Category Archives: Blender Resources

Baking versus rendering

From the Blender Reference Manual:
https://www.blender.org/manual/physics/baking.html
“Baking Physics Simulations

“Baking refers to the act of storing or caching the results of a calculation.

“It’s generally recommended to bake your physics simulations before rendering. Aside from no longer needing to go through the time-consuming process of simulating again, baking can help prevent potential glitches and ensure that the outcome of the simulation remains exactly the same every time.
“Note
“Most physics simulators in blender use a similar system, but not all have exactly the same settings available. All the settings are covered here, but individual physics types may not provide all these options.”

More on the settings for baking smoke and fire simulations:
https://www.blender.org/manual/physics/smoke/baking.html

More on the settings for baking fluid simulations:
https://www.blender.org/manual/physics/fluid/domain.html

More on the settings for baking ocean simulations:
https://www.blender.org/manual/modifiers/simulate/ocean.html

More on the settings for baking rigid body physics simulations:
https://www.blender.org/manual/physics/rigid_body/world.html?highlight=baking#rigid-body-caching-and-baking

Baking Textures
https://www.blender.org/manual/render/workflows/bake.html

In addition to simulations, you can also bake textures:
“Render Baking
“Baking, in general, is the act of pre-computing something in order to speed up some other process later down the line. Rendering from scratch takes a lot of time depending on the options you choose. Therefore, Blender allows you to “bake” some parts of the render ahead of time, for select objects. Then, when you press Render, the entire scene is rendered much faster, since the colors of those objects do not have to be recomputed.

“Render baking creates 2D bitmap images of a mesh object’s rendered surface. These images can be re-mapped onto the object using the object’s UV coordinates. Baking is done for each individual mesh, and can only be done if that mesh has been UV-unwrapped. While it takes time to set up and perform, it saves render time. If you are rendering a long animation, the time spent baking can be much less than time spent rendering out each frame of a long animation.” (Check the rest of this link https://www.blender.org/manual/render/workflows/bake.html for more useful details.)

Render Backing for Cycles
https://www.blender.org/manual/render/cycles/baking.html

Refer to the Blender Render page at https://www.blender.org/manual/render/workflows/bake.html for general baking guidelines

“Cycles uses the render settings (samples, bounces, …) for baking. This way the quality of the baked textures should match the result you get from the rendered scene.

The baking happens into the respective active textures of the object materials. The active texture is the last selected Image Texture node of the material nodetree. That means the active object (or the selected objects, when not baking ‘Selected to Active’) needs a material, and that material needs at least an Image Texture node, with the image to be used for the baking. Note, the node doesn’t need to be connected to any other node. The active texture is what projection painting and the viewport use as a criteria to which image to use. This way after the baking is done you can automatically preview the baked result in the Texture mode.”

Free Blender Books

http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Books

Modeling A Simple Animated Character
http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Books/Blender_Ebook_Modeling_A_Simple_CharacterBasics

Blender Basics Classroom Tutorial Book
http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Books/Blender_Basics

Programming Add-Ons For Blender 2.5
http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Books/Programming_Add_Ons_For_Blender_25

An introduction to BLENDER 3D a book for beginners

http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Books/An_introduction_to_BLENDER_3D_a_book_for_beginners

Code snippets – Introduction to Python scripting in Blender 2.5x
info: http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Books/Code_snippets_-_Introduction_to_Python_scripting_in_Blender_25
view or download: http://www.scribd.com/doc/133502178/Code-Snippets-Updated-for-Blender-258
download: https://www.dropbox.com/s/l6r0k79mqsdes58/Code_snippets_updated_for_Blender_258.pdf?dl=0

Free Textures, Blender Brushes and Particle Files!

