While Blender may not be a better node-based compositor than Shake, it definitely has a better modeling feature set than Shake. The answer is that a developer has not gotten around to adding it yet. Developers add a feature when they think it is truly useful and fits into their interests and needs. Users must always keep in mind that Blender is available only because of grants and volunteers. Blender does not overtly compete against any other product; it simply is. If you like it, use it, extend it, contribute time and energy to make it better, and enjoy.
If you cannot code, then write tutorials or develop detailed proposals to make it better, or buy great books like this to support future development. Either way, you win. As the costs for on-site shooting have skyrocketed, producers have exponentially demanded more image retouching, correction, and studio-shot green-screen integration. What started as a simple way to transition from shot to shot using razor blades and tape has progressed to being a major budget line involving dozens of digital artists and hundreds thousands, even of servers in a render farm.
Music videos and movies Music videos have progressed from simply filming the band live in concert to dramatic 3- to 4-minute shorts, often featuring the singer as a lead actor, or completely computer-generated. This video has been released to the public on YouTube. Sometimes it is easier and cheaper to shoot a film in green screen, and then construct the set digitally, rather than take the time and space and planning to construct a real set.
An extreme example of this is Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, starring Angeline Jolie, where almost the entire film except for the actors was shot in front of a green screen, and then the set was constructed using 3D software. This movie is also a great story on one man creating his dream on his home PC—watch the extras if you ever rent it. Postprocessing as an art form, to dramatically alter the entire look of the film, is also making its way to the big screen.
The most dramatic example of this trend that comes to my mind is Sin City, starring Bruce Willis. Completely computer-generated movies, once few and far between and within the exclusive domain of large houses, are being produced by smaller studios and individuals. At the extreme end of this small-studio spectrum is the emerging open movie movement. People want to share their work with each other and with the world. The movie that resulted, Elephants Dream, was the first high-definition movie released for broadcast in Europe.
The goal of the project was to use Blender in a high-pressure professional production environment, in order to see how the software should be improved. The short film Big Buck Bunny was produced by a very talented team of a half dozen artists from around the world, and was funded by donations. Again, all of the assets—the characters, background mattes, textures, animations, scenes, and software Blender and Python scripts were released under the Creative Commons license to the public.
Numerous sites host the content, which can be obtained for free. User-generated content User-generated content, or UGC, refers to media content produced by end users. Individuals and small teams now have the ability and infrastructure to connect, coordinate, generate, and publish high-quality images and video for a global audience.
They do so sporadically, often without significant funding, planning, offices, or overhead. UGC presents a freedom of expression and communication, a legacy, and a global understanding that transcend history and politics. In that sense, UGC represents a revolution in the world of publishing. By offering a free, full-featured product that an average person can use, Blender fully enables UGC. Convergence Convergence may be the most powerful term in technical business.
Convergence describes the rare event when two seemingly unrelated technologies come together to form a new product or even an entirely new market. The wired POTS plain old telephone system converged with the radio to form the wireless mobile phone market. Additionally, because the iPhone can be programmed, it brings gaming and other applications, such as streaming broadcast radio, together into a single device. The complete package was enabled by and converges, if you will advances in networking, chip design, battery design, and touchscreen design. Add on innovative ergonomic and elegant industrial design, and you have a wildly successful product.
The result is a situation where users, who were formerly subscribers and consumers, become publishers and content providers. Both my son and daughter have published dozens of high-quality videos, and my daughter even has her own youtube channel, Euchante. For example, you can or will soon be able to use your cell phone to command your home PC to record a media broadcast, and invite your friends over to watch it at some later date.
A second example is to upload your own UGC video to a social networking site, where it is displayed on a screen in a virtual room store, dance hall, or party room that is under your control. Blender setup This Blender version used for this book is Blender 2. Each Blender revision is backward-compatible with file formats of previous versions. When an old file is opened by a new version, Blender automatically converts the file to the new format when possible, so that you can use the new features while preserving most if not all of the original content.
Blender requirements What kind of PC do you need to run Blender? The short answer is any type of PC will do. The longer answer is that Blender is developed by a team that believes that for software to be truly open, it must run under any major operating system. That blend file is also cross-platform.
For example, you can work on a blend file on a Linux box, e-mail it to a friend running Blender on a Mac, and he can open it, work on it some more, and pass it back to you. If you have more than 3GB of RAM, you need a bit operating system, and should get an optimized version of Blender, as discussed in the next section. Of course, the more memory and CPU cores you have, the better. To work productively in highdefinition video, you need at least 2GB of RAM although you can work with proxies and EXR tiles to get around many limitations, as described in Chapters 9 and Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time waiting as your operating system thrashes about, swapping real memory out to virtual memory on disk.
