Building on my popular Nebula Generator in Blender, last year I decided to take things even further and used Houdini to create sophisticated nebula effects, deciding on the Redshift Renderer for its speed when rendering 3D volumes. The results are on my ArtStation:
The course itself is a culmination of that learning over the year, and after some long hours in the editing room, it certainly has been a labor of love.
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.
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.
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.
They had been interested in my generative modelling work in the Plating Generator and Shape Generator, and had a vision for an extension to KIT OPS called KIT OPS SYNTH.
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’ve created a video showing how you can combine basic Blender 3D modelling techniques with the Plating Generator add-on to quickly create a Sci Fi looking helmet like the one you see here. Hope it’s useful to you!
The Plating Generator now comes with the ability to add materials to the plating patterns it generates on the mesh, an often requested feature. Jaroslaw Waskowiak tipped me over the edge with this specific request (among many great suggestions):
Material variations, randomizing UVs, assigning different maps to different “plates” at random
So I set to work:
You can assign different materials which will be applied to the grooves and randomly assigned to the plates. You can also vary the vertex colors of the plates so you can get different colored effects from the same material.
The add-on works by using the existing topology to cut out grooves for the plates in an interlocking pattern. Once those grooves are cut, the faces of the plates can be grouped and different materials automaticaly assigned.
Animation Nodes version
I’ve also included an Animation Nodes version if the add-on so you can play with dynamically changing the effect. The file is part of the samples.
Here are another couple of examples of the add-on at work: