Introduction. I usually browse the net and admire other artistas works and todo get Inspiration. Not only Inspiration for subjects or scenes, but a los the enthusiasm you Will ned todo break down a scene and actually pull it of in Blender, this time i wanted todo create a sugar swet flufy effect with bubbles floating in a cloudy Atmosphere, so be prepared for some Pink, we Will use the particle system, compositor, UV wrapping, some textures and animation. There Will a los be some useful tips on workflow and tools, Blender 2.52 is still somewhat buggy so you might run into some Strange behaviour. Remember todo save [Control + s] often, due todo a bug (¿) the particle system Will not ani-mate right sometimes. When this happens it can usually be fixed by going todo frame 1 and then re-en-ter the particle system start frame.
When i started todo use Blender, y tried todo use the strict 4 view ISO Layout but quickly found it todo take up to much valuable space for the tools. However i usually use a 2 Split view, one for modelling and one for the Camera. In this bien i can immediately se if my objects are the right size and in the right place while i model them, you can have múltiple cameras for diferent test shots and one for the main render shot. You change the default Camera by first selecting the desired Camera in the outliner, position the mouse over the 3d view you want todo change and then press [Control + num0]. Another advantage is that you can adjust the Camera in your main 3d view and at the same time se th rouge the Camera in the other view while you position it, first deleete everything in your scene by hitting [a] todo select all, then press [x] and confirm todo deleete everything. Add a light with [shift+a] and select Lamp>>sun, name it todo main light. I prefer todo have my main light a Little bit stronger so go into the.
Light window and in the Lamp panel change en-ergy todo 1.16. Now add a Camera with [shift+a] and select Camera, name it todo main Camera, in all my default projects i have one Sun light and one Camera already rigged. I a los have both the Cam-era and the light todo track a target. In this bien i can move around both the Camera and the light and always be sure todo have my target well lit and in Camera view, todo do this we first create a target object with [shift+a] and select empty. Everything you add todo the scene Will be located at your 3d cursor. So if your 3d cursor isnt at position 0,0,0 you can easily change that from the transform panel properties.
Window. Toggle the properties window with [n], pointing the mouse over your 3d view. Under the view panels 3d cursor setting, you can set the pues sí-tion todo Whatever you like (0,0,0) in this case, if your empty ended up in the wrong place, dont panic. In the same window (or in the object window) you can enter the exact coordinates in the transform panel for any selected object in your scene. Now make sure your empty is located at 0,0,0
And name it Camera target under the in the object window.
Since everything now has ended up in the same spot it is an excellent opportunity todo exercise the outline window. Use the outline window todo easily select objects by their names, in my scene i placed the main Camera at x 0, y -19, z 0 and the main light at x -6, y -16 z 15. You can enter these coordinates directly in the transform panel under.
Location. There is no point in changing the rotation because the track todo modifier we Will apply next Will override the rotation, since we removed the Camera before, our Little view todo the right neds todo be set bak todo Camera view. Hold the mouse over the window and press [num0] todo change todo the active Camera view, select the Camera and go todo the constraints window. Open up the add constraint and select track todo. As.
Target select our Camera target and watch the Camera view. That looks a bit awkward. You ned todo tell the Camera what axis should point todo the target and what axis is the up-axis, set todo to -z and up to y. Now your Camera should point at the Camera target empty, do the same for the Sun light. Now you should se ha blue dotted constraint line from the light and the Camera todo the Camera target.
My work Layout looks like this:
I find the outline window very useful todo quickly select an object. I have it filtered on visible layers so i only se the relevant objects. To the right you se my Camera window and at the bottom the timeline window so i quickly can move between the frames. The small UV window is god for quik Access todo reference images, UV maps and rendered layers. My defaultsetup is included for download, lets get on with this tutorial and create the flufy clouds.
Up in the clouds.
You could create the clouds with Blender new smoke system with a great load on your cpu, or you can faq it, go todo the world window and tik the paper Sky and Blender Sky boxes. Then head immediately over todo the texture window and select the first texture slot. Press the new button and leave the type as clouds (i guess you can se where we are heading here). Leave all the other.
Parameters as they are, head bak todo the world window and set the horizon color todo Pink, zenith color todo white and ambient color todo black. Now you can se ha sort of cloudy image appear in the preview panel.
