A Noobi explores materials

I have a little modeling and art experience but I am fairly new to Blender so I thought I would start out by exploring materials and those cool builtin textures. The landscape here is not very good but it is simple. It’s a plane subdivided four times, some points at one end pulled up to form a distant mountain range, several `color ramp’ divisions and a cloud texture. The tent got a 64x64 pixel jpeg; half red and half white. the center got a tiled treatment while the pie sections on the ends were each done separately. Fair to say, I love CGI for the motion and not so much for high detail still images. Never the less, All these great toys in Blender have me thinking about elephant hide, ostrich feathers, sequines, spot lights:spin:


I think you built there a cleverly light little scene. You could have used a wood procedural texture to get the red and white stripes. Looks like a good start to me.
the material tutorials on the blender wiki (summer of doc) are very good:

Thanks for the link. Those are some nice tutorials even if a little basic.

This is what 100,000 blades of grass look like when spread over several acres:)

I need to add some objects to the scene now to establish a visual refference of scale. I’ve tried a preliminary human figure standing at the side opening of the tent and he was too small to really show up on the render. Now is when I have to decide an era. Should I have model `T’s, horse and wagons, spaceships?


A very prelimenary elephant. He’s not ready for a closeup yet but he will get there. Also there’s a very high detail tiny human figure (imported from my old Anim8or days.) You can almost see him.


This is nowhere near what I envisioned for the elephant texture. I had hoped to use a wood texture to add wrinkles to the knees but it won’t scale fine enough for that. I haven’t actually tried UV mapping it yet which will be next. The modeling isn’t done yet but I was hoping someone knew a good tut on textures for a beast like this. So far, everything has ended up using the cloud texture. It is just so versatile.


Todays’ offering. The horse has a transmapped mane casting a transmapped shadow. How cool is that:)

No one knows of a good texture for my elephant? Little help here please.


ya know what?
Every thing looks like toys.
Which isnt a bad thing.
You could have a childs hand reaching in, or something

What you see is what I do. Relatively low poly (easier to animate), some degree of textures some attempt at interesting detail but no attempt at photorealism (and no plans to change.) It’s called `style’. Everyone has their own, and this is mine.

good for a new user,
as to the elephant’s wrinkles:
bite the bullet and uv-map it, I don’t see any other way it could be done (that wouldn’t be even harder, that is)
nice job with the horse, the mane looks good…

as to the ground: try overlaying 1-2 more procedural cloud textures with differant settings to add more variety, i.e. a really big one to add big patches, a little one to add some normal variety etc…

edit: looking at your shaders:
horse: increase spec a little, look in to anisotropic shading, there’s a tutorial somewhere
elephant: pretty good, but uv then normal map
tent: nice, but try using ‘set smooth’ on the top faces to make the triangles not show up

This is exactly what I was hoping to get from the experienced users. I actually did smooth the tent top at one time but lost it. I am finding that when I close a render screen, it sometimes closes Blender since the Blender close screen X' is directly below the one for render. I must be getting a little mouse button bounce or have a twitchy finger. I also lost the first (nicer) texture I had worked out for the elephant the same way. The default spec for the horse material was .5 and I thought it looked too plastic so I turned it down to .3. I don't want to do actual fur. I'm not sure at the moment what anisitropic shading is but thanks for theheads up’. I will look into it.

anisotropic shading is where the spec. reflection is stretched across the normal of an object (i.e., stretch it in the direction of fur with a cloud texture and it looks like fur)

you may be right about the spec though, it would look way to plasticy if it were much higher…

you could also look into autosmooth, which smoothes according to angle (i.e. the shallow angles of the top would be smoothed while the sharp edges on the sides wouldn’t), but i think just selecting all the top faces and hitting set-smooth would do it easier.

edit: almost forgot, to fix the x problem, you could try setting it to render full screen, or in the image viewer (escape key closes then.) you can do this by setting it in the drop-down menu in the tab to the left of the render button…

After a day of searching and reading I understand anisotropic shaders (finely grained parallel lines used to simulate sanded metal, fur, and leather) but also see that there is none for Blender so what did you have in mind?

