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Blender Essential Training
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Using Vector nodes


Blender Essential Training

with Roger Wickes

Video: Using Vector nodes

Let's go over the Vector nodes that are in Blender and show you how to do some vector math. I know you all slept through your vector calculus classes in college, or managed to escape out to have taken them, and so now it's going to come back to haunt you. But I'll show you how easy it is to do in Blender. First of all, go ahead and click the Render button here to go ahead and give us a great render of Suzanne. So what we can do now is use this Map Value node to alter this image. Map Value is a general-purpose math node.
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  1. 12m 5s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. Using Blender's full capabilities
      4m 16s
    4. Getting and installing Blender
      3m 8s
    5. Mouse and keyboard differences on the Mac
      2m 27s
  2. 1h 6m
    1. Blender oddities
      7m 38s
    2. Introducing the User Interface, Console, and Render windows
      3m 8s
    3. Configuring the desktop for an efficient workflow
      6m 27s
    4. Using the mouse and tablet on a PC or a Mac
      5m 7s
    5. Acquiring keyboard skills
      7m 38s
    6. Window panes and types
      7m 53s
    7. Exploring the default scene
      5m 53s
    8. Setting themes, UI colors, and user preferences
      4m 0s
    9. Understanding how to safeguard your data with autosave and backups
      6m 52s
    10. Appending and linking assets
      7m 27s
    11. Using the open-source movies and assets
      4m 18s
  3. 2h 7m
    1. Working with objects in 3D space
      6m 24s
    2. Navigating 3D views
      4m 23s
    3. Understanding Blender modes
      1m 51s
    4. Understanding meshes
      2m 8s
    5. Editing a mesh
      3m 28s
    6. Using the Mirror modifier
      2m 55s
    7. Working with Vertex groups
      2m 35s
    8. Using Bézier curves
      3m 52s
    9. Working with text objects
      5m 23s
    10. Using reference images
      3m 38s
    11. Modeling boots by extruding circles and joining meshes
      8m 59s
    12. Applying the Mirror modifier to duplicate the boot and rotate
      1m 58s
    13. Modeling a helmet with NURBS and the Boolean modifier
      7m 14s
    14. Modeling a belt and pants by making a compound object from multiple primitive objects
      3m 51s
    15. Modeling legs by using edge loops and the Knife tool
      6m 9s
    16. Modeling a chest and arms using edge loops
      5m 30s
    17. Stitching the shoulders and neck
      5m 13s
    18. Modeling hands with the Proportional Editing tool
      9m 4s
    19. Linking vertices to create knuckle joints
      4m 7s
    20. Reinforcing modeling basics to create the face, eyes, nose, and ears
      13m 6s
    21. Appending and linking assets
      3m 54s
    22. Sculpting basics
      3m 3s
    23. Using the Subsurf modifier to smooth
      2m 34s
    24. Parenting
      2m 7s
    25. Working with groups
      2m 1s
    26. Understanding the endless possibilities for editing mesh with modifiers
      2m 37s
    27. Duplicating objects using the Array modifier
      1m 54s
    28. Modeling a set
      7m 52s
  4. 39m 41s
    1. Lighting overview
      4m 25s
    2. Using the Omni lamp
      4m 50s
    3. Working with the Area lamp
      2m 57s
    4. Using the Spot lamp
      4m 9s
    5. Using the Sun, Sky, and Atmosphere lamps
      4m 51s
    6. Using the Hemisphere lamp
      2m 3s
    7. Working with Ambient and Radiosity lighting
      7m 34s
    8. Lighting with three-point and other multipoint lighting rigs
      5m 30s
    9. Understanding shadows
      3m 22s
  5. 1h 21m
    1. Realism overview
      2m 56s
