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There are many mistakes people make in the Blender community when it comes to what they make, and what they publish to the web. There are some things that Blender artists, or any 3d artists should refrain from doing.

The first and most important mistake that people make is publishing test renders. When 3d artists discover a new feature, they will create a test render in order to learn the feature quickly and get a hang of it. This part is fine, however uploading this render to sites like Youtube and Vimeo is a mistake. A test render is just a test, nothing more. It should remain on your hard drive and nowhere else.

Another mistake people make is recreating things. This is alright if you are recreating something and putting your own spin on it. The only problem is that if you are recreating a popular character from an animation or video, your render will be compared directly to the original. If your render has any differences, it will not look good because people are so used to the original version.

There is one mistake that people make that is specifically for Blender. This mistake is not having autosave running frequently. New versions of Blender and custom builds can crash frequently. If you are working on something important, you should have autosave set to save every couple of minutes so that your work isn’t lost.

When I was working on an animation for a 4 hour competition, I had Blender saving every minute. It slowed down my work slightly, but it saved my ass in the end.

Happy Blending,

Nick Bobryk

Now that I have exhausted the topic of rendering engines, I will know talk about rendering farms. A render farm is a collection of computers all working together to complete one render.

Not many people have access to many computers at one because it costs too much. There is a simple solution to this problem. Online render farm services.

There are many websites that host renders on their servers for a low price. There are even some services that work specifically with the Cycles and Blender Internal engines. You just need to send them your .blend file, and specify how you want your file rendered. Then, you just wait for them to send it to you.

There is another alternative to this method of rendering. Renderfarm.fi. This is a “The Publicly Distributed Rendering Service”. Basically you sign up to this website, and whenever you want something rendered, it gets broken up and sent to thousands of other computers that have also signed up for the service. The only downside is that you have to contribute some of your computer’s processing power to the community render farm.

Rendering on the Renderfarm.fi service is blindingly fast. You can render a whole animation in a small amount of time. If you were to render the same animation on your own, it would take days to render.

Render farms are a great choice if your computer can’t handle the work. It is also great if you want a render finished fast on a tight deadline. They are definitely worth looking into.

Happy Blending,

Nick Bobryk

Yafaray has been around for as long as Blender has been in existence. However, this engine was never integrated into Blender, and the Blender Foundation has no plan at the moment to do so. For now, Cycles, Blender Internal, and Freestyle, are the only engines to be integrated into Blender. Yafaray is a free, open source rendering engine.

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Yafaray is known for it’s fast and accurate caustic effects. If you do not know what caustic light is, I will give a brief explanation. Caustics are the envelope of light rays reflected or refracted off of any curved surface. These caustic effects add depth and realism to your scene. Cycles also has caustics, but they are not nearly as advanced.

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Yafaray is also known for volumetric lighting. Volumetric lighting is used to create haziness or fogginess in scenes, and to create realistic smoke or clouds. The only other rendering engine that works well with volumetric lighting in Blender is the Blender Internal engine. What makes Yafaray different is the physics based calculations that it uses to make volumetrics more realistic.

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Yafaray is a faceless program. This means that it needs a host program to run it. You need to download a specific Blender version that supports Yafaray rendering. These specific builds are usually released a short while after new versions of Blender, so it might take some time for these builds to catch up to the current versions of Blender.

Yafaray is always being worked on, and is fairly easy to use. If it os your style, go for Yafaray. It all comes down to personal opinion.

Happy Blending,

Nick Bobryk

The next rendering engine in my series is Cycles. This engine came out of nowhere recently and impressed everyone with its ease of use and realistic results. With minimal effort, you can take a simple scene and add a lot of realism to it.

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The render times used to be very slow because it only supported CPU rendering. Now that it supports GPU rendering, the renders can be completed much faster. Another thing that cut out of the render times is the “tile render” system. It renders your images in separate chunks instead of one whole.

Why does the Cycles engine look so realistic? The answer to this question is in the raytracing. The Cycles engine supports full global illumination. That means that anything you create in your scene will be rendered accurately compared to what it would look like in real life.

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This rendering system works off of preset shaders that come with Blender. These shaders can be mixed and customized to create any material on and off of the face of the earth. Using the basic shaders will make your render decently realistic, but some fine tuning will make it hard for people to distinguish a render from a photo.

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The render times for this rendering engine is noticeably slower than any other rendering engine available, but it produces the most realistic renders, and is being constantly improved by the Blender Foundation. The Cycles engine is planned to be the primary engine for Blender in the near future.

Happy Blending,

Nick Bobryk

The next rendering engine that I will talk about is Freestyle. Freestyle has been around for many years. It was always used as a standalone program. Since the last Blender release (Blender 2.67 RC1), this rendering engine has been integrated into the program as an add-on. Now, the Freestyle engine is easier than ever to use.

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Freestyle should not be considered its own engine. It is more of an addition to the Blender Internal engine. It is used to create stylized strokes on your objects. This can be used to give a cartoony feel to your render, or even to make a technical render.

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Once you have all of the textures and objects set up in your Blender Internal scene, you can check a box in the render tab to activate Freestyle. Freestyle uses “line sets” to do it’s magic. These line sets are used to calculate where stroke is added to objects.

This rendering engine is very technical, and takes some time to master, but the extra work is worth it. If you are looking for a cartoony effect, this is the way you are going to get it.

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Rendering the lines takes a relatively short amount of time. Adding a basic stroke to your objects can take 30 seconds for a simple scene, and several minutes for a complex setup. If you want to make a full animation using Freestyle, be prepared to wait longer for it to finish. Even though it adds to your render time, the results are amazing.

Happy Blending,

Nick Bobryk

There are many rendering engines that can be used in Blender. I will only talk about a few in this next series of posts. The first rendering engine that I will talk about is the Blender Internal Engine.