Since we have now created our clouds as an environment-ment map, it takes virtually no time at all todo process when we render.
Bubble trouble in paradise.
We ned todo create a template todo represent the bubbles, press [shift+a] and select Mesh>>uv sphere, set it todo smooth in the tool shelf window (toggle with [t] in 3d view) and name it bubble. Move it out of the bien where you can easily select it. I put mine at location -10, -15, 5, scaled it todo 0.113 on all axes and changed dimension todo 0.425,0.25,0.425. You may ned todo zoom out todo se it, use the mouse whel todo zoom in and out.
I want it todo be a Pink Shiny bubble so we ned todo work on a new material. Head over todo the material window and press the new button todo add a new material and.
Slot for this object, name it bubble mat, in the Diffuse panel set colour todo a nice Pink one, intensity todo 1.000 and tik the Ramp box, the Ramp allows us todo blend in another colour depend-ing on the amount of light hitting the surface. We can give the bubble more depth by using a Ramp going from dark Pink todo bright Pink with diferent alpha values. The Ramp already has 2 positions by default, one on each end. At the left position (0) set colour todo a Little darker Pink and alpha todo 0.400. At the second one (1) set the colour todo almost white and alpha todo 1.000, now we want the highlighting, Specular, todo be a bit more blue, a los with a more bluish Ramp. Go down todo the Specular panel and set the colour todo a more pinkblue. Tik the Ramp box todo bring up the colour Ramp.
We do the same here but go from a black todo a turquoise colour. Leave the alpha values but change the second colour todo turquoise, a bubble is not a real bubble unless it has some transparency, so just tik the box in the transparency panel and set alpha todo 0.400. This gives us enough transparency todo still be able todo se the bubble, the last thing we Will do todo add more depth is todo have the bubbles receive transparency shadows/light. This Will Shine up the opposite sides inside the bubble as well. Go down todo the shadow panel and tik receive transparent, now we should have a nice Pink bubble.
Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles.
We Will create the bubbles with aparticle system and for that we first ned an emitter. The emitter object is sending out the particles from its vértices, Faces or volume, create a Cube with [shift+a] and select Mesh>>Cube, name it bubbles, in my scene i placed the bubbles at x 0, y 0, z 0 and scale x 9, y 9, z 9. You can enter the location and scale directly in the object window but we a los ned todo set the dimension todo 18, 16 and 10. For some reason the dimension canonly be accessed from the properties window. Bring up the properties window with [n] and do the changes in the transform panel, if your box is solid you can toggle between wireframe and solid with [z], since i, in the end, want todo animate the bubbles gracefully floating in the clouds i ned todo plan how the particles are entering the scene. I only want the particles todo float in from the sides and bottomup. I a los dont want them todo suddenly just appear and disappear in the Camera view.
To better understand this let us take a look at how partí-cles are emitted (generated), a particle system is a flow of particles over time. This means that they Will begin todo emit at the start frame and estop at the end frame. Betwen the start and the end frame every particle generated Will just appear on the emitter and disappear when it diez. Did i say die?
Yes, each particle a los have a life time starting at the frame it is generated counting forward and when it has ben in the scene for its life time number of frames it Will just disappear, so we Will avoid having the particles being generated within our Camera view and they must live long enough todo not disappear in the Camera view during the animation, let us first attach a particle system todo our newly created emitter bubbles, go todo the particle window and press the + button todo add a new system, leave the type as emitter but change sed todo 11. The sed only tells the randomizer how todo initialize the ran-dom number generation. I found 11 generates a nice looking Particle Flow, let us have a look at the emission panel. We dont want a Forest of bubbles so change the amount todo 200, as i mentioned before we want the bubbles todo float into the Camera view so the idea is todo let the Camera view fit inside the emitter. If we then let the Faces of the emitter generate the particles, they Will be outside the Camera view. To do this set emit from todo Faces and random, but we are still not seing any particles. This is because we are still on frame 1 in our animation.
