So here's my latest tutorial based on the Icing Effect from a few videos back:
There's not a huge amount to say specifically about the techniques demonstrated other than it solely focuses on the creating of the icing and not the materials or rendering, but I talk about that in the video anyway. As often happens, I managed to improve the technique from the original video as I was preparing for the tutorial (more on that in a separate post), which is helpful because I wasn't particularly looking forward to recording this. It was a difficult effect (as they all seem to be) and the technique was particularly hard to develop as there didn't seem to be a definite explanation as to why certain things had to be done, which kind of undermines the point of a tutorial which is to teach.
Nevertheless, things did get easier and the overall process, while still difficult, is a lot less difficult than it felt while making it. Good organisation definitely helps, particularly when dealing with a rig with lots of controllers, something I lacked when I was making it...
I've put the rollercoaster project on hold for a bit. I did a bit of work on it the other day, which I'll talk about in a separate post, and I might work on it as a break from the current project but I just feel I should be focusing on work for my showreel.
While the rollercoaster project is something that will be included in my reel it's a bit more general than my modelling 'remit'. Sure, it has modelling, but it's focus is vfx which is a bit more general. I've always heard you should be quite specific in your reel and that it should clearly represent what you want to do so I'm working on a more modelling heavy project. I'm not going to talk about it at the moment, for some reason I like to keep most of my projects secret, as if I've got a huge audience waiting in suspense. But I'll do a few posts once it's out, it's a complex project (for me) so that may be a while.
This post is basically just announcing two new videos I released. It was originally going to just show one of the videos but then I left writing the post for so long that a new video was finished by then.
The first video is a new effect based on icing:
It's one of the most complex techniques I've used so I'll have to try and work out a smooth workflow for when the tutorial comes out. It makes use of semi-complex drivers (depending on if you've used drivers before) and it also has a pretty complex control system. It also takes a lot of repeated work for each curve that makes up the text, there's no easy way to duplicate it, it's all custom, so this is better for simple logos or shapes which require few curves rather than full words.
The second video is a tutorial for one of my favourite videos so far, Ice Shatter and Crack (a preview of the effect is at the beginning of the tutorial):
I was looking forward to recording this tutorial because most of the techniques seem pretty simple, but when it came to recording it was the longest recording yet at 1hr 45min (looking at the timecode in the video above shows how much usable footage I tend to get). The techniques are simple, there's just quite a few of them and then I cover scripting a bit which takes a bit more explanation and I'm not sure how well I did on that. I tend to always get a few people who say that the tutorials aren't suited for beginners and I'd agree, they're not! They're intended as intermediate, if you're a beginner and you can follow it then great, but this is even more true with the small scripting section. I give an overview, but it's really an overview for people that don't find programming a completely alien subject, maybe they've done another language or have tried some basic stuff out. This was more to say "Scripting can be very useful if you only know a small amount, here's how you could use it", rather than "Let's learn programming from scratch!".
I'll probably do separate blog posts for both the subject of tutorials (both my techniques and in the context of the blender community) and scripting.
This is just a quick post (I hope) with a tip on how to render a different background when using HDRI lighting in Blender 3D. As you can see from the images on my gallery I generally just render a single object and don't really make a scene for it. The downside of this is that if the object is reflective it doesn't have anything to reflect in the empty scene and looks plain and unrealistic.
Like others, to get around this problem I use HDRI maps to give fake reflections. The problem with this is that you then have the HDRI image in the background which can take focus away from the original image, to get around this you can make a plane in the background which blocks out the HDRI image, but it often has to be quite large to fill the whole camera background.
A workaround which I use is to use the Blender's compositor to composite in a different background from a different scene in the blend file. Of course this could be done afterwards if you just rendered a PNG with transparent background, but if your not intending to do any post on it anyway you might as well do this in Blender. For example, I normally use a simple blended background found in the 'World Settings' giving a gradient effect, which I would rather use than the HDRI background but still have the benefits of the reflections the HDRI provides.