Particles on Blendswap.com

www.blendswap.com/terms/category/particles

Free Brushes for Blender

www.blendswap.com/terms/category/brushes

Free Textures for Blender

opengameart.org

www.blendswap.com/terms/category/textures

pixabay.com/

community.renderman.pixar.com/article/114/library-pixar-one-twenty-eight.html

blender-archi.tuxfamily.org/Textures

www.animax.it

isibleearth.nasa.gov/

botit.botany.wisc.edu/

CG Cookie’s Blender learning flow

CG Cookie's Blender Learning FlowDuring this class, you’ll have a subscription to CG Cookie https://cgcookie.com, and thus you’ll have the opportunity to make use of, among others, this extensive series of short video tutorials, which have a total running time of 10.4 hours.

Blender Basics
First Steps with Blender (Free) 0:05:24
Interface & Navigation (Free) 0:09:35
Selecting & Transforming Objects (Free) 0:07:32
Adding & Removing Objects (Free) 0:04:44
Using the Interface (Free) 0:08:45
Wrapping Up (Free) 0:02:04

Mesh Modeling Fundamentals
Learn the essential mesh modeling tools and techniques for creating models in Blender while also gaining a grasp of how Blender handles objects and meshes.
CHAPTER 1 – CREATING MESH OBJECTS
Learning how to model means you must first understand how to create and modify mesh objects.
Creating Mesh Objects (Free) 0:05:49
CHAPTER 2 – CONTEXT MODES
Blender uses different modes to modify objects. The mode you use depends on what you need to do. For mesh objects we primarily use Object mode and Edit mode.
Object Mode & Edit Mode 0:04:04
CHAPTER 3 – MANIPULATING MESHES
Once you’ve learned the basics of working with mesh objects it’s time to begin modifying the shapes and structures of the actual mesh.
Mesh Anatomy 0:03:05
Mesh Selection Modes 0:03:42
CHAPTER 4 – QUIZ
Test your knowledge of objects and meshes in Blender.
Objects & Meshes
CHAPTER 5 – FUNDAMENTAL MODELING TOOLS
While Blender’s modelingl tool set is extensive, there are certain tools that prove to be essential. Learn about them in this chapter.
The Subdivide Tool 0:06:25
The Extrude Tool 0:05:32
Loop Cut & Slide 0:08:06
The Inset Tool 0:04:07
The Bevel Tool 0:06:16
The Knife Tool 0:04:41
Delete & Dissolve 0:05:59
CHAPTER 6 – QUIZ
Mesh Tools
CHAPTER 7 – MESH SELECTION TOOLS
When it comes to mesh modeling, selection is a very important. Learn about Blender’s different selection options in this chapter.
Select or Deselect All 0:01:26
Select More or Less 0:01:31
Box & Circle Select 0:02:57
Edge Loops 0:04:27
Edge Rings 0:02:04
CHAPTER 8 – MESH SHADING AND VISIBILITY
Learn the different modes for visualizing your model in the 3D viewport.
Solid & Wireframe Shading 0:01:52
Limiting Selection to Visible 0:02:10
Mesh Hiding 0:02:23
CHAPTER 9 – QUIZ
Selection & Visibility
CHAPTER 10 – ORIENTATIONS & OBJECT DATA
This last chapter sheds light on the particulars of transforming an object through space and object vs object data.
Transform Orientations: Global & Local Space 0:08:42
Object VS Mesh Data 0:04:39
Shared Mesh Data 0:05:55
CHAPTER 11 – EXERCISE
Put your new found skills to the test by utilizing the fundamental modeling tools to modify primitive objects.
Mesh Modeling Exercise 01

Fundamentals of Digital Sculpting
Digital Sculpting is an alternative method of mesh manipulation that aims to be more artistically intuitive. It emulates traditional sculpting tools in the form of “brushes” and can even function as an “unlimited clay” approach to shape building. If you’re artistic and you like to build organic models, I highly recommend you try digital sculpting.
CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION
Watch this brief introduction to get a taste of what this course is all about!
Introduction to Digital Sculpting (Free) 0:00:39
CHAPTER 2 – DIGITAL SCULPTING TOOLS
Blender offers many digital sculpting tools. In this chapter learn about Sculpt Mode and all it’s features.
Sculpt Mode 0:03:38
Brush Settings 0:03:05
Brush Overview I 0:05:48
Brush Overview II 0:05:52
Masking & Visibility 0:03:24
Brush Textures 0:05:14
Stroke Methods 0:05:14
Curve, Locking & Matcaps 0:04:32
Digital Sculpting Tools – Quiz Not Taken
CHAPTER 3 – MEDIUMS
Similar to the variety of clays available for traditional sculpting, there are also different methods or ‘mediums’ of digital clay that we can choose to sculpt with.
Multi-resolution 0:06:47
Dynamic Topology 0:07:17
Mediums – Quiz Not Taken
CHAPTER 4 – SCULPTING MELVIN
Now that we know the sculpting tools featured in Blender, it’s time explored how to use all these tools to sculpt a simple character.
Base Mesh Creation 0:07:49
Body Blockout I 0:07:11
Body Blockout II 0:09:39
Mouth 0:08:41
Details 0:09:36
Final Polish 0:07:11
Sculpting Melvin 0:02:57

Fundamentals of Lighting
Without light nothing can be seen. Thus it is extremely important. And beyond the basic requirement for sight, lighting is equally, if not more important for appeal.
CHAPTER 1 – LIGHTING FOR CYCLES
Cycles is Blender’s latest and greatest physically-based render engine.
Introduction (Free) 0:00:49
CHAPTER 2 – TYPES OF ILLUMINATION (CYCLES)
There are several ways of illuminating your 3D scene. These include “Lamp” object types, emitting light from mesh objects, and environment illumination with a “World” texture.
Point Lamp 0:03:04
Sun Lamp 0:02:27
Spot Lamp 0:02:04
Area Lamp 0:03:07
Mesh Emission 0:02:07
World Environment 0:04:14
CHAPTER 3 – APPLICATION (CYCLES)
It’s one thing to know how to introduce light into your scene and another to make illumination appealing. This chapter covers a standard 3-point light setup along with HDRi illumination.
3 Point Lighting: Key 0:03:12
3 Point Lighting: Fill 0:02:49
3 Point Lighting: Back/Rim 0:03:50
HDRi Illumination 0:06:17
CHAPTER 4 – QUIZ (CYCLES)
Fundamentals of Lighting

Fundamentals of Texturing
Textures are 2D images that are designed to influence a 3D model’s appearance. Whether it’s simply to add color to a model like one would paint a clay sculpture, or to govern a specific material attribute, textures can be generated and painted by hand with Blender’s built-in tools.
CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION
Get a birds-eye-view preface to the texturing process before diving in.
Introduction (Free) 0:06:57
CHAPTER 2 – UV COORDINATES
These are the 2D representation of a 3D model that exists mainly to transpose image textures on to the model.
Accessing UV’s 0:02:04
UV Mapping 0:07:50
UV Unwrapping 0:07:33
CHAPTER 3 – PAINTING
Blender offers tools for hand-painting textures with digital “brushes”.
Creating an Image Texture 0:05:32
2D Painting 0:06:03
3D Painting 0:06:05
Saving Textures & Vertex Painting 0:05:25
CHAPTER 4 – BAKING
Blender allows us to tranpose geometric information to image texture format in a process called “baking”.
Map Baking with Blender Render 0:12:06
Map Baking with Cycles 0:04:41
CHAPTER 5 – EXTERNAL EDITING
Sometimes you need to use an external application to edit your textures. Here’s how you can painless jump out of and back into Blender when texturing.
Editing Textures Externally 0:05:01
CHAPTER 6 – QUIZ
Fundamentals of Texturing