    2. Creating a world in less than seven days
      6m 36s
    3. Applying ambient occlusion
      3m 47s
    4. Working with basic materials
      3m 24s
    5. Working with node materials
      4m 27s
    6. Applying Pipeline options
      2m 51s
    7. Painting vertices
      3m 13s
    8. Using shaders
      7m 59s
    9. Using mirrors
      4m 41s
    10. Working with transparency
      4m 28s
    11. Using halos
      2m 40s
    12. Simulating with Subsurface Scattering (SSS)
      4m 26s
    13. Applying textures
      9m 34s
    14. Mapping image textures to an object to create a decal
      4m 19s
    15. UV unwrapping
      4m 54s
    16. Applying multiple materials to a single object
      3m 31s
    17. Painting in 3D
      4m 14s
    18. Using bump maps
      3m 14s
  6. 1h 25m
    1. Understanding animation
      4m 14s
    2. Keyframing objects
      6m 15s
    3. Keyframing materials
      3m 14s
    4. Creating Shape keys
      2m 28s
    5. Creating Facial Shape key animation using reference video
      2m 12s
    6. Animating by combining Shape keys
      2m 53s
    7. Working with lattices
      3m 37s
    8. Using hooks
      1m 30s
    9. Working with Vertex groups
      2m 33s
    10. Creating armature objects
      3m 44s
    11. Mirroring armatures for bilateral creatures
      3m 43s
    12. Attaching mesh to the armature by way of skinning
      5m 7s
    13. Posing a character
      4m 43s
    14. Using inverse kinematics
      4m 29s
    15. Creating a walk cycle with inverse kinematics
      6m 34s
    16. Completing the walk cycle
      3m 49s
    17. Limiting range of motion and degrees of freedom
      3m 47s
    18. Managing actions using the Action Editor
      3m 52s
    19. Blending actions together using the Non-Linear Animation Editor
      4m 34s
    20. Tracking
      3m 2s
    21. Following a path
      2m 21s
    22. Mimicking an existing animation
      3m 47s
    23. Using the grease pencil
      2m 56s
  7. 50m 43s
    1. Understanding particle systems
      2m 20s
    2. Working with game engine physics
      3m 52s
    3. Spewing particles
      7m 25s
    4. Guiding particles
      3m 43s
    5. Creating reactions and collisions with particle systems
      3m 15s
    6. Creating hair and fur
      4m 25s
    7. Grooming hair and fur
      3m 26s
    8. Jiggling and squishing soft bodies
      3m 43s
    9. Simulating cloth
      6m 10s
    10. Simulating fluids
      5m 47s
    11. Using boids to simulate swarms, schools, and flocks
      6m 37s
  8. 21m 29s
    1. Using Render controls
      6m 18s
    2. Radiosity
      3m 31s
    3. Stamping text on video
      2m 32s
    4. Setting up test renders
      4m 43s
    5. Rendering image sequences
      4m 25s
  9. 1h 5m
    1. Viewing node thumbnail images on certain Macs
      1m 31s
    2. Overview and integration
      2m 12s
    3. Render passes and layers
      4m 27s
    4. Using Input nodes
      6m 22s
    5. Using Output nodes
      3m 54s
    6. Working with Color nodes
      4m 29s
    7. Color mixing and layering
      3m 27s
    8. Using Distort nodes individually and in combination
      7m 15s
    9. Using Vector nodes
      6m 46s
    10. Creating effects with Filter nodes
      8m 49s
    11. Using Converter nodes
      6m 7s
    12. Chroma keying with Matte nodes
      6m 15s
    13. Understanding node groups and reuse
      4m 17s
  10. 38m 43s
    1. The Video Sequence Editor (VSE)
      11m 47s
    2. Integrating audio
      3m 31s
    3. Using VSE Greenscreen and other plug-ins
      5m 40s
    4. Integrating the Compositor with the VSE
      7m 50s
    5. Layering and splicing video
      6m 18s
    6. Speeding up and slowing down sequences
      3m 37s
  11. 5m 26s
    1. Putting it all together: Captain Knowledge visits
      5m 12s
    2. Goodbye

