Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Recent Projects

Over the past few months I have been working on several projects for a client, but I haven't had the time to share. So here are a few renders and a snippet about each:

Final Frontier

The Flares Wizard add-on helped show the intense brightness of the sun in this artwork

High-detail mesh modeled in 4 hours with the help of Hard Ops 7
This project Is still WIP, but has already been a blast to work on. Especially because I have been able to expand my skills in several areas by making everything from procedural planets, an entire solar system, and modeling a cool spaceship. Now I am in the animating stage, which is a little more challenging. Trying to get everything smooth and fluid will take some time.

Game Day

This was a fun project, took around 2 days to finish (the final product is animated and has some other back-end bits and pieces or it would have been less). I never made a stadium scene before, so it was a cool exercise. The Sunbeams node worked great for the stadium lighting.


Sadly I haven't had much time for personal projects recently, however I have some stuff in the works. It will probably take a lot longer to finish than I expect, as I only have around 1-2 hours per day to work on them, but we'll see.

Want to suggest a topic? Email me at noviceindisguise with Blog Subject: [your suggestion] in the subject line!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Hard Ops 007 Review

This is a tactical flashlight I made in 3 hours over the course of two evenings while getting used to Hard Ops

Recently I have had very little time to devote to personal projects, which has really bothered me. So I have made some changes to my schedule and organized my time usage more efficiently to make room for some personal Blender time. Over the past few days I have been spending that time getting used to the Hard Ops 007 add-on. My brief take-away is: It's awesome, and you should buy it. But let's go over why in a little more detail.

Hard Ops made this project much faster, and integrated seamlessly with my workflow


 It saves you time

We all have heard the saying that time is money, but until you actually have a job and are working tight deadlines you don't fully understand how true it is. I found the tools contained within Hard Ops, and how it organized the Bool Tool and Loop Tools features was very useful. You can easily edit the menu key-mappings to fit your particular workflow, saving you time.

It introduces functionality

There are a number of really good features that either don't exist outside of or hard hard to find without this add-on, bringing a lot more tools to your workflow


There is limited training

It may take you some time to get up to speed with the various features as the training is very limited. The creator of the add-on does have a series covering the basics, and I would seriously recommend giving them a watch, it will help you out a lot.

The price

I know a lot of the Blender community doesn't have the funds to justify a purchase like this unless they are employed using Blender, and the $15 could be a show-stopper for some of you, however I think that the add-on is reasonably priced for the content, and that if you are looking to do hard surface modeling in a remotely commercial way you should seriously consider making the investment.


Like all other tools, this add-on won't all of a sudden make your results better, I'd be a fool to claim that. What it does do is add some more tools to your workflow, and gives you the ability to learn to make your workflow more efficient. Currently selling at $15, I think it is fairly priced. 

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Next week I will be doing a more artwork-based post. Also, would you guys like to see a series on 3D printing, from start to finish?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Speed Up The Compositor - Blender Optimization Tip

This week we will be looking at a way to optimize your renders in Blender with settings within the compositor. I have had good results with these features, but myself only discovered them recently when researching for just such a feature, so I thought I'd share it and help those of you who aren't aware of them a little bit. So without further ado,

The Compositor Performance Tab

This feature appears to be largely overlooked, but can make a big difference when rendering out an animation with a complex compositing nodetree. I found that I could regularly save well over a second per frame with the options in this tab, which adds up over longer projects. 

The two main options I used were the Chunk size, which acts very similarly to the tile size option in the render settings (hey devs, could you add an option to sync them?) and is a major part of this optimization technique. You want to use very similar values as with the render tile size,  with 32x32 or 64x64 for most CPUs and 256x256 to 512x512 for most GPUs. Just try rendering the same frame a few times on each and get an average and see what is best for your setup.

 The other option is OpenCL which can help a lot if you have a decent GPU, as it splits the workload on certain nodes and lets the GPU bear the brunt of certain calculations.

Notice: The render quality changed practically nothing, staying within the margin of error of .1 seconds through all levels. Changing these settings will probably have a negligible effect on all but the most complicated nodetrees.