Blender Nebula Group Node: Tutorial & Download

Download .blend file

I thought it would be good to share my work on creating nebula effects in Blender and make an adjustable Blender node called “Nebula” that Blender users can download and create different effects with, seeing as I don’t have much time to create the images myself.

With the “Nebula” node you can produce a range of effects, such as:

nebulanode_blueneb nebulanode_purpleneb1nebulanode_purplenebnebulanode_orangegreenneb3nebulanode_darkredneb

Tutorial

What follows in an overview about how to use the “Nebula” Group Node and a selection of other example .blend files you can download with the group node in it.  I’ve also added for upload some samples from my previous post on the subject.

The tutorial assumes that you have a working knowledge of Blender and how to install a group node in it. If you’re new to Blender, it’s all open source and is definitely worth spending the time learning it.

Here is a screenshot of the Nebula Node in Blender’s Cycles Compositor:

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 19.15.40

The node works by overlaying a series of different noise effects to produce the clouds and the stars.  The clouds are produced by overlaying 3 coloured noise layers, and the ambient large “suns” are layered on top.  Finally, the smaller stars are mixed in.

Here is a sample node setup that adds the nebula to the background environment in blender cycles (this is also in the sample .blend files):

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 14.13.01

The options for the Nebula Node are as follows:

Vectors

The first set of options define the position of each layer.  They are separated out because the key to producing a good effect is offsetting the vector (position) of the layers:

  • Small Stars Vector: The position of the small background stars.
  • Large Stars Vector: The position of the larger ambient stars.  Note that these aren’t exactly star-like, and more produce the ambient lighting of the nebula.
  • Clouds 1 Vector: position of the first cloud layer.
  • Clouds 2 Vector: position of the second cloud layer.
  • Clouds 3 Vector: position of the third cloud layer.

You will find that offsetting the cloud vectors using Blender’s mapping node will produce different cloud shapes and effects.

Cloud settings

As noted, the key to getting different nebula effects is by adjusting the 3 layers of cloud noise.  Each layer, labelled Cloud 1-3, has the following settings:

  • Color: The individual colour of each cloud layer, mixed in by the rest by the Screen layer effect.
  • Mix: How strongly mixed the cloud layer is with the overall effect (Default: 1.0)
  • Scale: The size of the noise in the cloud layer.
  • Distortion: The distortion effect applied to the cloud layer.
  • Detail: The amount of variation in the cloud texture.  Higher levels do produce more detail, but be careful not to overly distress the cloud effect.
  • Detail distortion: Applies a distortion effect to the detail.

There are then some more global settings you can play with for the clouds:

  • Cloud darkness: How dark a contrast the overall nebula effect is producing.
  • Cloud Dark Start: The position in the noise where the dark parts of the cloud begin.
  • Cloud Light Start: The position in the noise where the light parts of the cloud begin.

Sun and Star settings

The following settings control the intensity and position of the ambient light (suns) and stars.

  • Large Suns Mix: The intensity of the ambient light of the nebula.
  • Small Stars Mix: How much small stars shine through the nebula.
  • Large Sun Scale: The size of the ambient light on the nebula.
  • Large Sun Ramp Pos 1: The position where the light that brightens the nebula starts.
  • Large Sun Ramp Pos 2: The position where the darker part of the ambient light tails off.

…phew! That’s it.

Below are some of the effects you can get using the Nebula Node and the associated .blend file to load into Blender:

nebulanode_blueneb

Download .blend file

Download .blend file

Download .blend file

Download .blend file

Other Nebula Blender files

Finally, here are some .blend files of earlier effects I’ve done using the same principle but not in a group node.  You might find them useful to adjust for your own projects:

mutara_effect1

Download .blend file

redneb1

Download .blend file

horseheadnebula

Download .blend file

And finally…. Any questions, let me know and I will do my best to respond.

This entry was posted in Nebulas, Tutorials. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Blender Nebula Group Node: Tutorial & Download

  1. anthe says:

    Oh man ! awesome stuff thx you a lot. Merci beaucoup.

  2. Irolf says:

    Praise you! This node group is so fantastic!
    I’m speechless just looking at these gorgeous night skies.
    Thank you so much sharing them!

  3. root says:

    This is great! Thanks for putting together the node group and the tutorial.

  4. Wissam max says:

    Great effort , thanks

  5. Sara says:

    OMG! This is beautiful and you are amazing to share your hard work! Thanks!

  6. Pingback: "Space Nebula"-Node für Blender gratis downloaden

  7. Wil says:

    Amazing node group. thank for sharing.

  8. Wil says:

    Amazing node group thank for sharing.

  9. Pingback: Blender Nebula Group Node, Tutorial & Download - Inside 3d News | Breaking Models Blog

  10. Angorth says:

    Thank you for this. Something i will be using often.

  11. Mantissa says:

    Super rad nodegroup! I’ve been experimenting with creating HDR’s from the setup by adding a single closer sun object and it’s working really well. :) Thanks for sharing!

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