Blender | Merging verts

This is gonna be a quick tip. I wanted to post it because I frequently use the merge command in Maya while modelling. To merge verts in Blender, the shortcut is alt + m. Conversely you can also find the merge command in the “Remove:” section of the tools panel on the left side of the ui.

To define the vertex you want another vertex to snap to you can pick one of 5 different options(at first, at last, at centre, at cursor, and collapse). I’m not gonna explain them here, as they’re pretty self explanatory - just experiment with them to see what they do :)

Blender | How to smooth objects

The first technique you can use is hitting the ‘W’ key while in edit mode. This will bring up the “Specials” menu. Now select subdivide or subdivide smooth. Using the “subdivide smooth” option is essentially the equivalent to mesh>smooth in Maya in seems. While the “subdivide” option just seems like a way to only add subdivisions, without smoothing(as the name implies) - akin to using the subdivision options in the channel box in Maya after creating an object.

The second option is by adding a subdivision modifier to the geometry(find this in the tools panel on the right side of the ui. Look for the wrench icon). This is a non-destructive way to go about smoothing objects. You can use this technique to simply preview a smoothed version of the geo without it being “baked” in. Alternatively you do have the option to apply the modifier if necessary, once you’re satisfied with your low resolution model.

*Note: From what I can see so far it doesn’t look like Blender has an option to quick preview a smoothed version of your model, like the ‘3’ key in Maya. To do this I believe you have to apply a sub division modifier to your geometry. You might be able to assign this command to a hot key to speed things up. If anyone knows of a better option, by all means let me know.

Blender | Drag select & deselect like Maya

READ UPDATE FIRST(SEE BELOW).. Was just trying to figure out how to drag select(lasso in Blender) multiple objects in Blender. To do this you do not use the main action button on your mouse(as you do in Maya), rather by default you would use the left click to drag select(as right click is the main action button in Blender). Since I have my Blender set up like Maya where my main action button is the left click - drag selecting for me was done through holding the right click instead. This did not seem very intuitive or efficient at least for me, so I have changed this set up so that all of my drag selecting and deselecting needs are assign to my left click/main action button. To do this I went into my Blender user preferences(File > User Preferences) and then navigated to the input tab and searched for lasso. From here I dropped down the two “Lasso Select” options under the “3D View” section - This is where you can adjust the hot key set ups for both drag/lasso selecting and deselecting. For the first option I simply changed the middle drop down(mouse button) to “Left”. Then for the second one for deselecting, I also changed the mouse button to “Left” and for the secondary button I just checked off “Ctr”(Keeping it the same as how it is in Maya). Posted an image of this below for reference.

UPDATE: So after looking into this further it turns out there are a few ways to drag select in Blender. The lasso technique is only one of them. There is a similar technique to what Maya/3DsMax uses, however it is still a bit of an argues process to make it work - it’s called border selection(you have to hit the b key to enter into the box/border selection mode). It seems Blender has sacrificed a fast and fluid selection workflow for the ability to move objects around on all axis’ quickly by holding the main action button(the button typically assigned to box/border sleeting in other applications). Since there’s already many ways to translate objects around in Blender(translate gizmo, the g key/followed by the x, y, and z keys) I thought it would be more efficient to figure out a set up that incorporates the ability to box/border select by simply holding the main action button(rather then first having to hit the b key). Based off of my experience in Maya, I drag select and deselect quite often - far more often then I need to move objects around on all axis’. Perhaps I’m wrong on this and it is more efficient keeping it as is(Blender does have some nice snapping features, which may make moving objects on all axis’ more practical). But for now - at least to learn the program as quick as possible, I feel like this will speed things up.

With that said, since discovering there were more selection methods and one more in line with what other programs offer - that being the box/border selection method; I have readjusted my shortcuts to accommodate for a different workflow from the one I made above where it was solely song the lasso selection method. It is a combination of the box/border selection method to select objects/elements along with the lasso selection method to deselect objects/elements. I have attached screenshots below showing my adjusted shortcut setup for this workflow. I have also listed the steps below.

Create a new border select command(you will have 2 border select commands in the 3D View drop down section after doing this. The other being the original one with the b key shortcut. You can turn that one off once the new one is created).  - Go File > User Preferences > Input(tab) - Navigate to the “3D View” section and drop it down - Drop down the “3D Globals” section below that - Scroll to the bottom of the section and click the “+ Add New” button - Enter in the settings shown in the above image

Create a new border select command(you will have 2 border select commands in the 3D View drop down section after doing this. The other being the original one with the b key shortcut. You can turn that one off once the new one is created).

