Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Subway Scene 7 - in Cycles

I decided to try and finish Subway Scene. I still don't know exactly what it'll turn into, but I decided to begin texturing it. I also did a few noisy renders with Cycles, just to test things out. More to come.

Notice the amount of noise. 400 samples wasn't enough to begin getting rid of it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rally Car Scene

Here is a screenshot of the very early stages of a rally scene I'm working on. More to come.

Working on the car rigging.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Real Time Bump Texture Painting in Blender

Originally, I was going to create my first videotutorial on making-real time bump maps via texture painting on GLSL view mode, but there is this Blender Cookie video already, by David Ward. So, anyway, it's a great technique, very useful to add detail intuitively where there's not enough geometry, as a way to keep the poly count down. It's also a great alternative to using a Multiresolution modifier, although I like to combine it with some basic sculpting. I really recommend it. I've been using it on this model I've been working on for Tube. Here is the link to the tutorial. Thank you David!

Never Say Final - Coke and Cookies

On my last post, I used a forbidden word in production circles: final. Over the years, I've learned to avoid using it. It's meaningless. Nothing is final—except death, that is. I used it again, and again it exacted its revenge on me. It was supposed to be the final render—really-really final, or double-final, or final-final, or final-2. I've used them all over the years :)

After I had posted that render, the next morning I woke up and I noticed an incredible spike on this blog visitors' count. On a good day, I get somewhere between 50 and 150 visitors. At 8AM yesterday it was at 400 already. I checked the source of the traffic, and I discovered it was coming from BlenderNation, a Blender News web site. Apparently, this BlenderNation admin, Bart, liked my Coke and Cookies render, and put it up on their site. On top of that, blender.org, who usually mirror BlenderNation's news and posts, linked to that post as well. This incredible, two-pronged combination did the trick, I ended the day hitting the 2500 mark. I'm not complaining, I love the attention, and I like talking to people about Blender and Cycles and anything else 3D. Everything 3D.

Another interesting thing about what happened with my being featured in another site is that, all of a sudden, my artwork had become. It got away from me, and it started having an independent life all of its own. It got out into the world, and that was that. It's a funny feeling, but also a good feeling, and a wake-up call concerning the obsessive pursue of perfection. You want your work to be perfect, but in order to achieve it, you keep tweaking and futzing and fidgeting with things, but it does not necessarily get any better. It's just that you get all caught up in the creative process. Or maybe you're just an addict :) Sometimes it is better to leave the freshness of the first impulse as is and not worry about the imperfections. Some examples related to this idea come to mind: the Aeneid is not a finished poem, someone refused to burn it as Virgil demanded on his deathbed. One more: Paul Valéry's Le cimitière marin was published before he could 'finish it.' His over-eager publisher friend took it away from him and decided it was good enough. The hutzpah!

Anyway, for all these reasons, I wanna send a big thanks to BlenderNation, blender.org, and all the visitors to my blog. THANKS!

Oh, and here is the really-final render! I could not resist changing a few things around ;) If you liked the former version better, you know where to go :) Just click on final.

Also, I've decided to release the coke model as open-source file. It seems like there are many others trying to create soda bottles, so perhaps it can be helpful. Send me an email and I'll send you the file, minus the textures.


Render at about 3000 samples, with some
post-processing work done in Photoshop.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Coke and Cookies - Final Render

Here's the final render of my Coke and Cookies scene. I'm going to leave it like it is now. I added some water on the table and a washcloth. Cycles finally decided to stop crashing, and I was able to do a proper render this time. Three hours for 1500 samples. I sharpened it a bit in Photoshop—I don't quite like Blender's Sharpen filter.

Background image used under Creative Commons license
from http://www.smartibl.com/sibl/archive.html
PS: I woke up this morning, and I noticed an unusually high level of traffic on my blog. Then, I slowly realized that both Blender Nation and blender.org are mentioning my work on their sites today! Thank you guys! It doesn't happen every day... LOL

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Random Thoughts #1

I've been helping out at the Tube project for a few weeks now. So far, it's been a great experience. Working right next to Bassam Kurdali has been great. He's a very patient and generous person. Plus he works non-stop, and he seems to know just everything about Blender! I can't believe how inspirational it is,and how much I feel like I'm learning. Although I'm not contributing a whole lot (yet), the little I've done has already pushed my limits a bit. Just being there and hearing and talking about SVN stuff, or about Python's greatness, and about different ways to efficiently manage texture assets is just what the doctor ordered :)

Out of all that, I discovered a very neat technique for painting bump textures real time, so the guesswork is a bit reduced. It feels a bit like sculpting, except it's not. One of these days I'll post what I hope to be my first video tutorial on this subject. Let's see how it turns out.

Anyway, there are many more things I'd like to work now, like this Blender e-book for beginners organized in several lessons. Speaking of lessons, I've been teaching webinars on Cheetah3D lately, and that's been going really great too. I hope to be able to put some Blender webinars together as well. I need to start thinking about ideas for those. Anyway, off I go, I need to be working on my next scene, which will probably be a rally car scene, something fun and full of dust and grit and excitement.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Coke and Cookies - 2

Here is an update of the Coke and Cookies scene I've been working on. I think it's pretty much done now. Creating all the materials and setting up the scene has given me a greater understanding of how Cycles works. There's nothing like getting your hands dirty to learn something new!




Sunday, November 6, 2011

Coke and Cookies Scene in Cycles

Here are a coupe of renders of a scene I'm working on in Cycles. I call it Coke and Cookies. I think the reflective materials are the reason why I'm getting so many fireflies. Fireflies are those super shiny spots on the image that seem like they don't belong in there. Anyway, it's a work in progress, we'll see where it leads...