WeightLifter add-on: new feature

I extended the WeightLifter add-on with an extra operator in the Paint menu of the vertex paint mode: VertexColorCombine. It lets you combine color channels from different vertex color layers into a combined vertex color layer.

Combining this kind of information into a single vertex color layer might save considerable space when using large meshes. A small tutorial on a possible workflow to combine different attributes calculated with WeightLifter into a single vertex color layer is available on YouTube:

Floorboard add-on gets Versaille pattern

From time to time I keep on developing my floorboards add-on an I am happy to present a new option: the Versaille pattern.

(click to enlarge)

It was quite fiddly to get it right but now it looks fine. (Thank you Spirou4D for pointing out the issues with the center configuration).

This pattern offers the same options as the other pattern: you can add randomness to the planks, gaps between them, shift the origin, etc. etc. The generated uv-map (in Shuffle and Packed modes) aligns the uv coordinates in such a way that all are aligned along the longest axis of a plank. This means that if you have a single wood texture with the grain running in a certain direction, planks that are rotated still have a uv parallel to the grain, as it would probably be in reality. An example with a simple stripe material is shown below (note that each plank also has a different color in a vertex color layer that you can use to slightly randomize the material of each individual plank)

The pattern has border planks that are arranged in a symmetrical manner: 2 short horizontal ones,2 slightly longer vertical ones. Selecting the Switch option will change this to 4 identical planks arrange in a clockwise fashion.

An overview of the different articles that highlight all the options of the add-on can be found here.


The latest version is as always available on GitHub.

WIP: versaille pattern for floorboard add-on

I am currently working on an addition to my floor boards add-on for blender, the pattern often referred to as Versaille parquet.

I have implemented the simplest variant and am looking for a way to align the uv so the grain runs along with the length of the planks. With some manual tweaking it is already possible to get a decent result:

Further Space Tree Pro animation experiments

The trees you create may look alright but they are fairly static. To add realism animated leaves and a swaying trunk skeleton might help.

Therefore I am currently investigating which simple animation techniques could be used. The goal here is to add some life to scenes like architectural fly through, so low wind scenarios is what we aim for.

The general idea is to animate the trunk and branches (and the separate mesh that acts as a leaf emitter) by an armature consisting of just a few bones. The leaves are subsequently animated by adding an extra wave modifier to the leaf emitter that moves the point where a leaf is attached slightly. Additionally we animate the phase of the rotation of the leaf particles slightly.

The overall effect should be a slight swaying motion with some additional movement of the individual leaves. The first result is shown below

i think it would look better with more movement for the individual leaves.

Now the swaying movement itself is still a bit much: larger trees actually need quite some wind before the main trunk starts to move, the outer branches however are much more flexible and bend in low winds for all sizes of trees.

This seems to be be the right balance between sway and leaf movement.

When these experiments are finalised the idea is to add an option to Space Tree Pro to enable all these modifiers and additional settings by simply checking a box. And of course we'll make sure that each tree will get slightly different values so that an animated street full of trees will look as if it is performing some weird choreography.

Blender Conference Discount

During the 2015 Blender Conference (from 23 to 25 October) many products at BlenderMarket will come with a 20% discount. Of course I will participate in that sale as well, so if you were thinking about purchasing either WeightLifter or Space Tree Pro, now is your chance to get an even better deal :-)

Now I wouldn't want to exclude my Open Shading Language for Blender E-book from the fun so even though it is not marketed by BlenderMarket it will carry the same 20% discount during the Blender conference. Get it on Smashwords and enter the coupon code EY53W on checkout.

New option for the floor board add-on

The floor boards add-on now has options to shift the origin of the pattern. This might come in handy when aligning pattern with different features of your architecture.

An example is shown below (the offset options are outlined in red, the pattern on the right has its x-origin moved a bit)

Note that like many options of the floor board generator there is a sensible soft limit on the value. Any soft limit can be overridden id becessary by entering a value by hand.

Code availability

The new version is available on GitHub.

Space Tree Pro: new features

I have updated my Space Tree Pro add-on for Blender. Its latest version (201510041334) comes with additional skinning modes, and option to add some random bumps to the basic crown shape and and option to randomly drop some mature branches from a tree to add 'character'. The new update is of course free to download for people who have previously purchased the Space Tree Pro add-on.

Better skinning

The native skinning option in the add-on left something to be desired, especially for thinner, highly curved branches which may end up looking rather squashed. This new version therefore sports three additional skinning modes, each with it own pros and cons:
The original modifier. An example of the flattened twigs is shown in the image:
Skin modifier
It is now possible to use Blenders built-in skin modifier. It looks better but is really slow:
Convert to curve
Another choice is converting the tree skeleton to a collection of bevelled curves:
Ball and pipe
The final option is to use the conventional ball and pipe approach:
The quality of the new methods is comparable but the time to generate the mesh and and the number of polygons in the mesh differs significantly: For a moderate tree (1000 markers, 400 new markers, branch segment length 0.25, kill distance 1.0) the four skinning methods give the following numbers (on a Intel i7, 4 cores, your mileage may vary)
MethodTime (seconds)Tris
Native 1.5 73,886
Convert to curve 1.2 63,536
Skin modifier 35.8 415,092
Ball and pipe 1.6 141,376

A more random crown

It was already possible to vary the branch generation by choosing a different random seed but the overall shape of the crown stayed the same unless you used a crown group. Now with the added bumpiness and size variation for the basic crown shape it has become much simpler to generate unique trees. Compare the three different trees on the top row (diffent branching, same overall shape) with the three trees on the bottom row (which have random bumpiness and shape).

Dropping some mature branches

The final new addition to this version is the option to break away a random number of branch segments after the tree is fully generated. This may add some character to trees think storms etc.). The image below show the same trees where the one on the right has 50 segments removed: