This blog really is just notes for me on how to be less of an idiot :-)
I was trying to keyframe a camera to follow an object by hand yesterday. A combination of things including my misunderstadning of how keyframe easing made that a lot less fun than it needed to be. Lots of horrible interdependencies in my keyframes and jerky camera moves. There is a constraint that will allow the camera to track an object. And you can easily check your easing in the graph editor. Another great video from Grant Abbit:
For some reason I was thinking interpolation and easing were connected and I was treating it like black magic... then I watched this video that shows how to see the interpolation in the graph editor. Duh! Why didn't I think of that... :-)
With these 2 videos I'm able to smoothly track an object flying through space from a stationary camera which is exactly what I wanted. But for spaceships it probably makes sense to have the camera track an empty that the ship is attached to. That way things like shake can be added to the ships coordinate system and will show up on camera.
This blog really is just notes for me on how to be less of an idiot :-)
Another "my memory is so bad I have to make a blog post" entry. This is a great little video showing how to use the graph editor for path animations. So you can control the start and end of the path evaluation as well as the gradient of the curve.
The other thing I seem unable to remember is how to scale the graph editor axes independently which is very useful when doing find adjustments. I know I've probably googled this 10 times.
Ctrl+MMB and move the mouse up or down!!!! Dumbass.
I've been using Eevee pretty much since 2.8 came out. Turns out when I started using it, it made some assumptions that were wrong about how shaders needed to be set up. Yesterday I finally got irritated enough to figure out why my renders always looked a bit off.
I had 2 significant problems:
I was using DX normal maps when Blender uses OpenGL format. That's bad since they use different coordinate systems.
I was still feeding the Metallic and Roughness in using sRGB as the colour mode. I found out that actually they should be set to nonColor, just like the Normal Map.
So now I have to go back through all the materials I created in this project and fix them. Because I was lazy and didn't set this stuff up properly in the first place. There might be a lesson there somewhere....
In the past a lot of my cg work has been 2.5D at best and I've added camera shake in post. But since upgrading to the latest version of Vegas I've lost my favorite camera shake plug in.
Previously I would have been warey of adding camera shake in Blender since rendering a 5 second clip could easily take 5 hours but with eevvee (the very fast OpenGL Renderer in Blender 2.8) I can generate 1080p 24fps video frames of my current scene in almost real time. This means that taking risks in the animation is much less expensive compared to using Cycles (the ray tracer).
Here's a youtube from an annoyingly young person showing how to add noise to a camera in the graph editor. Obviously this noise could be added to anything, not just cameras. Also obviously this doesn't mean I won't continue to add camera shake in post, it's just another tool in the bag.
Getting ready to call this done... this took about 3 weeks. Blender and Substance Painter mainly. This is supposed to be an off-world mining colony in the style of Bladrunner/Alien. I need to add a bit more detail to the terrain, but that can wait until my new computer arrives.
Using Real Terrain Data and SubDiv Surfaces in Blender.
Nice video here on how to achieve this:
I pretty much just use this blog to remind myself of stuff... so here are a few blender things I learned and then forgot and then learned again....
Focus on an object
Pretty much every other graphics package on the planet lets you zoom and center on a selected object by pressing the 'F' key. In Blender its '.' on the numeric pad. I actually like how Blender uses the numpad but I usually forget this one.
Multiple Materials on an object
Handy for things like windows in a spaceship, where you want a single mesh but with different materials. It's not complex, but it's not obvious either.
Follow the link for satisfaction.
Basic fog, but also a great introduction to the Compositor. A big slice of Blender awesome that I've barely touched.
I had been meaning to figure out how to do this for ages. Another one of those things that wasn't immediately trivial but actually isn't difficult and can save a lot of time. Click the world tab on the left side of the shader editor and then add the mapping node. Stolen from here: https://blender.stackexchange.com/questions/47833/how-do-i-rotate-an-environment-texture
Scale is an interesting issue in games and movies. Right now I'm working on a racing car video. Knowing how much track I need for a given shot is quite important since making the track and road side buildings is pretty time consuming. Not to mention rendering. At 24 fps, a 3 second clip could take half a day to render. Generally in a package like Blender I'll assume one unit = 1 meter in my imaginary world. Then I can do calculations like how many meters can I cover at 100mph? The math to figure that out isn't hard, but the magic of the internet makes its trivial with conversion tools.
So if I want a 3 second shot of a car driving at 70, I need about 100 meters of track. Of course if the track isn't straight then the cars have to slow down, so a tight turn will reduce the amount of content that needs creating, as well as potentially reducing the render time (size of visible set). The first Ridge Racer was very cleverly designed to keep performance up. The track was designed to never require more performance than the PlayStation could provide :-)
I'm trying to render something like this, but with Aliens. And I'm definitely going to steal the engine sounds from this video, and I'm not going to feel guilty because Shell has enough money already. :-0
I've been about it for a couple of years but I finally sat down and started to learn Substance Painter for texturing. Substance Painter combines procedural texturing with layer based painting and masking. This unlocks a world of possibilities without the pain of having to paint directly into UV Maps in photoshop. Color me excited.
I recently finished another little film project. This is another in my series of "Ancient Aliens/Ghost Hunter" knock offs. It was mainly an excuse to attempt another 3d animated character. This time the character was fully skinned and animated while being lit using HDRi lighting and physically plausible shading. A high res HDRI meant I could also use it for rendering. Additional buildings were brought in from Sketchfab at reasonable cost. As the rendering was going to degraded to look like camcorder footage I could take certain liberties with the model.
The wolf was modeled, textured, animated and rendered in Blender. I'm slowly getting the hang of 3d sculpting, but I really need to learn how to retopo my models for better texture mapping. That also means I'll be able to start to use Substance painter, something I'm really excited to try.
I also didn't add any fur to this model. I'm not clear how you mix furry and not furry body parts and how you deal with the seams. More stuff to learn I guess :-)
Check out the whole video below.