Over the last several months on the forums, we’ve answered quite a few Blender questions — and sometimes they were answered with the help of blend files. I figured it might be useful to list some of them here, in case they can be of help. So here they are, along with some others. It’s not a complete list, just some of the ones I thought to be more interesting or instructional. Most of them are simple; not intended to impress but usually to demonstrate a single how-to…
Blender Files from the Forums
Trajectory – Here a simple object, curve, and particle system are joined to show the trajectory of the object. Particles are used to paint the path that the sphere takes along a curve.
Lamp Shade – A material’s “Translucency” setting is a handy way of simulating the effect of light passing through a translucent surface. The difference between translucency and transparency is that with translucency, only bright light passes through — normal objects are not visible from behind. Lamp shades are a perfect example to demonstrate this.
Chain Curve – This file makes use of arrays to string chain links together, and a Bezier curve to conform the result. This is easy to set up, but has the disadvantage of actually warping the chain link meshes themselves. This isn’t really evident unless the curve’s bend is extreme.
Chain Curve 2
Chain Curve 2 – Similar to the chain example above, but doesn’t suffer the same disadvantage. It is however, more difficult to set up. This example makes use of vertex parenting. Each link is parented to a trinity of vertices on a triangle strip, and the strip itself is deformed by a curve. The result is no deformation of the link meshes, and is more suitable where the chain needs to “bend” at extreme angles, such as for tying in knots.
Blinking Lights – In this example, the “Emit” property of materials is animated to create a core set of blinking frequency Ipos. This allows for any color to be assigned to an object, and any one of three Ipo animations, to create arrays of blinking light panels without needing to animate countless materials separately.
Chain Link Fence
Chain Link Fence – Here nested arrays are used to build a flexibly-sized chain link fence from a small and simple model. Not only does this example simplify the modeling of such an object, but it allows for its dimensions to be changed easily by adjusting the Array modifier’s properties.
Constraint Ipo Driver
Constraint Ipo Driver – Ipo drivers are good ways to set up one object to control another’s animation. In this example, a constraint’s “Influence” property is animated, then set up to be driven by another control object. This blend file also makes use of a Script Link to force a frame change, so that the update happens in real time in the viewport.
Cube Animation – This blend file is the first result of a reverse-engineering attempt of a cool effect, demonstrated in a YouTube video by GustavTheMushroom. In this first attempt to figure it out, I ended up with an entirely different method for creating a very similar result. It makes use of a single Ipo to animate location, and the TimeOffset property to offset the timing of the various cubes. The secret to making this work is hidden within the functionality of the Automatic Time button itself. See inside the blend for more details.
Cube Animation 2
Cube Animation 2 – The above-mentioned video was the result of the particle system, so this is my attempt at duplicating the above effect with particles. It makes use of dupliverts, which is where all the tiny cubes come from. The secret to the sorting in this example is using XSort (Mesh Tools) on the parent cube, which hosts the particle system itself. When “X” sorting vertices, you’re asking Blender to sort them along the X axis in screen space. The leftmost vertices get sorted lower, and the rightmost vertices get sorted higher. This is how the particle system determines which order to spawn the particles. Many thanks to GustavTheMushroom for posting his video on YouTube.
Displace Slide – The Displace modifier is useful in a number of ways. This simple example demonstrates how to use two displace modifiers and an empty to animate two texture displacements “sliding” one over another on a surface. The textures themselves are not displayed, only their effects on the Displace modifiers.
Follow Path Time
Follow Path Time – The Time Ipo picks up where some Blender functionality “appears” to leave off. In this blend file, a Camera is animated around a curve with a Follow Path constraint. The constraint itself doesn’t allow the camera to do more than just follow the curve in a given number of frames. By animating the Time Ipo however, you can make the camera stop, start again, and go in reverse. See also this Blender Underground tutorial on Working with the Time Ipo.
Height Map – This is a simple blend demonstrating how to convert modeled terrain to a height map. The material contains a simple gradient blend texture, which is mapped to the Z axis of the terrain. The camera is positioned directly above, set to Orthographic, with a Scale setting of 2.0. The camera’s Scale setting reflects the dimensions of the object it’s capturing. When rendered, a 512x dimension height map is generated.
Hoist – Here is a slightly more complex blend file, making use of several elements to produce a hoist object. The rope mesh has a curve modifier, and slides along the Bezier curve to simulate its behavior — it coils and uncoils appropriately as the hoist raises and lowers. The pulleys use PyDrivers to rotate, linked to the motion of the Trolley and Lift objects. The objects are linked up in such a way that everything happens by animating both the Trolley and the Lift.
Light Rays – This effect uses a bunch of Spot lamps set to Buffer Shadows and Halo to produce a streaming light effect. The Spots are dupliverted to a IcoSphere, so they can all be simultaneously adjusted by changing a single lamp’s properties. The “streaming” effect is achieved by forcing the spots to shine through a sphere with holes.
Light Rays 2
Light Rays 2 – This version of the effect is more like beams of light than streams. The biggest differences are that the spot size is much smaller, and there is no sphere with holes to help generate the effect.
Moon Over Water
Moon Over Water – Here a simple demonstration of animating textures is presented. Blender’s procedural textures are three dimensional, and so can be animated on the Z axis, as well as the X and Y. This allows for the “shimmering” effect, by animating a procedural texture applied to the Normals of a surface. The Wave modifier is also used to produce the larger motion of the water.
Paramount Halo – Light rays bursting out of the surface of the earth is a trademark effect of the Paramount Studios splash. This effect is achieved in very much the same way as the Light Rays file above, with buffer shadow Spot lamps. The continental segments were created by importing an Inkscape-traced bitmap of a world map, and using it as a boolean for a gridded plane. It wasn’t easy to get right, and it is less than perfect, but it works.
Sharpie – This is a model of a Sharpie fine point pen that I modeled and textured for a challenge. It contains a node setup that uses the Z buffer and a blur node for a mild depth blur effect.
Fluid Text – Here a simple demonstration of using Blender’s fluid simulator inflow to make objects out of liquid. This simple procedure can be used on any object even text as seen in this case. To use it, you have to setup a domain (large cube in this case) then a fluid object (small cube in this case) and lastly the inflow object (the letter “T” in this case). Press Bake on the fluid panel and watch it drip. Submitted by Penix
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