Piranha4D's Learning and Practice 2022

2022-08-03 Mushroom Bottle Mini Scene

Tutorial by 3DGreenhorn: https://youtu.be/kbiMXiUz9cc – this is the sort of tutorial that I call “recipe tutorial”. He doesn’t explain why he does things, and it really helps if one is not a beginner. It’s pretty fast as well. Also, robo-voice, which annoys some people, but I always think it’s a good choice for people who have a heavy accent.

Anyway, it was a little scene and that’s what I wanted, something easy-going. Not much to say other than that the inside of the bottle was sorta blurry in the final render, and I ended up bringing the roughness way down. I didn’t follow him step-by step, I mostly imitated the parts on my own, just listening to the tutorial in the background so I wouldn’t miss if he did something new.

Music: This was a big bottle and I started to hum “Time in a Bottle” and then unearthed my Jim Croce mix. Died way, way too early.


Cute scene! Love the light color as well :grinning:


2022-08-04 Procedural Nodes: Blinking Eyes

Episode 3 of Sam Bowman’s Procedural Nodes series: https://youtu.be/o7lmy7dXfKI – I am pretty excited about this series because it is so long; so much more to learn.

I remembered how to make the basic shapes, circle and leaf. I’m also on pretty firm footing when it comes to creating intersections. But this was good repetition, plus refinement – fine-tuning the upper and lower “eyelids”. And the UV layout made sense – we developed the shading in object space, but then expanded the single eye to a 100 eye array, and had to switch to UV space. I am not sure I would have figured out how to place the UVs (centre in the lower left corner) all on my own, so there’s still a disconnect between me knowing how texture coordinates work and being able to apply that in a new situation.

And then there was a bunch of animation, just small things, like changing the distortion of the noise texture making rings, their colour, making the eyelids “blink”, and a displacement modifier on the arrays.

Music: 70s rock, with an emphasis on interesting keyboards.


Rick Wakeman?

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Oh yeah. I’d think Wakeman would be on just about everybody’s all-time best list.

Who else is in here, let’s see – Jordan Rudess, Tony Banks, Keith Emerson, Jon Lord, Ray Manzarek, Elton John, Rick Wright.

Shouldn’t that be… Oh, ‘Yes’!

Ray Manzarek deffo. Elp yeah! Elton, great.

Not so sure about Eddie Van Halen, and the keyboard years though, Jump!?

Im going to have to look up Jordan Rudess and Tony Banks…

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Ah, Dream Theatre, Ive worked with him!

Sounds incredible right?

I was an AV tech when he was demoing some Nord keyboards in HMV London.

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Tony Banks is Genesis. He’s fantastic, and probably underappreciated. I have all his solo work as well, including his classical pieces.

Jordan Rudess snuck in there, he doesn’t belong in the 70s – Dream Theater.

2022-08-05 Procedural Nodes: Moving Texture

Episode 4 of Sam Bowman’s Procedural Nodes series: https://youtu.be/tXLJCj9-nL8

None of this was totally new to me, but I couldn’t work ahead with these tutorials. Again the combination to achieve a certain goal still lay outside my “grok” zone (is that a word people commonly know these days? It was coined by Robert A Heinlein and I mean it to understand something profoundly, beyond a specific context, so I don’t have to fumble around applying trial-and-error techniques to arrive at the goal).

There’s really nothing to be done about that sort of thing but practicing it more, and since I used these exercises to fill in between bigger, well defined chunks of learning, that hadn’t really happened. I needed to take this more seriously if I wanted to progress. I didn’t do homework for those, which had to change – I just found it hard to even think of homework. If I model a jug, it’s easy enough to take on modeling another jug, similar but different enough to anchor the method, but still be a bit challenging. What could I do for this though?

I could make things move in a circle outward, and have a different line for the march ahead. Alright, that’d be homework for the next day.

Here’s the relevant part of the node graph:

On the practical side I was fine – I remembered displacement requires a special setting in Cycles, and that it needs sufficient geometry to actually work. I’ve got the hang of these really simple animations (only one node is animated here, the value of where the line between the textures is located).

You know, I can watch this over and over. Simple minds…

Music: 1970s radio – still feeling nostalgic, I guess, but not in the mood to make choices.


Wow, a genre I kinda want to be good at. Sometimes Blender makes things look easy and makes other things seem achievable.
That texture transition with displacement is one of them. Thanks for opening my eyes again, it’s nice freshness.


