Tuesday, August 17, 2010

External Render Engines for Blender

Development of Blender 2.5 is progressing well, but there has been a bit emphasis on animation features but those interested in modelling and rendering especially stills artists will still need 2.49 in their workflow.

I am really hanging out for the exporters for external render engines. The Blender internal is actually capable of getting good results however you have to know a few tricks to get things looking the way you want. The unfortunate downside of this can be by adding tricks to get part of your render looking good means that other parts may suffer. Generally there is a workaround but the complexity of doing this can turn rendering into a lengthy process. Time saved in fast render times can easily be lost in long setup tuning times for the Blender internal render engine.

...So that is where external render engines come into their own their lighting and material models often yield better results with less setup time, but they have longer render times.

The main engines worth looking at for use with blender are:


Luxrender: a great quality unbiased renderer, slow but excellent quality, very suitable for architectural visualisation, product renders and design mockups.

Yafaray: one of my favourite renderers, this engine takes a bit more setting up than Lux but strikes a great balance between quality and speed. It is versatile and is suitable for both animation and high quality stills. I have read some occasional critisism of this renderer however I feel that these come from people who are not prepared to take care with their render setup.


Octane: This is shaping up as an engine to watch, still in beta stage but shows great speed and detail

Indigo: A good looking render engine, was a free beta that went commercial, the quality of its lighting for big architectural scenes is great!!!

So it's just a waiting game now for the render exporters to be finished for blender 2.5, none of the developers seem to love osx build very much, so if you are a mac user, just relax and use 2.49 for a while (unless you are using a macbook).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Learn to use Blender 2.5: Model a Noob Monkey Tutorial

The training material for Blender 2.5 is a bit thin on the ground at the moment, so I have converted the concepts from the old "blender noob to pro" learn to model series into a easy to use guide for 2.5 learners.

This video is suitable for complete beginners to 3d software, just take it slow and follow the steps.
Use a 3 button mouse to make life easy.

You can get the software from blender.org make sure you download a version of blender 2.5 and above, not the old 2.49 series.

JVC Everio OSX problems

The JVC everio cameras use .tod files which use a type of MPEG 2 compression to get a lot of data (the camera is HD) onto a 60gb hard drive which is okay for a standard def but a little small for a hd camera. The details on using this camera are bit hard to come by so i thought it might be worth sticking up the info here. I usually get a couple of students every year who have the same problem with the camera.

I am unable to import video from my HD Everio GZ-HD7, GZ-HD5, GZ-HD3, GZ-HD6 to iMovie HD6 or Quick Time Player. I am getting one of the following error messages: “The file could not be imported: The file ‘xxxxxxxx.TOD’ can’t be imported; QuickTime couldn’t parse it: -2014” or “The movie contains an incorrect duration."

An update patch for the bundled QuickTime component for Everio software is available for customers with QuickTime Version 7.4 and 7.4.1 and/or Mac OS X 10.5.2 Please visit this site to download the update;

an I edit HD Everio video with an Apple Macintosh using iMovie 6 HD, Final Cut Pro, or other Apple editing applications?
Yes. Please understand that there are many variations of Apple computer hardware and software. These differences in configuration have an impact on which method is best for editing with the HD Everio.
If you would like to edit with iMovie 6 HD, you will use a USB 2.0 connection and you can choose any available recording mode.
If you would like to edit with Final Cut Pro, you can use an i.Link or USB connection.
With i.Link, you will need to record in the 1440CBR mode. With i.Link, there is no additional software that you need to install. An optional i.Link cable is required.

With USB, you can choose any available recording mode. There are three additional things you must install:
Install the QUICK TIME for Everio component from the CD-ROM that is supplied with the HD Everio camcorder.
Also install the update for the JVC Quick Time component for Everio which can be found at: http://www2.cli.co.jp/products/ne/update_qtc_for_gzhd7/qtc3e_update.htm This update provides compatibility up to QuickTime Version 7.4.5 and Mac OS X 10.5.2.

Setup files for Final Cut Pro for 60i (for USA) need to be downloaded and installed from: http://software.transdigital.co.jp/products/cbs_ev/tutorial_eng/index.html
On the same page there is a tutorial link with individual sections for recordings made in FHD or SP/1440CBR modes. It shows you how to convert the file to either AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec), YUV (uncompressed) format or HDV1080i.
Please also see the Apple editing tutorials which are located here:
It is also possible to down convert from High Definition to DV standard which can be captured through i.Link and edited with many older Apple editing applications.

Blender 2.5 set centre is now set origin!!

This is one of those changes that i can't get used to... set centre is now set origin.
Hit space and type in origin or shift+cntrl+alt+c to bring up the menu