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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.
Let's talk about how to get information into the Compositor now too. We've talked about render passes and we're going to have to hit 'e' here to execute this Noodle Framework. After you open it up into the Compositor, you need to tell it to go ahead and pull in information, and actually go ahead and do the renders, so that the information is readily available to some of these Input nodes. Let's run through some of them. We've talked about the Render Layer node right here. In the Render Layer node, I'm going to zoom this up as big as I can, so you can see this on the video.
The Render Layer node has these sockets over here that are used to connect and flow image information from this particular socket to another node. We have the Selector down here to select from the different scenes in the file. Then within each scene you can have multiple render layers. So here is the two different render layers. This button here refreshes the layer and invokes the renderer, which is what I just did. At the top of every node is the Header, and then here in the bottom is the little thumb grabber to stretch.
If you just left click and drag, you can change the size of the node. At the top here is an expand collapser. Just to collapse and put it away. Save a little information in the little space. Here is the name of the node, and we can go ahead and change the name of the node. Come down here and say Node > Rename and then type in the new name if we wanted to. That puts the name that you typed in there ahead of the standard name. This plus sign here allows you to expand and collapse any unused sockets, just to save a little space.
As well as this equal sign is actually referring to this bar down here. When you click that, it puts that away. Just space management controls to allow you to be able to fit a lot of nodes in this big huge grid. The Material Bar puts away an image preview if the node has an image preview. The Image Input node is really cool; it allows you to pull in a Static image, a Movie, or a Sequence of frames, or even in fact just the Generated test script. In this case I have selected the Movie. When you bring it in, you get a few additional controls.
One is of course you can select from any loaded movie that's already loaded in Blender, or go ahead and load in a new image Sequence or Movie. When you do a Load New, then you change up to the File Browser, you just pick your image and away you go. When you pull in a Movie, you can say how many frames of the image you're going to use and what you want to start as the Start Frame. You can offset this movie to start playing let's say at Frame 1,000 in your animation, and so you would set that here. If you have some roll up at the beginning of the movie clip, you can just go ahead and trim it off right here, by setting the Offset, and Cyclic has the movie repeat over and over again if you run out.
Auto Refresh goes out and pulls the current image from the movie based on whatever frame you happen to be working in inside Blender; in this case I'm in Frame 13, so now its gone ahead and its going to pull in Frame 13 from the movie. When I run out of frame, let's say if I had 1,000 frames and I only have 280 frames in the movie, then this movie actually would repeat and loop four times. We can bring in colors by adding in a Color Input node, which is called the RGB, for Red, Green, and Blue.
This node, you just pick the color that you want to work with. It's a pretty simple slider. Here is the color swatch that shows you the actual color. Then you thread this in as a whole blank color, so you can use this to do image tinting and sorts of neat stuff. The other idea here is you have a Time node. By the way, to delete a node you just press 'x'. So I have used the Time node here to put out a value, 0 beginning, and less than Frame 160, and then the Time node puts out a sequence of values from 0 to 1 at the ending frame.
So right here at Frame 161 and beyond, it's going to put out a value of 1. You use this, like for example here I'm feeding it to the Mixed node, to control the Mixed node and tell it from which socket to pull an image from. The Time node has some controls. It's got a Curve control. So if I, let's say, I wanted to Fade in nicely, I can just click here on this Curves Widget and drag and pull and change the shape of this curve. This is a handy little Tools Widget.
If I want to delete a point, I just click the 'x' there. If I want to change this by normal, (ph ) a Bezier curve, to using any of the other kind of interpolation handles, I can change the handles, as well as extending this to the extrapolated or the horizontal mode, the same as the IPO curve Editor. These plus and minuses allow us to zoom in, so I can get very precise control over this grid and position these control points exactly as I want them.
Now, this Time node puts out a series of values from Start and End frames. The Value Input node simply puts out a fixed value. So what I use this for is if I'm trying to control a whole bunch of other nodes in sequence, and keep them kind of in sync with another, instead of going through and changing each and everyone, I say I wanted to keep this over in Mixed node in sync, instead of changing factor here and then changing factor over here, all I have to do is go ahead and just thread these together; and all you do to thread a node is just simply click and drag.
Now both of these nodes are going to get a consistent value from this one value node. The Texture node allows us to add any kind of texture that's been created inside of our Material Subsystem. I don't have any textures created, but let me go ahead and click Create a Texture, Add New. Let's make a Cloud. So now we have created this Cloud Texture. Let's go ahead and click the Auto to auto name it. Now, over here when I click, I have may Cloud Texture readily available, and now I can use this to put a Cloud Texture over the sky part, if I wanted to make the sky cloudy, something like that.
So that's the Texture node, and that's how the link is from the Material Subsystem to get those Textures into the Compositor. So any kind of image, any kind of texture, any kind of color can be brought into the Compositor to be used by all of the manufacturing and the processing nodes.
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