Blender does not chew up a lot of disk space either allowing you to chew it up with your high-definition images. This also means that Blender installs in a few minutes, not an hour. The files themselves are also very small, which means they are quick to save and back up. Blender supports pen-sensitive tablets as well. Some painting options will have a p button to enable pen pressure sensitivity. Generic vs. There are other flavors of Blender available, optimized for your particular chip set on your particular machine.
When you get to the GraphicAll. Unless you are adventurous, scroll down to the Optimized builds section, and pick your operating system and chip set from the list. You must download it from the Microsoft site if you need it. For all flavors of Linux, you need glibc 2. The development team at Ubuntu likes to certify all its packages that you can obtain through ]lp cap or the application installer.
Unfortunately, they seem to be perpetually trying to catch up. It installs and runs fine on my Linux desktop. On this tab, you can choose whether tooltips handy little hints that pop up when you hover over a control , buttons all the menus and things you can click in a panel , and toolbox all the tools used are in that language. For example, I worked on a project where the concept artist in Japan chatted with a director in New York, who sent her sketches to a modeler in Romania, who made a model, which was sent to me for rigging and animation in Atlanta, Georgia.
These are globally distributed resources, each working in sequence. The next step is for those distributed resources to work in conjunction, simultaneously, seamlessly, and in continuous context with one another, often out of home offices. A team will work in a collaborative environment and synergistic results will emerge. A critical piece of TGC is a software tool to support this kind of globally distributed team. Verse is an open source application supported by the Uni-Verse team.
Verse must be enabled in each application, and the companion DVD includes Versed versions of Blender. The general architecture for Verse is that a Verse server runs somewhere in the Internet cloud, a Verse client opens a session with the server, and the client begins receiving memory updates. As you make changes to any object inside Blender, those changes are transmitted to all clients, who alter their working copies, and those changes are immediately available to every client.
This all happens so fast that to users, it is almost looks like a ghost is working their keyboard and mouse. While Verse may not be the ultimate solution, it is a very noteworthy step in the right direction, and I applaud the effort, as well as the working result. Another solution may be a globally accessible database, with each Blender instance reading and updating a shared, two-phase commit database.
Foundation Blender Compositing by Roger D. Wickes
For example, in this one application, you can work dynamically with a colleague on the other side of the world to create a mask that hides a portion of the images in a video sequence, apply the mask and overlay to a fully rendered computer graphics object, animate the mask to match the movement in the video, smoke up and change the lighting of the composite, color-correct, splice that shot into a longer-running sequence, and output the whole video in to both a high-definition H.
Within the domain of compositing in general, Blender provides facilities for the following activities: Modeling: Make a mask, used to extract an element. Shading: Texture a plane with a video so it can be used in a composite. Lighting: Alter the shading of an element.
Rendering: Create images and video. Simulation and gaming: Add special effects, such as smoke and haze. Compositing: Assemble multiple elements together. Sequencing: Arrange video strips with audio. Figure shows the various tools in Blender and how they integrate. Blender compositing tool integration For compositing, you can use Blender to model a mask that is the shape of some object in a video, animate it to match the live action movement in the video, adjust that portion of the image using the mask as a guide to add in visual effects, and composite a title overlay.
It is simple to use Blender to generate titles and credits by converting text into 3D objects using any font or spacing, and then roll those credits into a video sequence on top of the original video. Blender can composite any number of images together with any number of effects, using masks and greenscreen footage to postprocess raw footage into a final shot.
Finally, Blender can sequence all of those shots and generated scenes into a final movie with a soundtrack. For virtually any activity, you can extend the core functionality by writing scripts in the Python language.
Wickes, Roger D.
Blender even provides a text editor to allow you to enter text for programs as well as for inclusion as 3D objects, and these scripts can be run directly from Blender. While Blender has many functional areas, this book focuses on the compositing tools. I will not, for example, go into the more advanced modeling and sculpting features, but will spend a lot of time discussing image format support, the compositor, and the sequencer.
Figure illustrates the relationship between an object and how you interact with it. User access methods in Blender An object is the digital data that represents something and is described to you through properties. It is important to remember that an image is just an array of pixels, and each pixel is just a color number.