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Blender Essential Training
9h 54m Beginner Jul 15, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Navigating Blender's user interface and accessing open assets
  • Modeling with vertices, Bézier curves, and NURBS surfaces
  • Lighting and using multi-point light rigs
  • Working with cameras in a 3D environment
  • Painting and shading 3D objects
  • Creating realistic hair, smoke, and swarms
  • Animating objects and characters
  • Compositing rendered layers
  • Sequencing video strips with audio into a final product
3D + Animation Modeling Rendering Character Animation
Roger Wickes

Using Vector nodes

Let's go over the Vector nodes that are in Blender and show you how to do some vector math. I know you all slept through your vector calculus classes in college, or managed to escape out to have taken them, and so now it's going to come back to haunt you. But I'll show you how easy it is to do in Blender. First of all, go ahead and click the Render button here to go ahead and give us a great render of Suzanne. So what we can do now is use this Map Value node to alter this image. Map Value is a general-purpose math node.

Actually, you can do vector calculus and all sorts of neat stuff inside of it, but what it does is a complete transformation of some input values to some output values, subject to some clipping. So let's walk through it here. What the map value is doing is it has an Offset and a Size, a Min and a Max. The offset takes the number that comes in, in this case the Z value, remember Z is distance from camera, takes that number and subtracts 5. That's what the offset does.

Anything that comes in first off takes off 5 off the top. Next, it multiplies the result by size. So in this case, it cuts it into half. Then if these are enabled, which they are, it subjects that result to a minimum and maximum. So if the result of subtracting 5 and dividing by 2 is less than 0, it puts out a 0 as the value for that pixel. If it's greater than 1, it will put out 1.

You can disable this and then it will put out whatever the value is as a result of that little calculation. That's all it does. So what we've done is I've fed this to a Color Ramp node. Color ramps are also in materials, and like pretty much all over in textures and everything. A color ramp is a general way of mapping a number to a color. So 0 is on the far left and 1 is on the far right. So in this case we have two colors, and if we click over here, we can select the left-hand bar, and if you just click-and-drag, you can grab that bar and slide it anywhere.

Wherever that bar is, you get the color that's indicated by that swatch. If there are no colors to the left of the bar, then you get just a solid red. Any number between, let's say this is about a half, so this is about 20%. Anything between 0 and 0.2 becomes pure red. On the other side, we have the other opposite extreme. You can add colors. Add any number of the colors in the middle that you want. So you can have any kind of a gradient of colors that you want to transform through.

But this color over here then is on the right, and it represents a value of 1. So right now, about everything between 0.8 and 1 will get a solid blue color. What this does is it adds false color to this image based on the distance it is from the camera. We've just created a kind of a sonar ranging mechanism that you've seen in all these NASA photographs and like that. That based on the depth and based on the distance from the camera, we're going to create an image that has false color, and that shows us visually through color, how far away that particular pixel is from the camera.

Moving on to the others, let's go ahead and change scenes now over to Normal Dot clouds, and go ahead and press E to execute the noodle. What we have here is a kind of a neat use of the Texture node along with the Normal Vector nodes. What we've done here is we've taken a Normal cloud texture, which appears here as a cloud of colors, and we've set it two things, one is to the offset, and the other is to the scale. The offset is a vector node, because it's blue.

So we've used the Normal node here to alter the Normal Vector that comes out of this. What is the Normal vector? Well, the easiest way to visualize it is it's a ball of light, and the light is apparently shining down on top of the ball. Now the light is apparently shining right from us directly on to the ball. Now over here it's shining over to the left, and you can see that we are offsetting the texture based on where I place the apparent light source.

I'm just clicking-and-dragging on the ball to make it change colors. The other neat thing you can do then is to scale the texture. Right now you can see it's very stretched in the X direction, as we move this down over to here, we're going to be stretching it in the Y direction. So the location of the brightest part of the globe, sort of indicates how it's being stretched. This would make a great little overlay or texture to add on to the background of a sunset, let's say. So then once you feed that to the Texture node, now you have a colored image that you can use to add color or a texture to any image.

Another thing we can do that's really cool with vectors and normals, you can go ahead and change and select this scene called Normal.Lamp and press E to execute. Here we have an image rendering of Suzanne, and it's taken from the Map Value scene. It's feeding it in to this vector here, the Normal Vector. This Normal node is going to take the input vector, and then change it somehow, based on the location of the bright spot of the ball, and it's going to feed the dot product of the vector, and you can think of the dot product, sort of like the net effect, if you will, to an RGB Curves.

RGB Curves in this case takes the image and simply brightens it. If it was black, it makes it half-gray. From here, you can see that with this Viewer node, what the Normal Vector does it takes the Normal Vector and then alters it, and you can see how it's altering the apparent light's direction from the image. So this is the way we can change the lighting direction of a CG scene in Post Pro without actually having to change the real lighting. Then the Curves node changes and alters the colors, takes the image and based on this factor, alters the brightness or darkness of the image.

So now, as we change the light source, we can make her brighter, and darker, and also then just change the direction from which the light is coming. So that's how you can use the Normal node and the Normal Render Paths through and RGB Curves to change the apparent light direction and light intensity. So, vector math isn't so hard, is it? No, we got it.

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