Fundamentals of Shading
If “Texturing” is like a paint’s color then “Shading” is like a paint’s finish: matte, semi-gloss, hi-gloss, etc. Shading is what makes an object appear metallic, transparent like glass, or translucent like wax.
CHAPTER 1 – SHADING FOR CYCLES
Cycles is Blender’s latest and greatest physically-based render engine.
Introduction (Free) 0:00:46
CHAPTER 2 – NODE-BASED MATERIAL CONSTRUCTION (CYCLES)
Cycles takes advantage of Blender’s “Node Editor” for maximum flexibility compared to a traditional panel user interface.
Node Editor Overview 0:06:56
Mixing Shader Components 0:04:34
CHAPTER 3 – APPLICATION (CYCLES)
Using our knowledge of node-editing, let’s construct a realistic material using multiple BSDF layers controlled by textures.
Metallic Base 0:03:26
Diffuse Color 0:02:57
Glossy Reflection 0:08:37
Adding Grime 0:03:24
Scratches & Bump 0:05:29
CHAPTER 4 – QUIZ (CYCLES)
Put your new Cycles shading knowledge to the test! Or the quiz rather…
Fundamentals of Shading with Cycles – Quiz Not Taken
CHAPTER 5 – MATERIAL PANEL (BLENDER RENDER)
Blender Render – aka “Blender Internal” or “BI” – is Blender’s legacy, non-physically-based render engine.
Diffuse & Specular 0:05:05
Shading & Transparency 0:06:23
Mirror & SSS 0:03:24
CHAPTER 6 – TEXTURE PANEL (BLENDER RENDER)
Texture Panel Overview 0:06:23
Texture Influence 0:05:12
Layering Texture Influence 0:05:01
Procedural Textures 0:03:27
CHAPTER 7 – QUIZ (BLENDER RENDER)
Fundamentals of Shading with Blender Render

Fundamentals of Rendering
Rendering for computer graphics is like the oven is for baking. It’s the process of taking all your ingredients (3D models, shaders, lighting, animation, etc.), setting the oven temperature (render settings), and waiting for it to finish “cooking”. With computer graphics, rendering takes the form of finalizing 3D elements into image or movie format.
CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION
Get a big-picture preface of rendering before jumping into the course!
Introduction (Free) 0:49:00
CHAPTER 2 – GENERAL OPTIONS
Rendering options that aren’t specific to a render engine.
Rendering Interface 0:05:26
Dimensions & Stamp 0:05:20
Output 0:03:22
CHAPTER 3 – CYCLES RENDER PROPERTIES
Options specific to the Cycles render engine.
Sampling 0:04:07
Clamping 0:06:31
Light Paths Overview 0:06:18
Light Paths Optimization 0:04:30
Motion Blur 0:01:17
Film 0:02:56
Performance 0:04:04
Camera & Depth of Field 0:04:23
CHAPTER 4 – VIEWPORT
Outputting Blender’s viewport as an image or animation.
OpenGL Rendering 0:02:48
CHAPTER 5 – QUIZ
Fundamentals of Rendering

Fundamentals of Compositing
Compositing is an optimizational workflow for minimizing render iterations while maximizing your render output’s editability. It’s essentially the concept of separating your render into individual components that can be reconstructed and tweaked independently after rendering.
CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION
Compositing can be an odd concept at first glance. Watch this overview to get a quick explanation of what compositing is and why it’s useful.
Introduction (Free) 0:00:55
CHAPTER 2 – PRE-RENDER DISSASSEMBLY
The first step in the compositing workflow is to separate your 3D scene into its individual render elements.
Render Layers 0:04:33
Render Passes 0:02:38
CHAPTER 3 – POST-RENDER REASSEMBLY
Once your separated elements are rendered out, we need to re-combine them using the Blender’s Node Editor.
Combining Render Layers 0:03:43
Combining Render Passes 0:04:59
Render Layer Node VS Image Node 0:03:42
Organization 0:04:42
CHAPTER 4 – TREATMENT
The bread and butter of compositing is the ability to quickly tweak and perfect your image without waiting to render the scene again. This chapter covers some common treatment techniques.
Filter: Motion Blur 0:03:21
Filter: Depth of Field 0:03:36
Treatment 0:06:22
CHAPTER 5 – QUIZ
Fundamentals of Compositing

