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Blender is a powerful open-source tool for 2D and 3D graphics, full-on animation, compositing, and post-production. It is used to create movies and special effects, even in HD. In Blender Essential Training, Roger Wickes offers new Blender users a thorough explanation of its interface, tools, and features. He also demonstrates practical techniques and shows how to access the online and openndash;content resources of this amazing tool. Specific 3D techniques covered include navigating in 3D space, using cameras and lights, and rendering. Roger demonstrates how to rig, animate, and composite a character over live action. Exercise files accompany the course.
The main way to get information into the Compositor is through what's called the render layer. We can either use the render layer, taking it directly from the CG Scene as shown over here in the left-hand side. Under the Scene Render Context we have the Render Layers panel. This is the panel that sets up a render layer that is then fed into the Compositor over here through the Render Layer node. Now, there is two ways to do it. We can take it directly from the CG View or we can save this out to a file and then read it in through the Image Input node.
When we do that and we have saved our file as an EXR image, then we have these render passes that we can now access and use in our composited network. So, let's go over the render layers. To create a new render layer, we just simply Add New. At the top here are the actual layers that are currently selected in this 3D view because that's where we are pulling from. So, it's showing you that we have layers 1 through 5 selected. Now, this render layer is going to pull-in from the layers that are in common with the CG view.
So, if I have these three selected, now anything that's in Layer 4 or 5, any objects will not be pulled in through this render layer. So, this is what's called an And function. Secondly, now then we have what do we want to pull in from the render pipeline that we talked about earlier, while we were looking at these, see these are just almost an exact match to the Materials. And for this particular render layer if we want to override, although the lights in the Materials, because the Materials are pretty complicated and all we are trying to do is get a White Balance kind of a thing going on and just try to do a test render.
We can override the Materials by typing in the name of the material here and then every object that comes in will be pulled in with that material instead. It's much, much faster. Same with the Lights, if we want to just use a Light group instead of all the lamps in the scene, we can type in the name of the group here. These are the render passes and this is the most important part, every render pass that's selected over here corresponds to a socket over here in either the Image Input node when we are pulling in from a multilayer or from the Render Layer node. Now, I'm just going to go ahead and Add > Input > Render Layers and so you can see here is the render layers.
As I select and I'm going to go ahead and choose from the compositing scene, the render layer that I'm currently working on over here which is our 1 Render Layer, so we'll select that from here. So, now as I select these additional passes, they are brought into and connected over here in the Render Layers node and now I can use them in my Compositing input. These render layers -- real quick, are the Combined. It is the overall, net result of the image that you see. The Z is the Z buffer or the distance of each pixel from the camera.
Vector indicates the speed and the direction of any of the objects in the scene. Normal is the angle of the faces and UV is the actual UV map of that particular object. Mist is the effect that happens as objects recede into the horizon. Index is a very special one that allows us to tag each individual CG object and then the Index Pass delivers us those masks for those objects, so we can pull out an individual mask for an object in the scene.
Color is the overall color intensity, whereas the Diffuse is the actual diffuse colors and then the Specularity is the specular colors. Shadows are -- pull them separately through enabling this. Ambient Occlusion, Reflections from any Ray Traced Reflections occurring from any mirrors setup and Refractions from any Ray Traced Transparencies that are going on and then separately the Radiosity Pass. So, you can pull-in any of these Passes or all of them, if you want and you can exclude a Pass from the combined Pass.
Let's say you wanted to pull-out AO separately and you didn't want it in the combined image, you can Ctrl-click; hold the Ctrl key and click on AO there and now the AO Pass will be delivered, but it will not be integrated into the combined image. So, that's how you pass information about the CG Render into the Compositor through this Render Layer node either directly or if you have saved this to a multilayer file, then pulling these render passes in through the EXR Image Input node.
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