Two pixels can be added together and averaged according to some formula. You may see a blur effect, but to the computer, the effect is just numbers. Properties, actions, and tools You control and change objects in three ways: by setting properties, through an action, or by using a tool. For example, to change the location of an object, you can change the Loc properties directly in the properties panel, use the Grab action press the G hotkey to grab the object and move it where you want it to be, or use an object manipulator tool widget to move the object in 3D space.
Setting properties directly through a properties panel is like describing yourself. You would say you have a name, height, weight, and a gender. Your weight is a number in some units, such as 59 kilograms. Your gender might be a word: male or female. Those values for yourself would be shown in a panel. The same is true for objects in Blender. Each panel allows you to set and change the properties of a different object.
The top panel shows you the properties for an object called Mask. The second panel allows you to control properties about the background image that is displayed in the view. In this example, I used an image as a guide in drawing my cowboy mask. Setting object and background image properties Another way you can control or modify objects in Blender is through some action. If you want to cut frames of roll up from a strip, click and drag the left handle of the strip.
This action changes the offset. To thread a node in the compositor, click one socket and drag it to the other socket. When you release the mouse, Blender connects the output of one node to the input of the other, automatically performing any type conversion for you. Blender also supports mouse gestures, where you make a gesture, such as a swipe, and Blender interprets that to grab and move the selected object.
You can also modify objects in Blender through the use of a tool. For example, I use the transform tool all the time. When enabled, it gives you a multicolored tool around the selected object that lets you move, rotate, and scale the object by using the tool. Materials: Manage textures, and to make masks fade in and out. Animation: Move masks and billboards. Node compositor: Layer images and adjust colors and special effects. Nonlinear editor: Sequence and layer video strips. Text editor: Enter and import titles and credits. Scenes: Manage multiple subprojects.
Outliner: Manage complexity. User preferences: Make Blender behave the way you want it to behave. Buttons and controls: Make renders. Scripts: Run customized solutions, such as exporters and importers. Image browser: Select textures, images, and video clips to use. File browser: Bring in textures, images, and video clips.
Summary This chapter introduced Blender, a full-featured application that you can use to composite multiple image elements, and animate them to produce a video for TV and film. Because Blender is an established and relatively bug-free application with a lot of functionality for producing computer-generated video, it has a worldwide following. Now that you have installed Blender on your PC, the next chapter talks about how to fit Blender into your organization and workflow, and how Blender interoperates with other commercial high-end products and digital assets.
The oil goes from a raw, unprocessed form to the finished product. Applying that metaphor to media creation, we have a pipeline of tools, standards, and interactions that delivers the media from its raw, conceptual stage, through development and production, into postproduction, and ultimately as a finished product for our loving audiences to enjoy.
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Digital media content generally requires a huge up-front investment. Producers making this investment demand long-term archival preservation. The business manager recognizes the media as an important business asset that can provide revenue for years to come. The cost to produce such high-quality imagery demands care, reuse, and standardization.
The effort required to produce the video stream within the time constraints requires a collaborative team working seamlessly through a streamlined workflow. All of these factors are driving the marketplace for knowledge on how to implement practical concepts that save money, reduce waste, and accelerate delivery.
Workflow is the sequence flow of tasks and activities work that you perform. These tasks follow one another in a logical, efficient order that allows you to perform meaningful and productive work. In establishing a smooth workflow, we want to avoid waste, rework, blockages, holdups, and dependencies.
In establishing a pipeline of tools, we want to have products that work well together in a seamless manner. Seamless integration means that tool B can pick up and use the files saved by tool A without losing anything or having to go through some complex conversion—they work so well together that you cannot see a seam where they are stitched together.
Figure illustrates a fairly general idea of the network of tasks and activities that need to be performed to create any media, from 2D poster art and Flash video to 3D live-action film or computergenerated productions. This is a general process, and you should take some time to define a workflow by tailoring this process to reflect specific tasks and intermediate work products described in the next section that are needed for your specific kinds of projects. Each tailored process is called a route.
Generic media workflow These tasks represent a kind of map of your country, and your goal is to find the best way to get from point A to point B. Just as with trip planning, you lay out a route, or sequence of waypoints, that you need to pass through in order to complete the journey. You want to pick the route that involves the shortest amount of time and costs the least amount of money, but also will get you there safely.
You should take the time to define a methodology for your shop and workflow. After you complete a project, think about the types of tasks you had to do. Create a folder, and for each task, write down what should be done, as well as what should be avoided. Over time, you will build up a valuable intellectual property base of knowledge that will help your company excel.
