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This course provides an overview of modeling, animating, and rendering 3D graphics in the open-source software Blender 2.6. Beginning with a tour of the Blender interface, author George Maestri shows how to create and edit basic objects, work with modifiers and subdivision surfaces, and apply materials and textures. The course also demonstrates lighting 3D scenes, setting up and using cameras, animating objects, and assembling basic character rigs.
Now let's take a look at the various diffuse shaders we have available in Blender. Before we get started, let me explain that I've set up my interface a little bit differently. I have an image editor on the left and a viewport on the right. This way, when I hit Render I can see my image immediately in that viewport and still keep working. So in order to render, probably the easiest thing to do is just hit the F12 key and that will very quickly render your image.
So let's talk about diffuse shaders. In the default Blender material, we have two main options here: Diffuse, which provides the color and Specular, which provides the highlight. So in this one you notice how the color is kind of a blue and the highlight is white. If I wanted to, I could change the color of that highlight, so make it a much brighter color, something like that, and if I hit F12, you can see how it's kinds of little bit yellower. But for right now, let's just take this out of the equation.
I'm going to go ahead and just remove specularity, so this way we're just dealing with the diffuse shader. So if I hit F12, you'll see that I get kind of matte-colored object. In other words, it's all diffuse with no specularity--and we'll get to specularity in just a little bit. But let's take a look at some of these diffuse shaders. By default we have the Lambert shader applied, and notice how there's about five other defaults that we have.
Now the Lambert is just a good all-around diffuse shader, and what it does is it takes your basic color--in other words this diffuse color--and then it shades it to a darker color depending upon where the light is hitting. So in this default render here, we get where the area is lit, we get this color, and then as a light becomes less intense, or in other words as it falls off, we go to a dark color. Now the shader really controls how this light-dark shading applies, so if we go from Lambert to the next one-- and that's called OrenNayar-- notice we have a new parameter and that's called Roughness.
By default, that's set to 0.5. When it's at 0 it's pretty much like the Lambert shader, but what the Roughness does is it adds a little bit of roughness to the surface so that it scatters light a little bit more. So if I were to hit F12 and render this, you can see that it gets a little bit rougher, and then as I bring it up--let's go ahead and bring up to somewhere about 1.6 or so--you can see how it starts to kind of even out these areas. And you can see it pretty nicely here in the preview.
So you notice as I increase the Roughness, it kind of makes it a little bit darker. If I decrease the Roughness, you can see how I get lighter areas. The next one is the Toon shader. Now what this does is it basically is a two- tone shader. Either it's light or it's dark. In other words, the shading just goes almost immediately from light to dark. So if I were to render that, you can pretty much see how that works. Now, the only options we have here is the size.
In other words, at what point does it go from light to dark? So if I increase the size that will give me more lit area. And then we also have a smoothing option, and that just gives me a little bit of a gradient between those. So if I were to bring smoothing all the way up, it becomes a Lambert shader, so that smoothing is really what your hard edge is. If I bring this all the way down, you can see I get a very hard edge. The next one after that is the called the Minnaert shader, and this actually gives you kind of a rim light affect.
By default, we have this option here called darkness, and let's go ahead and just render it at default, and you can see that well, it's pretty close to that Lambert shader. But if I bring darkness all the way down to 0, notice how it kind of lights up and I get this rim-light effect, so let's take a look at how that actually renders. You can see I get this kind of rim- light effect around the object, and this is a really good way to get kind of a backlight or rim-light effect without having to actually put a light behind the object.
If we go the opposite direction, if we bring the Darkness above 1, let's say we bring it up to, say, 3, what happens is we get a dark center. So really anything above 1 starts to accentuate this effect. Now if this is desirable or not, that's really up to you, but typically when you use this, you tend to keep the darkness between 0 and 1 to get that rim-light affect. Now the final shader is called the Fresnel shader.
Now this works very similar to a Fresnel lens, and what it tends to do is bend the shading towards the side. So if I were to render it like this, you'd get kind of almost a hard line here, because what it's not doing is it's not really shading. So if I bring my Fresnel effect up-- let's say I bring it up to let say about 1-- and I bring my factor, which is kind of multiplication factor, up to about 2, you can see how it starts to get darker where it was normally lighter.
It's almost like an inverse shader. So when I render that, you can see how I get that darkness and if I bring that down a little, that factor, you can kind of see how we can dial that in. Now the last value--let's go back to the Lambert value here. Now the last option that we have--and this applies to all of these shaders--is the intensity, and this is really just the intensity of the color. So it's almost like a color fader. So if I want to, I could bring down the Intensity to fade that color out to black.
Now typically they keep the color at 0.8, but if you want, you can again bring it up or down. So those are some of the basics of diffuse shaders. Now one of the really interesting things about Blender is that it does decouple diffuse and specular, which kinds of makes it a little bit nicer in terms of creating your own custom looks. But for right now, just understand how the diffuse shaders work and we're going to move on to specularity in the next lesson.
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