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The Blender Internal Engine is the first engine to come with Blender. It started out as a basic renderer and had barely any capabilities. It has been evolving over the past decade. The Blender Foundation has discontinued the progress of this engine, but it is still used by the Blender community.

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The Blender Internal Engine uses a direct light system of raytracing, where a ray of light hits an object and doesn’t bounce to any other objects. This system makes images look very unrealistic and makes renders more difficult.

When rendering with the Blender Internal Engine, it is hard to create realism. It takes a lot of tedious work to fake a few aspects. Firstly, because there is no indirect lighting, global illumination has to be faked by using many light sources. This can slow down your render, but it gives you more control over your scene.

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The one thing that the internal engine is best at is the render times. This engine renders images fairly quickly because it doesn’t have much light to process. The renders can be exported to many types of files, and it is fairly easy to set up.

The Blender Internal Engine is not the best rendering engine, But if you need a render done quickly for a prototype, it is perfect.

Next up… Freestyle!

In the last tutorial, we discussed how to create a basic cymbal with simple texturing. In this tutorial, we will add a logo to the cymbal. This should be your starting point in this tutorial.

Part 4

 

If you do not have that, you can go back to my last tutorial and create it here. Without further  ado, let’s add a logo to this cymbal. For this part of the tutorial I decided on the Sabian logo. You can Google it for a larger version.

SABIAN_Logolg

 

First you want to UV unwrap the cymbal where you want to add the logo. Go into edit mode, go to the top view, select the vertices that will have logo on it, then hit ‘u’ and project from view.

part 1

 

Once the cymbal is unwrapped, go to the node editor. Add an image texture, and open the Sabian logo image. Connect the vector input to the UV texture coordinate output from the last tutorial. Then, add a mix shader. Set the output of the image as the fac input of the mix shader.

Place the anisotrophic shader as the first input, and a black diffuse as the second input. The output of the mix shader should go to the material output now instead of the anisotrophic shader from earlier.

part 2

 

With this setup you should have the basic logo appearing in the render view.

part 3

 

This looks good, but the logo just looks like a shadow. In order to give it more detail, add an anisotrophic shader and a mix shader to the diffuse shader from before.

part 4part 5

 

Now the logo should be more reflective, and should look like spray paint on a real cymbal. That is it for this tutorial. The next tutorial will go to rendering this realistic beauty.

Happy Blending!

Nick Bobryk

Welcome back!

In the last part of this multi-part tutorial, we modeled a basic cymbal. This Should be your starting point for this part of the tutorial.

cymbal_0000_Layer-6

If you do not have this as your starting point, go back to my other tutorial here. This cymbal has barely any detail for a reason. All of the detail will be achieved in texturing. When it comes to realism, it is better to achieve detail in the texturing rather than the modelling because a detailed model will render much slower than a low poly model with complex texturing.

Starting from this point, you want to go into the node editor with the cymbal selected. Create a Anisotropic BSDF shader and connect it to a material output. The shader should be colored with hex code #F2A95F. Set the roughness to .05 and the anisotrophy to 1. that will get this result. (I rendered with a basic HDR image as the light source)

Part 1         Part 2

Now for the rings. The rings are a little complicated for words so here is an image of the node setup. Connect the multiply node to the displacement of the material output, and you will have a simple node setup for a semi-realistic cymbal. you could stop here and be fine. The next steps would be for creating images of close ups like I did. Here is the final product.

Part 4

That is all you need to do to make a basic cymbal with basic texturing. In the next part of this tutorial, I will explain how to make this better.

Happy Blending!

Nick Bobryk

 

In this multi-part tutorial, I will be explaining how to create a photo-realistic cymbal from scratch. This part of the tutorial will focus solely on modelling the cymbal. I is a very basic process, so feel free to skip this tutorial and make one yourself. If you wish to learn how to quickly model a cymbal, keep reading. When you are finished with this series, you should have an end result like this:

sabian

First, you must start with a circle. Create the circle with n-gon filll type.

cymbal_0005_Layer-1

This circle is the base shape for a cymbal so after a few clicks you did most of the work. Now you must extrude the outer edge inward. Once you do that, you must delete the innermost face, and move the inner ring upwards to create the effect seen here.

cymbal_0004_Layer-2

Once you have this completed, extrude the inner ring inwards a  tiny bit, extrude it inwards halfway, then move it up. Extrude the ring in again and merge the vertices to the center. You should have this one you are finished.

cymbal_0002_Layer-4

Now for the bottom. You must extrude the bottom to look like this,with a merged point in the center.

cymbal_0001_Layer-5

Finally, add a subsurf modifier, and your cymbal is modelled, and ready for texturing.

cymbal_0000_Layer-6

The next tutorial will focus basic texturing. If you had trouble with this model, you should check out http://www.blenderguru.com/. Andrew Price makes great tutorials on modeling, texturing, and even photo-realism using Blender.

Happy Blending,

Nick Bobryk

Hello everyone!

This is my first post on this blog, so naturally this is going to be an introduction of the blog and an introduction of myself.

Firstly, you are probably here to learn about Blender and I promise that you will. There is a vast community with a large amount of resources for you to take advantage of. I will contribute as much as I can, and hopefully that will be sufficient. 

As the about page says, I am a 3D animator and game designer from New Jersey. I started using Blender in 2008, and I have been using it regularly. In the beginning, I had no idea where to start or where I was going. Now that I have a good hold of the program, I can utilize every aspect of it to make creating easier.

This is what I hope to achieve with this blog. I want to make creating come naturally to you. An idea can look amazing in your head, but without the proper knowledge of how to execute that idea, it can turn out badly.

Lets stop this intro business and get to the learning shall we?

Happy Blending!

Nick Bobryk