A rough draft of a horse drawn steam calliope. I would like to do a lot of the decorative scrollwork you see on circus wagons.

Can someone please tell me how to distribute a decorative glyph evenly around the wheel? I know how to distribute a mesh evenly in a circle but not how to do that with a small texture. Basically just a flower or other pattern which can be repeated around the wheel. Thanks in advance for any info you can provide.


An update to the wagon so you can get an idea of where I’m trying to go with it. I would like to decorate the sides of the wheels with a repeating decal image.

The calliope itself was supposed to be a cream color that I could put a nice decoration on but continues to render out as a dirty gray. Also, it has too many pipes. At this distance they all blend together so it looks like one metal slab. All that work adjusting the height of each one and now I have to throw away half of them (every other one.) Sigh.


She casually rocks back and forth as the great beast strides toward the entrance to the bigtop. The ultimate picture of beauty and the beast. Will this be the day when the mighty creature overcomes its’ fears; rampaging through a terrified crowd; blood; death; tragidy. Or will a curious audience go home, with questions to ponder for the rest of their lives.

This is about learning Blender materials and the capabilities and idiosincracies of Blender. Here’s a new lesson; 64x64pixel alpha maps look like 64x64pixel alpha maps (see the tent roof.) :smiley:

The elephant lady has a sequine outfit but I’m not too satified with it yet. It looks much better in animation than in a still picture. She has no hair. In fact the back of her head is missing. I do that to make facial morph targets easier to model. I want to do a a nice head piece with ostrich feather plumes.

The calliope still needs work but I’m happy enough with it to throw in an update.


ok, so the glyphs around the wheel: look up the spindup function, you can use a simple copy of the wheel rim for your flower placement.
elephant: http://www.3dvalley.com/interviews/balazs-kiss.shtml http://www.fotosearch.com/PHD304/bs24018/ and http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/animals/mammals/elephants/2744708_elephant_skin_texture.php?id=2744708

Thanks for the links. I saved the images but I want to try using them as a reference only to see if I can work up something using the builtin textures. The wood texture seems like a good place to start.

I’ve decided on something different for the wheels. I will UV map one wheel and then duplicate it to replace the others.

What I’m after now is glitter/sparkle/twinkle effects. I’ve searched the forum and found suprisingly little and some of that was negative in the sense of “hey, I can’t get my diamond to sparkle.” I spent an hour yesterday trying out material settings on an animated cube to try to maximize glitter. Part of the problem is that specularity is highly dependant on angles between the light source, the object, and the camera. Turning alpha to zero and turning off shadows gets all of the faces reflecting at their maximum (for a given angle); even the ones that are normaly ocluded. I came up with a sequine that looks good in some light settings but I’m getting funny orientations when applied to a complex shape such as the costume on the elephant lady. There are places where they point in the wrong direction based on the normal' they are suposed to align with. After looking at this for quite a while from many angles I am starting to thinkbug’.

Two new effects but they really only show well as an animation so I used my miniscule ISP provided space for a short jpg.avi movie. Be warned; the modelling is still at an early stage best described as horrid. Look for the necklace on the elephant lady. It has a nice sparkle and gives off aurora borealis colors (at this camera distance the effects are subtle.) And of course there’s the costume. The movie (2.2Meg) is here;


I’m afraid I tend to work in fits and starts so it’s been a while since I touched this project. Today I finally decided to do what I said I would do a month ago. I used a wood texture and applied it to the left side of my elephant to try to produde an elephant skin. I think it’s coming along. I notice, at thumbnail size, the texture doesn’t even show but at full size, the texture almost looks too strong to me.


Finally came back to this. The elephant in the foreground is just an update of the one in the background. Texturing is still not finished and no eyeballs yet.

I’ve started a fairway in the front of the tent (the far end). The booths are more or less placeholders to start establishing a layout for the fairway. I will have a `pole and canvas’ partition along the side of the tent to separate the public from the performers, staging up at the side entrance.

EDIT: thought I should add; I’ve turned off shadows temporarily to speed renders.