Your coworkers can follow these routes, without having to ask questions. They can avoid repeating the same mistakes and needing to relearn what has already been proven. Here is a typical workflow route that a studio might follow in order to produce a finished webcast from footage that was originally filmed and captured to digital video DV tape: 1. Location shoot the footage and obtain the DV tapes. Upload the tapes into an AVI format. Input the AVI video and adjust for fields. Standardize the image adjust color and contrast. Save the video as a frame sequence.
Milestone: Raw video review 7. Create titles and credits. Composite the title and credits shot. Watermark the video. Milestone: Legal review Sequence the clips and overlay the audio track. Save the video using H. Upload the video to the video server and test the result. Milestone: Focus group feedback Link in the video to existing web pages and add metatags. Conduct a project review retrospective Milestone: Project complete Workflow not only depends on what you need to accomplish, but also on which tools are available to you and your skill in using those tools.
In the preceding workflow example, steps 3 through 11 can all be accomplished in Blender. You may need different routes, or even bypasses and work-arounds 27 CHAPTER 2 detours , based on differences in your starting media and your target output. They might ask for a webcast today and request a European broadcast next month. In addition, as you complete tasks of the project and have significant accomplishments, you pass a tollgate, or phase gate, where your results are accepted, and you can move on to the next phase.
These are indicated as milestones in the preceding workflow list. If I neglected to collect this form and have it on file, I could be sued, and that would just ruin my day. Also, we set up a process whereby what I wrote was reviewed by various people, and they helped point out errors and inconsistencies. This kind of quality control is built into any quality-assurance program.
A quality-assurance program ensures that you have done the right things at the right times, so that you produce a high-quality product on a consistent basis. Quality is generally defined as conformance to requirements. While the latter applies to IT companies, many parallels can be drawn to media production, especially since media is so dependent on technology. Open source products in the pipeline Software has progressed from custom-developed, to commercial off-the-shelf COTS licensed boxed , to open source applications.
It is now possible to perform video production using open source tools. You generally want to reduce reliance on outside products and intellectual property that you do not control, as you will be locked into a licensing structure for as long as you use the product. All COTS products fall into this category. If there is a bug, you are stuck with it until you pay for the next upgrade.
Worse, since the product you have come to rely on may be purchased by a competitor, you lose your competitive edge. Even worse, the whole company that makes your core product may be purchased by a competitor, change the license, and charge you higher fees, which impacts your business. At the other end of the spectrum are companies that have developed their own in-house applications for CG modeling and rendering.
Pixar is a great example of a very successful company that develops and uses its own CG application suite. Not only does it retain control over the product, but it actually licenses part of its tool set RenderMan as a means to garner more revenue. Open source products fall somewhere in the middle. As discussed in Chapter 1, open source tools contribute to the emerging UGC movement. As also discussed in Chapter 1, other converging technologies are the Internet and free video-hosting services such as YouTube and Vimeo.
So, with the cost of computing affordable to the average person, tools available to create media, knowledge available about how to create good media, and hosting services to distribute that content, we have a different sort of media pipeline. From a business perspective, UGC turns the publishing pyramid upside down. Consumers become content providers, and traditional broadcasters and publishers must figure out a way to incorporate UGC into their business model. Figure shows the video production workflow with the major open source tools used at each step in the process.
However, if you must buy a camera, you can find inexpensive digital video cameras that shoot good-quality video, and moderate-priced cameras that shoot high-resolution stills and video in high definition. Thus, you could have many Blender sessions access the same database, enabling collaboration that way. The use of free tools and assets, combined with the ability for a team to get the source and customize it thus creating valuable intellectual property can have a dramatic effect on your total cost of ownership TCO numbers.
The advantage is that you can download the source code and compilation environment, and thus are protected if the company goes out of business. When I consulted with large companies in acquiring COTS, we always demanded that the source code, as well as the compilers and database management system, be placed in escrow in order to protect our interests.
With open source, anyone can get the source and compilation environment Subversion for Blender and be able to build their own binaries. Contributed: You contribute something back, You devote a small portion of time to making enhancements in Blender. Your developer joins the team, participates in the weekly developer team meeting, subscribes to the coding standards in place, is adopted by a mentor, and starts helping out. His code is submitted to the main trunk of Blender through patches. These patches are reviewed and tested, and if accepted, become part of the main Blender trunk.