Very cool results! Procedural texturing is addictive, you can truly do anything with it.
I do know what “grok” means, but only from comic books of all places- both Dick Grayson (Robin/Nightwing) and Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) are computer whizzes and use the term frequently :smirk:

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2022-08-06 Procedural Nodes: Landscape

First the homework for episode 4. Struggled a bit with it but I don’t remember with what exactly, stupidly didn’t take notes on that. Used a Musgrave instead of a Noise texture. Had to do a lot more fiddling, but it came out alright – and the purpose of the exercise was to do it over slightly differently and fidding is part of that.

The relevant part of the node graph:

Buying the Node Preview add-on was a smart thing to do. It’s finicky and sometimes just stops working and I can’t get it going again without restarting Blender. Which is annoying and I gotta set some time aside to debug that and report it. But when it works, it makes such a difference to developing shaders.

The animation:

Then onto Episode 5 of Sam Bowman’s Procedural Nodes series: https://youtu.be/RBdEeCutmXI – creating procedural terrain.

This was pretty straightforward, no math required. Had to crank the subdivisions up to avoid artifacts. This does not bode well for me doing realistic landscapes; that will have to feature a lot of clever fakery. The 10x10m land plane had 250k tris

The land material:

The water material:

The combined terrain:


It looks decent for something that has undergone no special effort to make it look good; this is just the purely procedural planes rendered with two randomly grabbed 2k textures, a 4k HDRI as background and for lighting, no look management, no post, nothing.

Music: Bump of Chicken


Height-dependant materials are always fun!


I’m so glad I can just use real geometry for displacement with geometry nodes now. I’ve got several potted plant assets I downloaded and enhanced and I wanted to do nice renders of just the plants and I had 2 dozen variations of pots and stands. Ran out of gpu memory because of the adaptive subdivision I was using on the soil and couldn’t render. So happy to be able to do the same thing with geometry nodes now. The sucky part is having to manually add a UV node into the materials because for some reason geometry nodes destroys the ability to use the standard uv socket from the coorinates node.


2022-08-07 Procedural Nodes: Variety

Episode 6 of Sam Bowman’s Procedural Nodes series: https://youtu.be/ByV88b5uoDc

Very methodical start, going through the big 3 noise makers, Noise, Musgrave, and Voronoi and their options one by one. It really helped me to do this; I got a much better sense of what the basic features of those were. I ended up with a file in which they are laid out like this:

No worries, I won’t display the whole lot. ; )

Then Sam presented some strategies he uses to mix textures from those basic building blocks.

He introduced 5 strategies:
Adding a copy of the same type of noise node between the Texture Coordinate Node and the Mapping Node:

Adding another type of noise node between the Texture Coordinate Node and the Mapping Node:

Adding another type of noise node between the Texture Coordinate Node and the Mapping Node and connecting it as well as the TCN to a mixRGB Node:

Adding another type of noise node between the Texture Coordinate Node and the Mapping Node, connecting it to a mixRGB Node, and plugging the TCN into the fac:

Adding a Math node (Snap in this case) after the Texture Mapping Node:

This last one really explodes the possibilities.

The tutorial is just 15 minutes, but I made textures for hours. Cheapest entertainment ever. ; )

Music: I was lazy again, 1980s mix straight off YT. You know, A-ha’s video for Take On Me is still great after all these years. The second one, the pencil sketch / live action combination (that wasn’t the first use of rotoscoping in music videos, but maybe the most memorable). https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=djV11Xbc914


Wow, helpful stuff, thanks!

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2022-08-08 Procedural Nodes: Tiles & Marble

Episode 7 of Sam Bowman’s Procedural Nodes series: https://youtu.be/_YCZNgTzV6w

Short and sweet. Shader:


And because this was very short and I had time, I did the next one as well.

Episode 8 of Sam Bowman’s Procedural Nodes series: https://youtu.be/5iZoHMqAnjQ

A little bit less short and sweet; I fiddled around with this for a while and made it quite different from his. If I had been left to my own devices (which I was, before), I would have made the marble starting with a Wave texture. This has double noise plus a voronoi and is more complex, but less “veiny”. I want to experiment more with that.



No special insights, but colorramps are awesome.

Music: Der Zigeunerbaron (The Gypsy Baron), operetta by Johann Strauss II. Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.


Talk about depth! Also, those images above the nodes look very helpful! :eye_in_speech_bubble:


Thanks! Reminded me of substance, didn’t think to get a price tag but oh well.