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26. June 2015

 

The lattice object/modifier pairing is a under appreciated modeling tool in Blender, which makes it fast and simple to make sweeping changes to high density polygon meshes, in a way much faster than even sculpting.

 

This quick Blender Tip tutorial video ( available in HD here ), illustrates the process.

 

 

Basically, you envelop your existing mesh in a Lattice Object:

image

 

Like so:

image

 

Zoomed to illustrate better:

image

 

Then in object mode with your mesh selected, go to the modifiers tab and add a Lattice Modifier, click Object and select your Lattice:

image

 

Now select the Lattice object, and set the number of divisions you wish ( how many control points in each direction ):

image

 

Switch to Edit mode and make whatever alterations you wish, changes to the lattice will be applied to the underlying shape:

image

When done, with the Mesh selected, go to modifiers and click Apply:

image

 

You can now delete the Lattice, and tada, updated polygon mesh:

image

 

The video also shows how to set a shape key for animation if you are curious. 

Art


1. June 2015

 

Mixamo, the creator of the online self serve animation service of the same name, as well as Mixamo Fuse character creation software, were just acquired by Adobe.

 

I just received the following email:

Adobe

Dear Mike,

We are proud to announce that as of today, our company has been acquired by Adobe. Incorporating Mixamo technology into Adobe’s world class software platform means greater ease of use and accessibility for Mixamo’s current and future users.

Over the coming months, Adobe and Mixamo will work on integrating Mixamo products and services into Adobe Creative Cloud.  For detailed answers to your questions read our handy FAQ. Or, visit the Mixamo blog for the full story.

How does this effect your Mixamo account?

  • Mixamo’s products and services will continue to operate normally and you will continue to have full access to any services that were available to your account prior to the transition, with the exception of a la carte purchases.
  • During the transition period, Mixamo will be unable to process payments including refunds, upgrades and a la carte purchases. We look forward to sharing our plans for the future in the coming months.
  • Current plan customers can continue to fully use the Mixamo service, including all its products, until their plan expires. All plans that expire before the end of the year will be automatically extended to December 31, 2015, at no cost.

  • All existing accounts will receive 10 free auto-rigs and 20 free animations in addition to any auto-rigs and animations currently remaining on the account.

There will be a lot of excitement (and questions) in the coming weeks and months, and we will do our best to keep you informed. Please post questions on our community forum or reach out to support.

Thank you for supporting Mixamo and helping us to become a premier provider of high quality characters, rigs and animations. Your artistry for storytelling has inspired us for over six years and all that passion will guide us through the new and even more ambitious challenges ahead.

We are looking forward to seeing what you will create with Mixamo and Adobe as we move forward into the next chapter!

Happy Animating,

Stefano Corazza
CEO

 

Interesting move.  The 20 free animations is nice.  I am not sure how the 10 free auto-rigs collides with the free auto-rigging they just announced with the release of Mixamo 2. 

 

To be honest, I always liked Mixamo’s business model and generally, I don’t like Adobe’s, so I doubt I am going to like the outcome of this transaction, but hopefully I will be proven wrong.

News Art


22. April 2015

 

The following is a companion post containing the hotkeys used in the following video.  It is an hour in duration and attempts to teach the basics of 3D modeling in Blender.  It is a companion to this video which is also an hour in duration and introduces the viewer to Blender.  Of course if you prefer text based tutorials, we’ve got you covered there too!

 

The Video

 

The HotKeys

 

Blender Hotkeys

Action

 Hotkey

Switch mode ( object, edit ) Tab
Switch Edit Mode (Vertex, Edge, Face) Ctrl + Tab
Switch to Edit Vertex Mode Ctrl + Tab + 1
Switch to Edit Edge Mode Ctrl + Tab + 2
Switch to Edit Face Mode Ctrl + Tab + 3
   
Rotate R
Scale S
Translate/Move/Grab G
   
Select Object RMB
Select Multiple Shift + RMB
Select All/Clear Selected A
Select Edge Loop Alt + RMB
Box select B
Circle Select C
Lasso Select Ctrl + RMB
   
X Ray Display Mode Z
   
Specials Menu (Common operations) W
Vertex Menu Ctrl + V
Edge Menu Ctrl + E
Face Menu Ctrl + F
   
Extrude E
Bevel Ctrl + B
Knife Tool K
Connect Vertex J
Fill/Create Face F
Insert Edge Loop Ctrl + R

Art


26. March 2015

 

I just started a new concept off today, please let me know if you like it.  Basically it’s a fixed duration (one hour) overview on a specific topic, in this case Blender.  The idea is to give a cross between an introduction and a tutorial on getting started with using a certain product.  In this video we look at Blender, how to configure it, how to navigate and customize the interface, what it’s composed off and the basics of operating it.