Branched: You take the ball and run with it. You branch off on your own, making custom modifications to areas of Blender. When you are happy with the rewrite of that area, you submit that branch to the Blender Foundation where it is merged. You are then sharing those changes with the community. Your code base diverges from the main trunk for those areas under development.
The safety net for you is that should your developer ever break Blender badly, or leave you high and dry, you can always revert your code base back to trunk. If you do not have a programmer on your staff, the Blender Foundation conducts Summer of Code and Summer of Documentation efforts, which always need sponsors to pay developers to add some neat features. If you want to sponsor someone and have a specific feature in mind, you can float your proposal to the Blender Foundation, and through the developer network, the chances of success are very high. You and the community will win by having a better product to use, and developers win by being paid to do what they love.
Competing in the COTS space is very difficult, as is competing in any space in the digital realm. Work products Along the way, as you complete each step in your workflow, you will develop and leave a trail of work products. If these have any lasting value, they become assets, used later on in your project or by some other project in the future. You might use assets produced by a previous project within your own company, or you may license assets produced by someone else. For Blender, you can find great asset libraries at Blender.
Figure shows a flowchart of the tasks and work products that you, as a compositor, will deal with when working on producing a film or video. Review the schedule, and set up your project folders and asset management. Composite an animated storyboard. Take in the dailies raw DV footage, for example from each camera perspective and save them as AVI or MOV files, each with their audio track which may be from a separate audio recorder. Use your content management system or digital asset management system to keep track of what was shot: when it was shot, what it contains, who was in it, where it was shot, and so on.
Select the best takes, and strip them off into frame sequences and mated audio tracks. Sequence the shot, possibly with variations, postprocessing each such as with color correction , and saving the shot as an AVI file. Generally, you do not want to save with a codec or compression at this point, depending on the desired quality.
Save a proxy if you are working in high-definition. A proxy is a low-resolution video or image that stands in for the full-resolution production file in order to increase the working speed of your applications. More information about proxies is in Chapters 9 and Schedule and review with the director to select the best shot render, and get feedback on the postproduction effects.
After selecting the best shot, sequence the shots into a scene. Create the title sequence and credits shots. Sequence the shots into the movie. Almost all stories are three-act plays—rising tension, climax, and conclusion—and those acts are broken down into scenes. Scenes are composed of shots. A shot is a brief segment, most often only a few seconds long, that conveys a thought or idea element of the story. Video may be just the visual element without sound, or it may incorporate an audio track as well.
The video that you produce can be an animatic, which is a video that shows the intent of the final product. Your work products can also be marketing collateral, such as a poster-sized image like the one shown in Figure They may interoperate either directly, by linking themselves together and being able to call one another, or indirectly, through a file exchange so that their work products can flow from one application to the next with a minimum of blockage such as reformatting or lost information. Figure shows Blender in the pipeline where other products are used to perform tasks, even though Blender might be able to perform them as well or better.
In this figure, the circles represent a major work process and the tool used to do that task. The connections indicate the formats of the work products that are passed between the applications. These formats are discussed in Chapter 4. Possible pipeline work product interoperability In the example in Figure , the computer-generated scene is developed using Autodesk 3ds Max, with high-resolution sculpting in Autodesk Mudbox. Blender is used for animation, compositing, and sequencing. In compositing, the rendering engine is of primary importance. In this example, RenderMan is the rendering engine.
RenderMan is developed, licensed, and used internally by Pixar. In this case, the output is a series of OpenEXR files. It takes in image textures painted using the open source GIMP package.
Another firm likes Photoshop for the big backgrounds, and the musicians and sound engineers use the top-of-the-line Pro Tools. Blender creates the final movie in the QuickTime container. This is purely a hypothetical example, designed to show that open source tools can be mixed and matched into a pipeline of closed source COTS tools that can vary widely in price.
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I discuss the Blender internal renderer in detail in Chapter 9. For interoperability, Blender supports both images and video streams, which are largely treated in the same way. For example, a background image in the modeling view can be a still image, an image sequence, a video clip, or an internally generated test image. Digital rights management Here, I will touch briefly on the legal issues and copyright law, and ownership of a video, as they are important topics, and generally misunderstood or not understood at all when it comes to UGC.
Some people think that all art should be free, and that would be good if no artist ever had to eat, pay rent, or buy clothes and computers. Some people think it is OK to steal from the rich, successful artists by using their art or music in their videos, without paying for it. For example, suppose you rent a camera and take a picture of a brick. You get money for that license called a royalty. If you shot that image using a rented Nikon camera on Fuji film, the leasing company, Nikon, or Fuji cannot claim any ownership of the brick image.
