It’s often been requested, and here it is – an introductory tutorial on converting a curve network to a mesh in Blender using my Curves to Mesh add-on. Any questions, do let me know….enjoy!
I stumbled across an interesting displacement technique that’s useful for subtle parallax type effects and ripple distortions. Using this technique, you can add movement effects to still images such as clouds to give them the appearance of movement as the camera travels over them.
The above video talks about the technique, and I’ve added a simple Node Group I developed for it up for download at Gumroad and Blender Market.
Blender Market: https://blendermarket.com/products/2d-displace
The collection contains 271 3D meshes that you can use to spread across the walls and hulls of your spaceships, stations, futuristic cities and other projects you may have, in order to quickly make them look much more detailed and complicated in your final renders.
The pack contains various objects arranged in folders ranging from sensors, vents, signs, fuel storage, hatches, scaffolding and many more other random objects and shapes.
I’m gradually making my Blender Market add-ons also available on Gumroad, one by one…next one up is the Plating Generator, which adds a range of plating patterns onto an object, as well as the ability to add greeble effects – that is, adding lots of smaller objects onto a larger object’s faces.
Read more about it here:
Between 27th to 30th November the Blender Market Black Friday Sale is on – all my add-ons will be 25% off!
By supporting these add-ons you also support their continual improvement, so it is a mega help – you also help out the Blender Foundation too as a percentage of each of the add-ons go to them as well.
My current add-ons are:
- The Plating Generator – Quickly create a configurable mesh in the form of a fighter jet or starfighter.
- Shape Generator – Quickly create and configure countless random shapes for a wide variety of purposes
- Hull Texture – A versatile, reusable base texture for creating irregular plating effects.
- Curves To Mesh – Create and configure mesh surfaces from bezier curves.
- Mesh Materializer – Map objects onto another object using its active UV coordinates.
- Window Generator – Model many windows at once on the faces of a mesh
- Bevelled Extrude – Create extrusion effects that have configurable bevel effects on the base, corners and tops
- Twisted Extrude – Extrude Faces with an Extra Twist
- Fit Lattice – Quickly fit a lattice deformation cage around a mesh or set of meshes.
- Configurable Dynamic Jet – Create a configurable mesh in the form of a fighter jet or starfighter.
You can find out a lot more about each add-ons here.
KIT OPS is able to apply a wide range of 3D objects (called INSERTs) that can be used to instantly cut and add to existing objects or create standalone ones with the goal of rapidly creating and exploring new designs. Read more about it here.
The original requirement for SYNTH was to simply overlay these INSERTs in a grid like fashion on top of 3D surfaces, but with Chipp’s design patterns thinking and background in NASA we are taking it a lot further….
Emerging features include:
- A range of layouts can be used: Arrange INSERTs in rows, columns, grids, randomly, and around edges and borders.
- User ‘layers’ of INSERTs to manage and apply groups of INSERTs in one go.
- Control the frequency and placement of INSERTS with a variety of parameters: apply padding to the INSERTs, scale them individually, add random rotations.
- Use Blender 2.91’s new Booleans feature for more accurate cutting.
- Load and save your configurations to share with others or apply later.
This has already given rise to a variety of promising results you can achieve very quickly with SYNTH. Here is a short video of the random layout being applied using a set of INSERT cutters, by just changing the random seed value:
There’s still plenty of work to do and a good round of testing to be done before the first release, but I thought it would be good to show the progress so far. In the future, Chipp is looking forward to taking SYNTH to the next level with Machine Learning…but that is definitely a blog for another time.
I have just released a big update to the Plating Generator for Blender which includes a new collapsible interface and, most importantly, Greebles! Thank you to all my testers who really helped me get this ready for release:
This will allow Blender users to quickly add random detail to models. A demonstration video is here where I show you how to simply create a Death Star like trench:
- Vary the amount, size and height of the Greeble objects.
- Choose from a range of built-in Greeble objects (Cubes, Cylinders, L-Shapes, T- Shapes)
- Customise your Greebles by adding your own objects to the effect.
- Choose from a selection of Blender operators: Just Plating, Just Greebles, or a specialised Plating+Greebles operator.
For this and other add-ons visit the online store.
My latest Blender Add-On allows you to quickly create and configure mesh surfaces from bezier curves. I think it will be ideal for creating accurate machine parts or for more organic modelling.
Here is a demo video on how it works:
- Choose to create meshes from 1, 2 or 4 curves with a customisable number of cuts in each direction that are evenly distributed by default. Meshes can be created from curves with multiple bezier points.
- Works on curves with multiple bezier points.
- Useful when you need to create accurate pieces of a mesh, like an aircraft, or for more organic shapes.
- Faces can be set to smooth or have their normals flipped during the creation process.
- Works on a variety of bezier handle types (Vector, Aligned, Free)
- A network of curves could be built up to create more complex objects.
- Can be used as a complement to more traditional modelling techniques.
- By default the edges will be distributed evenly, but this effect can be reduced (see instructions).
- Compatible with my other add-ons such as the Plating Generator, Bevelled Extrude and Window Generator.
Available at https://www.blendermarket.com/products/shape-generator – a new year, a new add-on!
Quickly create and configure countless random shapes for a wide variety of purposes:
- Generate ideas and abstract concepts for inspiration.
- Create base meshes for further editing such as spaceships, game assets, and objects I haven’t even thought of.
- Create shapes for background assets or to add peripheral details.
The shapes are created by specifying a random number and then changing a range of length, scale and rotation parameters of the resulting extrusions. By default, the add-on will work to ensure that the faces of the shape won’t overlap.
A demo video is here:
A more detailed list of features is available at https://www.blendermarket.com/products/shape-generator.
If you have a new feature request or any questions, either contact me via this website, the Blender Market or you can reach me on Twitter.
My latest add-on will create many windows at once on the faces of a mesh:
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.
- 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.