Continuing the marathon of Blender add-ons this time I’ve prepared an automatic armature generation script using only very roughly hand-assigned vertex groups as hints. You can judge the results of my endeavor by watching the tutorial video below and test the new functionality right away by downloading the script directly to Blender’s scripts/addons directory and enabling it in the Addons config tab. Enjoy!
There’s yet another fine addition to my blender-addons repository on GitHub. The object_place_on_surface.py operator allows to easily place selected object on designated surface (object with the name… surprise, surprise… “surface”) by simply placing the 3D cursor at target location and pressing the P key on the keyboard. Objects are placed with their Z direction aligned to the surface normal. Choices for amount of alignment and whether to use flat or smooth normals are also present. In many instances this is a more convenient alternative to particle systems with density weighting and/or placing object copies by hand. Extremely useful for myself, hope it serves you as well. Enjoy!
Credit: Images in this post use the following hand model authored by DennisH2010 from Blendswap made available under CC-BY-NC license.
I’m happy to update this announcement about my little contribution to the open source Mandelbulber project. Earlier this week I’ve added to it a Mesh Export capability using Marching Cubes algorithm. To this end I’ve helped myself with the very clean and easy to use PyMCubes implementation. The rest was just a matter of putting pieces together. The cherry on top is the export of fractal coloring stored as texture coordinates. All of this is registered in Stanford (PLY) mesh format.
as well as:
The workflow for the new functionality is very simple. You open up the Mesh Export dialog from the File menu. Then you choose the bounding box you’d like to export along with sampling resolution along X/Y/Z directions. You can change the default output file name and then you hit the Export button. After a while you’ll end up with a fresh PLY file ready for Blender import.
In Blender I normally use the following set of steps: i. go into Edit mode, ii. select all vertices, iii. use Remove Doubles from the Tools tab, iv. use Recalculate Normals from Shading / UVs tab, v. if the normal direction doesn’t seem right use Flip Direction from the same tab, vi. Add Subdivision Surface modifier with 0/2 View/Render subdivisions. This is usually enough to give nice looking surface you see on the left in the image above. Next, we’ll talk about colors.
The colorIndex value from Mandelbulber is exported as the UV (or ST in PLY nomenclature) texture coordinates. Both U and V store the same value just for the sake of importers that can’t deal with a bit more rare 1-D texture coordinates. The material setup I’ve used for the rendering above consists of a number of multiplications, modulo, and division nodes followed by a sine node to make the coloring bounce across the palette rather than jump from one end to the other. The color “speed” is controlled by the first multiplication while the “palette” is determined by the RGB Curves node. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. The 3.142… is actually PI.
I guess that’s all there’s to be said for the moment. In the future the development should focus on making the export faster (currently it’s not parallelized at all) as well as handling the color export better (e.g. by generating a coloring texture rather than storing colors per-vertex).
This week the cherry on top for me is the fact that this modification will be pulled into the official Mandelbulber repository and distribution hours from now.
Hope you all enjoy and create fascinating universes with this new export functionality and 3D authoring tools like Blender, 3D Coat, Maya, 3DS Max, Wings, etc. etc. Cheers!
You will find a new script in my Blender Addons repository. It’s called lightning_arcs.py and builds on top of the Blender Laplacian Lightning plugin to create configurable arcs of lightning between particles of an object. Three empty objects have to be present in the scene – ELorigin, ELground and ARCheight. The first two are for the Laplacian script, the third one’s Z position determines height of lightning arcs. Furthermore, the Laplacian addon has to be set to generate Single Mesh. Once you add a Particle System to the object of your choice find the “Lightning Arcs” entry using Blender’s Search function (press Space key in scene). Click. Enjoy!
In Blender, having greebles consisting of multiple loose parts can pose a problem when trying to warp them into shape of an arbitrary surface using modifiers such as Curve, Lattice or ShrinkWrap. The result pictured in the back of the scene above shows how loose parts tend to detach from the surface and the final output completely misses the artist’s intent. One solution that I came up with in my projects is to separate the loose parts into individual objects and then merge them together using Boolean Union operator. The addon union_loose_parts.py which you will find in the following repository: https://github.com/sadaszewski/blender-addons does just that and throws triangulation on top of it all. What you’ll usually need to do is apply simple (or Catmull-Clark) surface subdivision and you’ll be in good shape to do the warping. The mesh in front of the scene above illustrates output of such a workflow. Enjoy!