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.

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