If you start/estop the animation with [Alt+a] you Will se how the particles start todo emit. But they look a bit small, not like bubbles, for this we Will actually not render the particles themselves, instead the particle Will become an empty todo guide another object, under the render tab change from halo todo object and select our bubble as the dupli object. A referenced copy of the dupli object Will be placed at each particle instead of the particle itself. Any change todo our bubble Will now affect all the bubbles in our particle system. We a los dont want todo render the emitter itself so untik the.
Emitter box as well, as you can se they are still todo small todo be taken for bubbles. To get more variations in the bubble size go todo the physics tab and change size todo 2 and random size todo 0.5, but wait a minute, they all move in the wrong direction, we wanted them inside the Camera view. Let us take a look at the velocity panel. Here we can control the initial speed and direction of our particles, set emitter geometry normal todo -0.100 todo have them float slowly, a positive value Will send the particles in the faces normal direction so a negative value Will send them in the opposite direction of the faces normal. I guess flipping the emitters normals would have done the same trick, but let us kep things simple and dont mess with.
Blenders bien of defining the normal directions, now the particles are moving inside the emitter but they arent moving Slow, they are falling down with increasing speed. Time todo get Physical.
This has todo do with Gravity (hence the newtonian Sys-tem). We ned todo change the Gravity todo have them float, go todo the scene window and in the Gravity tab untik the Gravity box. This gives us zero Gravity, just like in outer space. Now the small initial force from the emitters normals Will not be changed and the bubbles Will float forever with the same speed in the normals direction, now they arent falling down but instead they move so Slow they Will actually not reach the Camera before theanimation is done. Is there not a bien todo force the bub-bles todo flow before the animation starts? yes there is, go bak todo the particle window and the emission tab again, look at the start, end and lifetime. Regardless of.
What frame our animation starts and estops, our particle system can start and estop at other frames, we ned the particle system todo start before our actual animation. In this bien it Will already have generated enough particles todo fill the Camera view when the actual animation starts. Set start todo -2000 todo have the particle system started 2000 frames before the actual animation Will render, this created another unwanted side effect because the particles Will only live for 50 frames and then die, they Will still not reach the Camera view. Change lifetime todo 5000 todo ensure that they Will live th rouge the whole animation, still the bubbles are appearing and disappearing in the Camera view and we have bubbles coming from the above, floating down. This is because the emitters back, front and top Faces are emitting particles straight into the Camera view. Select the emitter box and go into Edit Mode with [tab]. Select the top, front and bak face and deleete them with [x], remove Faces, now the Camera should be looking into a corridor without a rof.
Stay focused or not.
If we render the scene now we have a lot of bubbles but we are still missing the software Cute feeling. In real world photography we can create an effect of a Sharp motive with a blur background and foreground. This Will soften the image quite a lot and make it flufier. To do this we ned the compositor, so head over todo the compositor (aka Node Editor)
Without creating a new tutorial on compositing we can briefly say that we can stream información from the rendering process th rouge a number of black boxes (hereafter called nodes) todo add or subtract data/effects from the rendered scene, start by ticking the use nodes box and Blender Will create two basic nodes for you. The left node render layers is taquíng data from your scene and streams the informa-tion into the compositor th rouge diferent channels. As you can se the image channel is already connected todo the composite nodes image input. The composite node is your end station and it is at this point the FinalRender is produced (your render window). All channels on the left side of a node are imputs and the right side are outputs, with this setup nothing extraordinary Will happen so we Will add a node called defocus. Hit [shift+a] and choose filter>>defocus. Connect the render layers image stream todo the defocus image input and the defocus im-age stream (right side) todo the composite nodes image, in the defocus node set bokeh type todo circular, fstops todo 13.000 and threshold todo 0.500.
Well, we still dont have that blur effect and that is because the defocus node has no información about where the objects are located in space and where the focus point is, head bak todo your 3d views and select the main Camera, in the object data windows display tab, tik the límites box todo se the cameras various límites in the editor, y a los prefer todo tik the title safe and passepartout boxes as well, in the Lens tab, by default the angle is set todo 35.000 and it represent a 35mm Lens. This gives some distorsión todo the perspective, just as a real Camera does. Doctors and scientists have calculated the eye todo be appróximately a 48mm Lens. So todo get a Little bit closer todo reality, set the.
