A slight interruption to the schedule, I know, but needs must. I’m not sure what I did, but things are still skewy. Jumping up to the latest release, after trying so hard to familiarize myself with Blender’s 2.8 iteration, is going to be something to seriously consider now.
There’s probably a simple explanation that I’m overlooking in my frustration – and rush to get things moving again – and there’s only a finite number of things which could possibly be wrong. Everything ought to be up to date given how long I’ve spent doing updates on all the software on this computer, and I’ve mostly ruled out interference everything installed in the last week.
So – something different. Something which is intended to spur on those who have been providing tutorials for Blender, and see if the more complex notions I’ve had during my brief foray with the software can actually be pulled off entirely within Blender. The following are all actually things I went looking for, and it wasn’t a brief skim either. There are a multitude of videos and posts covering all manner of esoteric problems, yet despite the proliferation of channels and sites there are still gaps in the knowledge base. You might imagine that everything that could be covered has been, but I’m sure there are gaps…
It must be difficult thinking up things to cover for a piece of software which has such a long lineage as Blender. I’ve found things dating back years – some of which, it has to be noted, no longer really work as tutorials given the extensive overhaul which 2.8 has brought to bear on matters.
1. A means of having a monitor inside a scene display video.
Having attached a camera to a cylinder beneath the cockpit (as a placeholder for the machine gun), I attempted to arrange a way by which the item (a cube, merely for reference) which the camera was directed at could be displayed on a monitor inside the cockpit. I’ve come at it a dozen different ways, yet while in Viewport Shading there is no means by which I can see a way to direct the camera’s output to an object.
Ideally I would like the option to have as many monitors as possible showing the occupants what is happening around the vehicle, but as I can’t even get one monitor up and running this is a major pain.
And does this count as a render inside a render? I haven’t found any limits referenced to the amount of data allowed in any scene, though I suspect that there’s likely a hardware limit rather than a software limit. If there are nodes which channel input from cameras to entities inside a scene then a clear process is a pain to dig up. That there isn’t already a need for this astounds me. Someone, in the long history of Blender development, must have thought of this and come up with a solution (even if it is a kludge, something is better than nothing).
2. Overlays on monitors.
While it would be nice to have a traditional “target” overlay (ranging sights?) on the monitor used to control the machine gun, it isn’t a real priority – I’ve been working under the impression that I can use a simple .png image to get this. What I would really like is a little number appearing besides things appearing on the screen, showing distance, preferably with a little square around potential targets.
I know that Blender keeps some sort of record of distance in blends, so there ought to be a means to get this to show up somehow. It is a slight nod to computer games, where this mechanic is relatively easy to pull from preexisting files, but Blender seems to be more opaque when it comes to these things.
3. Transforming a solid to a gas then back to a solid, while the object is both moving and retaining its shape.
Imagine a person walking – turning into smoke (while not losing human appearance), before resuming solidity and interacting with their surroundings. I’ve figured out transitions – more or less – and while this seems to be the best option there’s a lingering feeling that a better solution exists.
This was actually the very first thing I went looking for, and while there are solutions which come close to what I want, the “retaining its shape” aspect has not been part of the tutorials. It is all well and good to have things transform into smoke, but I don’t need smoke at the moment.
4. Fire without smoke.
Talking of smoke reminded me – I can’t seem to get fire without the addition of smoke. You know there are smokeless flames, right? Well… Trying to get them to look right in Blender is aggravating thanks to fire being listed under smoke, so when flames are added to a scene the smoke is added as well.
It is probably a minor thing, a box left unchecked perhaps, but this has been one of the most annoying omissions in guides regarding fire and flames. This ought to be simple, but it is driving me crazy trying to work out the methodology to achieve the effect.
5. That scene in Innocence…
Hoo-boy. Okay, this isn’t so much of a “how the hell do you do this cool thing” so much as it is “how the hell did they do that cool thing?” It is the mansion scene I’m thinking of, where things are repeated, and as it has such a distinctive, warm, beautiful feel I can’t help but look at the lighting and wonder if there is a trick to getting a scene appearing like that.
I’ve not had much luck with lighting – even changing between the different types of lights available and color outputs – so when I see something which handles the problem so well there’s naturally a desire to recapture some of that film’s mood.
If there’s a a way to get lighting to go to a preconfigured “mood” then I would love to know what the steps are in 2.8 – and, while I’m asking on the topic, is it possible to save a lighting set-up to reuse it in various scenes in different blends? More than once now I have found myself wishing that there was a means to export light setting so that it can be quickly added to a scene, saving me a lot of time.
Not that I have many lighting set-ups that I’m happy with, but the ability to do this would be awesome nevertheless…
I’m hoping to get things back on track as soon as possible. Fingers crossed…