So, even though you do not own the camera, you own the work product that was produced using it. Of course, ownership is subject to the rental agreement that you signed, and Blender is licensed akin to the camera being rented in this case to you under the Creative Commons license. This license clearly states that you own the work products images produced by you using Blender. Now, if you produce a video using the QuickTime format, you do not own the rights to that format or to the encoding algorithms.
When working with digital assets and considering their various licenses, you need to be aware that, in many cases, a video or film work will have different licenses attached to its audio and video portions, each of which may even be owned or controlled by different legal entities. For example, the images and the audio to the open movie Elephants Dream are licensed differently.
The same advisory holds true for any models or assets that you download from the Internet. Even though you may get them for free, that does not necessarily mean you can use them for free for whatever purpose you desire. For example, suppose that you and a friend go out on a location shoot. You see a particularly neat building, and ask your friend to take a picture of it.
The building is a corporate office and has the logo of a company on its side. Your friend snaps the picture and e-mails it to you. Do you own the image? The answer is probably no. Does your friend own the image?
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Unless you get a release from the owner, you cannot use that image in your work. The logo is owned by the company that probably leases the building, and the building itself is probably owned by a commercial property management company. In general, ownership of logos, names, and faces is a big deal, and you need to obtain a legal release from the owner or person prior to even taking the picture in the first place. OK, maybe this example is a bit over the top, but you get the idea. Obviously, no manufacturer wants its product to be shown in a bad way, especially being used to commit a crime.
The counter-argument is the First Amendment right if you live in the United States or precedent of law in the country in which the video is shown. Some countries may ban your video from being shown there. If you are pulling images from an archive or digital asset management system, you must take the time to read the license associated with that image, to ensure you are making fair use of that image as granted by the license.
Generally speaking, one or more legal entities can own the images that you use: You as an individual The person depicted in the image The company that controls the brand of the product shown in the image The company that created the logo of the product shown in the image The company you work for Your client, if your are working under contract Anyone who is assigned interest in the assets of any of the preceding parties What those people do with that ownership is specified in the license that goes with that image. If you cannot locate a license, do not assume that you have permission.
Worse is getting a cease-and-desist letter from a lawyer, causing you to retract something you have already published. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When you request permission, you may find one of the following situations: The company responds to you and objects to how the image is being used.
The company is in the process of selling or discontinuing the product or brand. The company wants to maintain strict control of how the brand is presented and distributed. The company wants to share in any potential future profits from your work. The company will not take on any potential liability. The last one is the kicker, because it has implications that stretch into the future. You might find yourself involved in a costly lawsuit years down the road, no matter how remote your image usage was from the use of the particular brand involved. The name Blender was inspired by a song by Yello , from the album Baby which NeoGeo used in its showreel.
This also meant, at the time, discontinuing the development of Blender. In May , Roosendaal started the non-profit Blender Foundation , with the first goal to find a way to continue developing and promoting Blender as a community-based open-source project. On July 18, , Roosendaal started the "Free Blender" campaign, a crowdfunding precursor.
Today, Blender is free and open-source software largely developed by its community, alongside two full-time and two part-time employees employed by the Blender Institute. The Blender Foundation initially reserved the right to use dual licensing , so that, in addition to GPLv2 , Blender would have been available also under the Blender License that did not require disclosing source code but required payments to the Blender Foundation. However, they never exercised this option and suspended it indefinitely in Nevertheless, they put out one more release, 2.
As a sort-of easter egg , and last personal tag, the artists and developers decided to add a 3D model of a chimpanzee head. Suzanne is Blender's alternative to more common test models such as the Utah Teapot and the Stanford Bunny. A low-polygon model with only faces, Suzanne is often used as a quick and easy way to test material, animation, rigs, texture, and lighting setups and is also frequently used in joke images. The largest Blender contest gives out an award called the Suzanne Award. Though it is often distributed without extensive example scenes found in some other programs,  the software contains features that are characteristic of high-end 3D software.
Among its capabilities are:.
A 3D rendering with ray tracing and ambient occlusion using Blender and YafaRay. Blender's user interface incorporates the following concepts:. Blender 2. Blender features an internal file system that can pack multiple scenes into a single file called a ". Blender organizes data as various kinds of "data blocks", such as Objects, Meshes, Lamps, Scenes, Materials, Images and so on. This allows various data blocks to refer to each other. There may be, for example, multiple Objects that refer to the same Mesh, and making subsequent editing of the shared mesh result in shape changes in all Objects using this Mesh.
