How does it all work?

I teach some computer science courses, and, while not being a professional programmer, can usually troubleshoot applications fairly well, because I know generally how they work and have some idea of what can go wrong.

Not so with Blender. I’ve just encountered a small problem (something that should be transparent isn’t), and I’ve got no idea what might have gone wrong. Eventually someone will tell me that I need to press such and such button, but I’m wondering if there’s any way to find out a bit more about the rendering pipeline (without reading a mass of technical references) so that I have some overview of the process and some idea of what may be going wrong. Does anyone know of any useful references I might be able to look at?

try to look at these

Hope you find something useful. And try to grab the essential Blender book. actually there is a wiki version of it in blender help site.

Thanks for the links, and I do have the Essential Blender. However those resources are more about how to do things and not how they actually work. I’d like to know enough to know what to do when the results of a set of instructions don’t match what’s supposed to happen (like why my outer eye is black when it’s supposed to be transparent).

I think your material is transparent, however a transparent material casts the same shadows as any other materials. If you want your inner eyeballs to be lit you need to make their material recieve transparent shadows (the TraShado-button in the shaders panel)
Hope this helps :wink:

If you really want to find out how it works, take a look at the source. :wink:

That’s the joy of Blender and open-source software.

Sounds like you are looking for experience. If you haven’t got extensive experience with 3d software, then i doubt you can get it without actually trying it out. That being said, it’s nothing impossible to learn. Troubleshooting is in essence the same as when programming, as i see it.
If you encounter a bug, try to isolate it. If your eye (in its socket, behind glasses) is black, take it out of its environment. test render. Still black? You have a light that affects the eye? If you are using raytracing settings for the material, have you got raytracing on when rendering? It’s just to start trying stuff out.

that was brilliant hiower

i have to stand and give you a round of applause for that

I would also add that the method that averil is asking the questions seems kind of vague and also a little presumptuous, which is bad when you are looking for the true source of any issue

The ultimate image that you see is a result of the mesh, the material, the texture, the light, the world, the arrangement of all the objects in the scene relative to the camera, the camera settings, the animation in the scene, the physics being simulated, and the rendering options (including post-pro) used by the artist.

I just summed up about ten years and 7500 question’s worth of experience. The details of how it all works in non-technical terms at Enjoy! For the technical details, you have to consult very technical papers on shaders and physics and such.

Thanks all for responses, and rest assured that I am working at learning it all.

Documentation exists for a reason.
You shouldn’t have to read and understand the source to know how something is done.

As a teacher of computer science subjects I often have to pick up new technologies quickly, to the point where I understand them enough to actually teach them to beginners. Not just First do A, then do B, etc. I’m very good at evaluating reference material for its fit for a particular audience and level of understanding. My first approach is to try to get a good overview of a subject without getting too technical. Details come later. In my experience the best way to do this is to find a book in the series X…in 24 hours or similar. Once I have that overview I supplement it with more specific reference material. The documentation that comes with any application is generally not suitable as learning material. Blender Noob to Pro is pretty close, but is more in the cookbook style than the explanation style. I guess a 3D Graphics in 24 Hours or 3D Graphics for Dummies is still a way off.

I think i understand now what you are getting at, and it’s by no means a bad idea. I think I’ve seen some general 3d graphics book in fact that could be quite close to what you are looking for. Too bad i don’t remember author or title.

Make sure to post if you find good material.

There’s an interesting similar discussion that happened here.

There are some already-prepared (tho somewhat out-of-date) lesson materials here.

Thanks for those links - the lesson material looks interesting. I’ll have a good read through it.

I think i found the book i was talking about: 3D Graphics & animation by Mark Giambruno

I haven’t read it so i cant rate it, but it seems good.

If you’re looking for deep under the hood stuff, you might want to read the renderman book.
I haven’t read it myself yet, but a lot of people I look up to have recommended it highly.

I havent read the book, but i have a feeling that would be like putting a first time driver behind the steering wheel of a lorry and ask him to drive through downtown during the busy hours. But oh well, at least you are giving him a map :spin:

I’ve ordered a second hand copy of this through Amazon - looks like what I’m looking for. Thanks.