Author Archives: Mark

Nebula Generator now on Blender Market

Features:

  • Fast render times at high resolutions.
  • A range of configuration options allow you to change the colour and shape of the nebula.
  • Optional star effects that can be swapped out for your own.
  • By animating the parameters, the clouds can be made to appear as if they are moving.
  • Great for game backgrounds, animations, or concept art backdrops.
  • By default the effect is projected onto the background of the blender scene but can also be used as a texture on other objects.

Earlier versions of the node setup (version 1.2.0) will remain free on my website, however by getting this version here you will:

  • Have a priority on new feature requests.
  • Be able to take advantage of new updates.
  • Allow me to invest the time in developing the effects further.

Future roadmap:

  • Potential migration to python code if efficiencies in usability and performance can be seen.
  • Increasing ease of use of the different parameters on offer.
  • Experimentation with more 3D like effects.
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Blender Add-on: Bevelled Extrude

Add-on Link: https://blendermarket.com/products/bevelled-extrude

My latest add-on will create extrusion effects that have configurable bevel effects on the base, corners and tops. Good for creating smooth recesses or protrusions:

If you have a new feature suggestion or feedback on the add-on feel free to contact me through this website or through Twitter @markkingsnorth.

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Blender Add-On: Window Generator

My latest add-on will create many windows at once on the faces of a mesh:

Years ago, I had a very hard time modelling window patterns onto models like this one:

ae4ab5b082274201b26b0e56a57634df

The user wanted more and more windows added to the 3D model, and each time I found myself painstakingly adding each one in a random pattern onto the faces.  This took up many hours and days of my time, far more than modelling the overall model itself. After this painful experience, I thought there surely must be a better way.  So when using Blender, I decided to create an add-on that would do the job for me.

The add-on has applications beyond just modelling spaceships, and would also apply when needing to quickly model many windows onto architectural buildings.

Features:

  • Select faces and then add a configurable pattern of windows, where the amount of coverage and randomness can be controlled.
  • Control how many windows are mapped across each face and how many are mapped down them.
  • The width and height of the windows can be changed.
  • Different window styles can be created by adding corner bevels, and outer bevels can be added to make the window edges smooth.
  • Option to disable top or bottom bevels to create different effects.
  • Ability to assign a material to the newly created windows by specifying a material slot id.
  • Also assign a lights-off material to give the impression that some window lights are switched off.
  • Introduce further variations by adding a random “jitter” to the width and height of each window.
  • Option to perform edge split operations to create a quicker clean look.
  • The process automatically creates uv seams to aid in uv mapping for textures.
  • Faces are mapped from the top-to-bottom of a face by default, but the orientation can be changed to either left-right or front-back.
  • Additional refinement options that will attempt to remove unwanted edges or vertices from the created window patterns.

If you have a new feature suggestion or feedback on the add-on feel free to contact me through this website or contact me on twitter @markkingsnorth.

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Updates to the Plating Generator

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 20.50.14

The Blender Add-On has proved very popular and based on requests, I have made some additions to the plating generator which are free to all current users:

  • Define the number of segments on the sides of the plates and within the grooves.
  • An additional option of selecting the faces for the plates as well as the grooves.
  • Add a bevel to the edges of the plates, and define the number of segments.
  • This plugin is also tested on the upcoming Blender 2.79.

A short demo video of the new features is here:

You can get the Plating Generator from here.

 

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Blender Add-On: Configurable Jet Mesh

DynamicJetFront_bnI have created a Blender add-on that will quickly create a configurable mesh in the form of a fighter jet or starfighter, available on the Blender Market.

In the past I have found it laborious and repetitive to model, mirror & subdivide the starting shape. This add-on does the job for you, first allowing you to dynamically configure the basic shape, then leaving you free to edit the base mesh by leaving the Mirror and Subdivision Surface modifiers intact.

For modellers who want to either generate different shapes for a jet or starfighter in their scenes, rapidly prototype plane concepts, or have a starting point to develop a more detailed mesh.

Features:

  • Add the Dynamic Jet mesh from the standard Add menu.
  • A range of configuration options allow you to quickly shape and concentrate on the overall design.
  • Once done, you can then move on to edit the underlying basic mesh as the modifiers are left intact.
  • Base mesh is based on quads which will help it to be quickly extended and used with other operators and add-ons.
  • The range of configurable options include: optional engines and tail wings, wing span & angle, cockpit size.
  • Also compatible with my Plating Generator add-on.

If you have a new feature suggestion or feedback on the add-on feel free to contact me through this website or through twitter @markkingsnorth.

I have also created a demo video:

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Blender Add-on: Plating Generator & Tutorial

testingAnimGifCap3plate_gen_front

I have created a Blender Add-on that can quickly create hull plating patterns on an existing mesh. One of the most time consuming things I’ve found is how to create an interlocking plating pattern on top of meshes such as spaceship hulls.  The most effective method is to manually extrude edge loops over and over, which can be very time consuming. The more detailed you want the mesh to be, the longer it will take.

You can view a tutorial on how to use the add-on here:

Features:
  • Quickly generate a plating pattern from a random seed.
  • The pattern can be generated on a whole quad based mesh or on a sub selection of quad faces.
  • Control the amount of grooves cut.
  • Control the depth of the grooves between the plates.
  • Control the thickness of the grooves between the plates.
  • Option to split the edges on a smooth mesh to ensure the edges are cleanly defined.
  • Option to completely remove the grooves and leave the plates intact.
  • No hidden geometry created, actions are performed directly on the mesh.

topols

The add-on is available for commercial download at BlenderMarket.

Any comments or queries feel free to message me via this page or on my Twitter account.

Filed in Plugins & Addons, Tutorials | 2 Comments

Space Nebula Video Tutorial

I have created a tutorial based on the work I’ve done around creating space nebula effects in Blender which also describes some of the techniques I used to create the Nebula Node.  Hope you enjoy!

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Nebula Node Group v1.2 released

nebulanode_v1.2.0Download .blend file

I’ve now expanded the control you can give to the stars:

  • An input is now provided so you can choose to add your own starfield effects.
  • I’ve moved the stars out into a separate set of “StarsNodes” that you can now use to alter the existing stars.
  • You can now choose to blend the stars more with the color of the nebula to produce a more harmonious effect.

I’ve update the instructions in the .blend file, and any questions let me know. Enjoy!

 

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Nebula Node Group v1.1 released

nebulanode_v1.1.0Download Nebula Node Group v.1.1.0

I made some small additions to bring better control to the ambient rim lights around the clouds:

Before, you could just get this:

nebulanode_darkbluenebNow, you can have better control to get effects like this:

nebulanode_purplenebI’ve added the full instructions for the node group in the .blend file’s text editor under “Nebula Node Instructions”.

Enjoy!

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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.

Filed in Nebulas, Tutorials | 13 Comments