Using the VSE as a Video Editing Tool 0:06:37
POWERING UP WITH THE VSE
Blender’s Video Sequence Editor, or VSE for short, was designed as a simple animation string out tool. A means of adding together a series of 3D animation shots to sound files. You can easily substitute a still image for live animation (via OpenGL replay), then substitute that for fully rendered and composited animation.
But the VSE can do so much more. It is the only (Free) and completely open, multi platform video editing tool available. As a side bonus it is also totally portable.
There is a range of basic editing tasks you can achieve:

  • ­simple multi­track sound mixing and mixdown exporting
  • basic audio pitch/speed control
  • trim, slide and slip video and audio clips in the timeline
  • add transitions between media
  • change the speed of camera
  • group media into larger ‘meta­strips’
  • perform color correction and color grading per clip or per scene
  • stabilize shaky footage
  • composite media with masks
  • add 3D media to camera media

TIP: Recovering from a Crash 0:07:50

TIP: Setting Up Image Planes 0:10:29
A 3D MODELER’S BEST FRIEND.
Image planes are an integral part of a modeler’s workflow. Whether it’s a device, sports car, or character, image planes keep a model’s shape and form accountable.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
Blender offers 2 native methods for establishing image planes for modeling reference:
Background images: UI-based image planes that lack object properties and depend on orthographic/camera views.
Image Empties: Object empties masquerading as image planes that can be manipulated like any other object.

Compositor to VSE
Blender’s production flow is strictly linear which can be a bummer if you want to tweak you video edit with the compositor. In this course, David teaches you the best ways to work through this restriction.
CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION
Watch this video for a summary of this course’s content.
Introduction (Free) 0:03:41
CHAPTER 2 – LESSONS
Learn from David’s explanation and demonstration.
Sourcing a Scene 0:09:16
Editing Strips 0:06:15
Keying in Blender
CHAPTER 3 – QUIZ
Let’s see how much information you retained from this course!
Compositor to VSE – Quiz Not Taken

Animating Perpetual Motion with F-Curves 0:15:01
Animating in Blender can be a tedious process at times, especially when it comes to repeated or continuous actions. However, there are ways to make it easier and faster – if you know the right tricks!
In this tutorial, Jonathan Lampel explains how to quickly and efficiently deal with animation, demonstrating how to work with f-curves in the graph editor and using it to animate an ocean that churns endlessly, a light that flashes until you need it to stop and a propeller that can rotate hundreds of times using only two key frames.

Customizing Your Startup File in Blender 0:13:00
HAVE BLENDER YOUR WAY
As an open source application, Blender is naturally very customizable. Of course like most programs, we can modify User Preferences, save render presets, build custom UI themes, and save layout presets. But beyond User Preferences, Blender allows us to customize our the startup scene. With the startup.blend file we have incredible (Free)dom to tailor Blender so it launches with our exact specifications.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
Each artist is unique in the way they work. Often times, we find ourselves establishing habits – hopefully good ones – that support our specific methodology. After these habits and preferences take hold, we can discover that perhaps Blender’s defaults don’t work best for us. For example, when was the last time you kept the default cube, camera, and light instead of deleting them? Or in my case, when have I ever been satisfied with 10 preview/render samples? But those examples are just skimming the surface of Blender’s startup customizability. In this video I will show you:
The difference between User Preferences and the Startup file. Both are customizable but independent from one another.
Modifying and saving UI elements/layouts, adding new default texture-paint brushes, and storing shader node group “presets” for easy access in the future.
How to manually transfer all your customization to new Blender installations. NOTE – You could also implement Jonathan’s Dropbox method to keep your Blender customizations synced on all your computers.