Amaranth Colors for Blender (Themes)

I recently had a number of people ask me which Blender theme I use. The Amaranth theme was originally created by Pablo Vazquez and is usually packaged with testbuilds.
I've been using it for a while because it's a nice dark gray theme that's easy on the eyes, even during late night Blender sessions. ;)

Recently though, it seems like the link to the original theme no longer works, so I decided to take the one I use and create a few different colored spins. There are 7 different flavors in this package: Lime, Mint, Navy, Orange, Purple, Red (Original) and Turquoise.

You can download them from the tools page. They're all hosted on my github page.

Enjoy!

amaranth-ui.png

Open Source Artwork: 36 Days of Type

Now that the 36 Days of Type have ended, I decided it would be fun to open source the files. Feel free to have a look through them, from a crazy procedural meat shader to overused metaball particles. ;)

DOWNLOAD ALL OF THE FILES HERE

All of the 3D files were created with Blender, and for post-production After Effects was used. I use quite a few plugins for After Effects though, so your mileage may vary with those files.

Some of the projects use an HDR to light the scene and, apart from one, are included in the files. Thanks to HDR Labs for making these available for free, be sure to check out their HDR library!
One of the letters uses an HDR that's part of Maxime Roz's free Interior HDR pack, which can be downloaded here.

I hope you enjoy having a look through these, I had a lot of fun creating them!

36 Days of Type!

A friend of mine put me on to the 36 days of type a few weeks back. I have to admit I'd never heard of it but I thought it would be nice to give it a go, after seeing what it's all about.
Basically, you create an image a day with that day's letter or number and post in on Instagram.

What I didn't expect to happen was that I would be working hard in my spare time to keep up with posting a letter every day. With the end of the alphabet drawing near, we're soon down to the last 10 days, which is all about numbers.

So if you haven't heard of this like I have, take a look at what everyone is creating and maybe give a few numbers a try. (Post instructions are here)
I've found that as the weeks have progressed, it has challenged me to really perfect my skills and try out a lot of new things. :)

Follow me on Instagram: @the__mantissa

Compositing Blender Cycles Render Passes in Natron

Hi there,

This time around we'll be looking at how to comp the render passes coming out of Cycles in Natron. This method can be applies in any compositing package but I chose to use Natron for this example. Version 2 released recently and contains a lot of new features, which is why I decided to highlight it. Download it for free here.

As with the previous Natron tutorial, you can download the EXR file used to follow along. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

Half Finished - A Collection of Experiments

After having a lot of fun experimenting in my free time the last few months, I wondered what to do with all the renders I had amassed. Rather than letting them just sit on a hard drive, I figured I could throw them all together in a short edit to further my editing skills.

All of the fluid simulations in the video were done with Realflow. Almost everything was rendered with Cycles and comped in After Effects. Even though the guys over at the Blender Foundation are still working hard on implementing Alembic in to Blender, there's already one way to import Realflow mesh caches at the moment. It's a hack, and limited to Blender 2.75 at the moment, but if you scroll down through this page you can find builds for all platforms with this modifier implemented.

You can download a high quality version of the video here.

10 Free Freshly Squeezed (Photoscanned) Fruit Models

So it's been no secret that I've been focusing on photogrammetry for a while now. After a long delayed camera upgrade, I've finally finished a new set of photoscanned models for you to download.

The difference with the previous models is that all of these have been retopologised, making a lot more suitable to just drop them in a scene. Also, the file size of the download has decreased significantly, even with the 2K textures included.

Below is a short promo made with the models, to give you an idea of the quality. And feel free to check out each individual one through the embedded Sketchfab links.

Download them now from the resources page!

Open Source Artwork: Mushroom Tree

Personal projects are awesome, and it always feels nice to finish one. This time though, rather than just share the end result, I wanted to share a bit more.

Under the name of "Open Source Artwork" I'm sharing the full scene, with all of the textures and models included, even the HDR used to light the scene. Even though I bought the original HDR at HDRI Hub, I worked with them to be able to release a free scaled down sample of it. You can use this included 2K HDR any way you'd like. Be sure to check out HDRI Hub's full selection of products on the website.

The tree bark and leaf textures were downloaded from Episcura, who were also kind enough to agree to supply scaled down versions of the textures to include. The original hi res versions can be downloaded for free once you create an account on their website. They have a very good, ever growing selection of textures, so be sure to check them out as well!


Assets included in this archive:

- Blender scene file with textures
- 3ds Max GrowFx scene
- GrowFX Preset
- Tree FBX model


References:

Environment HDR:
 - Free 2K sample generously provided by HDRI Hub
 - Original: HDR #141 - 14336px x 7168px

Tree Textures
 - Provided by Episcura
 - Tree Bark: Original Size: 1896px x 4764px
 - Twig Bark: Original Size: 3648px x 5472px
 - Leaf: Original Size: 1082px x 1758px

Blender 101: Learning Blender as a 3ds Max user

The next tutorial in the 101 series is all about Blender. This is mainly aimed at 3ds Max users, as it discusses how to set up Blender to make learning it easier with the knowledge you already have. There's plenty of other websites out there that can get you started with the basics of learning Blender, so I decided I wanted to start off with something else.

It's always good to add new software to your personal toolkit and I've been experimenting a lot with Blender lately. Why Blender? Well, it's got a lot of great features for a free application. Dynamic topology sculpting, fluid and smoke sim capabilites, and a built in modern path tracer, to only name a few things. It's really evolved to become a software package that can rival some of the "bigger" packages out there. Oh yeah, don't forget it's free. (Download it here)

EDIT: Check out the Cosmos Laundromat Pilot to see Blender in action.

I'll always love working with 3ds Max, but challenging yourself with new or different software teaches you to adapt your workflow and improves it in both packages. One is not better or worse that the other, it's just different. (And that's all I'll say on that subject)

The Blender community are also a great group of people, so I wanted to include some of the resources and websites I've been learning from in the last few months.