 

If there is interest, I can do “An hour with” topics that are much more focused, such as “An hour Modelling” or “An hour texturing”, etc.

 

Additionally, this is not a deep dive Blender tutorial.  Fortunately I already have one of those!  If you are looking at specifics of learning Blender, the hotkeys, etc, please start here.

 

Below is an embedded version of the video.  It is also available in full 1080p on YouTube here.

 

The Video

 

Art


22. March 2015

 

For those of you that like living on the bleeding edge, RC2 of the upcoming Blender 2.7 is now available.  If nothing else it gives you an idea of what is coming in Blender 2.74.

 

Splash 274.png

 

 

Cycles Rendering

Rl pointiness.png

  • Several improvements for BVH like making it watertight, solving several precision issues and reducing noise
  • Optimizations:
    • Black world backgrounds are now removed from the shader graph, resulting in great speed improvements
    • Various (and great!) memory optimizations

 

  • Nodes:
    • New Pointiness attribute for the Geometry node
    • Control texture space of one object by another

 

 

User Interface

Viewport FX release notes.png

  • New Viewport Compositing brings Ambient Occlusion and Depth of Field right into the Viewport!
  • View-depth can now be picked using an Eyedropper
  • Outliner:
    • An Orphaned Datablocks Mode was added for datablock management
    • Deleting of entire object hierarchies
    • Drag&Drop objects to groups

 

  • The Node Editor can now show text-blocks in frames
  • Customizable camera safe areas
  • And more!

 

Modeling

Rl split normals.png

  • Support for Custom Normals was added
  • Transferring data layers between meshes is now possible thanks to a new Mesh Data Transfer operator and modifier
  • Tools:
    • UV handling for Edge- and Vertex Slide was improved
    • Inverse-square blending for proportional-edit-mode
    • "Fit Camera View" now works for orthographic cameras as well
    • A "Split Concave Faces" tool to ensure a convex geometry was added

 

 

Particles

07 shape cut AFTER.png

  • Hair dynamics and editing tools were improved massively:
    • Support for hair collission with meshes
    • Simulation no happens using volumetric calculations for more realistic results
    • Strand bending uses a more realistic approach
    • Controlling of child hair shapes using curve widgets
    • New "Spiral" kink mode to generate spirals at hair ends
    • Toggle buttons for render and viewport visibility were added to the particle settings in the Properties Editor
  • And much more!

 

Sculpting/Painting

Release notes cavity.png

  • Brushes/Strokes:
    • Improvements to rake and random mapping
    • Line strokes now support constrains to 45 degree increments
  • Texture Painting:
    • Support for dithering for painting on byte images
    • A new tool "Cavity Mask" was added that creates masks based on mesh cavities or hills
  • And more!

 

Freestyle NPR Rendering

Blender 274 Freestyle BNPR NY2015.png

  • A great memory consumption optimization in stroke rendering was done
  • And more!

 

Animation

Rl anim.png

  • Grease Pencil:
    • New Editing tools like copy & paste strokes, duplicating active layer, ...
    • Enable eraser on the fly while drawing with "Continuous Drawing"
    • Various UI tweaks such as color swatches for Stroke and Fill colors
    • Grease Pencil data layers are now shown in the Outliner

 

  • Improvements to the action management to reduce the cases where unused actions are deleted
  • Pasting keyframes can now be done flipped
  • Using a new "Follow" option, the animation editors can now follow the time indicator
  • And more!

 

Game Engine

  • Physics:
    • The first contact point of colliding can now be accessed from Python
    • Usability improvements
  • New option "Lock Z Velocity" to avoid micro-jumping
  • And more!

 

Add-ons

  • A new Auto Tile Size Add-on helps setting up the fastest tile size for Cycles rendering
  • Import images as planes now works for Cycles as well
  • POV-Ray Renderer now supports volumetric rendering
  • FBX and OBJ now support custom normals import
  • New Python API functions
  • And more!

 

More Features

There are a lot more features that are new in Blender 2.74, so make sure to check them out!

 

It may be a minor thing, but that “fit camera view” fix is certainly going to make my life a happier thing.  Full release notes are available here.  You can download the RC2 release here.  Or wait 2-4 weeks for the full release.

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