Objects, meshes, materials, textures etc. Blender's VSE has many features including effects like Gaussian Blur , color grading , Fade and Wipe transitions, and other video transformations. However, there is no multi-core support for rendering video with VSE. Cycles is a path-tracing render engine that is designed to be interactive and easy to use, while still supporting many production features.
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Cycles supports GPU rendering which is used to help speed up rendering times. Multiple GPUs are also supported, which can be used to create a render farm — although having multiple GPUs doesn't increase the available memory because each GPU can only access its own memory. The integrator is the rendering algorithm used for lighting computations.
Cycles currently supports a path tracing integrator with direct light sampling. It works well for various lighting setups, but is not as suitable for caustics and some other complex lighting situations. Rays are traced from the camera into the scene, bouncing around until they find a light source such as a lamp, an object emitting light, the world background or are simply terminated based on the number of maximum bounces determined in the light path settings. To find lamps and surfaces emitting light, both indirect light sampling letting the ray follow the surface BSDF and direct light sampling picking a light source and tracing a ray towards it are used.
Blender users can create their own nodes using the Open Shading Language although it is important to note that there is no support for it on GPUs. They consist of three shaders , defining the mesh's appearance of the surface, volume inside, and displacement of the surface. The surface shader defines the light interaction at the surface of the mesh. One or more BSDFs can specify if incoming light is reflected back, refracted into the mesh, or absorbed.
When the surface shader does not reflect or absorb light, it enters the volume. If no volume shader is specified, it will pass straight through to the other side of the mesh. If one is defined, a volume shader describes the light interaction as it passes through the volume of the mesh. Light may be scattered, absorbed, or emitted at any point in the volume. The shape of the surface may be altered by displacement shaders.
This way, textures can be used to make the mesh surface more detailed. Depending on the settings, the displacement may be virtual, only modifying the surface normals to give the impression of displacement also known as bump mapping or a combination of real and virtual displacement. The Blender website contains several demo reels that showcase various features of Blender. External renderers, free and open-source : . External renderers, proprietary :. Blender can be used to simulate smoke, rain, dust, cloth, water, hair and rigid bodies.
A cloth is any piece of mesh that has been designated as 'cloth' in the physics tab. The fluid simulator can be used for simulating liquids, like water hitting a cup. The particle physics fluid simulation creates particles that follow the Smoothed-particle hydrodynamics method. Since the opening of the source, Blender has experienced significant refactoring of the initial codebase and major additions to its feature set.
Improvements include an animation system refresh;  a stack-based modifier system;  an updated particle system  which can also be used to simulate hair and fur ; fluid dynamics; soft-body dynamics; GLSL shaders support  in the game engine; advanced UV unwrapping;  a fully recoded render pipeline, allowing separate render passes and "render to texture"; node-based material editing and compositing; and projection painting.
Part of these developments were fostered by Google 's Summer of Code program, in which the Blender Foundation has participated since Official planning for the next major revision of Blender after the 2. Blender is extensively documented on its website,  with the rest of the support provided via community tutorials and discussion forums on the Internet.
The Blender Network provides support and social services for Blender professionals. Additionally, YouTube is known to have many video tutorials available for either Blender amateurs or professionals at no cost. Due to Blender's open-source nature, other programs have tried to take advantage of its success by repackaging and selling cosmetically-modified versions of it. Since , every 1—2 years the Blender Foundation announces a new creative project to help drive innovation in Blender.
In September , some of the most notable Blender artists and developers began working on a short film using primarily free software , in an initiative known as the Orange Movie Project hosted by the Netherlands Media Art Institute NIMk. The resulting film, Elephants Dream , premiered on March 24, In response to the success of Elephants Dream , the Blender Foundation founded the Blender Institute to do additional projects with two announced projects: Big Buck Bunny , also known as "Project Peach" a 'furry and funny' short open animated film project and Yo Frankie!
On October 1, , a new team started working on a second open project, "Peach", for the production of the short movie Big Buck Bunny. This time, however, the creative concept was totally different. Instead of the deep and mystical style of Elephants Dream , things are more "funny and furry" according to the official site. The game is titled Yo Frankie! The project started on February 1, , and development was completed at the end of July A finalized product was expected at the end of August; however, the release was delayed. The Blender Foundation's Project Durian  in keeping with the tradition of fruits as code names was this time chosen to make a fantasy action epic of about twelve minutes in length,  starring a teenage girl and a young dragon as the main characters.