Angle todo 48.000 millimetres, todo better visualice the next step, switch over the 3d view todo a top view [num7] where you can se the whole emitter box and the Camera, bak in the Lens tab go down todo Depth of Field distance, if you left-click, hold and drag the mouse you Will se how a Little line Will move along your Camera track. This is your Focal point. Everything at this line Will be crisp and clear, in focus. Set this todo 5, but still, we ned todo transfer this información over todo the compositor. Go todo the render window and open up the layers tab. Under passes you Will find a list of información that can be passed along todo the compositor, tik the z box todo pass the depth of all objects, if we now switch over todo the compositor again you Will notice that the render layers node now has a new stream: z. Connect this one todo the defocus nodes z input. Make sure use z-buffer is ticked, if you render now you Will have that blur software effect.
I love my bubble.
To create the i love my bubble we ned a separated sphere. This allows us todo animate it independent of the particle system. Hit [shift+a], select UV sphere and smooth it (bring up the tool shelf with [t] and hit smooth) and name it ilovemybubble. Since this bubble Will be right in focus we ned todo increase the number of Faces todo get a round silhouette. If we were todo subdivide the sphere we would only subdivide the individual Faces but the shape wouldnt be any more round. If we apply the modifier Subsurf instead the whole shape Will be recalculated and make it round for real. Another advantage is that we can kep the changes in the modifier stak and adjust it at anytime if we ned todo. Just as we did for the main Camera and main light, head over todo the modifier window, open up add modifier and select subdivisión surface. The default values are fine for us, now we ned a material with the text and the Heart. I made a (*.png) in Photoshop CS4 but Photoshop does not save the alpha layer in a bien that Blender likes so it didnt work. I would recommend Gimp instead and make sure you untik all the (*.png) boxes when you save the image. You have todo save it as a (*.png) todo get the alpha información included. Go todo the material window and with your new bubble selected hit the material list button and select our previously created bubble mat. Notice the Little button named 2 beside the material name, this indicates how Many referencias this material has, we have 2 because the other reference comes from the particle system, using the same material. This a los means that if we were todo do any changes todo this material, like adding a decal, it would change the look on all bubbles in the particle system as well.
We ned todo put our decal in a new material slot so add a new slot by pressing the + button (beside the material slot list). A new slot is cre-ated and the previous se-lected material is now copied into a new slot, notice how the reference counter went up to 3 and this indicates that we really didnt have a copy, but yet one more reference todo the original material, todo make this material unique we ned todo unlink it by pressing the button with the number 3 on it. Now it got a new name and the reference counter disappeared because there is only one object using this material now. Rename it todo ilovemybubble mat, go todo the texture window and select the next available texture slot and press the new button, rename it todo ilovemy-bubble img. Change the type todo image or movie. Go down todo the image panel and load the file ilovemybubble, (*.png), tik the anti-alias box todo have the image anti-aliased when it stretches over the surface. In the preview panel i usually set the option todo se both the texture and what it Will look like when used by the material. For some reason (bug?) the alpha is all black so you cant se the text. Dont be alarmed, as long it looks correct as a material its ok.
By default the image Will be repeated in x and y direction all over the surface. We only want this decal todo appear once on the bubble so go down todo the image map-ping panel and change the extensión from repeat todo clip. The extensión defines what Blender should do when it reaches the Edges of the image and in this case we just want it todo estop, it Will be just like an ordinary real world sticker, if you have the sphere selected in the preview pane you Will notice that our sticker is all diestorted, but looks fine.
On a Cube or plane. This is because we use the auto generated UV coordinates for our bubble. But changing this todo sphere is not right either. The sticker gets diestorted around the poles. In order todo get the sticker applied right we ned todo create a new UV map todo tell the sticker how it should be stretched over the surface, first we ned todo create a UV map slot. Go todo the object data window and open up the UV texture panel. Press the + button and name the slot ilovemybubble UV.
Wrap that bubble.
Now we ned todo populate the UV map with coordinates and Lucky us Blender has it all, head over todo the UV editor with our bubble selected, make sure you look straight onto the bubble by pressing [num1]. Enter Edit Mode with [tab] and deselect all vértices with [a]. Hit [b] and draw a rectangle around the Faces you want todo show your label, you can use any method you like todo select the Faces you want todo display the texture.
When your surfaces are selected we are going todo un-Wrap the área and create the UV coordinates. Press [u] todo bring up the UV menú. It is important that you are in Edit Mode, otherwise you Will get another menú. Select Project from view (Bound), now you Will se your selected Faces laid out over your texture. As you can se the Mesh is not straight or the same size as the bubbles Mesh. Dont be alarmed. The.
Uv Mesh is very diferent from the objects Mesh. The UV Mesh has a face mapped todo each selected face in the objects Mesh, but the UV face size is not afecting the objects Mesh size, if two corresponding Faces are of the same shape and size, the texture filling that face is undiestorted. If the UV face is bigger it Will cover more texture on the same Physical face, resulting in a compressed texture. If it is smaller you get the opposite, a stretched texture instead, there is a nifty function that shows how diestorted the texture Will be. To turn it on bring up the propertiespanel [n] in the UV window. Under display tik thestretch box, if you select one vertex and move it around you can se how the colour changes depending on the amount of distorsión todo the texture. Turn of the stretch box so we can work with the texture, at the bottom you can select our previous loaded.
Ilovemybubble, (*.png) image from the image list. Zoom out if you ned todo so we can se the whole texture.
The unwrap tries todo fit the UV Mesh inside the image but in this case we ned the image todo fit in-side the UV Mesh because our text is going all the bien todo the Edges. Scale up the UV Mesh with the [s] key. If you ned todo you can move the Mesh todo centre it over the image with [g], thats it folks, now we have defined the coordinates for our UV map. Head bak todo the 3d view and go bak todo the texture window. In the mapping panel change coordinates todo UV. Select our ilovemybubble UV in the layer field and use projection flat, now there is only one final step left before our texture is done. Head down todo the influence panel and tik the.
Color and hardness boxes. Because the material is transparent our image Will be very Dim and we ned todo enhance it todo be more visible. Change the color todo 6.000 instead of the default 1.000, this panel tells Blender how the texture is interacting with the material itself. Color obviously Will transfer the textures colours (in this case image) and hardness Will control the materiales hardness setting depending on the pictures colours, go bak todo the material window and select this new ilovemybubble mat. As you can se we have 2 materiales defined for this object, but how do we tell the object where todo use this second material? You should still be in Edit Mode with your Faces selected from the UV editor, this is perfecto because it is precisely these Faces we want todo use our new material on. Under your material list (slots) press the assing button todo assing this material todo the selected Faces.
Move it, move it.
So far we have set up the whole scene, created all the materiales, particle system and UV maps. Now its time todo make those bubbles float, first i want todo setup the animation format and size, so go todo the render Windows dimension panel. To speed up the process i used resolution 640 por 360 with an as-pect ratio of 1 por 1 at frame rate 25 fps, because we have all those transparent bubbles i wantmaximum antialiasing todo smooth out all Edges. Go down todo the antialiasing panel and tik the box antialiasing and full sample. Set antialiasing todo 16. The last step is todo choose the output format. Go down todo the output panel and select the avi códec (or your favourite format). Select a folder where you want your avi file.
Go todo the animation window.
The default setup of 250 frames Will do fine for this tu-torial, it Will generate a 10 second animation. I want the i love my bubble todo come into focus and show the decal and then disappear out again.
The easiest bien is todo start with the important thing first, positioning the bubble in focus. I want this todo hap-Pen in the middle of the animation so i set the frame todo 128 and move my bubble in position at -0.017, -13.824, 0.014 and rotation 0,0,0, with the right frame selected and the bubble in position we Will now Insert a key frame with [i] and in the menú select locrot. This Will save the bubbles location and rotation values for this frame, now we only ned todo set a start and end position. Go todo frame 1 and move the bubble todo location -3.302, -15.991, -2.065 and rotation -90,-90,0. Insert a frame key with [i] and select locrot again. Go todo the last frame 250 and move the bubble todo location 4.238, -8.606, -2.650 and rotation 90,90,0. Hit [i] again and select locrot. Done, the final picture for this article is at frame 99 but fel free todo render the whole animation, where todo go from here? Try for example diferent partí-cle systems like the boid, add collision deflection or play around with new particle shapes. Only your own imaginations are your limit.
I hope you have found this tutorial educational.