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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.
In this video we're going to cover reflectivity in Blender or what's known as mirroring. So, first let's render this scene by pressing F12 for Windows users, for Mac users come over to the Scene Render Context and click the big Render button in the Render panel. Then switch back to the Material settings to expose the Ray and Mirror Transparency settings that we're going to go over in this tutorial. In this file, I've set up some basic mirror settings and we're going to explore mirrors a little bit, as well as mirrors in combination with transparency.
First of all, I need to remind you that in order for any of this to work you need to enable Ray Tracing as part of the scene Render settings and now let's go through each material in order. First, we have the monkey here, Suzanne. She's reclining on the cube. Notice that she is fully opaque and she's not transparent and she's not reflective. That means she's only going to be able to reflect the light around her. But she is pretty specular. So she's not going to reflect the image of what's bouncing around, but she's just going to reflect the light itself.
Now, the cube that she's on is reflective and Ray Mirror is set on and let's run through these reflectivity settings a little bit. First of all you can control the amount of Mirroring. Not everything is a perfect mirror. Some things like glass, plastics. They will reflect sort of the reflection, but not all of the reflection. So you can control the amount or the degree of reflectivity here. Lastly, when things reflect something, very often the reflective surface is inside the surface or in back of the surface, like a back surface mirror.
So as light passes through that medium and gets bounced and then emitted back out again, there's a Fresnel effect that occurs and you can control that here with these controls. Lastly, the medium or the surface that's actually doing the reflecting maybe isn't perfectly flat and so there's a little bit of a Gloss value here that allows it to give kind of a blurry reflection. Anisotropic reflections is kind of a stretching along a tangent vector.
It's a kind of a way of, if you think of extruded aluminum, very often you will have anisotropic reflections. Samples allows you to control the number of samples. So if you're doing just a draft kind of a render, you can set the samples down here. You'll get some spotting and some speckling because you haven't adequately sampled, but at least it's a lot faster. So as light bounces around and it bounces off all of these surfaces, you have to sort of set a limit for the computer in which to calculate the depth of the number of times a light ray will come in, hit the monkey, bounce off this, bounce off, back off the lamp, back off here and then come up to the camera.
And so four times is generally more than adequate number of inter light reflections to set. Finally, mirrors are never perfect and as they recede off into the distance, you get to see less and less of what it is they have reflected back as they're acting sort of like as a lens, and so you can simulate that by setting up a maximum distance and indicating whether you want the mirror to eventually fade out to sky color or to the color of the material, as it recedes off into the distance.
So now we have different settings. We have of course, this left wall, which shows the use of the colored material setting here in the Material panel and I've colored this to be like a yellow colored mirror. You enable that by clicking here under mirror and then setting the RGB sliders or if you want to use Hue/Saturation and Value, you can just click here to activate the HSV sliders. This mirror is fully opaque versus this mirror over here on this other backside, on the right side, is actually transparent, as you can see the Alpha is set down to 0.2.
And so what we see in the background as blue is from the World settings down here, where we set up these two colors of blue to be a blend from the bottom of the image up to the top. So we're seeing, even though this is a mirror that's partially reflecting the Suzanne on the block, it's also allowing the World light to come back through as well. So, this is a good example of a good glass kind of surface. So that's a quick wrap-up to using mirrors in Blender and the different kinds of options and features that you have available to you.
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