- Go File > User Preferences > Input(tab)
- Navigate to the “3D View” section and drop it down
- Drop down the “3D Globals” section below that
- Scroll to the bottom of the section and click the “+ Add New” button
- Enter in the settings shown in the above image

For the newly created border selection shortcut command to work you need to turn off the above shortcut. This is the short cut the allows you to move objets on all axis’ by holding the main action button(left click for the Maya setup workflow and right click for the default Blender settings).

For the newly created border selection shortcut command to work you need to turn off the above shortcut. This is the short cut the allows you to move objets on all axis’ by holding the main action button(left click for the Maya setup workflow and right click for the default Blender settings).

This set up allows you to use the lasso selection to deselect from a grouped selection. It also enables you to use the lasso selection method to add to your current selection. Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out how to do these functions using the box/border selection method.

This set up allows you to use the lasso selection to deselect from a grouped selection. It also enables you to use the lasso selection method to add to your current selection. Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out how to do these functions using the box/border selection method.

Sunny Alley/Bike Update

Hey! Just finished modelling the bike. Took a bit longer then I expected(turns out there’s more to bikes then a seat, wheels, and handle bars - who woulda thunk it), but I’m pretty happy with the result. No for the UVing and texturing.

lighting, cartoon

Rev & Roll - Out Now

The latest show I’ve been working on is now being released on the YouTubes. Proud of this one and all TLC the team poured into it. Check it out here - https://bit.ly/2JfT7Hv (You can also click on the image below). I have also ended an episode below.

lighting, rendering

Character/Studio Lighting Setups

Just downloaded this head(below) from mega scans to practice different lighting setups. Will be posting some updates on here. Will also try to update hopefully sooner than later full scene lighting example scenarios - for how to light for various shots/set situations. I used Renderman 22.5 for this. I took inspiration in starting this study from Brent LeBlan’s lighting training video title - “Lighting in Arnold for Maya | Lighting Tutorial” - Find it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUfCRXbL9ZM

*Note: To get ride of banding when saving out of photoshop, save your rendered TIF/EXR as a png rather then a jpg :)
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Rembrandt

Split

“Coloured Gels”

modelling

Maya | Curve Warp

So I’ve been trying to make a bike chain for a bike I’ve been modelling and it looked like the curve warp deformer in Maya 2019 was going to be by far the best approach for this. However once I had modelled my chain link, duplicated it, and combined it; I then tried curve warping to a curbs curve I had made in the shape of a chain. The results were not exactly what I been hoping for(see below). The chain geometry was not following the path of the curve at all. I knew the geometry had to have it’s transforms frozen and it’s history deleted for it to work, so I did that. However to no avail unfortunately. It tuns out the geometry needs to be at the world origin for it to follow the curve that you created. Once you have moved it to the origin, then freeze the transforms and it should work. I’ve posted example images of the issue below.

Maya_CurveWarp_NotWorking.jpg
Maya_CurveWarp_Working.jpg

Blender | Snapping the pivot and centring an object on the grid

The following is for Blender 2.79

The default way to move your pivot to a point in Blender it seems like(based off of my initial analysis anyways) is by first going into edit mode and then selecting a component(face, vert, etc.). Once selected press shift + s. This will bring up a list of options - select the “cursor to selected” option. The 3D cursor will jump to the centre point of that component. Next go back to object mode(tab) and click on the “Set Origin” drop down under the edit menu in the tools tab(or use the shortcut(shift + control + alt + c) and then select “Origin to 3D Cursor”.

The most efficient way it seems to do this however is by downloading an add-on called “Quick Origin”(find it here - https://bit.ly/2Xns9H6). This add-on makes it so once in edit mode you can set the pivot of your object to a point/vert with the click of a button. You just have to select the vert and then click a button. This in my opinion is still slower then how you would do it in Maya; through two shortcuts - d and v to snap it to a point. However it’s still much faster then the default way so I’ll take it!

blender

Blender | Centre Pivot(Transitioning from Maya)

The following is for Blender 2.79

To centre the pivot of your object in Blender as you would in Maya by going to Modify>Centre Pivot(When in modelling mode) go to the “Tools” tab on the right side of the viewport and then click on the “Set Origin” drop down and select “Origin to Centre of Mass (Surface)”.

Blender_CentrePivot.png

Blender | Freeze Transformations(Transition from Maya)

The following is for Blender 2.79

To freeze your transformations in Blender go to the “Object” menu at the bottom of the viewport in Blender 2.79 and at the top of the viewport in Blender 2.8. Then go Apply>All Transforms to Deltas. This will zero out all your transforms, just as they would when you freeze them in Maya.

Blender_FreezeTransformations.jpg

Blender | Auto Perspective(Ortho Views Like Maya)

The following is for Blender 2.79

To set up Blender so that when looking at a front, side, and top view you are automatically in orthographic mode and when you are working in free angle view it automatically adjusts to perspective mode you need to open your Blender preferences. From here go to the “Interface” section and check of the “Auto Perspective” box. This will make it so you don’t need to use the number pad shortcuts to do this yourself to do this and it will be more like it is in Maya for example.

Blender_AutoPerspective.jpg

To note one more thing - If you are using a laptop or a short keyboard without a number pad on the side then you will need to make an adjustment in your preferences in order to have workable orthographic view shortcuts, like I had to do with my short Mac keyboard. What you need to do is open you preferences and then go to the “input” section. From here in check off “Emulate Numpad”(found in the left column). This makes the top row of numbers on your keyboard act like the number pad on the keyboards. So now you can use those numbers to access the orthographic views.

Blender_AutoPerspective_02.jpg

Blender | Smooth Preview

The following is for Blender 2.79

It seems Blender doesn’t have a smooth preview function in it akin to what Maya has using the 3 key. Rather you have to add a subdivision modifier to the geometry in order to get a smooth preview of the mesh in the viewport - This will also apply the smoothing to the geo in the render. The nice thing about this is you can easily control both of these values in a clearly defined area, as apposed to in Maya where you have to dig down into the objects shape node to adjust the amount of previewed subdivision levels(not that you need to adjust that often). Thankfully I managed to find some shortcuts to easily adjust the subdivision levels on the fly on a reddit post(https://bit.ly/2x9RXrm). The shortcuts are as follows - Ctrl+0/1/2/3(The subdivision levels will be adjusted for the selected object depending on the number pressed). This is handy, however it would still be nice if they consolidated this to a one key shortcut solution perhaps with and default set up of 3 subdivision levels for both the view port and render.

Blender | Maya Style Viewport Navigation Setup

The following is for Blender 2.79

So after using solely Maya for the past 11 years the time has come for me to learn Blender(for work place purposes). I’m sure that much of my personal work will still be done in Maya for the time being at least. I have seen a lot of fantastic work produced in Blender, so I’m sure that once I get a handle of it, the results will come in time. However to be honest the initial steps of transitioning into Blender coming from Maya have been quite the battle. This has primarily been due to the viewports navigation system and shortcuts being drastically different from Maya. Thankfully Marco Neumann has made this video showing how to set up the viewport navigation controls in Blender to mimic the viewport navigation setup found in Maya. Check it out!

*One more tip - If you’re looking to make the f key do what it does in Maya(frame your current selection). The command in the shortcuts area is called “view selection”. You can also execute this command by going to the “view” menu in the bottom left corner in footer section of the viewport. Here you can also see the current assigned shortcut(The default is number pad . /period). Since I’m using a short Mac keyboard I don’t have this key, so I had to change it and i probably would have changed it anyways since I’m used to this function being assigned to the f key in Maya. The fastest way to find this command in the shortcut section of your preferences is to search for it. Simply search for “view selected”. You should see 3 options for this command. You should just need to change the middle one and that should work for you.

Blender_ViewSelected.jpg

Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to do one more thing for this to work properly. The “Make Edge/Face” command has the f key assigned to it as a shortcut already so you need to either turn this shortcut off by unchecking the checkbox for it(as I did in the image below) or by changing it to another unused command.

Blender_ViewSelected_02.jpg

New Project - Alley Light

Starting to work on another personal piece. This one is based off of a painting by @yaoyaomva(instagram) - definitely recommend checking out her instagram account. Love the atmosphere and lighting in her paintings, so if you see this - great work and keep it up! This is one is at the early stages still, but thought I’d try to post a bit more here to show steps involved.

sunnyAlley_progress_01.jpg
Screen Shot 2019-06-11 at 8.29.57 AM.png

Rustic Cabin | The Aftermath - Donzo

Have finally finished my Rustic Cabin Renderman Art Challenge submission. This piece was modelled by Taylor Schulze and Alyssa Minko. I created the textures/materials and applied the lighting. Had a blast working on this.

rustic cabin.jpg