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8. November 2015

 

If you’re using a high resolution monitor such as the newer 4K display or Apple’s “Retina” display, you’ve certainly encountered your fair share of applications that are borderline unusable.  At first glance Blender appears to be just such an application.  This is what it looks like on a 2560x1440 display, I can only imagine what it looks like on a full 4096x2160 display!

image

 

Now it may not look too bad in that screenshot, but consider the dimensions of the title bar to the application menu to get a full idea of how tiny the text is.  Fortunately the Blender UI team was incredibly forward thinking when they updated the UI.  Let’s look at making Blender more usable on ultra-HighDef screens.

 

In Blender, select File->User Preferences…

image

 

Select the System tab, then it’s the DPI section under general you want to configure.  I changed simply doubled it from 72 to 144.  Click Save User Settings to commit the changes so they last if you restart Blender.

image

 

There is one other change you may wish to make.  The manipulator widget is also extremely small on an high DPI screen, like so:

image

 

This can also be configured in settings, instead in Interface tab of the User Preferences window:

image

 

TADA, Blender UI now looks brilliant on your high def screen.  Im not entirely certain why the manipulator doesn’t scale with the rest of the UI but it’s an easy enough fix.

 

I should only hope all other applications implement DPI scaling as well as Blender (*cough*Adobe Photoshop*cough*) in the future!  There is a video version available as well.

 

Video

 

Art


4. November 2015

 

Although I’ve done a couple previous tutorials covering texturing in Blender, including this text one and this video one, I’ve never really shown the entire process.   This video simply illustrates a quick UV Unwrap/Texture job in Blender.

 

The high def video is available here.

Art


1. October 2015

 

I just tried out a free plugin for Blender UV-Squares and found it useful enough to share.  One of the things about working with texture mapping is textures are rectangular but UVs, well, arent.  So you spend a lot of time shaping UVs to fit square textures.  UV Squares can help.

 

Just download the linked .py file and copy it into the Scripts/Addons folder of your Blender install.  Then go in to User Preferences->Add-ons and enable it:

image

 

Operation is extremely simple.  UV Map like normal.  Consider this UV sphere, split along the back:

image

 

Let’s say you want to edit the faces at the front portion…  not going to work well because they are so pinched in.  The plugin can certainly help here.

 

Select the faces you want to texture on, like so:

image

 

Now in the left menu (T) in the UV editor, go to the Misc tab:

image

 

You can use Rip Vertex to detach the selection, then To Grid By Shape to “squarize” the UVs, like so:

GIF

 

To Grid by Shape will try to preserve the dimensions of the original UV grid as much as possible.

Art


23. September 2015

 

The newest version of Blender is now available for those willing to walk on the wild side.  It’s RC1, meaning Release Candidate 1 or in other words… try thisSplash 276.png version and tell us what bugs you encounter!  For the most part though, I have found previous RC versions to be quite stable and I am a huge fan of shiny and new.  Speaking of which, this release brings a number of new features:

 

In this release:

  • Initial support for Pixar's OpenSubdiv geometry subdivision technology.
  • A huge view-port performance boost.
  • Big file browser performance boost and arrow keys navigation support.
  • Node auto-offset feature that helps organizing node layouts.
  • Absolute grid snapping in the 3D view.
  • Sculpting with tiled strokes.
  • Text effect strips for the sequencer, supporting subtitle export
  • And: 100s of bug fixes and other improvements!

New functionality by category:

 

Cycles Renderer

 

  • New Point Density Texture
  • Improvements for AMD GPUs (stability on Windows / Linux and compatibility with OSX El Capitan).
  • Camera zoom motion blur support
  • Support for extended and clipped image texture extension.

 

User Interface

 

  • Viewport: The ongoing viewport project brought a big performance boost
  • Node Editor: Auto-offset of existing nodes when adding a new one
  • File Browser:
    • Arrow-key navigation and selection.
    • Huge rework of internal code, now quicker & lighter.
  • It's now possible to get the correct (user edited) shortcuts of modal operators
  • And more!

 

Modeling

 

  • Two new tools: Flatten faces and edge offset
  • Data Transfer supports transferring data between equal meshes better
  • Absolute grid snapping for the 3D view was added
  • Displace modifier custom normals support
  • And more!

 

OpenSubdiv

 

  • Initial integration of the Pixar OpenSubdiv library
  • Greatly improves viewport playback performance
  • GPU tessellation support
  • Improves edge sharpness
  • And more!

 

Sequencer

 

  • New text effect with capability of exporting as subtitles was added
  • Improved AltRMB Template-RMB.png selection behavior

 

FreeStyle NPR

 

  • Freestyle memory consumption was reduced
  • New stroke modifiers were implemented

 

Sculpting/Painting

 

  • Weight paint smoothing.

 

Animation

 

  • Clean channels tool was introduced that helps organizing channels
  • A new add-on to create bone selection sets is bundled
  • And more!

 

If you are interested in trying Blender 2.76 out, click here.  I have been waiting a very very long time for a flatten faces option, as the current workaround is a horrible hack.

Art


18. July 2015

 

So I just ran into a recent problem with Blender that ended up having a very very simple answer.

 

Normally I do my animations in place with no movements along a certain axis.  However an animation I downloaded from Mixamo wasn’t in place and I had to get around it.  In fact, the animation looked like this:

Blender

 

My first thought was to simply delete all of the transform keys along Y axis.  It didn’t work, so then my thought was I could reset each key to the same position, but this quickly became a complete pain in the arse.  In the end, as I said, the answer was incredibly simple… track the translation of the model using the camera, leaving:

Blender2

 

And…

Blender3

 

To do this, simply select and position the camera, then add a Copy Location constraint:

image

 

Pick the axis you are moving along, set the target to the Armature and pick a bone to aim at.  Done.

Art


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