Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Review: Blender Cycles: Lighting and Rendering Cookbook by Bernardo Iraci

Reading this book I came to realize how Blender can produce images with photorealism accuracy.  Bernardo Iraci's recipes are float point precision from RGB colors, Index of Refraction to factoring levels in mixing nodes.  Photographic terms: depth of field, bokeh effect and exposure levels are used.  The author begins by discussing GPU vs. CPU and video cards.  He introduces the reader to the three point light system using emitting planes and gives those lighted mesh subtle hues.  I like the way he lights the environment.  An hdr image is loaded in the environment texture which adds reflection. He uses sun position along with an IBL plug in and chooses Latitude, Longitude and Time settings for the outdoor landscape.  Grass is made with the particle system which is ready for animation.  He guides the reader for changing the scenes.  The interior scene with plant, lamp, chair bathed in sunlight becomes night.  IES, a plug in used by professionals, saves on polygon count.  Throughout the book the author maintains focus on the lighting,  IOR, rendering time, nodes while he develops textures for a glass full of water,  a glass of wine, bottle of wine, grapes,  a car with realistic reflections, toys inside a space ship, and a model of a young lady by the sea.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

From Pinterest to Upcycling

Whenever I pour over my Pinterest boards I think about the projects I've seen and what I would I want to make. Upcycling or if you prefer recycling is an art form.   I would like to make a stain glass embedded wall as seen on my Pinterest boards of earthag homes, cob, earthship using empty bottles.  I am not a vegetarian, but I would like to make millet milk and cookies, because in same process you get both.  Strain the grain/nut milk and bake the paste with a little bit of sugar.  The 30 day drawing challenge could be used to make character and environment art which could become game assets.
What have I tried? Well, I took my broken rake into the kitchen and mounted on the wall so that it now holds salad tongs, tea strainer, wooden spoon, measuring cups.  I also turned an empty Chantilly box into a shelf.  The shelf carries my favorite collection of nail polish.  I cut the plastic cover and hot glued it.  I cut washers from the plastic and hung it on the wall with small brass screws.  Voila!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Book Review : Blender Cycles: Materials & Textures Cookbook written by Enrico Valenza in 2013

Blender Cycles: Materials & Textures Cookbook written by
Enrico Valenza in 2013.
What I like about this book are the features "How to do it" and "How it works" which follows each project describing why he chose the methods and why it works.

Chapter One is a gentle introduction taking the reader through a step by step process with color photos.  The author explains how increasing the sampling rate reduces the fireflies in a 3D image.  He shows how mesh lights produce a soft diffuse light.  He uses an hdr image to produce light effects on the subject while giving the reader the option to make the hdr image disappear while keeping the effect which seems like magic.

Chapter two the author shows how to organize in order to save time when beginning a new texture as well as providing the reader a way to modify just one file instead of a series of files.  It begins with a spheroid on a plane.

The rest of the book involves precise recipes using nodes, different textures like the Voroni texture which has a high degree of realism in its crunchy looking texture.  Other texture from the Blender cycles render include fresnel, dislacement, Musgrave and noise to achieve a variety of texture projects ice, running water, sand, metal, bronze, stone, polystyrene, bakelite, glass, sponge, rubber, wood, cloth, tree bark, tree leaves,  ocean, spaceship hull and Earth.

My favorite projects come from chapter five ocean surface and under water environment.  The author constructs the ocean surface using three node groups: one for the basic ocean plane,  another for reflections holds fresnel, reflective and IOR values while a third node holds foam location values.  For the underwater environment the author begins with a cube rescaled twenty one times.  He uses a subdivision modifier, ocean modifier geometry displacements.  For both ocean projects he uses the linear extrapolation to make the ocean animation constant.  Why did he use a cube for the underwater project is for the quality of lighting.