Understanding color ramp modes

In today’s tip we’re going to take a closer look at the gold old color ramp node.

The color ramp node in (ramp setting in BI) lets you map an image or texture to a color gradient. The gradient is defined by 2 or more color stops. How the color in each stop transitions into the next is defined by the mode. The different modes give the ramp a lot of flexibility and power, though we don’t often talk about them.

Let’s check how the different modes work by checking them on a simple voronoi texture. Don’t worry, I won’t go into any of the math behind these because my brain melted from just looking at the equations. I’ll include the Wikipedia links below if you want to investigate further.

Linear

colorramp_linear

The default mode. Full stop color happens only in a small part and transitions quickly into the next. The middle point between two color stops has a 50/50 mix of both colors.

Useful when controlling a fresnel and trying to keep a thin, hard edge on the sides  where the effect is the strongest.

Check Linear Equations in Wikipedia

Ease

colorramp_ease

This mode eases the ramp by a quadratic equation.

Transitions are smoother than linear since each stop’s influence is  more spread out. That also means that you get more full stop color.

Ease is the mode I use the most, since the transitions are smoother than linear but not too much.

Quadratic Equation in Wikipedia

B-Spline

colorramp_bspline

This is the smoothest mode. You never see full stop color here, instead colors flow into completely each other.

The B-spline mode is great to soften masks and textures. Keep in mind, however, that it can’t soften an image that has no intermediate values between colors (something crunched by the constant mode, for instance).

B-splines in Wikipedia

Cardinal

colorramp_cardinal

Cardinal gives a larger transition with more amount of full stop color.

I haven’t found many uses for cardinal so far, but if you find yourself looking for a softer ease ramp you should try this mode.

I couldn’t find the exact equation for this, but this post from Harder, better, faster, stronger might give you a hint.

Constant

colorramp_constant

Sometimes people try to crunch values by pushing them together in the ramp with the default value. But that’s not always the best option, the proper way is to use the constant mode.

This mode splits the ramp in absolute values at each stop. Not only you get the same effect with one click, but you can also move the stops to tweak the effect. Constant mode is basically like using the “Round” operation from the Math node, but more versatile.

There’s no particular equation in this mode. Each stop covers the ramp until the next without transitions.

 


 

That covers the current modes as for Blender 2.74. I Hope you’ve found this useful, stay tuned for more tips!

Adwaita Neutral for Gnome 3.16

Hi, this is just  a quick post to mention that I’ve updated my Adwaita Neutral theme for Gnome/Gtk 3.16

You can find it on github: github.com/diegogangl/adwaita-neutral or download the zip file.

To install copy to the .themes folder inside your home. Don’t forget it’s a hidden directory (it has a leading dot) so if you’re using Nautilus you’ll have to enable hidden files/folders.

Cycles studies Vol. 1

Hi everyone, here’s some studies of cycles materials I’ve been doing to level up my shading. These are inspired by Reynante Martinez’s work, I hope to make more in the future. I also took the chance to play with True Displacement. They are not super useful for real world work, but the node networks are full of little tricks and things to learn.

The galaxy image is from pixabay

 

Renders

blackhole_big

lava_big

meteorite_big bacteria_big

 

Download Blend file

Render+ 0.7 out now!

Hi guys, the new version of Render+ is finally out! This version includes a completely new implementation of batch renders that allows them to run independently of Blender (you can close it, or switch to another file while running a batch). The UI doesn’t freeze anymore and you can cancel batches now too.

Other additions include custom overrides (you can change anything in the scene), global batch settings, RSS and a new slots menu (replacing the old “Cycle slots” feature).

Check the full changelog below

 

batch_anim

 

Lots of new stuff

  • New batch rendering implementation. No longer freezes the UI!
  • Batches run independently of Blender now. You can close, or open another file while the batch is running. It will continue even if Blender crashes.
  • The list updates as the batch process each job (wether it’s finished or failed)
  • Use all scene layers feature has been disabled for now. Something changed in recent releases that has made it stop working and I haven’t been able to fix it yet.
  • Batches can now be cancelled. Any runnning jobs will be inmediately terminated.
  • Refresh interval for the batch panel can be set in the addon preferences
  • Support for external blend files in batch. Scene/camera/render layers don’t autocomplete though (API limitations).
  • Enable/Disable all options to quickly toggle batch render jobs
  • Render jobs can now be renamed by double clicking on their name in the list
  • You can also toggle between animation and still renders by clicking the icon in the list
  • Option to ignore Render Border setting in batch
  • Option to write log files for each render job
  • Global size setting for batches. This size will override any size you have set for render jobs, as well as the size you have set in the output panel. Useful to make quick previews.
  • All messages printed to the console now have timestamps
  • Log files for background jobs and batches include timestamps. Batches include the render job number and batch name.
  • Size percentage (from the output panel) is now ignored in batch to avoid user mistakes. If you need to change the size for all jobs you can use the new global size setting.
  • RSS file support. Render+ can now generate an RSS file for each batch, so you can monitor it’s progress. If you put this file in a network or dropbox folder, you can monitor the batch using your tablet/phone/TV/browser/etc. See the docs (above) for more info.
  • Render jobs can have specific file formats. (format specific options not available yet though)
  • Render jobs can use a specific number of threads (use 0 for automatic)
  • Custom overrides for render jobs.
  • Render+ will now check for conflicting or invalid output paths in the batch list
  • Animation jobs can now render specific Render Layers
  • The “Cycle slots” toggle has been replaced by the Slots menu. Cycle slots never worked quite well because of API issues and it wasn’t very useful. The new slots menu allows you to change slots from the render panel, as well as
    name them. Used slots have a fully visible icon, free slots have a more transparent one.
  • Render jobs must have different names now. This was preferred before, but now it’s enforced due to the possibility of bugs and data conflicts.
  • Render+ will warn about invalid scenes, cameras or combinations of both. Previous behaviour was using the default scene/camera but this was frustrating (specially in long batches :) )

 

Get Render+ in the Blender Market!

Making UiLists in Blender

Hello fellow Pythonistas, in this tutorial we’ll find out how to use UILists in our scripts and add-ons. If your users need to handle large amounts (or variable) amounts of data, this is the widget you want.

While you could just use a loop to draw widgets UILists have several benefits over custom-made solutions, like filtering, searching and managing space correctly (less scrolling). It’s also how it’s done throughout the UI, so you can stay consistent with the rest of Blender.

By the way, I’m assuming you already know your way around the BPY and Python. This is an intermediate tutorial.

Continue reading Making UiLists in Blender

Render+ 0.5

Hello fine folk, there’s a smell of new Render+ in the air.

New features

  • Batch Rendering
  • Automatically move to the next rendering slot
  • Code clean-up

Batch render is probably the largest feature I’ve worked on for R+. It can override scene settings and do custom frames, sizes, renderlayers, cameras and more. All from the comfort of a panel in the render properties.

I’m still not 100% happy about it though, since I couldn’t get past some limitations of the API that make the interface freeze while rendering. I’m trying some ideas to get around it but it will be pretty involved (if possible).

If you’ve already bought version 0.4 you can login into your account and go to the downloads page to get the new version.

Get Render+ in the Blender Market!

Abstract Blob intro

I’ve recently spent some time learning rigging from the Humane Rigging videos in Blender Cloud and started to wonder how they could be used for mograph.

Nathan Vegdahl makes some interesting points about automating as much as possible to avoid counter-animating and keeping a low keyframe count. All the rotation movements in this animation are driven, only scales and the logo glitching are fully keyed. It’s still a little messy, but way easier than keying everything!

Continue reading Abstract Blob intro