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IMPORTANT: I’m Still Learning Too!

It’s been a while since my last post, and I was thinking I really need to get back into this. Fortunately, the Universe responded with a swift kick in the pants in the form of an astute reader named Ethos. Ethos has experience in woodworking, and not only asked me some great questions about the Red Oak shader, but also pointed out some areas where it wasn’t quite realistic. One of these is the fact that the ring spacing decreases exponentially as the rings get farther from the core of the wood, but real wood rings are pretty uniformly spaced. […]

Corundum Conundrum

I started looking into how to create a realistic granite shader. While researching, I learned a lot of interesting things about gems and minerals and got distracted. For example, I didn’t know that rubies and sapphires are just variations of the same stone, called corundum. I thought it might be interesting to try to create a corundum-like shader, because it ought to be pretty simple. Let’s give it a whirl and see what we get. Create a new scene, and add a Plane. Scale it to about 1m x 1m in size. Use the Object->Apply->Scale function so that our texture […]

More About Texture Coordinates

While creating the Red Oak shader, we used the “Object” coordinates: I mentioned that this will make the wood shader three-dimensional, as if our objects are carved out of a solid block of wood. The reason is that the Object used for the coordinates is by default the object that the shader is applied to. For example, if we duplicate our board that we used to create the shader, you can see that the texture coordinates are the same on both objects: However, you can actually set the object to anything you want, and your texture coordinates are based on […]

My First Blender Add-on

I’ve got a background in programming, so I often think about writing a plugin or add-on for Blender, but I’ve never gotten around to it. A couple of days ago I finally did write something simple, and you can download it here: Distance-Based Subdivision It’s a simple script that sets Subdivision levels for objects in your scene based on the distance from the camera. Check it out and let me know what you think! Here are the contents of the Readme file: The way the script works is that you set a “Near Distance” and a “Far Distance.” Anything closer […]

Shader Ball

I figured if I’m making shaders I should make a shader ball. I don’t know if this is any better or worse than others out there, but it was an interesting object to think about. I tried to make it minimalist but still with helpful details. Behold: You can download it from BlendSwap here.

The Thing About Rings

It’s worth pointing out that I’m showing you one way that I’ve created wood shaders, but the Cycles nodes are so flexible that there are often many ways to accomplish the same thing.  For example, in the first post in the Procedural Wood series (The Beginning), I showed how to create rings based on the equation of a circle. However, there are definitely other ways to get something resembling rings. For example, there is even a “Ring” pattern for the Wave texture. If you just remove the Y-component of the Vector as we’ve done in previous posts: …you get a nice pattern […]

New Look

It’s only been a couple of months, but I decided to change the look of this blog. I initially hand-coded the site using WordPress as the backend, but I decided I wanted to try turning on the commenting feature. It seemed like a good bit of work to get the commenting infrastructure merged into my site layout, so I decided to try going all in with WordPress. I modified the Wilson quite a bit to match the look I wanted and so far, I’m pretty happy with the result.

Procedural Wood Shaders in Cycles: Red Oak Finale

If you haven’t been following along, I recommend starting with part 1 and working through the parts. We’re going to pick up where we left off with the last post, and really take this wood up a level.  Part 1 is here: Procedural Wood Shaders in Cycles, the Beginning Before we start, disconnect the Displacement output of the Diffuse BSDF node; it’s distracting as we work on the wood pattern. Ok, the first thing we’ll add is a nice control for tweaking the intensity of the grain. Zoom in on the ‘Grain’ frame, and add a Math node. Set it […]

A Slight Diversion: Cleanup

It occurred to me that as our shader gets more complicated, we haven’t really been doing anything to make it neater. I’d like to take a few moments to clean it up a bit before we go any farther. As you make your own shaders this is a good habit, especially if you want to share them with others. We should’ve done this in the first post, but the first step is to name our material! It’s still “Material” and that’s a terrible name. So, first, rename it to “RedOak” or something similar (“red_oak”, “oak_wood_red”, etc.). I tend to name […]

Procedural Wood Shaders in Cycles, Part 4: Rays

If you haven’t read parts 1, 2, and 3, you ought to read them to get context on where we are on the wood journey! Last time we changed the grain pattern to match the little holes that run through the length of the wood. This time we’re going to add another important feature of wood, called “rays.” Rays help the tree to carry sap from the center to the outside of the trunk. In the picture we looked at last time, the rays are the vertical lines: And looking at a piece of red oak, the ends of the […]

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