The film premiered online on September 30, Many of the new features integrated into Blender 2. On October 2, , the fourth open movie project, codenamed "Mango", was announced by the Blender Foundation. It is the first Blender open movie to use live action as well as CG. Filming for Mango started on May 7, , and the movie was released on September 26, As with the previous films, all footage, scenes and models were made available under a free content compliant Creative Commons license.
According to the film's press release, "The film's premise is about a group of warriors and scientists, who gather at the ' Oude Kerk ' in Amsterdam to stage a crucial event from the past, in a desperate attempt to rescue the world from destructive robots. On January 10, , Ton Roosendaal announced that the fifth open movie project would be codenamed "Gooseberry" and that its goal would be to produce a feature-length animated film.
He speculated that production would begin sometime between and The studio lineup was announced on January 28, ,  and production began soon thereafter. As of March , a moodboard had been constructed  and development goals had been set. The initial ten minute pilot was released on YouTube on August 10, This project demonstrates real-time rendering capabilities using OpenGL for 3D animation. Caminandes is a series of animated short films and centers on the llama Koro in Patagonia and his attempts to overcome various obstacles.
Agent Operation Barbershop is the three-minute teaser for a planned full-length animated feature and is based on the classic comics series Agent Hero is the first open movie project to demonstrate the capabilities of the Grease Pencil tool in Blender 2. On 25 October , an upcoming animated short film named Spring was announced to be produced by the Blender Animation Studio.
Spring was released April 4, This poetic and visually stunning short film was written and directed by Andy Goralczyk, inspired by his childhood in the mountains of Germany. The Blender Cloud platform, launched in March and operated by the Blender Institute, is a subscription-based cloud computing platform and Blender client add-on which provides hosting and synchronization for backed-up animation project files. Combining particle effects 8. Baking 8. Coordinating your animation 8. Summary 9. Rendering an image 9. Start with the aspect ratio 9.
Determine the resolution 9. Proxy rendering 9. OpenGL rendering 9. Border rendering 9. Pipeline components 9. Alpha channel rendering 9. Test render 9. Pleasantries for rendering 9. Anti-aliasing 9. Motion blur 9. Edge rendering 9. Information stamping 9. Which image standard to use? A place for everything. Multithreaded rendering 9. Rendering curves 9. Dealing with rendering issues 9. The black render of darkness 9. Broken links 9. Overly bright or miscolored elements 9. Render crashes 9.
Rendering video 9. Develop your storyboard 9. Set frames per second 9. Set the duration 9. Trade off quality with time 9. Step rendering 9. Override shading 9. Interlacing fields rendering 9. Select sequence or container 9. Choose your destination 9. Complete the animation 9. Render the video 9. Package it 9. Play back your animation 9. Of containers and codecs 9. QuickTime container 9. AVI container 9. FFmpeg container 9. Render farms 9. Summary Working with the compositor Compositing screen layout The node editor Node editor header Node editor workspace Typical node controls Node header Sockets Threading Cyclic dependencies Node editor window's Node menu Feed me input nodes Getting in the view Render Layer node Alpha Channel Socket Render passes Visualizing render passes Render Layers panel Image node Sequences and movies Working with different image resolutions Texture node Value node Time node for animation The curves widget RGB color node Getting something out of it Composite node Viewer node Split Viewer node File Output node The distort processing nodes Crop Displace Lens Distortion node Map UV Rotate Scale Translate Shake, rattle, and roll Format conversion One image to another One medium to another Cropping and letterboxing Upscaling and downscaling Color nodes Invert node Gamma node RGB Curves node AlphaOver node Seeing ghosts Mix node Color math Hue, saturation, and value Dodge and burn Handy techniques Sepia Fades and transitions Adjusting for print: CMYK Z Combine node Full-screen sample anti-aliasing Tonemap node Conversion nodes RGB to BW node Set Alpha node Math node Using Math to use watermarks Encoding a watermark Decoding a watermark Alpha Convert node ColorRamp node Pulling an object's mask using the ID Mask node Matte nodes Luminance Key node Channel Key node Difference Key node Chroma Key node Deinterlacing with Blender Vector nodes Normalize node Normal node Changing apparent light direction Map Value node Filter nodes Blur node Faking a focusing act Soften filter