, because why would it ever be necessary to manually create it?

These are all the suggestions I can think of now. Thanks for all your hard work!

October 16, 2013

Poker Chips Falling - Test

In other news, here's a slow animation I rendered a while ago featuring poker chips falling. Not very exciting, I know, but wanted to play with Blender's different Film looks and how fast Cycles renders on my new comp.

You'll also notices the physics is a bit wonky for the right two chips, who have decided to take it upon themselves to slowly edge away from the other colored chips (racist are they?):

October 02, 2013

Blender Artist Post Mentioned In Blender Guru Podcast

Just got a bit of nice recognition from Andrew Price's latest podcast. He referenced my post from a few days ago about fixing Blender's interface. Brought up some great points and helped clarify what he meant by the term "broken".

You can check it out here:

September 29, 2013

Is Blender's UI Really "Broken"?

This is from a post I just wrote on the blender artists forum in response to the new furor surrounding Blender's "broken" User Interface:

Well, I just want to offer my own take on the whole blender UI debate, so here goes.

I think Andrew brings up some excellent points about Blender's usability and intuitiveness from a UI standpoint. He's not criticizing an immature piece of software quickly developed as part of a Stanford thesis. He's examining an application that has been developed over years and years by a very dedicated core group of people and with lots of input from its user base.

Why are his suggestions creating such an uproar? I believe it's because Blender is currently experiencing a growth period. The one area I disagree with Andrew is that Blender isn't broken. Blender is actually quite amazing. And now that it is relatively stable and packs features (cycles, smoke sim, 3D tracking) that are comparable to more commercial software, it is collapsing the divide between "open-source" quality and "commercial" quality.

And herein lies the problem: Blender is a developer's dream, and a company's nightmare.

Because it is open-source, the people who develop blender want it to be a playground for the latest 3D tools and advancements in this field. And that's a good thing! However, it was never designed as a product. Blender is missing one essential ingredient key to any company's success: the marketing department.

Blender is not well marketed, nor was it intended to be. The interface was not primarily designed to engage new users, but as a upgrade to improve the previous version. The UI was a vast improvement over the 2.4x series, but I believe it was still was not designed with the goal of attracting new users and/or porting over users from other software. Now that its feature set is quite extensive, the cluttered interface is all the more apparent. But that's not because Blender is bad, it's because there has never been a person in charge of making it more user-friendly - that job only becomes necessary when your product is meant to be profitable.

So, as a consequence, I agree that blender should start to consider itself more of a product. Its website should resemble that of other 3D applications. But I think we as a community would benefit from calming down, and approaching the interface logically and with baby steps.

1) If people desperately want the interface improved RIGHT NOW, create another crowdfunding drive. The stated goals should be voted and agreed upon ahead of time. The money would go towards a full time UI and UX developer at the Blender Institute once the money would be raised.

2) Create a master document (blender wiki?) where each page attacks a different aspect of blender. Once through a system of voting, the UI with the most votes is selected, we pass on the design revisions to the developers and they help identify a plan of attack from "most able to implement in the next version" to "will take several versions to implement."

These are of course my suggestions, and I merely want to continue the discussion and see what people are thinking.
If you take away anything from my long post, it's this: Blender is amazing, and we don't need to revolutionize it all right now. The interface can gradually improve the same way Blender has always been improved. Let's focus on the less difficult tasks now (reset default splash screen, update blender wiki, update website design), and move our way up to the trickier ones (e.g. icon and layout redesign).
And if you're interested in seeing what another Blender user suggested for a cleaned up UI design, check out his blog post from a few years back here.

September 13, 2013

Blender Ink Drop Simulation - High Rez

Latest test, trying out my new PC. Simulation is maxed out at 512x512. Took only about an hour to render 120 frames using Blender internal. Some post-prod in after effects (slight blur, sharpening). It helped that I rendered out 16bit png's so I had a bit of latitude when tweaking the colour.

August 08, 2013

February 26, 2013

Work Update

Hey everyone. Sorry it's been a while since I last posted. I'm currently working for a 3D conversion company, so I haven't had much time to work on blender projects. I hope to upload more artwork soon.

In the meantime, I'm working on another vfx blog post in regards to the recent controversies surrounding Rhythm & Hues and their fiasco during the Oscars. Should be an interesting one.

January 03, 2013

January 02, 2013

Testing testing

Just seeing how well the mobile interface works. First post sent with my iPhone. Yeah!